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Jack Waddon

It is with very deep regret that we announce the death of Jack Waddon, after diving in Mineries Pool on Saturday, 3rd of November.

With his passing, many cavers in all parts of the country have lost a good friend; the B.E.C. has lost an old and valued member and the caving and cave diving world has lost one of its most experienced and enthusiastic explorers.  He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

On behalf of the club, we offer our sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to Dorothy and his family.

Jack Waddon We are urgently in need of articles for the Christmas B.B. as most members will know; we try to make this issue of the club magazine somewhat larger than normal. Unless a few (preferably long articles are received within the next week or so, this may not be possible.

Caving Meets

by the Caving Secretary.

In the past, the B.E.C. has tended to fight shy of any form of organised caving and has relied on personal contacts and the use of the ‘grapevine’ to spread news of future caving trips.  However, a recent increase in membership - particularly of young members - has resulted in a number of requests for club meets to some of the lesser known caves, both in the Mendip area and elsewhere.   After all, how many members of club have visited Redcliffe Caves; Bath Stone Workings; Lamb Leer; Fairy Cave; Brownes Hole Etc?  There must be a fair number of people in the B.E.C. who have not visited any of these.

In view of this, it has been decided to attempt to organise a number of club trips over the next year. The following points will indicate how the meets are to be organised.

(a)     The more well known Mendip caves will not be visited.

(b)     It is hoped to run 8 meets in a 12 month period.

(c)     Wherever possible, a leader who is well acquainted with the cave to be visited will be appointed.

(d)     Where necessary, transport arrangements will be thrashed out in club or at the Waggon & Horses on the Thursday preceding the meet.

(e)     Three categories of trip are visualised.  1. Easy trips that could be done in an evening. 2. Moderate trips on a weekend day to lesser known Mendip caves and 3. Whole weekend trips to caves in other areas.

Details of the trips will be published for each half year, thus giving everyone the maximum notice.

The Batu Caves

by Steve Grime.

The caves are located in a plateau seven miles north of Kuala Lumpur.  The limestone in which they are formed is vertically bedded, and seems to be inorganic (not one fossil or trace of a fossil was found by the party all the time we were underground.)  The cave system is very old, as most of the passages of four feet and under in cross section were completely blocked by calcite, although the temperatures inside the caves must accelerate the precipitation to some extent, as they were in the region of 75°F and relative humidity was very low.  Life is abundant in the caves - diagrams of the creatures found appear later in this report.

As we did not know, and did not have time to find out, the names of the main caverns explored, we decided to substitute some British names for them.  I think that, under the circumstances, the original explorers (whoever they may be) will excuse us poor ignorant sailors.

The cavern that we named Sett's Hole, with which this report is mainly concerned, is entered by a high rift about fifteen feet above the cliff base.  This soon opens out into (by Mendip standards) a gigantic cavern. Frank Mercer - a Yorkshire type potholer - and I were wondering at this stage what would be coming next!  We named this great hall the Main Gallery.

Just before the dark zone is reached, a squeeze can be pushed.  The way on lies through a pool of water - at 75°F - and into a very low chamber eight to twelve inches high.  This we called something sounding like Grass Hole - for obvious reasons. On returning to the entrance passage, three passages can be seen to lead off.  The right hand and centre ones are dead ends, although in the right hand one, an interesting squeeze doubles back to the right.  It was here that the two forms of life were found in a pool in which the body of a bird was also lying.

If one faces north on reaching the Main Gallery, two large - and I do mean large - galleries can be seen. The left one heads due north and the right one heads E.N.E.  These two chambers were named Guano Hall (politely) and Cascade Chamber respectively. Although these chambers both close down after about two hundred feet of very open walking and scrambling, they are both worth mentioning on account of their very individual characteristics. Guano Hall, as is suggested by its name, is liberally covered with guano.  The-entrance to it is up a 30° slope that is made into just about a v. diff climb by the bat dung.  Spiders and millipedes were found in this chamber.  Very little time was spent in this chamber, which was a pity as it is now my belief that it is from here that the way on lies.

Cascade Chamber is totally different.  For one thing, there are no bats whatsoever although the gallery (as can be seen from the rough survey) opens out into the same chamber as Guano Hall.  After a certain distance up the series of small vertical pitches into the chamber, no bat dung is found at all a trickle of water appears half way up the ascent (100’) and it was suspected at a later stage of the exploration that this is part of a stream that sinks in the Upper Series about fifty feet higher and about two to three hundred feet to the cast of this resurgence.  However, everything in fact points away from this suggestion.  Firstly, the limestone is vertically bedded and does not seem to take to horizontal corrosion too well and secondly, the stream is flowing to the east at the sink.

At the top of the pitch, the cave floor levels off for a few yards then drops seven feet.  Dead ahead can be seen a cascade which must be all of a hundred feet high.  It is 132 feet round the base and is estimated to have a diameter of about forty feet!  Photographs of this formation were taken, but it is doubtful whether they will come out, as the light from the magnesium ribbon used did not seem at all adequate.

On returning to the Main Gallery, if one looks to the left and up from the bottom of Cascade Pitch, the Sentinel can be seen in a high level passage at the top of a vertical pitch. The Sentinel is a stalagmite boss that is pear shaped in its horizontal cross section.  It has a circumference of some nine feet.  The climb up this pitch probably comes to about diff. standard, and is best attacked on the northern side.  All attempts on the southern side, ended in failure, although I dare say that a climber - with a bit more experience and guts should be able to push a route up the other side.  The pitch itself is a series of flutings ending in spires, looking very much like the mountains of the moon.  From its resemblance to organ pipes as well, this pitch was called Organ Pitch. Almost exactly opposite Organ Pitch is a small alcove about three feet high above the floor level of the Main Gallery. This was named Spider Grotto on account of the weird looking variety of spider type creature found there.  N.B. No webs were found.  Going up Organ Pitch, Sentinel Passage is reached, and then a steeply inclined slope takes one out on to the cliff face, at an elevation of 150 - 200'.  Turning to the left, an enormous cave entrance can be seen, looking like Alum turned sideways.  This holds the entrances to three high level galleries.  From left to right, Tricky Traverse Passage; High Chamber and Disappointment Passage.

Tricky Traverse is just what its name implies.  The team were just too dead beat to tackle it (or chicken?).  A slab eighteen inches wide leads to a point four feet away from and two to three feet below the start of the passage, which is a dried up stal flow. From the slab to a foot below the stal flow - which slopes at an angle of about 70° - is a small ledge three to six inches wide, sloping at about 30°.  This is made more difficult by an overhang of about two feet, jutting out from the ledge and some two feet above it.  The passage seems to go.

Going down the 50ft brings one into High Chamber.  This is an extremely large chamber, in fact the largest in this particular system. There are many entrances from the plateau to be seen in the roof, and the dangers of travelling on the plateau were emphasised by the number of dead animals lying about the cave floor in different degrees of pheeeeeeew.

Facing west, a waterfall sixty feet high can be seen - this is the stream mentioned earlier in this report. Right at the far end of the cavern is a huge flow (The Shrine) at the bottom of which are gours, some being thirty, inches high.  To the left and across a sandy beach Upper Guano Hall is reached.  It was in this chamber that one patch of dung four feet deep was found and again the bats only used one cave out of the three available in this series (any ideas as to why?).

Disappointment Passage is entered by way of a narrow rift which soon opens out into a passage of decent proportions.  This ends in a pitch of about a hundred and fifty feet deep.  Two passages can be seen leading off into the depths but to traverse round the pitch walls is virtually impossible, so the pushing of this passage will have to wait for some- chap with a fixed ladder.

At this point, the party turned round and made its way back to Sentinel Passage where a speedy rappel to the bottom of Organ Pitch took them to their spare fag supply, which was at once ransacked.

