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From now until the Annual Dinner, which will be held this year at the Cliff Hotel, Cheddar on Saturday October 7th, many reminders will be going out to members on various subjects connected with the Dinner and the Annual General Meeting.  The first of these - the nomination form - will be found in this copy of the B.B. As well as the usual space for the nomination of candidates for the 1962 committee, there is also a place on the form for member's resolutions.  These do not have to be sent in with the nominations, but, if you have some point which you would like to have brought up at the A.G.M., the form is a convenient place to write it down so that it won't get lost.

This year there is also the photographic competition and the song competition.  We want lots of entries for both, so get organised while there is still plenty of time!

We have just obtained a new typewriter for the B.B.  We hope that it will help to make the print more readable.  We could still do with contributions of PAPER which should be of foolscap size and duplicator type.



There will be a trip to AGGY AGGY on the 9th of September.  This trip is being organised by Alan Sandall, who should be contacted for further details.


Jim Giles (hereinafter referred to as 'the organiser’) has told us that the judges for the photographic competition will be JONAH, JOHNNY EATOUGH and "PONGO" WALLIS.  In the event of any one of these three judges not being able to turn up for the A.G.M. and dinner, "SAGO" has offered to act as a judge.     Don't forget that the closing date for this competition is the 15th of September.  Rules for the Song competition, also arranged by the organiser, will be found in this issue of the B.B.

Letters to the Editor of the B.B.

Dear Sir,

May we add to the recent remarks and correspondence concerning the St. Cuthbert’s leader system?

Since the cave was opened, there has been a steady deterioration in the condition of the cave (i.e. muddy hand prints on formations, broken formations, chocolate papers left about and spent carbide left in places other than those recommended. This deterioration has increased rapidly during the last two years in spite of the leader system.  We suggest that the rules be tightened up and that a limit be put on the number of cavers that one leader should take.  A list of all the leaders should be published.

We were recently amused, on reading the caving log, to see that it seems fashionable for some leaders to rediscover parts of the system already described in the caving log and the B.B.  This will soon lead to various parts of the cave having two names and this may have already happened.  The up-to-date St. Cuthbert’s Report is urgently needed, as is a meeting of leaders etc to allocate research projects.    There is much to be done without duplicating previous people's work.

Yours Sincerely,

John Eatough; R.S. King; Johnny Attwood; Roy Bennett; “Mo” Marriott.


St. Cuthbert's is one of the finest, and certainly the most complex, cave system on Mendip to date.  This makes it the sort of cave which is, and should be even more in the future, an object for serious research.  The present leader system, in my personal view, is an attempt to compromise between giving the ordinary caver a decent chance to go round the cave, and preserving it as intact as possible, for present and future research work.  It is worth noting that Derek Ford, who has recently been doing scientific work in the cave, was quite impressed with the general state of the cave and congratulates the club on the way in which it has been so far preserved.  This is all the more reason why we should not let it slip at this stage.  The club is placing considerable trust in the Cuthbert’s leaders and it is surely up to those leaders to recognise this and to keep an eagle eye on their parties at all tines.

As for duplication of discoveries, it is surely one of the first things that any potential discoverer of anything does to check that no previous record of that discovery exists.  All Cuthbert’s discoveries are pretty well written up nowadays and there is very little excuse for anyone falling into error here'.  Editor.


To the Editor, Belfry Bulletin,

Dear Sir,

I was astounded to read in your May bulletin that an 18" stalactite had been broken off in St. Cuthbert's Swallet.  It was not the act itself that astounded me, but the revelation - by the publication of what was termed a 'Caving Log' - that your club are still going into caves. I must ask you to reconsider the entire question of entering caves in the light of modern speleological thought.

The fact is that, although people are rightly concerned about the visible effects of their visits to caves, they fail to take into account the chaos they have caused in the unseen physical world.  The passage of a person through a cave may appear to, leave it intact, but in fact he has probably upset the chemical balance; arrested crystalline growth and left the ecology in smoking ruins.

The balance of nature in caves is very finely adjusted, simple self-reproducing fungi forms and viable bacteria are in the soil, air and water and lend support to worms, tiny beetles and Crustacea.  A caver lifts samples of these from one part of the cave on his clothing and sets them down elsewhere, causing the multiplication of certain forms of life in parts of the cave at the expense of others.  Numerous alien bacteria are often introduced.  If we could examine a caver under a high powered microscope - especially your members - we should see that they are surrounded by clouds of their own germs, playing old Harry with the local breeds.  The caver leaves a trail of exhaled breath throughout his journey and may temporarily raise the CO2 content of the air by as much as 0.1%. Surely, as a preliminary measure, it is not asking too much that you should take in your own supply of air and take out your exhaled breath.

The use of flashbulbs causes photosynthesis affecting the pigmentation of certain life and crystal forms. I have found isopods quite blinded after having lights carelessly shone upon them.  Crystals grow into grotesque - shapes after being subjected to the pressure of nailed boots and one could go on finding similar examples indefinitely.

Surely the time has come for the B.E.C. to join with other leading caving clubs of this country and use their resources to prevent people from entering caves rather than encouraging them.  The wanton exploration of unknown caves must cease.  Perhaps in ten years time we shall be able to relax, having gated or blocked all the entrances, and rest content in the knowledge that beneath us the caves are secure in their natural state, unspoilt by the presence of man, developing as nature intended in their pristine splendour.

Yours faithfully,

Harry Pearman.

Note.    Mr. Pearman, of the C.S.S., has graced these pages before, when he gave us another insight to his vast fund of knowledge.  Unfortunately, this must of necessity be an infrequent occurrence as the passage of germs and other micro-organisms from one part of the country to another caused by his sending these communications obviously constitutes a grave threat to the ecology of the country as a whole.  It is suspected that the well known Lamp Pox was originally brought to Mendip in this manner, as, previous to visits by the C.S.S., it was unknown in this part of the country.   Editor.

Archaeological News

Axbridge Museum.

Saturday 22nd July saw the official opening of the new Axbridge museum by Prof. L.S. Palmer. The museum of the Axbridge Caving Group and Archaeological Society, until recently housed in a large wooden construction just off the town square, has been fortunate in finding a home in the Town Hall.  The new surroundings are more fitting for its excellent collection of archaeological and speleological exhibits.  The members of the society in general, and Jack Weare, their curator, in particular are to be congratulated on the results of their work.  A visit to the Town Hall is thoroughly recommended.

One of the most interesting cases, from an archaeological point off view, is that housing the Haywood Cave Burials.  These were discovered when the society began to force an entry into Haywood rock shelter. A cairn of stones which blocked the entrance was found to contain ten human skulls mixed with ochre and implements of Mesolithic date - the first burial of this type and date to be found in this country,


Recent excavations on the site of a Dark Age/Medieval cemetery on Lundy, carried out by members of the B.E.C. and Lundy Field Society, revealed foundations of buildings, tumbled walls etc, associated with 14th century pottery.  A hitherto unknown tombstone was discovered, orientated N-S, with the inscription L L L C O H I, which as yet we have been unable to decipher.

Caves on Lundy will be examined at a future date in detail but can be classified as follows:-

(a)                Artificial "caves" in the upper Devonian shales.

(b)                Sea caves in granite at present sea level.

(c)                Sea caves in granite above present sea level.

(d)                Artificial holes in granite

Group (a) includes such "stores" as Benson's Cave beneath the 13th Century Marisco Castle and Group (b) the caves of Seal Hole, Virgin’s Spring (a freshwater spring in a sea cave) etc.

An unrecorded hole high up in a granite fissure was pointed out by a man who entered it some fifty years ago and it seems to have been either a mine or some secret store place.

Archaeologically, the most interesting are the high level caves of the Double Decker and Queen Mab's Grotto which compare with the raised beaches of the Devon coast and the prolific cave sites on Gower to the north. Mesolithic flints and Bronze Age remains have been found on the island and it is hoped that these caves may produce further evidence of prehistoric occupation.

K.S. Gardner.


The second conference of Cave Rescue Organisations will be held during the weekend Sept 30th/Oct 1st 1961 in Bristol. Further details will be published later, but it would be appreciated if members having any suggestions or topics for discussion would let me know as soon as possible.  Amongst those already tabled are:-

Sumping apparatus; Problem of bad air; Design of stretchers; Relations with police; Moving boulders; Special apparatus; Training of cavers in C.R. techniques; C.R.O. in Ireland.

K.S. Gardner.

CAVING LOG for 1961

28th May. St. Cuthbert's.  Norman, Keith, Pete, Mo.  Fixed the Coase Memorial plaque in Cerberus Chamber.

23rd May.  August Hole.  Ray and Pete.  Upstream passage.

3rd June. St. Cuthbert's.  Jim Giles, Alfie and Sett.  Checking possible places for new entrance.  The top passage was lengthened by six feet and a  survey made.

3rd June. St. Cuthbert's.  N. Petty and R. Stenner.  Continued to fix the Coase Memorial  Plaque.

3rd June. St. Cuthbert's.  Keith, Pete Franklyn and Mo.  More digging upstream of Dining Room.  Air space found and strong draught noted.  More digging required.

3rd June.  Raiders Rift and Hawks Hole.  Ray Winch.

