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Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir,

May I take up some the B.B. space to reply to the points raised by Kangy about the Well article.

Kangy was right in thinking that we wanted to use S.R.T for its own sake, but he was wrong to assume that ladders were not considered.  Graham and I gave a great deal of thought to how we should tackle this job, and we came down on the side of ropes for the following reasons.

Firstly we were both very unwilling to attempt a 330ft. ladder pitch without some practice before hand. It is a long time since I did a big pitch and Graham has only done big pitches on ropes.

Bearing the above point in mind and the fact that there were only two of us who would do the lifelining? I had already been involved in a well rescue some time ago.  On this occasion I used ladders and the local fire brigade did the lifelining; trying to go down while they pulled up is not funny, likewise coming up while the rope went down does not instil confidence.  I did not fancy this sort of thing at 300ft.  I also knew that it would take two people at the bottom to retrieve the dog.  Therefore two lads on the bottom of the ladder with no experienced people at the top did not appear very safe.  We also thought that the ladder would need a belay half way down so one would have required an Acrow.

The last reason was purely financial, in that we only have 225ft. of ladder in Wycombe and did not fancy a trip to Mendip for the rest.

I would agree with Kangy that the ladder is an adaptable tool and should always be considered as it will be the best thing to use in some cases.

I have been down a number of wells in this area varying from 30 to 330ft.  They have all been dug by hand through the top soil and down into the rock chalk.  The diameters have all been approx. 5-6ft.  The reason for this diameter became clear when I was able to observe a local well being dug deeper because it dried up in last years draught.  The 5-6ft. dia. is just right to give comfortable working room without removing extra spoil.  It would seem that 2-3 ft depth could be gained each day through the rock chalk.  All the wells I have seen have the top section with brickwork or dry stone walls. The depth of this is dependant on the surrounding top soil; as soon as the well is in rock, chalk the walls become self supporting.

I have only one point to make.  Graham only handed in the article, I wrote it!

'Buckett'
High Wycombe, 14 Sept.

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Odds and Sods

The CNCC has negotiated a Personal accident Scheme for mem¬ber clubs of CNCC at £4.50 per head providing there are at least 2,500 people in the scheme.  Benefits include £5,000 for death, loss of limbs or sight and £50 per week for 1 year (excluding first 28 days) temporary total disability. They are hoping to extend the cover for overseas trips for an extra fee of a couple of pounds.  Details from J. J. Clegg; Whernsiide Manor, Dent, Sedburgh, Cumbria.

Films of Alum, White Scar, Pippikin, Prov-Dow and Lancaster- Easgill will be shown on BBC Television in the near future - watch the Radio Times.