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Editorial

After a busy Easter, during which it was pleasant to see some of our friends from northern parts again, the summer will soon (we hope!) be here and with it, an increase of our caving activity.

During the last few months, we have had little material to print in the B.B., but we hope that, with the caving tempo increasing, we shall soon have new work and discoveries to report. We are pleased to be able to include this month, an article on the September Series in Cuthbert’s – the last major discovery in that cave system.  It was hoped to include some photographs, but these will have to follow in a later B.B.

In spite of our hope of having more caving news to report, any articles on more or less any subject, are always welcome.

“Alfie”

Cave Research Group of Great Britain.

The Southern General Meeting will be held in the Museum, Wells on the 2nd of May 1959, by courtesy of the Hon. Curator Professor L.S. Palmer, at 5.0 p.m.  Members wishing to present papers at this meeting are asked to contact the Hon. Sec. P.N. Dilly, Anatomy Department, University College, Gower St, London, WC1.  The U.B.S.S. are the group's hosts on this occasion and are arranging caving trips over the weekend.

University of Bristol - Archaeology.

A series of six public lectures will be given on the subject of STONEHENGE by R.J.C. Atkinson at the Reception Room of the University on Tuesdays April 21 to May 26 at 7.30 p.m.  The fee for the lectures is 10/- payable to the Department of Extra-Mural Studies, 20a Berkeley Sq. Bristol 24161, Ext 203.

B.E.C. Caving Trips.

Sunday 24th May. Novices Trip.  Leader Prew.  Meet at Belfry 11 am.  13/14 June. Agen Allwedd.  Details from Norman petty.  The next G.B. Trip is on April 25/26.

New Building.

Work is going to start again, beginning next weekend.  All offers of help will be appreciated by the Foreman.

Is This Your Last B.B.?

It may well be if you don't pay your 1959 subscription within the next week or so.  According to the usual custom, no May B.B. will be sent to those who are not paid up by the end of this month.  It's only 12/6 for full membership and 7/6 for associate. Bob Bagshaw's address will be found at the end of this B.B.

Lost and Found Dept.

A ladder, not belonging to us, has been found in the Belfry and has probably been there since the Swildon's rescue trip.  Has anyone any idea whose it is?

Cuthbert's

September Series.

Following directions from Chris Falshaw, a new series of passages were discovered below the ruckle which leads to the Catgut Series in St. Cuthbert's Swallet.

This ruckle is easy to cave through, and the way is rapidly becoming plainer.  From the ruckle, entry is gained into a fairly large chamber. This has been called Cone Chamber owing to the large cone shaped stal boss.  At the far side of this chamber, the wall drops away to a stream passage which may be followed for about a hundred feet downstream to a sump. Theory is that this is the top end of continuation chamber sump.  Upstream, the stream appears from under a stale flow which is covered with a layer of black substance containing lead, iron and manganese.

From Cone Chamber, following the upstream direction, a climb of about ten feet gives access to another chamber roughly a hundred feet by twenty five feet by twelve feet high which we have called Illusion Chamber.  This is the last place from which the stream enters.  Another short climb under some curtain formations leads into a small chamber called Paperweight Chamber and doubling back almost to the entrance of this chamber, a climb heavily coated with brown stale flow leads up into a fairly large unnamed chamber.  Above this chamber is the major discovery of this extension.  This is a chamber comparable in size to Quarry Corner with a similar floor and roof.  In the corner are some extremely pretty formations which are among the best to be seen in Cuthbert's.  At the far side of this chamber is an aven visible upwards for about fifty feet. Also from this side of the chamber, a passage may be followed for about five hundred feet to a 'T' junction from which there is no apparent way on.

From the lower end of September Chamber, a small hole in the floor leads into a low bedding plane at the bottom end of which is a small chamber.  A squeeze in the floor gives access to Victory Passage - a large old stream passage about fifteen feet high by about ten to twenty feet wide.  The floor of this passage is covered with dripstone and broken straws.  After roughly a hundred feet or so, a ‘T’ Junction is reached.  To the left the passage closes down after only a few feet, but to the right, however, the passage continues in a high rift for two hundred feet.  At various points along this passage ¬- The Strand - can be seen some excellent helictites, one is over three inches in length.  The strand ends in a low crawl in which some fine examples of 'soapflakes' can be seen.  There is a high level passage here, but it has been found to end by Kangy, who succeeded in climbing into it.

