QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

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. Tele: Priddy 369

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Next month will see in the start of a new club year and of Course the AGM and Annual Dinner.  What follows is all the paperwork you will need for the EGM and AGM including the Officers Reports that have been vetted by the committee at their August meeting.

E.G.M. of B.E.C. to be held at the Belfry at 10.00 (not 10.30) a.m. on Saturday 7th October 1978. This meeting has been called by the 1977/1978 Club Committee.

1.                  Election of Chairman

2.                  Motion proposing a revised club Constitution (a draft copy was circulated with the August B.B.)

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Annual General Meeting of the B.E.C. to be held at the Belfry on Saturday 7th 1978.  Time - to commence on conclusion of the E.G.M.

AGENDA:

1.                  Election of Chairman

2.                  Election of Minutes Secretary

3.                  Collection of members resolutions

4.                  Minutes of the 1977 AGM

5.                  Matters Arising from the Minutes of the 1977 AGM

6.                  Hon. Sees Report

7.                  Hon. Treasurers Report

8.                  Auditors Report

9.                  Caving Secs Report

10.              Climbing Secs Report

11.              Tacklemasters Report

12.              Hut Wardens Report

13.              B.B. Editors Report

14.              Election of B.B. Editor

15.              Librarians Report

16.              Publication Officers Report

17.              Election of Club Trustees (dependent upon EGM)

18.              Election of Officers (dependent upon EGM)

19.              Members Resolutions

20.              A.O.B.


 

Hon. Sec's Report

This year has been a busy one; in committee and within the Club, both on the caving side and socially.

The Committee has, been involved with setting up the sub-committee to review the constitution and much good work has been done by this body, particularly Martin Cavender, who without his help on the legal side many problems could not have been overcome. Martin has also helped solve the problems of Club Trustees and this should be overcome in the near future. The club has maintained its membership numbers with one or two exceptions, but we have been pleased to welcome some new members.  The committee has been more selective regarding new members and several were deferred, mainly because they were not known well enough.  It is interesting to note that the average age of new members is rising, and is about 24-25 now.

Socially, the regulars have enjoyed several (!!) of the usual 'Belfry Barrels' on Saturday night. Together with one or two birthday, celebrations and the midsummer buffet, these have made for an enjoyable year fitting in with, but not deterring the main activity of the club, caving.  As indicated by Nigel Taylor's report, the caving scene has been encouragingly active both on and off Mendip.  The Club now appears to be functioning much more happily and hopefully will do so in the future.

I have been in attendance at various CSCC meetings and it now looks as if the south is getting some sense from other regions which the club supports and we shall continue to pressure NCA into what we believe is the correct way of doing things.

At the CCC meeting, some nonsensical proposals were passed regarding the restriction of the time limit on permits, but the club now opposes these and action has been taken to remedy the situation.

Our activities, both caving and social have involved us with other clubs - liaison with our friends near and far being most welcome.  I hope we can look forward to continued progress during the coming year.

Tim Large

Hut Engineer's Report

I was co-opted on to the Committee in the middle of May this year, as a result of the resignation from the post of Engineer of Martin Bishop.  At that time, the hut was in a reasonable state bearing in mind the considerable use it had been put to by the club and the Royal Navy.  Maintenance has continued piecemeal since then, with minor jobs being attended to whenever time and help was available.

A brief summary of work done, not necessarily in order: Clothes line re-erected; double-drainer sink fitted under water heater; heater removed, cleaned, refitted; wall to window ledge under heater tiled; outside guttering repaired; hole adjacent to drinking pool backfilled and re-turfed; window frames painted outside; septic tank excavated and inspected (work in hand); lockers painted, inventory of Belfry tools and possessions made, ventilator fitted above cookers.

A lot of work still needs to be done, mainly: alterations to tackle store, providing a larger store/workshop; soak away needs finishing; Belfry drive and car park needs some chippings; large amounts of walls, doors and ceilings need repainting and the showers need some efficient form of ventilation.

I hope that, if I am re-elected, or indeed if someone else is voted Engineer, the regular members will help continue the work on our most valuable asset.

