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Hostelling Holiday in Scotland

By Chris Falshaw.

My oppo, Nev Thompson and I left Bristol on 16th. July, and after spending one night in that fairest of all cities, Manchester, reached Glasgow.

Sunday 18th. July.

We were woken at 8.10 by cups of tea, rather comfortable.  After breakfast we bid adieu to our host and boarded our MT, a 1952 Morris Minor, and made for the Campsie Fells.  These are situated about ten miles north east of Glasgow, and consist entirely of Volcanic Basalt.  The gen. book says it is not good for climbing.  This view we endorsed, as ‘it comes away in yer hand when you ain’t looking’.  Eventually we reached the said hills and climbed to the nearest trig. point, Holehaid, 1805ft.  We had intended to climb to The Earl’s Seat, but the sun was hot so we lay down in the heather and told the Earl what he could do.  Reached Fintry Hostel at opening time, i.e. 4pm.

Monday 18th. July.

After breakfast we took the road to Callender, stopping on the way to take some photographs.  Stoked up with grub, then continued via Falls of Leny, Loch Lubnaig, Loch Earnhead and Glen Ogle, here we climbed Meall Burhdie, 2,000ft. and geologised and photomogenised to some extent.  Nev ruined the film in the process of trying to get 39 exposures on a 35mm. film.  After this we returned to the Hostel Balquhidder.  A very enjoyable evening was spent futhering Bristol/Edinburgh relationships.

Tuesday 20th. July.

Said our farewells to Edinburgh and took the road to Inver Loch Larig, the reputed home of Rob Roy the Highland Rogue ‘Our Hero’.  Here we parked the car, donned boots and smoked a farewell reed.  We struck up the glen following the stream (burrrrrrrn) and commenced to climb Benmore, 3,843ft.  We stopped at the watershed for dinner - orange and cake -.  There was a cold wind blowing so we did not dally but started to climb seriously.  Entered cloud at 2,800ft. and the going became easier.  Reached top after four hours, and thumped each other on the back.  This was our first Munro (for the uninitiated, a Munro is a mountain over 3,000ft. high).  The wind on top was literally knocking even skittles out of us, so we retired behind a rock and ate Penguins.  We retraced our steps getting well and truly soaked in the process.  Arrived at the car three hours later nearly dead through lack of our favourite alkaloid.  Returned to the Hostel and played Solo all evening.

Wednesday 21st. July.

A rest day.  Went to Callender to review the local talent and also some Roman remains.  Practiced bird photography on some willing seagulls with telephoto - Bakewell tart was used as bait - this was very potent; after eating it the birds became grounded for about ten minutes.  Returned to the Hostel and again played Solo.  One bod, insisted on reading Hamlet.  His oppo threw it across the room.  This invoked strange, words from the owner.

Thursday 22nd. July

Left Hostel early intending to climb Cruoch Ardrian but were struck by a fact that it was fine.  A fine series of waterfalls provided and ideal excuse.  The route was up fairly easy, somewhat reminiscent of Swildons Wet Way, in flood.  Also spent some time geologising and photogenising and then retuned to the Hostel.  Spent the evening watching a bod fishing.  Nev was locked out.

Friday 23rd. July

Did some shopping in morning in Callender and Killin.  Stopped outside Killin for dinner and saw Ian Dear and Mervyn Hannam dicing in the other direction.  After dinner we pottered round a hydro-electric station that was under construction.  There was a great many of these dotted around the countryside; pylons providing endless fun when taking photographs.  Returned to the hostel at Killin and spent the evening discussing geological problems i.e. basalt on Mendip and unconformity in Highland geology, there being no general dip or related phenomena as experienced in more civilised parts of the county.

Saturday 24th. July.

Spent a very un-energetic day walking miles up Glen Lochy.  The first part of the Glen is over Loch Tay limestone, a type of crystalline marble.  After about 3 miles this gives way to crystalline schist’s, mainly mica and some very black graphite.  We also found some iron pyrites associated with mica schist’s, the crystals were moderately good.  We were once again struck by the complicated nature of the folds observed: they were all of the cascade variety, none of the gentle folds seen under Mendip.  Spent the evening furthering Anglo-Dutch relationships.  We were kept awake in Dorm by a fat type who snored; upon poking he just turned over and snored all the louder.

Sunday 25th. July.

Left at a high rate of knots in search of nicotine; none to be found in Lawres so pressed on to Aberfeldy where we managed to get supplies before dying of grievous exhaustion.  After recovering we decided to climb Schiehallion 3,547ft.  Crossed Wade’s Bridge and left Aberfeldy, reached Schiehallion and ascended to a subsidiary shoulder on to the main ridge.  The weather was superb and we took several photographs from the summit.  Schiehallion is considered by many to be the most beautiful mountain in Scotland.  Seen from Kinlock Rannoch it seems to be a perfect equilateral triangle.  On the summit Nev announced that he had brought the fags so we sat down and made hogs of ourselves.  On the way down we disturbed several ptarmigan, these are really invisible and fly up only when trodden on!!  Returned to Garth Hostel for the night.

Monday 26th. July.

We spent the day geologising in Glen Lion.  Numerous hammer marks were observed by the side of the path.  Garth is the centre of the Scottish Field Studies Association and Glen Lion is supposed to be a geologist’s paradise.  Judging from the state of some boulders, these will not remain so for very long.  We joined in the fun and proceeded to throw stones at the road in an endeavour to break them up.  We were apprehended by a lanky steak of a fellow with a 410 gun who inquired brandishing his weapon, “Hae ye found ana’ gold?”  We replied in the negative and he stumped off down the road discharging his gun in the air.  Dinner consisted of the same ritual of cake and an orange.  We retraced our steps toward the Hostel.  After about two miles we were rapidly overhauled by a hunk of a fellow.  He informed us that he had just climbed Schiehallion.  Judging by his pace, about 6mph, he had not.  After about half an hour of this breakneck pace, we spied a likely looking boulder and murmuring ‘technically impossible’ and ‘couldn’t gat a lay back in that crack’, announced our intention of climbing it.  As out friend disappeared down the road we sank on to the bank and has a smoke.  But such bursts of energy are not to be encouraged.  The evening was pent furthering Anglo-Dutch relationships.  At this point entered the local Young Farmer’s Club, a merry shower.  They entertained us well, Scottish airs, corny sketches, squeeze boxes and bagpipes.  This was at least a change form previous night when we had a non stop performance of the Ash Grove sung in Welsh by a crowd of botanists.  -  tres agreeable.

Tuesday 27th. July.