Formations Etc.

Only stalactites were seen in any abundance, the cave floor having been well dug by the "Awld man".  What they must have dug for, we do not know, only knowledge of geology, being very basic, was not sufficient to allow me to identify any mineral ore.  In places the cave floors have been dug to a depth of six to eight feet, and the old floor level could be seen as a band of calcite six to eight inches think.  This thickness of stal flooring seemed to be just about average throughout the cave. To my way of thinking this points to a distinct but gradual climatic change, as great torrents could be required to scour out the great chambers of this system.  Also, scallop markings five feet across were spotted in some parts of the cave.  Then, to form the great sheets of calcite, many dry years were required.  One stalactite that was found broken in two had a cross section showing four concentric circles.  Many clusters of helictites were found, the majority of these were seen to be connected to small stumpy stalactites and all of them ended in a pear shaped swelling.  During the whole of the trip not one curtain was seen, but there were many dried up flows.


Creatures were seen like a version of Niphargus Fontanus (See British Caving Plate XV b page 268) but measuring only 1 mm in length.  Other forms were a type of Ancryophorus Aureus (ibid Plate XVII e) and a form of Perga masus Crassipes (Plate XVII j) also Blaniulus Guttulatus (Plate XVI d) was found and measured about 1.5 inches.   The bats seen were like Natterers Bat.

Editor's Note:     Plans of this hole follow in this B.B.  Perhaps some members with knowledge of these caves can identify.


Second warning!!!

Please remember that all cutlery and crockery will be removed from the Belfry for a trial period starting on January 1st. Also, all unidentified gear left around will be disposed of by the Hut Warden.  If in doubt, get in touch with him before it is too late!


We have lost several ropes and some ladder recently.  If any members know of the whereabouts of B.E.C. equipment, the Tackle Officer, or any committee member would be very grateful for information leading to its recovery!


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle, Bristol. 
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.  

The B.B. Questionnaire.

This B.B. is mainly concerned, as is usual with the October number, with reports and news of the A.G.M. and dinner.  One of the subjects arising from this was a suggestion made in the A.G.M. report on the B.B. by the editor that a questionnaire be sent out so that it could be seen just what changes, if any, the majority of club members would like to see in the B.B.

This questionnaire, which will come out during the next month and be attached to the next B.B. for the benefit of members who have their B.B. by post, will contain a series of questions designed to let members specify their ideas of the ideal form of the B.B.  Some of these suggestions may not be easily implemented.  For instance, if someone says that he would like to see a B.B. with at least one long, serious caving article each month, there remains the problem of persuading someone to write such articles.  Thus, when you get the form and, as we hope, fill it in, remember that we should also like YOUR suggestions as to how the state of affairs you would like to see can be brought about in practice.

A.G.M. Attendance.

This was the highest for many years, as was also the number of members voting.  We hope this may have been due in some measure to the appeal in the B.B. last month.  In any case, it was a good show and very encouraging.



Cave Research Group of Great Britain.

The Annual General Meeting will be held at the training college, Matlock, Derbyshire on November 10th at 5 pm.  For further details of this meeting see the circular which will be on the Belfry Notice Board, or communicate direct with the secretary, A.W. Ashwell, "Cuilcagh", Stanyeld Rd, Church Stretton, Salop.

University of Bristol Speleological Society.

The Sessional Meetings for the 1962-63 Session will be held at 8.15 pm in the Geography Lecture theatre. Subjects are as follows:-

Monday, Oct 8th.  "How old is the Sahara?"
Monday, October 29th.  Films on Anthropology & Archaeology.
Monday, November 19th.  A Caving lecture.
Monday, December 3rd.  "The changing face of Neolithic Britian.
Monday, January 21st.  "The caves of N.L. Clare"
Monday, February 4th.  "The mineralisation of the Mendip Hills"
Monday, February 18th.  Title not yet known.
Monday, March 4th.  A.G.M.  Presidential address at 9pm.  "The mythical massacre at Glastonbury Lake Village"

The Annual General Meeting.

(This account is a description of the main events, but it not the official minutes of the meeting. Ed).

The 1962 Annual General Meeting opened at 2.55 pm with 45 members present and began with the election of a Chairman.  Dan Hasell was elected and he started by remarking that it was very gratifying to see so many members present.  The collection of member’s resolutions and ballot forms followed.  The Chairman then asked for volunteers to act as tellers and Brian Prewer, Gordon Selby and John Eatough volunteered.

While the counting of voted went on, the chairman asked the meeting whether they wanted the minutes of the last A.G.M. to be read.  A vote taken produced 14 in favour and 14 against.  The Chairman then exercised his casting vote and decided to read the minutes. The minutes were then read and adopted.

The Hon. Secretary's report followed.  He reported that a total of 31 new members had been accepted this year, as against 27 last year and 34 for the year before that.  The paid up membership had increased to 138, but in fact was probably higher as he confidently expected to collect some more membership subs before the night was out.  Some of those assembled were seen to pale visibly at this stage; attendance at the dinner was expected to be 116.  The dinner, he felt, was proving more popular amongst members of other clubs, as he had had a number of applications from such people.  The attendance at Redcliffe Hall was slowly improving, although he hoped that further improvement would be made in this direction.  The Charterhouse Caving Committee was in process of negotiating a final form of agreement.  He felt that the result of this would be satisfactory from the club's point of view. There were no questions, and the report was adopted.

This was followed by the Hon. Treasurer's report, with the usual remark from someone of "It’s the same bloke!"  He stated that the substantial surplus was mainly due to the higher membership figures and the preference for life membership.  The expenditure on tackle was still not as great as he had hoped. The profits on lamps and caving reports were the results of last year's efforts and off set the losses which occurred then.  The report was adopted.

Another vain attempt was made at this point to catch the Hon. Treas. out.  He was asked why the difference between the cost of ties and the sales figure was not a multiple of the cost of a tie.  The questioner was demolished by being told that the apparent discrepancy was due to money sent by members, very properly, to cover postage.

The Caving Secretary then gave his report.  The B.E.C. had been very active, but there had been a change in the pattern of caving this year.  Cuthbert's - not Swildons - was now the most popular cave nearby and there had been a dramatic interest shown by B.E.C., members in Eastern Mendip.  Bottlehead Slocker, Heale Cave, Heale Slocker and Newman Strret Slocker were all dug with the assistance of members.  In addition, a large number of tourist trips for other clubs had been run and a fair number of beginner’s trips.  The B.E.C. had turned out on a number of small rescues, but luckily, nothing serious had occurred this year.  The Cuthbert's Leaders Meetings had been a success, and interest in the cave had been further aroused by the publication of Caving Reports on the subject and by the work on the new entrance.  The report was adopted and a vote of thanks proposed for Bryan Ellis and Alfie for their work.

Arising from the report, Garth asked why there had been no mention of the recent discoveries in Stoke Lane, as B.E.C. members had been present.  The Caving Secretary rectified this omission which was due to the recent nature of this discovery.

This was followed by the Climbing Report.  The Climbing Secretary stated that there had been a slight decline in the climbing activity this year, but climbing in the Avon Gorge had proved popular and had attracted some cavers including the Caving Secretary!  A trip to St. Ives at Easter had been well supported and Cader Idris visited at Whitsun and August.  The report was adopted.

Question time provided a fine example of repartee.  Kangy asked the Climbing Sec. if he would define a meet.  Tony, suspecting this question, immediately replied that a meet consisted of at least two male club members.  Kangy then announced with glee that his meet had not been mentioned. The Climbing Sec. then reminded him that no report of it had been received.  At this stage Kangy declared himself to be speechless!

