QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Lifeline

By Tim Large

Summer has arrived, albeit a bit late and wet.  The only complaint beside the weather heard around the Belfry has been that there is too much going on and everybody cannot attend everything as dates clash!

Over the May Day Holiday there were club trips to S. Wales, visiting Rock and Fountain, Otter Hole and Aggy.  Also, the newly formed M.A.P.S. group (Mendip Association of Portly Speleologists) ventured north to Yorkshire visiting Tatham Wife Hole.

On the Committee scene business is booming and the problems eventually being overcome following the advert for our new treasurer, two nominations were received from Sue Tucker and Claire Williams.  The outcome was that Sue is elected to carry on from Barrie at the end of July until the AGM.  Many thanks Claire for your interest - nice to see the girls taking more active interest in Club affairs.

The other advert was for a new Hut Engineer - nominations being received from Bob Cross and " Zot' - Bob being co-opted to the Committee.

The membership list has now officially closed so if you are reading this BB, you must .have paid your sub - if you have not - then you know what to do (£3.00, full member; £4.25, joint members - cheques payable to the B.E.C.)  The number at the close of play was 167 members.  This is about 30 short of the list as at January 1978.

Alan Kennett has kindly donated a small number of caving helmets which will be kept at the Belfry for use particularly by newcomers, novices etc. as there is always a shortage in these cases.  Our thanks too, to Alan Thomas and Martin Grass for donations to the Club Library, including the useful CRG publication of Aggy.  Our thanks to all.

The Committee has agreed that we purchase a quantity of caving boots.  They should arrive in a few weeks, so enquire at the Belfry or via me, price about £8.75/pair.

The Annual Dinner has now been booked at the Caveman, Cheddar costing £3.50 and including Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pud., wine and a free pint or glass of sherry before the meal.

CHANGE OF ADDRESSES:

795       Pete Leigh, 5 Armoured Workshops, BFPO 106
Graham Wilton-Jones, 24 Redland Way, Aylesbury, Bucks.

NEW MEMBERS:

933       Dianne Beeching, 8 Seymore Close, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2JD
934       Colin Williams, Whitestones Farm, Cheddar Cross Roads, Compton BS18 6LD.
935       Lynne Williams, address as above.

DON'T FORGET THE, MIDSUMMER BUFFET – Still tickets available - £2 a head.  8p.m. at Hunters Lodge Inn on Saturday 17th June 1973.  Also a working weekend at the Belfry June 17th-18th - free accommodation for members helping.

The club has been invited to a buffet/skittles evening by Yeovil Caving Club on Saturday 1st July at Glover Arms, Reckleford, Yeovil.  Anyone interested in going please let me know as soon as possible so tha I can book numbers.

REMEMBER: My new address is c/o Trading Standards Dept, 31 South St., Wells, Somerset.

Cheers, Tim Large.


 

Beneath Llangattwg

by Graham Wilton-Jones

The 1976 extension to Ogof Craig y Ffynnon (Rock and Fountain Cave) raises some interesting questions concerning past and present drainage under Mynydd Llangattwg.  A recent visit to Ogof Craig y Ffynnon prompted me to have another look at Ogof y Darren Cilau, which lies further along the north-eastern outcrop of limestone towards Agen Allwedd.  Perhaps some notes on Ogof Craig y Ffynnon and Ogof y Darren Cilau would be useful.

To begin with I shall refer to Wig's article in B.B. No. 356, December 1977, to comment on Ogof Craig y Ffynnon.   The small rising (IP 2) is not the main rising for the cave, which is actually Ogof Capel (see also IP 8).  This is situated at the bottom of the Clydach Gorge, 500 yards west-south-west of Ogof Craig y Ffynnon entrance.  On my visit to Ogof Craig y Ffynnon the cave was wet.  Between the boulder chokes were deep pools concealing flooded lower passages which can be entered in summer.  These carry Ogof Capel water.  The entrance to Ogof Craig Ffynnon is a rubble rift, the sides of which show superb scalloping, and must once have been part of an impressive streamway approaching a resurgence in the Clydaoh area, or does this section of cave pre-date the valley (see below - Clydach rejuvenation)?  The limestone continues below the coalfield south of the Clydach and I believe that some caves there actually head under the coal.  Ignoring the scarp outcrop to the east, the next place the limestone is seen is in the coast districts, close to sea level.