Bob Cross


 

Hut Warden’s Report

General

In general, running the Belfry has been relatively easy this year; numbers staying at the hut have been evenly divided between members and guests.  A noticeable drop in the bookings from groups bring large parties to the hut has occurred.  This, I think, is party due to the introduction of the three tier system. The introduction of the three tier system has caused a few misunderstandings amongst a number of our members but I hope these have now been cleared up.   Admittedly there are areas for improvements.

During the course of the year the Belfry has been used as a venue for NCA, CSCC and ISC meetings.  A number of foreign cavers were made very welcome by the Belfryites during the ISC and it is hoped made some useful contacts. It’s really amazing how quickly Australians pick up Anglo-Saxon.

The hut has been reasonably clean and tidy over the past twelve months although there have been occasions when things have lapsed.  Much work in and around the Belfry is still to be done and I feel that it is rather a pity that more attention is not paid to this part of club activities.  A good deal of tidying up has been done but once again by the same old people who are doing the work and sacrificing much of their time in the process.  The excuse that no-one knows what needs doing does not carry any weight – you only have to ask.

Financial

This year, hut takings are upon last year but this is chiefly due to the Navy groups from HMS Daedalus who have increased their number of visits.  The financial position is as follows: -

Hut fees, publications and spares, showers and tackle fees etc……………£670

Navy parties (paid up)……………………………………………………...£170

Navy parties (due up to 31st July)……………………………………….....£190

                                                                                                              £1050

The above figures are shown simply as monies paid over to the Hon. Treasurer after day to day expenses for repairs and maintenance of the hut – they are exclusive of overheads such as electricity, gas and rates.

From an inspection of the books for 1976-77 it may be seen that the hut fees and scales are approx. the same this year as last year’s figures. As I have already explained the Navy mid-week parties have provided our largest increase, in the region of £250 on last year.

Still on the subject of money – overdue hut fees are still outstanding.  At last years AGM, my attention was drawn to the large amounts of outstanding fees.  Of these I have managed to collect a fair proportion, what remains I have brought forward on to this years of outstanding fees to ensure that these debts are not forgotten.  It is hoped that a large proportion of these will be paid up by the time of the AGM.

It now remains, in conclusion, to thank people who have helped out on various occasions and made my job easier in the past twelve month’s reign of terror.

Chris Batstone


 

Caving Sec’s Report

I am pleased to report that the club has had a good and active caving year.  To give you some idea of the members activities I have examined all three caving logs and the following figures may be of interest to members.  These are based on the period 1st October 1977 to 23rd July 1978 and obviously are only those recorded by obliging and dutiful members,

St. Cuthbert's

32 general members trips, 4 club digging and 32 guest trips of which’s 7 were private Cerberus Speleo Soc; 2 WCC; 1 SMCC giving a total of 68 trips.

The Leaders Meeting was held on the 30th October 1977 in Cerberus Hall, St. Cuthbert's and was attended by 11 BEC and 5 guest leaders of which 2 were S:MCC and 2 Cerberus with the fifth being an independent leader.

General Mendip

The log records some 90 Mendip general trips and 30 digging trips – not surprisingly Swildons was favourite showing 25 visits, GB - 16, Manor Farm -9, August Longwood - 5 and Eastwater - 7 whilst the remainder covered the other smaller Mendip caves with 28 associated visits.

Wigmore Swallet, the only BEC official club dig bore the brunt of much fevered digging activity and was to a small extent a minor success with a fine 30ft entrance shaft some 15ft x 10ft at the top and some approx. 200ft to its name.  Lionel's Hole at Burrington is proving a good success but these details have appeared in the BB also some work has been attempted at Sludge Pit renewed activity has restarted in St. Cuthbert's at Sump 1.

Yorkshire

16 trips have been made in this period to Yorkshire.  Juniper Gulf, White Scar, Long Churn, Marble Pot, Bar Pot, Heron Pot, Gaping Gyhll, Disappointment Pot, Kingsdale Master Cave, Tatum Wife, Dow Cave and Dowber Gill Passage, Yordas, County Pot, and King Pot being visited.

South Wales

South Wales has been the second most favourite area with some 8 trips, those being into Rock and Fountain, OFD, Porth yr Ogof, Pant Mawr Pot, Tunnel and Agen Allwedd.

