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The 1968/69 Committee and Club Officers….

Chairman of the Committee D. Irwin (Wig)
Hon. Sec.: A Thomas (Senior)
Hon. Treas: R. Bagshaw
Hut Warden: P. Townsend
Hut Engineer:  J. Riley
Caving Sec: A. MacGregor
Climbing Sec: M. Holt
Tacklemaster:  N. Petty
Minute Sec: G. Tilly


Reports: -

Editor: D. Irwin
Asst. Editors: - R. Stenner & G. Tilly

M.R.O. WARDENS:  K. Franklin, D. Irwin, Dr. O.C. Lloyd & B. Prewer

New Belfry Co-ordinator: S.Collins (Alfie)

Ian Dear Memorial Fund Comm:

R. Bagshaw, R. Setterington (Sett), R. Bennett, M. Luckwill and M. Holt.

St. Cuthbert’s Report Sub-Committee: R. Bennett D. Irwin, R. Stenner & G. Tilly.


Our apologies to all for the inexcusable error on the first set of ballot papers – and to Phil Townsend whose name it was that did not appear in the list of candidates.  We can though gain some comfort from the quote of the month – angry WXXXXXX members staying at the Belfry cleaning the place said, “This is one club that isn’t going downhill”.

In this issue readers will find the latest membership list and those people not included have the remedy in their hands and should get their sub into Bob Bagshaw NOW. Incorrect addresses and Address changes should be sent to Alan Thomas.

Club Headquarters: - The Belfry, Wells Road Priddy, WELLS, Somerset, BA5 3AU
Hon. Sec: -  A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
Hut Warden: - P.T. Townsend, 154, Sylvia Ave., Bristol. 3.
Editor: - D.J. Irwin, 23 Campden Road, Bristol. 3. BS3 1QA


Climbing in the Otztaler Alpen and the Bernina

By Malcolm Holt & Eddy Welch

The first week was spent in the Otztaler Alpen, staying at the Iaschach Hut (2,434m). the way to the hut is via a pleasant valley road from Imst to Mittelberg, then via the track to the hut – three hours laden with food, climbing gear, clothes etc.  The hut comes into view very early on the walk, and seems more arduous.  The hut is situated at the junction of the Iaschach and the Sexergerten Glaciers and the surrounding peaks are ideal for a first time visit to the Alps the area having snow, rock and ice climbs.  Behind the hut to the right can be seen the Henter Olgruben Spitze.  This is attempted via a long walk up the Sexegerten Glacier, then via an easy snow slope to the summit (3,296m).

To the left of the hut and behind is the nearest peak – the Pitztaler Urkund (3,201m) a rock summit, nowhere difficult and was climbed by the south ridge.  From the summit good views of the second highest peak in Austria, the Widspitze (3,770m) were obtained (Gross Glockner is 23m higher). The peak was not attempted due to the soft condition of the snow, a party which attempted it set off at 03.00 hours and reached the summit at 16.00 hours reporting snow conditions waist deep, but this was very warm weather.

Having given the sun the chance to sort out the snow conditions an early start was made the next day for the Widspitze region.  Initially came a walk across the Iaschach Glacier, taking care to be past the avalanche zone before the sun came on it, then the Iaschach Wand (3,365m) was climbed. This is a snow slope fairly steep and heavily corniced on the face.  A traverse to the Peterson Spitze (3,484m) followed.

Finally a rock peak was attempted the Mitlle Eikasten Kopf (3,260m).  The main ridge is about 1½ hours from the hut and is about V.D. standard, the hardest move is beneath a window in the ridge with considerable exposure, the route can be continued to the Bligg Spitze (3,454m) if time permits.

These are some of the climbs that can be attempted from the Iaschach Hut, the summits being reached in less than hours and thus pre-dawn starts are unnecessary and returns can be made by early afternoon.  The area is ideal to those with little or no Alpine experience.

The Bernina, visited on the second week, is a more serious undertaking.  The range is very compact but is higher than the Otztal and is much more beautiful.  Again the hut – the Ischierva (2,573m) is three hours from the car, initially through sweet scented pine woods which can be traversed using a horse drawn vehicle to the Roseg restaurant.

The first peak attempted was the Piz Roseg (3,937m).  A start was made at 03.30 hours to cross Ischierva Glacier before dawn approximately 2,000m in distance.  Initially we were competing with about eight others to get on the ridge first but were soon outpaced and afterwards discovered them to be trainee guides. The ridge is gained is rock giving way to a hard packed snow slope where crampons were an advantage.  The route is quite spectacular, the second summit being the higher one.

The next day the Piz Scerscen (3,971m) was climbed.  The party consisting of Roy Bennett, Malcolm Holt and Terry Taylor.  The crux of the climb is the Ice Nose, a 200ft. nose of steep snow and ice, which led out onto the final ridge before approaching the summit. Several routes were obvious, one leading up the centre and traversing right, around the overhanging ice walls, another to the left climbing up the least inclined angle of the nose seemed the most worn route, the third, which we took, involved a series if ice chimneys then joining with the left hand route.  Terry led, making a quick work to the first stance, no serious difficulties were apparent.  Roy followed managing admirably, despite lack of forward points on his crampons.  The three were soon at the top, and reached the final summit at 10.30 hours.

The descent conditions proved hazardous due to sun melting the top layer of ice, and great care had to be taken when descending the nose.  The hut was reached at 15.00 hours with them feeling pretty tired.