The lower stream series (IP 4) is not that difficult, and is reminiscent of the more complex parts of O.F.D. One of the streams we pushed (at least, J.D., the wellie-booted worm did) to a choke.  This was under a dripping aven in the other passages of this series.  The sources of the streams down here have not otherwise been traced, but I would venture to suggest that the Ogof y Darren Cilau stream deserves further attention in this respect.  Dye tests have been made, but it should be borne in mind that negative results are not indicative of no connection hydrologically.

The end of Ogof Craig y Ffynnon (IP7) lies after two miles of fairly straight passage (with obstructions) equidistant from Agen Allwedd terminal sump (I or IV, I don't know) Eglwys Faen and the end of Ogof y Darren Cilau.  It is in the same beds as Agen Allwedd, i.e. the Oolitic, having risen up through the Dolomitic (IP 7 and 8) and is similar in character to Agen Allwedd, especially Main Passage, St. Paul's, etc.

I will return to the subject of Ogof Craig y Ffynnon.later.  What of Ogof y Darren Cilau?  For those who do not know this cave, and no doubt, you are many (sensible people) a brief description may be useful (then you won't have to go yourselves).

At the base of the cliff, behind the old limekilns above Whitewalls, is a low, wet entrance, one of eight at the base of the outcrop between here and the valley be the old sheep dip.  It is a taste of things to come.  The lowness and wetness, and narrowness continue for a thousand feet.  One thousand feet of very technical, grovelling, with only a few short stretches of walking.  Finally this small streamway breaks into larger passage, and the stream disappears under the edge of this.  The larger passage leads to a fault guided rift with stal, some old and massive, at this end, and a grey, shaly conglomerate breakdown at the other end, several hundred feet away.  This breakdown is also the end of a huge phreatic passage: remarkably similar to Agen Allwedd Main Passage, but almost immediately filled to the roof with mud. However, a further passage leads from here, zig-zag rift which goes to the final chamber.  This chamber is several hundred feet long and tens of feet wide, formed entirely of collapse (into what would be interesting to know) and floored with boulders and glutinous mud.  There is one similar, but smaller chamber off to one side.

Several interesting thoughts come to mind:

What are the relative altitudes of the caves mentioned?  Unfortunately ‘Caves of Wales and the Marches’ does not give these.  However, following the Tram Road on the 2½ map is helpful.  Near Brynmawr it is at 1175' OD.  At Eglwys Faen it has dropped, and varies between 1100' and 1125' OD. At Agen Allwedd the track is lost, but Aggie entrance seems to be 1275' OD.  (Is there really a 150' climb from Eglwys Faen to reach it?)  Perhaps this is more accurately indicated on the new survey. Eglwys Faen must be 1125' - 1150' OD. Ogof y Darren Cilau, way above the Tram Road, must lie at 1300' OD or more.  Ogof Craig y Ffynnon, 200' below the Tram Road, must be at about 975' OD, while Ogof Capel and Elm Cave, the Agen Allwedd resurgence, must be round about 750' OD.  Someone must be able to find more accurate figures for these.

Several passages run in from the escarpment - Ogof Pen Eryr, Ogof y Darren Cilau stream, Aggie entrance passage - on the strike apparently, or is the dip at the edge of the hill west instead of south?