Derbyshire

6 trips have been made to this area, the caves visited being Speedwell Cavern, Giants, Oxlow Cavern, Peak Cavern and P8.

Other Areas

Two Otter Hole trips are recorded in the Forest of Dean area and to prove that the BEG get everywhere there has been one trip to Sutherland end a visit to Fingels Cave, furthermore at the moment several of our members are abroad on expeditions to Austria and France amongst other areas.

During my year of office there has been much political activity on both National and local level - but though same of this is allegedly associated with caves and caving I have no intention whatsoever to mention any of this in nor report simply for personal reasons.  I neither enjoy nor indulge in such activities as I feel these are best left to others and not to the club caving sec.

Initially, at the start of my year of office, I attempted to arrange some regular meets and jointly with the Climbing Secretary, several requests for ideas were put in the B. B. - the response was overwhelming – nil!

Accordingly I decided and made public my intentions not to make any arrangements, several of us instead – making known locally our intentions of away trips to Derbyshire and Yorkshire and simply seeing who turned up.  This approach seems to be what the active BEC bod prefers.

One point of issue that I wish to bring before the AGM is the somewhat dubious state of the fixed tackle in St. Cuthbert's of which I believe next years committee should be made aware, Arête Pitch ladder and fixing chain, the positioning of a proper rawlbolt in the entrance rift are just two of the problems.

Also I wish to suggest to the persons to whom it concerns that when any dig is undertaken, it is not an official club dig until a request for such has been made to the club committee for insurance and other reasons.  Furthermore, much of our digging gear has been abandoned around disused digs and sites thus depriving others if its use and also leaving the club open to possible criticism.

Lastly I must state that I stood last year for election to the club committee and was obviously successful, however my belief that a members who stands as such must be prepared to tackle any job of elected was truly tested as no other person at the tie wanted the post!  However, I am now aware of the fact, I will return to regular uniform duties as of May 1979, I cannot guarantee that if I were to stand and be elected to the new committee that I should manage to attend every monthly meeting therefore I am now putting myself forward as a general candidate for the new committee only on the clubs acceptance of that position.

May I wish my successor well with his endeavours.

Nigel P. Taylor
July 1978


 

Librarians Report

It is gratifying to be able to report that the library is being used to a fair degree as a reference source and for general reading.  During the year the usual additions have been made from various club exchanges but I feel that a major overhaul of our exchange list is overdue.  Several clubs have stopped publishing and until they resume their publications, the BB exchange should be dropped.

Several items have been purchased and many donations have been received including maps, club journals and books.  To all who have contributed our thanks.  Members who have caving material that is gathering dust on their shelves could possible consider donating this material to the club collection before disposing of it into the dustbin.  The black side is the loss of several items mainly CRG Transactions and a couple of books. Personally I believe that they have been taken out without the borrower recoding the details of the relevant book. Would people concerned please return these items or inform next years Librarian of their whereabouts.

Space is now a major problem and the wardrobe in the Library is to be revamped to house a larger part of the collection.  This will cost a few pounds but considering the value of the collection, both from a monetary point of view as a reference source, this will be money well spent.

I would like to records our thanks to Kay Mansfield for binding up a large number of the club periodicals which incidental, she has been doing for a number of years now.

Having done this job for six years I feel that it is time someone else should take over.  Six years is too long in any Club post.  However, having said that I am prepared to continue if the Club so wishes.

Dave Irwin

Climbing Secs. Report

The Climbing section whilst almost, grind slowly to an imperceptible crawl over the last year. BEC members visited Austria and small parties made forays into North Wales; The Lakes etc.  The faithful few still keep the name alive but I think the roll of climbing Sec. be amalgamated with another committee post.

Russ Jenkins.


 

B.B. Editors Report

It is with some concern that I give this report as I know that several club members do not approve of the style of the BB's I have produced in the last year.  Having said that I do not intend to enter into a long dissertation on the matter except to say that I seriously believe that the BB must reflect the activities of the current active membership of the club and be a source of information on caving and climbing matters generally.  It should also be to a standard requested by the active membership - if it fails to meet this demand we might as well resort to the armchair.  The position of the BB in its relation to the Caving Reports including 'Cave Notes' has been very much misunderstood by several members over the last few years. The BB contains articles of a general nature, whereas the single topic material of a more serious and original nature left placed in the Caving Reports.

