The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be checked in the time at his disposal.

Editor:  D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset.


Tim Large (Hon. Secretary) 72 Lower Whitelands, Tyning, Radstock, Avon.  (Tel: Radstock 4211)

Barrie Wilton (Hon. Treasurer) 27 Valley View, Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol. (Tele: Temple Cloud 52072)

Chris Batstone (Hut Warden) 8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath, Avon.

Mike Palmer (B.B. Postal) Laurel Farm, Yarley Hill, Yarley, Wells, Somerset.  (Tele: Wells 74693)

Dates For Your Diary


January 14th                (note change of date) – White Scar Cave, Yorks.  Contact Martin Grass for final details.

March 11th                  BRCA Symposium – Cave photography. UMIST, Manchester.

June 10th or 17th         Symposium on Cave Exploration in Northern Spain at Bristol University.  Details later.

February 15th              West Face of Changbang – Joe Tasker.  Details on last sheet.

Friday Night Trips: - Richard Kenny (Tel, Meare Heath 296) has sent the following details.

January 20th      Manor farm

February 3rd      Eastwater

February 17th    Cheddar

March 3rd          ` Thrupe Lane

March 17th        South Wales

March 31st        Singing River Mine

October – B.E.C. AGM and Annual Dinner– details later.

To ensure that members get their BB's in the early part of the month of  issue would contributors please send their material to the Editor the middle of the preceding month.  Material for future issues is building up nicely thus enabling the editor to produce each issue with a good variety of reading material.  The BB consumes a considerable quantity of material so keep writing – it’s the best advert for the Club we've got!  It has been suggested by one member that we publish the Caving Report material in the BB - what are member’s views on this suggestion?  Let's air it in the BB.



Tim Large

Recovered from the Christmas excesses yet?  I Hope everyone had an enjoyable time in our usual manner.

The Committee cogs are churning away and at the December meeting the position of the Trustees of the Club were discussed.  Although we only have three Trustees now, this does not affect any agreements previously made, but it is desirable that the responsibility is well spread should a problem arise.  We have been advised that 5 is a good number.  (See article later on).

At the Belfry we should have a battery charger operating later this year – at last, many will say! A soak-a-way, for the showers, is to be dug as it appears to be the waste water from these that is overloading the sceptic tank.  ‘Zot’ has been at it again – the alpine bunk in the men’s room has been completed by his fair hand.  All it needs is a door on the front and we have an ideal ‘cooler’ for Saturday night excesses!

The B.E.C. is possibly going into the film business.  Russ Jenkins is investigating the possibilities of hiring a cinema to show good quality climbing films.  Watch this space for more news!

The new Lamb Leer Access Agreement between CSCC and Somerset C.C. was accepted at the recent CSCC meeting. Details of the agreement will be published as soon as the Club receives a copy from CSCC.

The Wessex have seen the light at last - all in one month they have written us a letter - yes, they can actually write and they also have a Wessex Cuthbert's leader,  namely Paul Hadfield - welcome.

The new Cave Rescue Scheme, operated by CSCC is preparing to reopen Flower Pot and Hollowfield Swallet. At present the materials are being organised.  As our club was largely responsible for the opening of Flower Pot, I feel that we should make ourselves available to help with the work, particularly the original diggers.  I an sure that Graham Price (CSCC Conservation and Acess Officer) will be pleased to hear from you with any offers of help or supplies of suitable materials.  He can be contacted at 31 Waterford Park, Radstock, Avon.  Tele. No. Radstock 4251.

I hear through the grapevine that the Peak Cavern trip was a ‘washout’ – slightly damp conditions were met in the show cave section – ever tried walking down steps under water!  It is hoped to arrange this trip again later this year.

For your diary will be the Mayday Bank Holiday, when a trip to Aggy will be arranged.  Names to me if interested.  One of the round trips is suggested.


NEXT MONTH IN THE B.B. - Pippikin (the entrance series) a report on the Iran 77 expedition and an older members comments on the condition of St. Cuthbert's Swallet after an interval of 20 years entitled Cuthbert’s Revisited.  Incidentally BEC member No. 1 spoke to me recently and has expressed a wish to have a look at Cuthbert's in the Spring.   When dates are fixed perhaps some of the other 'golden oldies' might like to join in – details later.



