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Apologies Dept.

Several apologies are due after the Christmas B.B. last month.  Firstly, we omitted the addresses of Alan Thomas and George Pointing. Secondly, the B.B. was, as usual, rather late in getting to most members.  It has been suggested that the list of addresses be put in the November B.B. next year.  This will be done to enable members to have plenty of time to send out their Christmas cards.  Lastly, we stated that the Christmas B.B. was a record number of pages.  It was rapidly pointed out to us that last year's Christmas B.B. was bigger!  That’ll teach us not to boast in future.

We hope that it may be possible to get a better service going this year, but it would be rash to make promises.  Anyway, we should like to wish all readers a very happy New Year and keep sending in articles.

" Alfie."



The Hut Warden would like to appeal for donations of knives for the Belfry. Any type of table knives will come in handy.

For Sale.

Bond Minicar 1955 for sale.  In good condition, has not been through seven year test but should pass easily. Villiers 197cc engine.  £40.  Apply to Mr. P. Rollason (Jill's dad) at 157 Pen Park Road, Southmead, Bristol.

Photographic and Song Competitions.

We know it's early yet, but it’s surprising how the time goes!  The song competition will be closing some time before the dinner this year, so start thinking, blokes!

Plantation Stream

a further letter from Bryan Ellis.

In the Christmas B.B., an article described the proving of the connection between Plantation Swallet and the Plantation Stream in St. Cuthbert's Swallet.  This experiment did not solve all the other old problems of water tracing in the cave; whether or not the stream in Continuation Chamber is the upstream continuation of the Plantation Stream.  To this problem, more recent exploration has added the question "Are the streams met in Cone Chamber and the Tin Mine also part of the same stream?'"

In an attempt to try to prove a connection between all these streams, a further experiment was carried out shortly after writing the previous article.  On the 12th of November, cotton detectors were placed in the stream in Cone Chamber; September Series; in the major and subsidiary streams in continuation Chamber and also in the major and subsidiary streams in the Tin Mine.  The intention had been to place; a further detector in the Plantation Stream as a check but unfortunately the hanks were lost somewhere in the cave.  On leaving the cave, thirty grams of dye were added to Plantation Swallet Stream (for nomenclature of streams, see the introductory paragraph in the article in the December B.B.)  This time, the detector had to be left in the cave for two weeks before being collected.  Looking at my notes on the July experiment, I saw that not only had the hanks been only left for a week on that occasion, but I also had a note that a larger quantity of dye would be desirable.  Therefore, on November 25th a further 25 grams of dye were added to plantation Swallet Stream.  Due to an unfortunate accident involving a polythene bottle full of the dye solution and a stone floor, the additional dye had to be introduced in the form of crystals and not as a solution.

The following day the detectors were removed from the cave and all of them were found to be dyed. Therefore it can be stated that a connection occurs between all these points.

In conclusion, I should like to congratulate those members of the Bradford Pothole Club who devised this method, thus making it possible to solve these problems.

Digging 1961

by Jim Giles..

Priddy Green Swallet - Priddy.

The excavations at Shatter Pot, coupled with the more recent activities in the downstream sections of Swildons have put the dampers on the green and robbed it of its former popularity. Although there have   been, this year, several attempts to clear away the terminating obstacle - an oozy mud and gravel choke - most have been rather abortive and so the depth remains, we hope, at 100 feet.

Without a doubt the Green is one of the most important digs on Mendip and to admit defeat now would, to say the least, be most unfortunate.  In spite of the great advances already made using the conventional route, the advantages of a backdoor to Swildons cannot be too clearly emphasised, bearing in mind the almost terrifying result of the rescue practice in Blue Pencil Passage.  Not only does the grim prospect of an accident in Series Four grow with the ever increasing population of the caving world, but the journey to the  'coalface' of exploration gets even longer.

It could be argued that with the advent of the Green as a practicable means of entry to the lower reaches of Swildons, it might be abused and result in a source of trouble.  Two factors about the Green should be   sufficient to put off all but the most experienced type of caver viz (a) the 'dampness' and (b) the large amount of tackle required to surmount the final pitch - Cowsh Aven.  As a further deterrent - to quote a popular word, an efficient trapdoor could be fitted to the entrance with keys held by various clubs and the M.R.O.

Perhaps 1962 will bring new enthusiasm.

Bottlehead Slocker - Downhead.

Once again Eastern Mendip proves itself to be a rewarding hunting ground for the enterprising caver with this notable addition to the caving scene. Miss J. Rollason has written more fully on this interesting cave in the Christmas B.B.

Nine Barrows Swallet - Priddy.

Much has been said about Nine Barrows Swallet of late and the general opinion is that "It won’t go".  Time will, no doubt, tell.  The situation at the moment is not altogether unpromising.

The swallet lies in a small depression surrounded by trees about 300 yards E.N.E. of the farm on the Eastwater side of Nine Barrows Lane.  In its favour for developing into a reasonable cave are two small points (1) The East Priddy Fault which is very close and (2) the large volume of water taken without sign of flooding during the Mendip 'monsoon' season.

Permission for work to proceed was granted by both the farmer and the last generation of diggers and thus  it was that, early in August, great  efforts were made to enlarge the entrance to provide easier access to  the  point of excavation.  This exercise being accomplished two possible points of attack presented, themselves. A small low chamber on the right with an extremely tight rift passage leading off at right angles, and, on the left a narrow passage, blocked by small rocks and earth.  Since the chamber had been the result of work carried out by Messrs Holland and Causer last year, it was discarded in favour of a passage on the left and a small hole rapidly developed into a large trench six feet deep. The digging of this trench was, at times,   handicapped by the size of some of the boulders in our path and the abundance of almost razor sharp fossils in them.  For the price of a sledge hammer shaft and a drop of elbow grease here and there, the work went on very smoothly though.  As the bottom of the trench approached its present depth, a bedding plane appeared down which a fair quantity of infill disappeared before it could be hauled out.  In spite of this, the bedding plane, which measures two feet wide by six to eight inches high, could be observed for at least six feet whereupon it veered out of sight to the right.

At this juncture, thoughts ascended to the ceiling and walls and, with good reason, digging was postponed in order to effect a little necessary shoring.  Due to the odd shape of the hole and the limited firm points against which to brace the required timbers, plans for this little engineering project became rather complicated.  The result was that at the end of September when the main part of the woodwork was in place, the dig came to a standstill.  Nevertheless, confidence in the shoring is returning and we hope to resume work in the near future.

St. Cuthbert’s Swallet - Priddy. 

A New Entrance Shaft.

During the summer of this year many clubs have visited St. Cuthbert’s Swallet and among other things, were informed of the dangerous nature of the Arête Pitch boulders, Quarry Corner etc.  Most of them returned to their respective homes, huts, Belfries etc, content that their money had been well spent, if only to  return to daylight in one piece.  One club though - no names, no reprisals from George - obviously not satisfied with the potential thrills of the Boulder Chamber, Quarry Corner etc, played a masterly bit of one-upmanship by bringing out for our inspection a rather rotten piece of 2 by 3 'wot come off in our 'and' from the entrance shaft.  Our tame shoring expert was called in and in one quick glance summed up the situation in a well known phrase which, being roughly translated meant that the shaft was rather dicey.

The resulting committee meeting left us in no doubt of the fact that not only was the shaft unsafe, but something must be done about it.  A notice was, therefore, chalked up in the Belfry to the effect that caution must be used when going down and coming up the shaft.

During the period occupied by the above drama, most of the regular members were engaged on a non-caving dig near the Belfry which was rather urgent at the time and labour could, not be spared to do extensive repairs in St. Cuthbert’s.  Incidentally, another club started a non-caving dig near their hut just before us.  Ours has been in use now for nearly six months - we understand the other club is still digging.

On the completion of this extra curricular activity, our divided attention was turned to the St. Cuthbert’s entrance and a typical decision made.  We would dig another entrance shaft.  Silence descended as the full impact of this solution to the problem sunk in.  The inevitable question came - where?  Places such as High Chamber, Maypole Series and Arête Pitch were suggested which, except from one small point, were quite reasonable suggestions.  We were not even 50% sure of where they were in relation to the surface.  We’ll, we know we are pretty good, and given to doing things to excess, but there comes a time when even the best of us prefer jokes to pantomimes.  Cunning schemes to dig shafts into the top of hundred foot pitches in High Chamber and Maypole Series were given up until an electromagnetic survey had been carried out.  Two alternatives remained (a) to dig a shaft into the passage leading off on the far side, of the chamber at the top of the entrance rift pitch and (b) fill the cave in.

The latter was reluctantly dropped in favour of a new shaft and work started in earnest.  The passage was surveyed almost to grade 3 standard and the results plotted on the surface.  The best possible site for the shaft was chosen bearing in mind the tree, the bank and. the length of cave passage.  Cavers were brainwashed, beaten and finally thrown at the formidable task of digging a hole 12 feet deep and 6 feet square in the most stubborn of Mendip clay under threat of alternative (b).

By August Bank Holiday, bedrock was reached and a small slot uncovered. Shortly afterwards, the surveyors were untied and set free and contact was made between the slot and the cave passage some three feet distant in the form of pitiful cries from below and torches tied on pieces of string from the top.

Next followed specialised session of rock breaking by means of solo picks, crowbar's etc.  Yes, the final stage went a bang and the passage was soon cleared out sufficiently to all fairly free movement.

Since the bank into which we had dug was of man made origin and hence subject to collapse, temporary wooden scoring was installed.  The next item on the agenda was to provide this spectacular hole with a concrete pipe. We intend to connect this with a drainage system in order to keep the cave entrance dry for cavers during excess rainfall.  The perfect entrance?

Alfie's Hole - Priddy.

No Work has been carried out this year.

Emborough Swallet  - Emborough.

One or two trips were made in the spring to the site of the dig and great plans made, but the farmer stepped in and decreed that nothing would be done until the "fine weather" came.  His reason was that he   did not want anyone to injure themselves and causing unwanted publicity.  When the "fine weather” did come, so did a little work on the Cuthbert’s entrance and now the weather is back to normal.

Balch's Hole - Fairy Cave Quarry - Oakhill.

Although not a dig in the accepted sense, Balch’s Hole deserves a mention here since it is a recent addition to the Fairy Cave Quarry complex.  Opened by quarrying early in November it became the seventh cave to be opened here and initial exploration was undertaken on behalf of the quarry owners by Cerberus; B.&.C. and Shepton.

Miss Rollason again has written an account of this fine cave in the Christmas B.B., but it may be worthwhile to under line the following details here and now.

Since the cave is situated in Fairy Cave Quarry, rights of access to the cave is vested in the Cerberus Cave Club.  Failure to comply with this condition would result in the cave being closed &c all by the quarry company.

The entrance to the cave at the moment is not a good insurance risk and should be treated with extreme caution particularly during, or immediately after frost conditions. The formations in this cave are unusually delicate, as I have found to my cost, and should be avoided wherever possible.

Newman Street Slocker - Nowman Street.

One of three new B.E.C. digs on Eastern Mendip started in November by Baker and Giles.  To date, the dig is in its early stages and little can be said except that bedrock has been reached and two small, partially blocked passages lead off.

Heale Slocker - Heale, Near Downhead.

Once an open swallet but filled in by the farmer, Mr. Hobbs several years ago to prevent further loss of his chickens.  Heale Slocker looks good.  Much loose infill has been removed and a low bedding plane uncovered.

Heale Cave - Heale, Near Downhead.

About a hundred yards North of Heale Slocker at the base of a small outcrop, a fifteen foot wide bedding plane, filled with soft dry earth, forms more or less the total extent of the cave.  Digging is in progress and prospects are good.

Brimble Pit - Westbury.

No work has been carried out this year, but plans for shoring are in hand.

Jim's Pot - Hunters Lodge Area.

Interesting swallet with a convenient jug handle near entrance which although not necessary is quite useful.  System siphons at intervals of a few minutes with odd noises and known to take large quantities without flooding.  During warm weather volume swallowed increases, often with staggering results.