The whole series was named September Series, and it is hoped to be able to publish some photographs of formations at the top of September Chamber.  We should like to express our thanks to Jonah, who has kindly offered to print them for us so that they can be included in a future B.B.

Mike Wheadon and Prew

 

A sketch nap of some of the September Series appears on the opposite page.  Ed.

Letters

7 Widecombe Crescent
Bath

Somerset

To the Editor, B.B. Dear Sir,

Re-Tankard Hole and St. Cuthbert’s Swallet

I find it necessary, on behalf of the K.K.K., to contact the B.E.C.  First, I must refute certain arguments made in the infamous Belfry Bulletin last month where it was postulated that Tankard Hole had travelled to its present position from Bodmin Moor.  This is complete and utter nonsense.  From considerations of the faecal nature of the kave, Tankard Hole is undoubtedly the child of an unholy alliance between Eastwater Boulder ruckle and the Belfry Detailer.  Q.E.D.

This now brings me to the second, more important item which, once more on behalf of the K.K.K., I find it necessary to bring to public notice.  The true story of St. Cuthbert’s Swallet!

For many years, learned members of the K.K.K. have been of the considered opinion that the above mentioned cave is, in fact, the long since lost Dozmory Pool Swallet from Bodmin Moor.  This opinion has now been brilliantly confirmed by the discovery of the Dozmory Pool Scrolls by Prof. Wanchor-Scramp, Professor of Celtic Archaeology, Camborne School of Mines.  A detailed analysis of these important historical documents occurs later.  The evidence upon which the K.K.K. based their original assumptions is as follows: -

(1)     The rift like entrance shaft to the system is typical of the eroded portions of granite extrusions that from the tors on Bodmin Moor.

(2)     The existence of the Tin Mine in St. Cuthbert's.

(3)     The marked resemblance between the white formations in the September Series and Bodmin Moor sheep.  In the opinion of no less an authority on such sheep that the president of the K.K.K., these unfortunate animals accompanied the kave on its journey from near Dozmory Pool.  Being the only true subterranean inhabitant at that time, the witch of Wookey was so enraged as to turn the sheep into stone.  However, justice and retribution were at hand, and the saddened soul of the dead Kornish wizard, Merlin, retuned from beyond the Styx and transformed the witch into stone herself. The popular local fable attached to the witch is all spherical.  To confirm this theory, the K.K.K. intend visiting the September Series wearing wellington boots.

Now the letter discovery of Dozmory Pool Scrolls finally pieced together the whole tragic story, which is summarised below: -

Apparently, in the year of our Lord one thousand, seven hundred and absolutely nothing, King Arthur and his knights of the round detailer held court at Tintagel. Unfortunately, his queen, Guinevere, being English, was faithless and had disappeared to Amesbury with King Arthur’s henchman, also of English birth, Sir Lancelot.  This incidentally, provided further evidence in support of the theory that all born east of the Tamar are, like policemen, illegitimate. However, in an attempt to win back his erring bride, King Arthur caused Dozmory Pool Swallet to be removed form its place and taken to his queen as a reconciliatory present.  With a cry like unto a member of the B.E.C. at closing time, Queen Guinevere tossed the kave out of her boudoir window and it fell to earth in its present position.  The queen was a strong wristed woman.

It is therefore the considered and unanimous opinion of the K.K.K. that the B.E.C. should return what is now termed St. Cuthbert’s Swallet to its rightful position on Bodmin Moor. The rejection of the gift by Queen Guinevere meant that the kave was never successfully given away, and so remains the property of Kornwall.  Since relationships between the B.E.C. and the K.K.K. have, until now, been extremely kordial, it was decided that no action by the K.K.K. would be taken provided that the kave is returned on or before midsummer’s night's eve.  If this be not done, then the armed forces of the K.K.K. will cross the Tamar hand in hand and march on Priddy.  The Belfry will be razed to the ground and the whole of the B.E.C., including women and children, will be put to the sword. Dozmory Pool Swallet will then be re-instated in its proper place in the great and glorious Duchy.