As the Club who has found the two largest systems on Mendip in the last twenty five years, one wonders what 1978 holds for us – Wigmore, Cuthbert’s Three, Tynnings Barrow Swallet Two – who knows?  What ever it is.


Club Trustees

The resignation of 'Alfie' as a trustee of the Club raises several of importance to club members.

  1. The Club 'trustees and their responsibilities are not written into the Club Constitution and so, in theory, are not responsible to the Club Annual General meeting.
  2. Of the remaining three trustees, one is not a member of the Club.  This situation is of course perfectly legal but the members should decide whether it is satisfactory to the Club.
  3. The Trustee Deed cannot be found – there is doubt whether one actually exists, though 'Alfie' believes one does.
  4. Whether the Trustee Deed exists or not, it is the belief of the Club Committee that the Constitution should be revised adding the usual clauses covering Club Trustees (Tim Large has informed the Sub-Committee, currently chaired by Martin Cavender, the Club Solicitor, that they should study the problem and a solution presented to he Club Committee in time for the details to circulated to all members in time for the next A.G.M.)
  5. The resignation of one Trustee does not effect the agreements or the ownership of the property, though the other three Trustees take over the responsibility relinquished by the retiring Trustee.  Tim Large has written to each informing them of the situation.  They are Bob Bagshaw, Les Peters and ‘Pongo’ Wallis, the last being no longer member.

The Club Committee believes that the Constitution should be altered at the next AGM to be brought into line with other similar organisations whereby the mechanism of election of Trustees, resignation, removal, length of term as Trustee, indemnifying of Trustees, refunding of any expenses arising out of the agreements they have signed etc.  The whole clause should be written in accordance with the Trustee Act of 1925. Up ‘till ‘Alfie’s’ resignation there were four trustees (2 being the usual minimum) but Martin Cavender has informed the Committee that 5 is a sensible number.  Bob White, the Clubs insurance broker is also being informed of the situation.


Letter To The Belfry Inmates


Dear Chris and other Belfry inmates!

Ain't this paper posh! A collector’s piece, you know - they only printed 50 sheets or something incredible like that!  (Ed. note. The paper is headed ASOCIACION MEXICANA DE ESPELEOLOGIA  A.C.) As for their motto, well, they do less caving than the ... (mm, who shall we be rude about ... ) Wessex! (the motto is:- to know the world underground).

So summer is ending - I guess the cooler evenings will be driving you to the Hunters at a more decent, earlier hour now!  For us, the rains have stopped and the sun is really good.  I'm talking about the weather - sorry!  You can tell we’ve got more British teachers out here to influe¬nce us!  About ten young people came out for the beginning of the term - socially, life is much better this year - they're a good lot of beer swillers.  Do you know, after a year of rejecting it, I've at last got the palate for Mexican beer, so life is worth living again!

I haven't written for a while because I wanted to tell you about an important ‘find’.  We had the luck to discover four burial pots in one of our Cuetzalan caves and I was trying to avoid mentioning it until it was all in the hands of the museum.  Mexican laws with regards to archaeological finds are really tough.  We were caving with three eager Mexicans from the club when one of them insisted on pushing a squeeze.  Pete and he got through into a metre wide, metre and half high streamway and followed it to the site.  Farther downstream is a boulder choke - there must have been an entrance there once as there's no way anybody would have shoved their dead through that squeeze.

The four bowls are about half a metre wide, unpainted and all intact.  Inside is a black soil which we presume to be cremation remains, as it is so ‘rich’, which covers an incredible collection of jade and onyx pieces. The most impressive are the 30 or so funeral 'masks' which are typically Teotihuacan (100 – 600 A.D.) – the Teotihuacan civilisation lived just north of Mexico City, and built the infamous pyramids.  These masks were worn on (string) around the neck - if you see the life size diagram on the previous page, you can imagine what a weight they must have been to wear, being made of alabaster/onyx etc.