Had coffee in Aberfeldy, then on to Kinloch Rannock, where we ran out of petrol, and were directed to a posh looking hotel.  We clumped into the main entrance, were frowned on by a butler and directed to the rear, where we were served grudgingly with the necessary.  After taking some shots of Schiehallion over Loch Rannock we visited the pass of Killiekrankie – quite spectacular but very ‘tourised’.  Returned to Strathtummel Hostel for the night.  Improved Anglo-Dutch relations AGAIN!!

Wednesday28th. July.

Drove down to 'Dallmally stopping at Crianleric (?ed.) on the way.  We had tea in the Café.  This place is not too good; we contemplated pinching various articles of furniture, but were prevented by the stern eyes of the maid who did not appreciate our idle patter.  We then repaired to Dalmally.  After supper we climbed a monument to Duncan Ben Macintyre the Highland Bard.  It looked impossible, but yielded to our endeavour, and much pushing from the rear.

Thursday 29th. July.

Went into Oban in the morning and had an encounter with a French car that nearly hit us.  Had a look at climbing the Falls of Cruachin (??ed.), but a route could not be found.  In the evening we pottered down to Kilchurn Castle, built by the Duke of Argyll in 1440.  We sat in the remains of the Duke’s fireplace and smoked a contemplative weed.  Walking back across the marsh a curlew wheeled and called overhead, adding to the ghostliness of the place.

Friday 30th. July.

Left Dalmally intended doing the Cobbler, but the weather did not permit it.  This is a good stock excuse for inactivity in Scotland.  We then went in search of the Fairy Loch.  We ascended the hillside on the banks of Loch Lomond, and eventually found it a miserable puddle six feet square, but of very definite blue colour.  This colour is supposed to be due to the laundering activities of the ‘Wee Folk’; it appears they must use a certain modern detergent!!  We returned to Inverbog Hostel where we spent a very enjoyable evening improving Bristol/Preston relations.

The Saturday and Sunday were spent in returning to Bristol.

If anyone in the Club is going to this part of Scotland next year I can supply them with 1” O.S. Maps and several gen. books.

Chris Falshaw.

Personal

WALLIS – JACKSON.

The engagement is announced between Raymond M. eldest son of Elliot and Isobel Wallis of Grappenhall, Warrington, and Frances Mary, elder daughter of Percy and Helen Jackson of Great Sankey, Warrington.

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Owing to pressure of space it is regretted that the answers to the first set of ‘Can anybody tell me why?’ cannot be included in this month’s BB.  However they will appear next month without fail and I hope you will find them as interesting as I have.  Here is this month’s set of questions; this time the subject is Geology.

Can anyone tell me why?

  1. “The Hillgrove/Wookey Hole ‘Master Fault’ is proving so hard to confirm, as there seems ample indication that the major system based on this fault does really exist?”
  2. “Why is Wookey Hole in Dolomitic Conglomerate and not Cheddar?”
  3. “Why are the lower limestone beds so much richer in fossils than the upper ones?”
  4. “Why do the above fossils remain in the rock in which they are embedded has dissolved?”  “It is realised that obviously the fossils are harder, but is not the limestone composed of fossils in toto?”

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One article has arrived for the ‘centenary’ issue of the BB.  I am hoping for may more.  So pull up your socks and send your contributions to the Editor at the address below.

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BB95-hat.jpgWhilst caving deep neath Mendip land
Among the rocks and bats
A ghastly looking stal. was seen
Like one of Sybil’s FUNNY HATS.

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T.H. Stanbury, Hon. Editor, 48 Novers Park Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
R.J. Bagshaw, Hon. Sec., 56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
A. Sandall, Hon. Assist. Sec., 35 Beauchamp Road, Bishopston, Bristol. 7.

 

Members will recall that in the BB for May last (No.92) and article entitled ‘What the well dresses caver should wear’ by Pongo was printed.

Since this we have received a letter from M. Robert de Joly on the matter and we have great pleasure in now printing it, together with Pongo’ reply.

Societe Speleologique de France,
Uchaud,  (Gard),
France,

   To/   M. Pongo Wallis
   Bristol Exploration Club,
   Bristol.

Monsieur et cher Collegue,

J’ai lu dans le No. 92 (May 1955) de votre revue ‘B.B.’ un compt-rendu de mon petit ouvrage: ‘Comment on descend sous terre’ et vous remercie.

Toutefois je reate intrigue par votre remarque ‘many of his recommendations sound strange to us’.

et

‘not everything is applicable to British conditions’

Jen e vois pas en effet, comment une cavite ‘fossile’ ou a riviere dans un pays quelconque ne necessite pas les memes precautions!

Lorsque vous m’aurez rependu (avec details j’espere car le sujet m’interesse) je vous adresserai ine note pour votre revue toujours interessante.

Croyez cher Collegue, a mes sentiments les meilleurs.

                                                (signed)  R. de Joly.

President de l’Academie des Sciences de Montpellier et de l’Academie de Nimes.

 

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Briarcroft,
Marlborough Crescent,
Latchford W.O.
Warrington,
Lancs.

21st July 1965.

Dear M. de Joly,

I hope that you are able to read English sufficiently to follow this letter.  Although I read French fairly easily, I find writing it considerably more difficult.

I wish to make it plain that my little article in the Belfry Bulletin was not intended to be in any way derogatory to yourself.  I have been exploring caves for 18 years, which is very little compared with your experience.  Our Club accepts members of 16 years and older, and these --- and also some of the older ones --- think that any of their clothes are suitable to wear underground.  As a result they get cold and enjoy their sport less than they might do, so I am always urging that proper clothes should be worn.

The French caves which I have visited have all been of the tourist or painted variety.  I have never done any proper Speleology in France so I do not have any first-hand experience of your conditions.  In Somerset the caves are not as extensive as many of your better known ones, but I think that they do have smaller passages.  There are many places which I know where it is impossible to get through with a helmet on the head, and where any but the smallest explorer must remove some of their clothes in order to get by.  You will understand why I didn’t like the idea of an overall with 12 pockets.  Also, the caves being less extensive, our expeditions are correspondingly shorter, and 12 hours is considered to be a long time to be underground, while 24 hours is very exceptional.  Such elaborate equipment is thus unnecessary.  You, I can see, may find it most undesirable to pay a second visit to some remote part of a cave to record some fact because you did not have a tape measure or note book with you.  You must therefore be completely equipped always.  With us, this will seldom arise and a second visit can readily be paid.

I think that in any country speleologists tend to use the equipment that is available commercially.  Most of us use compressed fibre helmets which are produced for coal miners.  These are very light and comfortable and will withstand quite a severe blow.  If they are of the correct size they do not fall off readily even without a chin-strap, although one is fitted.  I do not know of an accident caused by one falling on a person, or of a head injury when such a helmet had been worn.  I myself have been hit by a stone falling from 70 feet directly on my head.  Although the blow was severe, both the helmet and I were unhurt.