At this stage, the results of the committee election were known and the Chairman read them out.  In the order on the ballot form they were:- Bob Bagshaw, 59 votes; Alfie, 57 votes; John Cornwell, 35 votes;  Garth, 42 votes; Tony Dunn, 36 votes; Mike Luckwill, 20 votes; "Mo", 58 votes; Mike Palmer, 35 votes; Norman Petty, 56 votes; Alan Sandall, 4l votes; "Sett", 47 votes and Jim Hill 29 votes.  The Chairman pointed out the tie for last place to the meeting.  It was agreed to follow the precedent of allowing both to stand. The 1963 committee thus consists of ten members.

The Tackle Officer then gave his report.  We have made 140’ of new ladder during the year and scrapped 65’.  This gives the club a total of 230' of ladder.  We have lost a 120’ extra weight nylon rope in Swildons and the 80’ three quarter weight rope is stuck in Cuthbert’s.  We therefore need more rope.  At once in true B.E.C. fashion, members announced that they were in various positions to supply free rope and over 600' of rope was promised.  These offers were accepted and the report adopted.

The Hut Warden announced in his report that the bed-nights this year totalled 1,267.  This was a slight drop on last year's all time record and was due to the loss of some regular members.  The increase of tidiness in the Belfry had not been maintained. He had plans to improve this next year. The stone hut's main fabric had been completed and the new extension was well advanced.  When the extension had been completed, the whole Belfry will be re-roofed.  The report was adopted.

A large number of questions designed in increase the tidiness of the Belfry were then raised. As result, the committee was instructed to look into a number of schemes designed to improve the Belfry facilities and to increase the standards of cleanliness and tidiness of the Belfry. The report was adopted.

The Belfry Bulletin report followed.  The Editor stated that, for a variety of reasons, the B.B. had remained similar in shape, size, contents etc for about three years.  He wondered if present feeling in the club was in favour of any changes and suggested the circulation of a questionnaire which he had prepared if the meeting should so wish.  It was agreed that this was a good idea.  The need for a new volunteer to deal with the postal side of the B.B. was brought up at this stage, and "Kangy" bravely volunteered for this job.  The report was adopted.

The Hon. Librarian then gave her report.  The library had been catalogued.  One copy of this catalogue was in the library itself and the other copy at the Belfry. Some new books had been published and a list of the main contents of the library was read out.  Clare Coase has donated all of Don's books to the library. The librarian then appealed for some back numbers of the B.B. which she heeded to bring her list to completion. These are 1-5 inclusive, 7, 8, 9, 12, 21, 42, 49, 84 and 97.  She would be grateful to any member who could donate any of these B.B's.

John Ifold asked where the remaining books were, as he had counted 152 books during his term as Librarian. The Librarian replied that she had no idea of the whereabouts of these books, and that they did not form part of the library as handed on to her.  'Gaff' Fowler suggested that we write to Bristol Public Library, as they sold cheaply any slightly soiled books at regular intervals.  Alan Sandall then got the biggest laugh of the afternoon, by suggesting that, in that case, we send a team to the library to slightly soil all the caving books (later information suggests that the library have given up this scheme).  The Library report was then adopted.

Member’s resolutions then followed.  The Chairman read out the first resolution by Jim Giles that "The B.B. be reduced to a monthly news sheet and that the club publish an Annual Journal". Before asking for a seconder, the Chairman invited comments from the Editor, who replied that this point would be covered by the forthcoming questionnaire.  There was no seconder and thus the resolution could not be put to the meeting.

The second, resolution, also by Jim Giles, was 'That something be done about Emborough'. Before putting this to the meeting for a seconder, the Chairman asked for information on this resolution.  This was provided, and the Chairman, although he thought that this was a subject more properly dealt with by the Caving Secretary, asked for a seconder.  None was forthcoming and so this; resolution could not be put to the meeting.

The third resolution - by Jim Giles - was that the club constitution be amended to article 7 to read ‘four weeks before the Annual General Meeting'.  Again, no seconder could be found and the resolution could not be put to the meeting.

The fourth resolution was put in by Jim Giles.  This was that in the event of the third resolution being vetoed, the Annual General Meeting be declared invalid unless all voting forms were received at least a fortnight beforehand, as required by the present constitution.  The Chairman ruled that this resolution was out of order, since the breaking of Article 7, although this might result in the postponement of the committee election, did not invalidate the Annual General Meeting. In any case, the A.G.M. could, if it so desired,   adopt a different method of electing the committee, as was done, a few years ago when the committee was elected by a direct vote at the A.G.M.

The fifth resolution - submitted by Jim Giles - was then read.  This resolved that ‘the date of the A.G.M. be published' and found no seconder. A similar situation occurred when the sixth resolution, which came   from Jim Giles, was read out.  This resolved that the visitor’s fee be increased to 3/-.  A seventh resolution by Jim Giles was not put to the meeting.

A resolution by 'Mo' that the Club Rules should be more rigidly enforced, particularly as regards the Belfry' was discussed and an amendment to remove all crockery and cutlery for an experimental period was  first voted on.  This was carried by 19 votes to 13 - it being noted that the top five regulars all voted against the amendment.  The amended resolution was then carried nem. con.

Under any other business, Kangy raised the point of the desirability of removing broken stal from caves.  It was generally agreed that, unless the circumstances were exceptional and the stal was required fur some approved scientific purpose and could not be obtained from other sources, such as quarries, it should not be brought from caves.  Under no circumstances, the meeting felt, should stal be removed by breaking and the Chairman reminded all that the club rules were very specific on this point and that any breach of them would be regarded as a serious offence.

On the subject of the Caving Log, Mike Luckwill volunteered to provide a monthly summary for the B.B. A few words were also said on the subject of the Mendip Cave Registry when Alfie explained briefly what had been done to date.

The meeting closed in plenty of time for the dinner.


In order to improve the tidiness of the Belfry, as from JANUARY 1ST I963 for an experimental period of THREE WEEKS, all cutlery and crockery will be removed.  If this proves to be very inconvenient, but only providing that there is a marked improvement in the washing up during the rest of 1962, the crockery and cutlery will be put back by replacing it with stuff of a uniform nature.  If, on the other hand, washing up is still not done, it may become necessary to remove saucepans, etc. as well. PLEASE TAKE NOTE!!

In other words: -

If you wish to find a cup,
Plate or spoon in '63
We must all co washing up,
Tidy cavers we must be!


Publication of the New Style Caving Log will start in next month's B.B.  Articles for the Christmas B.B. should be sent in soon.  These are needed urgently.

Financial Statement for the year to the 31st August 1962.

Annual Subscriptions




Redcliffe Hall:


£19- 16-1



Less Hire

£10-  0-0

£  9- 16-1

Post Office Savings Bank Interest:



£    1-  9-6

Goods for Resale:


£   11-10- 0



Less Cost

£    6-  8- 9

£    5- 1-3

Car badges:


£    9- 2-  6



Less Cost

£    6-11- 0

£    2-11-6




£    6-11-1

Caving Reports


£   64-11-10



Less Expenses

£   51-  0-4

£   13-11-6



£     2- 2-3



Less Expenses

£    1-  8-0

£     -14-3




£143- 7-2



£109-  3-0



Less Receipts


£    - 12-1

Belfry Bulletin:

Printing, etc

£  6- 14- 6




£  20- 4- 0

£  26-18-6

Concrete Pipes



£  12-  0-0



£  20- 11-10



Less Receipts

£    6- 19-6

£  13-12- 4

Postages and Stationery



£    0-  3- 12

British Mountaineering Club Subscription.