4th June.  Swildons.  Mike Calvert and Ron Wynkell.  To sump to find specimen tubes left by Bruce Lynn.  No catch.  Water very low.

4th June. St. Cuthbert's.  D. Ford, P.M. Giles ("Beau" Giles).  D. Ford continued his geological survey. Gour Hall to Everest Passage.   Jim took photos in the same area.

10th June. St. Cuthbert' s.  To Cerberus Chamber with R. Winch and Mike Johnson.  The Don Coase plaque is now fixed.  N. Petty.

10th June.  St. Cuthbert's.  P. Millar, S. Tuck, K. & P. Franklyn, Mo.  Continued digging in stream passage, dig eventually abandoned and stream diverted down hole.

10th June.  Swildons IV.  Party Phil Davies (W.C.C.) John and Garth.  This trip was to transfer equipment into IV for the attempt on VI on the 17th.  We were a tired party by the end of the  trip.

19th June.  August Hole.  Ray Bushy plus one other.

11th June.  Swildons.  Fred Davies, Derek Ford, Nigel and three others.  Took kit down to IV.  Nigel was clapped out at the end of it all.

17th June.  G.B.  Keith, Pete, Paul Mack, Sheila, Mo, four others, R. Stenner plus two schoolgirls from Lockleaze on a photographic trip all taken with side lighting.

19th June.  Swildons.  P.M. Giles, W. Foster, K. Thompson, B. Dibben.  Tourist trip to Barnes Loop.

18th June.  Hilliers.  Ray, Bushy and some others.  We managed this because we found the only Cerberus caver left.

24th June.  Swildons.  George and Dave. Paddy, Nigel and Ron Wink ‘ole.  Quick trip down to sump I where Dave and Ron rested.  George, Paddy and Nigel went down to Sump II.  Water was b…..y cold.

25th June.  Swildons IV.  P.M. Giles, K. Dawe (S.M.C.C.)   Removal of diving and other equipment from IV and collection of dye samples from the wet way, sump I and Series IV.

25th June.  Stoke Lane Slocker.  Ray, Bushy etc.  The most distant parts of the cave are obviously not often visited and the glitter etc of the formations is something quite different from anything else I have seen on Mendip.  It was absolutely superb.  The best trip I have been on for years.  On the way back, of course, Bushy's trousers burst.

1st July.  Dallimore's.  Ray and Bushy.  Not exactly a super cave but can be entered when you cannot get down Cuthbert’s.  There are a couple of passages which would go after a bit of digging.  I don't think there is much future here though.

1st July.  Swildons.  J. Hill, P. Mack, M. Luckwell.  Trip down to Sump I.  Very dry indeed.  Despite that, two thirds of the party arrived at the bottom of the forty with no lights.  The Beach at Sump I was in a quite disgusting condition.  Air smelt strongly of C2H2 and there were empty carbide tins, discarded clothing and  spent carbide which made the whole place look like a rubbish tip.

2nd July.  St. Cuthbert's.  D. Ford. P.M. Giles.  Derek continued his geological survey.  Cerberus Series from Dining Room to Everest Passage and Curtain Chamber.  The lake is now dry.

2nd July.  St. Cuthbert's. Leader J. Hill.  Tourist trip to Dining Room.

4th July.  Swildons. Keith Gladman & Tony Lowes.

6th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  R. Roberts. R. Boakes, B. Lynn.  A 56 hour trip.  Most of the kit had been taken down on the previous weekend.  We camped in Cerberus Hall, which needed levelling.  This is an excellent site.  Our main occupations were sleeping and eating.  We did however, find time to undertake a complete exploration of Cerberus Series, which is far more complex than most people realise.  The lake in Lake Chamber is completely dry and there is quite a lot of passage at the far end, ending in a 15’ rock face which might be worth investigating.  We left the cave on Saturday night and hurried to the hostelry for suitable refreshment.

9th July.  Swildons.  Keith Gladman, Mike Calvert, Mike Lunner.  Round top of the cave on a trip which included going through Don's Delight.

8th July.  Raiders Rift and Hawks Hole.  Ray and Bushy.

9th July.  Rod's Pot.  R. Stenner plus two girls and one boy.

10th July.  Longwood. Keith Gladman, Tony Lowes.  Stream bed dry.  First sign of running water in the main chamber.  Final passage now blocked with several large boulders.  Found large BULL in barn on return.

11th July.  Back of Gough's.  Derek Ford, Keith Gladman, Tony Lowes, Peter Barker.  Good cave with many interesting and tight passages.  Had some difficulty finding the chimney that goes up to boulder chamber (very muddy).  Comical to listen to comments that weegees made as we were going through.  Had a look at Coppers Hole dig and found that the dig has been flooded.  Also shoring very unsafe.

11th July.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Prew, Keith Gladman, Gordon.  To Dining Room.

15th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  D. Ford, Jim Giles, R. Pyke, C. Hawkes.  D. Ford continued his survey.

15th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  Jim Hill,  Mike Calvert.  Failed to find Bypass Passage.

16th July.  Stoke Lane Slocker. F. Davies, R. Dunster, ?, M. Giles.  Trip to first sump which F. Davies passed but Giles baulked.

18th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  Bennett, Eatough, Attwood, Kangy.  Stepping lightly around the huge piles of corruption left by exhausted parties after previous intrepid expeditions, we arrived in Boulder Chamber.  We ventured into a “more complex series than you might realise" known collectively as Coral and Rocky Boulders Series.  "No, No!" we cried as he pulled and pushed yet one more boulder upon us until at last we reached virgin cave, passing Bennett’s previous best.  A very nice trip.  Kangy.

16th July.  Browne’s Hole.   Alfie, Nigel and Jill.  Two slim chaps went surveying with an astrocompass.  The Lamp Pox became evident after a while.

21st July.  Swildons.  Garth, Rosemary, Gordon, John R.

23rd July.  St. Cuthbert's.  B. Ellis, D. Ford, M. Grimmer, C. Goffin, P.M. Giles.  Geological survey plus collection of dye samples.  Dye was put into Plantation Swallet the previous week.  It appears that Plantation Junction is correctly named.

28th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  P.M. Giles, N. Clarke plus 4 schoolboys.

29th July.  Swildons IV.  K. Dawe, Eric, Nigel Clarke, Roger Boakes, Richard.  Sherpa trip to kitchen.

30th July.  Swildons.  R. Stenner + 2 boys.  Top series.

30th July.  Swildons.  D. Ford, O.C. Lloyd, H. Kenny, M. Hooper, P.M. Giles.  Another abortive attempt on the sump by P.M. Giles who, with M. Hooper returned to surface, while the others went on into series II.

30th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  A. Sandall, N. Ballet, N. Clarke, I. Dear, P.M. Giles, C. Sandall, R. Wyncoll, M. Palmer.  Lots of mud and Alfie Collins took part in the digging of the new shaft.  Contact was established with the passage mentioned in the trip of 3.6.61.  Some persuading of the intervening rock is now necessary.

30th July.  Hollowfield Swallet.  R. Wink 'Ole, Mike, Gerry, Mike L.

30th July.  Rod's & Drunkard's.  Ray Winch and some Brampton boys.

31st July.  St. Cuthbert's.  P.M. Giles, R. Pyke, N. Clarke.   Maypole Series.

31st July.  Swildons.  Ray and Bushy to Shatter Pot.  Bushy' s trousers split again.

1st August.  Cuthbert's.  D. Ford and R. Wynkoll. Maypole Series.

1st August.  Nine Barrows Swallet.  P.M. Giles, B. Prewer, N. Clarke, Ron Wynkoll.  Entrance tidied up and several large boulders hauled out.

1st August.  St. Cuthbert's.  P.M. Giles, N. Clarke.

2nd August.  Cuthbert’s.  Two trips led by Jim Giles and Mike Palmer with two members of the Craven Pothole Club.  This was the first exchange trip into the cave for some time and the tackle used was more than the club possess.  The total length of ladder used was 170’ and the ropes in use added up to 240’.  The extra ladder was supplied by N. Petty, and the C.P.C. bods allowed us to try a 120' length of COURLANE rope on the Pulpit Pitch.  This rope is nearly half the price of nylon and keeps an almost constant breaking strain over a longer period.  It is available from; HALLS-BARTON ROPERY, CLEVELAND RD, HULL.  All on the trip expressed their pleasure in using it.  A comment on Cuthbert's from the C.P.C.  "There's nowt like it in Yorkshire!"

Caving Log.

Owing to the amount of entries now being put into the club caving log, it is proving not possible to print it all in the B.B.  It is thus proposed to merely mention most trips and to print only trips involving work or new discovery.  Trips of general interest which are fully written up in the log will be printed as articles.  If anyone has any other suggestions, we shall be pleased to hear of them, and will arrange the printing of the log to suit the majority of readers.



WHY BE DIFFERENT. Everybody else will be wearing a CLUB TIE this year at the Dinner.  Get yours from Bob Bagshaw.  Price 1/6 only.      The tie chosen by gentlemen cavers with caving gentlemen in mind.

Song Competition

The following rules have now been received from Jim Giles:-

1.                  The song must be suitable for singing in mixed company at the Dinner.

2.                  Entries must be original and must be limited to the fields of caving and climbing and associated subjects.