What is the relationship between the large passages so far known? Are they parts of the same cave, did they undergo similar conditions of formation, or is it simply that they are formed in the same rock?  Ogof y Darren Cilau seems to be too high up in the beds to have any relationship with the other caves, but is it?  The entrance altitude suggests it is.  So does its breakthrough into shale.  However, in the entrance series of Ogof y Darren Cilau and in the long (crawl in Ogof Craig y Ffynnon there is a band of green limestone.  Are these the same beds?

The final chamber in Ogof y Darren Cilau is totally dissimilar to the big chambers in the other caves, though perhaps it is a large phreatic passage.  Why does it have such wet mud in it?  Is it because there is no draught to dry it out - we noticed no draught here or because it has an occasional humid draught?

Why should Ogof Craig y Ffynnon be thought not to be a fossil part of Aggie? (IF 8).  I would have thought that that is just what it is. It rises eventually from its entrance (250' above the Clydach) into the Aggie beds.  Why should it not, perhaps, be a continuation of Aggie Main Passage? It has not yet reached near there according to the surveys available.  Pete Bull has done a great deal of sedimentological work in Agen Alwedd and this, more than anything else, seems to be helping to date the passages of Aggie, and to demonstrate the relationship between them.  Similar work in Ogof Craig y Ffynnon to show a comparison would be invaluable here.

Was the Clydach Gorge a product of rejuvenation following glacial deepening of the Usk valley? Cave streams seem now to be the major erosional influence in the gorge.  Could a fossil extension of the present Aggie streamway exist somewhere above the base of the Clydach, possibly on a level similar to that of Ogof Craig y Ffynnon, but maybe to the west of this?

What happens beyond Aggie terminal sump IV?  It would seem that there must be pitches, or at least ways down like those in Ogof Craig y Ffynnon which take Ogof Capel water, except that these for Agen Allwedd would still be taking all the water.  Only a small stream actually goes down those in Ogof Craig y Ffynnon.

How much do the Llangattwg system pre-date the present topography?  Projecting the northern end of Summertime takes it straight out of the hill.

The questions and postulations are endless.  Several of the former can be answered easily by a geologist or someone with more access to relevant information that I have.  The reward for the studious could another Key to Llangattwg - or have written (as we say in my Norfolk homeland) a lood o’ ol’ squit!

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All members are reminded that it their responsibility to ensure that the Belfry is always kept locked - remember there have robberies in the past.  Will all members make a special point to ensure that the Library is kept locked at all times, certain items in the collection are quire rare and extremely useful for reference purposes.  Library keys are obtainable from any Committee Member.

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Time is going on again – The AGM 1977 AGM Minutes will be included with the B.B.


 

Changabang

by Oliver Lloyd

Joe Tasker the mountaineer held, an audience of four hundred in the palm of his hand for two and a quarter hours.  He was delivering the Seventh Paul Esser Memorial Lecture in the University of Bristol on Wednesday 15th February 1978.  He was giving us a step by step account of his ascent of the West Face of Changabang in the company of Peter Boardman, illustrated by over two hundred excellent pictures.

The mountain is well over 23,000 feet in height and was clearly to be the most difficult climb, either of them had undertaken.  Neither would admit to the other that he had any doubts about the possibility of success, but it was not until after 25 days, when they got to the "half-way" snow field at 20,000 ft.; that they knew it was possible.  I think most of us would have given up before that.  At that height climbing is exceedingly arduous. It was only possible to go up five to ten feet at a time before stopping to get one’s breath.  They were averaging four hundred feet a day.  The whole climb lasted 40 days and not unnaturally they ran out of conversation.

Their technique was to establish a base camp at 16,000 ft., to which they would return from time to time for more gear.  Their return from camp to camp was facilitated by leaving a fixed rope and abseiling down.  They had two other camp sites on the way up, each being made by cutting a narrow platform in the snow.  The outside place was not an enviable one, but they belayed themselves to pegs, in case of rolling over.  Repeated journeys to and from these camp sites was necessary to get all the necessary gear up.  Leading was, a very tiring and responsible business, so they took it in turns. Finally after spending a day at Camp 2 they made a dash for the summit with light leads.