In Praise of Naked Lights

by Jack Waddon

On December 9th, 1961, I revisited Carlswark cave, accompanied by Gerry Wright to examine the sump at the lower end of the recently discovered New Series, to assess whether it might repay diving.  Being Mendippers, we were of course using carbide lights and so, when some way in, we met a party of electric lights approaching, we knew at once that they were not from the West Country, but natives.  But what was this?  A naked light from a carbide lamp?  Obviously a Mendipper must be amongst those coming our way.'  And so it was.  Chris Falshaw, new resident in Nottingham, was sporting a lonely carbide lamp with four members of the Four Ways Club.  While the others were negotiating the tight squeeze that I had just passed, Chris and I lay facing each other on the comfortable soft mud, and reminisced on the man hours we had spent together in the early days of St. Cuthbert's, some eight years ago.  Now it was Chris's turn to move, so we bade each other adieu and went on our way. As he went, someone asked him what he did for emergency lighting if his carbide lamp should fail.  "I've got my beady eye in my pocket" said he. Assuming that he was making a jocular reference to one of those very small torches sometimes carried as an emergency light, I thought nothing more about it until further along the crawl the stub of a candle lay on the surface of the mud.  "A B.D.I ." said Jerry Wright.  A Batch's Dependable Illuminant! said I, and we both agreed that, candles or carbide, naked flames are far superior to all other forms of illumination.

Final thought. - How long is it since you last read the words of H.E. Balch concerning lighting in caves?

Book Review

Death of an Owl by Glyn Carr.

This book is a fairly light detective novel centred around the Devil’s Kitchen and Cwm Idwal.  The story is about the apparently accidental death of a boy scout.  Sir Abercrombie Hawker (otherwise known as 'filthy') is the central character who, of course, solves the mystery.

The descriptions of the area are first-class, and the denouement which revolves round times and distances over the country is very intriguing.  Knowing the area fairly well, it shows a carefully thought out plot, and is quite interesting to follow.

From the list of titles given in the book, I assume that Mr. Carr has written several other books on similar lines e.g. "Death on Milestone Buttress".  As far as I can see, a very grave error has been made in the book, however.  In one place Sir Abercrombie remarks about the Pen-y-gwryd Hotel   "They keep the best draught beer in North Wales."  I am not an authority on beer by any means but I feel that there may be considerable protest at this remark, especially from the members of the B.E.C. who once arrived at the P.Y.G. on a Saturday evening only to find that they had no beer at all.

Despite this, however, I found this an enjoyable book for some light entertainment.

Joan Bennett.


Whitsun Trip to Yorkshire.

It may be possible to organize another Whitsun trip to Yorkshire, to do Lancaster Hole and Ease Gill.  Please get in touch with Brian Prewer.

Trip to the Continent.

A trip is suggested for the 20th August onwards.  Total cost will be about £30.  Please contact Sett.

Old B.B.'s.

Donations of old B.B.’s for the club library will be very welcome. Please get in touch with the librarian - Sybil.

Picture Frames and Photographs.

In spite of an earlier appeal, we still have not had any old picture frames sent in.  These are wanted for mounting photos for cutting up in the Belfry and the Hunters. Also, Mike Baker would like to receive any old photos of historical club interest for a club album he is compiling.

Caving Float for Wells Carnival.

It has been suggested by the W.C.C. that all caving clubs combine to provide a float for the next Wells Carnival.  Any members who are interested please get in touch with any committee member.

Member's Addresses.

The   following should be added to the Christmas list.

397       Mike Wheadon.2 Hubert Place, St. Thomas Street, Wells, Som.
450       George Pointing.10 Green Lane, Avonmouth, Bristol.
284       Alan Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston-Super-Mare
272       Dave Hunt.   (Address to follow)

Item of interest

The Hut Warden has been seen to connect up an electric blanket to his bunk before retiring for the night.  We thought this was the end until the Hon. Sec came up and brought the Belfry an electric toaster.

Readers will probably have noticed that the Caving Log has not been printed in the B.B. for some time. This has, until now, been only due to the amount of other articles which have been sent in.  Unfortunately, his month, the new caving log, which luckily has only a few entries in it, cannot be found at present.  We are filling this space with another of John Ransome's series of useful knots.

Knots No. 3 The Rolling Hitch.

This is a knot, or hitch which can be most useful and can be used underground for tightening up a rope run when digging out a cave.  It can also be used as a belay.  The Hitch is started by laying the rope over the end as though starting a clove hitch. After this, bring the end up and over the same way again finishing up with a half hitch.


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.

Once again, in typical B.E.C. fashion, we seem to have got out of the difficulties we were under last month; although this has happened at the last moment.  We have got sufficient articles now not only to be able to publish a big Christmas edition as usual, but to have a go at the record number of pages for a B.B. and to have one long article - of the sort we asked for last month - to start the collection for a large Spring Number next year.  Thanks very much, blokes!

During last year - the one that has nearly ended, that is - there was a suggestion to publish some sort of joint issue of the journals of various caving clubs.  Later on in the year, this got to' be a suggestion to publish a joint edition of the Wessex Journal, The Shepton Mallet Caving Club Journal, and the B.B. for Christmas.  This would have been sent to members of all these clubs and, in the case of the BE.C, would have come out instead of the Christmas edition.

There were many snags of a technical nature which became apparent and which finally led to the cancellation of the idea for this year.  One of these is the fact that enough good articles were not available in time.  If members want a similar venture next year to succeed, we must have articles for use as a 'pool' on which we can draw.

Normally, the Christmas B.B. concentrates on the lighter side of club activities, but you will find that this one has a large proportion of caving news and articles.  We hope you will approve, and take this opportunity to wish all members and all cavers everywhere…

A Very Merry Christmas



The committee wish to record a vote of thanks to John Ifold on his retirement from the position of Hon. Librarian.  John has been the club’s Librarian for many years and at one stage gave the library a home at his house.  The new Hon. Librarian is Sybil Bowden Lyle, as announced in last month's B.B.

A complete list of all books, publications &c held at present in the club library has now been compiled.  Owing to the size of this list (which contains a detailed breakdown of the contents of all books and periodicals) it will not be possible, to give each member a copy.  A limited number of copies are being made and, if you are engaged in some work which entails the use of such a list, please get in touch with the librarian, Miss Sybil Bowden-Lyle at 513 Coronation Road, Southville, Bristol.  A copy of this list will be kept permanently at the Belfry for reference.

The list of back numbers of the B.B. held in the library is incomplete.  Some member's have volunteered to supply back numbers of their own to the library if none can be found, but first we would like to ask whether anyone has any copies, which have been borrowed from the library in the past. Please hunt among your books and return any B.B.'s you may find to the librarian.

December Committee Meeting.

At the December meeting, Gordon Tilley and R.A. Philpot were elected as club members.  Other business dealt with included an agreement for Keith Gardner to form an Archaeological sub-committee; final arrangements for the new drainage scheme; distribution of B.B's and Caving Reports to other clubs and the ordering of a further batch of club ties.           .


Cuthbert's Leader's Meeting

The first Cuthbert's Leader's Meeting was held at the Belfry late in November.  The meeting was chaired by R.A. Setterington.  The following topics represented the main subjects of the meeting:-

Second Report on Cuthbert's.

Bryan Ellis stated that he intended to publish this in January of next year.  He said that he intended to print 75 -100 copies, as this seemed about the right amount, judging from past experience.  This was agreed by the meeting and A. Collins suggested the inclusion of some prints of September Series which he had received for the B.B. from Brian Prewer, but which would not be sufficient for the B.B. This was accepted, and the prints will be included in the report.  After some discussion on the history of the depression prior to the opening of Cuthbert’s, the Chairman suggested a long opening paragraph, giving a short account of this history.


After the present state of the art had been explained by B. Ellis, it was agreed by the meeting to publish what had been surveyed to date in the report, even if this meant that some parts of the survey would have to be of a low grading.  R. Roberts promised to provide a survey of September Series; R. Bennett promised to provide one of the Rocky Boulders and Coral Series and J. Eatough one  of the Cerberus Series.  All this data must be received by Bryan Ellis by the first of January.

A discussion on names of passages followed.  R. Bennett suggested fewer names and said that only important routes, junctions, etc, should be named.  He particularly objected to Surprise Passage.  He suggested that all names be revised, but it was pointed out by P.M. Giles and others that this would throw all past references into confusion.  The meeting agreed that, in general, naming in Cuthbert’s was good and in some cases - such as Oubliette Pitch - excellent and imaginative naming had occurred.

A further suggestion that all names should indicate the part of the cave system in which they were to be found was not considered practicable.

The meeting finally agreed to keep an eye on further naming and warned leaders that this must be done before such names reach the Caving Log and hence the B.B.  It was agreed that the part of the cave sometimes called Cascade Passage should official be known as the Railway Tunnel, and that the passage in September Series is Victory Passage, not Victoria Passage.


A. Collins said that, unless we acted quickly, all the work done in opening the new entrance would be wasted.  The meeting agreed to take urgent action.  M. Baker agreed to contact a source of suitable concrete pipe and B. Prewer agreed to contact Ben Dors as soon as some pipe had been found.  A. Collins said he would prepare the foundations and lay the pipes, but it was not worth starting until the pipes had been delivered.  He would need some assistance with the digging and the Chairman promised to round up some   suitable labour when the time came.  It was decided to fit a chequer plate cover which would be padlocked with the same lock as at present and to install a permanent steel ladder.  After some discussion, it was agreed that, when the new shaft has been satisfactory for some time, the present shaft will be destroyed.

Rescue Arrangements.

P.M. Giles outlined a scheme for a full scale rescue operation in the cave, which should simulate real conditions as far as possible.  The meeting thought this idea was good, but that a first attempt should concentrate in getting a fairly big man, in an unconscious condition, up the entrance pitch.  A. Collins was accordingly chosen and P.M. Giles agreed to make a suitable rescue harness for this operation.


The responsibilities of leaders were discussed at some length.  C.A Marriott announced that his first newsletter was nearly ready and it was agreed that these newsletters should keep all leaders abreast of developments and current problems.  After much discussion on the advisability of removing the names of inactive leaders from the list, it was agreed that the Caving Secretary prepare a rota of all leaders for call on tourist trips.  If a particular leader failed to respond or to give the Caving Secretary a sound reason, this would be brought up to the committee, who would then consider his removal from the list.


It was agreed to purchase plastic tape for taping routes.  M. Baker also agreed to organise a scrubbing party.


The meeting agreed that not enough was being done.  It was felt that the better distribution of information via the leader's News Letters and the publication of a survey in the near future should help here, by highlighting the areas where exploration would be most profitable.

Date of next meeting.

Unless special circumstances intervened, it was proposed to hold Cuthbert's Leader’s Meetings annually, on the Saturday nearest to the Twenty eighth day of November, for easy remembering.


Caving Reports

Caving Report No 6 has now been published, entitled "Some Smaller Mendip Caves." It's contents are Tankard Hole by R.D. Stenner.  Alfie's Hole by S.J. Collins.  Hunter's Hole by B.M. Ellis.  Fairman's Folly by R.D. Stenner.  Vee Swallet by C.A. Marriott and Vole Hole by R.D. Stenner.

Copies are available from B.M. Ellis, 41 Fore St, North Petherton, Bridgwater, Somerset at 2/6 per copy.

Copies are also available of Report No 4 "Shoring of Swallet Cave entrances" and Report No 5" A Survey of Helmets and Lighting Available for Caving." Both these are at 2/6 each.

When ordering by post please include 3d postage (l/- for 2).


The London Mountaineering Club have reserved 12 places for us on the weekend beginning 19th January at  "Fronwydyr" - their hut in Nant Peris.  Although one cannot tell what the weather will be like, we have had some excellent snow climbing in January this year.  Any member who fancies some winter climbing should contact Tony Dunn as soon as possible as 8 places have already been taken.  Transport will be provided and we aim to leave Bristol not later than 6.30 pm on the 19th.