£    1-    -

Club Ties


£  31-   6-0



Less Sales

£  30-   0-0

£    1-  6-0




£    3- 11-4

Printing Rule Sheets



£    5-    -

Annual Dinner:


£67- 0  -  9



Less Receipts

£66- 16 -  0

£  33- 0 -0

Public Liability Insurance (two years)



£  17- 0 -0

Photographic competition prizes



£    6- 0- 0

Langdale Mountain Rescue Team



£    2- 2- 0




£    1- 2- 5




£  49-18- 1




£143-  7- 2





Total Club monies @ 31st August, 1961



£  87- 9 - 7

Add Surplus as above



£  49-18- 1




£ 137- 7- 8





Post Office Savings Bank Balance 31.8.62



£131-13- 1

Cash in hand 31.8.61



£    5-14- 7

Total Club Monies 31.8.62

£ 137- 7- 8

Second Warning!

Further to the notice on page four of this B.B., and as part of the campaign to tidy up the Belfry the Hut Warden wishes to announce that, after two warning notices in consecutive B.B.’s (of which this is the first) all personal gear left at the Belfry, other than that in the regular's lockers or placed tidily on regular's bunks, will be got rid of.  This will be done by throwing away any objects which appear to be of no value, and auctioning anything else on the spot for club funds.  THIS PURGE WILL OCCUR SOME TIME IN DECEMBER and will be followed by similar purges WITHOUT FURTHER WARNING.  If in any doubt, consult or get in touch with the Hut Warden. R.A. Setterington, 4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset.

Annual Dinner

by "Kangy" King.

The club dinner succeeded in that extraordinary difficult thing and managed yet again to be "better then last year".  Roll on next year's!  To be better than Annual Din. '62 it will need more than 116 diners; a monster hall for the photographic competition, and a choral society of distinction to sing a number of original and uproarious songs.

An enjoyable chicken or beef din. was followed rapidly by the after dinner speakers who were Fred Davies of S.M.C.C., Dan Hasell, Dr. Cannicott of Axbridge and Pete Blogg. Their common theme was, as far as could be discerned through the usual haze, concerned with a black and white Axbridge ostrich which boarded a Bermondsey bound bus and refused to sit down because its trousers were now fitted with zip fasteners.  I think.

Several presentations were made, attention was drawn to Bob Bagshaw's consistent success as our club officers and he received a large pink cuddly piggy bank.   Sett was presented with a new mug (beer mug).

An adjourn was made to the bar and to the barrels of Charrington Ale kindly provided by Bob Bagshaw, Alfie, Postle and Sett on the occasion of their duo-decadence or Twentieth Anniversary of first caving trip.

Relief and vigorous nattering was interrupted by the slide show.  This, which is the crown of the photographic competition organised by Mike Baker, was presented by John Eatough.  John, who acted as one of the judges, must be thanked and congratulated on having the courage to be projectionist and to express the controversial yet helpful comments of the judges in a forthright manner.  Of course, not everyone agreed with him, but it must be remembered that the main thing is to enter so that the photographs may cause interest and give pleasure.

Photographic stimulus gave way to the hilarity of a series of very funny and highly original songs, rendered for their creators by the singing of Gaff, Mo, the brothers Franklyn and Alfie.  The accompaniment was played in a professional manner by Mike Luckwill. Now booking.  The best of an impressive set of songs was adjudged with great acclamation to be a seductive 18th Century style ballad conceived by Alfie Collins.  It is to be hoped that we shall have the pleasure of adding these songs to the club repertoire.

So, once again the din. was an outstanding success.  No one knows quite why, of course, but it may be fairly guessed that the skill and imagination of all the organisers had some thing to do with it and we heartily thank them.

The Mendip Cave Registry

The purpose, of this article is to explain briefly what the registry is, what it is setting out to do, how much it has already done, and why more support is needed.

The Registry was set up a few years ago with the support of most of the major Mendip clubs.  The registry is controlled by two members from each of the clubs, who elect the officers.  These consist of a Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and 5 registrars, at present, two of these are B.E.C. members, and a third has been recently co-opted.

What the Registry is setting out to do is to provide a service to cavers and other interested people by compiling a complete set of references to all published and privately owned information on caves in the area.  This data will take the form of a book, which is continually brought up to date, and a copy of which will be available in the Bristol and Wells public libraries.  This book is not a guide book to Mendip caves, and the Registry is not setting out to form its own caving library, although this may come at a later stage.  It is hoped, however, to obtain permission to copy privately owned data and to include references to such documents, all sources of available books, etc will be indicated so that the serious cave research worker may obtain access through the Registry to all known literature on his subject.

At present, the Books have been provided; the system of presenting the data worked out and described in each book; the sheets have been printed and many references compiled. Now the registrars are engaged in breaking these references down to the individual caves and compiling the separate sheets.

The meeting in Wells on the 27th will not only explain the work of the registry more fully, but will ask for people to fill some of the impending vacancies on the committee and for additional volunteers to help the registrars.  All are welcome to come along to the meeting.


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle, Bristol. 
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.  


With this B.B., you will find the usual nomination form for the 1963 committee.  The names of any members put on these forms and sent in to Bob Bagshaw, will go forward for voting on at the annual committee election.

As usual, most of the retiring committee have expressed themselves ready to serve, if elected, on next year's committee with the exception of ‘Prew’.  We don't think he will mind if we say that he is voluntarily standing down this year, in order to leave the field more open in the hope that the vacant place will be filled by one of the clubs younger members.

The suggestion has been made that we deliberately make some places on the committee for younger members, while others feel that the method of election is sufficiently democratic to ensure that any keen member stands a good chance of being elected.  We hope that any member who feels that he is prepared to work on the clubs behalf will come forward and let it be generally known that he is prepared to work.  We feel sure that he will receive a decent number of voted if he does.  Some people, we are told, think that they stand little chance of being elected at a committee election.  Let us hope that these people will at least make   sure they are nominated.


The Grottes de Han

by P.F. Bird.

Ever since reading, years ago, E.A. Martel's account of some of the caves of Belgium, I have wanted to see the celebrated show caves called the Grottes de Han.  Being in Belgium for a conference at the end of June, I seized the opportunity and left Brussels by train early one morning.  The train takes one from the faintly undulating, almost flat, country of Brabant to the forested hills and limestone gorges of the Ardennes.  At Jemelle, one takes a bus to Han-sur-Lease.  There are nice sections of shales and limestone on the way.  From the village of Han, one travels on an antiquated scenic railway to the top of the limestone hill inside which lie the Grottes- de Han.  Then one follows a zig-zag path down to the entrance of the caves.  Not far away is the Gouffre de Belvaux, the point of engulfment of the subterranean river Lesse.

The entrance leads to a dry series.  The earlier chambers contain only dark stalagmites and -tites, which were blackened by the torches and lamps of visitors before electric lighting was installed.  Further on, one comes to many vast chambers, some of which make G.B. and Lamb Leer seem mere trifles.  The formations are proportionally huge.  They are mostly white, but some are a pleasing pale yellow.  There are none of the orange or reddish tints which one finds in many of our Mendip caves.

Eventually, one reaches the 'Merveilleuses' - aptly named the marvellous chamber because of its formations, which include many stalagmites noteworthy for their slenderness. Hence the party retraces its  steps for a while and then one continues ones traverse of the hill in a series which leads to the Place d'Armes.  This is an immense chamber containing a cafe set out on a concrete terrace.  Here, one can get a drink and a chance to rest ones feet after an hours fairly rapid walking.  At the bottom of the chamber flows the Lesse, and above hang; great clusters of stalactites.