The descent was not without incident.  There was the piton that got bent to an uncomfortable angle; while Joe was abseiling down a rope belayed to it.  Pete was not sure whether to remain belayed to it or not.  Each of them had an occasion when he lost the rope on the way down. For Peter it left him in a very difficult position, attached to it upside down by one foot in a sling.  You have to be quite good at single rope work to be able to rectify a position such as this.

After they had got down they were called upon to assist in sorting out four fatalities, which had just occurred in the next valley.  It was necessary to establish the identity of the victims and to bury the bodies.


 

Don’t eat yellow snow

(Zot - the man who doesn't need to stop at Motorway Service Areas!)compiled by Graham W-J

‘In the beginning there were sent forth into the north western wastes of Lakeland a motley crew, who did purpose to challenge the hills.  And it came to pass that the radio and television and newspapers did broadcast news of doom and despair and snow and ice and wind, and it was good.  But they did speak with false tongues, for the snowline was high above the valley floors.  The B.E.C. did finally arrive, and the hills and the vales were devoid of those who ascend or wander therein, except for the few and foolhardy.’

We reached Chapel Stile, in Langdale, at various times on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and took over five of the Lingmoor View cottages, which are summer holiday homes in an old terrace.

Thursday saw us en route for Patterdale, via devious routes designed by Alis and M.A.P.  (they were lost).  Everyone of us set off on the path climbing Grisedale Brow, with X Bob and Zot making a cracking pace towards Helvellyn.  'Whereupon some fell on rising ground', and these persons, who shall remain nameless, went to the pub.  The snow lay in patches quite low down, but was continuous above 1500 feet; and much of it had a hard, icy coating.  We met with very little snow on top of ice, as had been reported.  Four of us put on crampons which made life a little easier.

 “I wish I had a pair of crampons” said M.A.P., not for the first or last time.  At the Brow Bob had stopped to chat with three other walkers, so we managed to catch up. Sue and Miss Piggy, coming upon ice ground did return, taking with them the faithful hound, Bec.  In spite of advice, John and I decided to have a look at Striding Edge and the 15 foot high cornice leading onto the summit of Helvellyn, and a group of us moved up to the crags.  While everyone else, including M.A.P. (“I wish I had a pair of crampons") descended and crossed the frozen Red Tarn towards Catstye Cam, John and I traversed Striding Edge.  Compared with Crib Goch last winter, it was a cinch and we didn't even rope up.  The final slope was straight forward, and the cornice seemed solid enough.  We watched a couple of walkers managing with one pair of crampons.  Apparently one of them fell on the steep slope ahead of us, but seemed OK when we reached him.  The top of Helvellyn was icy cold and windy.  The previous weekend's footprints stood out above the surrounding snow, whose soft crystals had been blown away, a peculiar sight.  Visibility was fair under the low, scudding clouds, but the ominous looking darker patches in the distance came to nothing.  We moved quickly off the top, down Swirral Edge and up to Catstye Cam, where we met up with "I wish I had a pair….." again.  From there we glissaded down to Red Tarn Beck.

Later on we were discussing with the crampon wisher how to use an ice axe in a fall I demonstrated but he replied, “I don't think I’d have the presence of mind to use the axe properly,” I assured him he would, whereupon he fell on the steep slope and lost his presence of mind!

That evening we visited the…………..at Outgate, where they sell Hartley's Best Bitter (beer and water) and straight bitter (less beer and more water).  It did affect Zot enough to cause him to remark, “Oi ‘aven’t 'ad me 'ole for four years”.  We were all suitably sympathetic.

Guess where M.A.P. went on Friday morning.  You’ve got it.  He is now the proud owner of a pair of Simond crampons.  Strange he couldn’t remember the episode in the Pyrenees with Simond pitons, which split, snapped and bent.  Maybe he will when the point of his crampons begin to break off.