LUD'S CHURCH or the Cavern of Ludchurch.

In the October 1961 issue of 'Country Life' was an article on Lud's Church situated 4½ miles on the eastern side of Axe Edge, Blackbrook Valley, North Staffordshire, two miles N.W. of Swythanley Park and running parallel to a stream 250 yards away.

The entrance is through a natural rock porch, down man made rough steps into the 'cave' - a narrow defile seldom wider than two feet, and sixty feet deep.  At either end are caves.  At the North end, the cave appears to descend almost vertically for "a considerable distance" but, as the article states; there is no record of it ever having been explored.  It recommends that only an experienced potholer equipped with tackle should attempt the venture.  There is a reference to the cave in Vol. 20 of the British Caver.



Pot Bottomer's Delight

by Chris Falshaw.

Having spent two years in Nottingham learning that Bass can be either mild or bitter and that the river Trent contains some of the smallest fish in England, I decided that it was high time I did some caving, Derbyshire being on our doorstep as it were.

Accordingly I have made contact with the Four Days Club here in Nottingham and have been on a couple of trips with them.  Last week we “did” Giant’s Hole together with five B.S.A. chaps from Sheffield.  We entered the cave at 7 pm on Saturday and after a short trudge along the Stream Passage we were forced onto hands and knees, then stomach, into nine inches of water. Two hundred feet from the entrance we came to the first sump, but a short climb up the left hand wall led to the most obnoxious crawl I have met for a long time.  Pillar Crawl is not very tight and not too wet, but there is a series of gours containing the blackest and foulest water imaginable, similar to coal dust soup with a dash of sump oil.  A descending passage then leads to a short crawl - with water - to the infamous "Bypass Passage Sump".  This sump was then transferred by a complex baling operation to a series of three dams leading back up the passage we had just descended and in the process creating a sump in our rear (don’t you mean at our rear? Ed). The baling apparatus consisted in hurling water about in junior oil drums and wetting as many people as possible. After an hour's baling, we were able to pass through a crawl into a fair sized chamber, which contained some fine stal flow of a whiter then whiteness colour.  From the lower edge of the chamber we descended a fifty foot permanent steel ladder - Garland's Pot - singing the praises of Messrs Dunlop and Frankenstein as the main stream was with us once more.  The base of the pitch led into a small chamber where the party stopped for fags.

And this is where the fun really starts.  The Giant's Crab Walk.  'The crabs down here jump six feet high mainly because they can't jump sideways, I suppose.  This passage consists of three thousand feet of “Random Hole Distribution" and this is the main trouble - the constant change of direction.  It is something like an insane eel crossed with a whale’s intestine.  The passage itself is not uncomfortably tight, but it is narrow enough to have to go sideways for the main part.  The walls through the passage show fine scallop marks about two to three inches across and occasionally on the vertical descents there are some fine groovings.

At the end of the Crab Walk we came to a tight bit, the Vice - which, of course, we passed with consummate ease – and which was shortly followed by the second sump, which we bypassed via a series of Rabbit Warren type passages (hence this part becomes a little hazy).  Eventually we reached a sixty foot drop - Geology Pot - which, in contrast to the rest of the cave so far, was dry.  This pot was followed by a twenty five foot drop with the   stream.  The ladder hung in the stream and a right bashing by the water was unavoidable.  So were unable to proceed much further than this, as the rest of the system was flooded.  This meant that there was about eighty feet of flood water in the cave.

He  retraced our  steps to the Bypass Passage  Sump and then climbed up into the roof to have  a look at  some formations and a  high level  sump that  the B.S.A. are working on.  We eventually reached open air at 3 am to a high wind and the sound of snapping guy lines from out tents.


Bottlehead Slocker

by Jill Rollason

Another cave was recently added to the Mendip total when Mite Thompson, Dave Causer and party broke into a new system at Dowhhead, two miles from Stoke Lane.  The cave entrance is novel - a shed is built against a rift in a small cliff, and visitors walk into the front entrance of the shed, and straight out again through the back, where an old oil drum can be seen lying on its side with much other rubbish. This oil drum is the entrance.

The rift lies at one side of a shallow valley which takes a good stream, now diminished by a waterworks reservoir at the head of the valley.  The stream sinks about ten feet, from the rift and is only encountered again at the lowest point of the system known so far.

The cave has been named Bottlehead from the locality and not from the quantity of bottles and tins blocking the entrance - apt though this might be.  It was open (but not explored) until about sixty years ago, but was gradually blocked by rubbish tipped into it.  The local farmer is very keen to have it opened and is very obliging since he is sure that he has a lucrative show cave of the future on his property and cannot be convinced otherwise!

The system consists chiefly of a wide bedding plane at an angle, of approximately forty degrees, and after sliding through the oil drum, progress is made downward through miscellaneous boulders and china for about twenty feet until the bottom, of the rubbish scree is reached.  After this, the bed carries on down in a series of small steps, the height of the roof varying from about ten feet to eighteen inches, and the width of the bedding plane being perhaps thirty feet across, but half blocked by boulders. After gradually working over to the left of the bedding plane, a drop of about six feet leads into a solutional rift chamber with a fine false floor now at waist level and some stalagmitic flow. About twenty feet further along this chamber is a deep pot in the floor, at the bottom of which is a rift where the stream is met approximately forty feet below the chamber.

When the cave was first entered, the top of the pot was blocked by a boulder the size of a piano, which was removed by Mike's special brand of magic.  When the debris had been disposed of, an attack was made on the boulder pile beneath, until a rift was entered.  This was nearly closed at the bottom by a mixture of rocks and a particularly glutinous mud, but there was air¬space to the stream beneath, which could be heard very clearly.  Digging over the following three weekends enabled the diggers to reach the water, where they were disappointed to find that the stream welled up into the passage through a six inch hole in the floor and disappeared after about ten feet into a slot only a few inches high.  Work has stopped temporarily until the next move is decided.

Bottlehead Slocker is approximately 250' long, 100' deep and is well worth a visit, especially by those who fancy a gentle cave the day after an enjoyable evening at the Hunters.


My Search For Bushman Paintings

by Sybil Bowden-Lyle.

When touring this summer in the Kruger National Park, South. Africa, with Afrikaner friends I saw my first Bushman painting.  To Grits and Kowie +Wium, my companions, it was disappointing: a wee reddish daub in a gloomy rock shelter behind an iron grating, put there to prevent tourists from, touching it: but I was very thrilled and pleased. Poking my camera through the grating as far as I could, I aimed at the 'daub' and hoped for the best.  It was fairly successful.

Later we stayed with Kowie's brother in Uniondale, a small township in Cape Province in the Little Karroo, where, from maps I knew the Bushmen had lived in large numbers.  Nobody in the district seemed interested in the possibility of paintings but, with typical South African hospitality, Sonny Wium made enquiries.  As the local doctor, his duties took him over a very extensive area and he knew all the farmers.  One of them twenty miles away, believed that one of his native boys had seen one somewhere on the farm.  We set out, five adults, four children and one native boy.  Fortunately, the rock shelter was easily accessible, although off the beaten track, just up the steep slope of a cactus covered kopie.  This time everybody was pleased for there were twenty five human figures all in the reddish paint, each one different, some; carrying bows, others shields and all nude, about five to six inches high and showing the two noted characteristics of a Bushman - enlarged pear shaped buttocks and a semi-erect penis.  In some places, superimposed at times, were various dots showing the finger prints of the Bushman artist of many years ago.  I tried to puzzle out their design but in the hour that I stayed there alone, making drawings and counting the figures and the 167 dots, I failed to find a reason for the dots being where they were, they did not follow the contours of the rock, and neither did they form any picture, just a maze of large and small finger and thumb prints, mostly black but some in red.  I took several photographs but in the car on the return Journey, the camera slipped to the floor, unnoticed, and lay above the exhaust pipe.  The whole film was completely ruined.

Before I left I returned to the farm, to thank the farmer for his help and for the loan of the native guide.  It was then that he told me that several years ago, an 'archaeologist' had asked to see these paintings.  Permission was given and the man visited the rock shelter.  Hours later he returned carrying a large chunk of rock upon which were the best paintings.  Naturally the farmer had been furious at the theft and the vandalism.  These paintings are now in the homestead and since then no-one has been granted permission to search his land.   I was extremely lucky, for Sonny is one of the most well loved and respected people in the whole area, and, without his introduction, I should never have been allowed to see these works of art.

The next painting was much more difficult to find, but, by this time, though Kowie and Grita had returned to working Cape Town, I was back in my beloved karroo with a now highly interested doctor and his just as interested family, plus another intrigued farmer.  We set out in a truck into the bush, startling wild zebra and springbok on the way.  After five miles of bumping and jolting over soil eroded stream beds and an axle-destroying track, we left the truck and entered the kloof, a kind of ravine.  Pushing our way between thorn bushes, prickly pear, various cacti, over boulders and in and out of the stream, we searched every rock shelter up on the side of the cliffs.  Neither the farmer or his friend, who carried the rifle as a protection against the many leopards which live in the region, knew where to find the painting - they had only heard rumours in their boyhood days.

Gradually the party became separated. Sonn', Juna and-the kids decided to return to the truck as the way became too difficult for the children, and Sonny intended to come again. While we had a brief consultation, the two farmers, thinking that we were all following, disappeared round a bend in the kloof.  For the next half hour I was alone in country where the two leopards had been shot the previous week.  As they attack on sight and not only when hungry, I moved on as quickly as possible to reach the protection of the men and the gun, but my feet refused to go past any rock shelter until my eyes had scanned the walls for tiny bushman paintings. Leopards or no leopards, I was determined to search the cliffs but every time I rounded a bend I expected to see a prowling beast.  I didn't know whether to make as much din as possible with my feet and scare off any would be diner or to move as silently as possible.  That scared me most, as then my ears strained to hear possible animal movements; the whereabouts of distant farmers; the sudden far off bark of the dogs or the echo of a gun shot.  All I did hear was the pounding of my own heart.  At last I caught up with the men and their dogs and we continued down waterfalls and up cliffs.

After a mile and a half we forsook the dogs as we found the shelter.  There were fewer figures but some animal paintings deer of some type. While recovering our breath, as the shelter was about fifty feet up a steep climber's type climb with a traverse of thirty feet over a drop, I started to scratch around in the floor roughly where a possible fire would have been lit by the bushman inhabitants. There, about eighteen inches down, was a charred stone; a largish piece of charred tortoiseshell and a bone. These I brought hack with me.  We just managed to return to the truck before the sun sank in the most unusual sunset I have ever seen.  That has proved successful as a colour print.

The fourth painting was the most difficult to reach, although the rock shelter was plainly visible from the track.  Sonny was by now even more eager to see paintings than I was.  While Juna and the children had a picnic by the car, we tried to cross the river channels of black water of unknown depth, hidden by twelve foot high pampas grass and tangled plants.  Half a mile downstream, I saw willow trees by an outcrop of rock and these I reached fairly easily.  After ten minutes of pushing, shoving and muttering, I managed to make a pathway through the excessive growth near the river.  Eventually I crossed the channels with the aid of the willows and remained dry. Sonny, who was determined to see the paintings before I did, got soaked, but the paintings were worth the effort.

Above several deer were figures forming an ellipse.  They were evidently dancing and were joined together by bows and bow-like instruments similar to those of present day Zulus whom I saw.  Well pleased, we returned via cactus and thorn bushes to the willow trees and home.  Sonny, his interest really roused, has contacted more farmers; heard tell of several more paintings and his telegram delivered at the airport of departure in Jo'burg told me   "Have found more paintings.  Come again."

Unfortunately I had promised to return to school in just over 24 hours - but next time I go to South Africa.......!


Balch's Hole

by Jill Rollason.

A cave was discovered on Mendip on the 3rd of November 1961, by a workman inspecting the rock face of a quarry, and the hole was first entered by members of the Cerberus Club who made arrangements for some-members of the B.E.C. to see and photograph this very beautiful system the following week.