The following day we intended to do the Piz Bernina (4,049m) the highest peak in the area, requiring a midnight start and an overnight stay at the Marco Rosa refuge (3,597m) in Italy.  Unfortunately weather conditions, up to now perfect, started to deteriorate, so a day was spent on the glacier improving snow and ice techniques.

On Thursday, the last day, we did one of the smaller peaks, Piz Morteratsch (3,751m).  This proved more of a slog than anything else, although a deviation of route took us up a steep ice slope necessitating much step cutting since we had left behind our crampons.  We descended the climb in traditional English style, arseadding, passing a roped party of Swiss plodding steadily upwards, who from the looks on their faces didn’t approve.

Members in the Alps – Roy and Joan Bennett, Terry Taylor, Malcolm Holt, Eddy Welch and Bob Chapman.


B.E.C. Trip to Steepholm

By Andy MacGregor

On Saturday 7th September 1968, a party of B.E.C. members made a weekend visit to Steepholm accompanied by two members of the Steepholm Trust.  The party consisted of Alan Thomas, Andy Macgregor, Dave and Jane Glover, John Riley, ‘Fred’ Atwell and Martin Webster.

After an uneventful crossing we established our camp in the barracks on the south side of the island, Victorian and Georgian cannons were looked at, also remains of more modern gun emplacements.  The island was used as a gun emplacement from Napoleonic times until the Second World War except during the First World War.

The tide was going out, so we decided to walk around the island and look at the caves around the sea shore.  Most of the caves are on the north side, but there are a few on the south side.  There are about 20 caves from 10ft. to about 200ft. in length.  Sunday saw more caves looked at and then an uneventful boat trip back to Weston-super-Mare.

Extracts from the Caving Log

Edited by Phil Coles

28-7-68 to 20-9-68.

Now that the Log Book has been divided into two (Cuthbert’s and Non-Cuthbert’s) it would seem more suitable to deal with the extracts in a likewise manner.  15 trips have been recorded in St. Cuthbert’s including 5 digging trips, 4 surveying, a full-scale practice rescue and a further 5 of a general tourist nature.  Rule 7 of the new Cuthbert’s log states that all members of a party descending the cave should sign the log before the trip.   Many people seem to have a warped sense to remain anonymous; their signatures look like a bunch of politician autographs (perhaps it is! Ed.).  as it is important to know exactly who is down the cave will those gents of the feeble handwriting please make an effort to be legible.

On the non-Cuthbert’s scene, the BEC have been active in Burrington Coombe, centring on East Twin and adjoin digs – totalling eight trips in all (See Monthly Notes No. 18 p.150). East Twin has been now surveyed and apparently the digs are quite promising.  An old MNRC dig on the opposite side of the Higher Twin valley has been dug but has been abandoned for the moment because of unstable boulders.  Water sampling has continued in GB and Swildons has been visited on several occasions.  The Hunter’s Hole dig in Dear’s Ideal (See BB 138) has at last got under way and in my view is the most promising dig since Emborough! (and fell in!!  Ed).

The club is now in the happy position of running six digs concurrently – Cuthbert’s – Sump and Dining room; Hunters; East Twin; Maesbury and South Wales – is this a record?

On foreign soil there have been trips to South Wales and I hear that Alan Thomas and company have been pottering around in Austria!!!

ST. CUTHBERT’S SWALLET – Traverse Chamber Choke – reported changes at upstream end of the choke.

On 3rd September 1968 during a surveying trip base at Traverse chamber, measurements were made at the upstream end of the Choke to establish the extent of the reported changes. By comparing the results with measurements made on 27/28th October 1963 it is possible to say that the floor has been lowered a maximum of 1” and the passages extended a maximum of 1 foot. The reported changes here are therefore practically non-existent.

Roger Stenner.


 ‘There are caves so ancient that not only are they completely dry, but they are actually disappearing as they gradually become silted up’ – Norbert Casteret.


’In chambers deep, where waters sleep, what unknown treasures pave the floor?’ – Edward Young.



with Hedra

Have I got OUTDOORS for Christmas yet? Sez Wig.  Ye gods, I don’t even know what they are doing in October (apart from dine)! However, I do know what Ron Pepper and Dick Loxton did in August.  They were fortunate enough to mop up a W/E’s worth of that extraordinary Northern spell of fine weather, staying at Nant Peris at Mrs. Smiths B and B.

They climbed the Flying Buttress watched the ritual ascents of the Gates and then walked across to see Cloggy because they had never been.  Please, where does the pendule above Curving Crack belong?  Incredible to note that their climb on Idwal Slabs on Sunday was done with a fine film of dust on polished holds.

Pete Sutton too was in Wales and had a number of fine ascents during the week after the main party had left.  He threatens to tell us.  (Do you mean a Climbing article for the BB?  Ed.)

Dave Steel and mates from Aces went to a rather horrid ChamonixMont Blanc was fab however and apparently a complete justification for going wog.  Their stay was curtailed by a crevasse accident which fortunately only cost them money.

Derek Targett has removed a wobbly piton from Mercavity and has been caving.