The club purchased a new batch of covers at the beginning of 1977 when the format changed from A5 to A4 but these have only lasted until August this year.  To get us off the hook, Garth Dell printed a number of covers, sufficient for the next 18 months or so.

The Club should also investigate the possibilities of purchasing a printing machine.  Up to date we have survived by individuals owning such a machine.  Alfie bought the off-set litho machine some years ago and gave me the Gestetner. When Alfie stopped printing the BB last year so went the use of the offset litho machine.  The Gestetner is currently being used and as far as I'm concerned this is club property but it will not last forever.

During the course of this year, the Committee sanctioned the purchase of 100 reams of paper at £1.12p per ream.  This is not ideal paper for the duplicator but it prints adequately though perhaps not with the same clarity if we were using the good quality Gestetner paper. But events forced us to make such a purchase as the cost of Gestetner paper rose from £:2.50 to £3.60 in less than five months.

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all members who have contributed material and ask them to be patient if their material is not published immediately - topicality is given first priority.  I've been fortunate this year in that there has not been any shortage of material - so keep it up please.  Secondly I must thank those members who have helped in many ways - typing, printing, collating at the Belfry.  There are a few names I must record in my thanks, Maggie Large for a considerable amount of typing; John Dukes for printing and Mike and Pattie Palmer for the postal and distribution.  Incidentally, Mike has done a grand job in the hand distribution - he has reached 30% of the club membership.

The BB Editor is now in a unique position as he is elected by the AGM after the precedent set by the 1977 AGM.  If anyone is prepared to take over the job they are welcome but in not I'm prepared to continue if members feel that the end product is to their requirements,

Dave Irwin

Publication Editor’s Report

There have been no publications this year and no new ones ere envisaged for the immediate future. I have not been able to put sufficient time into the job, and none of my anticipated timetable worked out in practice. The facilities available to me are no longer in existence.

The Cuthbert’s Reports have progressed a little, and thanks are due to Glenys Bezant for typing proof copies for photocopying offset plates.

It has been decided to alter the format of the Burrington Atlas, since there are several alterations or additions to be made to this publication.

I hope that someone with more energy, time and enthusiasm will be prepared to take on the post next year, as I do not think it fair to hang on to a job which I have not done well.

Graham Wilton-Jones


 

Tacklemaster’s Report

My report this year is one long moan.

I have spouted enough on previous occasions about taking proper care of equipment we have, about using the tackle log correctly and keeping the store neat and tidy.  The moan is about missing tackle this year. In particular we still have five lifelines missing, one being a brand new length of superbraidline nylon left in the Library until I could label it.  At one time all the older tethers were missing, though one turned up recently in a totally useless condition.  Several ladders are also missing.  For a short period of time, even the tackle log went missing.  The missing equipment cannot be accounted for by going through the tackle log to find who borrowed it, for it just has not been signed out.  After I mentioned the loss of certain items of tackle in the BB some months ago, two ladders and a rope, in a disgusting state, were returned.  That was all.

Thanks once again to Mike Palmer for the plentiful supply of C links.  Most of these have been used for the manufacture of new tethers which have now gone into circulation.

The superbraidline that was not stolen has been cut into lengths of 50ft, 100ft and 150ft.  It is kept in the roof along with other reserve store tackle such as the lightweight ladder.  During the last weekend in august the roof was broken into again yet again.  How long will the reserve tackle be safe?

Reserve tackle has been mixed up with equipment from the ordinary store, and lightweight ladder has been used for general trips on Mendip.  The arguments against this practice should by now be well known. The lightweight gear is not substantial enough to withstand constant use, and is reserved for the use solely away from Mendip.

To return to the original moan, I cannot see the Club sanctioning the expenditure of further monies on tackle while the current phase of misuse continues, nor can I justify any request from me for extra equipment.  That I can see is the restriction of tackle by removing it from the Belfry site, a very sorry but seemingly necessary state of affairs.

