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Nominations Forms.

Since there are a large number of new members who have not yet attended an Annual General Meeting than we usually have, it is probably worth while repeating the usual preliminary warnings.  The A.G.M. and Dinner is held at the beginning of October.  In next month’s B.B., you will find the voting forms for the 1961 committee – that is, if there are more than nine nominations are received. Members of the existing committee are automatically nominated for the next unless they wish not to stand again. Apart from that, it’s up to you to nominate people that you would think would make good committee members for 1962.


Caving Log

For May, June and July

6th May.   Lamb Leer.              R. Roberts and a party of nine B.C.S.S. did a short trip to the main chamber and side passages.

8th May.  Cuthbert’s.                Leader, Steve Tuck.  Trip to September Series.

21st May.  Goatchurch.           John Ransom, Trevor Knight, Jug and Pat Irwin.  Trevor and Pat went through the drainpipe.  John stuck at commencement and Jug got psychologically wedged. Quite a pleasant trip.

21st May.  Sidcot.                     Same party as above.  Went a third of the way in but Jug was leading and didn’t like the look of a squeeze, so the party turned round.

21st May.  Avelines.                 Same party as above.  Complete tour of the cave.

22nd May.  Swildons.               Garth, John, Jug, Pat, Bruce and Martin. Trip to sump.  Assisted member of another party who was nadgered and had a duff leg.  Got him up the 40’.  Otherwise an eventual trip.

22nd May.  Swildons.               Party, Nigel, Jim Borchard, John Downe, Llew Pritchard.  Quiet trip down Short Dry to Sump I, then back out the Wet way.  John laughed like a drain when he got wet.  Perverted?

28th May.  Cuthbert’s.             Party, Prew, George, Pat, Richard, Paddy and David.  Went as far as the Dining Room.  Went via Everest and back through the Railway tunnel.

29th May.  Sidcot.                     Party, Garth, Pat, Jim, George, John and Trevor.  A two hour trip in Sidcot.  Trevor, Jim and Garth tried to emerge from the triangle after descending the thirty foot, but found it too small.  A tour of Goatchurch also took place.

4th June.  Cuthbert’s.              P. Flood, Sandra, Jim Hill, Fred Holloway, led by Roger Stenner.  September series plus a bit of Catgut by accident.  Out via harem Passage, Railway Tunnel and normal route.

6th June.  Eastwater.              Garth, Roger, Jim and Sandra.  To Terminal via Twin Verticals.  Roger was a menace because he didn’t like the cave. Jim vanished at the top of the first vertical and was unfortunately found in the Boulder Ruckle.  We washed off in the Mineries.

11th June.  Swildons.              Frank Darbon, Pam Russell, Tony James, Ivan Crow, and Nigel Hallett.  A quiet trip to sump.  Back via Tratman’s Temple.

12th June.  August Hole.         Garth, John and Llew.  We intended a trip to Longwood but called it off because of a very recent fall.  We did August instead.  It was the first time down for the three of us.  We went as far as two hundred feet from the bottom of the downstream passage.

18th June.  Vee Swallet.         Digging in the tunnel of Vee Swallet. The water is about one foot deep! M. Ward and P. Miller.

18th June.  Swildon’s             Jim Hill, Pat Irwin and Anne Ritcher. Down the Wet Way to the Forty.  Turned back at the top of the Twenty.  Met a party of Wessex cavers at the top of the Forty (were they besides themselves with fright? – Ed.)  came out the Long Dry Way.  Anne’s first ever ladder pitch.  A steady, pleasant trip enjoyed by all.

19th June.  August-Longwood.           Llew Pritchard and Jim Borchard.  Down to the ‘S’ squeeze after the Great Rift.  More water than last week, but still fairly dry.

22nd June.  Cuthbert’s            Mike Baker, Mike Holland, Derek Ford. Tourist trip to Rabbit Warren.

26th June.  Swildons.              Frank Darbon, John, Richard, Jock and Jug.  Good enjoyable trip to Sump I.  Very little water going over the Forty.

26th June.  Cuthbert’s.            Norman Petty, Frank Darbon, Nigel Hallett, John Gallagher and six bods from Redland teachers training college. Lower Mud Hall, down Water Chute to Dining Room. Then out.

26th June.  Eastwater.             Twin Verticals.  Fab Eyles, Charlie Brown, Tony Davidson and Bob Grace.  Good trip leaving time for a swim in caving gear in the Mineries.

26th June.  Swildons.              Party, Sybil, Garth and a party of pupils from Sybil’s school.  Trip to top of 40 and out the Dry Way.

3rd July.  Cuthbert’s.               Leader, Kangy.  Party, Mike Holland, Derek Ford, Kit, John Downie, Jim Borchard.  Prospected Lake Chamber intending to float across it.  Horrid shocking dry.  Out via Rabbit Warren Extension and Catgut.  Mike Holland made it.  Weegee baiting in the Mineries followed.

3rd July.  August-Longwood.  Llew Pritchard, Don Luker and Pat Irwin.  Bottomed the swine.  All excepting the last hour’s tight squeeze.  We decided it wasn’t worth going on if the passage stayed the same. A party of schoolboys caused some delay on the way out, from the two ten foot pots onwards.  Don seemed to enjoy his first trip.

2nd July.  Emborough Swallet.          Much boulder shifting and much removed by a joint party of B.E.C. and S.M.C.C. as a return match after a similar joint effort of Priddy Green the weekend before.  (This trip got left out of the log).  Casualties numbered one bruised foot (unknown) one cut finger (Alfie) another cut finger requiring hospital treatment (Eric Fowler) and one bruise spine (Mike Thompson).  Watch for the next instalment of this gory tale.

3rd July.  Fernhill Cave.           This is a new hole – the fourth – in fairy Cave Quarry.  Alfie, Jill and Garth on photographic trip, down the fairly small hole opened a fortnight earlier by quarry blasting.  Entrance is an amazing rift forty feet deep by about sixty feet long, covered in stal curtains.  Very nice formations generally.  Taken round by Jack Hill (president of Cerberus C.C.)

5th July.  Eastwater.                Fab Eyles with a party of novices. Down to Rift Chambers to give them a good insight into the character of the cave.

9th July. Swildons.                   Nigel Hallett + 3 W.S.G. members.  A very quiet trip to the top of the Forty.  Hauled some idiot’s ladder up the Forty for them as they had taken it down with them to the Twenty.

9th July.  Swildons.                  John Gallagher, Ben Boyle and Alan Read.  Upper Swildons for the Forty.  Alan Read’s first.  Returned via the Wet way.

10th July.  Swildons.                To Sump I with a party who were either too shy or unable to write their names in the caving log.  An easy trip with little water.

10th July. Goatchurch.            Fab Eyles, Bob Grace and a schoolboy party of six spent a pleasant couple of hours exploring Goatchurch.

10th July.  Hunters Hole.         A weekend’s work from the 7th – 10th. Ian Dear, L:es Mortimer and Jim Hill. Laddered the cave of Friday night.  Two working parties went down on Saturday and Sunday consisting of Llew, Mo, Keith and Pete, Pat, Jug and Garth.  Dear’s ideal deepened by at least five feet and looks promising.  The Railway Tunnel dig extended by four to five feet in what looks like the termination of a rift.  Next instalment in a month’s time, all being well.

11th July.  Swildons.                Leader, Keith Galdman.  Party, Fab Eyles, Bob Grace, Tony Davidson and John Lane.  Good trip down to Sump I.  Keith and Fab went through to Duck I.  No mishaps.

13th July.  Cuthbert’s.              Kangy retrieved a bag from Stafford’s Boulder Problem.

14th July.  Swildons                 Bob Grace, Fab Eyles and seven Q.E.H. boys to Sump I.  Fab Eyles went through for a second time this week.  Good trip.  Ladders by courtesy of Derek Ford.

14th July.  Swildons                 Keith Galdman, John Lane and Nick Lechmere (Mr Maine’s nephew) did a quick Upper Swildons.

16th July.  Swildons.                Richard Roberts and party.  Trip to Barnes Loop for photography.  We intended to visit St. Pauls but a hold up on the Forty prevented this.  Party were fairly wet and decided to return to the surface.

23rd July.  Cuthbert’s.             Leader Frank Darbon.  Party Nigel Hallett, Richard Roberts and Tim Smith. To High Chamber and had a look at a passage known by Richard.  Through Lower Mud Hall to sump via Cerberus Series and Lake Chamber. Returned via Rabbit Warren to the surface.  Very good trip.

23rd July.  Cuthbert’s.             Leader John Satfford with John Attwood and three Q.E.H. bods.  Sightseeing trip to Cascade, Curtain Chamber and Gour Hall.  Back out via Cerberus Series and Lake Chamber. No water in Lake Chamber.

24th July.  Cuthbert’s.             Leader Kangy.  Party John Downie, Beryl Ifold, Don Luker, Steve, Llew Pritchard, Alan, Jim Borchard, Dave Radmore, Norman Petty, Roger Stenner and John Etough.  This was a large party which split up for caving and photographic purposes.

25th July.  Eastwater.              Pam Russell, John, Michael, Ralph, Marcus, Brian and three others.  An easy trip to the top of Primrose Pot.  Three members of the party went through the squeeze to the top of the pot.  A dry comfortable tip.

26th July.  Fernhill & Fairy Caves       Pam Russell, Fred Davies and Phil Davy.  Fred Davies descended Fairy Cave and Phil and myself went down Fernhill.  A voice connection was found between the two.  The points are the very end of Fernhill and the second boulder ruckle in Fairy (surely she means Hilliers? – Ed.).  Fernhill has some beautiful curtains and stal.  Pam Russell.

30th July.  Hunters Hole.         Ian Dear, No Marriott, Peter, Keith, Llew, Guy (pronounced Gi, from France) and George Honey.  Pitches laddered, at considerable opposition from a rotten cow’s afterbirth at the bottom of the shaft.  This was pushed through and fell onto the floor of the main chamber, contaminating the ladder on the way.  The first pitch then became S.S. on account of the smell.  Digging in Dear’s Ideal.  Large rock fall cleared many boulders, but way on not too promising. Dear’s Ideal is not to be renamed Placenta Pot.

30th July.  Eastwater.              Four cavers, understood to be from Bristol Tech were returning from a trip down Eastwater when the leader, Alan Hartnell, lost his grip by the waterfall at the bottom of the Boulder Ruckle by the start of the 300’ Way, owing to loose rock and fell.  More rock fell onto him and, although he was not trapped, he was badly injured.  At 10 pm, the accident was reported at the Hunters – having been reported earlier at the New Inn.  B.E.C. members got rapidly changed and assisted the party from the New Inn, together with Luke Devenish and other members of the M.R.O. and a doctor from Cheddar. The operation went very smoothly and quickly, and he was brought up through the ruckle carefully yet quickly in a semi-conscious condition. By 11.15 he was out of the cave, taken to the ambulance on the club rigid stretcher and on his way to Bristol Hospital.  It is recorded with deep regret that he died early the next morning.  We extend our sincere sympathy to his friends and relatives, and assure them that every care and prompt action was taken by the rescue team. (Editor).

30th July.  August-Longwood.            Pam Russell and Tom Sage.  Longwood was fairly dry and the trip was completed without incident. August Hole was very wet.

31st July.  Cuthbert’s.             Roger Stenner led a trip with Pam, Tom Sage and Garth.  Tourist trip to September Series.

31st July.  Cuthbert’s.             Mike Baker led a trip of seven members of the Crewe caving Club.  Tourist trip to the sump and back.

31st July.  Cuthbert’s.             Dave Raine introduced to a Mendip cave by Bryan Ellis.  A very quick trip to the sump and back.  Dave was very impressed by the cave and wishes to take it back to Yorkshire Bryan didn’t think he was capable of doing this trip so fast, but there were two pints at stake.

31st July.  Cuthbert’s.             George Honey.  Down with Roger’s party.  Trying to use bubble sextant for vertical surveying.  Seems reasonable.  Results must be processed before any conclusions can be drawn.


Mattresses and Blankets.  The Belfry mattresses and blankets are showing signs of wear and some must soon be replaced.  Please turn out your attics.  Gifts of these items are urgently required.

Sheet Sleeping Bags.  In order to preserve the Belfry bedding the committee have decided that sheet sleeping bags – a la Y.H.A. – must be used by members who do not bring their own sleeping bags.  All members please note and pass this on to intending visitors.

Car and Motor Cycle Badges.  Bob Bagshaw is now taking orders for these.  The badge itself is 8/6 or 14/-.  Do not miss this great bargain!  Seriously – they do look very nice and are well worth it.

G.B. Guest Days.  The next trip is on Sunday, September 4th, meet at three o’clock at the barn.

C.R.G. Annual General Meeting.  This will be held at Sheffield University on the 12th of Nov. this year.

Donations to Club Library.  The following books have been kindly donated by John Etough. Anapurna by Maurice Herzog. Undersea Adventure by Phillipe Diote. Climbs in the Canadian Rockies by Frank S. Smythe.


To the Editor of the B.B.

I was highly interested in the article “A short history of the B.E.C.” which appeared in the Silver Jubilee Edition.  Unfortunately, strange as it may seem, I have never heard our esteemed club song.  I wonder if it might be possible, therefore, for the sake of newer members and uneducated specimens like myself, to print a copy of the club song in the B.B.?

                        Cheers for now
                                    Alan Nash.

By all means Alan.  We hope, however, that you didn’t expect the club song to be full of references to caving or anything like that!  It goes: -

We are the exploration Club
We roam around from pub to pub.
To die of thirst we have no fear
As long as we have lots of beer.
So raise your tankards high
And drink them down until they are dry,
We are the Exploration Club
We roam around from pub to pub.

While we are on the subject of club songs, we have the author’s permission to print a version of the Wessex Club song, so we might as well go the whole hog…

We are the Wessex Cave Club
No ruddy use are we.
We drink a half of cider
It affects us more than tea.
And when we’re down in Swildons
And haven’t got a light,
We stand above the Forty
Beside ourselves with fright.

The B.E.C. they help us
Through every pitch and squeeze.
We like the way they do it
With such consummate ease.
And when we are much better
At caving – we agree,
It is our one ambition
To join the B.E.C.

Some Thoughts on the Leader System

By Roger Stenner

Among cavers, there is a real and important differences of opinion about the importance of the leader, ad in particular what has been called the leader system.  That is, the system by which access to a cave is limited to parties led by one of a number of selected cavers.  This is the system used to limit access to St. Cuthbert’s Swallet, and certain caves in South Wales.  I must admit here that my knowledge of the cave situation outside Mendip and South Wales is scant. I think it must be agreed that all parties must have a leader who is responsible for the safety and conduct of the, members of the party in the cave.  There is no argument about this; it is the Leader System which is often attacked.