Most of the other pieces were relatively smaller and of Mayan origin (see smaller sketch) - many of them are made in beautiful green jade.  Hundreds of beads also filled up the pots.

So, it was all pretty exciting!  We decided to keep in with the law, so arranged with Puebla Museum to take it over.  However, they didn’t make it at the time arranged, so it’s still all the cave! One interesting idea about the find is that Cuetzalan must have been on a trade route between Teotihuacan and the Mayas of Yucatan when this bloke snuffed it!  Although there are some pyramids about 30km. from the cave, they’re of a different age – other than that, we don’t know of any other remains around – maybe we’ll have to look a bit closer!

So, what else.  Pete spent 36 hours in jail recently!  A woman smashed into him when he was driving at 15kph! The policeman on the scene watched the women creating in Latin style at Pete, who wound the window and ignored her. Pete unfortunately had no bribe for the policeman, who ushered Pete off to the police station - now 9.00pm. at night. When he wasn’t back at school time next am, I started to wonder where landed himself.  The school lawyer tracked him down, and had bailed him out by evening.  Though not Pete’s fault, he ended up paying this woman just to shut her up!

Looking forward to hearing from you

Love, Sue


Teotihuacan funeral mask (100 – 600 A.D.)

Jade Mayan Figure


What To Do With Your 'OLD'hams

For those of you with a collection of rotting Oldham caving lamps in your shed, perhaps you might find my experiences with Nickel/cadmium cells helpful if not amusing.

Once upon a time there were several caving lamps quietly rotting away in the garden shed.  There was probably not enough life in the whole lot of them to last long enough to go down to Swildons Sump I and back.  Then one day came along a good fairy called ‘Ni-Cad’ who was able to grant them one wish which was to provided light again for some lunatic caver.

Now, let’s get to the point of this article.  Ni-Cad cells have been around in the caving world for quite a while now and those who have used them all have different stories to tell.  As might be expected from a cell with similar make-up to the old faithful NiFe cell these will certainly give as many years service, unlike an Oldham, as long as one or two simple rules are adhered to.

I will deal first with the question of storage, as far as I am aware the cells can be stored either charged or discharged.  However if stored in a charged state at either a high or low temperature a fairly dramatic loss of charge will occur which will have some relationship with the extreme the temperature is.  I keep my cells indoors at normal room temperature which seems to be about right. This loss of charge is of course reversible, but it is important that you should not overcharge this type of cell. When fully charged the cells will make a whistling sound through the vent holes on the filler cap between the two terminals.  Overcharging will permanently reduce the life of the cell.

One minor problem occurs in use.  The cells are used in pairs and no two cells have an equal charge capacity, so that one wilfully discharge before the other.  As the cells are connected in series this will cause a reverse voltage from the cell with some charge left in it through the other discharged cell. This has the same effect as overcharging in reducing the life of the cell so that it is wise when your light starts to dim to turn it off and leave it off.

Having weighed up the pro’s and con’s of converting your dead Oldhams or even that decrepit old Patterson you had forgotten you will probably come to the same conclusion that I did which was that it would certainly save you some money and be worth the small effort involved.  To remove the old cells from their casing simply place the case in boiling water for about 20 minutes and then start pulling the terminal with a pair of pliers.  Do not use a good saucepan for the boiling as it will stain with some of the black colouring from the casing and obviously remove the cell from the water before trying to remove the cells.  The guts of the cell are kept in place by a half inch layer of pitch which makes the initial tug a bit difficult but once past this thin layer the cell comes out without any difficulty.  The liquid left in the casing is acidic and should be treated with care, do not use the water used for boiling the cell to dilute the acid.

Now that you have the empty case all you need to do now is to make a small slit in the central partition to accommodate the connecting wire between the two cells.