On again through more great chambers till one reaches a landing stage beside the river.  Here one is shepherded into an outsize punt, about twenty two feet long and wide enough for five people to sit abreast.   Then in a leisurely way one travels down the river to emerge from the hill at the rising.  Here one meets with a touch of touristic vulgarity for, as the boat reaches the exit, some idiot fires a cannon across the opening.  This is supposed to cause remarkable echoes, but it doesn't!  It just makes a B.B. Bang.  Outside the exit, there is a speleological museum.  It contains models and plans of the cave system, bats and other biological specimens and the usual formations, some of which have been sectioned.  It also shows a few good archeologically specimens from excavations in the cave, including a very rare Bronze Age knife which is socketed, not hafted as one might expect.  I was lucky in being shown round the museum by the man who recently arranged it, having found him in the local cavers H.Q. nearby.  The rest of the day I spent in delightful scenery and perfect weather, but it was rather an anticlimax after the magnificent subterranean landscapes of the Grottes de Han.

Footnote:  The reference for Martle's account is Martel E.A, Van d'e Broeck, E. and Rakir, E. 1910.  "Les Cavernes et les Rivieres Souterraines de la Belgique"

A general statement of the current state of affairs of caving in Belgium is given by Lambert, F. 1959 Un Aventure dans les Grottes Beiges.


A general meeting of the Mendip Cave Registry will be held in Wells Museum late in October.  All interested in this are invited along.  The exact date will be published later.

Caving Log

8th April.  St. Cuthbert's.  Leader, Pat with Ray, Chris, John & Phil from M.A.M.  Rapid trip to Dining Room via Rat Run.   Out upstream and joined Jim Giles's party as below.

St. Cuthbert's.  Maypole Series.  P.M. Giles, Mike Calvert + 2.  King's Viewpoint reached and pitons found.  Observed the object of our labours (the maypole in Hanging Chamber) lying on the lip of Hanging Chamber.

13th April. Swildons.  Upper Series. P.M. Giles, R.J. Williams, G. Bell.

15th April. Swildons.  White way and return.  Small party of tourists - Mikes Palmer and Wheadon, John and Cynthia.  Rather wet.

18th April.  St. Cuthbert's.  P.M. Giles, K.J. Williams.  Tourist trip to Dining Room.

18th April. Eastwater.  R. Roberts, R. Boakes, B.Lynn, M. Williams, J. Cogswell, S. Smith, A. Sawyer,  A. Sweetman, P. Telford.  Lengthy trip round Upper Series.  Party hampered by bulk and small passage   size.

19th April. Swildons.  Party as before.  Pleasant trip down to sump I.  Fair amount of water about.  Trouble with ladders and removing thereof, a further descent to the 20 was necessitated

19th April.  Swildons.  A. Fincham, D. Smith, R.J.L. Young, B. Siddall.  Tourist trip to Sump II.

22nd April. Stoke Lane.  A. Fincham, R.L. J. Young, B. Sidall.  Tourist trip to Stoke II.

23rd April.  St. Cuthbert's.  Same party. To sump via Stal Pitch.

22nd April.  Land's End Cavern.   Sett, Mike Luckwill.  Quick trip to end and hurried exit as a result of incoming tide.

25th April. Swildons.  Mike Baker + 4.  Upper series oxbow getting tighter.

23rd April.  St. Cuthbert's.  Surveying in Wet and waterfall Pitches.  They are well named!  R. Stenner, J. Hutton, R. Howell, B. Conlin.  A thoroughly  miserable-session!

26th April. Lamb Leer.  Party led by M. Calvert with umpteen bods

28th April.  St. Cuthbert's.  7 Royal Fusiliers led by R. Stenner.  To sump via Rabbit Warren & Railway Tunnel and out via Cerberus Series.

29th April. Swildons.  Novices trip with B. Lane, R. Shepard, A. Chesterman, P. Balch & R. Bagshaw.

2nd May. Swildons.  4 Lockleaze boys and 2 girls.  Leader R. Stenner.  Taking diving weights down to the sump.  Water just right.

Easter Saturday.  Swinsto Cave - Kingsdale. P. Davies, D. Warburton, R. Pyke, M. Holland, G. Pointing, R. Ranks, P.M. Giles.  Laddering trip to top of last pitch.  Connecting aven to Simpson’s Pot not found - probably due to fiction. 

Easter Sunday. Simpson's Pot - Kingsdale.  P.M.Giles, C. Hawkes, K. Kanks.  De-laddering trip.  Slit Pot inspected but not descended.

3rd May. Nine Barrows Swallet.  P.M. Giles.  New shaft started.

3rd May.  St. Cuthbert's.  Leader R. Stenner + 3 Lockleaze boys.

4th May.  Nine Barrows Swallet.  P.M. Giles. Digging.

5th May.  Bone Hole and one other small cave.  Jon and Gordon down to try and take photos of some cave peal pearls.  Could not make squeeze at end.

6th May.  St. Cuthbert's.  R.Bennett, M. Baker, J. Eatough, K. Franklyn, P. Franklyn, K. Grimes.  Old Route via Mud Hall, Rocky Boulders into Coral Series. Pitch discovered on first of April by Mike Baker was descended.  This is a fine twenty foot pitch with nothing leading off at the bottom, though digging is possible.  It is proposed to call this CORAL POT.  Upper southern end of Coral Chamber entered.  This was not known to leader but had obviously been entered before. Steeply descending rift discovered partly choked by boulders which could probably be shifted by hammer and chisel work. This part of the cave is rather loose and care is required.  Returned to Boulder Chamber where all except R. Bennett and J. Eatough went out. These returned to Long Chamber where a major, well decorated chamber was entered.  This appeared not to have been entered before except in one place where what appeared to be a cairn was noticed.  Two theories were considered - one that the 'cairn' was natural - which appeared unlikely.  The other was that somebody had previously entered the chamber from another part of the cave, but did not explore it.  Any further information would be gratefully received.  Two explorers (?) returned after a seven hour trip.

12th May. Swildons II.   Trip led by Derek Stenner and Roger Stenner with several Weston Technical College types.

12th May.  G.B.  J. Cornwell + 2.

13th May.  G.B.  J. Cornwell, G. Tilley, M. Luckwell A. Sandall, Jon "rotten" Ransom.

13th May.  St. Cuthbert's.  Maypole Series.  P.M. Giles, M. Holland, D. Willis.  Hanging Chamber re-entered using three maypole sections from the ledges above the first Maypole Pitch.  All Maypole, including that which was in Hanging Chamber, now in Bridge Chamber.

13th May. Cuthbert’s.  Pat, Ray and Chris to September Series.  Five hour trip to see formations.  After the Boulder Ruckle, continued through Paperweight Chamber to sump and then into the main September Chamber.

13th May. Cuthbert’s.  P.M. Giles, R. Williams, R. Towns.  A hundred feet of galvanized wire taken to Hanging Chamber to be used with a pulley. All maypoles moved from Bridge Chamber to Upper Traverse Chamber and left at the top of the pitch with the maypole retrieved from Hanging Chamber in a separate   pile.  (N.B. there are still 2 sections of maypole; the base plate and the remainder of the split joiners in Cerberus Hall).

19th May. Batch's Hole.  Leaders G. Pointing and D. Berry with Roger Stenner and party from Lockleaze.

20th May. Cuthbert’s.  Mike Luckwill, Bruce.  Experimental photographic survey from Dining Room through Cerberus.  Large amount of water in Main Stream, but bridge is uncovered in Lake Chamber.

20th May. Swildons.  Garth, John Cornwell + 8 round Upper Series.  Garth started his photographic career and has got prize winning pictures for the competition.

20th May. Alfie's Hole.  Alfie, Jon Ransom, Gordon Tilley, Jim Hill.  Shaft capped.

20th May. August/Longwood.  Roy Bennett, three schoolboys, Bob Bagshaw.  New connection between Longwood and August Hole used.  Bagshaw defeated by the Longwood bedding plane.


Christmas Dinner at the Star Hotel, Wells.  If interested contact C. Rees, 10 Clarence Road, Bristol 2.