One objection to the Leader System is the inconvenience it causes.  It usually involves writing to someone several weeks in advance, and it may difficult for some people to plan very hard ahead.  On the other hand, a visitor from another part of the country, haven written in advance, will be sure of the company of someone who knows the cave well.  Just a tourist trip through a cave can be made a real pleasure by a leader who can tell his party things of interest connected with the history of the exploration of the cave.  Beside being invaluable on trips made for a specific purpose, the leader is bound to save time which may be valuable.  The main objection is that the Leader System kills initiative and leads eventually to stagnation.  Whether the B.E.C. or S.M.C.C. can be called stagnant clubs is very much a matter of debate!

The value of the Leader System lies in the prevention of damage to formations.  It is natural that if all parties visiting a particular cave have leaders who are responsible for the protection of all amenities of the cave, then vandalism, accidental or deliberate, will be kept to a minimum. In fairly easy caves not protected by such a system, such as was the case at one time in Hilliers and G.B., formations have fared very badly.  It would have been thought that the entrance series of Stoke Lane would have kept out all but the keenest cavers. Spent carbide has been tipped in most chambers; the Main Chamber is littered with tins; and even Queen Victoria has got quite muddy.  Damage of this kind, in a cave protected by a long miserable entrance and a sump is far worse than in O.F.D. or Cuthbert’s.

It may be said that I am placing undue emphasis on the importance of formations, but those few people who have done a great deal of important exploration seem to be the people who most strongly believe that caves should be left untouched as much as possible.  The S.W.C.C. had much discussion before it was decided to remove an insignificant stalagmite boss that would have really hindered a party in a hurry because of the rising floodwater in O.F.D.  Again, it is sometimes said that formations can hinder exploration.  Tratman’s Temple is quoted as an example.  Against this, some once wanted to climb the cascade in Cuthbert’s but was restrained from doing so.  Eventually somebody else got into the passage leading from the cascade by another route. Without the means of restraint provided by the leader system, the Cascade would have been permanently and uselessly damaged.

There are people who are interested only in exploration, and who think that the extension of caves is the only worth while thing of the sport.  Some argue that because they can quite easily bash on into the final sump, of a large cave without the aid of any leader; the Leader System is unnecessary. Such people are, to my mind, merely very selfish; forgetting that there is more to caving than the discovery of a bit more passage.  As the Editor pointed out, they themselves depend on the strenuous and thankless work of diggers, work that is so often fruitless.  The Leader System does seem to be the only effective way of checking vandalism while still allowing reasonable access to the cave.  If only from this point of view, it is justified in caves containing formations of great beauty.

Editor’s Note.    We think it is a good thing to print articles forcibly expressing different points of view from time to time.  Any replies or comments will be printed.


An Ode to the Bats of Bristol’s Belfry – On the Anniversary of the Initiation of two Colonials into the Strange and Mystical Rites of Mendip at Midsummer.

Those who were at present at the Midsummer barbecue last year will remember the two yanks who were so impressed with our civilised Mendip customs.  At this year’s barbecue, one of them, Geoff Movious, sent the following to Keith Gardner.  The instructions were duly complied with.

(To be read at the height of a glorious bonfire at Midnight)

All Hail Bristol revellers, ye worthy sprites!
Praise to you as you scale great Bacchus’ heights.
May there never be a dearth of hills for climbing,
May you all be catastrophically wining.
Whether lost in revelry of summer so profound
Or mucking all about for underground.
Our fondest hopes and wishes you attend
We pray you now a precious moment lend
To our Ode upon Midsummer’s night –
Before the eastern sky begins to light.

Twelve months have flown away across the year
Since last two “Damned Colonials” were here.
You took them in and cidered them completely
Inebriating them – yet passing sweetly.
The rubber suited race across the pond;
The theft of hats which firemen had donned
But quickly doffed before our awesome crew,
Ho raged around consuming jugs of brew;
The ceremony of the roaring fire,
(Perhaps the punch itself burned slightly higher)
These memories and visions truly bright
Go forth to you upon this glorious night.
May your Midsummer’s Dream be blessed with wine,
May wenches serve you with it as you dine.
With this last wish we make our solemn parting,
(Exit Colonials – who to pubs are departing).

Building a Belfry - Part eight

It now becomes obvious, even to the meanest intelligence, that foundations must now be dug. Accordingly, we drive four pegs in to mark the corners of the trenches and check them with a surveying tape. After a little adjustment, the lengths agree.

We are just about to out the first sod when some other ditto suggests that – just as a check – we measure the diagonals.  This is done. The resulting parallelogram is then played about with on the ‘left hand down a bit’ principle until, by some fluke, the diagonals are the same length.  We breathe a collective sigh of relief and pick up our spades again.

Some idiot now suggests that – just as a check – we measure the sides again.  This is done.  We agree that a trapezoid hut, although novel, is not what we really had in mind. Eventually both the sides and the diagonals ate made equal.  At this point, the ghost of Euclid and Pythagoras stop revolving in their respective graves.  Exhausted by this mental effort, and pausing only to make sure the pegs are firmly in, we stagger from the scene.

A few pints later, with the determination and tenacity for which none of us are noted, we return to the dig trenches.  Then comes the blow.  Our wholesale suppliers arrange for lorry loads of concrete blocks and heaps of limestone dust to be delivered.  This is too much.  Stunned by the enormity of what we have done, we stagger automatically to the Hunters – broken men.  Will we ever recover, you doubtless ask?  No.

(This nauseating tale will be continued at spasmodic intervals).


Congratulations to “Kangy” and Ann on their wedding which took place over August Bank Holiday.

Congratulations to “Spike” and also to Alan Sandall on reaching their ‘decadence’.


Secretary, R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept, B. Prewer, 14 Egerton Road,, Bath, Somerset.


The Club Year.

The club year ends on the 8th of October this year, on which day the Annual General Meeting and Dinner will take place.  You will find elsewhere in this issue of the B.B. the necessary voting forms, dinner application forms, agenda and financial statement for the year.  This, for many members is not only the day on which everyone gets his chance to have a say in the running of the club.  So please fill in your voting forms and send them, or present them at the A.G.M. and please turn up for the A.G.M.  We have had to wait for a quorum to appear for the last few years.  Lets get this one off to an early start!


As usual, you will find accounts of the two trips which had to be organised in Swildons and Cuthbert’s in this B.B.  As usual, some sections of the press tended to exaggerate, but nevertheless, it must be admitted that the frequency of such occasions would appear to be increasing. The exceptional weather is, of course, mainly to blame.  Even so, and in addition to the steps taken by Mr. Maine in Swildons and the steps proposed to increase the flow into Cuthbert’s, we may well have to revise our estimates of what constitutes reasonable caving weather for trips down the wetter of the Mendip caves.


September Committee Meeting

At the September meeting of the Committee, Lesley Margetts and John Davey were elected as members of the club.  It was agreed to draw up an up to date list of Cuthbert’s Leaders and rules.  Norman agreed to complete the installation of the Coase Memorial.  The club agreed to buy six new mattresses for the Belfry, and to send more blankets to be cleaned.  All seven 20’ club ladders are present and ropes.  The Tackle Officer is fitting new handles to the sledgehammer and pickaxe. The club badges have been ordered and the arrangements for the club tie have at last been finalised. Arrangements for more stone have been made and the final arrangements for the dinner and speeches.


Sheet Sleeping Bags.

Now we have clean blankets and are shortly to have new mattresses, the rule about sheet sleeping bags becomes even more important.  While the Hut Warden would not like to have to penalise any member or guest, he has the Committee’s authority to do so.  Thus, if you do not use a personal sleeping bag – or if you are inviting a guest who has none, BRING A SHEET SLEEPING BAG WITH YOU.

New Building.

We must get this up before the frost nadgers it.  Spike and Alan have agreed to lay the floor.  Norman has agreed to do the necessary woodwork.  Alfie and Jill will continue to be responsible for the main structure, but MORE HELP is now required.  Preferably, we want two of three people who will make themselves responsible for completing the rear wall.  Most members will be quite happy to use it when it is finished.  Come and lend a hand NOW!

Caving Clothes.

Until the new building is in a state to use, there is very little room for caving clothes.  It will not be possible to leave them in the new hut while the floor and fitting are being installed.  Please take all gear home.  You may run the risk of losing it otherwise.

Swildons & Cuthbert’s

Based on accounts by Llew Pritchard, Bryan Ellis and Alan Nash.

Editor’s Note.    Bryan Ellis was in charge of the party who were in Cuthbert’s on the occasion described; Alan Nash was running the B.E.C. party down Swildons and Llew Pritchard was one of the few people concerned in both rescue operations.

At approximately 1 pm on Saturday, 27th August, a torrential thunderstorm broke over the Mendip Hills and continued for about four hours, during which time over two inches of rain fell over the catchment areas of Swildons and Cuthbert’s.  Owing to the waterlogged state of the ground, the rain practically ran straight off the ground into the cave systems, rising water levels to exceptional heights.

At about half past one, Bryan Ellis and Bill Kitchen entered Cuthbert’s to do some surveying in the Rabbit Warren.  Finding the entrance pitch dry in spite of the rain, they decided to carry on with the trip.

Alan Nash’s party, consisting of himself; Tom Logan; Pat Muckley and Terry Taylor, entered Swildons at noon before the rain commenced.  The object of this trip was to photograph, mainly in Barnes Loop. They made good progress to the Loop. Although the last three of the party were new to ladder work and were therefore slow on the Forty and Twenty.  They had taken food, which they ate in the Loop before commencing the return journey at about 3 pm.

The first hint of rising water came at the Double Pots where Pat dropped his lamp into the water, which swept it away.  Alan then attempted to climb the Pots and was able to reach a ledge above them but not to complete the climb or to get back.  Tom had an unsuccessful go at joining Allan, but dropped the food box into the water and had to give up.  Terry then managed to join Alan on the ledge, dropping his lamp into the stream as he climbed.  Meanwhile, Tom had managed to climb onto a ledge about eight feet above the water, but Pat had disappeared.  The noise of the water made conversation between Tom and the two on the other ledge impossible, although the ledges were only ten feet from each other.  Alan and Terry presumed that Pat had gone back downstream to find a drier spot, and were not unduly worried as they knew that other parties were in the cave.  In fact there were Bob and Ann Lorder, Dave Berry and four others Wessex type in one party; Mike Boone with a party of two and Frank Darbon with a party of two.  The first of these parties joined up with Alan’s party at about 5.45 pm and told them that Pat had been pushed back by the water.  One of the party joined Alan and Terry on their ledge, while the rest went back to Barnes Loop with Pat.  They waited at their respective places for about the next six hours.

Meanwhile, the Cuthbert’s party stopped their surveying at about 3.30 pm, as they had changed their plans. On reaching the Main Stream, they found it a muddy torrent and realised that heavy rain must have fallen and that the Entrance Pitch might prove awkward.  They left the Dining Room at 4 pm, taking the drum of food and the stove and saucepan as far as Pillar Chamber, where they dumped it with the intention of returning there if the upper part of the cave proved too wet to negotiate.  They arrived at the bottom of the Entrance Rift at 4.30, to find a sheet of water descending.  They then decided to leave as much of the kit behind and attempt to climb the rift. They agreed that, if only one managed to get out, he would go and alert a rescue team, who would send another man down to keep him company.  Bryan went first and managed to get up.  He signalled to Bill and waited for about ten minutes, then went to alert a rescue team.

In Swildons, the Mike Boon and Frank Darbon parties, who had started back before, was met by a party consisting of George Pointing, Norman Tuck, Derek Ford and David Farr, who realised what a storm would do and entered the cave at about 2 pm to contact the parties underground and get the cave cleared before the water had a chance to rise too far.  This party met the other two parties in the Upper Series and after warning them of what was happening to the surface water, went on to the Forty to try to contact those below.  This they found to be impossible.  They were between the Keyholes when the water started rising in earnest.  George describes the rise as being like a tidal wave.  We know that boulders nearly a foot in diameter were going over the Forty when the water was at its height and it is possible that some of these got jammed in the bottom Key Hole, thus raising the level rapidly between the two Keyholes.

One of the party managed to get through the top Keyhole, but it became an impassable sump before everyone could get out.  The water rose to within two feet of the roof, and it must have been an extremely unpleasant experience before the water began to subside again.

The parties with Mike Boone and Frank Darbon set out for the entrance after meeting the warning party. They got over the waterfall and reached a point within ten feet of the entrance.  There they had to stay for a few hours, unable to get through the sump which had formed at the entrance or to get back over the waterfall.  At this stage there was three feet of water covering the entrance.  Eventually, Mike Boone managed to get through.

The Rescue Operations; Cuthbert’s

As soon as Bryan Ellis got out of the cave, he went to the Shepton Hut and alerted Ken Dawe.  Ken volunteered to go down the rift if necessary and join Bill Kitchen at the bottom.  Bryan then returned to the cave and tried to contact Bill by means of a message lowered in a tin.  This was unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, Ken called in at the Belfry on his way to the cave and alerted the B.E.C. at 5.45 pm. Prew and Alfie got changed and the party went in at five past six.  Ken went down the rift, having agreed on a series of signals with Prew, who positioned himself in the water at the top of the rift.  Alfie went to the squeeze, from which he could contact either Prew or the surface.  Sett began investigating the state of the surface water and started re-enforcing the dams.

By 6.30, it was decided to call out the Fire Brigade, as this was the only method by which the water could be lowered.  They arrived at ten past seven, and were pumping water into Plantation Swallet at the rate of 500 gallons a minute by half past.

Although the level slowly dropped, the people down the cave reported that there was very little effect at the top of the pitch.  Good communication existed with the two at the bottom, and supplies were passed down to them. They reported to the surface that they were in good spirits and not too cold.

In an effort to help the work of the pump, a temporary dam was built across the western exit from the pond.  This had some effect, but not as much as had been expected.  At 10.45, it was discovered that, although less water was pouring down the rift, the pump was only just keeping pace with the water coming into the pond.  This meant that the water coming in was increasing and it was agreed that if Ken and Bill could not get through at this stage, they might have to wait for several more hours and perhaps all night.  They were told of the situation and agreed to ascend as soon as possible. To help them further, a second bit of damming was carried out at 11.40 to stop the flow into the pond for a few minutes.  By 12.15 Bill had got out, followed fifteen minutes later by Ken.  The pump was then manhandled back to the Shepton track and taken from there to help in the Swildons operation.

Rescue Operations, Swildons.

After the original alerting party had gone down, Oliver Lloyd had arrived at the entrance.  Since the entrance was impossible to negotiate, he and others waited until Mike Boone was able to get out and report the situation in the cave to them.  The M.R.O. was then got into action, the alarm going out at 5 pm.  The first job was to get the water level down and the Bristol Waterworks were contacted who started their pumps which pump from above the cave.  This enabled the parties near the entrance to get out.  By about 8 pm, rescue parties had reached the Forty and were able to pass supplies to those below.  The party below had set off for the Forty and hence had got into contact with the rescuers. They were told to go back down the Twenty and wait.  Eventually rescuers were able to get down the Forty and a station was set up between the 40 and 20 where hot drinks, goon suits were supplied to those still without them.  The people below were then brought up the Forty and then out of the cave, the whole operation being completed by about 4.30 am.