Our footwear is generally a pair of stout leather boots, sometimes with metal toe-caps, usually nailed with hob-nails.  Although some people prefer proper climbing nails most find the plain hobnail adequate.  I cannot say I like the idea of your ‘crampon’ like nails.  To me they sound dangerous and I have never yet met conditions where they would be a real advantage.  While in theory it is easy to keep clear of the next man's feet, in confined spaces it is not always so and the type of nails you suggest could inflict a very severe injury.

Over our other clothes we generally wear a ‘boiler-suit’ – a combination overall of tough cotton.  These are fairly cheap to buy and although not very hard wearing, they do last a reasonable length of time.  They are usually made with two breast pockets and two trouser pockets, which we find is enough to carry the few personal possessions we normally take--- cigarettes, chocolate, a handkerchief, &c.  The boiler-suit is not waterproof, but serves as protection to a waterproof suit worn beneath it if the cave demands it.  Food, cameras, spare lighting etc. we usually carry in a small bag which may be worn over the shoulder, or dragged as conditions require.  Small canvas haversacks, about 25cm. x 25cm. x 8cm and fitted inside with a number of partitions were used daring the War for gas-masks.  These can still be bought and are ideal for the job.

You will see that our equipment is derived partly from what is available and partly from what I take to be the different conditions under which we are working.

I hope you have found these notes of interest.  Much of the equipment which we use as a matter of course in our caves today was first though out by French Spleologists, and has been adapted to our conditions.  Such exchange of ideas and methods can only be of the greatest help to our mutual interest in Caves.

Yours sincerely,

   (signed) R.M. ‘Pongo’ Wallis.

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Ed’s note.

M. Robert de Joly is one of the foremost French Speleologists.  I had the pleasure of caving with him in 1948 when together with a party of mixed nationalities, he led us to the ‘Plus dangeroux’ parts of l’Aven d’Orgnac.

M. de Joly certainly practices what he preaches and his dress and foot-wear were as described.  The long boot spikes certainly seemed dangerous to our untutored eyes, but I must admit that they seemed to give him better grip by far than afforded by my ‘trikes’ although my boots were newly nailed.

T.H.S.

Can anybody tell me why?

Here as promised are they answers to the first set of questions which were printed in the July BB. They were all sent in by our tame archaeologist, Keith Gardner, to whom our thanks is extended.

  1. Bronze-age settlements are sites about which little is known, but in general it is often considered that burial mounds were placed on the skyline in such a position that their silhouettes were constantly in view from living and working quarters.  The settlements here might well have been in the region of Waldegrave Pond, where mining activities would since have erased all trace, or perhaps towards Swildons, or even by the Priddy Circles from which point the Ashen Hill Group stand out well.  Incidentally, can anyone tell me what these circles were?
  2. Has the demon T.V.C. been at work again? I can count nine barrows in Priddy Nine group when sober (eighteen otherwise).
  3. Long Barrows from the Neolithic period as opposed to the later Bronze Age date for round barrows, so there is no reason why there should be any connected with the Priddy group.  There is one on Pen Hill, one near Green Ore, and two at Chewton Mendip to mention only the closest.  The smaller number of these monuments about is probably due to the smaller population and to the fact that they were originally constructed to serve more as a family mausoleum than were the round barrows, whose secondary burials are usually intrusive.
  4. There are three main types of abrrow as illustrated herewith: -

    sections
    BB96-sections.jpg
    It is possible that one type evolved from the other; the Early Bronze Age ‘Beaker’ folk buried their dead in crouched positions usually in Bowl barrows, whereas the later ‘Wessex Aristocracy’ seemed to prefer the Bell or Disc type, sometimes using cremation as well, especially in disc barrows.  Priddy group would appear to be a mixture of several types possibly indicating a long, though not necessarily continuous local occupation.
  5. The first reason why so many Roman coins appear to be discovered is, I feel, the fact that the average man would tend to recognise and retain a coinage rather than, say, a roof nail or pot shard.

    The reasons why they were there in the first place are rather more complicated and hinge on the economic collapse in the 4th. Century.

    Money is, after all only the arbitrary tool of an organised civilisation and when such a civilisation breaks down then the little metal discs become useless.  Corruption, taxation and revolt produced inflation in Britain to a fantastic degree.  The villa system became only self supporting rather than a food-producing unit, town life became increasingly difficult and bands of desperate peasants roamed the country living by fire and sword and plundering the great villas.  The owners of these often hid their useless ‘wealth’ in pots and bags in secret hoards and the discovery of such a cache rarely fails to hit the headlines.  Other single finds are usually indicative of an occupation site where they were lost in the squalid conditions of the late 4th. Century, although of course the odd coin is always liable to be dropped anywhere.

K.G.

Bats

Those interested in Bat-ringing will be very interested to know that Johnny Ifold, on August 29th. refound a long-eared bat that he ringed just over four years ago.  It was still flying strongly.

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The larder is getting empty again. It is almost a year ago that there was so little material in hand that the BB was threatened with closure.  Next year we shall be celebrating our 21st birthday, I hope that the celebrations will not include a ‘wake’ for the BB.  There still seems to be no news of work or discoveries on Mendip.  It is a disturbing fact that although Stoke Lane was discovered as long ago as 1947, except for a brief article by the late Pat Browne on the discovery of Browne’s Passage and a sketchy five short paragraphs by Dan Hasell, both in BB No.5 for July 1947, we have published nothing about this important cave.  Similarly there is no information about St. Cuthbert’s or Hunter’s Hole.  This is a deplorable state of affairs; the BB is in danger of foundering for lack of material whilst there is a gold mine of material in our laps.  If the discoverers are too busy to help surely they could enlist the help of others to do this very necessary and important job?

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T.H. Stanbury, Hon. Editor, 48. Novers Park Road, Bristol.4.

 

Annual Dinner.

As you will see from the enclosed form the Annual Dinner, it will be held in the Star Hotel Wells on 28th. January 1956, at 7.0pm. for 7.30pm.  Please fill in the form and return as soon as possible.

A coach will run from Redcliffe, Bristol to Wells and will return to Bristol afterwards.  The fare is 3/-.  Please send to the Hon. Sec. for tickets.

An Instalments Plan is now open for the Club Dinner. Payments of 2/- and upwards will be accepted by the Hon. Sec.

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It will be of interest to Club members that our worthy Librarian has been sleeping alone in a tent with a rhinoceros of undetermined sex!  It was about 22,000 years old and he helped to dig it out, of Minchin Hole in Gower.

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Additions to Club Library.

Axbridge Caving Group Journal mVol.2 No.4.
Castles of Great Britain.
Roman Britain.
Sheffield University Mountaineering Club Cave Research Bulletin N0.2.

Newsletters of: -

B.C. & C.C. Vol.4 No.8 Sept. 1955.
S.W.C.C. No.13 Sept. 1955.
N.S.S. The News. Vol.13 No.9 Sept. 1955.

