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Your 1953 Committee will be as follows.

R. Setterington, R. Bagshaw, D. Coase, K. Dobbs, P. Ifold, C. Coase, A. Johnson, A. Celline.

Further details will be printed next months ‘BB’.

A report of the Annual Dinner and the A.G.M. will appear in the next issue, as both these events will happen after this issue has ‘gone to press’.


The Dewar Stone Climbs, South Devon.

By ‘A Climber on Skye’

The Dewar Stone climbs (map ref. 638539) on the rough granite outcrops of Dartmoor, are situated on the right bank of the R. Plym between that river and the R. Meavy, about 10 miles N.E. of Plymouth.  The nearest road approach is at the bridge just below the stream junction, and after crossing the Plym by stepping stones or trees, a walk and a scramble upstream for a mile brings you to the main cliff about 20 yards from the water.  The whole area is completely wooded and there is a good campsite at the base of the cliffs.

The climbs on the main cliff vary from easy to D.N.I., and average about 150ft. in length, so everyone is well catered for.  Two smaller outcrops standing back behind and above the main cliff offer further climbs to more wandering types.  Climbing is in boots or rubbers, but if you intend to roam around, rubbers, while better on the rock itself, are rather a menace due to the vegetation and wet leaf mould about the place.  For non-climbers the walks up the valley will provide a good deal of interest.

Looking at the main cliffs as you approach upstream, the first climbs are on the first pinnacle on your left.  The climbs on this pinnacle all start at the edge of a 15ft. wall which is climbed without assistance of nearby trees.  (I hope).  After scrambling up a rocky ledge, there are a number of routes up the steep slab to the top of the pinnacle, which is detached from the main face.  By sliding down the opposite side you can cross over to this face; alternatively you may execute the ‘Devil’s leap’ from the pinnacle top.

There are a number of short climbs in the chimney behind this pinnacle and its base.  A climb to the left is known as Holly Tree wall; this is a poor relation of its namesake, and, like the others is never more than a good ‘diff’.  However, it leads, by climbing to the right, to a high traverse across the whole face which becomes decidedly tricky in places.  To the right of the pinnacle is a gully, Mucky by name, which higher up is quite interesting if tackled from the pinnacle climbs.

Between this gully and the main gully to the right is a buttress which gives good climbs tackled from either gully.  After gaining and climbing the arête for 40ft. you reach a small ledge.  The way on is via Morris’s Crack (the Menace, of course) in front of you, or by the more severe Gray Crack to the left.  At the top either traverse left or keep straight on to the top.  There are one or two other routes on the buttress and the side of Main Gully, to which nail marks will provide ready clues.  The climbs on this buttress are in general slightly harder than on the pinnacle.  In the Gully proper there is only the scrambling route up through the natural tunnel at the top, which should interest the cavers, perhaps, although the high traverse described earlier does cross this region.

Next to this gully is the main face proper, which produces some of the most severe climbs yet pioneered on the Dewar Stone.  The first, Central Groove, starts up a wall to the right of some large boulders.  The climb continues up the back of a steep groove for 60ft, or so, when a traverse out to the right turns and overhangs at the top of the groove.  From here the way is easier and lies straight up via a small chimney to the top.  While this climb can be classed as severe, Whitackers variant, which climbs into the central groove from the left of the boulders and then branches back to the left across a slab to another chimney is probably slightly harder.

Next, in order, come the two climbs pioneered in pre-war days by the Climbers’ Club; the Climbers’ Club Direct and Ordinary.  Since the war Johnny Morris, Pat Ifold and George Whitaker have concocted a ‘Climbers’ Club Super Direct’, which is a more horrific version of the Ordinary routes.  ‘Climbers’ Club Direct’, a severe climb, starts by a combined assault on a crack in the centre of the Main Face, which is later forsaken for a groove to the right, leading to a pitch.  After 10ft. cross to a further groove on your right, which is climbed until an overhang forces you out onto a ledge and into a crack on your left.  A little higher, a further move to the left is made across a vertical wall to climb a thin slab to the top.  The ‘Ordinary’ route, slightly less severe, starts right at the far end of the cliff up a gully where a left hand traverse brings you to the piton on the ‘Direct’ route, which is followed for 35ft. before an excursion is made to the left along a ledge returning right to an overhang.  This is turned by a chimney to the left, from where there are two routes to the top.

The ‘Super Direct Route’ (D.N.I.)   involves moving over a mantelshelf to the left from the piton and back again higher up to the ordinary route and on up the direct route.  A further excursion up a crack to the right enables you to make a delicate left hand traverse across the face of another mantelshelf on to a tottering block from which a groove and a chimney lead to the top.  This climb is definitely not to be tackled unless you are perfectly ready for it.

In conclusion, the Dewar Stone, although somewhat isolated, is in a beautiful part of the country and is a place well worth a visit, the climbs are many and varied, the rock good, though with some vegetation and the effect on climbing out above the trees as the climbs do, is a very satisfying one.

Building a Belfry

By Tony Johnson

Part 5.  (Conclusion).

People are now beginning to recognise the existence of the new edifice.  The approach of summer leads to a new felt roof.  Here, a warning; do not sweep it over the eaves as we did, as this gives the same effect as a hat with no rear brim does on a wet day, the nether regions get soaked from above.  The numerous accidents that occur at this time are solved by a flight of doorsteps a la Postle Tompsett, which defied our best intentions to break them.  All this merry tinkling and raucous Scotch shouts announce the fitting of the windows, which noise wakes our venerable Hut Warden who, struggling out from a pile of plans and designs, give vent to the puzzling statement that he has had it and that he knows what to do with all the other plans.  To drive this home he lays the first batten, and the inside of the hut changes, as in a transformation scene, to a series of cages.  Whilst this is being done Harry Stanbury is having great fun with coils of wire ‘Wring the Place’ – more like entwining it, I should say.  Anyway, the number of lining board nails put through the wires later on should give a strong job.  These lining boards are a bit of a problem, but, after much thought the B.E.C. devise a means of installing them on car roofs without the necessity of a pilot’s licence, and after a few months thrutch by the jigsaw puzzle experts, the thing is decently clothed.

But wait, the scientific horrors have not been asleep, quite.  Bunks and the welding kit provide fun and frolic, and the generator’s efficiency goes way over 10 p.c. by using it to drill holes as well as produce electricity and hot water.  Numerous brightly coloured tins are by this time appearing and Henry Shelton et femme blithely tell us we are going to paint the thing.  How, if you have never painted lining board, don’t!  Each piece has its own gremlin that washes off the paint as you put it on, and until they are sized up no colour remains.  Thus, after a very decent interval, boys and girls are installed in their own inviolate castles instead of on the floor to the discomfort of those nearest the floor.

Stagnation now sets in with a vengeance, and all the frenzied appeals of your Hon. Scribe pass unnoticed except for the odd half brick.  Anyway in desperation he decided to remove the Mendip Weather from the front door, and the porch so concocted was intended as an example to others.  Have you ever tried to set an example to the B.E.C.?  Don’t.  They just say ‘D--- good show’ and press on regardless.

A final last word, for are nearly at the present day (Thank goodness).  Major components having been donated by persons unknown, the kitchen has at last been evolved as an entity.  After a few weeks’ operation it appears ideal for two people to operate together but hopeless if a number of awkward bods insist in cooking their horrible grub at the same time.  Still, at present we are searching far and wide to start the whole process again by fitting extra sections to accommodate our expanding population.  The results of this will be expounded in a decade or so.