Stately Homes of Clifton

By Lady C.

On Saturday, the 20th of August, the dreaded Gardners went to the “Flicks” and there espied the equally dreaded Stafford’s, who invited us around for coffee.  We went, and here is your correspondent’s report on their domicile. Upon entering, one is struck by the novelty of a series of porch type window boxes, growing amongst other things there saucepans and a pair of gumboots.  The hall is large and the Stafford’s have a large sitting room furnished in Stafford and “it went with the flat” taste.  A huge wardrobe cum chest of drawers cum relic of the flight out of Egypt period takes up a fair amount of space.  There is a huge stove full to the brim with B.E.C. solid fuel (i.e. old fag packets and dog ends etc.)  The bedroom or sleeping alcove is neatly curtained off from the main room and sports a fine Ali Baba wicker work washing, snake and lodger hiding basket, that could also be used to keep a large supply of empty fag packets in if necessary.

The kitchen is a long narrow room with hundreds of shelves and could be made into a really good doss house, with the addition of ladders to enable inmates to reach the top ones. There is a toaster situated on the window ledge beneath a fan, the idea being that if the toast pops up burnt one switches on the fan and Hey Presto!  Neatly trimmed and scraped toast.

I should have mentioned that from the main room one can throw things onto the bed with no appreciable effort.  If Staff is late getting up in the morning, a plate of eggs is neatly tossed to him as he lies a-sleeping.  Somewhat messy but certainly effective.  We were treated to excellent coffee and cheese bits on toast, mit biscuits, which my old man decimated as usual.

Up till now, this has been the best equipped for cutlery and china that we have seen in the B.E.C.  I did not inspect the bog and barfroom as I did not need to.  I ‘ad me barf on Friday and did not want anything else.  Ah well, next victim please.

Editor’s Note.    Club members intending to live in Clifton should note that their chances of keeping this a secret from Lady Chatterbox are extremely small.


The following was received at the Belfry, addressed to Sybil, Garth and others.

Dear friends,

I expect that you will have heard the sad news; that our friend Alan received fatal injuries in a rock fall in Eastwater.

We should like to thank yourselves and all members of your club for their prompt assistance and also for the understanding and hospitality which you showed at the Belfry after our return to the surface.  Thank you all, very much.

                        Yours sincerely.
                                    K. Helmore.
                                    P.H. Boothroyd.
                                    T. Baxter


Secretary, R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept, B. Prewer, 14 Egerton Road,, Bath, Somerset.


November B.B.’s

By this time of year, we have started cutting the stencils for the Christmas number of the B.B., which, as older readers know, we try to make it little larger than average size. With what is laughingly referred to as our spare time, the November B.B. is produced.  All of which seems to us a good enough reason for any evidence of haste which may appear in this B.B.  Nevertheless, if it is below standard, we apologise.

Outstanding Subs.

Some of you, if the Postal Department organised it as arranged, will be getting a memo with this B.B. Our new Postal Dept. – “Mo” Marriott – reports that 180 copies is not now enough for the B.B. circulation. Although the B.B. is run on a shoestring compared to the journals of some of the other clubs, it is still a sad fact that some of you have been getting the B.B. which has been paid for out of other bloke’s subs.  We have kept the list intact up till now, as we hoped to have a drive over the A.G.M. for the remaining subs.  About half of those have now been paid, but, for the rest of you, THIS WILL BE YOUR LAST COPY OF THE B.B. unless something is done before the Christmas issue comes out. We think than in most of your cases, there is still a good reason why you should want to be ‘kept in touch’ – in any caves, we are loath to lose old friends. So write to Bob – and we’ll see you again next month!

Badges and Ties.

Our badges are now available from Bob.  These have proved so popular, that all the first batch have been sold.  Get your name down as soon as possible if you want one and while you are about it, ties will soon be here.  They are on order and a sample bit of material can be seen on application to Alfie.

Letter from Australia

To the Editor, B.B.

At present I am working for the Austral Geo Prospectors as an assistant surveyor.  I am in the Port Keats area, which is 240 miles south west of Darwin, and I have been in the field for six weeks now, prospecting for oil.

The area of Port Keats is an aboriginal reserve of some 5,200 square miles.  We are completely cut off out here and I have no way of sending my club fee which is due, until I get back to Brisbane.  I am receiving my bulletin, as it is sent on from Brisbane for me.

I wish it to be noted in the records that I receive my bulletin here in the Bush – hundreds of miles from anywhere – at the same date as I used to get it when I lived in Bath.  This means that some fantastic calculations have been carried out in the Postal Dept. so that I might have no disruption of habit.  I have that secure feeling of knowing my next month’s B.B. will be waiting on the doorstep whether I am in the Bush 12,000 miles away, or in Bath, 12 miles away!

Seriously, I should like to say “Hats off” to the Postal Department, and to thank “Prew” for his work. It makes quite a difference to us who are along way away.  To his successor, I should like to say how much the punctuality of the Postal Service is appreciated.

                        Bill Benyon


DO YOU WANT A GOOD THICK CHRISTMAS ISSUE OF THE B.B.?  We have got the paper, the typewriter, the stencils, the covers and the staples. WHAT DO YOU THINK WE ARE SHORT OF? (No prizes for the answer).

Caving in North Wales

By Bryan Ellis

Articles about activities in North Wales have appeared in the B.B. from time to time but, as far as I am aware, there has been very little about caving in these parts.  This is not really surprising because the idea of being able to do any real caving here is a mistaken one; although it does give anyone interested a very good excuse to see the countryside.  Having been exiled to these parts for a few months at the wish of Her Majesty, it was gratifying to look in ‘Britain Underground’ and see that many of the caves were reasonably accessible from my place of exile – St. Asaph – even when completely dependant on shank’s pony and public transport.

Mendip cavers will already have a poor view of the book ‘Britain Underground’ and their opinion will be substantiated if they have to try to find all the caves of North Wales form the descriptions given in this book.  There is, however, one saving grace.  Very little caving has been done here, with the result that only obvious caves are known, and it is very doubtful if any of the cave entrances have been dug.  All that is really necessary is to have a general idea of the locality and then walk round this area until an obvious cave entrance is seen and that will be it. Fred Davies and myself have visited between us all but four caves in the area and it is hoped to publish – in the not too distant future – some form of caving guide which, if nothing else, will at least prove more precise than ‘Britain Underground’.

With two exceptions, all the caves are under one hundred feet in length, the average length being about seventy five feet.  Furthermore, none are difficult and for very few is it necessary, to change other than to put on some dirty clothes over ordinary walking gear.  Helmets, boots etc. are unnecessary and all that is required is some form of lighting.  There is in a few, however, a similarity to some South Devon caves in that they are sheep traps.  The rotting carcass found in Moel Hiraddug was fair enough – in its own sweet way – but the flies were reminiscent of an Edgar Allen Poe tale and caused me to make a very hasty retreat.

The caves are situated over a fairly well scattered area in the counties of Flintshire and Denbighshire, the two “richest” areas being the valleys of the rivers Elwy and Alun. This latter river, for most part of the year, sinks at several points along its course and reappears about three miles away.  Between these two points there is just a deserted river bed and yet, as far as I know, neither the sinks nor the resurgence have ever been investigated by anyone!  Nor is it just a babbling brook that disappears underground, but a fair sized river! The two caves mentioned earlier of any size are Coriog Cave to the south of the area and Cefn Cave to the north.  These two are about four to five hundred feet in length.  The whole district can be likened to Burrington Coombe area on a larger and much less compact scale.  There are caves of a similar nature to Aveline’s Hole and East Twin Swallet – large entrances with little cave behind them – but now and then one does come a cross a much larger cave, much as one does Goatchurch Cavern, though even this is really quite small.  An idea of their size is given by the fact that I managed to do fourteen caves over the Whitsun Holiday without even exerting myself!

Apart from the Elwy and Alun valleys, caves are to be found in both side of the Clwydian Range which runs southward from Prestatyn almost to Llangollen; on the western side around Gwaenysgor and Tremeirchion and on the eastern side near Tardd-y-dwr and Holywell.  (Yes the place names in this area are just as bad as those found round Snowdonia and in the Swansea Valley!) Then there are a few isolated caves such as those at World’s End near Llangollen and the Castell Mawr caves and Cefn-yr-Ogof not far from Abergale.

I have already mentioned that very little, if any, work appears to have been done in the area and in my opinion the reason is not hard to find.  Firstly the caves in the area are not of significant interest to cause a body of cavers to be formed locally and then keep their keenness while digging was done or they were carrying out further surface exploratory work.  Secondly, as no large system has ever been found in North Wales (perhaps it is geologically impossible for any large system to be found) it is unlikely that parties from other districts will spend time and money travelling here to do any work.  In this respect the area differs from Ireland.  It appears that what little work and caving is done in the area by such people as Fred and myself who started caving elsewhere and have been forced to spend a certain amount of time here.  There are definitely places here that need further investigation.  For example, Afon Meirchion Cave, which is a resurgence cave, is active only in the winter months and at other times is blocked after seventy feet by a pool. This should be at least baled or siphoned to see if it goes any further.  Then there are the places where the River Alun sinks, some which take quite large amounts of water.  Finally there is an area near Llangollen which was shown to Fred and myself and has a line of fourteen swallets which have never been touched and two at least would be worth a few digging weekends with lifting tackle and shoring available.

At the present time there might not be much in the area other than an excuse to walk around the countryside – and there is some very nice scenery – but it is very similar to the state of the Mendip caving area at the end of the last century.  Compare that with the state of Mendip today! Goatchurch was then the largest known cave on Mendip, much as Ceriog and Cefn are now in North Wales.

Editor’s Note.    Well, when are we going to have a B.E.C. expedition to this area and some news of important B.E.C. discoveries in North Wales?

Those members who would like a fuller account of the caving possibilities in North Wales are advised to get in touch with the Shepton Mallet Cave Club, who have recently published one of their ‘Occasional Papers’ on this subject.  These papers, and also copies of the S.M.C.C. Journal, are on sale at the Shepton Hut.  They are all written and well worth buying.

New York

By Frank Darbon

R.M.S. Queen Mary docks at Pier 90 in Manhattan, about four to five days after leaving Southampton.  Looking inward from her dock, you see 50th Street directly in front of you, stretching away uptown towards Times Square and Broadway.  New York should feel proud off her wide, well laid out streets. Running parallel with the famous Hudson River are the Avenues (numbered going away from the river) while the streets run at right angles to them.

New York’s traffic is fast and reckless.  Drivers have the priority, and any attempt to cross other than at a controlled crossing is asking for trouble.  The bright, many coloured cabs are the last word in luxury and comfort.  Buses and trains have a standard fare for any distance – you can change trains as often as you wish providing you do not leave the station.  The busses follow the continental pattern, in that you have one door for boarding passengers and another for those alighting.

Smoking is forbidden on trains, buses and in the cinema – which may explain the American fondness for chewing gum.  You can choose your own seat in the cinema, there being just one price which increases as the day goes on – and if you must smoke, you have to retire to the auditorium.

Very popular are the televised boxing matches, and the large number of juke boxes.  New York is also a paradise for shoppers but expensive.  Window shopping is great fun, though, especially at night when the windows blaze with light and neon signs are flashing everywhere.  If you do run out of cash, you can sell a pint of blood – 5 dollars (3/5/10).  But there’s a snag if you want to get rich quick – you have to wait three months between each transfusion.  The general opinion of New York is – very exciting and lots of fun, but expensive to a sailor on shore leave. Why, beer is 10 cents a glass!

(The above article first appeared in ‘Globe’ – Ed.)


Is YOUR address correct in the clubs list of addresses??

If not – see Bob Bagshaw or ‘Mo’ as soon as possible – otherwise your address is liable to be wrongly printed in the usual list of member’s addresses in the Christmas B.B

Building a Belfry - Part Nine

Somehow, whenever it becomes necessary for concrete to be produced on the Belfry site, the club has always managed to find itself an expert to supervise the mixing and laying. Previous experience had shown that this method had the great advantage of producing concrete – as distinct from a fine grey powder – even if it meant the breaking of half shafts and other assorted gear.

Imagine, then, the mental strain as once more the B.E.C. sits round the stove, their minds in the ‘off’ position, waiting for an expert once more.  Luckily one was forthcoming once again, and under his direction a hut began to rise.

I shall not attempt to describe to ensuing long time as it is too painfully fresh and hasn’t yet finished, but if any prospective Belfry Builder over wants a genuine list of a couple of hundred elementary mistakes to avoid when attempting to put up a stone type Belfry, I shall be pleased to supply them.  For the record, the magic proportions for cement/mortar for such a building are 8 of dust to 2 of cement to 1 of lime – and the best of Mendip luck!

A further hilarious episode will doubtless ensue when our club carpenter and joiner begin to fit the woodwork (Petty Precision Products) to the main structure of the hut which has been built ‘be eye’.  Whether he will have the strength left after this fearsome tussle to be able to write it up remains to be seen.

Let us leave this story with this thought.  If anyone ever asks you to help put up a new Belfry – TAKE STEPS!!  The usual kind will be the most effective.


Secretary, R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept, C.A. Marriott, 715 Muller Road, Bristol 5.


The A.G.M..

This went off very well, and a goodly number of club members turned up.  You will find an account of some of the proceedings later on in this B.B. It was agreed by some members that the contents of the B.B. have tended to be below standard of late, and we hope that this will result in more members sending in articles, letters &c so that we may even be able to edit the B.B.  What is wanted mostly are articles of a serious climbing and caving nature.

Club Membership.

At first sight, the figures given by the Hon. Sec. did not seem to add up.  He told us that we had 34 new members during the year.  This squares up with the increase in the B.B. during the year – we are now printing 180 copies a month.  However, he then went on to say that the total membership had dropped by 7 to 112.  Could it be that nearly a third of all club members have only been in the club a matter of months?  The mystery was soon solved.  It appears that nearly fifty of you who may be reading this have not yet paid your sub. We are most reluctant to stop the B.B. going to old friends, but a sordid financial note must be struck. How about an associate membership at 7/6 if you are no longer as active as you were but would still like to keep in touch with the club?  If you are amongst those who mean to keep paying their sub but forgot, why not get the whole thing over once and for all?  5/5/- seems an awful lot to fork out all at once, but where could you invest this to bring you services worth 12/6 per year?  It’s not at all bad from a business point of view.  Anyway, if your sub is outstanding, please get in touch with Bob.