Graham Wilton-Jones

Nigel Jago

Members will be shocked by the tragic loss of Nigel Jago who was fatally injured at work on Friday 1st September 1978.  His work for the Club as Climbing secretary and climbing generally are well known to members of the club. 

Our deepest sympathies to Sue and the children.


 

Twenty Years Ago In The BB

Memory Joggers

compiled by Martin Bishop

I decided a few weeks ego, to dig back through some old BB's and see what I could find.  After awhile I thought, why not sort out a few articles and republish them.  So, I've picked out a few from the year of 1958 to start with.  I feel that these snippets will not only jog a few memories, but also bring home to some of the new members that things at the Belfry really ain’t so different today.

Mat 1958 'Cooking for Cavers I

Baked Beans a la Hobbs
Ingredients: 1 tin baked beans
1 bottle Coate's Triple Vintage Cider

Method:  Stagger from bed.  Cast bleary eye around kitchen.  Locate ingredients.  Imbibe sufficient liquid from bottle to find tin opener.  Open tin.  Imbibe more liquid to fortify constitution.  Wait until floor becomes steady before lighting gas.  Catch sight of beans.  Close eyes and reach for bottle.  Swallow.  Repeat as necessary.  Turn beans out carefully into saucepan.  Finish bottle to settle stomach.  Throw beans into rubbish bin.

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You really don't change, do you Sid!

October 1958 Extract from the Log.  22-23 Sept 1958.  St. Cuthbert's.

A party of four, including Mike Wheadon, Mike Palmer, Albert Francis and Prew went down at 8.30pm and went straight to Catgut Extension.  Went into the chamber found by Mike Wheadon on the 21st September. SIZE IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF QUARRY CORNER.  THE FORMATIONS AT THE TOP END ARE PROBABLY AMONG  THE FINEST IN THE ENTIRE CAVE.  The chamber was named September Chamber.  At the bottom of third chamber, a small hole leads to a chamber in the centre of which was an aven.  The top could only just be seen with the aid of a powerful lamp.  Height is over a hundred feet.  From here a bedding plane continues down dip to an old stream passage having excellent formations.  This carried on until a T-junction was reached.  Left is a short passage.  Right goes for about 70-100ft and many ways still to be looked at.  Series is called September Series.

November 1958 re Old Stone Belfry.  New Hut

We still need willing hands to build this new hut.  When you next use the Belfry, think of those past club members who put it up so that YOU could be comfortable on Mendip.  Now’s your chance to do your bit!  Remember there are FREE bed nights for all who WORK at this job.

For those who prefer to sing their notices, we have:-

“Cavers sitting in a daze
By the stove’s heat-giving rays.
Foremen form the building bawls,
Stop flipping rays and raise flipping walls.”


 

The Grand Tour - Caving Style,

by our Manchester exile - Nigel Dibben.

For the last two years, a course at Manchester University has seriously limited the amount of caving that I have been able to fit in (cries of AH! from the wings).  So to make up for, this, I arranged not to start work until late August end to get five weeks on the Continent beforehand.

The symposium in Bristol on Northern Spain gave a good opportunity to get up to date on what was happening there and to meet again some of the MUSSS cavers.  As a result, the first stopping point was to be Spain, followed by Italy where Stan Gee would be in late July and France where I would take pot-luck on who I would meet.

I left for Spain on 5th July and travelled via the Belfry, Weymouth, Cherbourg, Nantes etc and reached Spain on Friday evening to find the only MUSS member there at the time in one of the bars!  As no other cavers were expected to arrive until the following Monday or Tuesday, we went for the weekend to the Picos de Europa to visit Lancaster University SS at their remote camp at Tresviso (2 hours walk or 1 hour by Land Rover from the nearest road!) and to walk up to the spectacular Cares Gorge where the footpath is cut into or through the mountainside some 500ft from the bottom and another 500ft from the top - at the least.

Back at Matienzo, the first group of cavers arrived on Tuesday so the serious business of caving began on Wednesday.  MUSS technique is quite simple and very pleasant; every day starts at the bar at midday, no cave is entered until at least 2p.m., exit around 8 - 10 p.m. and then keep the bar open until 1 or 2 a.m., or later every other day or so.  By this method, we spent nine out of the next ten days underground pushing and surveying 1.5km in  Solviejo (the local name meaning “Old Sun”) discovering and surveying in a large a cave 300m long by 50+m deep (Torca Mustajo) revisiting sites found previously but never before entered and doing a few ‘pleasure’ trips.