The party made one abortive visit to the cave entrance on the 12th November, working for four hours to get the entrance sufficiently stable without success.  'Gardening', in this case meant touching rocks of many hundredweight with a twelve foot crowbar which then fell out of the roof and crashed terrifyingly to the floor about fifty feet below.  The quarry owners kindly blasted away some of the worst rock for us during the week, and a further three hours gardening on the 19th of November enabled us to face the roof hopefully if not optimistically.  Morale was not improved by the comments of the quarry foreman who said very definitely that we were crazy to risk it; that fifty tons of rock at least had fallen in the day before, and finally went off muttering "Tha's bad rock, mister' - tha's baaaaaaaad rock".

The party, consisting of Gordon Selby, Brian Prewer, Jim Giles, Mike Thompson, Alfie Collins and myself, decided to risk it.  Entry is made by an awkward rope climb up to the entrance, which opens immediately to the Main Chamber which is of almost G.B. proportions except for length and can hardly be more than ten feet below ground level in places.  A fifty foot ladder climb down a steep slope, exposed all the way to any falling rocks, leads to the bottom which is piled up with large newly detached boulders.  A traverse round a pitch in the floor and a scramble over boulders leads into stable cave beginning with a wide, level passage; wonderfully decorated with pure white and transparent stalactites.  Straws, fantastic helictites and fine pillars are abundant and the floor is crystalline with some rimstone pools.  At this point Messrs Giles and Collins decided simultaneously that this was it, and began to set up photographic gear.

The passage ends abruptly in a twenty-foot ladder climb into a small chamber with two exits, one disappearing in a pool of water after about twenty five feet, and the other leading into the further reaches of the cave.  A short scramble up a stalagmite bank brings you to a T-junction and an old stream passage which contains dead water at most times.  The water was motionless and knee deep on this occasion, but must have risen over eighteen inches over the last fortnight, as Brian Prewer said that the Cerberus party he had been on had originally found the passage dry at this point.

The stream passage to the left leads through a series of decorated rifts, mainly of sparkling flowstone, but there is a fine grotto fillet with pure white stalactites and pillars and a magnificent set of organ pipes - also white - about ten feet wide and fifteen feet high.  The main rift in this passage may lead up into another passage but it was not possible to explore without spoiling the formations.  Voice connection was made between the next rift and the photographer's paradise above the twenty foot pitch.  There is at least one bypass and the route ends where the roof meets a stalagmite floor, where a good set of gours can be seen.  A particular feature of the whole cave is the crystal on walls, roof and floor which sparkles in every beam of light.

The stream passage to the right is often only eighteen inches high, but is again a series of rifts richly decorated with, curtains and flowstone, very white.  After a while a large, chamber is entered, about four times as large as the Old Grotto in Swildons - very attractive - with two passages leading off.  One is nearly filled with water and the other is the route down via a mud slide to the true stream passage and the sump.

Mike Thompson made the trip especially to dive the sump and passed it successfully.  Unfortunately, he then encountered a second sump about ten feet beyond which has temporarily halted progress, but this second sump does not appear to be a difficult one and may well be dived in the near future.

Anyone wishing to visit the cave should get in touch with our Cerberus representative, Brian Prewer. Unauthorised visitors to the cave - which is named in honour of "Herby" Balch - will antagonise the quarry owners, who have been more than obliging, and also expose themselves to some danger from loose rocks.

Editor’s Note:    It has been pointed out to me that Balch's Hole is very similar to Stoke Lane Slocker in some respects.  If the entrance to Stoke was at the other end of the cave, and one went through the large chambers to the stream passage and thence to the sump, you would have a state of affairs very much like that in Balch's Hole.


Plantation Stream

(Is it a misnomer?)

by Bryan Ellis.

Throughout this article the following names are used for streams.  Main Stream - the stream flowing through St. Cuthbert's Swallet from the choke to the duck via Sewer Passage.  Plantation Stream - the tributary joining the Main Stream at Plantation Junction in the cave.  St. Cuthbert's Stream - the surface stream sinking in the large depression by the cave entrance.  Plantation Swallet Stream - the surface stream sinking in Plantation Swallet.

During the original exploration of St. Cuthbert's Swallet, a large tributary was found to join the Main Stream at the Eastern end of Sewer Passage; a tributary producing more water than the Main Stream in fact.  The only swallet known in the area of sufficient size was Plantation Swallet and therefore the tributary in the cave was called plantation Stream, but not without a certain amount of misgiving.  Because of the possibility of pollution, and the later agreement between the club and the owners of the cave, the water could not be contaminated by chemicals in sufficient quantity to prove the connection.  Don Coase was against any attempted proof for this reason and considered the point to be in any case only of academic interest.

In October 1957, Norman petty took a series of water temperature readings at various places in the cave and reported the results in the “Belfry Bulletin" No 118.  Those of interest to this article are as follows:-

Plantation Swallet Stream

Plantation Stream

Main Stream Dining Room

Pool of Still water in R. Warren





In recording these readings, Norman boldly assumes that Plantation Swallet Stream and Plantation Stream are the same, flowing via Continuation Chamber, but Coase - in commenting on these readings - thought that as the temperature drop was so small, the water could not be the same.

In the following B.B. (No 119 for December 1957) Don again comments on the water temperature readings and mentions that in November 1955, a few readings taken by Roy Bennett again showed the temperature of Plantation Stream to be different from that of the Main Stream.  On this occasion, Plantation Stream was 2.2o colder, presumably because of the air temperature on the surface being lower than the assumed ambient cave temperature of 8.5oF.  His conclusion was still the same, that Plantation Swallet Stream and Plantation Stream were not connected.

At Coase's suggestion, Norman petty and Paul Burt took a further and more comprehensive series of. readings of water temperatures  in December 1957 and the readings were given in the B.B. for January  1958 No 120.  On this occasion, the relevant temperatures were:-

Plantation Swallet Stream

Plantation Stream

St. Cuthbert's Stream

Main Stream in Sewer Passage





A theory was put forward by Petty and Burt as follows.  The surface air temperature was known to have risen considerably shortly before the surface stream temperatures were taken and therefore they proposed that the slower moving St. Cuthbert's Stream had approached nearer to the new air temperature than had the swiftly flowing water of plantation Swallet Stream.  The Main Stream in the cave had risen still further to reach the ambient cave temperature but Plantation Stream - although it had risen - had not reached the cave temperature.  Now, if the source of Plantation Stream was not Plantation Swallet Stream, then it must be  seepage water because there is nothing else on the surface and any seepage water would be at least at the temperature of the St, Cuthbert's Stream, because  it would be even slower moving.  As St. Cuthbert's Stream had reached cave temperature by the time it had become Main Stream at Plantation Junction, seepage water would also have done so.  But Plantation Stream is colder.  Therefore Plantation Stream must be the continuation of the stream entering plantation Swallet. Q.E.D.!

This theory seemed plausible, even reasonable, but there was still no proof of the connection.  Norman and Paul also took samples of the water from Plantation Swallet Stream and from St. Cuthbert’s Stream and chemical analysis showed the former to contain a considerably concentration of chloride ions than the latter.  Their intention was to analyse samples of the water from Main Stream and Plantation Stream in the hope  that a similar difference would be found, thus adding further weight  to their theory.   Unfortunately, it is not known whether these further samples were ever collected and tested because no further reference to them is found in the B.B.

The possible use of accumulative detectors was then realised.  These would 'add together' the  results of  several very small introductions of chemicals, and each of these introductions on their own could thus be  kept well below the minimum level which could cause contamination of the water.  The next episode in the story - as far as is known - was when in May 1958, the present author assisted Chris Falshaw in an attempt to prove the connection that had been hypothesized by Paul Burt and Norman Petty.  In the Caving Log for May 1958 (published in B.B. No 125) will be found a brief account of the setting up of 'instruments' in Plantation Stream and a negative result is implied.  In a later B.B. (No. 128, September 1958) Chris writes a little more about the experiment and explains that it consisted of adding paper maker's Alum to the water at Plantation Swallet and attempting to collect it on an ion exchange column placed in Plantation Stream.  He states that for a variety of (un-named) reasons, the results are suspect.  He mentions also that further water temperature readings had been taken, but gives no figures.

That, then, was the story as obtained from the "Belfry Bulletin" when the author carried out a further experiment during July 1961.  In Volume 3, Number 3 of the "Bulletin of the Bradford Pothole Club” Terry Marston describes a new method of water tracing that has been developed by members of the B.P.C.  Its application to the Plantation Stream problem was immediately seen.  Very briefly, the method consists of adding a very small quantity of dye to the water and collecting it at the other end of the test on specially treated hanks of cotton placed in the water.  The advantages of this method of water tracing over the more usual methods of using fluorescein are numerous.  The dye used is non-injurious to all known fresh water organisms (even the C.R.G. bug, hunters have approved its use) the small quantities required decrease cost and the danger of contamination at the resurgence; the effect is accumulative; and, most important of all, all the possible places for the re-appearance of the dye do not have to be watched continuously for an unknown length of time - one just collects the hanks of cotton at a later date!

The survey showed that Plantation Swallet lay to the East of most of the known cave and therefore the intention was to place cotton detectors in the following streams: Maypole Series; September Series; Continuation Chamber; Tin Mine and Plantation Stream.  However, when the detectors were being placed in position on the 15th July, the party was not capable of this round trip and as a preliminary experiment it was necessary to make do with these sites: Wire Rift; Maypole Stream; Main Stream at the bottom of Everest Passage and also in Sewer Passage; Plantation Stream and the Duck. After leaving the cave, twenty five grams (less than one, ounce) of the dye was added to Plantation Swallet Stream.

The following weekend, the six cotton hanks were removed from the cave and treated to remove the impurities that also stain them, and sometimes mask the dye coloration.  The results were as follows: Maypole Stream; Wire Rift; Main Stream near Everest Passage and Sewer Passage - all negative. Plantation Stream and Duck - both positive.  Therefore it is now possible to state definitely that Plantation Stream does flow from Plantation Swallet and does not have to be classed with the so-called ‘Priddy Green Stream' in Swildons Hole - as a misnomer.  One must be extremely careful in interpreting negative results in water tracing, but as the result was positive at the Duck as well as Plantation Stream (but nowhere else) it seems safe to say that none of the water from Plantation Swallet reaches the Main Stream before Plantation Junction.


Annual List of Club Member’s’ Names and Addresses

This list, which is published every year, is that which is possessed by the B.B. Postal Department and is the list of members to whom the B.B.’s are currently sent.  If your name is not on this lists or your address is wrong, please get in touch at once with the Postal Department.  C.A. Marriot, 718 Muller Road, Eastville, Bristol.


S.F. Alway

102 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol 8


T Andrews

135 Danson Road, Bexley, Kent


T. Attwood

4 Bridge Road, Shortwood, Nr. Mangotsfield, Bristol


P.J. Badcock

Sarnia House, Coronation Street, Barnstaple, Devon


R.J. Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


M.J. Baker

Morello, Ash Lane, Wells, Somerset


D.J. Balcombe

58 Lebanon Road, Croydon, Surrey


R. Bater

108 Memorial Road, Hanam, Bristol


R. Bennett

3 Russets Cottages, Backwell Common, Somerset.


J. Bennett

3 Russets Cottages, Backwell Common, Somerset


D. Berry

1 York Place, St. Augustine’s , Brandon Hill, Bristol


W.L. Beynon

Bulimba Hostel, Brisbane Street, Bulimba, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


P. Bird

City Museum, Queens Road, Bristol


P.M. Blogg

1 Ridgeway Park, Ridgeway, Bristol


P.J. Borchard

35 Hallstead Road, Harrogate, Yorkshire


Miss S. Bowden-Lyle

51 Coronation Road, Bristol 3


N Brooks

Pine Lodge, Park Avenue, Camberley, Surrey.