P.S. If anyone has a book on making concrete, please pass it on to our Hut Warden and Mervyn Hannan.  They tried to make a concrete stove base, and for reasons that are not quite plain, finished up with chippings that were finer than before they added the cement.

Tony Johnson

POEM or You’ve had your Wordsworth.

By Jill Rollason.

I wandered westwards, full of care,
Fearing a caving trip was due,
When all at once I was aware
Of swarms of mucky cavers, who
With scruffy hair, all dark with mould,
Were muttering curses in the cold.

As many as the crocks that stand
And stiffen in some iron-works,
They shuddered as their fervour waned,
And screwed their mouths in groans and smirks:
Full twenty I saw with one look,
Pushing each other in the brook.

They all were loud in wrath, but some
Outdid the loquacious mob in word
(A caver could not but be glum
To see himself caught in the herd).

I gazed and gazed – but little thought
What joy the scene to me had brought:
For oft when in my bunk I doze
And dream of caves that should be done,
I think of Jones, of Sett, and Coase,
(Who totter down them one by one),
And when my heart with praises fills
For those who graunch beneath the hills.


You Never Know


As civilisation slowly gropes its way into the more remote corners of the Belfry, it will probably be decided to issue a little booklet to new members to help them settle in.  Let us therefore peer into the future and take a look at some of the contents of: -


Available from any club official (price 3d) or from Mr. Bagshaw. (price 1/6).


The Club runs regular Helicopter services from Wells and Bristol to the Belfry.  All enquiries should be addresses to the Chief Pilot (Mr. Johnson).   Members wishing to alight at intermediate stops should apply to the Parachute Officer (Mr. Rice).  Large parties should use the Bristol Bus routes which run from all major towns to the Belfry.


On arrival at the Belfry, all members should contact the Hut Warden (R.A. Setterington) whose office is in the administrative block.  To reach this from the entrance proceed down Eastwater Avenue past the Helicopter Park and the ornamental garden and take the first turning on the left after passing the statue of Dan Hasell.

Should the Hut Warden not be available, his secretary should be consulted.  If, as will usually be the case, she is also not available, the Assistant Hut Warden should be contacted.

Parties of 100 or more are asked to book in advance, as the sudden arrival of parties of this size throws an unfair burden on the domestic staff.


All requests and complaints should be addresses to the Chief Catering Officer (Mr. Jones).  Breakfast will be served in bed unless otherwise ordered.  Members are requested not to detain the maids bringing early morning tea, as others are waiting for this.

Members are advised to arrive promptly for dinner to avoid missing the floor show, after which there is dancing to the music of Alfie Collins and his Haphazard Harmony.


Members are reminded that care should be taken when bathing in Mineries Pool as the marble steps and surround become slippery when wet.

Members are requested not to use the lifts for journeys of less than four floors, as the lifts place a heavy load on the main generating station, causing the Chief Electrical Engineer (Mr. Lucy) much inconvenience.

Finally, members are asked not to throw their cigar butts on the carpets as this does damage the pile.


Thanks are due to Tony Johnson for the cover of the Xmas number; A very fine effort, Tony.


Thursday Meeting are now being held at St. Mary Redcliffe Community Centre, Guinea Street, Redcliffe Hill, in room 2.  Thus we have returned to our old meeting place.


The A.G.M. will be held in Old Market as previously announced, and NOT at Redcliffe.

Dinner tickets will be available until 22nd. Jan., and if you have any resolutions for the A.G.M. you may hand them in at any time before the start of the meeting.


Les Peters has written in and requested that a page be reserved for ‘Home’ snippets of news.  This is an excellent idea, Les, and I wish that I could have such a page each month, but the snag is that there would be precious little to go on it.  There seems to be an almost complete absence of ‘Local’ news, due, no doubt, to the fact that very little DOES happen, and those things that may be of interest are very seldom reported to me.  I am quite willing to have a bash, so come on you ‘Locals! and let me know your news items!!

Building a Belfry

by  Tony Johnson

Part 4.

The following weekend it was the mixture as before, but lo, there is a difference.  A 350cc Triumph leans against the hut and its owner is to be seen prowling around the ruins.  Mush wrangling finally evolves a way of getting the roof on by hand.  The ends of opposing sections are laid on the top of the walls with the centres held up to the correct height on poles.  People on oil drums are detailed to swipe in nails as each section passes to its correct position.  This causes great good fun with squashed fingers lying about the place as thick as sprats.  All goes well – much too well – until the last sections are all that remains - then- Calamity.  First they slide out over the walls and then when they have been fished back there seems to be a gap all round.  Who said this lot of bits made a complete hut??  However, there is a genius abroad, Angus Innes du Triumph has just passed his Lower national and is raring to go.  Before you can sing ‘The Barley Mow’ all the precious lifeline is roped into service and threaded loops the length and breath of the hut.  Crowbars are put into loops and to the strains of such as ‘Avast ye lubbers’, they are twirled until the hut is tourniqueted in a manner that wouldn’t disgrace a District Nurse.  In no time the hut pulls itself together, the windows more so, and nails are hammered home.

At this, an impromptu war dance is executed in the wide open spaces until a plaintive cry disclosed Angus still holding on to the crowbars.  Let go, Angus, and join in!  What a silly remark!!  Crash Bash! Smash! - - - - Splash!!  One is through the window, and, oh well, we were going to have a chimney there anyway, but ‘tis a pity about the bar, useful pranging iron that.

(The concluding part of this saga will be in next month’s issue.  Ed.)

It would be nice to be able to print some caving reports, but, alas, those strong, silent types who venture underground, cloak their doings in secrecy, and only vague stories reach me.


The Black Mountains

By John (Menace) Morris

In front of my cottage stretch the long ridges of the Black Mountains, without a doubt, the best ‘Hill-walking’ region in .

I intend to give you some ides of what they have to offer.  First, I will deal with the Eastern Group, of which the highest, Waun Fach (2660ft.) lies directly opposite a few miles from where I live.  This group is bounded on one side by the Usk Valley and on the other by the Wye.  At one end is the Hereford plain and the other is bounded by the sharp and shapely peak of Mynydd Troed (2010ft.) and the Brecon Valley.

There is no real rock climbing on these mountains, but one side is a scarp and extremely steep, with some immense gullies splitting it.  The rock in these gullies is not reliable, being sandstone, but under snow conditions, they can give the mountaineer something to think about.  The high tops are an immense windswept area giving wonderful views, and it is easier than one would think to get lost.

The Western Range is usually known as the Brecon Beacons and Fforest Fawr.  The highest and most sensational section contains Pen-y-Fan (2906ft.) Corn Du (2868ft.) and the very striking Cribyn (2612ft.).  The walk to there from Brecon is rather tedious, but from the Youth Hostel at Storey Arms, on the Brecon – Merthyr road is quite short and easy.

The view from the top of Pen-y-Fan is wonderful, from Bristol on one side and Cader Idris on the other.  The most fascinating part of these mountains is the great Cwm below Pen-y-Fan and the Cribyn with its great N.E. face, and the black lake of Llyb Cwm Llwch at the base of it.

The whole face is extremely steep and seamed with gullies.  There is a lot of climbing of a very high and delicate standard on this face, and under snow and ice conditions it demands rather advanced technique with ice pitons etc.  Belays in the 900ft. of climbing are conspicuous by their absence.