Should you decide to use the smaller 10 amp hour cells the casing is about twice the depth you need to accommodate the cells comfortably.  The 20 amp hour cell fits almost perfectly into the case.  The headset of the old cell may still be used as the only change required is the voltage of the bulbs.  The dip bulb is a 2.5 volt flashlight bulb available from most hardware shops, but the main bulb will have to be obtained from the usual stockists of caving equipment.  Some sort of insulation should be placed over the top of the cells because they will move about slightly and if brought into contact with the metal cover will short out and produce a foul smell from inside the case.  A small strip of neoprene is quite handy for this purpose.

The 10-hour cells can be used in fours to give 20 amp hours but the casing has to be altered a bit further. I decided against this and decided to cut the middle section out of the case (see diagram).  This leaves you with the top section so that the headset can still be attached and the bottom section to be used as a base.  Araldite is the most successful glue with which to stick the two pieces back together again.

Paul Christie


Cuthbert’s The Castrated Cavern:

The next item in this issue is a letter from Jim Durston which is bound to cause more than a little disturbance on the apparently smooth waters of the Cuthbert's Leaders:

In most respects the B.E.C. may be proud of the way in which they have acted as guardians for the plum find of St. Cuthbert's Swallet.  The cave has been quite well preserved, while at the same time the leader system allows access for responsible and experienced cavers.  One matter however should be a source of shame to the Club and to the leaders who actually administer the physical control of the cave. I refer to the disgraceful amount of quite unnecessary fixed tackle that litters the cave.

Why must we suffer these rusting iron monstrosities that demean the cave by reducing its natural appeal? Is rigid tackle really indispensable on Ledge Pitches and Mud Hall, or are we breeding a race of cavers (or leaders?) who are too bone idle to carry a few electron ladders?

I will admit that fixed ladders speed the progress of the inept and inexperienced to the more vulnerable parts of the system, and allow him to reach parts which flatter his true ability.  This has the effect of increasing the rate of deterioration of the cave.  Per¬haps I consider this aspect to be of more importance than it is, but I seriously doubt whether a 'caver' for whom a 25ft. ladder pitch is too much, should be allowed into the cave at all.  At least normal tackle will help to reveal inadequacies towards the beginning of a trip.

'Normal' caving tackle allows the average caver the satisfaction 'of completing a 'normal' caving trip, without the feeling that he has been given a tourist trip around some artificially improved second rate show cave.

I have heard the argument that flexible tackle makes for a tired caver, which makes for more damage. I cannot accept this.  With fixed tackle the onset of tiredness may be delayed until such time as he is say stumbling around Victory Passage.  With flexible ladders he should realise that he is in a cave a little sooner.  He should also appreciate its sporting merits in addition to its decorative appeal.

These fixed 'aids' were originally placed to assist the preliminary explorations of the new find, explorations which seem to have taken almost twenty five years.  Their usefulness (and in some cases usability) must now be at an end. The cave must no longer be equipped to take tourist overspill from Wookey Hole and Cheddar.  We must clear out this junk now~ and again make St. Cuthbert's a cave to be proud of.

If you feel as I do, act now!  Bend the ear of your nearest lead¬er and tell him.  Yes, even your Editor.

Jim Durston

Ed. note:           There you have it – straight between the eyes.  Get your pens going for the next issue of the BB with your comments and reasoned arguments!



Please send your subscription to Tim Large, 72 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon.


A Visit to South Pembrokeshire

by  Ted Humphreys

Building sandcastles can become boring if done to excess.  So, since we just happened to be within ten miles of the sea cave described by Graham Wilton-Jones in the B.B. (No.343) we decided to investigate.  We chose a day when low tide was at 3pm and got to St. Govan's Chapel (NGR. SR 967929) shortly after mid-day.  It was, of course, raining and blowing a gale which made changing at the top of the one hundred foot cliff somewhat masochistic. Once we had our wet suits on, however, we felt better dressed for the weather than the inevitable tourists, who seemed fascinated by our attire (we even had our pictures taken!).