1961 Committee and Club Officers.

R.J. Bagshaw           Honorary Secretary and Treasurer

R.A. Setterington      Hut Warden and Committee Chairman

S.J. Collins              Editor, Belfry Bulletin

N. Petty                   Tackle Officer

C.A. Marriott            Caving Secretary and B.B. Postal Department

A. Sandall                Committee Minutes Secretary

C.H.G. Rees            Belfry Engineer

G. Mossman            Climbing Secretary (see under)

B. Prewer                (See under)

J. Ifold                     Honorary Librarian

N.B.  Owing to domestic commitments, “Pew” has not taken one of the main club offices this year.  G. Mossman has had to resign from the 1961 committee owing to heavy demands on his time.  The committee have co-opted Tony Dunn, who has agreed to take his place as Climbing Secretary.  The 1961 committee thus consists of: Bob Bagshaw, Sett, Alfie, Norman, Mo, Alan Sandall, Spike, Tony Dunn and Prew.

1960 Dinner

Although a few complaints about the service were heard, the 1960 Dinner of the B.E.C. went off reasonably well at the Star Hotel, Wells.  It was particularly gratifying for older members to see so many old friends who, unfortunately, can rarely get to Mendip.  An interesting feature of the dinner was the fact that it was not considered necessary to debar any particular persons from attending.  The high spot of the proceedings was undoubtedly the speech of Alan Thomas’s in which he proposed the health of absent friends. The early Victorian potato peeler which only Alan Thomas could have worked into such a speech was particularly effective in operation when it was later put to peeling an apple.  At a later stage of the proceedings, a man recited a poem.

W. Spoon.

Formations in Cuthbert’s

This account is not intended to be a detailed description of all the dripstone formations in this magnificent cave, but a record of some of the more outstanding features and impressions that a newcomer to the cave noticed on his first visit.

It cannot be too highly emphasised that the sheer “wildness” of the cave contributes greatly to the settings of all the formations, which are lovely and interesting.  There are huge blocks and slabs plied on all sides of the boulder chambers; great bedding planes sloping steeply into the gloom and smooth water washed tunnels in the lower sections.

The most striking feature which applies to many of the formation; stalactites, stalagmites, curtains and floor deposits is their translucency.  This becomes nearly transparent in some small curtains at the back of Pillar Chamber.  They are so clear that it seems almost impossible that they are made of calcite.

Many of these translucent formations have a very large crystal growth.  Sometimes almost complete crystals have grown at the edge of the curtains, giving them an irregular “notched” effect.  This should not be confused with the regular serrations of a “coxcomb” curtain.  This large crystal growth may also be seen on stalactites, especially those that are “webbed” to the roof.  It also appears to some extent on stalagmites, when they present a somewhat knobbly outline.  It is probable that these formations grew very slowly out of very pure material. The almost complete lack of large straws from formation groups of this type would also indicate a very slow rate of growth.

Pride of place must go to the stalactite curtains which attaining great size and beauty in this cave. The small transparent examples in Pillar Chamber have already been mentioned.  There are larger example in Boulder and Everest Chambers, some being very thin and transparent and exhibiting banding and having crystals on their edges.  Very fine examples can be found in Cascade Chamber.  One is above the cascade itself and another, lower down on the sloping roof, is over a foot deep and about five feet long.  Of course, the great draperies in Curtain Chamber are the finest in the cave and must be amongst the finest on Mendip.  They total about twenty in number, divided into two groups, one being of creamy calcite with dark bands at the edges and the other of almost pure white calcite with some dark internal banding.  They hang from the sloping roof of the chamber which is probably fifty to sixty feet high.  The curtains themselves cover some twenty to thirty feet of this, and come to within five feet of the ground, being about a foot wide at the bottom. Some are very thin, translucent, and exhibiting the notching referred to above.

There are several large stalactites and similar formations in the cave.  There is the huge “Tusk” about five feet long in Everest Chamber and a nicely proportioned group known as the Fingers.  These are all normal “carrot” shaped formations, but the Cascade contains many translucent stalactites and stalagmites which have notched edges and formed large crystals.  These occur where the massive flow of The Cascade pours over a large step in the bedding plane.

Shapely stalagmites accompany The Fingers stalactites, but on the whole stalagmites tend to be dumpy and not at all spectacular.  Some of the smaller ones, however, are translucent and very pretty.  One group, under a ledge of suspended floor are flat topped with crystalline hollows at the centre.  There is one giant at the bottom of Cascade Chamber about seven feet high, but not very shapely.

Floor deposits abound, and vary from a deep ochreous colour through pure white to the semi-transparent. The Cascade is a fine example of this type, but there are masses of stalagmite flooring in various chambers. In the Rabbit Warren series, there is a small flow of translucent stalagmite which appears to be a very pale blue.  Whether this is due to included material, or to some sort of reflection from the rock is not certain.

St. Cuthbert’s abounds also in the more unusual types of calcite formations which are not often seen, especially when a cave has been used for a long time.  The control which has been kept on access has certainly protected some of these rare types of formation, as well as keeping the cave as a whole clean.  There are pockets of cave pearls.  These, although well polished are not regular in shape and could possible be described as pistoliths.  In the Rabbit Warren is a group of pockets in milky white calcite and some appear to be cemented to the surrounding calcite.  However, it is quite definitely a case of “hands off.”

Rimstone pools are numerous – some full and some dry.  These often contain pointed Dog-tooth saw crystals.  In one place in the Rabbit Warren, a dried up pool has left little muddy pillars with almost cubic crystals on top.  These crystals are between a quarter and half an inch high.

Helictites of the simple hook type are common, usually in grooves along a crack or a minor step in bedding cave roofs.  One such can be found at the top of Cascade Chamber.  Some of the finest helictites, however, occur in the Rabbit Warren.  A group of tightly packed carrot shaped stalagmites has numerous helictites growing from them, like fine roots from the carrots.

All the above formations and many more were noted on a five hour “tourist” trip to St. Cuthbert’s Swallet. There is much scope for serious research and this, of course, will be carried out in time by the Bristol Exploration Club.  My thanks are due to Mr. Peter Miller who organised the trip and to Mr. Roger Stenner who led it.  It is in my opinion that every caver who can should take advantage of the B.E.C.’s hospitality and see St. Cuthbert’s for themselves.  It is a difficult trip for the not so robust, like myself, but well worth it.

John H. Tucker.

Editor’s Note.    John Tucker also sent us a very nice letter thanking the club and the leader of the trip.  This was printed in a previous B.B.


By Tony Dunn

On the weekend of the 21st June, Roy and Joan Bennett, Ron King and myself spent a very enjoyable weekend in Snowdonia.  We camped in the Llanberis Valley about two miles above Nant Beris and we were lucky enough to have weather on both days which was almost too warm for climbing.

Saturday, or rather Saturday afternoon, was spent on Dinas Mot, a four hundred foot cliff only about ten minutes walk from our camp.  None in our party had visited the cliff before, and so there of us set out to do “the cracks” which we thought would make a suitable introductory climb. Joan, meanwhile, had gone off for a walk around the Snowdon Horseshoe.  The cracks did not present much difficulty and, when we were doing it, we saw another party on our right doing something which looked much more interesting.  We finished our climb before they did, so were able to sit at the top and watch them do the last and hardest pitch of “direct” route.  Roy was not too keen on returning to the foot of the cliff to have a go at this thing, and would have preferred to scramble up to the Crib Gogh Ridge but I was all for doing the climb, saying that it would be much less exhausting on such a hot day and much more interesting.  We agreed to do the climb and I was to lead.  Everything went well until pitch 5, the main difficulty which consisted of a nasty little hand traverse in an exposed position.  I made three attempts at it with little success, before suggesting that Roy should lead it, Ron remaining as middle man.  By using brains instead of brawn, Roy did it first go which enabled Ron and I to follow in quick succession.  The last pitch was hard and steep – an excellent finish to a first rate climb. By then it was about six o’clock and we made a leisurely way back to camp well satisfied with the days outing.

On Sunday we did a mountaineering route by way of a contrast.  Central Chimney on Lliwedd which, with an easy route above the great terrace, gave us about 800 feet of jug handle climbing.  Like the motto of a defunct railway “Slow, Easy and Comfortable.”

U.B.S.S. Christmas Term – Sessional Meetings & Tutorials

Sessional Meetings will be held in the New Geography Lecture Theatre on Mondays at 8.15 pm as follows:-

Oct. 17.  Mr. D. Ingle-Smith.  “Introduction to limestone.”

Nov. 7.  Dr. Marjorie Sweeting.  “The limestone country and caves of the Fitzroy area, North Australia

No. 28.  Brian de Graaf.  “Underground diving.”

Dec. 12.  F.K. Anable. “Cunetic and Romano-British townships.”

The A.G.M.

The 1960 Annual General Meeting of the B.E.C. opened at 2.50 pm with 30 members present.  The number was exceeded by quite a few latecomers. Dan Hasell was elected Chairman and the minutes of the 1959 meeting were read and adopted.

The Hon. Sec.’s report followed.  He said that 34 new members had been elected in 1960, and increase of 50% over 1959. However, the total membership had fallen by 7 to 112.  There were about 50 people still on the books that had not paid their sub, and he still hoped that many of these would do so.  Attendance at Redcliffe Hall had continued to be negligible.  There had been no further action to report from The Charterhouse Committee.

During questions, Roy Bennett asked if it was necessary to continue the hire of Redcliffe Hall.  The Hon. Secretary replied that is was useful for the occasional slide show, as a place for housing the library and that it showed a profit.

The Hon. Treasurer’s report reviewed the financial state of the club.  He pointed out that the increased deficit was due to the large amount being spent on the new hut and on the mains water installation.  He said that he would welcome more expenditure on ladders and other tackle.

Mr. C.H.G. Rees asked the Hon. Treasurer to repeat the last statement, whereupon he did.

The Caving Secretary reported an active caving season with 162 trips entered in the log.  He appealed to members to enter each trip and to write legibly.  Alfie asked if some priority could be given amongst active cavers to the water disposal scheme in Cuthbert’s.  This was referred to by the Chairman to the 1961 committee.  Sett asked for the East Devon trip to be included in the Caving Secretary’s report.

The Climbing Secretary reported an increase in activity, especially with the Thursday climbs in the Avon Gorge.  17 people had been to Cornwall at Easter and trips to Norway and Austria had taken place.  Roy Bennett suggested a climbing log.  After some discussion, Roy proposed a resolution that a loose leaf book be acquired and brought to the club on Thursdays.  Garth proposed an addition to the resolution that the log should be published in the B.B. The resolution was carried.

At this point, the Chairman announced the names of the 1961 committee.  A vote of thanks to the three lady tellers was passed.

The Tackle Officer said that we now had seven twenty foot ladders and two more being renovated, which would give us a further eighty feet.  We had two 120 foot nylon lines and a good selection of digging gear. Llew Pritchard asked about the re-shafting of digging tools.  It was pointed out that it was cheaper to buy ex-WD tools than to re-shaft the old ones. Spike asked if we were constructing more ladder.  It appeared that Alan Sandall was organising more dural tube.  Pongo asked why we had no shorter lifelines.  After some discussion, Mo proposed that the club purchase a further 120 feet nylon line and cut it into two halves.  This was carried.

The Hut Warden announced that the bed night total was 1,297 which, in view of the differing totals produced by different people counting in the book, he proposed to call it 1,300. The water levy was now two thirds paid off.  The mains water had improved washing up, but there was still a lot of room for further improvement.  The new hut was progressing and most of the old caving junk had been got rid of. Alfie said that we should arrange a tarpaulin to cover the back wall.  Prew said he might have one.  It was agreed that, if Prew could not supply one, he should get in touch with Dan, who would then arrange for one.  Jill queried the bunk situation and suggested more bunks.  It was agreed to provide those.

The Belfry Bulletin report followed.  The Editor explained our present situation as far as stocks of covers, paper, &c were concerned.  It was agreed to leave these problems to the Editor and suggested that he contact members of the club in the printing trade.  George Honey said that he thought that the contents of the B.B. had been declining in interest.  The remedy it was suggested lay in the hands of the club members and a few people promised to send in articles.  The question of advertising was raised by Terry Marston and others.  Some discussion resulted.

After the adjournment for tea, the Hon. Librarian gave his report.  Terry Marston suggested that a list of club books be published in the B.B. The assistant librarian agreed to produce one and the Editor apologised if he had mislaid the one which was apparently sent to him.

The meeting closed with a discussion on two member’s resolutions, both of which were finally withdrawn.  The first was suggesting the club organised continental tours and the other dealt with the uses to which the extra Belfry levy could be put to if it were continued.

N.B.  These notes are not necessarily exhaustive, and are not official minutes of the meeting.  Ed.

Letter from Cyprus

By Mike Wheadon

Many thanks to the editorial staff for the fact that I still receive the B.B. out here.  I also gather that if I could arrange to write something it would be welcome, so I hope that you might be able to use this for publication.

I have noticed from various papers, and also from the B.B. that the mortality rate on Mendip has once more increased.  I wonder if there is any possibility of spreading even further than the club already does, the points of safety necessary when underground – particularly to the novice – and restricting access to the swallets of Mendip to members of recognised clubs.  This would not eliminate flooding etc. but perhaps might control the caves which can be successfully attempted during adverse weather conditions.

I feel particularly grieved to hear of the Eastwater accident, as many times I have caved all over the ruckle and never encountered anything which I considered dangerous if one gave ten ton boulders the respect which they deserve.  The ruckle must have changed quite a bit.  Another point which I found rather depressing reading in the B.B. is that Hunter’s nights are on the decline and ‘Fings ain’t wot they used t’be’.  This does seem a pity as it was at the Hunters, as a beginner, that I went to try and meet the brethren of cavers.  It was also from visiting the Hunters that I received my first impression of, and desire to join the B.E.C.  What of the young caver who wants to get in touch with the club over a good pint of ale?

I am now stationed on the glorious Mediterranean island of CYPRUS, and a more unlikely place you could never wish to be posted to.  It boasts absolutely nothing except good swimming and a slight prospect of being able to cave in the future if the republic will allow.  We are situated are the eastern end of the island in the middle of a dust desert at DHEKELIA which is one of the sovereign base areas and a look around this particular part of the island shows some of the most amazing contrasts in standards of living that I have seen anywhere.  At one place one has the village of XYLOTAMBOU which I should imagine must be amongst the worst that Cyprus has to offer.  All the houses are extremely primitive and have no sanitation.  They are just slung together in one enormous heap and then a road is picked out to run between them.  Coming into Dhekelia immediately after this squalor, you see an enormous building equal to any modern British building, which rises up, almost shadowing the squalid huts of the Cypriots, who seem to have no ambition to rise above their mode of life, causing one to lose patience with them very quickly.

We also have near us the village of ACANA which was one of the worst villages in Cyprus during the time of the trouble.  Even now, the average British soldier moves through it as quickly as possible and never on foot.  Every Sunday evening it seems to be the custom of the Cypriots to promenade along the main street and there are some nice but very unapproachable young ladies in the local villages which one tends to find a bit disconcerting.