I would like to arrange, early this year – with the help of some of the ‘old team’, some courses for beginners in ice and snow-craft.  The best time for weather conditions is usually in Feb. and March.

One of the best recommendations that the Black Mountains can have is that they are the nearest real mountains to Bristol.  That they are real mountains there is no doubt, and they give one the impression of being twice their height.  I only hope that some of you that read this will find yourselves able to come and try these mountains and judge them for what they are worth.



DON’T FORGET to send in your Ballot forms so that they arrive by post not later than Jan. 30th or BRING them with you to the A.G.M.


Notice from the Committee

After the January Committee Meeting the 1952  Committee will be dissolved and they will only meet again in the event of an emergency.


There is, in the Amateur Photographer No. 3541, dated 19th. Nov. 1952 on page 512 et seq. a very interesting article on Cave Photography.  We too, have one up our sleeves for the next month (I hope).


Ruthless Rhymes for Callous Cavers.


Down a pitch poor Willie Stocks
Got pulverised by falling rocks.
Cavers looking down said, “Blimey,
That’ll make the rock face slimy”.

In a rift poor Bertie Bright
Got himself stuck good and tight.
One day we must go and shift
Bertie – ‘cos he blocks the rift.

Little Albert had his lot
Falling off a laddered pot.
Nothing makes us cavers madder
‘Cos we’ve got to mend the ladder.

O’er a ledge young Frances Hope
Clambered with a ten foot rope.
His disappearance makes us sure
The drop is thirty feet or more.

Diving through unknown sump
Robert hit his head a bump.
Everyone his death regrets,
He had got the cigarettes.

Basil Billings bashed his head
On a curtain – stained it red.
You’d think he’d show consideration
For such a beautiful formation.


Change of Address

Mr. and Mrs. H. Shelton, 5, Sunny Side, Clutton Hill, Clutton, Somt.
Mr. (Postle) and Mrs. (Dizzie) Tompsett, 57, Rothman Ave., Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex.

Letters to the Editor


With reference to the article in the Xmas Issue of the BB regarding the dating of Archaeological specimens, may I draw your attention to the following articles: -

‘The Dating of Cave Deposits’, Archaeological News Letter Vol. 2, No.9 Feb. 1950 Page 141.

There are also references to palynology, Varve-Clay Layer counts and Tree-ring Counts.

‘The Measurement of Radioactivity in Solution’ by George K. Sclweitzer.  Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science, Viol XXIV No. 2.  dated April 1949.

Yours faithfully
            ‘Another Scientist’


To: -

The Problem Page, Belfry Bulletin.


Dear Auntie Prudence

                                    I wrote to you before, as I was very lonesome, and you invited me to join a Wholesome Youth Club.  I have joined an Exploration Club and I do hope you can help me as I am in rather a predicament, though please don’t think I have done anything I shouldn’t ---Yet.

At this club I met a man who I do not think my mother would quite approve of.  I know he is not all that could be desired, but I trust him and I think I can reform him.

He has asked me to go caving with him, and has offered to supply all the equipment we shall need.  Do you think I should take advantage of this offer?  I am rather dubious, because on several occasions he has mentioned that we shall not need lights.

Please reply quickly before he loses interest and I am eagerly awaiting your guidance.

Young and Innocent,

Auntie Prudence replies: -


My dear ‘Y & I’

                                    I am indeed gratified that you have followed my advice in the past and am only too pleased to help you once more.  If you will send me a stamped addressed envelope I will be only too pleased to explain the best course of action privately to you.  There are certain things that all intending lady cavers should know before venturing underground, such as the application of luminous paint etc., so just send along an s.a.e. and I will send you full instructions.  My love to you dear,

Aunt Prudence.


There is STILL room for YOUR article in the BB.


R.J. Bagshaw.  Hon. Sec.  56, Ponsford Road, Bristol. 4.
T.H.Stanbury.  Hon. Editort B.B.  74, Woodleigh Grds., Bristol. 4.

Caustic Comment

At the time that I am writing this brief note for inclusion in the BB we are lucky to have a very fine meeting place in Old Market. But there is some doubt as to the future. I should like to point out to certain persons that it is totally unneccessary for them to prove that they can walk on the newly painted walls; that we are all aware that the peculiar protuberance in the stairs will, if moved control the stairs lights, and that acting like a ten, year old child is not in the best interests of the club. It is no doubt amusing to do these things, but why not keep them for home or would Mummy smack ?

It is indeed a pity that so much of the comment that I send to the BB is of this nature but I feel that it is in the best interests of the organisation that such things are nipped in the bud, and we still keep our room, than the childishness of a very small minority closes the place to us.

Old Timer

Good News comes from Penguin Books

They have published “Ten Years under the Earth”, Casteret’s classic.  The number is 846T and the price is 2/6.  This places the book within the reach of all and, for those who haven’t read it, I advise you to dive into your pocket and invest in a copy.


Whilst on the subject, there are three more books in the Club Library.

Cave Science No. 20.  April 1952.

Underground Adventure by Gemmel and Myers (Recently reviewed by Pongo).

Cave Hunting by Boyd Dawkins.



No!  You’re wrong!  It’s the ‘British Caver’.  Vol. 23 of this unique cave Journal is to be published this month.  The cost is 7/6 or a ream of 10x8 paper.  From: - G. Platten, Rotherfield, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, Hants.

Committee Ballot.

All nomination forms MUST reach Assist. Hon. Sec. BEFORE Dec. 1st. 1952.  Items for inclusion in the Agenda for the Annual General Meeting are asked for.  This is the time that the lads with bright ideas usually fold their tents and steal away.  This year let the club have the benefit of your ideas.  It is your club and welcomes any ideas that you may have for its betterment.

Heard in Swildons Old Grotto!

Lady Caver, (Novice): ‘This is the first time I’ve had such a wet backside since I was four years old’.

Noises Off

I was sitting in the Hunters the other Friday Night having a nogging and chatting with a few locals when I commented that I was surprised that nobody had ever complained about motor transport arriving noisily and late at the Belfry and other such noisy goings-on.  To which one of the locals replied that he, maintain that a nod is as good as a wink, and Belfry users would do well to respect the tolerance with which we get treated.


More Belfry Birds

By Unknown Observer.

Though I am not exactly an authority on the subject of wild bird life, there are a few varieties of the semi-domesticated birds which I feel have escaped the notice of Mr. Hannam.  This being so, I will endeavour to bring these interesting fact to the wandering attention of the long-suffering readers of the Belfry bulletin.

As with Mr. Hannam, I find that these birds can roughly be divided into four groups.  i.e.:-

·         Permanent Residents;

·         Summer Residents;

·         Winter Residents;

·         Passage Migrants;

Having the least to say about the Passage Migrants (and the least said, the better) I will start with this group.

Passage Migrants generally arrive in hordes or droves usually about the months of June to August, and are easily identified by their shrill chatter and their exceedingly industrious habits.  One very prominent part in the life of these birds is the strange way in which they march in single file to the Mineries Pool, where they display their ungainly bodies with contortions quite unbelievable to most people, and at the same time utter short sharp barks of utter joy.

They are often to be found making great preparations for underground explorations, sport of which they seem inordinately fond.  They always take enormous quantities of equipment with them on these journeys; one family of these birds was even suspected of taking a calor-gas stove, but I am not prepared to corroborate this statement.