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I must apologise for the lateness of this issue, and secondly for the size of it.  I have been out of Bristol on a course for the last four weeks and rather than delay the BB more still I have cut out one page for this issue only

Next month will be the usual Xmas ‘Double’ number, in which I hope to make up for the short measure this time.

T.H.S.

Personal.

To Betty, wife of W.J. Shorthose B. Sc., the gift of a daughter.

Wallis – Jackson, on 15th. October at St. Mary’s Church, Great Sankey, Warrington, Pongo to Frances Jackson.

Note new Address.

R.M. Wallis, “Swildons” 343, Upton Lane, Widnes, Lancs.

Sundry Recollections on running a Week’s Instructional Course in North Wales.

By Ron Newman

Scene:  Halfway up a ‘severe’
Norman:  “Hello, Roger, What are you doing?”
Roger (casually, hands in pockets) “Oh, just un-roped to have a look around.”

Framed Text hanging above my bed: -
“He led them on safely”.                          Ps 78.55.

Read the Llanberis Guide’s description of Lockwood’s Chimney on Clogwyn-y-Bustach, then imagine the climb being done by five beginners in one large party, with Newman at the fore.  (May I quote the guide-book?  ‘Leader needs forty foot of rope and lots of patience’).

I am sitting in state on the top, tied to a small belay.  I have been up there for an hour already, and it is six hours since we started climbing.  So far, no signs of movement have come from below.  My party is strung out in an enormous line at forty foot intervals, some sitting on grassy ledges, some in trees, some in thorny jungles and others prowl about beginning to feel lonely.  My patience is nearly exhausted.  Action is required.  I hail my number two in best authorative voice.

Some ten minutes later, after mumbling darkly about climbing with morons who seem to be not only stupid, but also deaf.  I establish contact with Colin and inquire the cause of the delay.  He replies that he is waiting for Pete to come up.  I therefore instruct Colin to inform Pete that he should come up.  A pause of some ten minutes ensues while Colin establishes contact with another moron, also deaf.  Back along the slow, deaf and unresponsive jungle telegraph comes the news that Pete cannot move until Roger comes up.

To cut a very long story short, I finally instruct Colin to tell Pete to tell Roger to tell Bill to tell Nigel to come up.  (All this with suitable delays while inter-climber contact is established).

At this stage, I am seriously contemplating un-roping, descending, and climbing us again to see what all the delay is about.  This thought, however, I dismiss rapidly, for a little voice whispers to me that, the instant I un-rope, the next moron is sure to start up the last pitch, and I remember that the last pitch is greasy and exposed.

Suddenly I realise that I have been hearing a faint noise that sounds rather like a voice for about ten minutes.  On giving this noise my full attention, I discover that Colin has been trying to establish contact with the moron immediately above him for some time.  He tells me that Pete told him that Roger told him that Bill told him that Nigel said he was stuck.

It now dawns on me that I am hungry.  This is not surprising: it is now teatime, and I have not yet had my packed lunch.

I then remember that my sandwiches are in Nigel’s rucsac.  Somewhat annoyed, I decide to have a cigarette instead, so I put one in my mouth. I then remember that Bill, this expedition's only other smoker, has the matches.  I recall the guide book’s words:  “Leader requires forty foot of rope and lots of patience.”

N.B.  Readers will be happy to hear that benightment was avoided: only this ray of sunshine amid the gloom enabled me to preserve my sanity.

Ron Newman.

The B.B. is once again in very urgent need of articles.  The Xmas issue is assured, but the appeal for material for the ‘Centenary’ issue has only brought one article.  The Children of Israel had to have straw to make bricks.  The BB has to have material to live.  The B.E.,C. has to be active to live.  It is alive (I think) ergo it is active, but no one reading the BB would think so, at least, from the caving point of view.  If you are afraid of your efforts being ‘not the thing’, send it along anyway.  It’s the editor’s job to lick them into shape.

T.H.S.

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DON’T FORGET TO SEND OFF YOUR COMMITTEE NOMINATION FORM AT ONCE.

DON’T FORGET TO SEND OFF YOUR DINNER TICKET RESERVATION FORM AT ONCE.

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T.H. Stanbury        Hon. Ed. 48 Novers Park Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
R.J. Bagshaw,       Hon. Sec.  56, Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol.4.
A. Sandall             Hon. Assist. Sec., 35 Beauchamp Road, Bishopston, Bristol .7.

B. E. C. Nomination Form.

Tho undermentioned have already been nominated for the 1956 Committee:-

B. Bagshaw, M.Jones, J. Osborn,  A. Setterington, A. Sandall, P.Ifold, A, Collins, C. Falshaw, J. Dear.

If you wish to nominate any other members will you please couplets the Form below and return it to the Hon. Secretary, before the 30th November. Nominations cannot be accepted after that date.

To the Hon. Secretary, B.E.C, 56 Pensford Rd, Knowle, Bristol,4.

I wish to nominate the following member/s who has/have agreed to stand for election to the 1956 Committee of tho B.E.C.

Membership No. _________  Signed _____________

(Tear off here)

B. E. C. Annual Dinner.

The Annual Dinner will be held at the Star Hotel, Wells, Som., on the 28th January, 1956, at 7p.m., for 7.30pm., following the Annual General Meeting. Tickets are 10/- per head. Please fill in this form and return it with the appropriate remittance to the Hon.Secretary, 56 Pensford Rd, Knowle, Bristol,4., Not Iater than 10th January, 1956.

G.B. Guest Days.

Sunday 16th.  October at 2.30pm.
Saturday 3rd. December 3.0pm.

All names must be handed to Alfie Collins at least a fortnight before the trip.

Club Library.

Since the last list published in June, the following additions have been made to the library: -

Notiziaro, Speleologico Romano No.7.  1954.
The American Caver Bulletin No. 16 Dec. 1954.

Newsletters

N.S.S. Vol.13 No.4.  April 1955.
N.S.S. Vol.13 No.5.  May  1955.
N.S.S. Vol.13 No.6.  June  1955.
N.S.S. Vol.13 No.7.  July   1955.
N.S.S. Vol.13 No.8.  Aug.  1955.
Occasional Papers.  N.S.S. No.1.  Jan 1954.
Occasional Papers.  N.S.S. No.2.  April 1954.
The Cave and Crag Club.  Vo. 4.  No.4.  April  1955.
The Cave and Crag Club.  Vo. 5.  No.4.  May   1955.
The Cave and Crag Club.  Vo. 6.  No.4.  June   1955.
The Cave and Crag Club.  Vo. 7.  No.4.  Jul/Aug 1955.
South Wales C.C. No.12  May 1955.
Westminster S.G.  Bulletin Vo.2  No.4  May 1955.
Westminster S.G.  Bulletin Vo.2  No.5  June 1955.