On reaching the base of the cliffs we headed west, under a rock arch, towards G.W-J's cave but found that the tide was not yet low enough.  After a conference, we decided to explore to the east of the chapel whilst waiting for low tide.  Passing the chapel and going under another rock arch we found ourselves in a small cove containing one large and one small entrance.  The large entrance was at the head of the cove and was about ten feet high by twenty feet wide.  When we entered it we were disappointed to find that the roof gradually des¬cended and the pebble floor gradually rose until they met after some fifty feet. Switching on our lights and inspecting the cave more carefully we found two small side passages on the west side. These both came to an end after about fifteen feet of flat out crawling and were interesting only in that there was some stalagmite (partly dissolved) at their far ends.  Natural cave!  Something must go!  We thought, and proceeded to the smaller cave entrance a few yards to the west.

At first sight this seemed to consist of two small chambers hollowed out by the sea but pointing a light upwards in the second chamber showed a natural chimney.  Climbing up this for about ten feet revealed a horizontal passage going westwards as far as a fault plane (about a further ten feet away) and then apparently continuing along the fault.  This horizontal passage was only about seven inches high and about two feet wide.  Its floor seemed to be of powdered limestone (grey earth?) and would be easily removable to permit access.  We decided not to proceed because of a small stalagmite column halfway along and because the west side of the chimney was formed of stones only loosely bound by some very fragile looking stal ( we got scared off!)  Returning down the chimney to shouts of 'Mind where you are dropping those stones' (gist only) we headed east to the next cove but found no more caves and so returned westward again to G. W-J’s cave.  This time the way was clear and we were able to get into the cave.  The entrance chamber was all sea worn with one or two short side passages and an interesting looking hole about twenty feet up the roof.  Going through the squeeze into the second chamber we found it was again sea worn with one side passage containing some stale flows.  About six feet up in the inner wall was a hole leading to a third chamber which was natural cave (that is, not worn by sea water).  This hole was, however, too tight though some gardening might pay dividends.

Returning outside we continued westwards to a final cave along another fault plane. This looked promising but just fizzled out after about sixty feet.  It contained some nice formations (little ones) that could be seen by poking ones head through a hole in the roof which was an old false floor by the look of it.  Having washed out wetsuits in the spray - the ten foot waves were breaking against a rock shelf and throwing spray up to thirty feet in the air - we returned to the top of the cliffs.

We had noticed that the cliff path through the army range was open and decided to have a look at the caves marked on the O.S. map about a mile to the west (NGR. SR953936).  We thought that, since it was pouring with rain and blowing a gale, no-one would notice wet-suited figures leaving the footpath. When we got there we found some magnificent scenery, huge rock arches, lots of cave entrances and depressions in the ground leading away from the cliffs.  Unfortunately, the cliffs were vertical and up to one hundred and fifty feet high and there was no way down (obviously a job with ladders and ropes). While we were looking for a way down the army arrived (they seemed to think we were invading frogman who had levitated up the cliffs!) and said that climbing their cliffs was not allowed. We thus made a tactical withdrawal thinking that if were again in South Pembrokeshire on a calmer day with a rubber dingy, we would know exactly where to go!




An Oxford Fester

By Paul Christie

The weekend of November 12/13th was finally chosen as the one on which a select group of B.E.C. members would visit a couple of areas not too famous for their miles of underground passage.  We met at Botley, near Oxford, in a small room provided by Richard Round.  Andy Sparrow and friend were first to arrive, followed by Paul Christie and Martin Grass with their respective wives.  Later on we were joined by Graham Wilton-Jones, Jane Wilson, John Dukes and the Tilbury family.  Mike and Pat Palmer should have joined us here, but they were slightly delayed, so in true alcoholic fashion we pinned a note to the door saying which pub we would be in.

At the pub we split up the keen ones going off to see the 'caves', while the rest waited in the pub for the Palmers.  Pau1, recently released from plaster, decided that his newly mended right arm would get more exercise lifting pints of beer.  The Palmers complete with dog and Keith Newbury arrived mumbling apologies and wittering complaints about the lack of tackle in the Belfry Tackle Store earlier in the day. Having sampled the not very good local ale the gang made its way to the 'caves'.

After a couple of hours of digging and dam building on the surface we all piled into Oxford to Jane's house for some refreshment and respective and then went our respective ways.