Now to Summer Residents.  There is a charming and bewildering assortment of birds in this category.

Number one on our list is the Hairy-Legged Horror, which is notable for its habit of standing on the edge of the Mineries Pool and thrusting one foot into the water, at the same time emitting a particular raucous scream.  These birds have even been known to get into the water and swim.

There is also a species known as the Rosy-Rumped Snooper, which only comes out when there is no one around and discards all its plumage whilst in the water.  Several well known varieties in this group are the Observant Stroller and the Watcher-from-the-Bushes.  This last named has a peculiar whistle easily mistaken for that of the Lone-wolf, which is also a Summer Resident.  There is no need to be more explicit about this bird!

There are not so many Winter Residents for obvious reasons.  One of these, however, which is of great interest, is the Mountain Messer.  This bird migrates during the summer to more mountainous districts, but comes home to the Belfry during most of the winter.  It sometimes gets an urge to see another mountain about Christmas time, and usually a small school of these birds disappear for about a week and return refreshed in time for the New Year.  This bird can easily be recognised by his extremely large feet, which have nail-like protuberances on the soles.  He likes to smoke a pipe, and often has a furry collar about his neck like a vulture.

Another Winter Resident is the Huddle-Bird.  This bird has a complaining, high-pitched whine, and screams continuously if the door is left open.

The last bird I would like to name in this category is the Brimstone-Heller.  This is an inquisitive bird.  As no-one, has ever seen it, I cannot describe it; neither can I repeat the other names I have heard it called by less particular bird-watchers.  Its main fault lies in the habit it has of transferring blankets from one nest to another.  (Usually its own).

Permanent Residents.  At last we come to that noble though oft despised bird the Speed Fiend.  This naturally ugly bird is always to be found at any time of the year, in and around the Belfry area of the Mendips.  He has an uncommonly hard head, a terrifically thick skin, and belongs to the same family as the Mountain Messer previously mentioned.  He flies at a tremendous speed around the countryside with a predatory gleam in his large glassy eyes.  His arm always spread out motionless before him, the ragged ends of which resemble outstretched hands.  (On closer inspection it will be observed that they are outstretched hands).  These birds have been described as a menace to the community; they don’t mean any harm, however, they just like to scare the lives out of people for a bit of fun.

The Snogger is the next bird I will describe.  The habits of the Snogger are well known to you all.  These birds roam in pairs, especially on dark nights, and, like the Stonechat in Mr. Hannam’s article, frequently nest among the gorse bushes on North Hill.

Two kinds of bird who are very well known in the Hunters Lodge area are the Late Songster and the Tippler; the harsh but not untuneful call of these birds is probably familiar to all visitors to the Hunters Lodge Inn.

The Songster, once heard, is quite unforgettable; his songs, however are quite unrepeatable.  The Tippler sits quietly and morosely, hovering over his beer, alternating the songs of the Late Songster with a low-pitched rumble of appreciation.  These fine specimens are to be found around the Belfry.

Being a coward as well as a bird watcher, I prefer to remain anonymous, therefore I sign myself,

Unknown Observer.

Building a Belfry

By Tony Johnson.

Part 2.

In searching for a new site one is always after something more convenient than the last, but compromises are inevitable.  In our case a fine new site is found 100 yards from the old one as the crow flies, but in the wrong direction, i.e. towards Eastwater and away from the Hunters Lodge.  As the journey appears to be about 10 miles by road, a tractor and trailer are wooed with pint pots and the thing becomes a practical proposition practically.  But, before moving house, the constitution of the new site must be explored. Careful analysis showed this to be: -tufts of grass 20 p.c.; mud, ditto; bog 40 p.c., with one ditch – tractors, for the falling in of, and a population of 2.5 frogs per sq. yard.

As the bulk transport and assembly of pre-fab. homes was then all the rage, it was decided to move with the times, and, accordingly, the hut was sawn into lengths for easy transport.  Unfortunately, the large mobile crane did not materialise and the sections were loaded with dexterous use of oil drums and scaffold poles.  We were blessed the day with a lady driver which probably accounts for the valiant attempts by two motor coaches from John O’Groats via Abermule, to climb the roadside wall in their excitement. Of the re-erection, suffice it to say that the three sections were slid off and shunted into position, to be tied together temporarily with wire, as will be seen to the present day.

About this time a calor-gas cooker appears slowly on the scene, prompted by an alarming increase in fatalities due to primus explosions as a rate of 2.68 fires a week.  But, the more spacious site didn’t really ease our overcrowding difficulties, and a large abode was really needed.  So what did we do?  No!  We didn’t buy the Skylon.  Instead we bribed the Stanbury Spy Service with petrol coupons, and an unwanted army hut appeared at Plymouth.  Here some bright bod covered himself in glory, for the first report was so detailed that it was possible for the foundations to be ready for the hut before it was even bought.  (That was Angus.  Ed,).  If I may digress a moment on the subject of foundations; the initial requirements are for a series of symmetrical pillars built level on concrete bases.  Actually what one gets is a series of haphazard dollops of ‘concrete’ puddled into place by George Lucy and our venerable Hut Warden, who were both in their element.  On these dollops are erected a series of rough towers a la Pisa, built of bricks from derelict and not so derelict buildings.

The actual dismantling and transport of the new hut is a closed book to yours truly, but one hears rumours of a certain person falling into a water tank 50ft. in the air, plus a lot of glib talk about sheep and pressurised stoves, so perhaps the truth may leak out yet.  Suffice to say that the thing was tipped in bits on to the site along with certain bodies.

(to be continued)

Part three will be included in the Xmas number if it is received in time.  Ed.


R.J. BAGSHAW,        Hon. Gen. Sec. 56, Ponsford  Road, Bristol. 4.
K. DOBBS,                Hon. Assist. Gen. Sec. 55, Broadfield Road, Bristol. 4.
J.W. Ifold,                   Hon. Librarian, Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol.
M. Hamam,                Caving Sec. 14. Vyvyan Terrace, Bristo1.8.
A. Setterington,          Hut Warden, 21, Priorswood Road, Taunton, Somt.
P. Ifold,                      Climbing Sec., 60, Ashley Down Road, Bristol. 7.
T.H. Stanbury,            Hon, Editor, B.B.  74, Woodleigh Gardens, Whitchurch, Bristol.


Please send contributions, large of small, to the Hon. Editor at the address above, or hand them in to any committee man.



Annual General Meeting and Dinner

The Annual General Meting will be held in our room in Old Market Street, Bristol on January 31st. 1952. It will be followed by the Annual Dinner; this will be held at the Whiteladies Restaurant, Whiteladies Road, Bristol, and the tickets are 7/6 each. You are advised to apply as soon as possible for Dinner tickets as there is always a rush for them.

The Postal Ballot Form which you will receive with this BB must arrive by post not later than 30th. Jan. BUT forms may be handed in up to the start of the A.G.M.

The Committee will be pleased to receive any further resolutions to be included in the Agenda for the A.G.M.

Club Library

The Club Library his had the following additions since the last BB: -

National Speleological Society Bulletin No. 13.

W.C.C. Journals for 8ept & Oct.

Caves of the Sauerland

By Jack Waddon.

Although caves are to be found in several parts of , the most important area is the extensive limestone uplands of the Sauerland, in South Germany, which contains also some of the most picturesque scenery in the country.