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Bookcase

Members are asked if they can dig up, find, purloin, fabricate or otherwise obtain a suitable receptacle for books, as the need for this, with our ever-growing library, has now become very urgent.  Will anyone who knows of, or is willing to help make such a case please communicate with the Hon. Sec.

New Members

It has been, in the past, the ‘usual’ thing to print in the first available issue after election, the names and addresses of all new members, and also to publish a list, a few per month, of all members.

In view of the fact that a complete new list of members and their addresses is to be published as soon as the list is sent by the Hon. Sec., at this present time let us just say: - “Welcome to our new members. May they enjoy caving and climbing whilst they are Club Members.”

B.E.C. in SKYE.

By Miss Janet Gotts.

Being an account of a holiday in Skye from 15/24th, July, 1555 by John Stafford, Mr. & Mrs. John Attwood, Miss Janet Gotts, Tony Dun and Ron King.

Skye weather has become a by-word.  The last place any sane sun loving Climber would choose for a July holiday in the Western Isles of Scotland.  One could spend a whole fortnight and never see the Cuillins.  The same sort of impression as one had of Scotland from ‘Kidnapped’ - cold and gruesome, with people living on porridge and half-cooked trout.

To the great disappointment, then, of members of the party who had come fully equipped with waterproof clothing, we had rain on only one day, low cloud on two or three.  On top, conditions became bad enough to frustrate two attempts at the complete Cuillin Ridge, but on the whole the heat was tropical.  We tanned, peeled, reddened and re-peeled.  The second week saw some of us camping in an idyllic spot on the way up to Sron na Ciche.  Previous occupants of the site, to our disgust had always been idly breakfasting when we passed by on our ‘Alpine’ starts.  Now it was our turn.  Every morning between 10.0 and 11.0 climbers, with the light of the Cuillins in their eyes, recoiled from the sordid pile of boots, saucepans and various litter.  In the end we were having lunch before starting, to save carrying it.

One's first impression of the Cuillins is of a range of miniature mountains, perfectly proportioned, as unique but not as imposing, as the Dolomites.  But they afford plenty of strenuous exercise.  A good introduction to the Ridge is the scramble from Sgurr Alaisdair (the highest) along to the Inaccessible Pinnacle and down the An Stac stone chute.  Or, approach the Inaccessible Pinnacle from the west via Window Tower Buttress (a very pleasant Mod. Diff.)  The Cioch, etherealised by Humble's famous photograph, seems unfortunately the Eiffel Tower of the area, and should be avoided by the anti-social.  Both face climbs up to it are interesting; however, mist and rain robbed us of the very fine exposure on Cioch West route.  Our best day was spent on White Slab route on the Gkrunnda face, with its very satisfying severe variations.  When in good form, some of the climbs above the Terrace on Sron na Ciche, like the Crack of Doom, are well worth the trouble of the slog up.  The famous Waterpipe Gully on Sgurr an Fheadain, is no longer recommended, owing to the loose state of the rock.  And even after the drought it was extremely slimy, and could not be called a pleasant climb under any conditions.

Being without transport, our activities were limited to Glenbrittle, save the memorable day we undertook an expedition to Portree, and were forced to walk back nine miles over the fells through a misunderstanding with the bus service.   We would take off our hats to anyone with the smallest understanding of Skye bus services.  If you are lucky enough to catch a bus going in the required direction at the scheduled hour you are stunned by the exorbitant fare (nearly 6d. a mile).  Some of us had the experience of being charged 6d. to go on a rescue party bus half way up the valley.  Unfortunately the Revenge Plan of catching the ‘Church Bus’ (free!) on Sunday morning and sneaking off to climb from Sligachan never materialised.

How to get there: - The Road to the Isles is for most of us further than the traditional route from Tummel to Morar.  Hitch-hiking from Glasgow to the Kyle of Loch Alsh ferry is infinitely less frustrating than watching the Scottish scenery from a stuffy train: it can be done in 36 hours, including a day’s climbing and swimming in Glen Coe.  For Bristolians, we recommend taking motor-bikes by train to Glasgow and continuing by road to Malaig ferry.  Extra fare to Glasgow is adequately compensated by having one’s own transport in Skye, and the saving on Glasgow-Malaig stage.

Take no notice of (a) The present Guide Book, except for geographical indications: (b) Nails enthusiast - vibrams find Skye rock amazingly adhesive even when wet: (c) Precautions against midges.  Nothing stops them.  The thousands of deaths inflicted daily by maddened climbers and campers have no effect on the general body.  And when it’s over 10,000 to one it’s not worth putting up a fight.

A final warning.  Anyone rock-climbing on the Cuillins without liquid refreshment is in severe danger of dehydration.

POST-SCRIPT. – Especially for the less experienced female climber.

Always have a hand in laying stores.  (In Skye most of them can be obtained in Glenbrittle Youth Hostel) otherwise you will find they invariably consist of porridge, macaroni, and Horlick’s tablets.

Climbing.  Beside the more obvious tricks of absentminded clearing away loose rock, investigating local Flora and Fauna whilst belaying your partner, it is sometimes a good move to drop (accidentally) the whole rope on to your second after belaying yourself.  This will unnerve him for the next pitch.  Morale, like intelligence, is far superior to strength.  Confuse your partner by delicate and exposed variations which appear more difficult than, for example, a strenuous chimney.

Alcohol:  Remember to look on drinking as an art, not, as men do in an excuse.  If handed a flask of rum or other spirits on a climb, restrain your enthusiasm (this need practice).  Take tentative but frequent samples, as though it is not your usual (superior) brand.  This increases your prestige besides giving you more than your fair share!

Janet Gotts.

It is grand to welcome a new contributor to the BB, and I look forward to printing many more articles from Miss Gotts’ pen.

T.H.S.

Personal

The engagement was announced in June of Jack Whaddon to Miss Dorothy Cridge who is well known to quite a few of the club members and other Mendipites.

Jack has now moved to the London Area and so will be unable to appear on Mendip as frequently as in the past.  He will be linking up with various club members in that area, however,and will appear in our part of the world as often as he can.

(I must apologise for the belated entry, Jack, sorry that it’s so late.  Ed.)

Can anyone tell me why?

No answers have yet been received to the August Questions, but as this issue is being ‘set’ much earlier than usual, that is probably the reason.  This month’s questions are climbing ones.

  1. What are the ‘Vibrams’ so often referred to in climbing account?
  2. How does the novice overcome the instinctive fear of falling when a ‘long drop’ is below him?
  3. Many young persons are attracted to climbing, but very few ‘dare’ to indulge.  The average caver does lots of climbing underground, but would boggle at the visible drop below him say of 100 feet.  Is the climbing standard so much higher ‘up there’ than down below?
  4. Many rock faces are composed of different types of rock.  How does the novice decide which is ok and which will ‘come off’ in his own mind?