Meanwhile X Bob, Sue, John and I had set off up the stream that flows off Wetherlam.  There were some magnificent frozen waterfalls in the Gorge, with enormous icicles.  It soon became impossible to continue along the frozen stream, but there is an obvious path following an old miner’s track to the north of the gorge.  Most of the walking was on grass, with only patches of snow and ice, but as we climbed up Birk Fell the snow became continuous.  We put on ice gear and traversed very hard, icy snow to the summit of Wetherlam.  A strong, cold wind tried to whip us from the top while we hung around to admire the view, and to consider the irresponsibility of a walker without ice axe or crampons up there.  He said that he was unaware of conditions, in spite of so much publicity about recent accidents.

Bob and Sue decided to cut short their walk because of the ice, and descended directly from Wetherlam.  John and I carried on round to Coniston Old Man.  From Swirl How to the Old Man the ice surface was an unbroken convex sheet sweeping right down to Seathwaite Tarn, but the going was very easy in crampons, Michael.

At this time the said M.A.P. & Co. were in the pub in Coniston thinking of using the new gear to go up the Old Man.  They eventually set out and rushed up Church Beck and did a gully to the summit.  They arrived there just after John and I left. I understand they did not use a rope for the ascent.  "You only need a rope if you're going to fall". (M.A.P. - again).  We descended via Low Water to the Youth Hostel in Church Beck, where Bob met us with the car.

In the evening Fred, Thros, Mick, Griff and John of the Valley Caving Club arrived while we were in the Old Dungeon Ghyll.  Johp Manchip and family turned up from Edinburgh - they'd had trouble getting out of the snow there, but were surprised to find so little snow in the Lakes.  I gather from one of the locals that the Lakeland valleys are always passable in winter-time, which is worth knowing, though the M6 is frequently impassable.

Early on the Saturday morning, very early, seven of us were off along Mickleden with the intention of reaching Scafell Pikes.  We climbed into the snow, and occasions, patches of ice, and soon stopped to don crampons.  Rossett Gill gradually closes to a gully, steepens, and then suddenly levels into a wide col between Rossett Pike and Bow Fell.  Spindrift was being blown across the frozen Angle Tarn and up to Esk Hause. Here we met a couple who had camped the night on Scafell - I thought we did. things to excess!  We climbed onto the back of Great End and walked the ridge to Scafell Pikes, which was just out of the low cloud most of the time  The final climb up and down was fairly difficult without crampons, and plain daft without an ice axe, yet we came upon plenty of walkers without either.  It almost made us feel we were being over-cautious when met two blokes with cheapboots, plastic bike jackets and very little else.  How they managed I dread to think.  From Scafell Pikes to Great End the wind, from the east, was really vicious.  At one point, past Broad Crag, it knocked all of us down simultaneously.

Back at Angle Tarn, after I’d persuaded J.D. that he and I should forgo a desperate crag traverse on Hanging Knotts (maybe it wasn't that bad) we traversed the easier Rossett Crags and descended to Stake Pass, having decided not to cross Bow Fell against the strong wind and ice-spicules.  John Manchip, Fred, Martin and Greg followed Stake Pass and Mickleden back to Langdale, while John D., M.A.P. and I climbed back upwards towards Pike of Stickle.  Part way up a voice came down-wind, “Get off my…..mountain”.  X Bob and Zot had just come from the Pikes via Stickle Gill.  Needless to say we continued our way on ‘his’ mountain and we three soon reached Pike of Stickle.  Under such clear conditions as we had been having maps were largely unnecessary.  We could clearly see each of the places to which we were heading.  We soon walked across to Harrison Stickley from where the view was excellent.  Thence the descent was directly down to Stickle Tarn on a snow slope, and then down the path of Stickle Gill to Langdale once more.

