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.

Dates For Your Diary

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.

A letter from David Metcalfe states that he would be pleased to see ant BEC members at the following meets arranged for the Northern Dales Speleological Group.

August 6th

Giants Hole, Derbyshire.

August 26th

C.P.C. Winch Meet Gaping Gill.

September 23rd

Marble Steps Pot.

October 1st

Gingling Hole, Fountains Fell.

October 29th

Notts Pot.

November 18th

Top Sink.

December 16th

Swinsto/Simpsons Exchange.

Late News And Notes

As we go to press news has been coming over the radio and making headlines in the daily press of a rescue taking place in Scotland.  Not that we wouldn’t take notice of it anyway, it was made all the more juicy in that it involved our own '"Wigmore man - Tony Jarrett (Jayrat). On a surveying trip lights failed and apparently there was a small boulder fall in the area.  Goon and helpers were flown, half way to the cave at least, by helicopter from Edinburgh to Assynt!  I wonder if Jayrat has ever read the club rules and I can't help feeling that there's going to be some heavy p ... taking when he appears back at the Belfry in the next couple of weeks …. if he has the nerve to come back

ST. CUTHBERT’S…Work has commenced again after a lapse of 8 years in sump 1 area.  Wig, Dave Turner, Brian Workman et al are digging under the roof (there’s no walls or floor!) on the left, upstream of the sump.  A nylon, 8” dia tube now carries the water through the sump and empties it into the '2' streamway about 200ft further on.  Please take care not stand on the pipe or cut it. The eventual move is to dig out the sump and investigate the bedding plane on the right of the crawl into the sump itself.



by Tim Large

New members:

Sue Yea, 102 York Rd., Montpellier, Bristol.
Clive Parkin, c/o P.O's Mess, H.M.S. Daedalus, Lee-on-Solent

CONSTITUTION SUB-COMMITTEE has now met and much fine work carried out by Martin Cavender has resulted in the sub-committee sorting out a revised constitution based on the existing one, but being much more readable and less ambiguous.  It will be for the A.G.M. to decide if it is to be accepted. (Copies will be circulated with the August B.B. as a BB Supplement, as was the A.G.M. Minutes. Ed.)

BELFRY – more work has been done around the hut, including an inspection pit to investigate the septic tank (no', it's not a cave dig!).  During the working weekend the showers required repairs as the hot water pipes sprung a leak.

MIDSUMMER BUFFET - This event was well attended and a good time had by all!  It was good to see many of the old faces including Mike Baker,' Kangy," Maurice Iles among many others.  It just might be a regular mid-year event in the future.  About 100 members were milling about the room; almost as good as the dinner!

A few weeks earlier, at the same venue Jane Kirby and Sue Yea held a joint birthday party.  Ross White had to be rescued from the bog by Roger Dors and Jane as he fell asleep - or was it into a drunken stupor?

BELFRY continued - The modifications to the Old Stone Belfry have nearly been completed.  The MRO have been allocated a little more room and the age old problem of the guttering on the roof cured once and for all.

We are now the proud possessors of a battery charger which will probably be housed in the remaining part of the Stone Belfry when it is fitted out as a workshop cum storeroom.

B.E.C. SWEATSHIRTS - If there is sufficient demand for these the Club will buy a quantity suitably inscribed with the Club emblem.  Any ideas on a design would be appreciated.  Let me know if you are interest to give me some idea of numbers to order.

A CAVING NOTE - Recently Northern Cave Club dug into a new system at the bottom of the 500ft long and 160ft deep King Pot (Yorkshire).  Now they have uncovered a master cave system about 1 mile long and 450ft deep which includes 15 pitches and makes it a classic Yorkshire trip.  Martin Bishop, Trevor Hughes and myself were lucky enough to be invited to take a look and were most impressed and shattered by the time we got, out.  At present survey, photographic and diving work is in progress.  Access is limited to N.G.C. members only at present.

Camera Raffle - The camera was won by Bob White the draw for which took place at the Midsummer Buffet. The winning ticket was drawn by Jackie Dors.  As far as can be gathered about 30 pounds has been raised for club funds.

Pope has written to say that he is leaving his current address and will let us know his new one in the near future.

Officer’s reports will be presented to the August C0mmittee Meeting and they will appear (hopefully) in the September BB.

Charterhouse Committee have passed a resolution stating that permits will be valid for one year.  BEC, WCC, SMCC and others have objected. Meeting asked to be called soon. More details later.