Some of us have been to lectures and seen pictures by Ken Wilson who has become the new Editor of ‘Mountain Craft’.  This event has given a completely new slant to the magazine.  The slant seem mostly overhanging with Big Gorgeous Pix amongst which ones are those taken on the North Face Direct of the Sondre Trolltind by Baille and Amat and a breathtaking Matterhorn shot by Gerald Lacey.  Yum Yum!  Plenty of interesting information including new climbs.  After reading about how you just had to have Skyhooks, (your actual Yosemite Skyhooks that is) I demanded to see these prior to purchase. Close examination revealed that you can’t afford to sneeze whilst dangling from one of these things and so I quickly explained about my influenza and wondered about walking sticks instead. At half a crown “Mountain Craft” we thought.  So that’s why Mark went up then down the Ordinary Route on Idwal Slabs – in the wet.

Traditionally yours


Notes from Our Man in South Wales… Alan Coase.

Work on the new survey (Grade 6D) has shown that the Lower Series in II is much more under the Upper Series than had been thought.  A water tracing experiment from one of the Waen Fignen Felen sinks gave no connection to the Great North Road, but an apparent connection to the stream in Dali’s Delight. Digging in Hanger Passage is continuing and a break through was recently made into an imposing passage which went round to another corner – to another boulder choke.  Success here could well lead to large extensions to the west towards Sink-y-Giedd.



Monthly Notes No. 18

By “Wig”

Since the July floods a few B.E.C. members have switched their attention to Burrington – East Twin Swallet in particular.  At first a probe was made at the end of the Third Chamber but interest soon wavered.  A close inspection was made of the west wall through the main passage.  Small probes revealed little except a possible site between the 1st and 2nd Chambers.  This was dug for a short time by Keith Franklin, John Riley and Dave Irwin. There was sufficient found to encourage further digging at the site (permission being sought from the UBSS). Attention then switched outside to the stream bed made by the flood water lower down the valley.  Roy Bennett, Keith Franklin and others attacked a site leading to an open (?) but very tight rift.  Soon interest lapsed and Keith’s attention switched to the old MNRC dig on the opposite side of the valley.  Further notes on the sites will appear in MN in the future.

EAST TWIN SURVEY ‘Wig’ has produced a new survey of East twin Swallet to CRG Grade 6 c-d – a small scale reduction will appear in the B.B. shortly.  Sidcot Swallet, previously only surveyed to CRG Grade 4 ( Barrington – Caves of Mendip) by Stride Brothers (1944), is to be resurveyed in the near future.

Levelling Burrington!  No! the bulldozers weren’t called in, though I’ve no doubt that Bill Smart could have called them from Costains quite easily if he so wished.  To obtain accurate levels of the Burrington caves a line was taken from Ellick House to several entrances.  This was carried out in two ‘trips’ one of 2 hours on a Saturday evening and the other a nine hour trip on the following day.  The line was tied into the entrance of Avelines.

A full list of O.D. levels will appear in a later issue of the B.B. but here are some to be getting along with:-

Spider Hole 572.24ft.
East Twin swallet 470.61ft.  ( Barrington 520ft and UBSS Proc. 600ft.)
Avelines Hole 324.82ft.  ( Barrington 380ft.)
Trat’s Crack 528.69ft.

S. Wales – Roy Bennett has commenced digging another site near the first backfilled earlier in the year. Looks interesting – might go through the pundits don’t think so!

ST. CUTHBERT’S – Dining Room Dig.

Since late April work has been carried out at the digging site above the Dining Room.  Digging takes place on Tuesday evenings, although there has been some work carried out on weekends on odd occasions.  With the establishing of a regular digging team (basically John Riley, Dave Turner, Bob Craig, ‘Wig’ and others from Bath, Bristol and Bridgwater)  work has progresses at a good steady rate.  The first problem that had to be overcome was to enlarge the dig to a workable size. The small rabbit burrowing technique had outlived its usefulness and so all the dug passage was opened up to a walk through tunnel.  Corners of the passage were removed and the floor lowered by some 4ft. – more in places until bedrock was reached.

The spoil tipping has presented little problem; all of it being thrown down into the Dining Room. There will, however, come a time when the dump will be impracticable – what then?  At the moment the spoil heap slopes up beyond the climbs to the entrance of the dig, the foot of the cone has covered the cement table and is slowly creeping to the entrance and on to the streamway!

Digging continued along the top passage for over 25ft. and later another site at the entrance to the ‘Upper Passage’ was dug.  This lower site attracted a few weeks attention as there were two pointers indicating that the main flow of water had entered this lower passage.  The first was the apparent multi-directional flow of the water at the ‘T’ junction and secondly, the late discovery of vadose markings at the top of the slope in the upper passage.

Both indicated that the upper passage was an inlet.  Digging at the Arch revealed another passage, possibly running parallel with the upper passage.  To date insufficient digging has taken place to confirm its direction.  If this is the way on it will no doubt be a very long term project and our only hope is that the roof of these passage will lift soon. However all is not lost as there are at least two more choked passages in the dig and a return to the upper may well pay dividends even though the water seems to have flowed in towards the cave – time will tell.  At the moment the digging team is still prepared to do battle with site!

Change of C.C.C. Secretary.

At the last C.C.C. Committee meeting Tim (Hodgoon) Hodgson resigned as its secretary and has been replaced by Tony Knibbs (M.C.G.).


Books from the Library 2

Cave Hunting – by W. Boyd Dawkins.  Pub. 1874.  This is one of the classics of caving literature and should be read by all keen cavers.  This book shows clearly the 19th century interest in caving and how it stemmed from the science of Archaeology.  Balch himself was a part-time archaeologist and so is Professor Tratman today.