I had hoped to be in touch with the Nicosia Caving Society by now, as I have been here for four months. They seem difficult to locate and I do not believe there is much caving on the island.  I have found a small rock shelter in a valley which, at the moment, is inhabited by millions of mosquitoes and I am intending to excavate it during the cold season.  The only other  prospects here for the climber/caver type is the Mid Eastern R.A.F. Mountain Rescue Organisation, who are trying to recruit climbers from our unit to join their team for climbing training.  The island is faintly volcanic and thus the rock is a bit dodgy for the climbing of, but if there is a chance of going to Greece, then I would not be backward in coming forward.

I should be home in January 1962 and ready to celebrate something or other.  Keep the Hunters open for me!

GB Access

We have received the following from the U.B.S.S.: -

Two clubs, The Cerberus Caving Club and the Shepton Mallet Caving Club, have not yet sent in information that they have taken out the necessary insurance cover and so permission to visit G.B. cave is withheld but dates have been allocated in the expectation that the necessary insurance cover will be completed soon.

Clubs are asked to note a change in the arrangements.  Individual days are allocated to individual clubs instead of weekends.  This change will give each club more visits, but it also implies using the particular days and straddling two days.

Pleas note that there has been a substantial rock fall where the stream passage from the Devil’s Elbow Route meets the Gorge.

The dates allocated to the B.E.C. are Sunday October 30th, Saturday December 3rd, Sunday January 8th.


Following a recommendation by the Committee of the B.E.C., a short course of lectures will be held under the auspices of the Mendip Rescue Organisation on the subject of “First Aid in Cave Rescue.”

They will be delivered by Dr. Bertie Crook at the Medical Lecture Theatre, Bristol Royal Infirmary, at 8 pm on Wednesdays the 16th, 23rd and 30th November 1960.  The party will assemble outside the main entrance to the B.R.I. at 7.55 pm where they will be met by Dr. Oliver Lloyd.  As access to this lecture room is past several wards, it would be appreciated if members would not, for once, wear caving boots.

It is hoped that as many members of this club as possible will attend, particularly as we instigated the whole affair.  The subject matter will be practical first aid of a type which we may be called upon to use before the arrival of a doctor – a period in which a life may either be saved or lost.

K. Gardner.  B.E.C. M.R.O.  Representative.


Secretary, R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept, C.A. Marriott, 715 Muller Road, Bristol 5.


This Christmas number of the B.B. not only marks the first such number to be produced in the new smaller format, but also celebrates the Christmas number of the Club’s Silver Jubilee year and the tenth anniversary of the first Christmas number of the B.B. The heading on this page is taken from the front of that number – No. 41 for Christmas 1950.

We have therefore tried, not only to produce a bigger B.B., but also, we hope, a more neatly printed and better laid out and printed number to mark the occasion.  If we actually succeed in this you, we hope, will be pleased and we shall be amazed.

In any cases, we hope that this B.B. will serve to while away the odd moment before opening time and, as we usually say about this time of the year.

We wish all Club Members, other Readers, and all Cavers everywhere, A Very Merry Christmas.

December Committee Meeting

At the December meeting of the committee, David Drew was admitted as an associate member.  The Caving Secretary reported that he was arranging a trip to the back of Gough’s cave.  This will be announced in the B.B. when details are known.  The Christmas covers for the B.B. are being printed by Garth. It was also reported by Alfie that the club ties should shortly be arriving.  Other business dealt with included new tackle, M.R.O. arrangements, progress on the new hut and other details.

November Committee Meeting

At the November meeting of the committee, Dave Causer and Jim Giles were admitted to full membership of the club.  It was agreed to reduce the rate for hiring the club tent.  Other items dealt with included the authorising of a further 5,000 B.B. covers, to the three colour design used at present, the arrangements for the club tie and the inclusion of a final reminder to members whose subs were still outstanding.

Do You Want?

A club car badge?  A club tie?  Back numbers of the B.B.?  Caving Reports?  B.B. Digest No.1?  Some books to read?  Caving Lamp Spares?

All those things are available through the club.  See Bob Bagshaw for Ties and Car Badges, Alfie for B.B. spares &c and ‘Mo’, Sett or Alfie for lamp spares.  See John Ifold for Library books ROUND AT REDCLIFFE HALL on the first Thursday of the month or the assistant librarian.  Books may be borrowed from John Ifold by Post.


You May Now Hire The Club Tent For 1/- Per Person Per Night!!


Caving Articles; Log and News

Although we normally publish only original articles on caving, we have been sent by Mr. G. Platten – Editor of “The British Caver” – some information about Scottish caves which he has kindly allowed us to publish, since he will be unable to produce Vol. 33 of the British Caver this year.

Some Scottish Caves

Fraisgall Cave is situated on the west base of Whitten Head, roughly six miles north-north-east of Heilem Ferry.  The name is derived from Hugo, son of Freskyn de Moravia.  The entrance is anything from 20 to 50 feet wide and between 50 and 80 feet high.  The tunnel runs for about half a mile into the bowels of the earth.  The walls are variegated with a thousand colours.  The interior of the cave – on both sides – is lined with kedges or slabs of rock.  There are a further series of caves on the east shore of Loch Eribell pronounced – by Dr. Maculloch to be ‘tch most extensive and extraordinary in any part of the Scottish coast.’  This is a truly conservative statement in view of page 80 of “The Scottish Clans & Tartans” published by W.A.K. Johnson Ltd., Edinburgh.  Extracts from this book read: - “We drifted up the deep channel under the gigantic arch….as we peered through the darkness we could see dimly, at the far end, the place where the roof and the water met at the termination of this long and lofty chamber.  On each side were huge ledges of shelving rock running parallel down each side of the cave, at an angle downwards towards the water, behind these, inky blackness….we could see clearly perceive the bottom through the greenish blue water. The rock walls, on which were occasional patches of colourful conglomerate, were brilliant planes of yellow, green, red and blue stains.

As we made our way up the long channel, the cavern seemed gradually to contract in height and width towards the extreme end…..to us, the length of the cave seemed endless.  On approaching almost  to the uttermost part of it, we perceived that it shelved down and narrowed to the extreme end, on the right hand side, to join a gravely beach which met the massive rock roof, where it dipped threateningly at an awkward angle.  To our left, the arches dipped more abruptly amid a number of scattered stones and boulders, behind which was faintly visible in the din light, the dark outline of a small crevice.”

The above extracts were taken from “Angling in Wildest Scotland” by R. Macdonald Robertson and supplied to the British Caver by J. Salvera.  Also supplied by J. Salvera and J. Jonkinson are the following descriptions of Scottish caves.

Pipers Cave. Campletown.  1” O.S.  729/191. Sheet 65.

Located on the north slope of Bein Ghuilean, the entrance is situated immediately under a small rockface on a shoulder of the hill.  This can easily be seen from the road at the cemetery.  This is a ‘gull’ type cave formed in mica schists.  The overall depth is roughly 60’ and the length of lateral chambers 250-300’.  The cave is damp and middy with little to recommend it except one or two short climbs and an interesting straddle traverse which is an optional method of reaching one of the largest chambers near the main entrance.

As for the piper, it is by no means strange that he did not return, although one wonders at these miraculous pipers who had such an affinity for the most difficult caves in Scotland.  Of course, they must have has as many arms as an octopus.  Two for the pipes, one for the torch and two for climbing.  The piper’s dog, as usual, was more fortunate, and managed to reach the light of day at the sea caves at Southend.  There are three of these on a raised beach at Kiel Point.  The most westerly has a high climbable aven.  The centre one is the largest, two hundred feet high, fifteen feet wide and 81 foot long. The easterly cave has a small entrance but goes tunnel like for ninety feet.

The Piper’s cave.  Sandyhills Bay.  1” O.S. 891/546.  Sheet 81.

The cave is situated on the beach roughly forty yards east of the Needles Eye.  This latter being a cave driven through the narrow headland at approximately right angles to the strike of the tide.  The entrance is comparatively narrow and high with a pleasant sea washed sandy floor.  Progress is easily made along this section of the first eighty feet or so.  Here it is necessary to climb a few feet (quite tricky) to gain the extension of the cave which has obviously been tunnelled by man. Some yard along this tunnel and let into the right hand wall is a deep well roughly six feet square and over ten feet deep.  A few yards further on, the floor of the passage is covered in water up to a depth of nine inches.  Eighty two feet from where this pool commences, the mine finished abruptly, the mineral vein having apparently petered out at this point.  The overall length is about 250 feet.

There are a few other sea caves in this area, but nothing particularly worthy of note.  We spent a couple of hours searching for a cave shown on the 1” O.S. as being on Clawbelly Hill, but without success.

In the Lothians, there are caves under Hawthorndon Castle and Yester Castle.  Both of these are referred in “The Lothians” by Ian Findlay.  Of Hawthorndon Castle caves he says: - “The caves are directly under the castle and go far into the rock.  They are on two levels and there are many chambers.  There are fireplaces, seats and cupboard accommodation and a window or two giving on the chasm.  There is also a deep well shaft which would keep the castle and caves supplied with water for any length of time.”  The caves at Yester Castle are associated with the black arts of Sir Hugo and are reached by a worn stair reaching steeply downwards.

Of lofty roof and ample size
Beneath the castle deep it lies
To hew the living rock profound
The floor to pave, the arch to round
There are never toiled a mortal arm


To members of the B.E.C. and all who go underground to dream about places like the Hunters.

Here, such places close a 6 pm.  All shops are closed for Saturday as well as Sunday.  New Zealand is a place for the outdoor sporting type.  If you are brave enough, you can even go pig sticking. Most people here hunt with guns, and this can be dangerous.

I am living with some university students who also belong to the U.C.G., Aukland.  We have a flat and it is used as a meeting place for cavers. “King Country” is where most of the caving is done from Aukland.  It is about a hundred miles from Aukland in the centre of the North Island.  Cave systems are very plentiful, and it is possible to do a new cave on each trip. They were very amused when I told them that we spent weeks just trying to get into a hole, which even then does not usually go into a decent cave system.  The caves here are very much like those of South Wales.

There is plenty of bush, rivers, mountains and miles of beaches.  I have spent one or two Sundays tramping and this is nowhere as tame as it may sound.  The bush is so thick that one has to keep to streams and tracks.  I spent one Sunday travelling from A to b and the water went from my shoes to my waist and one chap was so short that he had to swim.

Hope you get through Priddy Green soon.

                        Colin Knight.



Fernhill – A New Mendip Cave

During the course of geological field work on Mendip over Whitsun this year, I noticed in Fairy Cave Quarry, near Oakhill, a prominent enlarged bedding plane feature in the northwest corner of the working face.  The bedding plane dipped steeply in a northerly direction and was completely filled with an eight inch thickness of banded stalactite.  Towards the floor of the quarry, the bedding plane widened, until there was a gap some five inches above the stalagmite flow.  A strong draught blew outwards from this gap. The bedding plane continued downwards for some distance and appeared to widen with depth.  I was not sure whether this was a new cave, or a portion of either Fairy Cave or Hilliers Hole, about to be exposed by quarrying.  On my next visit to Mendip on 17th June, I again visited the place – this time accompanied by Phil Davies.  After we had made a rough survey of the surface and plotted the position of the bedding plane on the Fairy Cave/Hilliers Hole survey, we came to the conclusion that it was not a known portion of either cave.

Some time was spent in removing enough rock to make a tight, but passable entrance, and a considerable amount of loose and shattered rock had to be made safe.  I then squeezed into the hole and chimney down the bedding plane, which was sufficiently steep to present the appearance of a rift, until I reached a boulder floor 43 feet below.  A quick look round confirmed that this was a brand new cave and I made the return climb to the surface, deciding as I did so, that a “knobbly dog” would be useful at this point.  Next day we both descended into the cave and made an exploration.  A short distance along from the bottom of the entrance pitch, we came to the “Main Chamber” which is about forty feet wide by sixty feet long, having a sloping roof ten to twelve feet high and a sloping boulder ruckle floor.  The chamber had once been a pretty place; there were several large stalactites and stalagmites, a pillar and even a few straws – although those near the entrance had been severely damaged by rocks which had dropped down the bedding plane after from being dislodged from higher up by blasting from the quarry outside. A chamber which we named “Curtain Chamber” adjoined the Main Chamber.  This was long and varied in width from twelve feet to seven feet.  It contained several fine banded curtain stalactites, one of which was about five feet square.  The floor and walls were covered in flowstone.  A small crawl from the end of this chamber led to a boulder choke from which a slight draught blew.  This probably connects with Fairy Cave or the Upper Grotto of Hilliers Hole, both of which are within a hundred feet of this point.  A further small passage at the foot of the entrance pitch led us to a somewhat shattered region which we calculated to lie only a few feet below the quarry floor.  The remainder of the trip was spent in photographing every important feature of the cave, as it was obvious that many of the fine formations were in great danger of being destroyed by the effects of quarrying operations, even if they were spared by vandals once the news of the cave got round!

The name “Fernhill Cave” was decided on, as the name of the quarry could not be used – imagine “Fairy Cave Quarry Cave”,  The 1” O.S. map shows Fernhill as the name of the area to the northeast and as we did not wish to add another meaningless named cave to the list that already exists, Fernhill was chosen.  Other urgent business prevented me from taking part in the survey of the cave, which was carried out a few weeks later in case quarrying should close the cave. During the surveying operations, voice communication was established between a hole in the boulder floor of the Main Chamber and nearby Duck’s Hole.

The exploration and survey could not have been carried out without the co-operation of Mr. A. Garlick, the quarry manager, to whom my thanks are due.

Jack Waddon.

Editor’s Note:    Although this cave was not a B.E.C. discovery in the usual sense of the word, we can at least say that it was first entered by a B.E.C. member.  In fact, we have had to omit the last paragraph of Jack’s article, as events have already made it obsolete.  In case Jack does not know, his trip on the 17th June was followed by a photographic trip two weeks later by Alfie, Jill and Garth. On 26th July, a voice connection was established by Pam Russell, Fred Davies, and Phil Davies between Fernhill and Fairy Cave, and towards the end of August, Alfie contacted the museum about the possibility of ‘rescuing’ some of the formations before blasting finally shattered the cave.  A trip was run on 28th August and the actual ‘rescue’ trip took place on the 22nd September.  This was a Thursday evening, and four members of the club assisted Peter Bird to obtain some formations, as the cave was due to be closed the next day.  It is now closed until further notice.  It is hoped that the curtains and other formations in Curtain Chamber will survive this phase of quarrying, but in any case, the B.E.C. may fairly claim to have taken a hand in preserving some of them, which will be on view – suitably treated to preserve their lustre – in the Bristol Museum.


Caving Log

For August, September, October and November.

7th August.  St. Cuthbert’s. Party, A. Sandall, T. Blake, T. Chamberlain.  Down to Cascades and through Rabbit Warren to Dining Room.  Back by way of Rat Run and out.