P. Burt

3 Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts


Mrs P. Burt

3 Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts


M. Calvert

2 Eden Villas, Larkhill, Bath, Somerset


R Casling

51 Oakdale Road, Downend, Bristol


B.R. Chamberlain

102 Egerton Road, Bishopston, Bristol 7


D. Causer

19 Kenmore crescent, Filton Park, Bristol 7


Mrs C. Coase

Address to follow


S.J. Collins

33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8


D. Cooke-Yarborough.

The Beeches, St. Briavels, Lydney, Glos


J. Cornwell

26 Russell Road, Fishponds, Bristol


A.J. Crawford

3 Hillside, Harefield, Uxbridge, Middelsex


F.G. Darbon

43 Arthur Henderson House, Fulham Road, Fulham, London, S.W.6


J. Davey

25 Hanson Lane, Halifax, Yorks


Mrs A. Davies

10 Bramley Road, Street, Somerset


R. Davies

Earley Road, Reading, Berkshire


I Dear

B.T.V. Staedy, c/o C.D. Office, Portsmouth Dockyard


G. Dell

5 Millground Road, Withywood, Bristol 3


K.C. Dobbs

85 Fox Road, Pinhoe, Exeter, Devon


J. Downie

Dimlands, Llantwit Major, Glamorgan


A.J. Dunn

63 Oakdale Road, Downend, Bristol


J.A. Etough

116 Newbridge Road, Brislington, Bristol


B.M. Ellis

41 Fore Street, North Petherton, Somerset


D. England

7 Frome Way, Winterbourne, Bristol


C. Falshaw

2 Home Croft, Bramcote, Nottingham


Mrs C. Falshaw

2 Home Croft, Bramcote, Nottingham


P.G. Faulkner

251 Rowah Crescent, Langley, Middleton, Manchester


A. Fincham

Leeds University Union, Leeds 2


T. Fletcher

The Old Mill House, Parnack, Nr. Stamford, Lincs


D.C. Ford

Department  of Geography, Hamilton College, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



77 Kingshill Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


G.A. Fowler

18 Clayton Street, Avonmouth, Bristol


K. Franklin

18 Clayton Street, Avonmouth, Bristol


P. Franklin

22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset


A. Francis

Keedwell Cottage, Providence Lane, Long Ashton, Somerset


K.S. Gardner

Keedwell Cottage, Providence Lane, Long Ashton, Somerset


Mrs K. Gardner

92 The Grampains, Shepherd’s Bush Road, London


M.C. Garton

P.O.’s Mess, R.N.A.S. Yeovilton, Yeovil, Somerset


P.M. Giles

34 Oaklands Avenue, Northrowane, Halifax, Yorks


D. Greenwood

164 St. John’s Lane, Bristol 3


G.H. Griffiths

34 Dodworth Drive, Mettlethorpe, Wakefield, Yorkshire


S.H. Grime

The Spinney, Rickman Hill, Coulsdon, Surrey


M.H. Grimes

34 Gatehouse Close, Withywood, Bristol 3


D. Gwinnel

23673215, H.Q. Eastern Command, AMM. INSP., Mill Hill, London NW7


N.P. Hallett

Myndeep, Westwood Drive, Pill, Somerset


M. Hannam

14 Market Place, Wells, Somerset


C.W. Harris

‘Hill House’, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


D. Hassell

147 Evington Lane, Leicester


C.J. Hawkes

55 Ravenswood Road, Redland, Bristol


R.C. Hawkins

174 Wick Road, Brislington, Bristol 4


M.J. Healey

29 Highbury Road, Horfield, Bristol


J.W. Hill

135 Doncaster Road, Southmead, Bristol


S.M. Hobbs

Field View, Shepton Mallet, Somerset


M. Holland

The Hive, c/o Mr. Giddings, Boat House, Hemingford Grey, Huntingdon


G. Honey

Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Somerset.


J. Ifold

Sunnyside, Rectory Lane, Compton Martin, Somerset


P. Ifold

40 Richmond Street, Totterdown, Bristol


B.J. Isles

89 Broadwalk, Knowle, Bristol 4


M. Isles

50 Acacia Road, Bournville, Birmingham 30


Miss P. Irwin

38 Southdown Road, Emmer Green, Reading, Berkshire


R. Jones

3 Durham Street, Eslwich Road, Newcastle-on- Tyne.


U. Jones

1a East Avenue, Cheadle, Cheshire


W.F. Jones

35 Stothard Avenue, Lockleaze, Bristol 7


G.M. Joyner

1 Lynmouth Road, Bristol 2


R.S. King

East Anglia Brigade Depot, Burt Street, St. Edmonds, Suffolk


R. Kitchen

15 St. Martins Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


Miss L. Knight

61 Worton Way, Isleworth, Middlesex


T. Knight

365 Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol 7


J. Lamb

12 St. Aubins Avenue, Broomhill, Brislington, Bristol 4


B.T. Lane

14 Willow View, Bairstow Lane, Sowerby Bridge, Yorks


J.M. Lane

7 Staff Cottages, Farleigh Hospital, Flax Bourton, Nr. Bristol


A.G. Lee

52 Clifton Down Road, Clifton, Bristol 8


M. Luckwill

8 Park Road, Lower Weston, Bath, Somerset


B. Lynn



P. Mack

22 Kingshold Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


C.A. Marriott

718 Muller Road, Eastville, Bristol 5


T.K. Marston

23 Lockyear Road, Mutley, Plymouth, Devon


E.J. Mason

11 Kendon Drive Wellington Hill West, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


P.J. Miller

130 Longmead Avenue, Bishopston, Bristol 7


D.W. Mitchell

2 Selwood Road, Frome, Somerset


G. Mossman

5 Arlington Gardens, Arlington Villas, Clifton, Bristol 8


K. Murray

17 Harrington Gardens, South Kensington, London, S.W.7


A. Nash

23714348 Pte A.G. (Int) Kahawa Camp, B.F.P.O. 10


T.W. Neil

Bradley Cross, Cheddar, Somerset


Mrs T.W. Neil

Bradley Cross, Cheddar, Somerset



Oldfield Park Lodge, Wells Road, Bath, Somerset


M.A. Palmer

Cathedral Coffee Tavern, 3 St. Thomas Street, Wells, Somerset


Miss S.E. Paul

14 Upper Brighton Road, Surbiton, Surrey


L. Peters

21 Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


N. Petty

12 Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol


A. Philpot

3 Kings Drive, Bishopston, Bristol


T. Pink

53 Burnthwaite Road, Fulham, London SW6


G. Platten

‘Rutherfield’, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, Hants.


B. Prewer

Greenfields Farm, Upper Coxley, Wells, Somerset


R.J. Price

2 Weeks Road, Bishop Sutton, Somerset


L. Pritchard

58 Belper Road, Derby


J.M. Pullman

Badgers Wood, Brockley, Bristol


D. Radmore

2 Dunkeld Road, Filton, Bristol


J. Ransom

15 South View, Lenthay, Sherborne, Dorset


C.H.G. Rees

10 Clarence Road, Bristol 2


Mrs Rees

10 Clarence Road, Bristol 2


A.L.C. Rice

13 Wades Road, Filton, Bristol


A. Rich

c/o Pox 126, Basham, Alberta, Canada


P.A. Richards

119 Welbeck Road, West Harrow, Middlesex


Mrs P.A. Richards

119 Welbeck Road, West Harrow, Middlesex


R.J. Roberts

5 Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset


Mrs Robinson

10 Linden Road, Redland, Bristol 6


G. Robinson

10 Linden Road, Redland, Bristol 6


Miss J.P. Rollason

157 Pen Park Road, Redland, Bristol 6


A. Sandall

35 Beauchamp Road, Bishopston, Bristol 7.


Mrs. A. Sandall

35 Beauchamp Road, Bishopston, Bristol 7.


B.M. Scott

23 Gunter Grove, Chelsea, London SW16


G. Selby

38 Hawkers Lane, Wells, Somerset


R. Setterington

4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset


R. Setterington

5 Moycullen Court. 96 Maida Vale, London W.9


J. Simonds

31 Springfield Lane, Teddington, Middlesex


C. Smith

48 Windsor Road Leyton, London E10


D. Smith

3 Providence Place, Reading, Berks.


J. Stafford

Wern Isaf, Pethel, Cearns


Mrs. I. Stanbury

74, Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


T.H. Stanbury

6 Aubrey Road, Bristol 3


R. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


Mrs. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


P.A.E. Stewart

397 Walton Road, West Molesley, Surrey


D.M. Thomas

12 Clarence Road, Bristol 2


M. Thompson

Ashen Hill Cottage, Priddy, Somerset


J. Tierney

Flat 3, 37 Hawley Sq., Margate, Kent


G.E. Todd

Sundayshill Cottage, Falfield, Glos


J. Tompsett

Mallins, Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


Mrs. D. Tompsett

Mallins, Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


E. Towler

11 St. Phillips Road, London E8


S. Tuck

38 Westbury Hill, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


R.M. Wallis

Swildons, 343 Upton Lane, Widnes, Lancs


G.O. Weston

126 Woodside Road, Beaumont Park, Huddersfield


Mrs. G. Weston

126 Woodside Road, Beaumont Park, Huddersfield


J. Waddon

7 Haydon Road, Taunton, Somerset


C.F.W. Wheadon

237600799 Infantry Workshop R.E.M.E. Rhine Camp, Dhekelia, B.F.P.O. 53


R. Winch

1 Stanley Villa, Crewkerne, Chard, Somerset


R.A. Woodford

80 Torrington Road, Ruislip, Middlesex


E.A. Woodwell

50 Glanfield Road, Beckenham, Kent


R.F. Wyncoll

9 St. Christians Croft, Cheylesmore, Coventry




































































































































































































































































































1 Across:  Trail pew to track down your quarry (8)
5  Across:  More appropriate across than down (8)
9  Across:  The Shepton……(5)
10 Across: 373560 (6)
11 Across: Seen in French caves & until recently near the Belfry (3,3)
12 Across: I do it, being stupid (5)
13 Across: Water may in ground or you in water (4)
16 Across: There is a singular version of 41 across having this 30 across in G.B. (4)
17 Across: Found in static layer (4)
18 Across: Not normally found in 5 down (4)
23 Across: A contribution to a pillar eventually (11,6)
24 Across: Let tool shed back'er (describes it’s situation nicely!) (10,7)
29 Across: Dear’s is curtailed here.  (4)
30 Across: 1 and 10 across are examples of this   (4)
32 Across: Common to Chamber, Wood or Hole on Mendip.   (4)
33 Across: Do this and you may make a 25 down (or find trouble)   (4)
35 Across: a 34 down in Cuthbert’s.  (5)
37 Across: ‘Tis sex – and with us now. (6)
38 Across: A 29 across.  (6)
39 Across: Runs on twacks.  (5)
40 Across: Morton's Pot has them and Swildons has the middle Part.  (8)
41 Across: See 14 down (8)

1   Down:  Three cubed from Bristol (5,3)
2   Down:  Poisons (6)
3   Down:  36 down may not have it, but 18 across does (4)
4   Down:  Wine drips on dry bar - One over the eight, presumably!  (6,4,7)
5   Down:  18 across is not-normally encountered here(3,2,8,4)
6   Down:  This hole has recently been reported. (4)
7   Down:  Not possessed by 12 across. (6)
8   Down:  Dig in. (8)
14 Down:  You could wear this caving or 17 across could this a 41 across   (4)      
15 Down:  Only mugs are this, presumably (4)
19 Down:  Bend to put nothing in 34 or 36 down. (5)
20 Down:  You might have beer on this, but don't put beer on it.  (5)
21 Down:  A form of 26 down. (5)
22 Down:  Inclined.   (5)
24 Down:  They are painted in many colours in song.  (8)
25 Down:  Water movement in Red Dye.   (4)
26 Down:  The 21 down type of this may use a part of this beheaded   (4)
27 Down:  Concerning photographs (or second hand articles)  (8)
28 Down:  Describes the start of no caving trip   (2,4)
31 Down:  4 or 6 are heard in the Hunter's   (6)
34 Down:  35 across means this   (4)
36 Down:  See 3 down or 19 down. (4)


by the Editor

That's all for this issue - a new record number pf pages for the B-B.  We must apologise to those who sent in articles which did not get printed. Especially to Jim Giles, who has sent in an excellent review of the year's digging activities which will be printed very shortly.  Observant readers will also note that, in addition to all the usual typing errors, two new forms of typewriter pox have struck.  One is sticking of letters due to the damp and is being remedied by taking all the keys out and washing them in "omo" and "the other is carriage sticking - causing printing like the 'and' being squashed.  If any member knows the cure for this, we shall be mosy obliged.