Dawkins (biography in Cave Science Vol. 5  No.39 April 1966) although not involved in the actual exploration of major systems as was Martel, did much to show the interest that could be found underground and allay the superstitions that were still rife at the time.


A fine cluster of columns, claimed to be the finest in the country, has been found in O.F.D. II. Many of the cavers who have visited this chamber are, probably quite deliberately, very vague as to its whereabouts. They claim that it is in an extremely complicated part of the cave.

Hepste Valley.

Wild rumours have being spreading about Mendip that a large cave system has been discovered there. S.V.C.C. have been suggested as the discoverers, but as they have been on Mendip several weekends recently it does not appear to be them.  What about the U.B.S.S.?  Apparently O.C.L. was seen hairing along the road in his car towards the valley….one wonders!

The Annual Dinner

I was told I enjoyed the Dinner.  One or two other people also followed the traditional to ‘excess’ – notably the Hon. Secretary who was seen, on several occasions, to attempt to fly nimbly from table to table.  Despite the lack of formally organised entertainment there was no lack of interesting personnel to survey – would you believe bagpipes?  Vicars!  Regency costumes (hic) and yet again a ‘Joseph’ Thomas in a coat of many colours.

I have heard no complaints about either dinner or service.  In fact the B.E.C., as usual, have started the Dinner Season with, of course, the Best Dinner of the Year.

Nibs Parker (pen name)

Cavers Bookshelf


1967 EXPEDITION TO THE GOUFFRE BERGER by K. Pearce. Published by the British Speleological Association in 1968.  Not priced.

In 1967 there were two expeditions to the Gouffre Berger, one organised by the Pegasus Club and another by the BSA.  Both teams were at the cave at the same time but the original intentions was for the two to be independent of one another except for communications in the cave, medical facilities and tackle.

The report on the Pegasus expedition was published at the end of 1967 and was reviewed in ‘Cavers Bookshelf’ for April 1968.  This is a report on the B.S.A. expedition written by the leader.

The report is generally well produced, being printed and consisting of fourteen pages and including six photographs.  As the other report has been published earlier, this one seemed to be written in a defensive style, the leader defending himself against implied criticisms of his expedition made in the Pegasus report, and elsewhere.  The reason for some of these criticisms were mentioned in my earlier review.  Whatever the cause, and several possible explanations have been put forward, the B.S.A. expedition suffered a rebellion against the leader and several of the members refused to enter the Gouffre Berger, or made a hurried exit from it. The possible reason put forward by Pearce in the report is that several of them had been closely associated with the Mossdale incident only a few weeks earlier, though he does admit that the first few days of the expedition were very hectic and it would have been more sensible if he had allow the members to get to it more gently.  However this does not excuse the behaviour of those members who just turned round in the cave, without a word to anyone, and left.  It must be added though that Pearce did manage to get himself and others to the bottom of the cave and to get further than he had previously.  How this was achieved is outside the scope of a review and would have to be discussed by someone with more intimate knowledge of the two expeditions.

The sections into which the report is divided cover a summary of the expedition, the expedition log, a medical report, and reports on photography, diving, food and communications. There is also a piece on the laddering of the cave below Camp II.  This is stated to be to correct errors that could arise if any future party based its tackling arrangements on the Pegasus report.  To me it read as though Pearce is trying to say that he knows better than the Pegasus (perhaps he does) and that they were lucky that their incompetence did not give rise to trouble.

Apart from the defensive style of the writing there is only one criticism of this publication.  It is full of spelling mistakes which could have been removed if more care had been taken.  Unfortunately the price is not known as the report is un-priced and it was a complimentary copy that was seen.


Footnote from’ Delineations of N.W. Somerset’ by John Rutter… “The water which forms the springs at Cheddar, is, probably, a stream which sinks into the chasms of the rock above, at Longwood, and in another place, on Charterhouse Farm”.



 “So What?”

By ‘Senex’

Most of us, when some older caving types starts to talk about life in the caving world of twenty or so years ago, quietly drift off and find somebody with a more interesting line of conversation.  We all know – or we’ve been told, that conditions were different on Mendip a generation ago. So what?

After all, it would be trifle odd if things hadn’t changed and our reaction on being told that life was tougher, or quieter or something is to go off and find out who is buying the next round of beer.  Reminiscences may well be all very well for those who only have the past to remember, but we want to get on with things.

Yet, if some time machine were possible, and the Caving Secretary could announce a trip for the weekend to Mendip of the immediate post war years; most of us would probably queue up for the experience and the chance to actually seeing for ourselves.  In the absence of such a machine, it might be interesting to one, which sets us down in the London of 1945 or 6, with a weekend on Mendip in the offing.

The trip has been planned for some time.  It had to be. Like many cavers of that period, we do not belong to any club.  Cavers are very few, and our two or three caving friends in London have got to know a handful of people who are sometimes able to get to Mendip.  There are few clubs, but these are things we have mainly heard about rather than been in contact with.  For example, we have heard about the Wessex Cave Club, but we have yet to meet a Wessex member, and have no idea at all as how to get in contact with one. Amongst the few cavers we know are some members of the Bridgwater Caving Club, and we have heard that some of them will be on Mendip next weekend and will bring some tackle with them.  We hope to be able to do a ‘full’ Swildons – something we have been hoping to do for nearly a year now.  We hope that the weekend will be a success.