***********************************

 

For the benefit of New Members and anyone else who has forgotten them appended below is a list of club officials.

R.J. Bagshaw,          Hon. Sec. & Hon. Treas.  56 Ponsford Road, Bristol. 4.
A. Sandall,               Assist. Hon. Sec. 35 Beauchamp Road, Bristil. 7.
A.J. Collins,             Hut Warden & Caving Sec., 27 Gordon Road, Bristol. 8.
C. Falshaw,             Assist. Caving Sec. & Assist. Tackle Officer, 50 Rockside Drive, Bristol. 7.
I. Dear,                    Tackle Officer, 1 Fairfield Villas, Henrietta Park, Bath, Somt.
Mike Jones,             Belfry Maint. Engineer, 12 Melton Crescent, Bristol. 7.
John Stafford,           Climbing Sec., 5 Hampden Road, Bristol. 4.
Miss Judy Osborn,   Ladies Representative, 389 Filton Avenue, Bristol. 7.
John Ifold,                Hon. Librarian, Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol.
T.H. Stanbury,          Hon. Editor BB, 48 Novers Park Road, Bristol. 4.

Any member with a problem of any kind is urged to get in touch with the appropriate official.  Doing this not only eases the burden of work on the Hon. Sec’s shoulders, but also saves the member concerned a little time, as otherwise such problems etc., have to be re-routed via the Hon. Sec.

*************************************************

A final note to remind you that the BB is still in need of articles of all sorts and particularly relating to the Club work on Mendip.

T.H.S.

 

BB99.jpg 

The Editor and publishers join in wishing all our readers a very happy Xmas and a good year’s caving in 1956.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

B.E.C. Weekend Visit to Derbyshire

By Jack Waddon

Over the weekend 21/23rd October, a visit to Derbyshire was made by the B.E.C., a party consisting of: - Norman Petty, Ian Dear, Tony Rich, Russell Jenkins, Roy Bennett and Jack Waddon.  The various members of the party arrived independently by motor-cycle at Whitelee Farm, Sparrowspit, during Friday evening, after battling across Axe Edge in a bitterly cold headwind on the last stretch of the journey.

On Saturday morning a visit was made to Middleton Dale, which still retains some of its former grandeur, although long since despoiled by intensive quarrying.  Many of the old mine-workings in the side of the Dale run into natural rifts and caves, and a good deal of time was spent in exploring some of these, but it was not until every member of the party had acquired a quantity of mud on his clothes that it was thought advisable to change into caving gear!

In was apparent that a trial for lead was in the course of being made at one point on the North side of Middleton Dale, where a sizable cutting excavated along the line of a lode, there were quantities of Galena in large masses lying about.  It was here that a piece of Galena weighing about 20lbs. was accidentally dropped on the foot of Ian Dear, who complained hard and long in the time honoured manner of cavers.  From amongst the ‘gangue’ minerals in the lode, several samples of white Fleurite showing good crystal structure were obtained.  The most interesting find here was a piece of Iceland Spar (the transparent variety of Calcite) which fractured into perfect rhomboids, in which the characteristic phenomenon of ‘Double Refraction’ was amply displayed.

After Mrs. Vernon had reinforced us with a good lunch back at Whitelee Farm, we set out for Peak Cavern, where Les Salmon of the B.S.A. had arranged a trip for us to the inner reaches beyond the part shown to the public.  Les had brought three of his friends along with him, and about 4pm, we all entered the cave, and changed into caving gear.

Before proceeding beyond the tourist section it was necessary to drain a sump, which operation was successfully accomplished with the aid of several lengths of flexible pipe; these were first primed, after which the water in the sump was siphoned away.  It was about 20 minutes before the water in the sump dropped to a comfortable level, but even it was difficult to pass through without getting chest and stomach considerably- wetter than one would wish.

The cave now became more interesting and large, and after a while a 20ft. ladder pitch brought us into the main stream way once more, which consisted of a high rift passage with a barren water worn floor.  There was pronounced scalloping on the walls.  Splashing merely downstream we travelled some distance before meeting deep water and a long sump, though which the C.D.G. have passed from the end of the tourist cave further downstream.  Since we were not mer-men, we retraced our steps and went upstream, where, on a ledge above the stream, we came across a beautiful nest of cave pearls, about 9 inches across.  It contained a high number of white pearls, all perfectly spherical, and uniform in size.  (Each the size of a pea).

Pressing on further upstream, a duck was passed, beyond which another long sump, passable only to divers, was reached.  We returned the way we had come, noting several examples of oxbows in the walls of the rift, high above the present stream.

The sump which had been drained on the way in had now partially filled again, and almost complete immersion was involved in negotiating it.  After the howls of protest at this further ducking in icy water had died down the voice of Les Salmon (who had a thermometer) was heard announcing the temperature as being 46oF, which is of course colder than normal for British caves generally.  We were soon dry and changed, and we left the cave just on midnight.

One advantage of having done a very wet trip on Saturday was that there was a jolly good excuse for not caving on Sunday, so a long walk was taken along the ridge to Mam Tor.  Descending to the road, we passed the Temburn Odin Mine, where a couple of thunder flashes dropped down the deep shaft produced awe-inspiring echoes. Amongst the mining refuse were some examples of purple Flurite with perfect cubic crystals.

Since we were near the Blue John Mine (an extensive show-cave first discovered by miners) we decided to visit it.  We went round the normal tourist section in a large party of other visitors.  At one point Roy Bennett (who was at the rear of the party) suddenly dived up a low side passage, but soon emerged with the news that ‘it didn’t go’, and a tear in the seat of his trousers.

On the way back to Whitelee Farm for lunch, we passed through Windy Knoll Quarry, where we obtained some interesting sample of Elaterite (a rubbery bitumen smelling of engine oil) which oozes out of the rock at this and a couple of other places in Derbyshire.

After having eaten, tracks were made for the respective homes, and all agreed that the success of the weekend was due in no small measure to the co-operation afforded to us by the local cavers, not to mention Mrs. Vernon’s usual excellent cooking.

Jack Waddon.

In case this phrase should make the reader wonder, “How tight is a duck”?  This duck was not watertight, and if you, gentle reader should wonder how a duck became a caver and ventured so far underground, let me hasten to point out that in this case a ‘duck’ is a low passage almost, but not quite filled with water.  -  Ed.

Some Gale.

“At times we had to incline our bodies considerably from the perpendicular to counteract the atmospheric thrust”.  (Climbers’ Club Journal, 1903.  Prof. Tyndall’s, ‘A Stormy Day on Helvellyn’).

Mudlark.