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle , Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept. C.A. Marriott, 718, Muller Rd, Eastville, Bristol.

To those members who were able to attend the Annual General Meeting and Dinner, we must apologise for taking up most of this B.B. with news of these events.  However, since the point was once again made at the A.G.M. that the B.B. is the main link with all our members who live in far flung parts, we feel that a fairly full description of the A.G.M. at any rate is justified.


October Committee Meeting

The first meeting of the 1962 committee was held according to tradition on the day after the A.G.M. The committee re-elected its officers of last year which are thus:  Committee Chairman & Hut Warden R.A. Setterington.  Hon. Sec. & Treasurer R..J. Bagshaw.  Caving Secretary & B.B. Postal Dept. C.A. (Mo) Marriott.  Climbing Sec. A.J. Dunn.  Hut Engineer (Spike) Rees.  Hon. Librarian J. Ifold.  Editor B.B. S.J. Collins.  New members elected were Mike and Liz Thompson, Pete Faulkner and Pete Blogg has become a life member.  Other matters dealt with included the Belfry floor; the window frames; the new staplers; the Belfry drainage scheme; the new Cuthbert's entrance; the library list; Cuthbert’s leaders; the map for the Belfry; the Cuthbert’s phones and the club tent.

Financial Statement for the year to the 31st August 1961

Annual Subscriptions









Less Expenditure

£  92-17-2

£  8 - 14-5

Redcliffe Hall:


£19-  4-8



Less Hire

£10-  0-0

£  9- 4-8

Annual Dinner:


£61- 12-  6



Less Cost

£60- 0  -  0

£    1-12-6

Post Office Savings Bank Interest:



£    1-  7-3

Goods for Resale:


£    7-17- 0



Less Sales

£    5-19- 5

£    1-17-7

Car badges:


£  30-  3- 0



Less Sales

£  29-10- 0

£     - 13-0

Donations etc.



£    3-16-6




£105-  6-5

Belfry Bulletin:

Printing, etc


£  18-19-2




£  15-  1-3



£  17- 10-8



Less levy

£    2- 15-0

£  14-15- 8

Loan repaid (Final)



£  10-  0- 0

Postages and Stationery



£    3-17- 8

British Mountaineering Club Subscription.



£    1-    -

Cave Research Group subscription (2 years )



£    2- 10-0

Caving Reports


£    9-   9-0

£    4-  0-0


Less Receipts

£    2-   0-3

£    7-  8-9

Club Ties


£  24-   0-0



Less Sales

£  17-   2-0

£    6-18-0




£    3-  0-11




£  21-15- 0




£105-  6- 5




£293- 13-4









Total Club monies @ 31st August, 1960



£  65-14-7

Add Surplus as above



£  21-15-0




£  87- 9- 7





Post Office Savings Bank Balance 31.8.61



£ 60-  4-1

Cash in hand 31.8.61



£ 27-  5-6

Total Club Monies 31.8.61

£ 87-  9-7

The A.G.M

A quorum, was reached at 2.55 pm at which time the meeting started.  Dan Hasell was unanimously elected Chairman.  "Pongo" Wallis, “Prew" Pritchard and Frank Darbon volunteered to act as tellers, for the ballot, and the minutes of the 1960 Annual General Meeting were read and adopted.

The Hon. Secretary gave his report.  In a brief statement he announced that we had 27 new members during the year, but that the paid up membership of the club had, in fact, dropped by two to the number of 110.  He mentioned that the Charterhouse Caving Area appeared to be working out with little practical restriction on caving activities.

The Hon. Treasurer reviewed the club's finances.  A financial, statement will be found on page one of this B.B.  He pointed out that the deficits shown against Caving Reports and club ties were due to stocks in hand, and that these items should show a small profit by the next meeting.

The results of the ballot were then announced.  The club committee is unchanged from last year.  "Spike" asked how many members had, in fact, voted.  The Chairman replied that 33 members had.  It was agreed that this represented a low poll.

The Caving Secretary then gave his report.  There had been an increase in caving with 230 entries in the club log.  There had been a large number of visitor's trips arranged down Cuthbert's and the new entrance was well on its way to being completed. The club had taken some part on six digs on Mendip.

The Climbing Secretary announced that there had been five organised trips to North Wales and that climbing in the Avon Gorge had been well attended on most Thursdays throughout the summer months.  He reported that an attempt to organise a climbing log had not met with much success.

The Tackle Officer reported that all sisal rope had now been scrapped and that we had some 370' of nylon line and 225' of ladder.  A further 300' of ladder is under construction.  During the discussion on the report, Spike announced, that he would no longer be able to turn up bungs for new ladder and an appeal for volunteers having lathe capacity was met by "Sett" and Tony Dunn, who agreed to take over this job.

In his report, the Hut Warden announced that we had paid off the cost of installation of mains water to the Belfry and that the surcharge had been dropped.  There had been an improvement in tidiness at the Belfry due to a new system of arranging the washing up.  Work on the new hut had now reached a stage where the main construction was almost complete and the woodwork in the living room had just been repainted.  A rubber floor was being laid in the living room and the outside of the Belfry re-creosoted.  Bed nights were 1,431.  This is an all time record.

The B.B. report followed. The editor stated that the paper and cover position was now secure, and that new stapling arrangements, were under way. He mentioned the possibility of a Joint Christmas issue.  This was favourably received.  In the discussion which followed, Llew offered some additional duplicating capacity and the editor agreed to contact Llew and work out a suitable arrangement. There was, once again, a large preference for the B.B. to continue to appear monthly.

The Hon. Librarian announced that Sid Hobbs had begun the cataloguing of the books but had not completed the job.  After some discussion about the library, the meeting adjourned for tea.

After tea, member's resolutions were discussed.  A resolution "that the held at Priddy Village Hall next year as a trial for subsequent A.G.M." was put to the vote after some discussion and defeated.

A resolution "that part or all of the club library be transferred to the Belfry under the supervision of two librarians who shall be responsible for the safe keeping of the books" was also defeated.

A resolution "that the Hut Warden be issued with a key to St. Cuthbert's for use in emergency only" was passed, as was a resolution "that the committee be empowered to nominate a sub-committee to administer archaeological matters on behalf of members of the B.E.C."

Several suggestions came up under "Any Other Business" but none of these were passed by the meeting. A suggestion that the committee should look into the possibility of having to find another meeting place in Bristol when Redcliffe Hall is demolished was passed to the committee.

The meeting closed at approximately 5 pm.

The Photographic & Song Competitions

by the Editor.

I think it is no exaggeration to say that the 1961 club dinner was amongst the best we have ever held. Those of us who have been to every club dinner would certainly compare it with the first dinner held at the Whiteladies Hall, which is reckoned up till now to have been our best dinner.

The success of this year's dinner was due, very largely due, to the efforts of the organiser – Jim Giles - and those members who backed him up by entering for the competitions.  Jim has received vote of thanks from the committee.

The standard of both the competitions was extremely high.  This should not deter members from starting NOW to take even better pictures for next year's competition for which an organiser - Mike Baker - has already volunteered.  Members will be reminded of this at intervals throughout the year!

The song competition seems to have set an entirely new standard for caving songs, although the proceedings at the dinner were slightly offset by a sudden attack of the "20 minute 'flu".  The winning song - written by George Weston - is reproduced in this B.B. on the next page. Many of us think that it may well supersede "We are the exploration Club" as the club song, and heartily recommend all members to learn it before they next come to the Hunter's.

If any of the winning photographs prove suitable we will try to reproduce these also in the B.B., but the quality of printing by stencil may not be good enough.  Here is the winning song, which is sung to the tune of "The Lass of Richmond Hill."

A local bloke from Rodney Stoke, more fond of beer than labour
Was recommended by a friend to go and be a caver.
He said, “Your thirst is not the first of such capacity.
I know a crowd who'll do you proud - go join the B.E.C.
Go join the B.E.C.  Go join the B.E.C.
That boozy crew will do for you, so join the B.E.C.”

The M.C.G. brew splendid tea which makes them rather merry
The spelaeos look down their nose at tipple worse than sherry.
The Shepton brood are rude and crude when drinking at the local
But worse by far - the Wessex are - exclusively teetotal.
We are the B.E.C.  Down with sobriety.
Throw out your chest, cry “Beer is Best” and join the B.E.C.

Each Friday night we all get tight as soon as we are able.
By half past eight we lie in state beneath the Belfry table.
At nine o’clock our knees may knock - we stagger out despite 'em
By half past ten we’re sloshed again. And so ad infinitum.
We are the B.E.C. and this we must confess.
Whatever is worth doing, we will do it to excess.

Note: All references to other Caving Clubs are entirely coincidental and bear no relation to any actual clubs, either living or half dead.


Don't forget there are only fifty one weeks left before the 1962 Photographic and song competitions close.


If you were one of the people who wanted a bigger B.B. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO SEND IN YOUR LONG ARTICLES FOR IT???????

Book Review

by P.M.Giles, Esq.

A Survey of Headwear and Lighting available for Caving

B.M. Ellis.  B.E.C. Caving Report No 5.

A very comprehensive and perhaps unique report on two major aspects of caving. Details of most types of headwear and lighting available on the market today are given, and the author adds some very sound arguments.  Appendices at the end of the report list reliable manufacturer’s quotes from British Standards Specifications; Legal considerations and, for the first time in a B.E.C. Caving Report, photographs of items mentioned.

As the B.E.C.'s first answer to "'Which?" the report is first class and by far the best in the series to date.

Shepton Mallet Caving Club Journal. Series 3, Number 1.

Edited by F.J. Davies.  Price 1/3 from S.M.C.C. pedlars.

The Shepton’s journal is now on sale to the general public and at a bargain price too, since it contains details of two important discoveries in Swildon's Hole - Trouble Series and Shatter Passage.  It should thus be of great interest to both Mendip and ‘foreign’ cavers alike.  The springhead rising at Rodney Stoke is also reported by members of the C.D.G.  The journal may be obtained from the editor for a subscription of 3/- per annum, post free.  The journal is published every six months.

Underground Adventure. 

By Arthur Gemmel and Jack Hyers.  Dalesman and Blandford Press Ltd at 8/6  (illustrated)

Hull Pot, Simpson's Pot, Hensler's Passage, G.G., Lancaster Hole etc. etc.  These and many other of the Yorkshire pots are graphically described from the point of view of the explorer in this excellent book.  The thrills of setting foot where no man has trod before take the reader through some arduous crawls and squeezes in the dales and return him safely to the surface with memories of beautiful formations; dark forbidding sumps and pitches wet and fearsome.

This book makes good reading and the photographs, mostly taken by Jack Myers, add the final touch to skilful writing.


Congratulations to Shirley and George Weston on the birth of their son, Henry George on the 20th September.    The baby's weight at birth was 91hs 1oz.


by John Ransome

No 2. The Sheet Bend.  This can be used as a quick hitch for lifting ladders and other gear. It can be doubled by following the short end round again.


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle , Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept. C.A. Marriott, 718, Muller Rd, Eastville, Bristol.

A Bigger – B.B.?

Plans have now been worked out that will enable us to take advantage of the offer made at the A.G.M. of some additional help with the duplicating of the B.B. and, we hope, satisfy the members who would like to see a larger version of the B.B.