You remain, Sir,
My humble and obedient servant,
Signed, Kenneth Dawe.

(President, secretary, Treasurer, hut warden, Committee and member of the Kornish Kave Klub.)

Editor's Note.     The above letter is the first we have ever received from the Kornish Kave Klub. Indeed, it is thought to be the first they have ever written.  Previously it was believed that no member of the K.K.K. could write.  They can, of course, count sheep!

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To the Editor, B.B. Dear Sir,

As the original perpetrator of "Bertie" on the Belfry sign, I was very interested and flattered by Roger Stenner's letter in last month's B.B. but you know, really, I couldn't claim that the shape of it is the "authentic B.E.C. bat". The saw just happened to cut the thing out that way.  Anyway, there is nothing sinister about the shape one way or the other, is there?

If you want to find a more authentic version, I think you will have to search far back into the club's history, perhaps even to pre-war days.  Wartime club trip cards and notepaper had a B.E.C. bat embossed on them. Also, Barry Stanbury's car at that time sported a bat car badge.  Perhaps Dan Hassell could throw some light on the subject, after all, there is his badge of office - that should be authentic!

Now that moulds appear to be available, I hope that someone will be able to mass produce an acceptable club badge – enough people have tried in the past without success so far.

One last point, though. Plastic badges on rucksacks. Ouch!  Think of the weight!

                        Tony Johnson.
 

Torridon Sandstone

by I. A.  Dear

On top of the oldest rocks in Britain, the Lewisian Gneisses (pronounced nices) one thousand million years old, was laid in pre-Cambrian times a great layer of sandstone.  These old gneisses form the Hebridian islands and are found in an intensely folded and metamorphic state in North West Scotland.

It is not, however, these old hard rocks which make the mountains of North West Scotland but the great thickness of Torridon Sandstone which is capped with the hard white quartzite just as the limestone in Yorkshire is capped with the resistant Millstone Grit. This great belt of sandstone has only been slightly folded but much eroded by air, water and ice to from great steep sided mountains of a beautiful red sandstone.  These mountains extend from the southern part of Skye to north of Ullapool.

In the midst of these, at Inveralligan, on the edge of Loch Torridon, is a youth hostel which is the nearest approach to the Belfry I have yet seen.  It does not boast of electricity but has piped water from a stream. The warden visits it once a day to collect the dues, but leaves you to your own devices.

Behind this hostel are Beinn Alliganm, Liathach, Bein Eighe - well over 3,000 feet with miles of hill walking country and I believe many climbs.  In front is Loch Torridon and on the other side of the loch is the Applecross Forest.  The mountains here look like great contour models due to the prominent horizontal stratification.  They can be reached by a ferry operated by the warden, as are all the business enterprises in Inveralligan.  Around the coast through fine Gweis lies the fishing hamlet of Diabial.  In the evening light this makes a fine picture.

While touring Scotland, I have stopped here for a few days but never long enough to do justice to the really serious hill walking this area demands.  This year I hope to stop longer and I am wondering if anyone would care to join me.

I have chosen early June for this when the weather may be at its best but before the midges reach their peak.  It is also the time when the day is longest.  While we were there last year it was light from 3.30 am to 11.30 pm.

The great disadvantage is the distance.  At least 450 miles from Bristol. It can be reached by train to Achnasheen (via Inverness) and then by hostel bus - no trains on Sunday. You can take your car to a Scottish youth hostel.

Other disadvantages are the “nearest” is 15 miles away and closes at 9.30 and all day Sunday.  The lack of fresh food (the butcher calls once a week at 10.30 PM and careful planning of your menu is thus necessary).

However, this is a great country, the finest that I've yet seen (not that I’ve seen much) and I hope that some of you will have the pleasure of visiting this area some day.

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No Sonnet This Month – Too Busy – Shakespeare

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The Belfry Bulletin. S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Secretary.  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.