Managing to leave work early on Friday, we make our way to Paddington and onto the crowded train to Bristol.  From there we walk to Prince Street to catch the 27 bus to Priddy Turning and from there we walk the last three miles to Priddy Green.  Lifts are out, as there is so little road traffic.  Indeed, it will be most unusual if a single vehicle passes us in either direction on our walk from the main road to Priddy.  Even in a few years timer, it will still be possible in the middle of the road up Deer Leap after a ‘midnight Wookey’ and sleep the rest of the night on the road with no fear of being run over.

So we arrive at Priddy Green.  This is the caving centre for Mendip, and Priddy Green consists of the Vic and Maine’s barn as far as we are concerned.  It will some years yet before the Speed brothers get used to serving strangers at the New Inn, or caving huts appear.  There is the U.B.S.S. hut at Burrington, but, under normal transport conditions, this might be at the North Pole.  The Vic is therefore the place where we meet our friends, keep warm, and refresh ourselves.  Maine’s barn see to our cooking and sleeping arrangements, and Swildons and Eastwater are the local caves, unless we walk over to G.B. or the newly discovered Longwood Swallet.

Dumping our gear in the barn (this consists only of caving gear and food.  Sleeping bags are rare; costly, and very bulky to carry over long distances) we make for the Vic, where our little party completes the assemblage of Mendip cavers.  We are in luck, for with our party included, there are almost a dozen and we should be able to get some caving in.  The B.C.C. types have not only got the tackle, but also have a motorbike with them, on which three of them have travelled from Bridgwater.  One compensation for the lack of transport is that regulations are very lax compared to today’s standards, and one stood a good chance of doing an illegal journey of this length, with the possibility of nothing more than a reprimand if caught.  The bike is one of the few machines of the late 1920’s or early 1930’s which occasionally comes onto the market.  It has a hand gear lever on the tank which limits its passengers.  The days of the excellent ex-WD bikes are still to come, and the record of seven cavers on one bike – all in line astern – is a few years off yet.

The bike does mean that we shall be able to roam further afield during the weekend – on a relay system if necessary, so we retire to the inner room and plan the weekend in detail. Most of us have had some difficulty getting there, and we don’t want to waste any time.  Having done this, we walk across the green, to ‘stack out’ for the night in the hay – after removing our boots, or course.  Breakfast helps to remove the cold and stiffness, and we set off for Swildons.

The bit of the weekend would be familiar with us, apart from the huge and heavy ladders which have to be manhandled through all the tight bits, and which are continually coming unwrapped.  At the Old Grotto, the party pauses while one of the members takes a photograph.  To be more accurate, at least two of the party are involved, as an assistant has to set off the flash powder.  After some time, this finally ignites and fills the whole place with a dense white fog, through which we blunder onwards.  Our photographer assures us that the fog will be gone by the time we come out.

Below the twenty, progress is faster, as we have no ladder to carry, and finally we reach the end of the known cave ‘the sump’.  This is not quite true, as it has been dived, but only found to lead to a small extra bit

of passage length. Coming back, we are slightly relieved when our first ladder pitch is behind us and we start the process of dragging the wooden-runged and rope-sided ladders back to the surface

Back at the barn, stew follows and then off to the Vic for a beer; talk beer; shove ha’penny; beer; singing; beer etc.  Apart from any other reason, a fair quantity of beer helps us to ignore the cold in the barn, and gets us to sleep later.  During the evening, the landlord tells us that he has heard that two other cavers are about.  He thinks they come from Bristol. This news does not excite us much, for we know that the locals usually cycle out for the day and return home at night. However, just before closing time (an elastic hour in those days) they appear, and closing time is postponed. We gather that they belong to the B.E.C. – another club we have heard of, but whose members we have never met. They tell us, although there are only about a dozen of them actively caving, there are a lot more members at present in the forces, and that we shall see more of their club in the future. This starts a discussion as to whether we should all join a club and the Bridgwater boys point out that theirs is about to be disbanded when the works at Puriton close down.  We don’t arrive at any conclusion – this problem can wait for another day.  Instead, we get down to some serious drinking with our new companions, who finally stay at the barn with us, having become incapable of cycling.

Next day, over breakfast, we decide that the B.E.C. lads will use the B.C.C. tackle to do Eastwater with a few of the others, while the rest of us go to G.B. using the motorbike to tow two of us on cycles, while it carries three more.  (This bit is not invented, as it actually happened – although a few years later and in South Wales). There is, of course, only one way down the cave – via the Devil’s Elbow.  Luckily, the weather is pretty dry and there will be no chance of the elbow sumping.  If there had been, the trip would have had to be abandoned.  With nobody around to get a party out of trouble, no party could afford to risk getting into any.

Back at the barn again, we pause for a meal, pack our belongings, hope to see the others again soon, and start walking to the Main road.  There is plenty of time, so on the way, we stop at a pub called the Hunters, as opening time has just come round.  This pub is not frequented by cavers, but occasionally used, as we are using it, as a pause on the walk.  We take our beer on to the grass which comes almost up to the front door.  There, we start to talk about the weekend, which we all agree was affine one.  We know that we shan’t be able to talk about it at work when we get back, as caving is regarded as such an odd occupation that it isn’t talked about outside caving circles.