Starting next year, in addition to the large Christmas number, we will be printing an equally large summer number and, if we get enough contributions, a large spring and autumn number as well.  This arrangement will cater for the members who would like to see the B.B. come out every month as at present and also for those who would like a bigger magazine, at less frequent internals.

There is, however, one snag. We stated, when we took the B.B. over that we would not let it lapse below the minimum size and would not make frequent appeals in the B.B. for articles.  This rule we shall have to break on this occasion and point out that we can only have this larger amount of B.B. providing that we get the articles for printing in it.  As an example, apart from a few smaller articles, WE HAVE NO MATERIAL AT ALL FOR THE CHRISTMAS B.B. AT THE MOMENT.  Arrangements for the cover have got to be made during the next fortnight and printing should start shortly after that.  There seems little point in talking about a regular quarterly bumper number of the B.B. under these circumstances!

We have recently done some mathematics on the amount of information printed per annum by the B.B. and a comparative journal which, at first sight, appears to be a lot bigger. We find in fact, that there is practically nothing to choose between them, which means that as far as quantity goes, if the club wants this new arrangement, its members have got to write on an average, more articles than the members of any other local caving club. The sort of thing which could, with advantage, be done on these lines are long write ups of major trips which; although not carried out by the club itself, had some members of the club amongst the party, permission to write such an article as can usually be obtained from the club in question, even if it means delaying the appearance of the article until after the club concerned has published it in their own journal. The B.B.'s main function is to keep those members who are not usually around in touch with all that is going on Mendip, and so articles of this type would be very useful.

Having given this subject a good airing, we hope that it can be retired for another few years at least, while the B.B. grows fatter and more interesting!



There will be a meeting of Cuthbert's Leaders at the Belfry on November 25th at 2.30 pm.  The Caving Secretary requests that all Cuthbert's Leaders will attend and that any ideas on St. Cuthbert's for discussion be given or sent to the Caving Secretary or the B.B. editor.

There will be a slide show on the 9th of December given by the M.C.G. at the Stirrup Cup Garage at 7.30 pm at which will be shown slides of Pine Tree Pot, Ubley Pot etc.  All are cordially invited.

Old picture frames are urgently wanted for mounting photographs for hanging up at the Belfry and the Hunters. They should be of a size to accommodate a 10x8 or a 16x12 print.  Also wanted are photos, loan of negs etc. of historical club interest.  Contact any committee member or the new Hon. Librarian, Sybil Bowden-Lyle.


The Caving Secretary wishes to remind members of the new set of arrangements affecting G.B. cave. Requests for a trip should be sent to him at least three weeks before the trip is required.  There is, unfortunately, no guarantee that the trip can always be arranged, but an early request helps!  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

On the 18th November, either at the Hunters of afterwards at the Belfry, there will be a slide show on South Africa - its wild life animals; plants and natives.  This will be given by Sybil.

The C.R.G. Annual General Meeting will be held at the Geography Lecture Theatre, University of Bristol under the chairmanship of Dr. E.K. Tratman on Saturday, 11th November at 5.30 pm.  Also in the Geography Theatre, there will be a talk on Caves in Jamaica, by Dr. Read, president of the Jamaica Caving Club on November 27th at 8.15 pm.


Our new Hon. Librarian, Sybil, is in the middle of preparation of a really comprehensive library list.  This list not only names the books, periodicals etc. in the library, but gives a short description of the contents of each and, in the case of periodicals a list of the main articles.  A full copy of this list will come out as a supplement to the B.B. in the near future, but in the meantime, here is an extract of some of the caving books to be found in the library.

Aragonite Spelaeothems as indicators of paleotemperatures.

George W. Moore

Caves, temperatures Fossils, formations and how made.

Au fond des gouffres.

Norbert Casteret

Written in French. Underground adventures. Illustrated.

British Caving.


Manual of caving.

Caves & Caverns of Peakland.

Crichton Porteous

Booklet. Speedwell Peak Cavern, Blue John Cavern, Bagshawe Cavern some cave diving.

Cave Hunting (1874).

Boyd Dawkins

Illustrated, factual often archaeological.

Cave men new & old.

Norbert Casteret

Illustrated. Caving adventures.

Mendip - its Swallet Caves and Rock Shelters.

H.E. Balch.

Now out of date but historical, Eastwate, Swildons, G.B., Lamb Leer etc.

My Caves.

Norbert Casteret

Illustrated. Personal adventure underground.

1,000 metres down.

J.Cadoux et al.

Caving adventures in France.

Pennine Underground.

Norman Thornber

Caving guide (1947)

Subterranean Climbers.

Pierre Chevalier

Illustrated. Twelve years in the world's deepest cavern.

The Cave Book.


Booklet.  Formations, Equipment, theories.  Illustrated.

The Falls & Caves of Ingleton.

John L. Hamer

Booklet.  Factual guide.

The Caves of Mendip.

N. Barrington.

Caving guide.

The Caves of Texas.


Illustrated manual.

The Darkness under the earth.

N. Casteret.

Adventures in caves.

Underground Adventure.

A. Gemmell & J.O. Myers.

Illustrated. Ingleton, Clapham & Malham.

Wookey Hole. Its Caves & cave dwellers.


Illustrated - diagrams & photos. Personal yet factual.

Have YOU still got a library book out?  Are you SURE? Why not have a look just in case?

Social Column

At 4 pm, on Saturday October 28th at St. James's Church New Cross, Spike and Pam were wedded,  and three members of the B.E.C. were there (they get around).

The reception was held at Pam's house and, thanks to Pam having a far sighted Mum and Dad there was booze and food aplenty.  Spike was seen sitting in a corner holding his corporation and having histories over "a slow revving bishop".  Frank Darbon, Johnnie Lamb and Nigel were also sitting in a corner - beer in one hand, food in another and cameras in the other.  Every so often one of them moved, but only to get more beer.

Spike had some slight trouble over the car keys and an intended 7.30 pm start became a 9.00 pm false start, and it is rumoured that the car heater was throwing out more than hot air.

After the Bride and Groom had departed to Tonbridge (and High Rocks?) the party continued. Several charming relations (16-20 age group) showed themselves adept at masochistic dancing activities.  At one time, with much protesting, even Frank was seen to be cavorting.

At about 2.00 am three local blokes departed into the wilderness from whence they had come with the score:-

Watneys (0) Trumans (0) Machesons (0) J. Walkers (l/l6) B.E.C. (1/8).

The best of luck to Pam and Spike, especially when they decide who IS the boss.



Congratulations to Merv Hannam and his wife on the birth of a daughter, Edwina Denise on October 2nd. Weight 8 lbs 6 oz. Congratulations also to Jack Waddon and his wife on (if I have got it right) the birth of their second son.

Archaeological Notes

Keith Gardner reports that, during 1959, 1960 and 1961, members of the M.N.R.C. have excavated an interesting and rewarding rock shelter at Tom Tivey's Hole (N.G.R. ST 705445) in Asham Wood, near Leighton.  They have proved continual casual occupation from the Neolithic period to modern times.

In the Neolithic level, the team revealed shards comprising the almost complete profile of a western Neolithic (Windmill Hill) round-based bowl; plain on the body with decoration confined to widely spaced radial notches on the rim.  The bowl is an almost exact duplicate in size, fabric and form and decoration to one specimen along the primary pottery at the Neolithic camp on windmill Hill, Avebury, Wiltshire.  The potsherds have been identified by Dr. Isobel Smith.

A fragment of bone pin or awl was also found which is too small to permit of much comment, but the slight longitudinal hollow on one side suggests that it belongs to a type found from primary contexts at Windmill Hill.  These were made by splitting the metapodials of sheep or goats and rubbing one end down to a sharp point.

The M.N.R.C. say that this season should be their last and when they have finished the Neolithic level, a full report will be published next year.    These finds, they add, indicate a link in the possible trade route from eastern Mendip to the Wessex Chalk.

Caving Log

2nd September. Swildons.  Party Jim Hill, Brenda, Alan & Carol.  Photographic trip.

3rd September. Rod's Pot.  Mike Calvert, R. Stenner, Rosemary plus 3 Lockleaze schoolgirls and 2 ditto schoolboys.  Leader Tony Rich.  Did the 50’ pot. Lamp Pox struck the two nife cells.  Big, clumsy and unreliable means of lighting.  Called it a day.

3rd September. Swildons. Richard Roberts.  G. Owen, B. Llyn, R. Boakes, G. Wolff.  Trip to sump II.  No water going down the forty.

3rd September. St. Cuthbert’s.  Jim Hill, Brenda plus one bod from Wells Cathedral School Caving Club.  Tourist trip.

16th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  M. Thompson and P.M. Giles Esq.  First through trip (old to new entrances).

16th September. Swildons.  Tourist trip to Sump I. R. Stenner + schoolboys and girls.

24th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  M. Palmer, P.M. Giles Esq, D. HASELL, R.A. Setterington and K. Hallet.  Lethargic trip to September Series and first Cuthbert’s trip for Dan Hasell.

30th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  Tourist trip for three members of Chelsea Caving Club. Down to Dining Room and Lake Chamber, out through Rat Run and Everest Passage.  Leader Jim Hill.

30th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  Tourist trip for six members of Chelsea Caving Club. High Chamber
to Gour Hall and out through Rat Run. Leader Alan Sandall.

24th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  Mike Baker + 4 Nottingham Cave Club.  Tourist trip to duck (now a choke).  Mo's dig now takes all the stream.  Chain on Stal Pitch needs attention - be careful to keep the chain as near the rock as possible.

24th September. St. Cuthbert’s.  V. & C. Falshaw, J. Latough and N. Petty.  Digging in passage at downstream end of Bypass Passage removed vast lumps of mud and heaps of gravel.

8th October. St. Cuthbert’s.  M. Baker, J. Eatough,  R. Teagle, M. Calvert, G. Wolfe, J. Cornwell.  Photographic trip to Cascade and Curtain chambers.

8th October. St. Cuthbert’s.  Rocky Boulders Series.   R. Bennett, R.S. King, J. Attwood, P.M. Giles Esq, G. Honey and L. Pritchard.  While Bennett made notes, presumably for the next Cuthbert’s Report, the remainder probed about amongst the many boulders at considerable personal risk, under the directions of Messrs Bennett and King.  During this exercise in stamina and bravery a sixty foot passage - Surprise Passage - was entered.


Surprise passage is like a small edition of Appendix Passage in the Maypole Series - a vadose trench with a bedding plane roof.  It climbs at about 60°

Jim Giles.


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle , Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept. C.A. Marriott, 718, Muller Rd, Eastville, Bristol.

Annual General Meeting and Club Dinner.

This year's Annual Dinner will be held at the Cliff Hotel at Cheddar on Saturday, 7th October at 7 for 7.30 pm.  The Annual General Meeting is at 2 pm at the Redcliffe Church Hall, Guinea Street, Bristol.

Tickets for the dinner are obtainable from Bob Bagshaw either in person or by writing to him at 699 Wells Rd, Knowle Bristol 4.  The price of the tickets is, we understand, 12/6.

Voting forms for the 1962 committee are included with this B.B.  We apologise for their lateness, but remind members that they can be sent in any time up to the opening of the A.G.M.

To enable late entries to be included, the closing date for the photographic competition has now been extended to the day of the A.G.M.  However, the organiser would like to remind members that late entries will increase the difficulty of judging and exhibiting the entries, so members are asked not to leave it until the last moment unless it is absolutely necessary. The entries will be on view at the dinner and the prizes presented.

There is still time to enter for the song competition.  A few members are known to be struggling with a song apiece at the moment, so why not add to the ranks?

Finally, the Caving Sec. has arranged a G.B. trip for the Sunday after the A.G.M. and dinner to round off the weekend.



A full list of names of Cuthbert’s Leaders is now on view at the Belfry.  The list will also be published in next month's B.B. and at intervals afterwards to keep it up to date.