Sunto Instrument Bracket And Maintenance

By Chris Batstone

Many Suunto users will be aware of the few minor faults with these superb instruments for cave survey use. The major disadvantage being the fact that both instruments are separates and the surveyor has to waste valuable time sorting out which instrument to use, particularly when they are hanging from the neck on their carrying cords.  To overcome this problem the two instruments may be combined together with the aid of a simple 'L' shaped bracket, using the screw holes for the 1anyard attachments.

Thus the surveyor has both instruments to hand at every which effectively speeds up the survey work.

Construction of the bracket is quite simple provided one has as drill and files and a suitable vice for holding the work.  Anyone with a little skill in metal working can make the bracket quite quickly.

The bracket must be made from a non-ferrous metal or alloy such as brass or aluminium to ensure that the compass is not influenced by magnetic effects.  The shape of the bracket should first be marked out on a piece of 1" thick sheet (see fig.1 for dimensions).  Two holes are drilled for the screws that attach the instruments. The bracket can then be cut from the plate and filed up to remove any sharp edges.  The bracket is then bent slightly, as shown, in fig. 2 to align the instruments.

FIGURE 1.  Suunto Instrument Bracket.
Scale - Twice full size.  Dimensions in inches.


Note:    Soft aluminium will bend easily with the bracket assembled the instruments thus making the alignment easier.

Brass and hard alloys. These may have to be annealed before bending in a vice.  The bends should be made carefully, in stages, testing the bracket up against the instruments for fit.  (The best bend radii for this type of material should be in the order of 3t –Ed)

Once the bracket has been bent to a suitable shape it can be attached, to the instruments using either the old lanyard screws or compatible round or cheese headed screws of the same thread (these are probably No.8 UNC - Ed.)  The instrument was first used with great success on the Tyning's Barrows Swallet survey - see April, 1978 BB - and has proved its worth on other trips, Wigmore and Rocket Drop.

Figure 2 – Bracket assembled


Sealing the Instruments.

Although the Suunto instruments appear to be proof against all things, including nuclear attack, they are prone to leak when expose to wet, muddy cave conditions.  If allowed to continue for any length of time, the optics will soon become obscured by a thin film of mud.  Prevention is better than cure, so owners of Suunto equipment would be well advised to seal their instruments before taking them underground.



The grub screw hole may be sealed with paraffin wax or plasticene this will only be necessary if the original sealant has been removed.

Dismantling And Cleaning

If the instrument develops a leak and the optics become dirty internally, it will become necessary to dismantle it.  The construction of both the compass and clinometer is identical (with the exception that the compass unit is liquid filled).  The body is an accurately machined alum alloy block housing, the compass or clino cards sealed in a Perspex unit and the lens for reading the graduations on the instrument.  The sealed unit is held in place by a press fit alum alloy back plate and a grub screw to prevent the unit from moving in the body when assembled (see Fig. 4)

Figure 4 - showing method of construction. (lateral cross section)


1 – lens

1a – Perspex lens integral with sealed unit

2 – plastic window

3 – compass or clinometer in sealed unit

4 – grub screw

5 – back plate

6 - aperture

Dismantling is a fairly simple job:

A 3/32" or ⅛" diameter hole should be drilled in the edge of the back plate, no more than ⅛" deep to avoid damaging the sealed unit.  A small watchmaker’s screwdriver is inserted into the hole and the back plate prised off.  With the screwdriver, the grub screw is removed and the sealed perspex unit can be taken out.  The lens assembly has no obvious means of removal and should be left in situ.  To attempt to remove the lens could ca»se irreparable damage; it can be cleaned without removal.


Dirt can be removed from the inside of the lens with a fine sabre artist’s brush of good quality.  If the dirt is 'stubborn', a few drop of distilled water may be sufficient to loosen the dirt which can be cleaned off with the brush.  The unit should then be rinsed with distilled water and left to dry in a warm atmosphere. The perspex unit may be wiped clean using a lens cloth but take care not to scratch the perspex lens on the outer rim.


Once all parts are clean and thoroughly dry, re-assembly may commence.  This procedure is a straight reversal of the dismantling procedure. Ensure that the re-assembly of the unit is carried out in a warm and relatively low humidity room to avoid subsequent condensation on the optics.

The small hole drilled in the back plate may be sealed with epoxy resin.  The sealing operation, previously described should then be carried out.


All of the operations described in this article have been carried out by the author and found to be satisfactory.  Readers are warned that these recommendations are not those of the manufacturers and may therefore invalidate any warranty or guarantee agreement.  Further the author accepts no liability for inaccurate information.  At the time of publishing (June 1978) the information was correct for Suunto KB14 and PM5 clinometer.  Further information on renovation and repair of Suunto equipment may be found in BCRA Bulletins.


BCRA  Bulletin No.3.  Feb. 1974. G. Stevens

Grampian S.Gp. Bulletin No.2 Series 2.  J. Batstone.