Since the limestones which I had seen elsewhere in Westphalia had been in a ‘Muschelkalk’ (a Triassic limestone not found in ) I expected to find the same situation in the Sauerland. However, it became apparent that here the rock was much older, and as far as I could see from fossils which I found in the area, the limestone was laid during the Devonian or Early Carboniferous era. I subsequently found my conclusions verified by a local guide, which stated that the local rock was ‘Devonian Kelkstein’.

The caves of the Sauerland do not differ greatly from those of South-West . The air temperature inside the caves is constant at 12 deg. C. The average rate of stalactite growth is about 7mm in 10 years.

The Dechenhohle

Situated amongst steep, pine-clad hills, 6½ km. west of Iserlohn, near the village of Letnatha, is the Dechenhohle, probably the best known cave in .

The cave was discovered in 1863, during the construction of the railway which runs outside the cave. Since then it has been highly commercialised. There are 15 medium sized chambers to the cave, which is about 400 metres long. The cave contains a large amount of stalactite formations, much of which is stained by various other minerals. Some of the stalagmite pillars which adorn the cave are over 3 metres high and 30 cm. thick. Straws are to be found in some parts of the cave, but most appear to have been broken off. I found some small amounts of aragonite in various parts of the cave, but not in large quantities. There are one or two examples of stalagmites growing on the tops of others which have toppled over, thus producing qeerly shaped formations.

Remains of cave bear, cave hyena, early horse, and various kinds of deer were found in the cave, mainly in the ‘Konigshalle’ chamber of the cave.

The Dechenhohle is worth a visit, if one is prepared to overlook the excess of commercialisation.


This is a very interesting, semi-commercialised cave in the village of Sundwig, 6 km. due east of Iserlohn. Admission is granted on application at the ‘Gasthaus’ behind which the cave is conveniently situated.

Heinrichshohle is of about the same length as the Dechenhohle, but here the similarity end, for it contains many high rift chambers. Although there is a fair amount of formation in this cave, its main interest lies in the large number of animal remains which have been found there, of which the most prolific are cave bear. One cave bear thigh-bone can be seen in situ, projecting form the cave wall in one place, and an almost complete cave bear skeleton, together with the remains of other animals, is preserved in a large show-case outside the cave. Mammoth teeth and tusks are among another large display of bones, which is on show in one of the chambers.

An interesting feature of the cave is a copper wire which was stretched across one of the chambers beneath a large stalagmite. This wire has been there for 50 years, and a small stalactite is now suspended from it, while a one inch curtains runs along its length: a useful measure of rate of deposition.


A couple of hundred meters north of Heinrichshohle, up a steep hill, is Felsenmeer (literally ‘rock-sea’). It consists of a series of large shake-holes, forming a depression about ½ km. long, edged by sheer cliffs. In the depression are large, jammed limestone masses, full of deep cracks and fissures. The average depth of the depression is about 25 metres, but many of the rifts are considerably deeper than this, and a 100ft. climbing line is useful when descending these.

Many specimens of ‘ramshorn coral’ are to be seen protruding the boulders, due to the action of weathering, and I found various other fossils, mainly of brachiopods, in the area.

Jack Wadden

Dating of Archaeological Specimens

By Scientist

To the best of my knowledge, almost all the estimates of the age of archaeological specimens are made from the associated pieces of tools, household utensils, and other bric-a-brac which are found with human and other bone remains. However, there are available at least two other methods for the determination of the age of specimens; one, a chemical method, will give the relative age of bone remains found in the same deposit. The other method, a physical one, will give the absolute age of any organic (animal or vegetable) remains, up to about 20,000 years, a limit which will probably be extended as the techniques improve.

The chemical method is based on the fact that bones and teeth contain a compound known as hydroxyapatite, which will react with fluorine to produce fluera patite. Since fluorine is present in all soil water, although only as a few parts per million, and the reaction can continue until the fluorine content of the bone gets down to about 3 per cent, it will appreciated that the fluorine content of bones taken from a series of layers in an archaeological site can be used to determine the relative age of the layers; the greater the fluorine content, the greater the age of the specimen. (British Dental Journal. June 2nd 1950. pp 292-299 and references)

The physical method depends on the determination of the C14 content of the specimen.

Carbon 14 (usually written C14) is a form of carbon which is radioactive; it is formed in the earth’s atmosphere by the sun’s radiation and disappears by its own spontaneous radioactive decay. It will be seen that, provided the sun’s radiation has remained the same rate for a period rather longer than 20,000 years in which we are interested, then the C14 in the atmosphere will be at a constant proportion throughout that time. The formation of C14 by the sun will balance that lost by radioactive decay and a steady state will be reached.

All animals and plants carry out a continuous exchange of body carbon with the carbon in the atmosphere so that; the percentage of C14 in their bodies remains the same as that in the atmosphere, until the moments when the organism dies, when the C14 content of the body starts to decrease.

Carbon 14 decays radioactively at such a rate that half of it will have disappeared in 5589 plus or minus 75 years. This is known as its half life and is completely independent of all normal and physical conditions. Thus is will be seen that an accurate determination of the C14 content of nay organic specimen will give its absolute age in years. For example, if the C14 content of a specimen is exactly ¼ of the content of the earth’s atmosphere, then its age will be 11,178, plus or minus 300 years. The error is quadrupled because two half life periods are involved, and because the same errors will occur in the measurement of the radioactive activity of the specimen as occurred in the original experiments for the measurement of the half life of C14.

Trip to Upper Ease Gill

A party of club members joined the meet organised by the Craven Pothole Club in the last week of July at Bullpot Farm, above Kirby Lonsdale, to explore the newly opened Upper Ease Gill system.

Don and Clare Coase and Pongo Wallis arrived on the Saturday night, after struggling up the atrocious track and pitched camp. It was very gratifying to hear that B.S.A. had abandoned Lancaster Hole and that as C.P.C. had laddered it, it would be possible to explore it. Sunday morning accordingly saw a party of 12 depart down Lancaster, to appear 5 hours alter at Rosy Sink – the entrance to the Ease Gill Caverns, a matter of a mile or so as the crow flies. This must be the finest underground traverse in the country, including as it does, a series of vast chambers. (Don got a blister from walking too far). The formations are not numerous, but there are a number of quite fine collections.

The next trip was on Tuesday, by which time the B.E.C. party was complete – Sett, Mike Jones, Mervyn Hannam and Norman Petty. A fine trip was enjoyed and a number of photographs taken. The day was spent in exploring Ease Gill. This is very different from Lancaster, being wet in a number of places, and a certain amount of crawling being required. The whole party went in as far as Gypsum Cavern, where there are some very fine formations. Most people then returned to daylight, but Don and Pongo continued upstream for a very easy ¼ mile or so and got to Master Grotto - the showpiece of the system, where the formations are the finest in the country - alas – they hadn’t taken their cameras.

The last trip took place on Thursday, when parts of Lancaster Hole were visited. The main object of the exercise was to get to the Graveyard, but unfortunately we were mis-directed and found Sand Cavern instead - a poor substitute.

The party began to break up on Friday, but all felt that a most enjoyable time has been had and were most grateful to the C.P.C. for organising it.

Many of the older members will no doubt be interested to hear that Pongo and the Coases then went to Appelby where our old friends from the days of the barn, Esme and Freida were met (we camped in the formers barn like old times, but in distinction to them, has an Aga to cook on). Both appeared to be in fine fettle, Esme still knocking back her pint in no uncertain manner.