10th August..  Goatchurch.  Leader, Jonah.  Party, Malcolm and Linda.  Pleasant trip to Drainpipe.  As it was my first trip down, I went through first, then Jonah and Linda.  On the way back, Jonah tried to persuade himself that he was thin and wore his ‘Nife’.  This was unsuccessful.  Went out through the Tradesman’s Entrance.  I was quite impressed by the Drainpipe.  So was Jonah, in a rather different way.

10th August.  Sidcot.  Party, Malcolm and Linda.  We got lost.

7th August.  St. Cuthbert’s. Party, Mo Marriott and Keith Franklin. Trip to Pyrolusite Series to have a look at small holes at end.  Obvious signs of previous day’s thunderstorm.

13th August.  Swildons.  Party, Mo Marriott, Keith Franklin and 17 boy scouts.  Top of Swildons, all 3 main routes covered.

13th August.  Priddy Green Swallet. Alfie, Willy Stanton, John, Nigel and Alan.  Digging to pass squeeze at bottom of bedding plane.  Willy passed squeeze and reached chamber.  A sudden rise in water was noted and a quick about turn was made. Water was flowing from everywhere including all around the concrete entrance shaft.  It was noted that Willy wasn’t with us and contact with him was impossible due to the amount of water.  Willy, however, came up later when the water subsided none the worse for his experience.

14th August.  Vee Swallet. Digging trip.  Mo Marriott and Keith Franklin.

14th August.  Swildons.  Nigel, Garth, Alan and 7 scoutes.  Tourist trip to top of Twenty.  Too many people to go any further.  Scouts not exactly dressed for the job.  White shirts, Blazers and Plimsolls.

20th August.  Stoke Lane.  Tony O’Flagherty, Roger Luttmer and Mike Holland plus Garth.  Wet but uneventful trip through to first choke after sump.

20th August.  St. Cuthbert’s. John Attwood, Kangy and John Eatough on a photographic trip to the Maypole Series.  The photography was preceded by an exploratory couple of hours during which Purgatory Passage and Echo Chamber were discovered. Photographs were taken of some small but interesting formations.

21st August.  Hunters Hole. Llew Pritchard.  Nobody interested in caving this week, so I decided to clear out the Letter Box in Hunters Hole.  In keeping with the wishes of Ian Dear, I would have not liked to go further even with a party.  After two hours of removing mud, rocks, live frogs and dead mice, I reached bedrock. The entrance shaft is now four foot deeper and the letter box between 30” and 2’.  Obviously, the next party down here will clear off the first ladder pitch and the ledge.

21st August.  St. Cuthbert’s. Party. Keith Franklin, Laurie Maynard, Geoff Tudgay, three scouts and Mo.  Trip to sump via Cascades and Railway Tunnel.  Returned via Cerberus Series and Lake Chamber. A very enjoyable trip.

24th August.  Swildons.  Garth, Owen and Michael Calvert.  Upper Series.  Much water in rift above the Forty.

24th August.  Swildons.  Alan Nash, “Sip”, Griffin and “Nosser”.  Very wet photographic trip to Sump 1 or thereabouts.

25th August.  Swildons.  Intended trip to Sump 1 but only two people were available, so did a short trip tom the forty.  Gareth Owen and Michael Calvert.

28th August.  Fernhill.  Alfie, Jill and Peter Bird on short photographic trip cum museum type tour of inspection to see if any curtains were removable and/or suitable for exhibition.  Party made safe exit unaided by any form of rescue party!

2nd September.  Swildons.  Party, Alan Lynn, Gareth Owen and Michael Calvert.  Down Short Dry way up Long Dry Way, down Kenny’s Passage into Wet Way and out.  Quite wet.

2nd September.  Goatchurch.  P. Miller and Miss M. McDonnell.

4th September.  St. Cuthbert’s. Attwood, Margelts and Eatough on a tourist trip to Cascade, Curtain and Rabbit Warren Extension.  Very wet in entrance.

7th September.  Swildons.  Pete Miller, R.J. Brook and Miss M. McDonnell.  Down Long Dry way and up Wet Way.  Conditions quite good.  (What for? – Ed.)

11th September.  Reads & Goatchurch. Garth, Llew, John, Dick & Eddie. Quick Goatchurch & Reads with Z Alley and Formation Chamber.

12th September.  Swildons.  Intended trip to Sump 1 but one of the younger members of the party complained of feeling very cold after the Forty and Twenty, and as this did not improve even when the party got on the move, we turned round just after Barnes Loop. There was a lot of water at the entrance.  All this meant a short trip but it was most satisfactory.  P. Eyles.

13th September.  Swildons.  Short trip to fetch the twenty feet ladder some fool let fall at the Forty yesterday.  All right for him – he was back in Bristol.  A quick trip in wet clothes.  Bob Grace and P. Eyles.

14th September.  Longwood.  P. Miller and Miss M. McDonnell.  Cave was surprisingly dry after all the rain lately.  No water down the entrance and stream quite low.

17th September.  Swildons.  D. Causer, Rowena, Garth, Peter Lewis, S. Causer plus three theological students.  Long Dry way, Barnes Loop to Sump 1, back via Trat’s Temple.  Also trip on 3rd September round top of Swildons to break in Rowena after holidays.

20th September.  Swildons.  J. Davey and G. Shaw (B.P.C.)  A steady trip down to Sump I via the Wet Way.  Fair amount of water on both pitches.  At Sump I the party enticed a couple of Wessex members to follow them through to Sump II.  A quick exit via the Short Dry.  A very enjoyable trip.

22nd September.  Fernhill.  B. Bagshaw, Garth, Jim Hill, P. Bird + one unknown.  Formation rescue op.

23rd September.  Goatchurch.  J. Davey and G. Shaw (B.P.C.)  Full exploration of the cave.  Party wondered if the cave inscriptions were pre-historic, and why every tight squeeze is labelled ‘Drainpipe’ (surely one of them is labelled ‘Bloody Tight’? –Ed.)  On the way back we had a quick look at Sidcot and Tunnel Cave.

24th September.  Swildons.  Leader, M. Boone.  Party J. Davey and G. Shaw.  Working trip to P.R.,  Inserted rawlbolt at head of Shatter Pot.

24th September.  Goatchurch and Sidcot. Party, Jim Borchard, Tim Giles and Pat Irwin.  Two very enjoyable and speedy trips.  Two members both got top to bottom of Purgatory.  Giles’s first caving trip.

25th September.  Cuthbert’s Culvert. Alfie, Jill, Roger, Jim Hill, George Tomkins and Birch.  Spoil heap divided into two by-products.  Clay for dams and stone for Belfry Construction.  3 hours digging.

25th September.  Sidcot and Rod’s Pot. Garth and Llew.  Full trips through both systems.  Helictites still to be found in 80’ rift at bottom of Rods. Strenuous works in all chimneys of Rods.

9th October.  Reads.  Llew, Garth, George Honey, Richard Roberts, Jim Borchard and Jim Giles. No positive leader – we all took turns. Had one Weegee with us i.e. Garth – who forgot his helmet and went with light in hand.  From the Main Chamber we started to go to the ‘18’ by a devious route, but became hopelessly bogged down in the Stream Passage.  The amount of water coming in made it a sporting trip.

9th October.  Reads.  Richard, Jim Borchard, Jim Giles.  Short trip down to Gravel Pit and back.  Fair amount of water in Pit.  Met a party of nine year olds from Clifton School complete with plimsolls, candles and no helmets.

15th October.  Goatchurch and Sidcot.  Sago plus six T.A. bods.  Beginners trip through the Drainpipe in Goatchurch and Paradise in Sidcot.

16th October.  Swildons.  Sago plus three T.A. bods.  Trip to Sump I.  Out via Wet way.  Very wet.

16th October.  St. Cuthbert’s. Norman, Peter Miller, Nigel C and Dick. Tourist trip to sump via the Water Chute.

16th October.  Swildons.  Garth, Llew and Jim Giles trip to Swildons Four.  Trip basically to bring Sheptons digging gear out of Four, into the Breakfast Chamber.  Goon suit trip though Jim didn’t have one and suffered for it.  A lot of water going down.  After bringing the gear up Blue Pencil we were all nadgered and getting out was a job, especially as we spent 45 minutes waiting below the Forty.  In and out via the Wet Way.

22nd October.  Goatchurch and Rod’s Pot.  Tom Sage and Aldermaston Mountaineering Club. We played around in Goatchurch trying out the tightest squeezes possible.  Rod’s Pot was very damp.  Tried to descend the Fifty Foot Aven without any tackle.  Only got halfway down.

23rd October.  Longwood.  Tome Sage and four members of Aldermaston Mountaineering Club.  Arrived at 1 pm at entrance to Longwood and descended entrance shaft.  On arriving at the bottom, I was told to call out the M.R.O. as there had been an accident on the 33’ into the Main Chamber.  This was done immediately.  Aftre this, I returned to the cave and discovered the nature of the persons injuries, which were not severe.  He was mainly shocked and with the aid of the rest of his party, was able to reach the surface.  The M.R.O. arrived, together with an ambulance, about an hour after the call was made.

              Report on the above by B.E.C. M.R.O. representative.  The Police phoned Howard Kenny, who directed Tom Sage and raised the alarm in Wells.  Luke Devenish raised a party from the Wessex hut, the Hunters, Priddy Green and the Belfry and all available members proceeded to Longwood.  The injured person was poorly equipped, apparently wearing a beret instead of a helmet. Which accounted for the minor head and facial injuries.

23rd October.  Swildons.  Garth Dell, Jim Borchard, Lady ‘C’.  Tour round Upper Series.  Water about normal.  Nothing exceptional except that it was Lady ‘C’s second two hour trip.

30th October.  Swildons.  Mike Baker, Llew, Garth and Jim.  Down the Short Dry Way to the Forty, taking pictures of the Old Grotto and Stream Passage and out the same way.  Stream about normal for winter.

6th November.  Emborough.  Inspection trip to Emborough Swallet by Alfie and Jill.  Torrent of water has removed old rock blockage and stream is again running into old entrance instead on new one as planned. Dam replaced and water re-directed. Noticed that new sink hole has opened up in field outside swallet area.  An area of about 5’ x 7’ has dropped about five feet.  Farmer has commenced filling in.

6th November.  Back of Goughs.  A genuine Weegee trip.  After leaving the show cave, the going became rather muddy, with a few dicey traverses and climbs IF you wanted to do them.  The trip was arranged by courtesy of the W.S.G.  Some photographs were taken.  It was the first time I have even seen mushroom beds (at least I think that’s what they were) in a cave.  Party from B.E.C. consisted of Mike Baker, Jim Giles, Pat Irwin and Garth. We just about managed to make it in time for a ‘quick un’ at the Cliff Hotel.  Garth.

5th November.  Swildons.  Leader, Tom Sage.  Party David Stoke, David Worley, Peter Burnham.  Very wet with much water going over the Forty.

5th November.  Rods Pot.  Party; Pat Irwin, Jim Borchard, Jim Giles and Ginger Owen.  A very interesting and active trip, involving a climb down the first aven and Gravel Pit.  Both Jims and Ginger performed by falling down at various points and all had lamp ‘pox’.  The journey out was a case of the blind leading the blind.  This was a first Rods for both Pat and Ginger.

7th November.  Goatchurch and Sidcot.  Bob Grace and 15 Q.E.H.  First caving trip for most.

8th November.  Rods Pot.  Same part as before.  Laddered down the sixty foot aven and climbed up the other aven.  Then down to the end of the cave.  Enjoyable trip with some photographs taken.

13th November.  Cuthbert’s.  Party, Mike Baker, Pat, Garth and Jim Giles.  Photographic trip as far as the Dining Room.

19th November.  Swildons Four. Party, Garth, Pat and Jim Giles. 40’ and 20’ kindly laddered by W.C.C. It was at the Double Pots that Sod’s Law first struck.  Garth, having packed his cigarettes into a waterproof bag, discovered that it was not. At Shatter Pot, we found that man Holland making an anchor for his sherpas.  After passing a few indolent type minutes at this point, we carried on to do a quick up and down trip of ‘four’.  It was on our return through the Blue Pencil that Sod’s Law struck again.  Garth entered Blue Pencil as far as the first bend with Pat making the chain climb when he espied a pair of bots followed by Mike Boon and ‘Oppo’ with the obvious result. With the second attempt, we made our way to the Forty, picking up a couple of diggers from Shatter Pot on the way, who left us at Barnes Loop. At the 40’ we noticed a marked increase in the water rate.  Due to lamp ‘pox’ we came out via the Short Dry.  In an attempted carbide change in the Old Grotto, Jim lost his ring.  On the whole, it was a good, appetising trip and the first ‘four’ for Pat.

20th November.  Great Oone’s Hole. Party, Llew, Lady ‘C’ and Peter Scott. The delightful indolence struck again, due to Peter’s barrel.  Hence there was no support for a decent cave today.  We went to Cheddar as a change from Burrington.  A quick trip with easy going.  Peter seemed to like his first cave.


Mendip Notes

Wednesday night, 26th October to Thursday, 27th October, 1960.

Thirty six hours of continuous rain over the two days above produced the heaviest flooding seen on Mendip for many years.  Our ‘local lads’ on the spot, reported abnormal conditions in nearly all the major Mendip caves, the most notable being: -

SWILDONS.  A river seen here, flowing onto the ‘fish pond’ was up to ten feet wide.  The grating as completely covered to a depth of twelve to eighteen inches.  An exceptionally large stream disappeared under the tree.  Peak volume was early on Thursday morning as the rain ceased.  By 11.30 pm, the flow had reduced to normal winter level.  The cave was enterable by approximately 5 pm.

ST. CUTHBERT’S.  The water at St. Cuthbert’s was the highest ever seen.  The water at midday on Thursday was running from the lake down the entrance shaft in a considerable stream.  This condition was also observed at again midnight.  On Friday the water had only dropped by a few feet and the entrance rift would have been quite impassable.  These conditions persisted well into the weekend.  Plantation Swallet was only taking a normal volume of water, which suggested that, in these conditions, it cannot be persuaded to take more.  The main difference between the conditions at Cuthbert’s and Swildons must surely be the mineries reservoir.  Cuthbert’s remained impassable until Sunday, which, we think, justifies our calling out the fire brigade and emphasises the need for further ‘waterworks’ in the Cuthbert’s depression.

EASTWATER.  Water here was seen pouring into the main entrance shaft and entry was quite impassable. A moderate sized pond had built up behind the stone wall beneath the Eastwater Hut.

Cheddar Gorge was seen on Thursday morning and although the Gorge itself was completely clear, the area round the show caves was quite amazing.  The entrance tunnel to Goughs was a gigantic sump and water was issuing form the mouth of the cave in a large river.  The river flowed down the main road, through the Cliff hotel and back in the stream.  The drinking members of the club will be glad to know that the local fire brigade saved the cellars.