Next month in the B.B. - an up-to-date account of the recent pushes in Wookey Hole by Chris Batstone, a club trip into White Scar Cave by Mike Palmer, AGM announcements, the latest findings by the Committee and the Sub-Committee on changes to the Club Constitution and The Unknown Streamway by Wig.  Also will be a report on the Peak Cavern trip organised by Martin Grass.

The Austrian trip is on with about a dozen or so BEC and Grampian members seeking out deep caves in the Dachstein area.  It is hoped to be able to publish their work as soon as it is received from them by post from Austria - can't be more up-to-date than that!


Why Ski in the Pyrenees?


One of the advantages of the Pyrenees as a skiing area is that if a base is chosen out of the mountains then you're not stuck to one station, there is a choice.

The Pyrenees run East/West and there is, on the French side, a good road running parallel with them and about 1 hour from whatever station is chosen.


It is particularly important not to be committed to one station because in general they are small and at a lower altitude than the Alps, and if from far off England you book Guzet Neige for instance you could be caught with poor snow or bad weather.  There are stations which are fairly reliable Salardu in Spain for example or Pas de la Case in Andorra are highish and can give excellent skiing both on and off the piste. The advantage of the Pyrenees is the warmth of the sun.  Watch out for sunburn.

Lucheon would be a reasonable place to stay it's not too dear en pension and it is possible to visit a number of interesting ski stations easily from there. Superbagneres was one of the earliest stations to be established and is the nearest to Luchon.  It has the advantage that the road goes to the highest point, so that the beginner’s slopes always have the best of the snow. The biggest French station from here is Les Auges/Peyresourds, two stations linked by high level routes. There is a superb descent at Peyresourds - if only the dreaded T8 teleski doesn't break down!  It drops directly from the highest point and curves leftwards following a valley out into the sticks away from the station. Once out of the valley the route winds back to the station and the infamous T8!  The T8 is symptomatic of French Pyrenean skiing.  It's not very well maintained.  The ski tours are rough and bumpy under ski because they don't bother to flatten them and the pistes are as nature intended.  I rather like it!  Luchon also gives access to the Val d'Aran and the most important Spanish station, Solardu.  The Spaniards make an effort and it is almost up to Alpine standards.  Certainly the Val D'Aran, the upper valley of the Garonne where it emerges after sinking in the Trou de Toro, is well worth a visit on its own a account.  While considerable development is being undertaken in the name of tourism, most of it is in good taste and worth seeing.  Salardu is, high and has many good runs, away from the popular slopes.  It's worth struggling to get away from the clank of the tours into the quiet of winter mountains.

Up and down the chain of the Pyrenees are many small but interesting stations. Font Romeau is elderly but well equipped and sunny.  It isn't very steep but it's beautiful.  Guzet Neige, one of the nearest to Toulouse is good but not too reliable for snow in a poor season. It is set in trees and there are a number of good runs.  Towards the Atlantic is La Mongie, good but a long way from Toulouse, though this could be combined with a visit to Cauteret and the adjoining stations.

If you do decide to ski in the Pyrenees then call into Toulouse to collect your F.F.S. card which gives you insurance and the right to reductions on the ski tickets (forfaits) of the order of 25%. You could park your car in the car park underneath Place Capitol and collect card and forfaits from the very friendly Club Escargarol which is situated underneath the arches at the side of the square.  They also hire out skies and boots at very reasonable rates and arrange trips.


Snakes Of Italy

Translated from the Italian with added information and advice for walkers climbers and campers by Stan Gee

Due to certain changes in environment in. the mountain areas of Italy, the snakes of these areas are increasing in numbers and are now presenting something of a hazard to mountaineers and walkers.  So much so that the Club Alpino Italiano are now involved and a National Campaign for information on poisonous snakes has been launched.

The following is a translation of the booklet "Vipere Italiane" published by the Instituto Sicroterapico Vaccinogeno Toscano and is meant to publicise their snake bite vaccine "Sclavo" but at the same time it provides a useful guide to the snakes and their habits, identification, safety first and simple first aid.  However, before considering the aspects of the various types of European snakes it should be understood that all the poisonous snakes of Europe are of the Viper family sub divided into 4 main groups which are themselves sub divided into many localised groups.  These localised groups have adapted to their local environment by way of colour change etc., and thus descriptions given here may differ widely from the same species found in other parts of Europe.  For example the common adder of Britain can be found in 4 main colours and several other lesser colour differences depending on the area of habitation.  Furthermore although the common adder is of the same main species as the Italian ''Marrasso Palustre" (Viper Berus) or Marsh Viper, it is quite different in colour size and ferocity.