Why I Am A Caver

a personal interview by our own reporter, Anthony T. Sludge-Gutte.

"Caving is the new sport which is becoming increasingly popular with the top people.  Why are these young men and women prepared to risk serious injury or even death in order to explore these vast underground labyrinths?  What do they get out of it?  To try to answer these important questions, I interviewed Mr. Jim Crud, the well known expert caver, or 'speleologist' from the Kerebos Cave Club, Mendip, Gloucestershire.

Q:         Mr. Crud, why are you prepared to risk serious injury or even death in order to explore these vast underground labyrinths?

A:         I dunno really - I suppose it's because I like it.

Q:         What do you get out of it?

A:         I dunno really - I suppose it's because it's so nice when I leave off.

Q:         How did you come to start caving?

A:         Well, I was walking across this field, see; not looking where I was going, and there I was.

Q:         What happened exactly?

A:         I spent six months in hospital.

Q:         But in spite of this, you still carried on with this new sport?

A:         Yes,

Q:         Mr. Crud, Caves are, of course, underground and are therefore usually dark. "How dark are they in fact?

A:         Very dark.

Q:         As we have already said, caving is a dangerous pastime. Now have there been any occasions when you have felt really up against it?

A:         Well, on several occasions I've" had trouble with the water.

Q:         You mean the water in the cave rising and cutting you off?

A:         Well, not exactly, see.  I suffer from water on the knee.  It's a family complaint.                  

Q:         I see. Can this be dangerous underground?

A:         Oh, yes.  I remember one occasion - during the final assault on Belch's Hole   - when it seized up altogether.

Q:         What did you do?

A:         Well, fortunately I had a pint bottle of rum with me - it's an old country remedy - and with the aid of this, I managed to stagger out of the cave uninjured. It was a close thing, though.

Q:         How old are these caves you visit?

A:         Recent researches have put them roughly at 186,276,357 years old.

Q:         That is quite an age.  How would you put it into terms understandable to the average reader?

A:         It was a long time ago.

Q:         If we may now press on to another scientific point, Mr. Crud, what causes these caves to be  formed so deep within the earth's crust?

A:         It’s the rock.

Q:         This plays a vital part in the process, then?

A:         Of course.  You must have the rock to hold the cave together.

Q:         On this point of high-minded scientific inquiry, the interview ended.  I hope it has done as much for you as it did for me to open one's eyes to the beauty and mystery that exists so many miles under our feet.


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle, Bristol. 
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.  
Postal Dept. C.A. Marriott, 7'8, Muller Rd, Eastville, Bristol.

The voting form which is included in this B.B. is for the election of nine members to form the club committee for next year.  There are upwards of a hundred and thirty members in the club, which gives a ratio of one committee member to some fifteen or so members.  Nevertheless, all nine members who form the committee are usually voted on to it by some thirty to forty members who feel public spirited enough to actually vote.

We realise that many members live a long way from Bristol or Mendip and thus hardly know some of the people who put up for the committee, but this still leaves many members who have no such reason for not voting.  Let's try to have a record number of votes this year.

The closing dates for the dinner competitions are now drawing very close indeed.  There is still time to send your entries for the PHOTOGRAPHIC competition to M.J. BAKER, "Morello" Ash Lane, Wells, Somerset before the closing date of FRIDAY 21 of SEPTEMBER and entries for the SONG competition to S.J. COLLINS, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8 before the 22 of SEPTEMBER.  You may yet win a prize if you hurry!

Finally, the A.G.M. and dinner will be on Saturday, OCTOBER 6th.  The Dinner is at the Cliff Hotel, Cheddar.


To the Editor, B.B.

Dear Sir,

Cairns in St. Cuthbert’s

In the august 1962 issue of the B.B. a query was raised regarding certain cairns in St. Cuthbert’s Swallet.

Several cairns were built in this cave by human agencies some eight or nine years ago.  Most are situated several yards downstream of the Dining Room.  During some of the lengthier of the early exploration trips, it often happened that one or other of the party had to retire to a quiet corner for a certain purpose. Since the decomposition of organic matter is highly attenuated in the anaerobic conditions prevalent in argillaceous cave deposits, it became customary to mark the spot by building a small cairn with a few stones as a precaution against subsequent disturbance during future defecatory operations.

Although the cairn in question might have an entirely different origin, may I, Sir, humbly suggest that it be treated with the respect due to all such tumuli, and scheduled as a site not to be excavated?


Editor's Note:     The above erudite letter was sent in by Jack Waddon.  The practice he refers to was certainly prevalent during the similar early discovery phase of Stoke Lane Swallet.  The Crypt - off the Pebble Crawl - had one such cairn, and got its name from the occasion when Don Coase crept into the crypt etc.

The Bradford Pit

An account of a recent visit by B.E.C. members to investigate an underground rift at Bradford-on-Avon.   (Grid Ref: ST 823613) by S.J.D. Tuck.

A gathering of B.E.C. members occurred at Wine Street, Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts on Sunday, 15th July at 3.15 pm (the fact that they arrived nearly simultaneously, at the same place, three quarters of an hour later than the appointed time indicates consistency if not punctuality).  The object of the gathering was to investigate a "150 foot" rift at the request of Mr. Gorton, in whose garden it existed.  Much speculation regarding the nature of this rift had been aroused mainly along the lines of a gigantic crack across the lawn, or a rather exaggerated trench for the celery.

However, this illusion was dispelled as soon as the help of a neighbour who "knew where the cave was, all right" had been enlisted.  Mr. Gorton being out with his family when we arrived.  The garden consisted partially of a disused quarry of which a number of workings ran quite extensively underground, the former owner - a stone mason - had built delicate arches and gateways at the entrances (one could not help imagining that at least one of them would have taken a turnstile and a ticket window without much modification).

A preliminary shufti around the two mine workings with the most prominent entrances resulted in the discovery of a small passage behind a heap of old bed's (empty) etc, leading downwards at a fairly steep angle, terminating after about 20' or so, and consequently not of much interest.

Owing to the speculation mentioned above, and to the fact that the cave was in inferior Oolite and hence would be 'cleaner' than the Mendip variety, many of the 'gathered' were ill equipped for what eventually revealed itself.

Another reconnaissance revealed, behind what appeared to be a well strawed but roofless stable, a working of considerable dimensions, being between 15 and 20 feet in height and between 20 and thirty feet in width, with a firm floor composed most probably of small chippings and quarry dust, pressed down by the passing of many feet and cemented by the action of sufficient water to keep it moist.

At the far end of the working, which was mainly in the form of an ‘L’ and sloped gently downwards, was THE RIFT!

A considerable quantity of tackle had been brought, which included all the ladder which the B.E.C. could muster at the Belfry, plus a couple of thirty foot lengths of lightweight ladder borrowed from the S.M.C.C. together with a hundred and twenty feet of full weight nylon lifeline belonging to the B.E.C. and Roy Bennett's '120' half weight climbing rope - all of this was assembled at the entrance to the rift, which appeared as a vertical gash in the end wall of the main tunnel.

On a level with the floor of the main cavern, and running more or less horizontally into the rift, were a number of large boulders to form a serviceable platform from which the tackle could be lowered.  Initial inspection of the rift revealed that it went "up", "down" and "on".  In the "up" direction it was blocked after a few feet by loose looking boulders.  The "on" direction was limited by a wall after about fifteen feet due to some form of internal faulting which had caused the line of the rift to have been shifted some three feet to the left.  This piece of information was obtained painfully by Roy Bennett, who, having got his head and chest through a vertical slot at the fault plane, became stuck lower down and had to be relieved of his sufferings by means of a sharp kitchen knife, causing a mixture of consternation and amusement amongst the "gathered" still assembled in the cavern above.