Mike's wagon was at the Old Dungeon Ghyll; while Bob's car was still at the New DG.  As we walked to the Old DG we met the bus, carrying Bob and Zottie from the Old to the New, all of ¾ of a mile.  "Best 6 pence I’ve ever spent," said Zot.

And so a good weekend was had by all.  With news of blizzard and drift from Mendip X Bob & Co. set out early on Sunday for home, but the rest of us found time after a leisurely morning for a few jars in the New DG.  Greg and Miss Piggy spent most of the morning devouring the rest of their food, before joining us and eating yet more.  How does that Midget manage them both?!  Finally we were away, leaving Fred; to spend his day rescuing the foolhardy hordes from Bowfell - that was his story anyway.

Not mentioned before, but they were there, were Pat and Paul, Patti and Co., Keith Newbury, Glenys and even Andy Nichols and attachment for a while.  There must be a pub or two in the Lakes that they didn’t visit!

P .S. Buckett and I went up to the Lakes again the following Saturday, to find the Snow undergoing a rapid thaw, and there was minor flooding in the valleys.  We walked the path up Stickle Gill, which was really in spate, and did not meet snow until we arrived at the Tarn.  The ice, there was melting fast and the path that fords the Gill was well under water. Buckett leapt across from boulder to boulder lower down and I groped my way slowly across too.  The snow was really rotten and we frequently stepped into deep, soggy drifts.  At the back of Stikle Tarn we crossed Bright Gill via a snow bridge and then decided we were too low down so crossed back again.  Higher up we had difficulty with crossing the torrent and had to leap from boulders again.  We used the map to set a compass course through the mist to the top of Pavey Ark, and ended up climbing a steep crag which barred our way.  At various points below we had met up with three men and a dog.  Arriving at the top of the crag we came into a gully with footprints of men and dog leading upwards.  They were taking the longer but gentler route up.  We ended up almost ignoring the compass bearing and following the dog prints, plus occasional cairns, until finally we met the dog, and men, coming the other way through the rain. We continued on our bearing, leaving the dog party looking for the top of Pavey Ark and we headed into the mist, hopefully towards Harrison Stickle.  Going from cairn to cairn we traversed a steep snowfield, often thigh deep in wet snow, peering constantly through the mist at unrecognisable lumps of rock. The dog group caught us up and turned down to the left, looking for Dungeon Gill.  We climbed the small pimple to our right and found ourselves on top of Harrison Stickle, recognisable only from the height carved on a stone.   We crossed the top and searched for a route down.  In fact, although there is nothing on the map, a path exists down the scree via a short climb, and descends steeply to Dungeon Ghyll.  The dog party were obviously lost and were going towards Stickle Gill.

We met a party of lads who had turned back from the Ghyll because the path was hidden beneath a steep sheet of snow.  This traverse was quite hairy, especially since the mist began to clear.  There was evidence far below in the bottom of the Ghyll of recent avalanches - great blocks of snow and large boulders, and the canyon echoed with the rushing of melt-water.

Once over the traverse we glissaded down the wet snow slope to the stream, but, by staying level from here we eventually left the stream below us again as we headed for the end of the narrow ridge that divides Dungeon Ghyl from Stickle Gill.  Who should we see as we descended to Stickle Gill, but three men and a dog, once more.  These hills are small.

P.P.S.  There was one other Quote, again from M.A.P. "I’m glad Peak Cavern's on a Saturday.  We’ll be able to talk about it in the pub afterwards!  As it turned out Mike did not come to Peak, and not a word was breathed about it in the pub on Saturday night.

 
 

Tunnel Cave - South Wales

Graham Wilton-Jones

Buckett and I recently visited this fine system, and I felt it would be useful to offer a brief description in the BB, since 'Caves of Wales and the Marches' is rather inadequate and, perhaps misleading.