However, from the point of view of the mountaineer or walker etc., the normal grass snake and the rarer smooth snake are both very easy to identity and all others may be considered to be dangerous, to some degree.

The following is a direct translation from the booklet "Vipere Italiane" but only insomuch as the information relates to mountaineering and outdoor life:-

The Vipers in Italy.

All of the poisonous snakes in Italy fall into the viper family and are found in all parts of the country with the only exception of Sardinia (the book does not state what snakes, if any, are to be found in Sardinia) and form 4 main groups.

Vipera Aspis

Vipera Berus

Vipera Ammodytes

Vipera Ursinii





Common Viper

Marsh Viper

Horned Viper

Bear Viper

The second of these species is found in almost any situation, plains, Hills, mountains, woods, stones in areas that are damp, humid or marshy and in the walls that line country roads.  Due to this facility to live anywhere they are the most prolific of the snakes and are easily found and are thus the most dangerous to open air people.

Common Viper

Is found all over the country in areas of scarce vegetation and stones where they love to lie in the sun. The male is about 65-75 cm long and the female 75-85 cm long.  The body colour is very variable ashy grey, grey-yellow, dark brown or rose coloured. The back has a zig-zag mark that can be continuous or interrupted sometimes standing out vividly sometimes less vividly from the colour of the body.  The end of the tail is generally yellow-orange.

The Marsh Viper

Is a snake of extreme irritability i.e. is always ready for aggression.  It is found all over Italy, but particularly in Alpine districts where they have been found at altitudes in excess of 3000 meters in damp flat areas, banks of rivers and streams etc.

The extremity of the head, seen in profile appears round and on the top of the head are some shield like marks usually 3 and of different shapes, instead of the fragmented scales as on the asp.  The size of the adult marsh viper is generally longer than the Asp and its length is between 60 & 80cm long.

The body and scales are grey, brown yellow or rose coloured and the dorsal has a symmetrical design consisting of brown spots along the length and alternate vertical zig zag marks. Generally these marks are darker than those of the Asp and in the mountains snakes are sometimes found that are almost completely black.

Horned Viper

This is considered to be the most dangerous of European snakes, due to the quantity of Venom it injects and the speed of action of this venom (about 15 mins).  It prefers to live in rocks and sunny arid areas and it can be found also in woods that are not dense or on the edges of forest glades. It is present in the pre alp ( Gran Paradiso) and up to altitudes of 1600 meters and is often active at night.*

It is the easiest to recognise of all the other species of viper due to the presence of a small horn at the front of the head.  This horn is about 5mm high and renders this snake recognisable at first glance.  Other recognisable features are its size, in which it is larger in diameter than the other snakes and longer, 90-100cm.  Apart from this it has the general characteristics of the Asp but the colours of the dorsal marks are much darker in contrast to the rest of the body.

Vipera Ursini

Is found generally only in the central Italian mountains, Sibillini and Gran Sasso areas.  In general appearance it differs little from that of the Marsh Viper but is much, smaller, about 50cm at most.  It is considered by some to be a sub species of the Marsh Viper and is recognisable from the Marsh Viper by its smaller head and by the presence of a dark spot on the neck.

General Identifications

Apart from the colouring which can sometimes be confusing there are several other points that will enable the reader to differentiate between a dangerous and a non dangerous snake.

The Eyes

A grass-snake has perfectly round eyes and pupils whilst all of the viper family have vertical slit pupils.

The Head

The grass-snake has a long tapered head covered with large scales, the viper is more triangular and snub nosed and has smaller scales.

The Body

A grass snake’s body tapers gracefully to the tail, the viper thins down abruptly thus giving the impression of a fat body and a short thin tail.


When disturbed the grass-snake moves away with a great flurry of movement and sometimes threshing movements.  The viper glides away usually with the head some 3 inches above the ground.

Simple Safety First observations particularly for campers, walkers, climbers and cavers:-

1)                    Always wear boots and heavy woollen socks.

2)                    When walking announce your approach by using a stick to occasionally tap the ground.

3)                    Before sitting down on grass or stones, use a stick to strike the ground and surrounding grass.

4)                    Do not lean against tree trunks that are covered with foliage or piles of logs.

5)                    After resting, thoroughly shake out discarded clothing before putting on, watch particularly insides of rucksacks.

6)                    Do not leave car doors open if you are leaving the car for any reason.

7)                    Pay particular attention if entering abandoned cottages or climbing stone walls.

8)                    Especially cavers should beware of horizontal passages or holes with little depth which may be the home of hibernating vipers.

9)                    Pay particular attention during the summer months and early autumn when the females like to hang in trees or bushes 4 or 5 ft above ground level, as a bite in the head or neck is nearly always fatal.

