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Letter to the Editor

40, Ralph Road,
Bristol 7.
21st August 1973

Dear Editor,

Every time I read the B. B. I feel that I would like to write a letter to you about certain points in the B.B.  However, laziness and forgetfulness comes over me until the next edition.  Finally, after reading the July B.B., I felt that I must put pen to paper.

On counting the number of members on the club committee, I find that we have a total of eleven. Last October the club members voted for nine members only to be on the committee.  Somehow, we have got two extra members who have not been nominated and elected by the members of the club.  If we need eleven, why not vote for eleven - or stick to the nine who have been properly elected?

On the subject of voting, why not have spare forms?  It has been known for the post office to lose letters do eat papers and children rip them up. It's a poor system when you cannot get a spare form.  The government is pretty inefficient, but at least they will let you ha a spare form.

A lot of B.E.C. members live in Bristol and for them, the venue of the A.G.M. is a poor one.  During the day, a trip up to the Belfry for the A. G. M., then back to Bristol, pick up wife, change etc., then back to Mendip again for the dinner! This arrangement amounts to eighty miles of travelling during the day at least.  Those who live on or near Mendip will only have a few miles to travel to attend both the A.G.M. and the dinner.  At least the mileage and the inconvenience were shared when the A.G.M. was held in Bristol! At this point, I apologise for not attending the A.G.M.

The B.E.C. is a caving club and I always imagine the role of a caving bulletin or magazine is to convey NEWS of CAVING.  This, the B.B. does not do.  I would think that some caver who is on Mendip regularly could jot down the latest news. Someone will inevitably say "Why doesn't he do it himself?"  Well, I'm not on Mendip regularly enough but even so, I pick up news that would interest others on Mendip.

For instance, G.B. has a new entrance.  One of the depressions has collapsed into the cave.  A pitch of about a hundred and fifty feet (estimated) leads into the top of the Gorge.  At present, the entrance looks very unstable due to mud.  Also in G.B., the way up to the ladder Dig no longer has a ladder.  A possible way up is to lasso the rawlbolts and to use slings to get to the top and then drop a ladder down.  In all, it makes it more difficult, which I suppose is the reason for doing it.

St. Cuthbert’s: Just before the duck is a waterwheel.  At the time of seeing it, this wheel was revolving and pumping all to no avail. The aqueduct just beyond the sump is excellent.  A deep hole below with no water is presumably the site of a dig.

Little Neath River Cave: U.B.S.S., have dived the end sump into VIII.  It is a three hundred foot dive from VIa and the passage of VIII is about fifteen hundred feet of typical Neath passage. Sump 9 bars the way on.

Madame Taussauds have bought the cave and paper mill.  It is their intention to blast into the ninth chamber and back to the third - taking in, perhaps, five, six, seven and eight, on the way.  This would give a circular route.  The exploratory dives in Wookey will, of course, become much shorter. They expect to have the new way operational by February and the surveying is almost completed.

Has anyone got any more caving news or digging news?  If so, send it in.


Colin Priddle

…..followed by a reply from the editor………….

Lavender Cottage,
Bishop Sutton.

Dear Colin,

Your first point really wants an answer at some length, which I hope to cover in a future B.B.  I hope it will be sufficient for now to say that co-option is a fully recognized feature of almost every committee I have ever been associated with and that our rules are, in fact, much tighter in this respect than most.  Of the twelve member of the present committee (which is the maximum allowed by the constitution), nine were elected and three co-opted.  Barry was co-opted in line with the request of last year A.G.M. to ensure the continuity of the post of Treasurer.  Nigel Taylor, at the committee's desire to implement the A.G.M. ruling of the year before that the committee should do everything in its power to ensure that effective Hut Wardening takes place.  Jock had to be absent for some time on business and the committee felt that an assistant needed to keep the authority of committee status.  Martin Bishop, our most recent acquisition, was co-opted to ensure that the post of Belfry Engineer was being carried out under the committee's direct observation. The committee had qualms about going to the maximum number allowed by the constitution this year because they knew that a very large proportion of the present members were not standing next year and they wished, under these circumstances, to give other members some experience of working on the committee.

You will appreciate that this is an explanation - not in any way an apology.  The committee feel that co-options are a perfectly legitimate part of their operation where they consider this desirable in the best interests of the club during their year of office.

On voting, your point is well made.  Personally, I agree with you.  I do not feel strongly enough to put up a resolution seeking to change the new system, but perhaps you do?  I would not even second such a resolution, but nevertheless, that is the correct way to get the system changed if you feel strongly enough.  Although I would personally prefer to see copies available at the A.G.M., I am content to stick with the findings of a properly constituted sub-committee, formed at the request of the last A.G.M., whose findings have been endorsed by the club committee.

Your last point gets an enthusiastic "Hear! hear!" from the editor, although it must be pointed out that the B.E.C. is not solely a caving club.  Thank you for your information and I understand that Dave Irwin is considering re-starting his caving news, possibly under a new title. I assure you that I print as much caving news as comes my way, but when you consider, for example, how long it has been since Rhino Rift was opened and the fact that only now have we an article on it, you will appreciate that we are not getting people to write.

One answer would be to have an editor who was an extremely active caver, but this might result in ruining a perfectly good active caver!  I have tried to make it easy to write by providing the box in the Belfry, but at present it contains nothing more than an energetic spider who has made a very thick web inside;