The location can be found on the 2½" O.S. map, SN 81, at SN 837165, but this map shows and the book description mentions a path from the Haffes.  This path no longer exists, but one starts from the Dan yr Ogof caravan site, past the sheep pens, to a point overlooking the Haffes, and thence onto the path leading over the moor towards the Giedd.  The path follows a wall to the left until it has climbed up the steepest section of the hillside, and then divides.  One part continues beside the wall running towards the dry valley above Dan yr Ogof, and the other branch turns sharply right towards Waun Fignen Felen. From this junction one does as the book says, almost, climbing up to the high point on the right, on the edge of the hillside. The top entrance of the cave is practically on the highest point - a most unlikely place for a cave.  In BCRA Transactions Vol. 4, Nos 1 & 2, March '77 is a surface survey of the area with cave surveys superimposed; including Tunnel.  The location of the top entrance is easy using the lines of shakeholes and the nearby dry valley.  Approaching the entrance even quite closely the only evidence of cave is a low pile of bang debris.  The entrance cover is only seen when you are right on top of it.

The entrance shaft is virtually all mined, square section at the top and spacious, and is 35 feet deep.  A 30ft ladder belayed directly to a railway line at the top is sufficient, the bottom of the shaft being narrower and climbable.  12' down there is a firm railway sleeper platform all round the shaft.  At the bottom the pitch breaks into natural rift at the Courtyard pitch.  After a short piece of horizontal passage, a bolt above and exposed ledge takes a 25' ladder into Cascade Aven.  The Second Cascade (the system was explored from the bottom) is a steep, stal slope littered with bang debris, steepening further until it finally overhangs the First Cascade, which comes in from the other end of the rift.  I found a handline useful on the Second Cascade, descending to the Wire Traverse on the right (looking downwards) having belayed to a eyehole in the right hand wall.  This required about 60' of handline, but 120' as the book says is needed if it is belayed at the bottom of the Courtyard.  The wire on the traverse is fixed, and I belayed 100' of handline to the bolt on 'the far side".  This was also far too much, about 60' being sufficient.  However, this First Cascade is steep smooth, and the handline here is invaluable.  Leading off from these avens are a few passages which constitute the Cascade Aven Series.  At the bottom of the stal slope, the rift is choked up with gravel and and stal but a small draughting passage is the route on downwards.  A twisting hands and knees crawl leads to a couple of 15' climbs down. After the first climb the passage enlarges.  At the bottom of the second is the way into Paul and Barnabas, concealed between the boulders and the wall.  This is the passage leading to the numerous pearls.  Ahead the route continues down to a sandy chamber, but the way on is a climb up just before this.  The passage is now a winding rift dipping at about 10°.  By traversing horizontally we ended up in the roof tube, and this is the obvious place to be for route finding since the draught here is dispersed.  There are one or two places where the passage is too wide to traverse, and it is necessary to descend and climb up again on the other side, but the route is not as complex as the book would have us believe, nor is any of the cave technically difficult.  Normally wherever a decision has to be made the wrong route is a cul-de-sac, and the draught can occasionally be felt. Eventually a stream is reached and soon after is the grille with the show ' Cathedral Cave' beyond.  It would have been possible to have the key for this grille, but we had to collect our tackle from the top anyway, so there seemed to be no point

Returning up the passage the first major opening on the right is East Passage.  This is much easier than West Passage, the route to the top entrance.  Cross Passage on the left starts as walking but soon degenerates to a crawl over sand to emerge in West Passage.  East Passage continues, passing the way to Xmas Grotto on the right, up a climb into a large phreatic tube and into the high Steeple Aven.  We did not continue here, but the passage goes a little further to reach Final Chamber.

The whole of our trip took four hours, during which we covered much of the cave twice - in and out. Next time we shall rappel in, visit Paul and Barnabas and Xmas Grotto, and leave via the show cave beside Dan yr Ogof.

Useful references:

BCRA Trans. Vo1.4, Nos 1 & 27 Mar, 77.  (Survey p.296, plus several other notes)

Caves in Wales and the Marches, 167; .o62

Descent

CRG pub. No. 7

Ed. note: I hear, through the Mendip grapevine, that a new Welsh caving guide may be underway.