10)                If you should have need to kill a viper for any reason, use a stone or a stick and stay at a safe minimum distance of 1 metre,

This then is the essence of the booklet "Vipera Italiane" which goes into mulch more detail; most of which is not of interest to the mountaineer.

The details and advice given above can be applied to all of the mountain areas of Europe and to much of North Africa as well, where, although there is greater diffusion of types of snake most of the dangerous ones fall into the viper category.

The first aid information was dealt with in the April 1976 edition of "Climber & Rambler".


First Aid

Should you or a friend be unfortunate enough to be bitten the following advice, taken from an article by W.J. Wright in January edition of the St., John Review, is given.

Most people, when bitten, think they are going to die and as a result develop shock - cold clammy skin, feeble pulse, rapid shallow breathing and perhaps semi-consciousness. A person bitten by a viper may have blood-stained saliva followed later by non-clotting of the blood and perhaps blood coughed up.  A striking snake does not always inject venom but if swelling above the knee or elbow occurs within two or three hours then venom has been injected and it is a severe case.  Local swelling in the area of the bite will occur within a few minutes if venom has been injected.  In this case the area round the bite should be cleaned, preferably with soapy water, and a dry dressing applied.  Do not use a tourniquet but a firm but not tight ligature above the bite helps to compress the tissues and delay absorption into the system.

The St. John First Aid Manual continues, support and immobilise the limb concerned, and should breathing fail, commence artificial respiration.  In all cases seek medical aid.  The manual also states that many people die from fright, after being bitten.

The dangers of snakebite are recognised by the Club Alpino Italiano and most of their larger Rifugi hold stocks of serum and many of the larger villages as well.

* Translators note (from previous page)

Snakes of the viper family can, to some extent, control the amount of venom that they inject, depending upon the size of the victim.  The Horned viper usually injects all at one go.


Into The Devil's Arse

or A trip into Peak Cavern

An account of a club trip by Martin Grass

Our first attempt to enter Peak Cavern was in November of last year but due to flood waters throughout the show cave (necessitating swimming along normally dry passages) the trip had to be abandoned.  In march of this year we were luckier and were able to walk through the whole show Cave without getting wet.  The main attraction of Peak as a show cave is the large entrance where rope-makers once worked and lived.  A short, low passage at the end of the entrance chamber leads into the Great Cave, another large chamber, with fascinating, glowing formations which on inspection proved to be 'cats eyes' which had been embedded in the rock!

A large dry passage enters Roger Rains House, the third and last large chamber in the tourist section, with a waterfall entering from high up on the, right side of the passage. The cave now changes to an almost horizontal stream passage to a 'T' junction where the show cave ends.  Left at this junction quickly ends in the Buxton Water Sump which was first successfully passed by Don Coase back in the early ‘50s.  Right at this junction leads past old mine workings (lead) at Victoria Aven onto Speedwell Pot which feeds vast quantities of water from Speedwell Cavern into Peak. It was interesting to learn that this pot was caped a few years ago with a giant concrete plug, the intention being to extend the tourist season by keeping some of the flood waters out of the cave.  Various muddy climbs over boulders and a sandy crawl ends at the Muddy Ducks which are nothing more than large puddles.  Once through these the passages become a larger phreatic tunnel called The Upper Gallery with two side passages leading off, one to Pickerings Passage and the other to a pot completely filled with fine sands which greatly impressed Mr. ‘N’ who had visions of exporting it all to Mendip to make cement and other such solid materials.  Easy going down, the Upper gallery turns to a short traverse to the Surprise View a 20ft fixed ladder down into the Main Stream Passage, the famous phreatic passage which is up to 50 feet high.  This magnificent passage can be followed up stream to the down stream end of Buxton Water Sump or up stream to Squalls Junction where the main Peak water enters at three waterfalls.  Near the junction we took a high level muddy crawl to the left which led to Lake Passage and Ink Sump, a beautifully clear green sump which has not been dived to any conclusion (at present unfortunately diving has been banned by the owners of Peak).

Back in the main stream the large tunnel continues past some very high evens to Far Sump which is about; 200 feet long.   As diving has been banned BCRA are trying to construct a large dam and lower the sump by bailing- such is their determination to extend the system.

After a soggy Mars Bar or two we returned to Squaws Junction and made our way via some of the muddiest passages I have ever been in, back to the Surprise View thus completing a very pleasant round trip.  A quick wash off in the streamway and we started to make our way out.