As this is the Xmas number, all those readers who have waded through this issue so far, will find that it is larger than usual. For this larger BB thanks must go to all those members who so valiantly did their bit and send in articles for publication. If more members would do likewise the BB would always be as large as this.


A Letter of Lamentation

by U.O.

Oh, I joined a caving club to get my weight down, Mrs. Peacock,
And I can’t think why the thought occurred to me:
But I’d tried the firmest diet,
Even Ballet (Keep it quiet)
Yet I’d tyres upon my torso – only more so, Mrs. P.

It was at a social evening that I met her, Mrs. Peacock,
Her figure was a slim as slim could be,
She mentioned then a word
I confess I’d never heard
For she said she was a caver, (but she’s braver far than me).

She took me to a place they call the Belfry, Mrs.Peacock,
Where I stayed all night for quite a moderate fee;
The place is not bad looking,
But there’s such a smell of cooking!
And the people that I meet there aren’t elite there; Mrs. P.

There is a hole on Mendip called Eastwater, Mrs. Peacock,
Where all the swallets run down to meet the sea,
And a shocking cold I caught
When I found – just as I thought,
That when I sit I travel better, (But its wetter) Mrs. P.

Oh, they got me in a pot they call Dolphin, Mrs. Peacock,
And my hips jammed in tight as they could be;
I decided mid’st my raving
That I’d never more go caving
For I really can’t pretend, it was the end I could see.

I suppose you’d say I’m back now where I started, Mrs. Peacock,
Though I knew you wouldn’t mean it unkindly,
You really shouldn’t snigger
Now I’ve told you of the rigour
That I’ve gone through for my figure, for I’m BIGGER; Mrs. P.



The following article has appeared in a slightly different disguise before this, but for the benefit of the younger members, who have probably not seen it, and to whom it should be of interest, it is here reprinted. To the author – Pro Bono B.E.Co. (who is a hard worker for the B.B.) apologies are due if this is the first time that HIS rendering of the article is printed, but as my taking over the Editorship is comparatively recent and the ‘Master File’ of the BB is now quite a volume I am sure that my clanger that I have dropped will be understood. Anyway he knows my address and expect to see him lurking on my doorstep one night.


A Report on the Caves of Burrington 1829.

By Pro Bono BECo

John Rutter in his ‘Delineations of Somerset’ describes Burington Coombe as being remarkable for ‘two curious natural caverns’ but actually elaborates on three. The first, Aveline’s Hole, he calls an ancient catacomb, and says: -

This was discovered accidentally in the year 1795 and contained nearly 50 skeletons, surrounded by black mould, placed regularly close under the north side of the rock, and their feet extending towards the centre. The mouth of the cavern was evidently secreted by a mound of loose stones and earth, mixed with bones of sheep and deer. Within the entrance the cavern expands into a broad natural arch, below which, and inclined plane descends about one hundred yards; the floor afterwards extends horizontally for some distance, and in one place, some immense flat stones had been placed over a crack or fissure which traversed the floor.

At all events the state of the bones affords a presumption of high antiquity; some of which were encrusted with a coating of stalagmite, particularly a skull, the inside of which had been so covered with this substance as to form casts of the channels of the veins.

A note at the bottom of the page suggests that the ‘High antiquity’ dated from the fourth century A.D. and points out that the people probably fled from religious persecution, but in view of the recent finds that is obviously not correct.

But the most interesting part of this description continues: -

About half a mile distant, another of these curious places of sepulture was discovered; which was calculated to contain not less than one hundred skeletons; and higher up the Coombe, not far from Goatchurch, is an extensive and intricate cavern but ‘little known’. He then goes on to describe Goatchurch Cavern.

Although many people have searched for this ‘place of sepulture’ it has been completely lost. The phrase’ higher up the Coombe’ is misleading because it could mean that either the lost cave or Aveline’s was in the gorge below Goatchurch. I personally think that the cave was not in the Coombe at all as it is certainly much less than half a mile from Aveline’s to Goatchurch, also, Rutter states that there were ‘two caverns’ in the Coombe, these being Goatchurch and Aveline’s.

So if anybody feels like doing a bit of digging, or wants a skeleton to hang behind his bedroom door to frighten nasty burglars, there is a cave ready to be found somewhere in a mile diameter circle of Aveline’s Hole. How about it B.E.C.?

Editor’s Note

From time to time the ‘Bright Ideas Dept.’ turns up with different ideas to solve the mystery, one such put forward quite seriously, was to remove all the scree and loose rock from the Coombe; but don’t let failure deter you, who knows? YOU may be the lucky one.

Oh for a skylark. (with apologies to Shelley)

By Ray Brain

Hail to thee, black spirit!
Sane thou never wert,
That from Hell, or near it
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
(get yer ***** foot out of my earhole, you ******).

Lower still and lower
From the top, thou wrigglest
Like a slimy worm.
The black mud thou stirrest
And stirring, ever crawlest, and crawling ever stir.

In the golden lighting
Of Acetylene.
O’er which fumes are gathering
Thou dost rave and scream
Like a maniac, certified, (or one who should have been).

The all prevailing silence
At thy approach is rent,
By shouts of ‘Mind that Stalagmite’,
Or ‘That’s the way they went’.
‘Who tipped that – carbide out?
Cor blimey, what a scent’.

What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From primeval swamp there crawled not
Creatures half so wild,
As from Mendip’s cavern crawl, near to opening time.

Building a Belfry

By Tony Johnson

Part 3.

Ah! this is great. Your budding Belfry builder now has an area of Mendip akin to the Acropolis, except that the pillars are even more erratic, and are couched in a marsh instead, of on a hilltop. To add to this he has a large untidy pile of bits and pieces which are the Bigger and Better Belfry’s for the Boys Committee assure him are the total equivalent of one hut.

His next step is to whip up enthusiasm - promising lifts from the bus at Hillgrove and even more improbable things. As the B.E.C. as a race, are immune to such bribery and cajoling, he has to resort to the big whip. This – one Saturday afternoon - produces a most impressive lot of bods; they all arrive wearing costume, each bent on being the very model of a modern building foreman. Alas, it is not to be, for all are sent thither and hither; for all, it is, fetch that plank, find that roof, get a little stitch and you’ll land in the ditch.

Still, there is much to be done. In order to avoid getting them in through the door later, the floor sections are laid first. With persuasion, they are made to fit their piers or betters, some of, which have unavoidably to be ballasted with roofing felt in layers as a make-height. Discouraging numerous attempts to slope off, the gable ends are erected in all their glory, and various bods are told off to guard them and keep them upright whilst the rest of the gathered intelligentsia adjourn for char in the old Belfry out of the rain that is now falling.

After a respectable, time lapse (two cups, to be precise) the assault on the walls commences. Due to the rain the floor soon becomes a clay skating rink, and things slide along quite merely. But something is amiss! The door is now at the back and there is a five foot gap in the front wall. Visions of draught homes, but no, the missing section is found hiding and is pushed into position.

Here science rears its ugly head, with two wall and two ends, there is only one thing missing. Ah! You already know, the roof. A hunt around the site produced the startling discovery that a wigwam of wood has sprung up under which sundry foremen are sheltering from the rain. It seemed cruel to remove their shelter, so by common consent the meeting was adjourned to the delectable hostelry mentioned in Part 1 or Part 2 of this epic. This ended phase 3 of erecting the new Belfry. (I’ve forgotten what 1 & 2 were).

