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Annual General Meeting and Club Dinner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Alfie”

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

Araldite & Archaeology

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

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

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

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

K.S. Gardner.

Letters

To the Editor of the B.B.

Dear Sir,

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Johnson.

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

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Dear Sir,

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

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

Yours Faithfully,

B.E. Prewer.

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To the Editor, B.B.

Dear Sir,

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

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

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

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

Mike Wheadon.

Caving Log

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

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

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

3rd August.  Longwood.  Leader Ray Winch.

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

4th August.  Swildons.  Leader R. Stenner.

4th August.  Swildons. Leader  N. Clarke.

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

5th August.  August Hole.  Leader Garth.

5th August.  August Hole.  Leader Ray Winch.

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

6th August.  Cuthbert’s.  Leader Mo.

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

7th August.  Swildons.  Leader Garth.

8th August.  Hunters.  Leader Malcolm.

9th August.  Swildons.  Leader Roger Stenner.

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

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

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

9th August. Swildons.  Leader Roger Stenner.

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

11th August.  Swildons.  Leader M. Calvert.

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

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

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

19th August.  Nine Barrows.  Shoring trip.

20th August.  Nine Barrows.  Digging trip.

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

21st August.  Swildons.  Leader George Honey.

21st August.  Swildons.  Leader Roger Stenner.

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

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

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

28th August.  Nine Barrows.   Shoring trip.

28th August.  Scrambles Swallet  (Ramspit).

Poem

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

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

Caving Reports

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

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

B.  Ellis,
Editor, Caving Reports.

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