The “down" direction was, of course, the one which we had come to sort out, and after a tether of rope had been secured to a large rock at the entrance of the rift, we lowered the ladder into the pit, relying more on hearsay than on common sense; this being done from a small ledge about six feet below the platform - a point where the rift was about four feet wide, descending for about ten feet at an angle of about ten to fifteen degrees from the vertical to a point where it appeared to get somewhat narrower and to continue along a more vertical line.

Each undulation on the wall, being matched by an impression of complimentary dimensions on the other, the general view was that the most promising track for the ladder would be vertically downwards rather than running over any of the chocked boulders which occurred from place to place in the rift, whose lateral extent appeared to be about thirty feet, running some ten feet or so under the floor of the main cavern.

The ladder having been installed, and with the Franklyn Fraternity deftly plying the lifeline, Roy Bennett descended the hole.  He soon reported that the ladder was all on a heap oh a ledge and that there was enough room at that point for more people.  Garth followed him down, and after a period of apparent loss of contact, a request that some of the ladder be pulled up was made "some" turned out to be an understatement.  I have no idea of the total footage of ladder which had been lowered, but it nearly all came up again, leaving, however, some fifty feet of S.M.C.C ladder in position - which just reached the ledge.

After another brief silence below, I descended the ladder, to find that, as the depth progressed, the rift tended, to get narrower.  The two who were already down were on a ledge of small stones bounded on either side (laterally) by steeply sloping banks of earth and stones.  Along the rift in one direction, was a well defined hole into which one could crawl which had a steeply sloping earthy floor and apparently petered out after a short distance.  The other side of the ledge looked more promising, as the rift, although very narrow from here onwards, appeared to go on.  The way in looked a bit hair raising, as there was a Bennett sized gap full of Bennett who was busy gardening, but from where I was situated he appeared to be removing the support from an otherwise unsupported section of wall which might easily have sealed his doom.

However, after removing a few more chunks of rock, it became obvious that it would only go on as far as chunks could be lifted out - and then we would have to get him out, so we surmised that this represented the limit of rational human penetration and must for all intents and purposes be regarded as the bottom of the rift.  On the way up, we had a good look at the rift and it appeared to be bounded at either end by a ‘T’ junction.  The end rifts were neither as deep nor as wide as the main one.  No sign of water activity was apparent anywhere.

We were met about fifteen feet from the top by the owner of the property, equipped with a rather fine bat wing flamed acetylene lamp and a recently quite immaculate pair of trousers. He declared on ascending after having been about half way to the choke that the ladder was considerably easier than the muddy rope which he had used on a previous occasion, which must have been conducted practically in darkness, his torch having spent a large part of the trip in his pocket.

On finally emerging, and having rolled up the tackle, we were very grateful for being provided with buckets of hot water with which to wash, and for the tea and biscuits with which Mrs. Gorton regaled us.


B.E.C. Caving Reports.

Our other series of Club Publications - the Caving Reports - have recently taken on a wider scope with the publication of a report in the series written by a non member of the club. For these who wish to collect these reports, their Editor, Bryan Ellis, has sent in a complete list of available reports.

Report Number Nine “Some Smaller Mendip Caves - Volume Two" is now available, price 2/6 or 3/3 including postage.  It contains descriptions and surveys of several Eastern Mendip caves, including Loxton; Ludwell; Coral and Denny's Hole.

The following earlier reports are also available: -

No 4.   "The Shoring of Swallet Cave Entrances"
No 5.   "A survey of helmets & lighting available for Caving"
No 6.   "Some Smaller Mendip Caves - Volume One"

All the above at 2/6 or 3/3 inc. postage.

No 7.   "A second Report on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet" at 3/-
No 8.   "A preliminary Survey of St. Cuthbert's Swallet” at 3/6.

Caving Report No 3, "The Manufacture of Lightweight Caving Ladders” is being rewritten and should be available in a revised form shortly.  Bryan has publications of several other caving clubs for sale, including surveys of several Mendip caves, and will gladly send anyone a list.  Material for future Reports in this series should be sent to him direct.  His address is:-

B,M. Ellis, 41 Fore Street, North Petherton, BRIDGWATER.


The Axbridge Caving Group & Archaeological Society would like to invite any members of the B.E.C. who may be interested to a lecture on IRISH CAVES by Mr. B.R. Collingridge at the town hall, Axbridge on Saturday, 22nd September at 7.30 pm.


DON'T FORGET the A.G.M. and Dinner!  6th October at the Cliff Hotel, Cheddar.  Apply to Bob Bagshaw for reservations for the dinner. 

Dinner Preview

Being a bit short of material for this month 's. B.B. (Yes, I know there's always the Caving Log to fill up spaces with, but I have also been on holiday and that takes much longer to type) I thought it might be a good idea to let some of the B.B. readers who are a little out of touch with club goings on have an idea of what to expect if they decide to come to the dinner this year.

It is. never possible to guarantee that an amazing time will be had by all at a club dinner, but the indications are that this year's dinner should rank with last year's as being amongst the best that the club has held.  The photographs; to my mind a great attraction, should be even better than last year and may even include some not taken in Balch's Hole or the Ladder Dig in G.B.

Rumour has it that at least one of the speeches should be rather unusual, and no doubt the usual presentations, will occur.  A rather vaguer rumour hints that perhaps we shall also have a repetition of the very successful mannequin parade which we had a few years ago.

Later, for any musical masochists present, the song competition will be held, while boozing and nattery continue in the other bar.  Three songs have already been received and we are still hopeful of entries from the Giles, Holland and Hallet stables, a reasonable quantity of free ale will be provided by Sett and Alfie - who may be joined by others similarly qualified - to mark their Twenty years on Mendip.

With luck then, the dinner this year should have something for everyone, and should be very worth attending.  See you there!


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle, Bristol. 
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.  
Postal Dept. C.A. Marriott, 7'8, Muller Rd, Eastville, Bristol.

The annual season for form filling is now upon us!  In this issue of the B.B., you will find the entry form for the 1962 photographic competition.  Next month will come the usual nomination form for the 1963 committee and in September's B.B. will be the voting form.

All of which goes to show that the A.G.M. and dinner is not as far away as you might think.  Most people reckoned that last year’s dinner was a good one.  We all hope to make this year's an even better one.  It's at the Cliff Hotel, Cheddar on Saturday, October 6th.

Although it is hoped that the general standard of the entries for tie photographic competition will be even higher than last years, don't be kept from entering because you think that your slide or print is not good enough.  It may be that your entry has that something which catches the eye of the judges; but even if it hasn't, you may like to have the chance to have it compared with the best the club can do.  Have a bash!

The song competition does not appeal to as large a section of the club as the photographic competition. This year, we are going, to rehearse it beforehand and also arrange it so that you don’t have to be afflicted with it if you don't want to.  For those who like this sort of thing, we hope that somewhere - in some sordid garret maybe - the winning song is even now being written.


Caving Log

1st April. St. Cuthbert's.  Mikes Palmer & Wheadon, and Albert to Cerberus Series & thence to Pyrolusite.

1st April.  St. Cuthbert's. J. Eatough, M.Baker, R. Bennett, K. Franklyn, C.A. Marriott.  Collected the Eatough maypole from Upper Traverse Chamber and took it into Cerberus.  Both high level passages in Mud Ball Chamber maypoled.  One on right proved to lead to Lake Chamber. Signs of a previous visit.  Rift continues on far side of Lake Chamber and will be maypoled at a later date.  Exploration continued in Coral Series.  Passages above the rift near Annexe Chamber were pushed without success.  Attention was switched to Coral Chamber and a new pitch discovered by Mike.  This was not descended as no ladder had been taken. A further hole was looked at but found to connect back to Coral Chamber.  It is proposed to call the rift “Fracture Rift” and the leaders will be informed of this proposal.