3.                  Winning entries will be judged by a general vote at the dinner from the audience.

4.                  Closing date is the night of the dinner.

5.                  The competition is open to members and visitors.

6.                  Prizes to the value of 10/- will be awarded for the best two songs.

N.B.  Only the words need be original - any tune may be used.

PRIZES FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION.  1st prize in each class; 30/- Book Token. Runner Up in each class; 10/- Book Token.

Knots.  No. 1 The Bowline

by John Ransome.

It is a known fact that tying knots does not come easily to everyone, but all who go caving should at least be able to tie a bowline.  Your life, and that of others may well-depend on your ability to tie a bowline.  It is easy to tie and untie, and it is a good thing to practice tying it in the dark, or without looking at it, so that it becomes easy to tie it underground.

The most useful purpose for this knot (or hitch) is in life lining on ladders, pitches etc.

If possible, it should always be tied by the person about to use it.  A person is inclined to place more trust in his own work and, if tied by someone else, it may become too tight and affect the confidence of the person concerned.  In the case of accidents or with novices, the circumstances are of course different.

Take the rope in the left hand, and the end in the right.  Make a small loop in the rope, take the end and push up through the loop, take the end round the back of the rope, then down through the loop and pull tight.  With Nylon rope, it is best to put one or two half-hitches on after the bowline, as this type of rope is more likely to slip.

More knots in this series will follow at intervals.    Ed


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

Swildons Six

Our congratulations to the team who took part in the operation on June 17th.  For the benefit of those members who are not able to visit Mendip regularly, we hope to include an article in the near future, if we can persuade our representative - Frank Darbon - to write it up for us.  Until then, it appears that Six is some 240' in length, there are two or three side passages, and Sump Five has now been lowered so that, at any rate under low water level conditions, it is now a passage with air space all the way.

Club Ties

These have now arrived.  It is expected that there will be a great demand for them, so get YOUR order in to Bob Bagshaw as soon as you can, otherwise you may have to wait for the next batch to be ordered from the makers. You will find the price of the ties later on in this B.B.

Cave References.

To assist anyone who may be doing any serious work of research on Mendip caves, a list of all the references to original cave exploration and other serious work on Mendip which have appeared in the B.B. has been compiled.  A small number of these lists will be duplicated and will be obtainable from the Editor on request.

Supplies for the B.B.

We should like to record our thanks for the gifts of paper which have been received lately. Especially for the reams of Spicer’s Paper - which is at the moment being jealously guarded for the Christmas B.B. Further donations however, are urgently required, and will be greatly appreciated.  To those of you who had B.B.'s last month printed, on alternate sheets - Sorry, but this was due to the use of inferior paper which did not go through the duplicator properly.


Archaeology - Lundy

Several members of the B.E.C. are going to Lundy early in July to undertake an excavation on behalf of the Lundy Field Society.  The site, which is in a paddock called Bull's Paradise is probably a Dark Age Medieval cemetery and it is hoped to find any associated buildings which may be nearby.

During the latter half of the last century, a number of human burials were discovered including two of a "gigantic nature", the larger measuring 8' 2" in length. The site became known as the Giant's Graves, and a number of beads found with the giants have been associated with the Dark Age Irish type and are now on display at Bristol Museum.  Other relics of the period include a carved memorial stone and occasional shards of imported pottery.  There is historical evidence to suggest the presence of an early Christian chapel on the island, but the history of this and of subsequent chapels is very confused and it is not at all certain that the known chapel ruins are in fact those of the original building.  It may be that the early chapel stands on the site to be tackled in July.

It is hoped to convene a meeting of members interested in archaeology at some date before the A.G.M. in order to discuss the extent to which archaeological activities should be carried out within the club.  Personally, I do not wish to see the B.E.C. organising excursions or lectures which nobody attends and I would prefer merely to leave the club as a medium for active digging etc - but if anyone is interested in. those activities, it would be useful to learn of it.

K.S. Gardner.

Caving Log for 1961

6th May.  Cuthbert’s.  Leader Richard Roberts.  Party C. Hawkes, C. Smith, B and A. Lorder.   Short trip to Cascade Passage and Curtain Chamber.  Leader Frank Darbon.  Party Ron Wyncoll, Jim Morris, Anon, John, Ann Myrko.  Trip to Gour Chamber.  Alfie's torch makes a good clobbering tool if dropped from a great height.  Just missed Richard who was following.   Shame I missed!

7th May. Goatchurch.  Leader John Ramsome.  Party Mike Calvert and Gordon Tilly.  Tourist trip. Gordon had trouble with his boots. We looked in Avelines and a weegee asked if that was where we went potholing and was it dangerous.  A second trip there was done by Jim Hill and Paul Mack (to Goatchuch that is).  Eventually managed to find the drainpipe and had some difficulty finding the Tradesman’s Entrance.

7th May.  Mineshaft.   2 miles from the Castle of Comfort on the Burrington Road.  Party Tom Sage and Pat Irwin.  The Pot, covered by two spike harrows, is 40' deep.  At the bottom, the right hand passage ends in a 10' drop and the left hand one goes 15' on the vertical plane and finishes 10' away from the 25’ drop at the end of the passage.  Very pungent smell at bottom of first drop, probably due to rotting sheep.

6th May.  Cuthbert’s.  A. Sandall + 5 and Frank Darbon +5.

6th May.  Cuthbert’s.  Steve Wynn-Roberts and Bryan Ellis.  Surveying in the Rabbit Warren.  Completed the survey of major passages in this part of the cave.

7th May.  Cuthbert’s.  Mike Holland and Bryan Ellis.  Two parties of Wessex members taken round on tourist trips.

7th May. Swildons.  Dave Causer and Jim Giles.  Inspection of the damage done by blasting in the 40'   rift passage described on 29.4.61.  The upper hole in the constriction is now a lot easier, but it will take a few more trips before access to the passage on the other side is gained.

8th May. Swildons.  Ron Sago, Pat Irwin + 3 to Sump I.

7th May.  Swildons.  Leader K. Dawe.  Party Fred Davies, Mike Grimes, R. Boakes, R. Robberts + 1.  Slow trip to the ‘kitchen’ carrying lead weights for the diving op. Brought out suspect oxygen cylinders. Quite a wet trip into IV.

13th May.  Cuthbert’s.  Riohard and Roger.  Bug hunting trip.

14th May. Cuthbert’s.  Mike Baker, Mike Palmer, Dave Morgan.

14th May.  Longwood.  Pete Baker and Paul Mack.

14th May. Cuthbert’s. Norman Petty, Gordon Peckham,   Sunil Sinha & Stuart Tovey.  Returned to first pitch to find ladder removed and cave locked.  The climb was surprisingly easy and loud cries of “Help” brought a weegee to fetch the key.

15th May. Goatchurch & Rod’s.  Roger Stenner + 3 schoolboys.

22nd May.  Top of Swildons.  Roger Stenner + 2 schoolboys.

24th May.  Swildons.  B. Lynn and party to sump I.

25th May. Swildons.  Roger Stenner + 2 schoolboys round top.

25th May. Cuthbert’s.  Richard Roberts and party.  Intended trip down new route.  Near Bypass Passage there is a high aven with a heavy drip coming down. This might be worth pushing,

27th May.  Cuthbert’s.  D. Ford, R. Stenner, Steve Grime.  To sump,  D. Ford did geological work, while Steve and Roger roamed round the Rabbit Warren.  Rediscovered Don’s Helictites.  An interesting dig found with good possibilities.

27th May. August Hole.  Ray and Pete,

28th May.  Swildons.  Trip into Swildons II.  Water surprisingly warm.  Len Dawes, Jim Giles, George Pointing, Dave Berry, P. Oldfield and 5 Wessex types.

Whitsun.  Bar Pot and G.G.  Mo, Norman Petty, K. & P. Franklyn, Jim Giles, Tierney and Yorke did a through trip from Bar to G.G. and up on the winch.

Whitsun. Alum Pot.  Above party plus Alan and Carol Sandall and minus Tierney visited Upper and Lower Long Churn and Alum Pot.  Only half the party were able to use the Alum Pot way out as the White (?) Rose took their ladder out.

Whitsun.  Borrins Moor Cave.  Mo, Norman, Jim Giles, Alan Sandall, P. & K. Franklin & Yorke.  This is an interesting swallet not far from Alum. Also found a small swallet flooding Alum Beck not marked in Pennine Underground.

Barometers In Caves

by Roger Stenner.

This is a short article intended as a postscript to the original article (which differed slightly from what I had written on one or two important matters) published in the Christmas B.B. for 1959.

A capsule aneroid barometer was taken through St. Cuthbert’s Swallet in a trip deliberately lengthened to give a more severe test of the instrument on the 2nd of August 1959. There was a five hour interval between two measurements at one particular station, and the corrected pressures were exactly the same. Although this was promising, there was still a possibility of error.  In other words, although common, sense backed up by a fair bit of scientific work - said that the method was sound; the case was not statistically proven.

However, it is now possible to evaluate the results in the light of more recent work by Mr. D. Ford, who has surveyed a large section of the cave to a C.R.G. Grade V.