On the return journey some of us visited Pickerings Passage.  This awkward free climb is similar to Marble Pot in Cuthbert’s but larger and not so tight.  At the end of this passage is Moss Chamber where the unfortunate Neil Moss is still stuck in a narrow fissure half way up a steep stal flow.  Ironically the only formations in the whole cave are here.

Throughout the whole of this series and particularly in Moss Chamber are rusty relics still left from the attempts to rescue Moss from his fissure.  Thermos flasks, food tins and telephone wires are scattered about giving the place a morbid atmosphere.

We exited after a pleasant 5 hours underground and although not a hard cave, Peak makes a very satisfying and sporting trip.  Our thanks go to Pete Smith from BCRA who led the trip.

Another trip has been planned for later in the year, any member interested contact me as numbers are limited.  The exact date will be published in the B.B. as soon as it has been confirmed.


Cadbury Camp Mineshaft

By Tony Jarratt

On the weekend following the ‘Great Snowstorm’ the Belfry regulars were contacted by archaeologist and ex-club member, Keith Gardner, who wanted a mineshaft investigated.  The hole had appeared after the snow, on the wooded fortification of Cadbury Camp hill fort overlooking Yatton (NGR: ST 439650) immediately above the Country Club.  Bob Cross, John Dukes, Rog Sabid; and Wig bravely answered the call and John and Rog found the shaft to be approximately 150 feet deep, 8 - 10 feet in diameter at the top, tapering to about 5 feet at the bottom.

The first 8 feet or so is stone-lined and the rest is in solid limestone with a floor of rubble and earth at least 4 feet deep.  The shaft was partly covered with old railway lined and rotten timbers placed there after a previous collapse earlier this century.  No passages lead off the shaft and there are no signs of haulage marks on the sides or of any other mining remains in the immediate vicinity.  Shot holes were noticed in the shaft sides.

Various theories as to its use have been put forward, the most probable being that it is a trial shaft in search of iron ore, which was mined all along the hills as far as Winford, the nearest group of workings from Cadbury being in Kings Wood, half a mile away. Here there are many shallow shafts and levels driven insooth limestone and earth.  Suggestions as to its being a well are made doubtful by the dryness of the shaft, its position of only 50 feet from the steep hill-side and the fact that shaft bottom is about 85 feet above saturated moor level.

A dig at the bottom would prove interesting but rather difficult due to lack of dumping space - all spoil having to be hauled to the surface.  A few years ago a similar, though only 40 foot deep shaft opened up in the grounds of the Country Club and two others are rumoured to exist further along the ridge towards Claverham, though have not yet been investigated.

The Cadbury shaft is an excellent SRT practice site and the local council and commoners association have jointly paid for its capping and the provision of a manhole for access.  A 1” ring spanner and lifting key are required (a set will be kept in the Belfry).  Best access is from the ‘No Through Road’ ( Henley Lane) just past the Country Club going towards Yatton.  A public footpath leads to the foot of the hill and by climbing up through the woods behind the club the shaft can be found at the top.  Prospective diggers will need cutting gear to remove the five bar gate thrown down by local yobs!  A further pleasure of the site is its close proximity to Richard’s cider farm. Probably the best brew in the locality and £1-00 per gallon.

From the Tacklemaster

Ladders and ropes, too many to enumerate, are missing from the tackle store, with no indication of the borrowers or whereabouts in the tackle log.  Particularly annoying is the removal from the library a length of new super-braidline nylon before it had even been coded.  Somebody must know where it is.  Please return any tackle you have borrowed, whether booked out or not, as soon as possible, for checking.

REMEMBER – the tackle log has six columns:


Name;   Tackle description or number;     Cave/area;         Date out;           Signature;         Date in;

Code numbers are on ladder end rungs, on metal rings on ropes and on tags on tethers and spreaders.



compiled by Nipha

LONGWOOD SWALLET The Bristol Waterworks Company are fitting a new automatic pump into the pumping station above the entrance to farm. The pump will automatically switch on and off according to the water level in the reservoir not the local conditions of the stream.  Previously it has been manually operated.  The B.W.W. is placing a notice inside the cave entrance as shown below:




Under certain conditions this cave can be flooded without warning if pumps stop at the nearby pumping station.

Persons entering the cave do so at their own risk. They must be in possession of a current Charterhouse Caving Committee permit.


This will pose quite a problem for cavers as the stream under wet conditions will rise suddenly and without warning.  Though the blockhouse will divert a lot of the surface stream down the valley to the blocked Water Chamber entrance, it is probable that the water will seep through the boulders above the entrance shaft.  I am led to believe that a similar pump is to be installed at the pumping station above Swildon's entrance.  This could cause the M.R.O. to have quite a headache!  One only needs to remember the days when the pipe was removed from the ‘40’ – there was a callout every Saturday night for at least 6 weeks after at about 10.30pm.