No flooding was observed on Rodney Stoke Moor until Friday, showing the usual delay for water to reach the resurgences of 24 to 26 hours, when the area from Wedmore top the foot of the Mendips surpassed that of the lakes on the northern side of the hills.

Mike Baker & “Prew”.


Digging out this cave will be quite  feat of engineering, unless we get more of the normal run of luck.  It was hoped that the Priddy Green dig would be finished by now and a joint gang of navvies from the S.M.C.C. and the B.E.C. were going to descend on this swallet and have a concerted bash.  We have had to start a new scheme owing to the applications of Sod’s Law to P.G. Swallet.  A team of diggers, including ‘Mo’, Ian Dear, Alfie, Jill etc. have arranged to keep the last Sunday in every month during 1961 free for this project.  We could do with all the help we could get, so if you have no trip on for any of those days, we can offer an interesting dig. Everyone will be welcome!

Odds and Ends, Miscellaneous Articles etc.


Who gets his breakfast brought in bed?
Who’s got a thumbprint on his beard?
Who wants to buy a minicar,
And is not often at the bar?
Who’s taken off his fungus (face)
And gets put firmly in his place?
Who soon will have to buy a ring?
(For finger, not the other thing.)
Who’s at least three inches off his waist
Considering his lady’s taste?
Who waits his orders from above
And rushes off with thought of love?

It won’t take long to work this out.
It’s rather sharp end and round about.

                        U.N.X. Pergated.


The Belfry Bulletin Christmas Advert Page

Following recent suggestions at the last A.G.M. that the B.B. should include some advertising matter, we are pleased to present the advertisements below.  Although it would not be possible to persuade a nationally known firm to take space in the B.B., we feel that the products we are advertising will be of valuable assistance to all avers.





Join the London Somerset

Missionary Society


Subscriptions nominal

(Example £105 per anum)


Details obtainable from: -


A. Metrals, 2 High Street









The Wonder squeeze Eliminator!


Do you find that squeezes are getting smaller?  Use SQUEEZAID.  No more applications of carbide lamps necessary!  Just POUR the contents of wonderful gooey bottle of SQUEEZAID all over your caving clothes and SLIP through!  Astound your friends!! Only 2/6 in a throw away bottle.  From VISCOSITY LTD. DEPT. S.A.E.20





The Fabulous Body Building Caving Food.


Do you feel rogered in the Rabbit warren? – or clapped in the Cascade?  You need a pick-me-up.  Try GUTTO.  It’s perfect for that undergrpound snack or meal.  Just mix with water – what could be simpler?


Obtainable in NATURAL, DEER or SCREECH Flavours.  Free gift PLASTIC TROUGH given away free with each large packet!


1/11 per packet……..30/- per ton.







Keep out the cold!  Put one in your stew – or your radiator – or your sleeping bag.  Works by ATOMIC ENERGY.  Try one today.






This amazing scientific instrument (not a toy) is based on genuine principles of the physical sciences.  The pointer of this instrument is attached to a GENUINE LEAD WEIGHT and indicates whether the wearer is pointing UPWARDS or DOWNWARDS.  Invaluable in boulder ruckles!  Also supplied with dual reading TOP and BOTTOM (For Yorkshire Potholers) or ENGLAND and AUSTRALIA (For prospective emigrants.  Only a few left.  NOT ex-WD.




For that perfect holiday, why not stay at THE BELFRY!


All mod. cons.  Inexpensive.  Unusual.  All the best people stay at THE BELFRY

Folow their example – Give yourself a treat – Find out what you’ve been missing






Now with the new magic ingredient




Is you address correctly printed in the list of members names and addresses at the back of the B.B.? If not, get in touch with Bob Bagshaw or ‘Mo’ Marriott.  This could be the reason why your B.B. is sometimes late or not delivered


This ‘Odds & End’ section of the B.B. on the next page was intended to be taken up with articles of a humorous nature.  The club appears a bit short on humour this year, so we hope the author will understand if we include a travel type article. – Editor.


The East Indies – Part 1

Preface – by the Author.  In response to a cry from the wilderness, i.e. Alfie, you are about to be inflicted with a series of articles by myself.  The main purpose of these is to fill up space, but I hope you enjoy them all the same.  If not, no doubt you will be able to put these pages of the B.B. to some worthwhile use. - Llew Pritcherd.

As some of you know, I’ve just finished nine year holiday at the taxpayers expense – Spike’s view of the affair.  Actually, the Royal Navy can be a very hard taskmaster at times, but I must admit that I enjoyed being in the service.

In January 1956 I joined my first ship, after serving my apprenticeship in the lab.  This was a 6” cruiser, the Superb.  Incidentally, she was the same order initially as our new ships Tiger and Blake.  My purpose in life was to see in practice, for one year, all the theory I had been taught during the past four years.  The ship had almost finished within the yard and by February we were ready for trials. The North Sea was particularly inhospitable that winter and I remember, above anything else, the bitter cold which penetrated every part of the ship. It had fallen on me to work the light AA guns, which were exposed to everything the weather produced. Surprisingly, I wasn’t sea sick, and soon the comparatively welcome sight of Sheerness hove into view again. To a landsman, it must seem pretty desolate, especially in winter.  To me, over the years, it came to mean England, home and all that I loved in life.  We anchored off Sheerness for a couple of days before going to Chatham and during this time I saw an unforgettable sight – even more do because the hero of this scene later died in the Madagascar Straits, thousand of miles from his home land.  As usual, a very heavy swell was running and the boat’s crews had great difficulty in getting off the boom into their boats.  The Marines were manning the Master Pinnace, a big and cumbersome thing. As the last man came down the Jacobs ladder, the swell dropped the boat away and he finished up swinging from a boat rope by his arms, being continually submerged by the swell.  Of course he was in full winter issue of waterproof clothing, but this only becomes a dead weight when actually submerged. He was in imminent danger of drowning when Eric Underhill flashed along the boom, down the ladder and pulled him out.  Not an easy task when about two hundredweight of wet marine is concerned.

After leave, we set sail for Gibraltar.  Unlike normal ships the navy always seem to travel in circles.  However, Ushant and Finisterre dropped astern in time and we were soon running through the straits, after a week in the Atlantic.  The powers that be decided to send us straight to Malta, so we watched forlornly as Gib slipped by. For those of us who were on their first voyage, it was a great disappointment, for we had learned wondrous yarns of the rock.

Here days slipped by as we steamed east in a transformed world.  We had left the cold Atlantic behind and were now in a civilised, warm sea – the friendly Mediterranean.  After painting ship – Lord Louis refused to have dirty ships in Malta – we steamed into Grand Harbour one fine sunny morning.  My first impression, and it’s a lasting one, was of the huge walls of Valetta rising sheer out of the water.  Soon, we were surrounded by Maltese boats.  All of us, especially the married men, were itching to get ashore. The married men always are first ashore. There must be a moral somewhere. But it was not to be.  Suddenly a very black cloud descended.  Apparently the Arabs on the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain were rioting.  We were the flagship of the East Indies Squadron, so the call was sent out for us.  The Persian Gulf is still one of those places where the presence of one of Her Majesty’s ships settles all local problems in no time. After a six hour turn round, we left Grand Harbour like a Grand Prix car getting off the grid. In no time at all, Port Said was off our starboard bow, and we went straight through the canal like a dose of salts – one of the last before Suez.

(To be continued in next month’s B.B.)

L.S.M.S. Newsletter

(London-Somerset Missionary Society)

Our Ref:  LSMS/NL/1

Some years ago, it was brought to the notice of certain members of Civilisation that there were, in a foreign country known as Somerset, many illiterate varlets.  (NOTE Civilisation being that area east of Reading and South of St. Albans.)

A pioneer missionary who visited this obscure but interesting land brought back an encouraging report.  Apparently, it was possible, after much concentrated effort, to convert the ignorant populace of the “rough” country.  To this end, the L.S.M.S. was formed by a group of very charitable people of Civilisation.

The early missionaries had to fight all kinds of hardship ranging from travel sickness caused by travelling on “rough” roads, and Doghair Poisoning, to the ignominy of working with the U.E.C.F. in such strongholds as the B.E.C. and the W.C2.

One of the main drawbacks which have had to be overcome is the illusion held by the Uneducated Country Folk that they are already civilised.  Just where this idea originates from at present defies all research.  It can only be put down to ignorance.

There is still one illness which we missionaries have not yet been able to cure; the disease known as the ‘Dreaded Indolence’.  The U.E.C.F. have strongly resisted all attempts to cure them of this strange disease and many original ideas have been thought up by members of the L.S.M.S. One of the latest ideas, due to a female member of the Society, is to form a romantic attachment with a male member of the illiteracy.  To date, this is having heartening results (at weekends, anyway).  Another method being used by several missionaries is to try to be more indolent than the sufferers from this complaint, thus shaming them out of this disease.

However, all the work of the Society has not been in vain, for several successes have been recorded. One very notable success has been the conversion of a certain money lender to Whitechapel tenets.  Alas!  Even this victory was marred recently when the poor fellow was heard to say, “We ought to spend some money!  A brainstorm was recorded.  Another success was spoilt when a certain converts went abroad and came back de-converted.  Happily, though, the groundwork put in by the Society was not lost and the poor fellow is becoming quite sett in his ways again

All peoples of Somerset (and other uncivilised communities) may obtain details of the L.S.M.S. and its good work from A. MOTRALS via the Editor. (Thus preventing A. MOTRALS from being filled in).  Correspondence will be very welcome.

                        (Signed)  A. Motrals      President L.S.M.S.

A Guide to Caving Terms

By Jim Giles and Jim Borchard.

“Easier than it looks”     A flagrant lie.

“Harder than it looks”     True.

“Hard to get started”      I’m off form.

“Safe”                           A relative term.

“Interesting”                  With intense concentration it is just possible to avoid getting lost.

“ Beginners Cave”           Cave done by middle aged.

“Active Caver”                Beginner.

“Expert”                        A picture of indolence.

“Slightly damp”              Submerged.

“Entrance Squeeze”       Turnstile at Goughs.

Climbing, Hill Walking, Travel & Similar Articles

The recent appeal for more climbing articles has met with a good degree of success.  It has been possible to pick out some of this type of article which is hoped will be of interest to all members.

A Month in the Cumbrian Mountains.

By Nigel Hallett

Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to spend a month in the Lake District on a mountaineering course.  I say ‘earlier this year’, but in actual fact, the snow was falling ‘orrid’, so you can guess it was much earlier.

The course consisted of climbing; mountain rescue; fell walking; physical training; map work and forest aid, so we were kept pretty busy to do all this in four weeks.

The first week was spent in map reading, and a three day fell walking scheme.  The scheme was designed to break us into the rigours of walking in the Lake District.  The first day we set off from Eskdale after lunch and after about three hours we arrived at Wasdale Head, only about six miles away. Even after this distance, there were several of the party suffering from blisters.  There we pitched our bivouac sheets (no luxuries such as tents allowed) had an evening meal cooked on a very temperamental primus stove and settled down for the night.  For several who had led a sheltered life, it was their first night camping out.  The next day we set off at 0900 hours with the intention of going to Scafell.  After about three hours we reached Sty Head and the weather was beginning to look a bit grim and by the time we reached Sprinkling Tarn a strong wind was blowing. We pitched our bivouacs and then set off for Scafell.  When we reached Esk Hause, a blizzard had started and we turned back.  On the way back to our camp, we came across a nice ice slope and were introduced to the pleasures of glissading.  Oh! Was that ice cold!  Then back to camp; an evening meal and so to sleep.

The next morning we awoke to find ourselves snowed under and due to the uncertain amount of chaos this caused, some items of kit were lost.  Going past this place a week later, I collected fourteen skewers, two mittens, part of a primus and an unopened tin of baked beans.

We had in front of us the thought that what had taken us a day and a half now had to be done in less than a day.  So we set off down to Sty Head, down the pass and eventually arrived at the Wasdale Head Hotel where our spirits were revived with spirits and setting off with renewed vigour, we were soon back at Eskdale.

The second week was spent in climbing some crags near Eskdale, also learning how to take a stretcher and bed down a sixty foot pitch.  The general opinion of this was that it was all right being a guide, but no joke being the bod in the stretcher.  A feeling of absolute helplessness as you hang fifty foot up, all trussed up like a chicken, is rather nauseating.  Whilst we were climbing, we had to fall off once and also hold someone falling off.  On the end of my lifeline I had a sixteen stone copper.  The belay nearly cut me in half as I had allowed him about four feet of slack in the line – nylon at that, too!

A solo scheme of two days helped pass the second week away.  The scheme was in the low land country between Eskdale and the sea.  It was made more interesting by low cloud on a ridge along which we had to go.  Once again, the compass was put to good use.  The third week held the most interest for me, as we went on a five day scheme with a day spent climbing.  The first day was pent in getting there.  The walk up the side of Great Gable with a forty pound pack was murder. We stayed the four nights at the hut of the Keswick Climbing Club, who have, by the way, a very smoky fire.  The afternoon of the first day, we went to see a small cave about two miles from Borrowdale.  The entrance is extremely tight – about the same as the entrance rift in St. Cuthbert’s but with an inch loss in width.  It is only a short cave but quite interesting.

The second day, we split into three parties, one going climbing, one going fell walking and the other going on a 13 mile stroll through Keswick – just to prove that there were more than houses every thirteen miles, I think.  The egg and chips we had there tasted lovely after pom and beans.

On the third day, my friend and I, together with an instructor, went climbing up Shepherd’s Crag. It was originally intended to do Great Gable, but low cloud ruled this out.  We started off at 0830 hrs and reached the Borrowdale Hotel at opening time, which was fair judgement.  The first climb was on Brown Slabs Arête and after this and a meal, we started to climb Jackdaws.  Only going halfway up this, we did a nice hand traverse to do the top half of Donkeys Ears.  This is a V. diff. climb, but has one severe move on it.  My friend became nicely stuck here and, because it was his first experience of climbing, almost required a new pair of trousers.  After we had finished climbing, we set off back but only got as far as Borrowdale when the hop-call was heard.  Honister Pass is much easier after five or six pints!

On the fourth day, we went fell walking while others went climbing and on the last day, we slogged it back to Eskdale in snow, sleet and rain according to the altitude.

In the last week of the course came the climax of the month with a three day scheme.  The idea of this scheme was to go via various check points, including as many peaks as possible in our route.  Our first day took us from Eskdale, over Yewbarrow, Dore Head, Red Pike, Steeple, Wind Gap, Pillar and bivouac down by the Ennerdale Youth hostel.  The second day’s route was from the Youth Hostel to Hay Stacks, High Crag, High Stile, Chapel Crags, Red Pike (another one) Buttermere, High Snockrigg, Robinson, Dale Head and down to Honister Pass. We finished pitching our bivouacs at 1800 hrs and it started to snow at 1815 hrs.  It was still at it the next morning at 0800 hrs when we set off on the last day.  Going via Grey Notts, Brandreth, Gillercombe Head and Green Gable, we decided that the weather was too bad to attempt Great Gable, so we dropped down to Sty Hotel. From Honister Pass to Sty Head – a distance of four miles – took us five and quarter hours.  I never realised until that day what weather we could have in England.  A quick decision (unanimous) ruled out Esk Hause and we went down Sty Head Pass to the Wasdale Head Hotel where the refreshments were more than welcome.  Then on again for the last seven miles to Eskdale to arrive in at 1730 hrs, very tired and soaked to the skin.  Never was bed so welcome.