Coombe Down Freestone Quarries.  2nd April (1 am).  M.R.O. Rescue.  M. Baker, M. Palmer, P. Buck, M. Wheadon, H. Kenney, J. Hanwall.  A two hour search for missing schoolboys.  An interesting trip (if possible at 1 am) in a maze of mine workings that are in a rather dangerous condition.  First time the B.E.C. has gone caving with a bitch (police dog).  We never did see the boys!

7th April.  Goatchurch.  Ray Chris, Phil and John from the Midland association of Mountaineers, Pat Irwin, Gordon Tilley and Jon "Rotten" Ransom. Full trip + drainpipe.

7th April.  Swildons.  Four from M.A.M. as above and Pat.  The M.A.M. party cherishing the hope that they could keep their feet dry.  This was shattered at an early stage by one member getting his wet by water that entered down his neck.  The 40 was found to be laddered and the whole patty descended. The first man down was misguided enough to swing under the waterfall.  The 20 was then encountered and passed and a considerable length of passages traversed before a return was decided upon.  A very damp but contented party emerged from the hole only to find that it was raining.  Loud complaints.

Heale Slocker 8th April.  M. Baker & Alfie.  Digging continued at Alfie Speed (what does this mean?)


by M. Luckwill.

In the last article (1) we looked at the mechanism of photo-luminescence.  Two other forms of luminescence might with convenience be noted here.  They are Thermoluminescence - light emission caused by heat and Triboluminescence - light emission caused by crushing, rubbing or scratching.

Table 1 shows the occurrence of luminescence noted by several authors (2,3,4) and + indicates that some forms of the mineral luminesce.  In the Mendip area, we are mostly concerned with Calcite, Limestone, Arragonite and their various forms.

We remember that luminescence is caused by an impurity.  Very little of this impurity is necessary however, and if too much is present, the energy is dissipated as heat rather than, light.  The amount of impurity we are concerned with will defy spectrographic analysis and requires neutron diffraction techniques for tracing and identification.  I believe that stal from Balch's Hole has been analysed spectrographically and found to be free from trace elements within these limits of accuracy.

Difficulties occur, therefore, when we wish to discover the nature of the impurity.  Most research has been stimulated by the recent advances in semiconductors and consequently, although quite a lot is known about transition elements in host crystals - such as germanium - little work has been done using limestone as a host crystal.  However, of interest to us, is a method of dating limestone by thermoluminescence.

The method is not reliable because of a variety of variable factors, but briefly, the theory is as follows:-

Activation centres are caused by cosmic radiation. The number of activation centres is related to the amount of radiation received, which in turn is related to the age of the limestone.  When limestone is heated, luminescence occurs and the light intensity is related to the number of luminescent centres (5).  Hence the age of the limestone can be found.  It has been found that magnesium and strontium act as activators and that iron acts as an inhibitor.

From Mike Baker's article we might draw the conclusion that CaCO3 which has been dissolved and re-deposited luminesces more than the original carbonate deposit.  This could be due to trace elements being held in solution due to their small concentration, thus deducing their concentration in the stal and enabling luminescence to occur.

These trace elements play an important part in the crystal formation, and a knowledge of their identity will give further insight into the formation of cave deposits.  This knowledge might well be gained by further analysis of luminescent materials.

Table I.

Mineral & Composition







1. Luminescence. B.B. 1962, 172.

2. DANA's Manual of Mineralogy - 17th Edition.

3. Wade & Mattox. "Elements of Crystallography and Mineralogy."

4. Harper. "Geoscienoe" Series.

5. Edward J. Zeller “Thermoluminescence of Carbonate Sediments” Nuclear Geology.

6. M.J. Baker. Afterglow. B.B. 1962, 171.
































































































































Photographic Competition.

There will be SIX classes this year.  Prizes will be awarded to the winner and runner-up in every class EXCEPT class 6.

CLASS 1           CAVING            2" x 2"  Colour Slide
CLASS 2           CLIMBING         2" x 2"  Colour Slide
CLASS 3           CAVING/CLIMBING        "Two and a quarter square" Colour slides.
CLASS 4           CAVING            Black & White print.
CLASS 5           CLIMBING         Black & White print.
CLASS 6           Best Special      Slide or print.


1.                  All entries must have been taken by the competitor.

2.                  All competitors must be PAID UP members of the B.E.C.

3.                  No professional photographers may take part.

4.                  No entry must have been previously entered in any competition.

5.                  No more than TWO entries may be submitted in any one class.

6.                  No competitor may win more than one FIRST prize.

7.                  A picture entered in one class may not be entered as a print or slide in another.

8.                  Monochrome prints must be POSTCARD size or larger.

9.                  The judges may not compete.

10.              No responsibility for loss or damage is to be borne by the organiser or by the B.E.C.

11.              In any interpretation of these rules, the decision of the organiser is final.


Readers will find an entry form with this B.B.  In any case of doubt, please get in touch with the organiser    M.J. Baker, "Morello", Ash Lane, Wells, Somerset.

Competitors who will not be at the dinner should make some suitable arrangement with the organiser for having their entries returned.  If postage is necessary, please include cost of return.


Apologies for the shortness of this B.B. - the first one of only two thirds the number pages this year - and also for its lateness.  The editor has been afflicted with "finger trouble" (literally) by getting his hand mixed up with an empty beer glass - that'll teach him to muck around with EMPTY beer glasses in future.



Kent’s Cavern

by Jon Ransom.

On my way through Torquay, I saw a large sign reading ' KENT'S CAVERN'.  Following various arrows I arrived at a small car park with an imposing modern building facing it.  I paid my 2/- and went into the waiting room, all excited to think that I was going underground with about thirty other weegees.

While waiting, I compared the general layout with the fronts of Gough's and Cox's.  Kent's seemed to be cleaner and more informative about the caves.  At this stage the guide arrived, took our little tickets (or tallies) swung open a massive oak door, and led us into the unknown.

The cave is located on the side of a hill, which it penetrates for about half a mile.  The rock consists of the Devonian limestone and sandstone which, with the mineral deposits from the soil above, give some very striking and colourful effects in the cave.

Just inside the entrance and down to the left are the remains of a hyena den, and the abode of prehistoric man.  The remains of mammals of that era have been found in great number and include mammoth teeth and remains of fox, badger, hyena etc.  There are also several remains of bear, including an excellent skull and leg bone which may be seen embedded in a false floor, which the guide then takes you underneath.

The main tourist section has been excavated in some places to a depth of twenty feet and you can see, as you walk through, the line of the original floor level high above your head.

Several of the formations are very good, and there are also quite a few straws and helictites which can be seen in odd corners on the tour.  These do not occur very frequently however.  Most of the passages and chambers show good signs of the water which formed them and mud in the numerous side passages is fairly thick and sticky. These passages shoot off in all directions and, when asked about them, the guide said that a lot of them were unexplored.  He went on to relate how school kids often went up these passages, to reappear with hundreds of bones.  I think that the guides of Kent's are in strong competition with those of Gough's and Cox's and that all guides go to a special course in tall caving stories.

Apart from housing prehistoric man (and woman!) many inscriptions found on the walls of the cave go back as far as the fifteenth century.  One of these inscriptions is a woman's but many are difficult to decipher as they are covered with a thin layer of calcite.

Although Kent's Cavern is a show cave, and has an imposing entrance and the guide builds up the place as much as he can, it is worth a visit from any caver who finds himself in the district even if you only go in to hear the guide’s tall stories!


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle, Bristol
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept. C.A. Marriott, 7'8, Muller Rd, Eastville, Bristol.