Araldite & Archaeology

It is a known fact that certain members of the B,E.C. have long sworn by Araldite as an A.1. adhesive, it apparently surpassing even the traditional organic adhesive used on blankets etc.  Now, according to CIBA Ltd. (Tech. Service Dept notes No 218) Araldite in one form or another, is proving invaluable to the archaeologist as a medium for preserving and for restoration work in museums.

One of the early examples was the case of the Dead Sea Scrolls where highly corroded copper sheets were reinforced with a coating of Araldite before being dissected for study.

Epoxy resins in general have excellent adhesion to many of the different materials met with in archaeological work and are also extremely durable and resistant to many other chemicals. More important than this, however, is the fact that not only can these resins be persuaded to penetrate an object, but on drying the shrinkage is negligible, ensuring little risk of distortion in the preserved object.

Of the cases quoted by CIBA, the most interesting is that of a wooden boat 14 feet long, found in mud which had formed the bottom of a lake drained one hundred years ago.  Dated by C14 to the 14th Century, the boat had a unique construction, being basically a dug out canoe with clinker built sides and it was decided to preserve it in the National Maritime Museum.  As it dried out slowly over twelve months, the wood became fragile and to consolidate the surface, a type of araldite was brushed on.  Copies of the paper describing this and other work may be obtained from CIBA Ltd. Duxford, Cambridge.

K.S. Gardner.


To the Editor of the B.B.

Dear Sir,

I read Ray Winch’s letter with considerable interest as I felt that it touched on a subject of great importance to a club like the B.E.C.  I have heard complaints of lack of leadership in the club on many occasions, right back to 1945; but, on reflection, most of the complainers have come to realise that not all of the trouble rests with someone else.

The "sitting around in the Belfry waiting for something to happen" theme is an old and all too familiar one.  Some people like to sit around and have a restful time - and who can blame them?  I myself can look back on very many such weekends spent nattering; eating and drinking.  Many, however, want to get out and do things.  The remedy for such people must surely lie in their own hands. If they have any spark of initiative in them they should not have to be led, but will lead themselves (and others) on to new ventures, always remembering their own limitations.  This is how a club grows and thrives, not by people moaning that there is no one to tell them what to do!

If any Belfryite doesn't want to go caving I am certain that he cannot fail to find something crying out to be done around the site.  If some people feel that this is not what they came to Mendip for, or that such jobs are beneath their dignity let me remind them that if the older members had felt the same (and these members included some of the elite cavers of the day who both built and caved) there would be no Belfry now for members to sit around in.  The attitude of mind which does not permit a person to look around for jobs to be done, and to do them for the common good, could well cause the death of the B.E.C.

Turning to the specific complaint of Ray's, I feel that he must either have been very unlucky in his time for sitting in the Belfry or very choosy about his Cuthbert's leaders during the month of May at least.  In that month, the B.B. logs nine trips - adequate scope I should have thought.

Finally let me say that I hope most sincerely that the day will never come when the B.E.C. will only admit active cavers as members.  Other people have done as much for the club in the past as any fanatical explorer to make the club the happy and continued success it has been over the years, and I would claim that it is only by admitting good types of varying interests that this success can be maintained.

Tony Johnson.

Editor’s Note.    This letter of Ray's seems to have stirred up some strong feelings in many quarters.  We print and extract from a further letter on this subject, as so many have been received but after this, we regret that further correspondence will probably have to be left out.  Incidentally, for the benefit of newer members, Tony Johnson was for many years the Belfry Engineer and he, amongst many other things, built the porch, panelled the walls of the living room, and organised the kitchen and women’s room extensions to the Belfry.


Dear Sir,

On reading through my august B.B., I was rather surprised at an entry in the caving log concerning Hillier's Cave.  This entry stated that a party had managed to get into the cave because it had managed to find the only Cerberus caver left.

Access to Hilliers is not difficult.  The Cerberus Cave Club has the sole rights to the cave, but they will provide leaders for most weekends if given about one week’s notice.  Any person wanting a trip down the cave should write to the secretary: - Mr. E.R. Cashen, Laburnum Cottage, Baltonsborough, Glastonbury, Somerset.  Telephone, Baltonsborough 300, who will provide them with a leader.  The club are also willing to let people carry out further work in the cave.  I should also like to point out that there are two members of the Cerberus in the B.E.C., namely G. Selby and B.E. Prewer who are also available.

Yours Faithfully,

B.E. Prewer.


To the Editor, B.B.

Dear Sir,

Since you are throwing open to debate the letter by Ray Winch (who, incidentally I do not know) I shall endeavour to add my comments.  I had no idea that the committee is considering a proposal to admit only active climbers or cavers (it isn't, Ed) but surely this is a bit steep. All the work which is done to the Belfry site is not done by active cavers so much as by those who have had the intelligence to fade gracefully away into the obscurity of a Hunters fog.

Actually, when I first attended Mendip, I met rather the same troubles as Mr. Winch, but by being in the right place at the right time, it is really not too difficult to get trips and with a fair bit of perseverance, become a Cuthbert’s Leader. It is when you reach that exalted position that you realise there is still an awful lot to learn.  As one example, I would quote a trip in which we spent two hours merely travelling beneath Quarry Corner without once sighting a passage familiar to any member of the party.

At this point, I would say that the 'leader system is imperative in Cuthbert’s and definitely rules out the odd bod just nipping down to get on with a dig.  With so many different routes that one may travel by, it is necessary to have someone in each party who is familiar with the geography of the cave as a whole.

I think that is about all I have to say, except that if Mr. Winch has not managed to get his leaders key by the time I get back in January, then perhaps I can help him.  Still, who wants Cuthbert’s as a first trip after about two years, phew!

Mike Wheadon.

Caving Log

2nd August.  Swildons to Sump 4.  Leader Ray Winch.

3rd August.  Nine Barrows.  Digging Party.  Going down between the boulders.

3rd August.  Swildons II.  Leader D. Ford.

3rd August.  Longwood.  Leader Ray Winch.

3rd August.  Cuthbert’s.  Leader Jim Giles.

4th August.  Swildons.  Leader R. Stenner.

4th August.  Swildons. Leader  N. Clarke.

4th August.  Hunters.  Digging in Railway tunnel.  Looks very promising.   Leader I. Dear.

5th August.  August Hole.  Leader Garth.

5th August.  August Hole.  Leader Ray Winch.

6th August.  Rod's, Drunkard's, East Twin, Goatchurch.

6th August.  Cuthbert’s.  Leader Mo.

7th August.  Cuthbert’s.  Water tracing and geological trip.  Leader D. Ford.

7th August.  Swildons.  Leader Garth.

8th August.  Hunters.  Leader Malcolm.

9th August.  Swildons.  Leader Roger Stenner.

9th August.  Priddy Green.  Digging trip.  Leader Malcolm.

9th August.   Gunner Fleet Cave.  Bruntscar area, Whernside.  Lower System.  Leader D.A. Rains  (N.P.C.) K. Ashtom (N.P.C.)  P.M. Giles, B.E. Prewer, R. Roberts.  Typical Yorkshire cave very reminiscent of Stoke Lane, with low crawls through stream and short rift passages.  A few reasonable formations and excellent  scollop markings.  The cave ends in a sump which siphons at intervals of a few minutes making rather odd noises.  Trip marred by dead ram in entrance.

9th August.  Runscar Cave (Ribblehead Area) K. Ashton (N.P.C) and P.M. Giles.  The cave is divided into two sections similar to Long Churn.  Top section entered below scar about half a mile east of Gunnerfleet Cave and can be followed for about 450' whereupon it emerges into daylight again.  Vadose trench with well developed formations and the roof rises from six feet to about thirty feet in places.  In extreme drought, the downstream section can be followed to the Horton-in-Ribblesdale road but when we went there was a sump after some 300' of passage.  This passage is in the same vadose trench with little development and floods easily to roof level.  Much grass was observed on the ceiling.  The downstream section also has a short tortuous oxbow near the entrance.

9th August. Swildons.  Leader Roger Stenner.

10th August. Bull Pot of the Witches.  Leader D.A. Rains (N.P.C.) P.M. Giles, B. Prewer and
R. Roberts.  The stream sinks into a gaping hole 30’ deep and about 30’ wide. It is very much like a small version of Alum Pot.  A small hole in the bank on the south side of the hole gives access to a tunnel leading to a chimney which emerges at the bottom of the pot.  On the north side of the open pot at the bottom, a short
tunnel leads to the top of a 60' pitch which can easily be climbed with a rope although we used a ladder.  Halfway down the pitch, a large boulder chamber can be entered but looked very unsafe.  At the bottom of the pitch, the stream is met with again and this is joined later by the water from Hidden Pot.  Following the stream, a short crawl leads to a series of traverse climbs which are very sporting.  Unfortunately, the majority of the lower series was flooded and consequently little more could be done.  The formations in the upstream part of the lower series are said to be very fine but the rest of the pot is of phreatic origin with little development but extremely rich in scollop markings.  It is believed that an aven, in the upstream siphon will one day be linked up with Lancaster hole but due to the vast scope of the Ease Gill and Leckfell areas, little can be expected of this for some time.  As a point of interest, the Pot gained its rather peculiar name long before any potholer arrived on the scene.  It would appear from N.P.C. records that the pot was once believed to have been inhabited by witches and the like, so perhaps Wookey Hole is not so unique.

11th August.  Swildons.  Leader M. Calvert.

11th August.   Yordas Cave.  (Kingsdale)  D.A. Rains (N.P.C.) K. Ashtomn (N.P.C.) P.M. Giles, B. Prewer, and R. Roberts.  Said to have the largest cave cavern in the dales, Yordas is a showcase which the local farmer runs during the tourist season.  Our visit was in semi flood conditions, and the whole chamber was awash.  Little in the way of formations, but the size of the chamber and the Wet Pitch on the north side easily make up for this.  The main chamber is approx 150' x 50' x 80' high.  The Wet Pitch is about 40' high and is the most, spectacular sight I have ever seen.  The rate and volume of water coming down made the Forty in Swildons under very wet conditions look like a dribble.

12th August.  Cuthbert’s.  Leader R. Roberts.

19th August.  Eastwater.  Leader George Honey.  Took the new taped way down to Dolphin Pot and Pitch.  Did some rock moving at bottom of the pitch nearly through the choke.  Returned to surface.

19th August.  Nine Barrows.  Shoring trip.

20th August.  Nine Barrows.  Digging trip.

20th August.  Eastwater.  Leader George Honey.  Second attempt to get through.  Moved many rocks but found that much more force was required.  Top of Dolphin Pitch appears to be moving.

21st August.  Swildons.  Leader George Honey.

21st August.  Swildons.  Leader Roger Stenner.

24th August.  Swildons II. Leader P. Franklyn.

26th August.  Cuthbert’s.  Photographic trip.  Bryan Ellis.

20th August.  Cuthbert’s.  Leader Jim Hill.

28th August.  Nine Barrows.   Shoring trip.

28th August.  Scrambles Swallet  (Ramspit).


The following poem is displayed on the wall of the M.C.G. hut and we hope they will not mind us reproducing it:-

Caver, O caver, pray where have you been?
I've been down to Mendip because - I am keen.
Caver, O caver, what did you do there?
I slept in a bed and I sat in a chair.

Caving Reports

The next in the series of “Caving Reports" will be No 6, "Some Smaller Mendip Cave's". If any member has details of any club of personal dig that they feel could be included, they are asked to send these details to the editor.  It is hot expected that there will be much to write about unsuccessful digs, but the following information, would be useful:-

 (1) Location and access (2) Grid ref of entrance (3) Altitude of the entrance (4) Total passage length (5) Max. depth reached (6) Tackle required (7) Historical account of work done (8) Description of cave (9)  Survey if any and any other points of interest.   So far reports have been received on Hunters Hole, Fairmans Folly, Alfies Hole and Vole Hole.  It is hoped at least to add Vee and Scrambles Swallet to the list.  It is hoped to publish the report before the end of the year.

B.  Ellis,
Editor, Caving Reports.


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle , Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept. C.A. Marriott, 7'8, Muller Rd, Eastville, Bristol.