As we lie on the grass, in the evening sunlight, relaxed after a good weekend’s caving, we wonder what the others would say if the time machine could whisk this gathering into their future and deposit them in the same spot in 1968.  How would they react, we wonder, if the grass under them suddenly turned into asphalt; if the space between the pub and the road became full of cars; of the pub doors opened to disgorge cavers in large numbers, going back to the Wessex Hut, to the Belfry, to the Shepton or the M.C.G?

They would hear talk of St. Cuthbert’s, of Stoke Lane, and many other caves new to them.  They would hear of Journals, Bulletins, Surveys, Caving Reports.  They would hear of foreign expeditions.  In short, they would see all their dreams come true.

For this is what we all wanted in those far off quiet days.  Every time we talked over our beer, we would come round to wild suggestions about building our own hut, about discovering caves on Mendip for ourselves, about starting a magazine.  Almost as we set foot on Mendip, we wanted to change it all.

So we did.
So what?



DON’T FORGET THE CUTHBERT’S LEADERS MEETING NOV. 10th Hunters at 2.30pm.  All are welcome to attend.


Membership List of the B.E.C.

If anyone notices wrong membership numbers, addresses etc., contact Alan Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston-s-Mare.


P. Allen

7 Westbourne Place, Bristol 8


T Andrews

186 Courtlands Ave., London S.E.12


J. Attwood

64 Main Road, Shortwood, Nr. Mangosfield, Bristol


G. Atwell

57 Sandy Leaze, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


R.J. Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


M. Baker

‘Morello’, Ash Lane, Wells, Somerset


D Balcombe.

36 Rotherwick Close, Horley, Surrey


J. Ball

4 Church Row, Stratton on the Fosse, Bath, Somerset


W. Ball

13 Beechwood Road, Sanderstead, Surrey


K. Barnes.

24 Missile Regt., R.A., Paderborn, BFPO 16


R. Bater

20 Woodlands Glade, Swiss Valley, Clevedon, Somerset


Mrs. R. Bater

20 Woodlands Glade, Swiss Valley, Clevedon, Somerset


R. Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


J. Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


P. Bird

City Museum, Queens Road, Bristol


P. Blogg

Hunters Field, Chaldon Common Road, Chaldon, Surrey


Miss S. Bowden-Lyle

17 Rokeby Ave., Redland, Bristol 6


B. Britton

108 Cheltenham Road, Bristol 6


R. Brooks

87 Wyatt Road, London SW2


V. Brown

3 Cross St., Kingswood, Bristol


J. Bugler

c/o Squirrel Cot., Horton Scar Lane, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Yorkshire


G.A. Bull

37 Norlands Square, London, W11.


G. Butler



R. Chandler

83 Spring Plate, Pound Hill, Crawley, Sussex


J. Churchward

1 Jamaica Street, Bristol


C. Clark



Mrs. C. Coase

5 Mandalay Flats, 10 Elsiemer St., Long Jetty, N.S.W., 2262, Australia


P. Coles

213 Cheltenham Road, Bristol


S. Collins

c/o Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol


D. Cooke-Yarborough.

Lot 11, McKay Crescent, Orange, New South Wales, Australia


N. Cooper

3 West Terrace, Westbury, Sherborne, Dorset


B. Crew

5 Redstone Drive, Ashleigh Gardens, Highley, Nr. Kidderminster, Worcs.


R. Cross

42 Bayham Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


A. Cullen

68 Stoke Lane, Patchway, Bristol


I. Daniels

‘Handsworth’, Pilgrim Way, Chilham, Canterbury, Kent


F. Darbon

1933 Upland St., Prince George, British Columbia, Canada


A. Davies

9 Queens Road, Clevedon, Somerset


L. Dawes

223 Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, London S.E.10


G. Dell

23123511 L/Cpl. Dell, Printing Press, 30 BN3. BOD, Singapore


K.C. Dobbs

85 Fox Road, Pinhoe, Exeter, Devon


N. Downes

18 Coombe Street Lane, Yeovil, Somerset


A.J. Dunn

63 Oakdale Road, Downend, Bristol



116 Newbridge Road, Brislington, Bristol


B.M. Ellis

‘Knowkauns’, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset


C. Falshaw

23 Hallen Cross Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield


T. Fletcher

The Old Mill House, Barnack, Nr. Stamford, Lincs.


G. Fowler

Officers Mess, R.A.F. Locking, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset


A. Francis

22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset


K. Franklin

213 Cheltenham Road, Bristol


P. Franklin



Mrs P. Franklin



M. Fricker

36 Summerhill Road, St. George, Bristol 5


M. Gaskell

23663966, Pte. Gaskell M, IOVE H Coy., ROAC, BFPO 56, El-Adem, Libya


P. Giles

Manor Farm Cottage, East Lydford, Somerton, Somerset


K. Gladman

29 Shenfield Road, Brentwood, Essex


D. Glover

‘Leisure’, Green Lane, Pamber Green, Nr, Basingstoke, Hants.


J. Glover

‘Leisure’, Green Lane, Pamber Green, Nr, Basingstoke, Hants.


C.D. Gooding

43 Monmouth Road, Bishopston, Bristol


D. Greenwood

42 St, David’s Drive, South Anston, Sheffield


S. Grimes

15 Forrester Rd., Corstophine, Edinburgh


C. Hall

67 Fishponds Road, Eastville, Bristol


N. Hallett

26 Cotham Vale, Bristol 6


A. Handy

2 Colehill Drive, Hartcliffe, Bristol 3


M. Hannam

‘Lowlands’ Orchard Close, East Hendred, Berks.