 

Jottings

complied by Niph

Mendip news and notes - Don't forget the Midsummer Buffet on June 17th and the working weekend at the Belfry on June 17th and 18th.  No further extensions have been found in Lionel's Hole but according to Andy Sparrow there are a number of digging points.  On a recent trip in St. Cuthbert's by Wig, Stuart Lindsey and Tim Large, Pillar Chamber Extensions was visited.  Several unex¬plored sites and possibilities were examined, particularly in a de¬corated rift at the top of the 54ft Pot.     In the top chamber of the extension

amid much 'hanging death', Stuart dug through a gravel choke under a low arch to find another small decorated chamber - a bedding chamber some 30ft long by 12ft wide.  A few broken curtains lie on the floor.  At the upper end of the chamber there's a gravel choke that appears to be heading towards the Far Chamber area.  Pillar Extensions make an interesting trip but it’s not for those of a nervous disposition!

 

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Another B.E.C. Extension is on Eastern Mendip - at Waterlip Quarry to be precise - popularly called Ogof Cakin' Fant (we’ll leave you to work out the true meaning of that name).  First inspected by Andy Sparrow et. al, on Jubilee Day 1977 the cave was pushed to a limit of 30ft but in January this year Andy and Ross White returned (to quote the caving log)….”intending to dig final squeeze.  Digging floor proved ineffective, so Sparrow made an attempt to pass it as it was - much to his surprise he succeeded.  The way on was blocked by a flake of rock which soon gave way to a crowbar.  Crawling over the flake led into 15ft – 20ft of muddy crawl to an inclined rift….the cave…..is extremely tight”.

On the 21 of January Andy, Steve Short and a couple of midgets from other clubs returned to the site. Alison Hooper (the wee midget, took the lead.  “…..at the point reached on last week’s trip.  It proved passable without further work and followed by Andy, she pushed on through another 50ft of tight rift crawls and' Z' bends.  'Termination of the cave is now a boulder blocking the way on. Cave length now about 90ft.


 

Dates For Your Diary

June 9th

Longwood (Friday niters trip)

June 10th

Symposium n Cave Exploration in Northern Spain at Bristol University.  Organised by Phil Hendy (Hon. Sec. WCC). Tickets £1.00.  Commencing 9.00 am.  Bristol University in the Main Engineering Theatre, Queens Building.  Fee of £1.00 included morning coffee + biccies and afternoon tea.  Cheques and PO’s to Phil Hendy, 5 Tring Ave., Ealing Common, London W5.

June 17th

Midsummer Buffet – Hunter’s lodge back room 7.30.  Tickets for meal £2.00 each or free for those wanting to drink only.  Tickets for Buffet from Tim Large.

June 17/18th

Working weekend at the Belfry – come along and give your active support.

June 23rd

Swildons Hole – CANDLE ONLY! – (Friday niters trip).

July 7th

South Wales (OFD) – Friday niters trip.

July 21st

North Hill – Friday niters trip.

August 4th

Stoke Lane Slocker – Friday niters trip.

September 9/10th

BCRA National Caving Conference, Renold Building, Manchester.  Accommodation – Booking not later than July 14th – charge £4 per night.  Tickets at door £1.00.  Conference Secretary D.M. Judson, Bethel Green, Calderbrook Road, Littleborough, Lancs.  Make cheques out to D.M. Judson, Conference acc.

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

Editors Note:     The paper used for this issue and future issues of the BB is thinner and not of such good quality as the gestetner paper we've been using.  I hope that members will not be too displeased, but when duplicating paper has risen from £2.65 in November 1977 to £3.60 in April 1978 one can realise the cost of the BB to the club.  Also, 22 pages in the BB will mean a further postal increase. With the thinner paper we can increase the BB to well over 20 pages without any postal increase.