(to be continued)

(Part 4 of this epic will appear next month. Ed.)

The Decadence

On Nov. 1st last Tony Setterington and Alfie Collins celebrated their decadence – ten years of caving – albeit rather spasmodic. A feast such as has seldom seen before in the Belfry was laid with the invaluable help of Dora and Maisie. This feast, partaken with great relish, was assisted on its way with much Vino and a penalty bottle of sherry. The whole affair was a most pleasant and satisfying one, although it must be said that Ben Dors was rather mystified at the influx of merry men at opening time on a Saturday evening. My grateful thanks to the organisers, and let this serve as a reminder to those who have anything to celebrate in the future, from,

An Imbiber.

Are Rock Climbers Lazy or Hill Walking Makes A Change.

By John (Menace Morris)

Having been one of these somewhat peculiar creatures for some years now, I feel qualified in saying a very definite YES.

In our weekend trips to North Wales, admittedly, we wanted to get as much time on the rock as possible, but even then the time spent ‘in the pub’, as against time ‘on the rock’ was still very high.

This brings me to another point. Do rock climbers get the best out of mountains? My answer again is in the negative. A good part of one’s time on the rock is spent in working out the next horrible move, and being scared stiff. (and anyone who says he hasn’t been scared quite a bit on the rock is a liar, a fool, or both, and unfortunately we all know what happens to people who ignore these feelings).

I will ask any of ‘the boys’ to recall some of the really red latter days, and I think they will find that it was an easy climb, or ridge walk, that provided such a day, rather than a death or glory rock climb.

I remember a chap saying to me that any climb under severe standard was not worth doing. It were better for him that he was never introduced to climbing, for such a person is purely an exhibitionist and not a mountaineer.

It is all the little things that happen on a climb, funny and serious alike, that makes the day, not the climb itself. That is why guide books, with their mass of intricate detail and instruction are a bane as well as a help. The guide book really comes into its own after the climb, when it is a joy to recall some of these details, and agree or disagree with some of the things stated.

For personal reasons I now have given up rock climbing, but have not lost touch with the mountains; in fact, living in Breconshire, I have mountains on my doorstep, and next month I will describe to you some of the things they have to offer.

J.V. Morris


R.J. Bagshaw, Hon. Gen. Sec. 56, Ponsford Road, Bristol. 4.
K. Dobbs, Hon. Assist. Gen. Sec. 55, Broadfield Road, Bristol. 4.
J.W. Ifold, Hon. Librarian, Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol.
M. Hamam, Caving Sec. 14. Vyvyan Terrace, Bristo1.8.
A. Setterington, Hut Warden, 21, Priorswood Road, Taunton, Somt.
P. Ifold, Climbing Sec., 60, Ashley Down Road, Bristol. 7.
T.H. Stanbury, Hon, Editor, B.B. 74, Woodleigh Gdns, Whitchurch, Bristol.



Change of Address.

Johnny (Menace) Morris; - The Green, Three Cocks, Breconshire.
Dizzy and Postle Tompsett: - 77, S. Court Ave., Dorchester, Dorset.
Pat Ifold: - 60, Ashley Down Road, Horfield, Bristol. 7.


Members are reminded that it is in their own interests to inform the Hon. Sec. of changes in address so that the BB and other communications can reach them with the minimum of delay.

Committee for 1953.

Nominations are now due for the 1953 Committee.  A form for this purpose is enclosed with this B.B.  The Committee consists of eight persons, at least one of these a lady member and one London Representative.  You are therefore requested to nominate up to 8 persons.  Please remember, you must get the consent of the people you wish to nominate before you do so.


Recent Cave Books

By Pongo.

The “Plume of Smoke” by Edward Morris.

Occasionally novelists turn to caves as ‘original’ subjects for their books, and when they do the characters seem invariably to get trapped below ground and only escape after incredible difficulties and improbable luck in finding another way out.

This happens again in The Plume of Smoke, when the explorers are trapped by a flood beyond two traps in ‘Pilgrim’s Hole’ in Derbyshire.  It is a somewhat wild and woolly tale involving treasure hunting down the cave, plus – a gang of bandits also out for the loot.  There are gun battles galore both above and below ground, but in the end, of course, the righteous are victorious, escaping with a hoard of diamonds, all the bandits are killed, and the hero gets his girl.

Mr. Morris has clearly done some caving, but not, I think, very much.  Pilgrim’s Hole is meant to be a very difficult cave, but I do not think the difficulties would be very great to any reasonably experienced party, although they appear to have been considerable to the inexperienced treasure hunters.  For example: - they each took half an hour to climb a 70ft. clear ladder pitch – but no life line was used!

Rather silly and exaggerated, but not unamusing if you like blood and thunder.

“Underground Adventure” by A. Gemmel and J.C. Myers

If Mr. Morris has not done much caving, Messrs, Gemmel and Myers have certainly done a great deal.  Their adventures are, perhaps, less hair-raising than Mr. Morris’s’ but at least they did happen.  The book is, in fact, the story of the exploration of a number of Yorkshire caves and pot-holes.  It is clearly told and well illustrated by Mr. Meyers’ photographs, and by the surveys of the caves.

The cave dealt with are Hull and Little Hull Pots; Simpson Pot; Gaping Ghyll and Disappointment Pot; Notts Pot; Lancaster Hole, and the Easegill Series.  There are also chapters on some mines and other odds and ends.

Altogether to be thoroughly recommended.

“400 Centuries of Cave Art”  by Henri Breuil.

This is a massive students’ work recently published in in English and French.  It deals with an extremely large number of decorated caves.  It is not easily digested and although I have now had it about a month and I have by no means finished it.  A proper review will appear later on.


The following account of Climbing in has recently reached us.  Ed.

Record of Mountain Activities in the Austrian Tyrol.

By Jack Waddon.

The Village of Ehrwald was used a headquarters

23rd. June.

Starting from Ehrwald at 10am and climbing by the route known as the Hohen Gorg, we came to the Seeben Dee which is 30 metres deep and at an altitude of 1630 metres.  Frequent rain showers made visibility poor and slowed us down, but we climbed on as far as the Coburger Hut, where after a glass of beer, we returned by a quicker route to Ehrwald.

24th June

Leaving Ehrwald at 9.0am in warm weather we walked to the village of Sarmoos, and there began the ascent of Grubigstein (2218m).  Except for the last 100m, which involved a spot of scrambling it was just a good walk, most of the way through pine woods, as far as the Wolprathausere Hut, owned by the D.O.A.V., which is at a height of 1761m.  Having reached the summit we spent some time taking photographs and then returned the way we had come.

25th June.

We decided to climb Davidspitze (2242m).  It consists of a strenuous scamble up steep pine clad slopes until Hermeeser Alm is reached at a height of 1405m.  From here onwards we were climbing through cloud up a steep scree slope until we arrived at the summit of Upspitze (2234m).  From here a simple traverse along a knife-edge ridge brought us to the summit of the Davidspitze.  We had been assured that on a fine day a magnificent view can be had from here, but the cloud prevented us from seeing much, except a pair of ptarmigan which flapped past; and so we returned to our Hotel with unexposed films in our cameras.