Mr. D. Ford

M. R. Stenner


Highest point, floor of Gour Hall.

Stream outside Dining Room


0 ft.





Lip if Great Gour.

Dining Room Table






As the survey continues, more comparisons will be available.  Bearing in mind the difference in altitudes of two of the stations (think long - think wise - think clear) the agreement is, I think, remarkably good.  It is now clear that a barometer of the type used in Cuthbert’s would fix the altitude of any given station to ±2 foot (or possibly 1’) provided that the weather be stable, and that the trip be made as quickly as possible.

R. Stenner   31.5.61.


Can You Tie Knots?  A series of illustrated descriptions of some of the more useful knots for caving and climbing starts next month in the B.B. Our continued apologies to those others who still have articles waiting for publication.  It's all this dreaded caving that takes up all the room!


Nick Barrington’s “Caves of Mendip" is going to be revised and reprinted.  This bigger, better, and right up to date edition will be worth getting even if you have one already.  We will tell you when it becomes available.

Letters to the Editor of the B.B.

Dear Sir,

I was pleased to learn from the current B.B. that the committee is considering a proposal to ensure that only active cavers and climbers be admitted to full and permanent membership of the club.  Let it be made abundantly clear that the only acceptable reason for seeking admission to the B.E.C. is a keen desire to take an active part in exploration.  A candidate whoso capabilities in some, or other, active field of exploration is in doubt, should not got as far as full member ship.

But there is another aspect of the problem.  How best can the club make use of its potentially active members?  These so often have to sit about the Belfry for long hours waiting for a chance to do something.  If one does not bring ones own caving companions, or fails to get in touch with the right people at the right time, it is all too easy to go home on Sunday night having achieved nothing more than a sore posterior and a thick head.  The club has many projects afoot on Mendip, but how does one get on to them without wasted hours?  There is obviously a great deal of work to be done in Cuthbert’s and, as I have kept my long stove side vigils, I have often heard it said that there is a lack of manpower. Yet, even to members of the B.E.C. of some years standing, Cuthbert’s can be the most elusive cave on Mendip. If a member has proved himself an experienced caver, and if his sense of moral responsibility vis-a-vis formations etc. is beyond question, then I can see no valid reason why that member should not be encouraged to get on with some useful work without having to pay for it first with futile hours of waiting.  If a person has not so proved himself, then he ought not to be a full and permanent member of the B.E.C.

May I suggest as follows? (1) The publication in the B.B. and on the Belfry wall of a complete list of active Cuthbert’s leader's; a list of those in charge of the various departments and the syllabus for the guidance of candidates for Leadership.  (2) That members who are not leaders, but who wish to work in the cave be given free access to the cave provided that their competence and integrity is beyond question.  This for the purpose of undertaking special tasks under the general direction of the member in charge of the appropriate department.  After my very long awaited single Cuthbert’s trip, my knowledge of the geography of the cave is obviously extremely limited, but to say that I am incapable of going down to a dig and getting on with the job is just silly.

As regards projects other than Cuthbert’s, may I suggest that a list with the names of those in charge be put in the Belfry?  As far as possible, means should be found of letting members get on with the various jobs.

I hope what I have written, will be taken as constructive suggestions.  I am not advocating unlimited access to Cuthbert’s.  I am not having a dig at Cuthbert’s Leaders. Those that I have been able to identify I know to be most excellent chaps.  Finally, while I am at it, what about a library of useful surveys etc. at the Belfry?  Or must this remain one of the services for which we are traditionally dependant on the Shepton?

Yours Faithfully, Ray Winch.

Editor's Note.     These are the sort of subjects that are hammered out pretty often at the Belfry.  Does anyone feel like answering them in the B.B.?  I would personally say that initiative had something to do with it. All the work which has been done in the past has rarely been 'officially' run by the committee, but the subject wants answering properly.  Any offers?





Whitsun in Yorkshire

A party of independents from the B.E.C. consisting of Alan and Carol Sandall, John Lamb and Garth departed from Bristol at 6 pm on Friday the 19th, bound for the “Flying Horseshoes".  The party arrived at the “Shoes” at five to one.  Norman's tent was built and slept in for seven hours.  G.G. the next day was quite impressive but in some places a little disappointing.  The walk to and from the caving area was pleasant but long.  The winch and its general arrangements were most impressive. There is a distinct lack of mud and sand in Mud Hall and Sand Cavern respectively.  Henslers Passage looked to be a decent bit of cave.  Prew ventured from the end of Sand Cavern to West Chamber and just missed walking into a bottomless pond of 'oggin.  Alan Sandall managed an interesting traverse over the top of the pond.  I turned chicken and went back through Sand Cavern.  As usual, Jonah was letting off flashbulbs all over the Main Chamber.

After an hour and a half wait, we emerged into brilliant sunshine.  On the way back to Clapham we intended to give Ingleborough Cave a look over, but the guide was not available, so that thought was abandoned.  A quiet drinking session was held in the “Shoes" on Saturday night.  Sunday, we wandered over to Alum Pot.  Quite small, but can be strenuous.  A nice 110' climb in very pleasant sunlight.  Carol quite enjoyed it.  A really good evening was had by all at the “Shoes” and afterwards at the Dump.  On the way home on Monday, we turned weegee and went over to Malham Cove and Gordale Scar. The trip home was uneventful except for an amusing traffic jam at Gloucester whore we stopped some crafty ?:/”% from jumping the queue.


(Besides the above party, 25 people arrived by coach and did the same trip as described.  Prew.


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

Club Rules.

The committee are at present engaged (amongst other things) in revising the club rule sheet.  These alterations will require ratification at the next A.G.M. according to the constitution.  The general principle involved is to have a set of rules which are really worked by members or can be properly interpreted.  Thus the rule about providing a lifeline in 'all dangerous places' depends at present on your definition of a dangerous place.  The revised rules put the responsibility on the leader of the party to check lighting arrangements, clothing and tackle according to the cave the conditions expected and the composition of his party. With the last few years’ record of M.R.O. callouts, it becomes even more necessary to take such arrangements seriously.

Annual Dinner - Photographic and Song Competitions.

Jim Giles has agreed to organize two competitions on the above lines.  There will be prizes.  We hope to be able to give more details in the next B.B.

Club Album.

Mike Baker has agreed to compile a club photographic album so if YOU have any interesting Caving/Climbing/Historical/ humorous pictures for inclusion, please get in touch with Mike.

Caving Trips.

There will be a beginner’s trip on the weekend 25th June on the Saturday or Sunday.  Contact Mo (C.A. Marriott) whose address is at the back of each B, B.

There will also be a trip to AGGY AGGY in early July.  Alan Sandall is making the arrangements, and interested people should get in touch with him. Do not leave it too late, as blood chits have to be organised for this trip.

Tea Towels.

The committee have arranged to purchase sufficient tea towels to ensure that clean towels are provided at the Belfry every weekend and regularly laundered.  If this amenity is to be a success, it is essential that towels are not used for cleaning bikes; washing cars; scouring detailers out etc.

Children at the Belfry.

Under some circumstances, when the Hut Warden can be certain that no other members will be inconvenienced, it is sometimes possible to allow members to stay at the Belfry with their families.  However, in all cases, the Hut Warden must be consulted and his permission obtained in advance and a firm booking made for particular days.  The committee will view any infringement of these arrangements with some seriousness.

Urgent Appeal.

Mike Baker is looking for someone who has a reasonable excuse to share in putting up a barrel with him.  It will be the occasion of Mike’s "decadence” soon, so if anybody else is liable to have their ten years of caving coming up and wants to share with Mike he will be very interested.

Don Coase Memorial Plaque.

Various friends of Don Coase's, who can rarely get to Mendip, would like a picture of the memorial plague in position.  This would be a nice gesture on the part of one of our photographers next time he passes that way.  The club could then have some copies done and sell them to interested friends of Don's.

May Committee Meeting.

Most of the business of the committee has already been covered in the above notices.  However, more notices will be found later in this B.B. Amongst other things, a scheme is afoot for improving the sink drainage in the Belfry as well as continuing to enlarge the car park and tidy up the site generally.

Caving Log for 1961

1st April. Swildons.  Upper  Series. Steve and Pete.  Also trip to the Double Pots next day.

1st April. Crackpot Hole ( Fairy Cave).  Swaledale.  N.G.R.  963955.  Dave Rains (N.P.C.) Mike Baker and Jim Giles.  A short photographic trip in a very fine cave. This cave is situated about thirty miles north of Ingleton in the Crackpot area of Swaledale.  This is a resurgence about two thirds of the way up a cliff and the two entrances to the cave are about thirty foot above.  The obvious way into the cave is the hardest and can make a very difficult trip if this entrance is used.  About fifteen feet to the left of this is a small hole leading into a level, Blue Pencil type passage which joins up with the stream after about a hundred foot.

We followed the Stream Passage, which is a comfortable height and about twelve feet wide, as far as the   sump. This passage is very similar in formation to Swildons below the Forty.  The sump is passable but is followed by a boulder ruckle which prevents further access by this route.