Diocesian registry, Wells, Somerset


C. Harvey

‘Byways’, Hanham Lane, Paulton, Somerset


Hasell D.H.

‘Hill House’, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


Miss A. Henley

23 Maynard Road, Hartcliffe, Bristol


D. Herbert

33, Traingle East, Oldfiedl Park, Bath, BA2 3HZ


B. Hewitt

21 Clarendon Road, Redland, Bristol 6


J. Hill

14C the Orchard, high Street, Lower Cam, Nr. Dursley, Glos.


S. Hobbs

Hokerstone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


T. Hodgson

19 Alfred Place, Kingsdown, Bristol 8


E. Holley

140 Novers Lane, Knowle, Bristol 4


G. Honey



B. Howe

48 Martins Road, Hanham, Bristol


Mrs Howe

48 Martins Road, Hanham, Bristol


P. Hudson

15 Glantawe Park Estate, Wind Road, Ystradgynlais, S. Wales


J. Ifold

5 Rushgrove Gardens, Bishop Sutton, Somerset.


P. Ifold

‘The Cedars’, Blackford, Wedmore, Somerset


D. Irwin

23 Camden House, Southville, Bristol 3


R. Jenkins

18 Camberley Close, Downend, Bristol


A. Johnson

Warren Cottage, Station Road, Flax Bourton, Bristol


D. Jones

24 Shortwood View, Kingswood, Bristol


F. Jones

c/o 8 York Gardens, Clifton, Bristol


Mrs. P. Jones

13 Braichmelyn, Bethesda, Bangor, Caernarvon


U. Jones

Marsh Farm, Askem In Furness, Lancs.


A. Kennett

22 Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch, Bristol


R. King

22 Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch, Bristol


P. Kingston

3 Kingsely Road, Eastville, Bristol 5


R. Kitchen

25 Fruse Hill Road, Tidworth, Hants.


J. Lamb

‘Broadmeadows’, Padstowe Road, Wadebridge, Cornwall


B.J. Lane

37 Pendennis Park, Brislington, Bristol


T.E. Large

16 Meade House, Wedgewood Rd., Twerton, Bath, Somerset


J. Laycock

41 Woodlands Park, quedley, Glouster


P. Littlewood

257 Chichester Road, Bognor Regis, Sussex


Mrs. Littlewood

257 Chichester Road, Bognor Regis, Sussex


O. Lloyd

Withey House, Withey Close West, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


M. Luckwill

8 Greenslade Road, Sedgley Hall Estate, Sedgley, Dudley, Worcs.


G. Lucy

Pike Croft, Long Lane, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks.


A. MacGregor

The Railway Arms, Station Road, Theale, Reading, Berks.


P. MacNab

121 Gilmore Place, Edinburgh 3


J. Major

Saint Cross, Green Down, Litton, Bath, Somerset


Mrs. J. Major

Saint Cross, Green Down, Litton, Bath, Somerset


J. Manchip

121 Gilmore Place, Edinburgh 3


C. Marriott

Brulbergstrasse 15, Apt. 21, 8400 Winterhur, Switzerland


R. Marshall

23 Highbury Villas, Bristol 2


T. Marston

3 Maple Grove, Plymton, Devon


E. Mason



A. Meaden

The Post Office & Stores, Cross in Hand, Nr. Heathfield, Sussex


N.J. Monk

7 Little Soke Road, Bristol 8


K. Murray

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


A. Nash

c/o 22 Stuart Lane, Bristol 3


H. Oakley

45 Groveway, Stockwell, London SW9


R. Orr

81 Honiton Place, Newton Aycliffe, C. Durham


D. Palmer

29 John Wesley Road, St. George, Bristol 5


M. Palmer

c/o 2 Hooper Avenue, Wells, Somerset


A. Parker

Ham Green Hospital, Pill, Nr. Bristol


R. Parfitt

‘ Hillside’, Bishop Sutton, Somerset


Miss S. Paul

21 Lovelace Road, Surbiton, Surrey


J. Pearce

6 Lyveden Road, Blackheath, London S.E.3


L. Peters

21 Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


N. Petty

12 Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol


A. Philpot

3 Kings Brive, Bishopston, Bristol


G. Platten

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


Miss B. Plummer

2 Hogarth Walk, Lockleaze, Bristol


B. Prewer

East View, West Horrington, Nr. Wells, Somerset


R. Price

18 Kingfisher Crescent, Lightwood Park, Cheadle, Staffs.


C. Priddle

367 Fishponds Rd., Bristol 5


J. Ransom

9 Archfield Road, Cotham, Bristol


I. Rees

30 Ramsey Road, Horfield, Bristol 7


A. Rich

c/o Pox 126, Basham, Alberta, Canada


R. Richards

11 Tennison Road, South Noorwood, London S.E. 25


John Riley

School Farm House, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol


R. Roberts



A. Rushton

Rectification Flight, RAF Conningsby, Nr. Sleaford, Lins.