Mike, Paul and Martin, plus wives, returned to Paul's flat in Ascot with Graham and Keith.  The intercom from the front door to the flat gave several people the chance to act out their secret desire to make obscene ‘phone calls’  We all soon settled down with numerous cups of tea (!) except Graham who is a 'non-(tea)-person', to discuss the days events and why the milk in comes in plastic bags.  Yes, you’ve guessed it - there are plastic cows in Berkshire.

Dinner was served and washed down with quantities of wine and after the customary Saturday night visit to the pub, where they seemed to have mixed up the ordinary and special bitters, we returned to the flat.  Cheese and biscuits was served accompanied by more alcohol in the form of Harry Wall bangers. Martin, by this time, was finding the pace too much and retired to bed while Graham, revitalised by more alcoholic beverage offered to show the two Pats all the different positions (didn’t know Graham had taken up horse riding - Ed.).  Needless to say everybody slept well after all the drinking and eating.

In the morning, Graham acted as Belfry Boy by bringing the tea round and after breakfast and more games with the intercom; we set off to look at some Hearthstone Mines near Reigate.  Paul's route from Ascot to Reigate was rather peculiar and meant that we didn’t arrive at the mines until 12.30pm and for a change, decided not to visit the pub!

We parked in a lay-by on a dual carriageway and began changing.  Encouraged by the others, Martin frightened all the passers-by with his streaking.  We made our way to the mine entrance, which proved to be in true Mendip style, 55ft of concrete tube.  Descending the tube in a variety of ways using ropes, a mixture of ordinary and lightweight ladders, we had hoped to experiment with the new technique for descending pitches known as M.D.T. but we were lacking certain items of equipment. The dog was carried down in a rucksack on Keith’s back and for the next four hours spending its time running around the passages keeping the party together.  The mine is a maze of passages 5’ 8” high, of varying width once used for mushroom growing in the 2nd World War worked by about 200 Portuguese labourers. In places the floor is still covered with peat and mushroom fungus.  Pit props abound but these are so rotten that they serve no useful purpose.  It seems that everyone enjoyed the trip including Pat Palmer on her first caving trip in 12 years and, so it seemed, did ‘BEC’, the dog. Everyone changed, we returned to Paul's Flat by Graham’s route, which was no better than the way we had come. Anyway a good fester was had by all!


Wigmore Swallet Success to Bolde Myners   

Following the initial report (B.B. No.356) the Company are pleased announce the success of their project. To continue the Tale from where we left off in September …..

At around 35ft. the initially loose ends of the rift begun to stabilise into a relatively solid vein of assorted iron ores and calcite.  Various odd bits of steel ladder were begged, borrowed or stolen and welded together into one 30ft. length - creating some problems when transported to the site on the roof of Mr N's car (lucky there were no coppers about!) and installed in the shaft.

Banging continued, courtesy of Alan Thomas, and in early November, a rift was opened at the western side of the shaft.  Though only 6" wide it appeared to be reasonably deep and draughting strongly with varying weather conditions.  The vein material at the side of the rift was chemically removed to make it accessible.

On the 9th November, the dry clad diggers were to have mixed feelings when it was found that a small stream had begun to pour down the entrance shaft and disappear into the rift. Dubious surface work by persons unknown enlarged this trickle to a much more impressive size - much to the disgust of Steve, Pru and Jerry who were instantly 'drowned-ratted'!  Co-incidentally, McAnus had joined the team.

Spurred on by the instant swallowing of the stream and its distant rumbling, the rift was dug for some 10ft., with Tom Temple and George Dixon(?) representing the R.N. contingent. During this time, much of the unstable back wall was faced with stone and cement 'ginging' as permanent shoring with an aesthetic touch.  The late November/early Dec¬ember period saw a lull in excavations - partly due to the need for manpower on the Tyning' s Reopening Dig (YOU ARE ALL WELCOME TO ASSIST) and it was not until 11th December that further serious work commenced. Bob X and Stuart Lindsey spent a day at the site, and the latter opened a small hole in the rift into which he poked his head - promptly receiving a nice piece of roof on the back of his neck. He hesitated!