On the left hand side of the sump, a short tunnel (dug out under a stalagmite false floor) emerges into a large, almost circular chamber the ceiling of which is a forest of stalactite straws - some exceeding two feet in length. The floor of this chamber is made up of loose boulders and by climbing over these and negotiating a short drop, the stream is regained.

It is possible to follow the stream for a further fifty feet or so until a second boulder ruckle is reached.  At the moment this is the end of the cave, but someone is digging here, so perhaps another section may be added in the near future.  The total length of the cave is six hundred feet.

4th April. Swildons.  Dave Causer and Jim Giles, a six hour trip to measure up a side passage in the Shatter Pot dig for some bang.  We had a further look round the 250' of new passage - Shatter Passage - and found a streamway on the left.  Although this is not on the survey, we were not the first to see it.  This stream passage starts off as a very promising hole just above the ten foot overhang.  It runs level for about thirty feet takes a sharp upwards turn through 70° and forks after a further twenty foot.  The left hand passage carries on at the same angle and ends after thirty feet, giving access to a platform behind.  This platform we explored but it is chocked with mud.

The right hand fork goes on out of sight, but as the passage was at such a steep angle, looked quite tight, and there were a few handholds only, we did got go beyond twenty feet from the intersection of the two passages.  From this viewpoint, we could see for a further twenty feet before the way on turned.  We carried on looking around the main extension passage, but without any further success.  Had another look at the stream passage at the very end and agreed that it just didn't "go".

8th April.  Swildons.  Shatter Pot and Trouble Series. Party; Dave Causer; Jim Giles to Shatter Pot.  Mike Thompson; Mike Holland; Fred Davies; Ken Dawe and Bob Pike to Trouble Series.

Dave Causer and Jim Giles added a further forty feet to the Shatter Pot system of Swildons and the other party gained five foot at the right hand fork at the end of Trouble.

The Shatter Pot addition is off a side passage in Junction Chamber which, until Dave Causer banged an offending bulge of rock, could only be entered by half a caver.  Although this passage (which is a very narrow rift about thirty feet long) shows promise of continuing for at least another ten feet, it is not in the right direction for a sunless trip to Swildons Six.  In fact, if anything, it goes towards the recently found Shatter Passage, but only slightly.  The way on is going to be quite a feat of caving as the rift is partially blocked by rock having an "over or under" passageway.  As the lower route is too tight, the upper must be used to get back into the rift which twists about a little and is very narrow.  From our vantage point at the "over" route of the blockage, we estimated a further ten feet, making this addition some 35 - 40 foot long.  The rift is, for the first twelve foot, easily caved, by walking sideways and the remainder gives just enough space to walk normally.  From the entrance at the dig, the rift floor rises about eight to ten feet in its first twenty five feet of length.  Above, the rift is about ten feet high for the first twelve foot, then it gains perhaps a further five to ten foot, getting wider at the top.

In Trouble Series, the party gained only five foot and there appears to be little promise of a breakthrough    to Swildons 2.  A small circular hole was found in the floor of this five foot extension and goes down for an estimated fifteen foot.  No one was small enough to get into this hole and it was impossible to see down it owing to fumes.

4th April. St. Cuthbert’s.  Photographic trip with two Lockleaze schoolboys. Leader Roger  Stenner.  In the Dining Roan, it was found that a tin of milk had rusted through.  The oldest tin of food was replaced by a new tin.  1 pint of meths taken down.  The lake was dry.  Possible explanation.  When empty, the mud seeps down to block the small water exit - lake forms.  After a sufficient time, water softens mud and lake empties.  Time of cycle:  3-6 years.

9th April. Swildons.  Trip round Upper Series.  Garth, Brian and John R.  Leader, Jill.  Garth got stuck going into New Grotto.  Brian and Jill went through.  John was chicken.  Spare lights carried by all.  No trouble with them and no rescue required.

9th April. Cuthbert’s.  Party of five Bedford Schoolboys taken down the cave.  By way of variation, went down Waterfall and Wet Pitches.  Bryan Ellis.

10th April. St. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Roger Stenner + 2 Lockleaze boys.  I am sorry to, have to report that because of insufficient caution, one of the lads hit an 18" stalactite near Gour Hall and broke it.  The boy and I are both deeply sorry.  The work of thousands of years spoiled by two careless seconds.

10th April. Cuthbert’s.  Mike Baker and Jim Giles.  We left the above party at Quarry Corner and went to the new passage off the Boulder Chamber that was discovered on the 19th March.  This passage was filled with sand and gravel and was rather funnel shaped.  The loose gravel could be easily pushed through with the foot and could be heard going on down.  This squeeze leads round an ' S'   bend and finishes up in the side of a fair sized chamber.  This chamber - Sugar Bowl Chamber - is filled with sand, gravel and boulders to a depth of eight to ten feet.  Due to the dangerous nature of the floor of this chamber, great care must be taken when coming out of the entrance passage, which is high up in the side of the chamber.


A small hole in the bottom of this chamber seemed to be the way on.  To reach the hole, you just have to take one stop forward, and gravity and the sand do the rest.  Momentarily inspired with the possibilities of the unknown, we commenced to dig, but soon found the easiest method was simply to push material through the hole, and were rewarded with some beautiful noises bouncing about below us.  This should have deterred us, but we started to make the hole bigger (at that time not knowing whether we were above a large chamber or a large ruckle) and with some well directed kicks, boulders shot through the hole.

Then it happened!!


We both had that 'let down' feeling.  Everything seemed to be going downwards - sand, gravel, boulders and us.  I shot past Jim’s feet - not very nice at the best of times, finally coming to rest with Jim sitting on my knee (good job it wasn’t Spike).  On the way down, Jim taught me a new word - we had only slipped in about eight or nine feet but were very glad to reach solid rock.  I now know how a grain of sand feels in an hourglass.

The total length of passage is approximately 70 - 80 feet and a rope is advised for anyone in the Gravel Funnel.  Work continues.  This truly was Baker's Folly!

15th April. Swildons.  Ron Wink 'ole; Mike Grimes; Mike Chilvers.  In via Long Dry to bottom of Twenty.  On the way back, Ron lost his helmet and lamp, but found it with the aid of a spare torch - which shows how useful a spare torch is (or perhaps a tied-on helmet)

15th April. Swildons.  D. Causer and J. Giles.  Attempted to pass “Over-Under” blockage (see earlier entry) by using a thirteen inch stemple in the "Over" way.  The idea was sound enough, but it bends too much to allow easy passage by a caver.  Decided that it would be safer to use explosive rather than risk getting stuck in order to push this very promising passage.  By using a hand hold compass, we estimated that the rift turns towards the South or South West.  This is the direction required for Six.  Shatter Pot is going – Slowly!

16th April. G.B.  Leader Mo.  Party, N. Petty; J. Hill; A. Saudall; K & P.

13th April. Swildons.  Leader R. Roberts.  Party G. Owen; R. Books; M. Cuff.  Trip to Four.   This was the first trip to Four for the party.

22nd April. Swildons.  Leader Mo.  Intended to go to first sump.   Due to excessive water this was abandoned and the upper series was done.

22nd April. Goatchuroh and  Sidcot.  Phil   York; Jim Smart; Ron Towns.  First caves for Phil and Jim.  Encountered an army of candle using cavers.  Not only did Jim fall head first down the coal shute, but he fell over on a flat, straight road.

23rd April. Swildons.  Dave Causer and Jim Giles went down Swildons with the firm intention of doing Sump One.  Due to a technical hitch, party retreated after several abortive attempts.

23rd April. Goatchurch.  Garth took several people from Bristol round the cave.

23rd April. Cuthbert’s.  Party K. & P. Franklin, J. Dryden, Mike Thompson, Dave Bussell  and Mo.

23rd April. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Frank Darbon.  Party, Jim Hill, Noel Cleeve and Steve Roberts.  Photographic trip to Curtain Chamber.

23rd April.  Swildons. Richard, Roger Boakes and Mike Calvert. Trip to sump 1 for a cup of coffee.

29th April. Longwood.  Rowena plus six members of Imperial College three of which were girls.   Therefore the other three were men!  Ladder into main chamber, kindly put down by Peter and Pat.

29th April. Swildons Five.  Leader Ken Dawe.  Frank Darbon, Dave Causer, Noel Cleeve, Steve Roberts.  Trip to Shatter Pot for a bang after which we struggled down to Four.  All the party went through sump Four.

Archaeological News

by Keith Gardner.

For many years the study of archaeology has been amongst the aims of the B.E.C., although activities have been sporadic and undertaken by only a few.  The subject itself however is becoming increasingly popular, and to match this interest, educational institutions are introducing more courses; more groups are being formed, and more knowledge is being gained.

In order to channel this interest along useful lines in the B.E.C., whilst conforming to archaeological standards, it has been decided to re-form the archaeological section.  This will not only provide archaeological activities for members, but will also mean that the club itself will attract more members from the ranks of local archaeologists.  It is hoped that the club will affiliate to the local county archaeological society and to the National Council for British Archaeology.

One feature which the Archaeological section hopes to provide regularly is this archaeological news page in the B.B. in which will be published items of news such as notices of lectures; outings; excavations etc. and notes on any finds or research work and also summaries of proceedings of other societies received by the club library.