The B.W.W. have issued the following warning to clubs:-



Longwood Cave has long been known to be dangerous because of the risk ff flooding from a stream.

That danger is even greater now because the cave is likely to flood more often.

Pumps that take water from the springs at Charterhouse will now stop working automatically.

This can cause a sudden flood wave, making some passages impassable and the exit and entrance extremely difficult to negotiate.

There are warning notices stressing this danger at the cave entrance.

Access to the cave is controlled by the Charterhouse Caving Committee, and only cavers holding a current permit should enter the cave.

T A K E   C A R E !


Ten Years Ago ..

A subject, still much talked about on Mendip, is the July Flood of 1968.  Ten years ago when many of the current bunch of cavers hadn't even thought of going caving on Mendip.  They certainly cannot remember the horror on the faces of cavers about at the time when they heard that the '40' had gone.  Anyone not realising the extent of the damage in the caves should read the July 1968 BB for a fairly comprehensive coverage of each affected cave.

CAMBRIDGE University 'Underground, 1978' has been donated to the Club Library. It contains several interesting articles including their activities in Austria on the Loser Plateau.  Also to be found is details of further work in Yorkshire.  Good reading and plenty of surveys.


The C.S.C.C. now control access to the cave through the S.C.C. under licence from the Somerset County Council.  Keys to BEC members can be obtained at the Belfry (the BEC will shortly be a shareholder in the SC Company.  Member clubs of the CSCC will have to pay £0.50 for access and non-member clubs of CSCC will be required to pay £2.00.  A £5.00 deposit is required from either type of club, this is, of course a returnable deposit.  The BEC and any other club who is a shareholder in the company will not have to pay the tackle fee.

Clubs wishing to obtain a Key, if not arranged through one of the shareholder clubs should write to

J. L. Thomas, 53 Warham Road, Harrow Weald, Middx.


One has heard on several occasions stories of caving operas made up by cavers, now a modern composer Klaus Cornell has written an oratorio entitled ‘Oratoria Spelaeologica’ after his visit to the well known Swiss show-cave Beatus Hohlen.  The work is in 5 movements and is a musical impression of the underground scenery and his personal feelings at the visit.  A record has been issued of this work that apparently has received several concert hall performances, complete with genuine underground sound effects (hopefully not those of genuine cavers!)  Milch (SMCC) came across this reference in a Dutch (?) motoring magazine, dated 8-7-76 and it is also mentioned in the 'Lquipe Speleo Bruxelles (73) p22 for December 1977.  At the moment, Milch, Ray Mansfield and Wig are desperately trying to find out who has made the recording and of course get a copy.  The owner of the shop frequented by ‘Wig’ was last seen scratching his head and burrowing into his great pile of import listings. It may be that the record has been issued locally in Switzerland by Claves – a Swiss record label.

Mendip Dig - news flashes:

WCC are digging at Limekiln, an old John Cornwell site; Elm Cave has been investigated by Wessex who have found that the water level in the flooded chamber is falling – they are sitting by the water waiting for the chance to dig.

Lionel's Hole - Andy Sparrow et. a1. are still pushing the new extension.  Pete Moody has dived the downstream sump for about 15-20ft.  The underwater passage is quite roomy, about 3ft square.  The terminal choke is being dug, a fair ol’ draught is reported to be whistling from it.

Viaduct Dig is progressing slowly but they are working towards an active stream passage.  A lot more banging is required before the 'Thrupe' diggers can get there.  The cave is now about 400ft. long and 90:ft. deep.

Wigmore Swallet - Tony Jarrett and Stu. Lindsey have been putting the finishing touches to the Winding Shaft ready for the capping and gating operation.  The BEC Committee have allocated £50 toward the cost of gating.

Box Mines - Stu Lindsey reports that the Cotham C.G. have found about 3,000ft of new passage, off the Clift workings.


In a letter from Stan Gee is a self portrait ‘Ready for a mountain walk’, here it is: reproduced faithfully by the BB editorial staff:-



'Pope'; our Rhodesian correspondent has sent through a newspaper cutting from the Rhodesia Herald, Salisbury (May 19th, 1978) headlined

"Valour award for Cave Action"

The following is a shortened version of the account:-

"A 40 minute fire fight inside a cave last September has earned a temporary lance corporal with the Rhodesian Light Infantry the Silver Cross Of Rhodesia for displaying, supreme valour in action ..... !