The following day he returned, accompanied by Jane Kirby (MCG) and J. Rat.  An hours clearing of boulders revealed a view into a sizable chamber.  Stuart studied the roof, walls, floor and his beer-gut and hesitated again pausing only to poke in J. Rat with a forked vermin stick, in order to clear the loose stuff from the far side.  A low crawl over sandy stream debris and underneath extremely loose vein material was passed into a roomy chamber.  The roof of the crawl was gently tickled with a crowbar producing fine sound effects when some ½ ton of it fell in.  After clearing this, the others came through and exploration continued.  The chamber proved to be some 15ft. long by 4 - 8ft high and -12ft. at its widest.  It is formed in a junction of the vein with various cross rifts and has a most unhealthy appearance of loose cherty blocks liberally stained with red ochre.  There are several small, choked inlets.  A small hole in the floor was gardened and Stu. descended a relatively solid rift some 12ft deep to a blockage of large boulders. Photographs were duly taken and the diggers exited for a celebratory pint.  Snab and Anita joined them the folloing morning for a quiet trip and ‘ginging’ session and in the evening Backbone, Clare, Ross and Andy Sparrow arrived on a “Wednesday Night Sortie”.  More cementing was undertaken while the Bath contingent played with the boulders at the bottom of the 12ft. rift.  Feverish cries from the depths soon revealed the success of their effort and all work stopped as Andy led the way through a nasty, loose eyehole into a 10ft water worn pot leading to a 15ft tight crawl.  Still no limestone!

Length: c. 100ft; depth: c.65ft.    

Tony Jarrett (J. Rat)


Paul Esser Memorial Lecture 1978

THE WEST FACE OF CHANGABANG - Lecture given by Joe Tasker

The lecture will be given in the Arthur Tyndall Memorial Theatre in the Physics Dept., ' Tyndall Avenue (opposite the Senate House) at 8.15 p.m. on Wednesday 15th February 1987.  Admission will be free.

Oliver Lloyd


A few more details are now available about the BCRA Symposium - anyone interested contact Jerry Wooldridge, 9 Chelsea Court, Abdon Ave., Selly Oak, Birmingham.


A new guide book appeared on the caving market early in 1976 entitled "GUIDE TO THE SPORTING CAVES, POTHOLES AND MINES OF DERBYSHIRE" by Jim Ballard. Price £1.00.  This book is available from many sports shops.  Purchasers should be warned that there are serious reservations placed on this book by Derbyshire cavers.  It is notable for its inaccuracies.

The following descriptions are so inaccurate that they are mentioned here: -


The description is not that of Sheepwash Cave.


This, cave is regarded as the most severe in the, and is underestimated in the description.  The cave is tight, a number of exposed traverses and is liable to sudden flooding blocking sections of the entrance series.


6th pitch is 40m deep NOT 28m and lands in Pearl Chamber not West Chamber of Oxlow.


This mine is regarded as one of the foulest places in the High Peak and should not have been included.  The description describes a place as a sporting mud slide is in fact a 40ft. pitch.  Quite a slide.

The book is cheap - so is the information - so be warned.


English Cave Depth .Record broken.  East Canal Sump in Giants Hole, Derbyshire has been dived and a vast rift followed downwards to a depth of 100ft.  This makes the depth of the Oxlow/Giants system as being 675ft - the deepest in England.  OFD still holds the British Depth record at over 1,000ft.  G.G. depth is now 640ft.


AGEN ALLWEDD – A bypass has been dug around the first sump at the far end of Turkey streamway.  Diggers are hopeful that there can be a bypass to Sump 2.

BANWELL BONE & STALAGMITE CAVES: New address for permission and keys.  Write to John Chapman, Mendip house, Barrows Road, Cheddar, Somerset.  SIX WEEKS NOTICE PLEASE AND SAE.  No trips on Sundays.


TYNINGS BARROW SWALLET: Bish, Snab and many Belfryites gathered at the entrance and began sinking a second shaft hopefully to break into Dragon Chamber some 60ft. below. This is the first time that a Mendip cave survey has really been put to the test!  Wig’s got a sinking feeling!