A. Sandall

43, Meadway Avenue, Nailsea, Somerset


Mrs. A. Sandall

43, Meadway Avenue, Nailsea, Somerset


B. Scott

59 Fairthorne Rise, Basing, Nr. Basingstoke, Hants.


D. Searle

‘Dolphin Cottage’, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset


Mrs. D. Searle

‘Dolphin Cottage’, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset


G. Selby

913 N. Olive St., Corona, California, U.S.A., 91720


R.J. Sell

51 Swiss Road, Ashton Vale, Bristol 3


A. Selway

15 St. Martin’s Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


R. Setterington.

4 Cavendish House, Cavendish Road, Chiswick, London, W 4


R. Setterington

4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset


W. Smart

37 Norland Square, London W11


D. Smith

Flat 15, 193 Wensley Road, Coley Park, Reading, Berks.


J. Stafford

‘Bryher’, Badgworth, Nr. Axbridge, Somerset


Mrs. I. Stanbury

74, Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


T.H. Stanbury

31, Belvoir Road, St. Andrews, Bristol


J.D. Statham

43 Coates Gardens, Edinburgh 12


R. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


Mrs. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


P. Stewart

11 Fairhaven Road, Redland, Bristol 6


D. Stuckey

34 Allington Road, Southville, Bristol 3


P. Sutton

56 Arley Hill, Redland, Bristol 6


D. Targett

16 Phillis Hill, Midsomer Norton, Bath, Somerset


A. Thomas

Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset


A. Thomas

83 Coronation Rd., Southville, Bristol 3


D. Thomas

‘Mantons’, 2 St. Paul Road, Tupsley, Hereford


N. Thomas

Holly Lodge, Norwich Road, Salhouse, Norwich, Norfolk


S. Thompson

51 Hayward Road, Redfield, Bristol 5


G. Tilly

‘Gable’, Digby Road, Sherborne, Dorset


J. Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


Mrs. D. Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


R. Toms

22 Lancing Gardens, Edmonton, London N9


E. Towler

5 Boxgrove Gardens, Aldwick, Bognor Regis, Sussex


P. Townsend

154 Sylvia Avenue, Lower Knowle, Bristol 3


Mrs. J. Tuck

 48 Wiston Path, Fairwater, Cwmbran, Monmouthshire


S. Tuck

27 Woodbury Avenue, Wells Somerset


D. Turner

12 Westbourne Place, Clifton, Bristol 8


P. Turner

12 Northfield, Stanshawes Estate, Yate


S. Tuttlebury

24 Victoria Rd., Fleet, Nr. Aldershot, Hants.


R. Voke

8 Pavey Road, Hartcliffe, Bristol 3


Mrs. D. Waddon

32 Laxton Close, Taunton, Somerset


R. Wallis

174 Bryants Hill, Bristol 5


D. Warburton

20 Beverley Court Road, Quinton, Birmingham 32


Miss C. Warren

2 The Dingle, Combe Dingle, Bristol BS9 2PA


G. Watts

59, Southbrown House, Duckmoor Road, Ashton, Bristol 3


M. Webster

43 Shroud Road, Patchway, Bristol


E. Welch

18 Station Road, Frenchay, Bristol


D. Weston

‘Maryvale’, 2 Folloton, Totnes, Devon


R. White

8 Regent Court, Stoke Poges Lane, Slough, Berks.


R. Wickens

2 Cherry Garden Road, Canterbury, Kent


P. Wilkins

51 Constable Road, Lockleaze, Bristol


B. Wilton

22 Wedmore Vale, Knowle, Bristol 4


D. Yendle

59 Egerton Road, Bristol 7


October Trip to O.F.D.3

By Martin Webster

Early on Saturday October 12th 1968, Dave Irwin, Dave Yendle, Dave Turner, Bob Craig (SMCC) and myself set out for South Wales with the intention of finding our way to the O.F.D. streamway.  After 2½ hours of driving through torrential rain, and getting lost in Mid-Wales, we arrived at the S.W.C.C. cottage.  At this point “Wig” and Bob Craig decided to fester for the day because, so they thought, the chances of getting into the streamway would be pretty remote due to the heavy rain.  So, after a fruitless half-hour of trying to change their minds, the rest of us changed and staggered off up the hill to the O.F.D. top entrance.  Two of us had been down before but the way to the ‘3’ streamway had not been visited, so armed with only a rather lengthy piece of rope, and a lot of hope, we strode forth into the abyss!

After about 20 minutes we entered passages which were unknown to us.  Large corridors stretched away in all directions, and short drops and climbs made the caving quite interesting.  Some way ahead we could hear voices, and suddenly a hairy apparition appeared before us.  Apparently he too was looking for the ‘3’ streamway.  When we mentioned we had removed our rope from a rather difficult climb, at what is known as ‘The Chasm’ (we had pulled the rope down after us) but thought we could climb back up, he looked rather worried and asked who were we expecting to come and rescue us.  With this he rushed off and announced to the rest of his party that a group of ‘weegies’ had arrived!  Our thoughts can be imagined, when, 20 minutes later the same apparition re-appeared and announced that he had crippled himself against a rock!

After what seemed an age, it became obvious that the other party didn’t know the way either, so we went up one of the wide side passages that we had seen.  The way we had gone seemed very promising and after a short while came across a S.W.C.C. party who cheerfully stated we were on the right track, but only half-way there.  With renewed spirit we hurried on; up climbs; down climbs, through boulder piles.  One of the main obstacles was a vast rift, darkness below and darkness above, and in our case, three quaking cavers trying to traverse along the middle.

The ‘3’ streamway could be heard a long time before reaching it, so it was no surprise when we reached our goal.  It took 2½ hours for the return trip and we emerged from the cave after a serious, but very enjoyable 7 hour trip.