Member’s views and opinions would be welcomed.

Archaeological Courses.

Details of some twenty courses are held at present by myself, and will be supplied to any interested member.  They range from a course on "The Roman Villa" from 12 - 19 August at Cirencester costing 21/- to one being held in Denmark costing £45 - 50.  Many of these courses do tend to be expensive, but a good one is a weekend at Urchfont Manor, Devizes from Friday 16th Juno to Sunday 18th June. It costs £2.5.0   inclusive of croquet on the East Lawn, after Sunday lunch. An excellent hostelry exists in the nearby village (with a private path via the kitchen gardens).  The subject is "The Romans in Wessex."  Further details can be obtained from the Warden at Urchfont.


Sites where volunteers are welcome are numerous and nationwide.  Locally, the C.B.A. have advised the  following:~

(1)           Pewsey,  Wilts,   Neolithic Camp.  4th - 24th July.

(2)                     Cirencester. Roman Town Centre March and April.

(3)                     Nettleton, Wilts.  Roman Temple/Mausoleum.   Saturdays from 22nd April to 30th September.

Mr. Graham Webster will be excavating a Roman fort at Maddon Hill near Crewkerne between the 10th and 24th June.  For those touring Cornwall, there are excavations on a roman period site at Goldherring near    Penzance.  Should any member wish to learn of sites near his holiday area, this information can probably be provided.

Excavation of a Norse hall in Orkney, being planned for May and June, seems more of a B.E.C. type of project, as does the following gem.

St. Tudwalls, Fast Island, Caernarvonshire.

Excavations at St. Tudwalls, an uninhabited island of about 26 acres will be continued under the direction of Mr. D.B. Hague.  Work on a small medieval monastery last year produced some Roman finds.  Volunteers, preferably experienced, should be mesomorphs prepared to camp and forgo civilised habits.  A doctor; a cook; an architect and the owner of a small boat would be particularly welcome.  Food and passage will be provided.

Prehistoric Society London Conference. 

This used to be attended by members of the B.E.C.  It is from 12th - 15th May this year, and the Summer Conference is in Ireland during the last week in August.  Details from Keith Gardner.

Letters To the Editor of the B.B.

Dear Sir,

I came across the following recipe and felt that it would be useful for any members of the B.E.C. going to a small party.

Norfolk Punch (Date 1800)

In 20 quarts of French Brandy, put peel of 30 lemons and 30 oranges, pared so thin that least of the white is left.  Infuse 12 hours.  Have ready 30 quarts of cold water that has previously boiled.  Put to it 15 pounds of double refined sugar and pour on the brandy and peels, adding the juice of the oranges and 24 of the lemons.  Mix well.  Strain through a very fine hair sieve into a clean barrel.  Add 2 quarts of new milk.  Stir, bring it close, let stand for six weeks in warm place. Bottle for use.

(Note.  Presumably smuggled Brandy is best )

Joan Bennett.


To the Editor, B.B.

Dear Sir,

Perhaps I should reply to Ron King’s letter in the April B.B. apropos the flood warning notice outside St. Cuthbert’s Swallet.

On a number of occasions the M.R.O. has been called out by virtue of “responsible” cavers being trapped in Mendip caves by foreseeable weather effects.  Fortunately, the M.R.O. has always been able to call on the uncomplaining services of the Police or Fire Brigade and the latter have now asked for the co-operation of the caving fraternity in drawing attention to all the caves in which they are likely to be called in the middle of the night.  It does not seem unreasonable to comply with such a request from them.

The fact that this club has instituted a rigid control on parties entering St. Cuthbert’s, as well as undertaking flood diversion work etc, whilst to the credit of the club, does not alter the fact that the cave has been the scene of operations involving the fire brigade.

In theory, the decision of whether to cave or not is the responsibility of the leader, and in this instance it is doubt¬ful whether the notice will make, much difference, but as a general policy - at Swildons and Stoke Lane for example - it is hoped that it might have an effect.  The other potential sources of danger raised by Ron King are presumably borne in mind by the leaders and have not yet resulted in a call out.  The “Great Wetness” has.

K. Gardner, M.R.O.

Editor’s Apology

Owing to holidays, this B.B. has had to be produced in even more of a hurry than is usual.  It is realised that the contents, as a result, are rather "lopsided" and that the standard of production is not all that may be desired.  However, it is important to get the B.B. out before various trips, etc go out of date and members lose the chance of getting in on them.  We'll try and do better next month.


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

Club Membership.

The committee have recently been examining the methods whereby new members are introduced to, and join the club and have concluded that some improvements could well be made. The details have not yet been fully worked out, but the main new proposals include allowing a reasonable time for the prospective new member to make himself known generally in the club and, after he becomes a member, arranging matters so that his membership is not automatically renewable until, a reasonable time has elapsed.

The idea behind these proposals is to ensure that the interest of a new member in the club’s activities is sufficiently long lasting to make it worthwhile offering him permanent membership.  By this means it is hoped that we will attract serious cavers and climbers whose interest is great enough for them to remain active in club affairs for a number of years.

It will be some time before the results of such a tightening of membership conditions can be seen, but meanwhile it is worth noting that more stringent entry conditions do not necessarily lead to a decrease in membership.

Archaeological Section.

Keith Gardner regrets that he has been too busy moving into his new country residence to be able to produce Archaeological notes this month, but meanwhile, any members with any queries of an archaeological nature, or who want more information about the proposed activities of this section should contact him at his new address which is-

K.S. Gardner,                         Telephone No.
Keedwell  Cottage,                  Long Ashton 3048
Providence Lane,                    Nat.  Grid Ref.
Long Ashton, Somerset.          ST 537 709


DON'T FORGET the annual Midsummer Barbeque.  Names should be given to Sett stating whether Belfry accommodation and/or Binder are wanted for that evening.  Latest time for inclusion will be MIDDAY on the day of the Barbecue; SATURDAY JUNE 24TH. The fire will be lit at 11 pm.

FOR SALE Len Dawes' Austin Healey Sprite is now for sale.  It is June 1959 and coloured Red.  Extras include Michelin X all round; heater; washers; tonneau cover; reversing light; front bumper; rev. counter; laminated windscreen; luggage rack and workshop manual.  Offers around £470 will be considered.

Climbing Section.

There will be a visit to North Wales leaving Bristol at 6.30 pm 6th June and returning on Sunday evening. Camping in the Llanberis area.  Anyone wanting to join the party get in touch with Tony Dunn.  Phone Evenings Bristol 627621.


Congratulations to our Climbing Secretary Tony Dunn and Fay Walker on their engagement, announced on May 6th.


Photographic Competition

We have now received details from the organiser, of the PHOTOGRAPHIC and SONG competitions which are to form part of the Annual Dinner festivities this year. Members are reminded that the Annual Dinner normally falls on the FIRST SATURDAY IN OCTOBER.  The date, place, etc., will be announced later, but we print this now to avoid the date taking any members by surprise later.

There are to be four classes.  Caving, monochrome print.  Caving, 5.5mm colour transparency.   Climbing, monochrome print.  Climbing, 35mm colour transparency.  Competitors may submit maximum of two pictures to each class.  Prizes will be awarded to the winner and runner up in each class.

In order to give a better chance to all competing, a competitor may win only in one class. Runners up will not be subjected to this rule.  The prizes will be announced at a later date.

Entry forms will appear in next month's B.B.  The entries will be judged by three non-competing first class photographers using an elimination system similar to that employed by the Bradford Pothole Club. THE CLOSING DATE IS SEPTEMBER 15TH.


1.                  Monochrome prints shall be postcard size or larger.

2.                  Competitors may submit two photos to each class as a maximum entry, making a maximum of eight in all.

3.                  No professional photographer may take part.

4.                  All film used must be obtainable from any retail photographic dealer in the British Isles (excluding Eire and the Channel Islands.)

5.                  A picture entered in one class shall not be entered as a print or transparency in another.

6.                  No responsibility for loss, damage or destruction is to be borne by the organiser of the competition; his assistants or the Bristol Exploration Club.

7.                  The competition is open only to fully paid up members of the B.E.C.  (This will be checked!)

8.                  The decision of the judging panel is final.

9.                  The members of the judging panel may not compote.

10.              Processing must be done either by the competitor without aid or by a retail photographic dealer in the U.K.

11.              The entries must have been taken by the competitor.

Song Competition

In order to brighten up the dinner, and subsequent nights at the Hunters, a song competition is being arranged.  The entries should be connected with caving and/of climbing and should be humorous, up to date and original without being vulgar.  The competition is open to all, but the prize will go to the best B.E.C. entry. It is hoped that this will not deter others from entering.  We don't mind if you can’t sing or are shy of performing in public, as the B.E.C. choir can always be laid on (Otherwise known as the Bar Room Ballad Bashers) hindered if necessary by Alfie Collins and his Haphazard Harmony

If you can write your own tune as well, so much the bettor, but this is not necessary.  Only the words need be your own work.

The method of judging, and instructions of how to enter will be announced shortly.  THE CLOSING DATE WILL BE SEPTEMBER 15TH.

Cave Photography - Part Two - Technique

by John Attwood & John Eatough.