The Lance Corporal was in charge of a group of four men sweeping a hillside feature of reported terrorist presence.  The press report continues.  “During the sweep the officer commanding the troops followed a terrorist into a cave. Firing followed, and Lance Corpora1 Phillips realised the officer was lying injured inside the cave.  He and another non-commissioned officer made an attempt to rescue the wounded officer, but because he was inside the cave lying wedged between rocks, this was not possible.  It was apparent to the Lance Corporal that there were at least three armed terrorists inside the cave.   Because it would have been a hindrance, he put his rifle to one side, and armed only with a borrowed pistol entered the cave in another attempt to rescue the officer. Lance Corporal Phillips was subjected to heavy fire from a range of less than 5m ...... When Lance Corporal Phillips ran out of ammunition he withdrew from the cave to reload.  Back in the cave, he moved further inside, beyond the critically wounded officer, and provided covering fire against the remaining terrorists so that a medical orderly could enter the cave and remove the wounded officer.  Before this could be done the terrorists opened fire again and Lance Corporal Phillips moved deeper into the cave, killing one terrorist and wounding another. When the officer had been removed, Lance Corporal Phillips then used grenades to dispose of any remaining terrorists.  The cave was searched at first light and three terrorists were found dead.  A wounded terrorist left the cave by another exit during the night."

Apart from the stabbing incident between two cavers in Yorkshire a few years ago I wonder if this sets a record for the most unusual cave rescue incident?

New Mendip Surveys:

Thrupe Lane survey is available through the Mendip Survey Scheme and was also published in the S.M.C.C. Journal (Autumn 1977).

Wigmore Survey is ready and will be published in the BB as will Rocket Drop.


Dye Tracing At Wookey Hole

By Dr. W.I. Stanton

This article has been reprinted from the CDG newsletter with permission of the CDG Secretary

These experiments were devised in response to a suggestion by Martyn Farr that a repetition of the 1967 Cuthbert's - Wookey trace, with added detail, might allow prediction of the nature of the unexplored passages between the two known systems.  It was hoped in view of the very fast flow through time of eight hours, that the deep sump beyond Wookey 25 was the last. Vadose passages like those of Cuthbert's 2 might begin immediately upstream.

The plan was enthusiastically supported, and there were volunteers enough for all sampling (at 15 minute intervals) to be done manually.  Samples were run through the flourometer every two hours.  On 27.11.76 150 grams of flourescein were added to the Cuthbert's stream at the cave entrance, and the dye was followed underground. Travel time to Sump 1 was about 1.5 hours.  Soon after, Martyn Farr poured 40cc. of 20% Rhodamine WT solution into the Well at Wookey 25.  This began to appear at the resurgence 7 hours later.  The flourescein however did not come through, although sampling continued for 80 hours after input.  It might have been absorbed en-route by the peaty water that we had stirred up in the Mineries swamps during the input.  There was considerable despondency.

One thing was clear; flow-through was very much slower than in the 1967 test.  It was natural to suppose that this was because the river was at medium stage, whereas in 1967 it had been in flood.  Theoretically if the volume of ponded water back in the sumps (phreatic storage) is very large, as is obviously the case at Wookey, the total amount of water in the system decreases by a rather small percentage, as the flow drops from flood to draught conditions.  In this system when the flow halves, flow-through time will almost double (twice as slow).  In a vadose streamway like Cuthbert's the converse applies; the volume of water in the system shrinks very considerably as the flow falls, so that flow-through time lengthens only slightly.

Bristol Waterworks has a continuous flow measuring station on the River Axe downstream of the resurgence. Flow during the 1967 test was about 40mgd. (million gallons per day) whereas in the 1976 test it was (roughly, as the gauge was malfunctioning) 1.5mgd.  Another trace was attempted on 4.6.77 using Rhodamine W.T. for both inputs. Dave Morris poured 40cc. of the dye into the Axe at Sting Corner and a few hours later I added 100cc to the stream at Cuthbert's entrance. To avoid more caver frustration a mechanical sampler was used at the resurgence but the result was operator frustration, as the clockwork timer worked in fits and starts.  Nevertheless enough data were obtained for conclusions to be drawn.

The Sting Corner dye resurged in about 15 hours and the Cuthbert's dye in about 68 hours.  Flow was fairly low at the time: about 5mgd. I concluded from this result that the volume of water in the Cuthbert’s Wookey system upstream of Sting Corner was roughly three times the volume downstream of it.  The time differences between traces, as already mentioned, show that much of this volume is sump. Probably therefore large deep sumps continue for a long way upstream of Wookey 25.

The theory outlined above does not take into account of diminishing bore sizes as the channel is followed upstream past, confluences, such as that of the Swildon's and Cuthbert's waters.  However it seems not unreasonable to suppose that the ratio of average phreatic bore size to average flow remains roughly constant, in which case the argument would still apply.