28th June

As the weather was very hot we decided to go to the top of Lugspitze (2165m) and take photographs.  A cable car goes to the Austrian frontier, which is only a matter of 20m from the top, and since the heat made a scramble up through a scree sound unattractive, we decided to use it.  From the Austrian cable car station everyone has to go via a tunnel to the German cable car station about half a mile distant on the other side of the mountain.  From here another cable car takes one to the top, but as soon as we had completed all the formalities at the border, we climbed straight up.  Before we could get to the actual rock face, we had to climb up through a lot of loose snow which we found even more dicey when we descended later in the day.  We had a few very welcome beers in the hotel at the summit and then returned the way we had come.

1st July

We went by the way of Seeben See to the Esburger Hut (1920m), another pleasant D.O.A.V. hut on the edge of the Drachen See, a 90m deep lake fed from the melting snow.  The afternoon was spent on a couple of climbs on the western face of the Sonnerspitze, and then we returned to the Coburger Hut for the night.

2nd July

We awoke early and began the ascent of the Sonnerspitze (2214m).  For about 100m it was a scramble up a steep scree, but from then on it was bare rock all the way to the summit.  After reaching the top we began to climb down by the same route, but by this time the sun was higher in the sky and the heat was unbearable.  Apart from a bit of trouble with brittle rock (all the mountains in this area are a form of limestone) the return to the hut was uneventful though slow.  We returned to our hotel via the ridge known as Shrwalder Alm.

NOTE.  The Deutche und Osterreiche Alpen Veraein (D.O.A.V.) is divided into sections each of which is composed of members living in the same area.  Each section is responsible for the maintenance of a climbing hut and signposts in the immediate vicinity.  The huts are excellent and bunks and blankets are provide at 7sch. (about 2/-) per night.


The Monthly Appeal.

Your Editor once again asks for contributions of all kinds for inclusion in future issues of' the B.B.  It is so very easy to sit back and read your B.B. and comment on it; I wonder how many of those who are dissatisfied with it as stands at present have ever bothered to do anything but comment about it.  If each member of the club would send in only one article a year the B.B. would become truly representative of all the club and Editing would become a pleasure.  Besides, if there are plenty of articles for selection the B.B. can grow from its present six pages.  The great majority of material is the work of, at the most, a dozen individuals whose continual work keeps the journal alive.  Let me have reports of trips, both climbing, and caving, and notes about the hundred and one facets of club life that you have found interesting.  If you are afraid to write to me hand in material to any committee man, who will see that it reaches me.

By the way notifications of change of address etc., should be sent to the Hon. Sec., as also should queries re-circulation of BB.  I only edit and cut stencils, others do the donkey work, i.e. printing, addressing and despatching.



The following is the first part of a history of a very important part of our Club Life.  I have been waiting for a second episode to reach me from the author and hope that the realisation that the first part has appeared will make him send on the next one in time for the continuity to be maintained.


Building a Belfry

By Tony Johnson

Part 1.

Resume of a paper read before the Amalgamated Society of Gerry-builders at their first unbelievable General Meeting.

This paper should be taken as setting out the procedure to be adopted by all future Belfry builders.  With suitable refinements it could be used as a specification for building a hygienic pig-sty or large dog-kennel.

First one must search around for an excuse to build.  In our case this was easy to find.  The club’s Mendip Residence was Mains’ Barn, not a bad place, but!!!  This has several disadvantages.  It had to be shared with other cavers, and all cooking had an overpowering smell of paraffin and tractor oil (which still persists).  Also sleeping accommodation was rather sketchy, bunks – hay – were all right, but one was liable to be awakened by (a) rat sniffing at snitch; (b) cow chewing socks; or (c) pitchfork nonchalantly placed in vicinity of gizzard.  Finally, a most serious drawback – it was much too near Swildons Hole and other such inventions of the devil.

Having convinced oneself that a hut is required, the next thing is a site.  The composition of this should be: - slag 30 p.c.; rubbish 30 p.c.; mud 30 p.c.; cowsh two splatters, and hard rock a trace.  A plentiful supply of cows and their accessories should also be assured.  Our site had the advantage of being 1 mile nearer the bus route than the barn and only a mile from a delectable hostelry B.E.C. rating b----- good, R.A.C. little known.  A further advantage was its vast distance from Swildons, although a gaunt orifice known as Eastwater was uncomfortably close.

Now one is ready to seek a hut.  This may seem simple, but oh! No!  First one requires the Stanbury Detective Agency, Inc., who will discover a bankrupt tennis club willing to sell their palatial pavilion for a song.  When the song has been sung, a large throng descends on Purdown, the home of this desirable residence, brandishing house-breaking implements, in the use of which they are acknowledged masters.  At the word of command both nails are removed and the hut is dismantled.  If Guy Fawkes day is in the offing, as will be the case, an armed guard must now be provided to dissuade small boys with smaller bonfires.  Application to the North Somerset Yeomanry c/o Sgt. Sago Rice should result in the loan of guns – anti-tank 17 pdr.  One, small boys for the scaring of, which should fill the bill.

The afore mentioned detective agency will then proved a ‘lorry’ to remove the wreckage to Mendip.  The fact that the lorry will be devoid of springs matters not a jot, and provided that the least steep route to Mendip is used, the journey should be made in two days.  Old tennis balls found under the hut may be used to repel boarders.

Having arrived on site, the next trick is to creosote the floors and lay them on the two boulders of the foundation.  This may be enlivened by the introduction of Dan Hasell to remove the prop when somebody is creosoting underneath the floor.  After tying up the walls and glueing on the roof, the great day has arrived – the official opening! – This is done by one Don Coase (now presumably accompanied by his better half) who becomes stormbound with Rasputin and is daringly rescued by the club at great expense.

Everything now lies dormant for a decade or so, but wait! – the exterior gets painted a catching shade of roofing felt, and numerous panes of glass are put into THE window.  About this time the first bit of pamperament arrived with the acquisition of a self-willed petrol-electric generator, transport for which will be in the hands of one George ‘Sparks’ Lucy hindered by an ex – W.D. Ariel motor-cycle.  This godsend/nuisance leads to the acquisition of an even more cussed radio set which will serenade all and sundry with the news in woggish.

Due to the increasing volume of our far-flung empire about this time, the accommodation becomes increasingly crowded, which necessitates the nailing of a number of picturesque notices to the walls to relieve stress concentrations especially round certain bunks.  Overloading showed itself in a number of other ways, one of which was the delectable shear buckle pattern on one side of the hut which warranted investigation by both the W.P.L. and the Lesser Snoring Science Guild.  Accommodation matters came to a head one day when Don Coase was to be seen asleep (?) on a slag heap and someone hung their hat on a hook that materialised into a cow which promptly filled two carburettors and an oil tank and departed.  Thus a new site was obviously required.

 (to be continued)

Part 2 of this account on Belfry History will appear in the November B.B.  ED.


R.J. Bagshaw, Hon. Sec. 58, Pensford Road, Bristol. 4.
T.H. Stanbury, Hon, Editor, 74, Woodleigh Gardens, Whitchurch, Brisol. 4.

Nomination Form for 1953 Committee

(see instructions in “BB”)

N.B. The Consent of the Nominee Must Be Obtained

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7 ………………………….            8 ………………………….            9 London Representative

Please return this form to The Asst Sec. 55 Broadfield Rd. Knowle Bristol 4. Before 1/12/52.


Membership No.