HAVE YOU RESERVED YOUR TICKETS FOR THE ANNUAL DINNER ? ? ?

Near Massacre in Glen Coe.

By Rex Aldridge.

On the last day of a wonderful week of camping, climbing and walking in Glen Coe, three of us set out to climb the Chanceller.

We started up with myself in the lead, Austin second, and Doug third and pack horse.  As the guide book had warned us, the rock was loose, rotten and vegetated.  (Cheddar is sound by comparison.)  However we surmounted this bad stuff and lunched at the foot of a wall of ‘diff’ standard.  We were on a ridge of rock and heather which abutted against the wall. The ridge dropped away steeply on either side to vertical walls of rock which in turn went down to big scree gullies.

I climbed up the wall for about twenty feet, foresaw difficulty, and brought Austin up to give me closer support.  With Austin belayed, I reconnoitred for a way up, but with no success.  (It took so long over this that Doug, who was sitting on the ridge at the foot of the wall, became absorbed in watching traffic, 1,500ft. below us in the Glen.)

I came back to Austin, changed places with him on the rope and belayed myself.  Austin had a try, got about ten feet to my left, about five feet above me, and got stuck! 

After looking quickly to my belay, adequately (so I though) around a substantial hunk of rock, I tried to dissuade him from falling off.  But he insisted, and so I reassured him that in the event, I could hold him easily.  Never do that!  Never mind the leader’s peace of mind, tell him that he doesn’t stand an earthly if he comes off.  Doug alerted at the foregoing conversation, returned to his traffic watching on hearing these words of assurance.

Sure enough Austin came off.  He fell vertically for a short distance, then the rope coming taut, he started to pendulum towards and beneath me.  At this point I remember being jerked further from my stance than I thought the belay would allow.

Then I seemed to be waking up from a heavy sleep, I had been dreaming about climbing I thought. But this rock and heather seemed very real, and wasn’t that Doug up there calling, “Rex, are you alright?”, and I could hardly breath and my shoulder hurt.  Gosh!  I remember, I must have come off - Oh! wasn’t I miserable.  My next thoughts were, “Well, I’m alive and not too badly hurt”.

Austin and I has fortunately fallen either side of the ridge and this had prevented a fall down the vertical walls to the scree gully.

Doug soon had us on the crest of the ridge again and roped to a rock belay.  After putting his Anorak on me and tying the rucksack with spare food and torch on to us, he hurried down for help, while Austin and I were still exchanging repeated apologies for our respective contributions to the mishap.

As it got dusk, Austin and I realised that we were probably stuck for the night and moved ourselves into a recess just off the crest of the ridge, and out of the wind.

Then as darkness fell, Doug (stout fellow) returned with two volunteers, a quilt, a flask of tea, and a first aid outfit.  With the quilt we were warm, and comparatively comfortable, and Austin’s lacerations were bound up.  The R.A.F. were on their way!  (A hundred miles away as yet, but we didn’t know).

The R.A.F. arrived on the road below us as about midnight, but in spite of a searchlight (which was a morale booster) they weren’t able to reach us till dawn. Imagine our relief when they reached us, - bars of mint cake ad-lib., cups of tea, nice comfortable stretchers and blankets.

Not liking the prospect of being first down a practically vertical wall in a stretcher, I gallantly insisted that Austin have the first vehicle.  Another point I considered and which turned out to be correct, was that the first party down would receive all the missiles of loose rock.]

Without envy I watched Austin’s stretcher being guided over the edge and disappear, a jab of morphia and then it was my urn.  The descent was quite something – the most difficult that the Mountain Rescue Section had yet done – I was glad I was being carried.  The frequent proximity of falling rock and the apparent likelihood of being tipped feet first, head first, or sideways, down a gully, served to keep me awake, and maintain interest.

By 4pm, we were down on the road, and being loaded into an ambulance, and relax for the first time in 25 hours.  I dozed in the ambulance on the way to hospital at Fort William, - but my dozing and subsequent night’s sleep were frequently interrupted as we tried to duck away from imaginary falling rock.

Oh, Belford Hospital!  Hot drinks and food, piping hot pyjamas, electric blankets – not to mention the wonderful nurses, - but I must stop or somebody will be falling off on purpose.

Rex Aldridge.

Rex Aldridge is a new contributor to the B.B., I hope he becomes a frequent one.

T.H.S.

Can anyone tell me why?

Reply to Question in BB96.

Vibram is the trade name for a deeply in cut rubber sole fitted to a climbing boot.  It is of Italian origin, being introduced, I believe by the ‘tigers’ of the Turin section of the Italian Alpine Club in the years before the war.  Its use spread rapidly throughout the continent and by 1945 it was old fashioned to wear nails.  Nowadays nails are a museum piece in the Alps except on the feet of British Climbers.

The name Vibram soon became applied loosely to all boots equipped with similar rubber soles, even though of another make; the genuine Vibram sole carries the words, ‘Vibram Brevettata Montagna, which roughly translated means that Vibs make molehills out of mountains.

Vibs took on slowly in Britain; the young climbers with no inhibitions and traditions about footwear tried the ‘new’ boots as soon as they visited the Alps, found them good, and brought them back into this country.  The older generation shook their heads and said that it was unwise to learn to climb in anything except nails.  This, most unfortunately, is still the official attitude of the Mountaineering Association, but I consider it to be erroneous, a short-sighted and prejudiced thinking and not due to practical observation and experiment.

Dennis Kemp.

Overheard

in the Waggon and Horse  recently:-

"This ought to tone up B.B., now they've got two English graduates writing for them'',

Up with the University,
English a la B.B.C.,
Death to the wogs!
With BA (Hons) in B.E.C.,
We're the last word in Literacy,
No more muttering moronity,
Sublingual imbecility
Of speleologists (or Trogs).

Mudlark.

British Mountainering Council Circular G.30/207.

Reprint of:-.

WEAK KARABINERS

(A statement issued by the B/M/C/ Equipment Sub-Committee)

The B.M.C. have in the past (R.P. Mears, ‘Snap Links’, Mountaineering Vol.1 No.3 January 1948) advised climbers that some karabiners are on sale and in service which do not reach a reasonable standard of strength for use in running belays, abseils or as a link in the leader’s rope.  (The loads involved in ‘artificial’ climbing may be considerably less, and this use of karabiners is not here considered.)  Among these weak karabiners are the cheap war-surplus articles that are used extensively in this country.

Recent tests instituted by the Equipment Sub-Committee and by the trade have shown that these ex-service karabiners are very variable in quality and that many are made from low grade steel.  Under a tensile load of only 500lbs., many of them have been found to distort sufficiently to disengage the keeper and to prevent its re-engagement when the load is removed.