Having suitable equipment and having decided to make a caving photography trip, the first action should be to tick off the gear against a cheek list, and this should be followed by a ‘dummy run’ to see that everything works satisfactorily.  A flash bulb and an exposure of film will not be wasted if it saves finding unserviceable gear during what may be a long and difficult trip.  If possible, a fresh film should be loaded into the camera as reloading in caves can cause dirt and damp to enter the camera with disastrous results to camera and film.  In addition, fresh batteries should be put in flash guns.

The checked and working equipment should then be carefully wrapped in plastic bags and packed into the recommended ammunition boxes with some plastic foam underneath.  If those boxes are not completely filled, plastic foam sheets can be added so that cameras will not rattle about if the box is inverted.  On top of everything, a piece of material should be placed so that it can be used to wipe the hands before removing the cameras etc.

Setting Up.

On arrival at the site of the proposed activity, the tripod should be erected and then the hands wiped clean.  After this, the ball and socket head placed on the tripod and the camera and flash outfit set up.


The placing of the flashbulbs will be dictated by the circuit stances.  The position favoured by the photographic manufacturers (of the camera that is) is, generally speaking, the worst possible place for it giving a flat lighting.  To give the best possible results, some modelling light should be provided, by side lighting of some degree, and this can be 45o or more from the camera axis, but wherever it is placed, care must be taken to ensure that no direct light falls on the camera lens.

The best position for the lights can be determined by having some source (i.e. electric head light) moved around while the subject is viewed from the camera position.  The possibility of using back lighting should be examined as this often gives very good results when used in conjunction with "fill-in" light's.  Care should be taken to conceal all wires, whatever flash position is used.

When the situation being photographed is very wet, the camera should be covered by a plastic bag until the last possible moment and if the photographer’s clothing is wet, it will steam and this steam should not be allowed to pass between the camera and the subject during exposure, as it will cause an unpleasant softening off effect. The authors have seen many photographs spoilt by this steam from wet clothing.  A cable release can be very helpful in this respect as the shutter can then be released from a distance.


When the camera is being focussed, care should be taken to ensure that the correct distance setting is used.  Due to lack of objects  to use as a scale, and the lighting used by cavers, judging distances can be very tricky and the distances deceptive.  If your camera is not fitted with a rangefinder, measure the range with a tape measure.  This also applies to close ups using supplementary lenses.

Provided .that the camera has a “B” setting, and a cable release and tripod are available, the open flash method of illumination is by far the most satisfactory as the danger of damp or dirty shutter contacts causing early of late firing is removed. If some ‘action’ photograph is required, the open flash method can still be used if care is taken in setting up the camera and flash to cover the estimated area of activity.


Calculation of the correct exposure is based on the output of the main lighting, the speed of the film and the distance of the main light from the subject.  The Guide Numbers supplied with each carton of bulbs can be relied on to give good results if used intelligently i.e. reducing the factor by 25% or even 50% in very dark surroundings,  or for a dark subject and increasing it by 25% for a light subject (e.g. Cascade in St. Cuthbert’s).

In the exposure calculation, the main light only is taken into account, "fill-ins" being ignored.  Where a lot of light is required it is advisable to remember that where more than one flashbulb is used to light the same area, the guide number is increased by the square root of the number of bulbs used.  This works out as, an increase in guide number of 1.4 times for two flashbulbs; 1.7 for three and 2.0 for four.

If several bulbs are used in different places to illuminate a scene, the camera shutter should be held open,  but with the lens covered with a piece of black paper or similar material so that the lamps of the people arranging the lights do not record as long white lines while moving from one position to another with the flashgun.

When leaving a photographic site in a cave, great care must be taken to ensure that all the gear is packed into the boxes.

On return to the surface, all the equipment should be cleaned and dried out.  If possible, remove the film from the camera and make sure that it is thoroughly dried out before putting it away.

Editor’s Note:    There is not room for the suggested check list of photographic gear in this B.B., but we will include it next month.

September Series

by Richard Roberts

This is one of the most richly decorated series in St. Cuthbert’s at the present moment.  It is reached by talking the large exit out of High Chamber (on the Right Hand Side).  From there, the route is very complicated through a boulder ruckle and finally by a twelve foot climb into September Chamber.

Once in the Chamber, a climb over the loose boulders to the right leads to the real masterpiece.  All around, the stalactites are of the purest white.  To the right again, the chamber extends for about a hundred feet.  The archways above this are shrouded in stal. flow and the whole area has been vary sensibly taped off.  In the wall of the chamber at this point, a glimpse can be had of a really beautiful grotto.

Down the boulder slope to the right, a passage loads off which emerges in a small chamber - Trafalgar Chamber - in which is a magnificent column some three or four feet high.

A climb down a gently inclined slope at the lowest point in September Chamber leads to a small pool and a narrow squeeze on the left.  From there, the way opens into a large passage with several stalagmite columns in the floor.  This is the start of Victoria Passage.  Following this down, one reaches a small tunnel leading to a chamber with a crystalline floor.  It is really a shame to have to walk over it.  This is the Strand.  The formations here are also pure white and very abundant.  The Strand ends in a narrow rift running at right angles to it.  The left exit soon closes up, but the right hand one loads to a largo aven in the roof which goes…?  The whole series is very photogenic, and well worth a visit.

Odd Items

A magnificent hole is being dug at the Belfry for rubbish etc.  This is the largest hole we have ever dug and is well worth a visit before opening day.  Work has started on the new Cuthbert’s Entrance.  Sett did a strenuous caving exploration trip sorting out the passage which we hope to connect with.  John Lamb has returned to Mendip and he and Alfie celebrated by drinking a gallon each of Blue Keg.  Nobody honked.  Walt reckons that "they tourists" are responsible for pinching stones off his walls.  A piece of modern sculpture (complete with hole) has been presented by Mike for the new hut.  It has been found inadvisable to put too many onions in Binder.


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

Recently, we have received quite a few letters, mainly from club members who are not able to got up to Mendip as often as they would wish, who say that they find the B.B. an excellent way of keeping in touch and are satisfied with the present layout and contents. Others, on the other hand, may wonder why the bit which they wrote for the magazine has not yet come out, particularly as the editor is always moaning that he has not got enough material.

The answer to this latter question is that we try to keep a variety in the B.B.  The serial on Cave Photography started last month has unfortunately had to be postponed, as the author is on holiday.  This sort of thing happens quite often in a magazine as small in size and as frequent in appearance, as the B.B.  Other editors will no doubt sympathise.

Talking of other editors, we were most pleased to receive a copy this month of the WESSEX JOURNAL for which we should like to thank the Wessex Cave Club and the editor.  We hope that, from time to time, we shall be able to reprint caving news from this source in the B.B., and make available any of our own new caving articles to the Wessex Journal.  This will further increase the interest, we hope, of those members who wish to keep up with new caving developments on Mendip.

Finally, thanks to the two members who have already contributed supplies of duplicating paper, and an appeal for more.  The B.B. takes about a ream a month and the circulation is now just over 190 copies a month.

One last afterthought. Some time ago, we had some PHOTOGRAPHS in the B.B.  Admittedly, rather badly printed but this can now be remedied.  How about an illustration to YOUR next article? Enclose a print the size you think it should be in the B.B. as contrasty as possible (all soot and white wash) and with not too much black in it and we’ll do the rest!



Whitsun Coach Trip to Gaping Ghyll.

It is still not too late to book for this if you do it NOW.  Contact Brian Prewer, c/o Greenfields Farm, Upper Coxley, Wells, Somerset.  A good time is assured on this trip!

Thursday Climbing Meets.

These have started again.  Meet the Climbing Section, at about 6 p.m. on Thursdays by the tennis courts in the gorge.

Club Ties.

Owing to the firm involved sending the wrong colour; these are still not available for distribution.  We have asked them to be as quick as they can in putting their mistake right and hope to be able to announce their arrival  shortly.


Congratulations to John and Audrey Attwood on the birth of their son, Simon John.  He was born on April 8th at the Bristol Maternity Hospital and weighed 9lbs 10oz.

Caving Log for 1961

5th March. St. Cuthbert's.  Bryan Ellis took two Wessex members down the cave on a tourist trip.  Took the opportunity to remove some of the flood debris and mould covered rubbish from the Dining Room, more important, we took the drum containing the Primus and what spare food there was back from Pillar Chamber to the Dining Room.

11th March. St. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Richard Roberts.  Party Bruce, Mike G, Mike C, Ron.  September Series to Trafalgar and Strand via Main Chamber. Back via Cascade and Everest Chamber. This was originally a bug-hunting trip, but owing to the shortage of bugs, this aspect of the trip was cancelled. The water was very low.  What is someone who collects bugs called?

11th March. Swildons.  Rowena and Gillian - a lass from Australia.  'Gee, it's great' - down Wet Way to top of Forty.  Pretty Way home.

12th March. St. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Richard Roberts.  Party Frank, Bruce, Mike C., Mike G.  September Series to Strand.  Looked at odd passages but found nothing new.  We then went down to the stream which we could hear from Paperweight Chamber.  To the right - downstream - there is a series of interconnecting chambers ending in a vertical drainpipe heeding a rope.  The stream can be heard again from here.  To the left - upstream - is a very complex Boulder Ruckle which needs further exploration.

