Belfry Bulletin

Search Our Site

Article Index



The usual maintenance and repairs to the Belfry and site have once again been accomplished by the few, including the Christmas spruce-up when the majority of the building was scrubbed; painted with fungicidal paint and then emulsioned.  Unfortunately, during the winter months the groups staying at the hut insisted on keeping all the windows shut and consequently all our painting efforts were to no avail and the mould was with us after a period of two months.

Plans have been put before the club for alterations to the central core of the hut (see February B.B.). There has been very little feedback from members except for a few unintelligent arguments after the pub.

With the spasmodic printing of the B.B. it was not really practicable to organise any planned working weekends.  This became apparent during the early part of the year when notification for assistance was published in one case a week before and in another on the same weekend as the working weekend.  If the alterations are to be started and hopefully completed, it will be necessary to have an up to date B.B, of some form or another, even if it has to be printed on a duplicator.


Yet another year passes, the highlight of which would appear to be the members involvement in the discovery of Tynings Barrow Swallet.  This occupied about a dozen members during the winter months.  Subsequently the survey was completed by Dave Irwin.

On the digging scene, Waldegrave Swallet was abandoned and filled, but recently work commenced at Wigmore Swallet.  Several dives have taken place at Wookey Hole involving members, but so far the cave has not been extended. Members have been active in all the major caving areas with about a dozen trips to Yorkshire.  I have heard rumours that a certain infamous duo has visited Giants Hole

As many will already know, Dave Irwin has written an interesting book on Mendip caves, more from the sporting angle than as a purely reference work.  This has involved him and his helpers visiting many of the local caves.  An off shoot of this has been the surveying of the stone mines in the Bath district.  It’s hoped to publish a report on these in the future.

Cuthbert’s has received an increase in the number of tourist trips and a continued rise in interest from prospective leaders.  It is hoped that the high standards of cave preservation so far obtained will be continued by the new leaders.

Some people may feel that a formal caving programme should be published each year.  In the past I have done so but the response has been very poor.  What the caving secretary can do is to provide information on access, accommodation etc.  Should there be sufficient demand for a caving programme, then on could be arranged. Of course, this depends on a regular B.B.  Most of the caving referred to in this report can be attributed to a small percentage of members.  What are the rest of you doing?  With a club of our size, I feel that more members should take an active part.  It would be nice if more activity took place in digging and in the scientific fields.  A club of our standing needs to project a responsible attitude in the light of outside pressures on the caving world.  I hope that next year will prove even better than this.


The considerable difficulties due to the breakdown of the printing machine earlier in the year have already been reported in detail, both at committee meetings and to club members via the B.B. itself, so there seems no need to repeat everything in this report except to note that the effectiveness of the team set up at the last A.G.M. in accordance with my recommendation last year has been inevitably reduced.

However, I do not think that the events of this year should be regarded as being against the idea of a team.  It is true that, through no fault of their own, Andy Alan and Tony have not been able to help as much as they would have liked, but in contrast, Mike Wheadon has been invaluable in taking on much of the preparation of plates, together with some editing while Barrie has provided covers, organised all the stationery and has finally come up with a cheap supply of paper - the last being a very difficult thing to do in these hard times.  In addition, Brenda and Maureen have provided much material for the B.B. while the Wiltons have been doing the B.B. distribution and the Wheadons some of the stapling and collation.  I would therefore like to record special thanks to the Wiltons and the Wheadons.

Those who have been following the current series in the B.B. on the Growth of B.E.C. will not, perhaps, be surprised to learn that an adequate club journal turns out to be one of the most - if THE most - important factor in keeping members of club satisfied. Now that this has been shown to be the case, it becomes doubly important that an adequate B. B. is maintained in the future.  A single keen club member doing everything may be very efficient, but the effect on the club if he or she suddenly falls ill or leaves the area has been very great in the past and must not he allowed to occur again.  Thus the idea of a team becomes the only really sensible solution.

What we should try to achieve next year is absolute regularity.  I am sure that this can be done and that the lessons we have learned this year can show us how to do it.  Firstly, the material which various people have produced, if maintained, will mean that we do not run short of things to print.  Secondly, the work which Mike Wheadon has been doing means that there will always be enough printed plates ready to make up the next B.B.  From then on, we have got to improve matters, and I suggest that I make the B.B. printing date a fortnight before each committee, meeting.  I will then contact out servicing expert and through him, find a firm who will guarantee to do back up printing from our plates at a week's notice.  Thus, if the machine breaks down, we will have time to shunt the plates to this firm and still get them back in time for the B.B. to appear regularly at each monthly committee meeting, where it can be taken away for collation, stapling and distribution.

If this can be achieved, and I see no reason why it should not be, then we shall have a regular B.B. on which the club, and the other club officers, can rely.