A load of 1,000lb., has been sufficient to pull them open.  Some have performed a little better, but only occasional specimens have sustained as much as ¾ ton.  As far as the Equipment Sub-Committee are aware, all the inexpensive, unbranded steel karabiners on sale in this country are war surplus articles of which this performance is typical.  It is probable that most climbers possess one or more of these karabiners.  One report has been received of a karabiner opening during an abseil.

The discovery that large stocks of ex-service karabiners are still in existence, as yet unsold, together with the growing use of karabiners for running belays, abseils and as a link, in the leader's rope, has led the Equipment Sub-Committee to recommend that none of the war-surplus karabiners should be used for these purposes.  The Ministry of Supply, the war Office and the Air Ministry have been informed of these facts and conclusions.

Some foreign karabiners on sale in this country are of better quality.  Tests have been made on some of them and the results are given below.  In all cases the keeper was in its normal position.  The specimens were taken at random and appeared to represent the construction and workmanship of the respective makes, although these tests are no guarantee that all karabiners of these makes, are of the same quality.

STUBAI, oval, weight 8½ ozs, screwed sleeve over end of keeper.  One tested.

Hinge broke at…………………………………………           5,400lb.

 

STUBAI, oval, weight 4½ ozs, Nine tested.

Three, keeper slipped out of engagement………………      1,700lb.

One, hinge broke ………………………………………          2,500lb.

One, withstood without failure…………………………         2,800lb.

Four, hinge broke………………………………………          3,300lb.

 

AUSTRIA, pear shaped weight 4ozx, three tested.

One, keeper slipped out of engagement………………..      1,700lb.

One, hinge broke……………………………………….          2,800lb.

One, catch sheared……………………………………..        3,300lb.

 

WM PAT AUSTRIA, forged, weight 4½ ozs, One tested.

Withstood without failure………………………………          2,800lb.

 

ASMU forged, weight 4½ ozs, One tested.

Hinge broke…………………………………………….           2,240lb.

 

P. ALLAIN, forged aluminium alloy, weight 2½ ozs, two tested.

One, opened slightly ……………………………………        1,100lb.

One, opened wide……………………………………..           1,700lb.

 

It will be noted that, with the exception of the heavy 8oz Stubai, none of the above karabiners is as strong as a full weight nylon climbing rope.

Karabiners of sound mechanical design and high grade materials are now being developed in Britain.  Pending the availability of good quality British karabiners, climbers are recommended to use the better of the karabiners listed above or others for which dealers can guarantee comparable performance,.

Acknowledgments.  The generous assistance of the trade, the R.A.F. Mountain Rescue Organisation, the Ministry of Supply and others is gratefully acknowledged.

Can Anyone Tell Me Why?

Replies to Questions in BB97.

The Climbers’ Thesaurus of Warped Words and Paraphrases has this interesting entry:  Vibrams - Climbers' Jargon for Vibrations and Jim-jams, both peculiar to persons in exposed situations.  Hence, “To have the vibrams”.

The question on the fear of falling concerns that morbid subject ever popular with climbers.  Personally, I feel far mope comfortable looking at 200 odd feet of exposure than jumping around, soaked and frozen to the marrow, avoiding the pot-holes in Swildon's.  It’s purely psychological, as someone in the Hunters' was heard to remark to a pink elephant.

A tip from James Kirkus:  When about to ‘peel’, don't clutch at the cliff with your last desperate finger-nail.  Turn round and choose a likely spot, no matter how far below, and JUMP FOR IT!  I have not heard if he ever put this into practice.

Mudlark

There is a Clogwyn in North Wales

The following Epic has been complied and submitted by Ron Newman.

Tune: “There is a Tavern in the Town”.

 

There is a Clogwyn in North Wales,
And all the routes on it went in nails,
Till some slick chap,
With hammer, peg and dap,
Put hard V.S. routes on the map

Chorus:
Fare thee well, for I must leave you,
Do not let the parting grieve you,
And remember that the best of friends must part.
Adieu, adieu old routes, adieu, old routes, adieu,
I can no longer climb on you,
I’ll hang my boots on a weeping willow tree,
And may the world go well with thee.

He bought a hammer, gleaming new,
And for each foot a rubber shoe,
And furthermore,
To complete his store,
Assorted pitons by the score.

With karabiners, slings and pegs,
Dangling round his waist and legs,
He climbed so bold,
On the pitons he’d been sold,
Up slabs where there’d never been a hold.

Until he had to make a move,
In an overhanging groove,
And he pinned his fate,
To a piton long and straight,
But forgot all about his increased weight.

The pegs he carried weighed ten stone,
And he weighed fourteen stone alone,
As he turned about,
With a panic-stricken shout,
Saw his pilot-anchor coming out.

His last, remaining only hope,
Was an ancient hempen half-weight rope,
And he saw too plain,
With anguish, woe and pain,
It would simply not take the strain.

He fell on screes above a llyn –
Momentum carried him straight in,
But though he could swim,
And thrashed with every limb,
(slowly) His ironmongery drowned him.

And so you budding mountaineers,
If you want to live for many years,
Then forget your daps,
And new routes on the maps
And leave the pegs to other chaps

Final Chorus:
Fare thee well, for I must leave you,
Do not let the parting grieve you,
And remember that the best of friends must part.
Hello old routes, hello, hello, old routes, hello,
No longer from your well worn tracks will I go,,
I’ll take  my boots off that weeping willow tree,
And know the world goes well with thee.


Mendip Topics

By ?

Mendip’s characteristic road side verges are now being removed in the Priddy area to widen roads for the passage of bigger and uglier coaches during the summer weegie invasion.  The Hillgrove – Hunters Lodge – Miners Arms – Castle of Comfort and Priddy – Miners Arms roads are all suffering in this respect.  These grass verges date back to the first extensive enclosing of Mendip land as fields in the late eighteenth century.  The roadsides were used for many years by commoners for grassing their sheep, and was also useful for travelling stockmen who could grass their animals on the way to market.

In more recent years the verges have been of great service to caving motor-cyclists who are known to ‘Run out of Road’ on occasions.

However as consolation for the gradual loss of this traditional Mendip feature we have evidence of a traditional craft being revived.  Namely the craft of dry stone walling, new examples of which are to be seen between Farrington and Chewton Mendip and around Priddy.  There are stone wallers now practising at Priddy and Chewton.  The Blagdon Fete walling competition has done a great deal to revive this art.  In eighteen hundred the cost of building a wall was approx. eight and six per twenty feet, now it is considerably more than ten times this.

In mentioning items associated with Mendip’s past should not be forgotten.  From the practical evidence produced by certain researchers in this field there is no need to worry about the decline of this essential; industry.

+ _ + _ + _ + _ + _ + _ +

R.J. Bagshaw, Hon. Sec. & Treas., 56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
T.H. Stanbury, Hon. Editor BB, 48 Novers Park Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4..