12th March. Goatchurch and Avelines. Leader Prew.  Party Pat, Frank, Colin Smith and Prew's mate.  A trip to test a dreaded electrismal/magnetismal prototype surveying gadget fairly successful.  It worked through about 500' of reel.

18th March. G.B.   Leader Alfie.  Party Richard, Pat, Tom Neil.  A mainly photographic trip to bottom of cave via Loop and Ox-bow, followed by trip up White Passage to the end.  Alfie and Tom noted the Devenish Effect - due to caves shrinking. The party rested at frequent intervals and the leader explained that this was for the benefit of the younger members of the party.

19th March. St. Cuthbert’s.  Leader Richard.  Party, Pat and Mike Calvert.  High Speed trip to stream passage below Paperweight Chamber.  Explored narrow fissure at end of chambers downstream.  This led to the stream passage again and after about 150’ ended in a sump.  There were several side passages which ended in chokes.  We then returned to the first appearance of the stream and had a 'thrutch' around in the Boulder Ruckle.  We finally ended up in the middle of Catgut Series on the main route to September Series. We were led out by Pat.  The stream passage described above had no visible traces of previous discovery.

19th March. St. Cuthbert’s.  Mike Baker and Roger Stenner thrutched around the Boulder Chamber.  Found a new passage with mud formations - stalactites and two mud stalagmites.  Went into Long Chamber.

19th March. St. Cuthbert’s.  Party Norman Petty; P.G. Davies; B. Baukin; S.G. Banks; D. Home; B. Redfern; J. Williams; Pam and Paul Reinsch.  Tourist trip to Sump via Cascade Passage, Curtain Chamber and Rabbit Warren.

26th March. Cuckoo Cleeves and Dallimores. Garth and Ron.  This was a wild discovery trip for the party.  A determined attempt was made to enter Cuckoo Cleeves, but when faced with the prospect of removing approximately five tons of clag, the beautiful indolence overcame us.  Entrance to Dallimores was accomplished by earoling down a rope into the mud bath.  A few reasonable chunks of stal were encountered down there, just on the far side of the main chamber (of which Jim Giles now has a photo).  On down the Slippery Shute, the way was apparently blocked. Slightly above and to the right is a muddy; wet; body tearing; non-British; non-cricket, temper loosening squeeze and Garth got well and truly stuck and being Garth, cursed like hell. We emerged from the cave wet and steaming.

23rd March. St. Cuthbert’s.  John Attwood, John Eatough and "Kangy".  High into the Wire Rift, then into that horror beloved of Bennett - Rocky Boulders.   Dug speculatively at the duck, then out.  Very dry, very nostalgic, very pleasant.

31st March. Swildons.  Party Nigel and Pete Bagcock.  First trip for Pete.  Down the Long Dry and then to the bottom end of Barnes Loop.  Pete, the idiot, dropped a ladder down the waterfall.  Back out the Wet Way.

31st March. August.  Party Garth and Keith.  Quick trip to the bottom to provide lights for three Reading nits who had been waiting for approximately seven hours for us.

Late entry. 10th Feb.  Weegee trip to Wookey Hole; Gough's and Cox's.  In each, got the usual patter.  Interested to hear about the Rev, Somebody or other who wanted to acquire some of the formations from Wookey so he put straw down on the floor and brought them down by musket fire.  I bet that caused a right clatter round the chamber!  Whilst in Cox's cave, the guide demonstrated how he could play with a rusty nail on stal curtains!  Party G.E., J.E. and and Johnny Eatough.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir,

I was interested to see a cute little "Warning – Great Wetness” notice above the entrance to St. Cuthbert’s Swallet.  I wonder why this is necessary?

As far as I know, St. Cuthbert’s is explored and visited under an approved leader system.  To be approved by the Committee each leader must have demonstrated that he is a competent caver, is familiar with the Cuthbert’s system, knows the rules applied to caving, with particular emphasis on Cuthbert’s, and will at all times treat the formations with care and respect.  With the leaders carefully vetted by our beloved committee, what more is needed? Surely unsightly, easily damaged notices are superfluous and a prize example of the Belt and Braces technique.  There are dangers in St. Cuthbert’s more lethal than an inconvenient stream down the Entrance Pitch.  A flooded Cuthbert’s merely means a longish wait in a relatively dry and well ventilated chamber from which communication can fairly easily be established with the surface.  Correctly dressed and equipped cavers will suffer only discomfort.  If we must have notices, please can they be more pertinent to St. Cuthbert’s.  Can they point out, for example:

1.                  The woodwork in the shaft.

2.                  The state of the boulders above Arête Pitch.

3.                  That the metal ladders are intended for the passage of one person at a time.

4.                  The risk involved in incorrectly using the wire in the Wire Rift.

5.                  It is good practice to pass Quarry Corner one at a time.

6.                  That several of the major series are not good insurance risks.

7.                  That there are recognised ways and places for refuelling carbide lamp

We are quite familiar with St. Cuthbert’s but familiarity, though it may breed contempt, does not reduce the dangers of the cave or the tragedy of spoilt formations.  I have the horror to be, sir,


We also note a slight inaccuracy in a recent account of the last Cuthbert’s flooding incident. Although the fire pump was very efficient, and a great help, it did not dry out the entrance pitch.  The best it could do was to keep pace with the water coming in.  Only by increasing the dam capacity by a small amount was the water temporary decreased, enabling the cavers to leave the cave. - Editor.

Side Lighting

That well known exponent of the technique of side lighting n caves, Mr. JIM GILES pointed out to the editor that the so-called cartoon which he drew last month was not a good representation of the effects which Mr. Giles obtains by using this technique and then allowing us some fine examples of some scenery he has photographed by side lighting.

In deference to Mr. Giles’ skill and undoubted mastery of the art of this form of photography, the whole of this apology has been printed SIDEWAYS

Secondary Lighting - A Near Miss

by Jim Giles.

The number of cavers on Mendip is on the increase again as the summer draws close, and perhaps a word of warning about lighting may save some trouble for the M.R.O.  It seems that, despite our club rules, some cavers do visit caves with only a single source of light and no worry as to what may happen if that light should go out.  I was once among those solo light cavers, and prided myself on my ability to carry on, using someone else's light.  A trip in Swildons Hole changed all that!

At about 1 pm on April 4th, Roger Stenner led a trip down St. Cuthbert’s while Bob Lawder led a photographic trip around the Upper Series of Swildons.  Dave Causer and I decided to go down to Shatter Pot using Bob’s party as sherpas on the 40.

Dave had a Nife cell; a carbide lamp and some spare carbide while I had a carbide lamp and two water bottles.  As the Nife cell was rather cumbersome, we left it in St. Pauls Series near Blasted Boss to be collected on the way out.  We reached Shatter Pot and left the spare carbide at the bottom of the pitch and went through the diggings to Junction Chamber where we measured up a branch passage.  At the end of the 250' Rift Passage, there is a small stream passage which at first suggested a way on, but is choked after a few feet.  This stream passage is 3’ long leading into a pool where the stream sinks. The pool is about 6’ long,   1’ high and 1’ wide.  On this occasion, it was half full of water, making it very muddy. Beyond the pool,   the passage widens a little and goes uphill into a small round choked chamber.

As I had not ventured into this passage on a previous trip, I decided to go through and have a look around while Dave remained behind.  As I emerged on the other side of the pool, I put my lamp on some mud.  I swore, but managed to light up again.  On my way back through the pool, I put it onto mud again. This time I could not get it going. I asked Dave for some light, but his lamp had also gone out.  We both tried to get our lights going again but without success.  I wore out my flint and my thumb while Dave decided that his    lamp was completely dead.  The only thing left to do was to try and light my lamp with Dave's flint, so I wriggled round and by splashing in the pool; we were able to get together.  I passed my lamp to him and followed out by touch.  Out in the 250’ passage, Dave was able to get my lamp going, but the flame was very weak and the addition of water made little difference.  With such light as there was, we were able to climb the 10' overhang (almost impossible on flint alone) and make our way back to the spare carbide, where we recharged and were able to leave the cave.

I hope if any single light caver reads this, he will learn by our mistake.  Believe me, it is not funny.  However, if your light should still go out, don't panic.  It’s surprising what you can do when you have to!


An archaeological section is being reformed in the B.E.C. and Keith Gardner is the Archaeological Secretary.  If you are interested, please contact him, or write to him at 10a Royal Park, Clifton.  He will be writing a regular Archaeological feature in the B.B. in future, which will keep members up to date in this field.

G.B. and other caves.

The Committee would like to remind all members that most of the Mendip caves are subject to some sort of arrangements before they may be visited.  In particular, visits to G.B. MUST be organised via the Caving Secretary, who will arrange for the key.  It is not enough to obtain the key from other sources, even if it is one of the B.E.C.’s guest days.


The Belfry Bulletin Editor,  S.J. Collins,   33, Richmond Terrace,   Clifton,   Bristol 8. 

Secretary.   R. J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road,  Knowle, Bristol 4.

Postal Department.   C.A. Marriott,  718, Muller Road,   Eastville,   Bristol.