When we left Eskdale to return to our various parts of the country, it was mixed feeling.  On one hand, we were leaving behind a region where there are too many hills and on the other hand, we had all enjoyed ourselves enormously.  We were all much fitter than when we arrived and I don’t think anyone regretted the month away from it all.  We had walked about 200 miles in that month and climbed over 37,000 feet in all kinds of weather.  I look forward to the next time I visit the Cumbrian Mountains.


A Rope Ladder for Crevasse Rescue

By R.S. King

There are plenty of ingenious scheme for crevasse rescue, full details of which may be found described in climbing books with any calm to be instructive.  Starting with a single climbing rope worn in the usual manner and used for straight pull out, they evolve until eventually one can read articles fervently recommending complicated techniques needing several ropes and dozens of snap links.

Briefly, the methods are as follow.  Each method assumes, to start with, that Charles has slipped into a crevasse and that his fall has been checked by the climbing rope, which, ideally is belayed to an ice axe.  He may be rescued by: -

1.                  A straight pull out.

2.                  A second rope – or part of the main rope – with a loop, is lowered to Charles.  Then by putting his weight alternately on the second rope and the main rope, which are each raised as they go slack, Charles can get himself out.

3.                  By means of Prussic Loops (friction hitches) which are attached to the rope and pushed higher by Charles as he uses them as stirrups to get himself out.  Note.  A mechanical Prussic Hitch may be purchased – at great expense – which eliminates the knot.

4.                  By using snap links and the climbing rope to make a pulley arrangement to give a mechanical advantage when pulling.

These are the most common methods in order of simplicity and have all been used successfully. Unfortunately, no two crevasse accidents are the same and none of these methods is suitable for every emergency. My faith in them has been reduced by at least three incidents.

I was with a party of three climbing on a very wet day in Snowdonia.  We were trying a short climb containing a place where it is necessary to lasso a spike and swing across a gap into a steep corner.  This was done at last, and our beloved leader swung mightily across and thudded against the opposite wall.  The move is deplorably irreversible and though he struggled, pulled and yelled, a combination of thin rope, cold fingers, slimy rock and a persistent dribble of water down his neck defeated his attempts to climb on.  We quickly roped off the route and made a traverse above him.  With much effort we pulled him up the rope.  He had been dangling for three quarters of an hour and he stated that he could not have held on much longer.  The painful cutting of the rope and the wet had rapidly exhausted him.  This and other cases show that endurance is short when hanging from rope, even when provided with a foot loop.

In Austria, traversing a glacier, one of the party I was in, dropped into a crevasse.  Charles jammed in the crevasse about twenty feet down with his rucksack pinning his arms, making it impossible for him to help himself.  Pulling from above proved conclusively to us that he could be hauled up, but the rucksack and arms would have to stay.  Fortunately, it was possible to climb down and free him.  We pulled and he was dragged out in poor shape after about twenty minutes or so.  He was badly bruised and very cold.  So there are situations where it is vital to climb into a crevasse where a fall and the effects of cold make it difficult or impossible for Charles to help himself.

Then a hard case friend of mine decided it would be necessary on one occasion to climb down and collect some equipment.  He cane back on Prussic Hitches.  It took a long tome and tired him.  So much for Prussic loops.  A highly theoretical method to be used only as a last resort.

A basic requirement of crevasse rescue is that is should be simple and quick.  Frank Smythe used to carry a rope ladder. Thus seemed a good all round answer with the merit if simplicity and triggered off a design for a very light crevasse rescue ladder.  Made from the lightest commercially available materials – dural rungs and nylon line – the twenty foot ladder weighs ONE POUND.  Deliberately, for lightness, the rungs are calculated to be just strong enough to take the weight of a medium weight Charles and no more. They are amply strong enough for one rescue, during which some rungs may bend.  These may be easily replaced.  Rung spacing is enough to take a boot with a crampon.  The ladder is intended to be carried around in a rucksack ready for use. Though the nylon line has a large safety factor, it may fray and should be checked.  No fraying is apparent on the prototype ladder, which has been on two holidays in the Alps.  Ideally, one should be carried by each member of a party so that there will also be one on the surface.  The ladder may be used according to the circumstances.  Departures from the standard method of clipping the top lops of the ladder round a belaying axe and then lowering the ladder down the crevasse may be readily made.  An obvious one is that the ladder may be given a greater effective length by lowering it on a rope.  It then can be climbed to the top and when the weight is being taken by the climbing rope, the ladder is pulled up ready for a further ascent.  It will facilitate climbing into a crevasse.  Its shape, besides being ideal for gripping, is similar to a caterpillar track and will help top pre]vent it cutting into the lip of a crevasse.  It will also speed rescue and reduce the effect of exposure.

The editor regrets that he lost the specification of this interesting form of ladder.  Failing his either finding it, or persuading the author to give him another copy for the January B.B., it is suggested that those interested in making up a length of ladder to this specification should either get in touch with the Climbing Secretary or with “Kangy” direct.

“Kangy” also writes on this subject…”Etiers, used in artificial climbing, could be, and probably are, used for the further purpose of crevasse rescue.  It is worth remembering however, that the special ladder at one pound weights the same as four small snap links – considerable less than an etier.

Weekend in North Wales

By Tony Dunn

The party consisted of Joan and Roy Bennett, Ivy and Alan Bonner, Geoff Mossman, Sam Tarling, Pat Irwin and myself.  The trip was result of a request by the London Mountaineering Club for the use of the Belfry to enable to climb in Cheddar and an invitation to use their hut in North Wales in return.  Geoff, who was then Climbing Secretary, accepted this offer with clarity.

We left Bristol in heavy rain at about 6.30 pm, three cars being used and Jean and Roy about ninety minutes ahead of use.  As we drove north, the rain eased and by about Worcester it had stopped.  We were very fortunate in having a fine weekend.  The hut – “Fronwydyr” (Grid Ref. 606587) is reached by taking the turning to the right about ten yards beyond the Nant Boris post office (when going towards Llanberis) and the gate leading to the hut is just beyond the third lay-by and on the left hand side of the broad.  The hut is very well equipped with accommodation for about 18 people; calor gas cooking and running hot water by electric immersion heater.  There is also coal available, and on Saturday evening we lit a fire in the front room and it proved so comfortable that we went down to the local pub, bought some bottled beer and took it back to the hut instead of stopping in the pub.

Saturday morning Geoff, Pat and Alan did Flying Buttress on Dinas Cromloch while Joan, Roy and Sam went round the Snowdon Horseshoe.  Roy and I then set off accompanied by a friend of Geoff’s and mine from Swinton, Lancs called Peter Roberts.  When we arrived at the floor of Main Wall there were three parties ahead of us, so that although we were roped up by about 11 am it was one o’clock before we had climbed the first two pitches.  However, once we were past the Gangway Pitch, there were no more delays and we finished the climb at about 3.30.

On Sunday Geoff, Sam, Ivy, Pat and Joan went up Cricht and having two cars at their disposal were able to park one at the far end of the ridge so that is was not necessary to return to the starting point on foot.  Roy, Peter, Alan and myself made for Clogwyn-y-Ddisgl and we did the Gambit Climb.  A very fine climb of V. diff standard and too serious a proposition as the hard pitches were fairly low down.  In fact, a very pleasant relaxation after the very exposed and slippery Main Wall of the day before.


Annual List of Club Member’s’ Names and Addresses

Apart from the list of members addresses, which follows, that’s yer lot for Christmas 1960.  We could point out that this B.B. is by quite a long way the biggest we have ever tackled; thank our contributors for enabling this to be so, and apologise for the usual amount of errors which, in spite of our rash promise on page 1, have still crept in.  Ed.

This list which follows is that used by our Postal Department and includes all the paid up members to whom this magazine is sent.  If your name is not on this list, or your address is incorrect, please contact C.A. Marriot.


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


R.J. Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


M.J. Baker

Morello, Ash Lane, Wells, Somerset


R. Bater

108 Memorial Road, Hanam, Bristol


R. Bennett

3 Russells Cottages, Backwell Common, Somerset.


J. Bennett

3 Russells 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


J. Binden

Tynan, Victoria Road


C.H. Blonkthorne

Hill Farm, Bishop Norton, Glos


P.M. Blogg

No address


P.J. Borchard

35 Hallstead Road, Harrogate, Yorkshire


Miss S. Bowden-Lyle

51 Coronation Road, Bristol 3


N Brooks

392 Victoria Road, Ruislip, Middlesex.


P. Burt

3 Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts


Mrs P. Burt

3 Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts


R Casling

51 Oakdale Road, Downend, Bristol


B.R. Chamberlain

102 Egerton Road, Bishopston, Bristol 7


B.G. Clark

Ferrybridge Cottage, Wyke Regis, Weymouth


Mrs C. Coase

P.O. Box 1510,m Ndola, Northern Rhodesia


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


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

Wardroom, R.N.A.S. Yeovilton, Somerset


A.J. Dunn

70 The Crescent, Henleze, Bristol


J.A. Etough

116 Newbridge Road, Brislington, Bristol


B.M. Ellis

Oakmead, Cher, Minehaed, Somerset


D. England

28 Mendip Road, Bedminster, Bristol 3


M.H. Evans

20 Norfolk Road, Westham, Weymouth, Dorset


P. Eyles

2 Manor Street, Cambridge


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


D.C. Ford

4 Kensington View, Upper East Hayes, Bath, Somerset


G.A. Fowler

77 Kingshill Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


K. Franklin

18 Clayton Street, Avonmouth, Bristol


P. Franklin

18 Clayton Street, Avonmouth, Bristol


R. Francis

3 Ladbroke Crescent, Kensington, London SW10


A. Francis

53 St. Thomas Street, Wells, Somerset


K.S. Gardner

10a Royal Park, Clifton, Bristol 8


Mrs K. Gardner

10a Royal Park, Clifton, Bristol 8


P.M. Giles

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


K. Gladman

95 Broad Walk, Kidbrooke, London SE3


J. Goodwin

11 Glanarm Walk, Brislington, Bristol 4



c/o Q.E.H., Clifton. Bristol


D.A. Greenwood

34 Oaklands Avenue, Northewrowe, Halifax, Yorkshire


M. Hannam

Myndeep, Westwood Drive, Pill, Somerset


C.W. Harris

14 Market Place, Wells, Somerset


D. Hassell

‘Hill House’, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


R.C. Hawkins

41 Shaws Way, Twerton, Bath


M.J. Healey

174 Wick Road, Brislington, Bristol 4


J.W. Hill

29 Highbury Road, Horfield, Bristol


S.M. Hobbs

135 Doncaster Road, Southmead, Bristol


M. Holland

c/o C. & J. Clark, Street, Somerset


G. Honey

c/o Mrs. Giddings, Boathouse, Hemingfordgrey, Huntingdon


J.A. Hook

34 Arbutus Drive, Sea Mills, Bristol


J. Ifold

Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Somerset.


P. Ifold

Sunnyside, Rectory Lane, Compton Martin, Somerset


B.J. Isles

40 Richmond Street, Totterdown, Bristol


M. Isles

33 Greenleaze, Knowle Park, Bristol 4


Miss P. Irwin

61 Staple Grove Road, Taunton, Somerset


J. Jenkins

49 Stoneleigh Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


R.L. Jenkins

5 North Street, Downend, Bristol


A. Johnson

Warren Cottage, Station Road, Flax Bourton, Somerset


M. Jones

389 Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol 7


Mrs M. Jones

389 Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol 7


U. Jones

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


W.F. Jones

1a East Avenue, Cheadle, Cheshire


J.F. Kembury

2 Newent Avenue, Kingswood, Bristol


R.S. King

1 Lynmouth Road, Bristol 2


R. Kitchen

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


Miss L. Knight

15 St. Martins Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


T. Knight

61 Worton Way, Isleworth, Middlesex


J.M. Lane

41 Willow View, Bairstow Lane, Sowerby Bridge, Yorks


M.J. Langford

15 Lime Grove Gardens, Pultoney Road, Bath


B. Lynn

8 Park Road, Lower Weston, Bath, Somerset


L. Margetts

44 Luckwell Road, Ashton, Bristol 3


C.A. Marriott

718 Muller Road, Eastville, Bristol 5


T. Marston

54 Pear Street, Kingston, Halifax, Yorkshire


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


L. Mortimer

Burley, London Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire


G. Mossman

5 Arlington Gardens, Arlington Villas, Clifton, Bristol 8


K. Murray

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


A. Nash

62 Silverhill Road, Henbury, Bristol


T.W. Neil

Orenda, Bradley Cross, Cheddar, Somerset


Mrs T.W. Neil

Orenda, Bradley Cross, Cheddar, Somerset


P. Nicholson

52 Friggles Street, , Redden Down, Frome, Somerset


J. Pegram

335 5th S.E., Shawninigan, Quebec, Canada


L. Peters

21 Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


N. Petty

12 Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol


T. Pink

53 Burnthwaite Road, Fulham, London SW6


G. Platten

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


B. Prewer

14 Egerton Road, Bath, Somerset


L. Pritchard

91a Norfolk Road, Sheffield 2


D. Quested

Boundary Hall, Tadley, Basingstoke, Hants


D. Radmore

2 Dunkeld Road, Filton, Bristol


A.L.C. Rice

13 Wades Road, Filton, Bristol


A. Rich

Pox 126, Basham, Alberta, Canada


R.J. Roberts

5 Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset


C.H.G. Rees

2 Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


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

22 Bishop Road, Bishopston, Bristol


R. Setterington

4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset


J. Simonds

31 Springfield Lane, Teddington, Middlesex


C. Smith

48 Windsor Road Leyton, London E10


J. Stafford

24 Alma Road, Clifton, Bristol 8


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


G.E. Todd

86 Kingsholme Road, Kingswood, Bristol


J. Tompsett

Mallins, Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


Mrs. D. Tompsett

Mallins, Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


S. Tuck

38 Westbury Hill, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


R.M. Wallis

Swildons, 343 Upton Lane, Widnes, Lancs


G.O. Weston

3 Barrett Road, Walthamstow, London E17


Mrs. G. Weston

3 Barrett Road, Walthamstow, London E17


J. Waddon

7 Haydon Road, Taunton, Somerset


R. Winch

1 Stanley Villa, Crewkerne, Chard, Somerset


E.A. Woodwell

50 Glanfield Road, Beckenham, Kent


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