Undoubtedly the best of the latter was a trip into the massive Uzueka system which at present consists of about 15km of passage – most of this forming the length of the cave as opposed to being maze work as in some other ‘long’ systems.  The particular aim on this trip was to visit an aven about halfway along the cave.  Named the Astradome, this aven is certainly the most spectacular that I have ever seen being perfectly cylindrical and about 60-70ft in diameter.  The echo in the oven is quite incredible us the sound reflects straight up from a pool of on the floor, and down from – we presume - the roof.  For some time there had been a considerable amount of speculation about how high the aven was: - 100ft, 100m, 1000ft?  Various estimates had been made.  It was certain that the top could not be seen with a spot-focus beam so at least it must have been more than 100ft.  Our technique was novel, to say the least; a bottle of helium had been obtained together with some weather balloons kindly donated by their manufacturer.  Being the only diver on the party, Salford Pete (Bolton Speleo Club) was volunteered to carry in the bottle which was the size of a ‘40’ (I think).  The balloon was sent up with a length of light string attached and a definite roof was reached against which the balloon bounced.  Unfortunately the roof must be decorated with straw stals, one of which punctured the balloon which descended a bit more rapidly than was intended. (There was still enough helium left to give some fun breathing it in and speaking with ‘Mickey Mouse’ voices, although we decided to stop that when we became dizzy – 3 miles from the surface!

Anyway, to cut the story short, the string was measured outside the bar that night and found to be EXACTLY 100m long which, with the height of the holder, gave an overall height of 100m to the aven.

After this period of activity, I felt I was due for a bit more relaxation so I joined Stan in Italy.  Arriving on Sunday afternoon after two days driving (nearly 900 miles as far as from Stockport to Matienzo) I met up with Stanley in the Rifugio Pietrapana after a brisk walk from the village of Levigliani.  For two days there was no caving to be done so I made do with a couple of walks and hill climbs until The Bradford Pothole Club arrived to visit the Antro del Corchia.

This fine system had been the target of a number of expeditions by the DCC in the late 60's and early'70's and in 1973 I had done the through trip from the original entrance to the lower entrance - Buca del Serpente.  The BPC split their assault into two days, the first spent tackling as far as the stream passage, which is only reached after a couple of hours in dry passage; the second day was spent bottoming the cave in 13 hours and de-tackling completely.  The cave is best appreciated in this way as the tackling trip can be taken at a leisurely pace in dry kit with time for a visit to the fine Stalagmite Gallery whereas the second day is taken a bit more rapidly in wetsuits down the very sporting streamway to the bottom.  The biggest pitches are 100ft and 140ft, all the rest being 25 to 30ft and the trip involves every sort of caving except the worse sorts of flat out crawling.  I highly recommend it as a sporting cave with depth.

After the Corchia, I rejoined Stan and two Italian cavers from Gruppo Speleologico Verona (who had been to Mendip last September).  For two days we went caving in the area around the Rifugio at Buca del Cane (visited by DCC in 1973) and some little known shafts on Monte Freddone.  Caving with Italians is an education in itself - but when one of them is known to have some rather unusual ideas, about pitch-rigging, it becomes a bit hair raising too.  We were prussiking on alpine ropes (i.e. knicker-elastic) using the continental technique of rigging pitches designed: -

a)       to ensure that the trip takes as long as possible (add at least half an hour a pitch)

b)       to ensure that the safety of every member of the party is put at the greatest possible risk possible

c)       to ensure that as much equipment is required as possible and that preferably as much is damaged or left in the cave as can be.

In short, I did not really approve.  The technique amounted to putting a new bolt at the top of each pitch over 50ft (whether necessary or not) and belaying a loop of the rope to it so that, one had to change ropes, often 100ft from the floor.  In one case, at the top of a 140ft pitch, this supplementary bolt pulled out when I was 10ft below it - 20ft from the TOP of the pitch.  After a 10ft free-fall and a few well chosen words, it was necessary to prussic up past the knot that was all that remained of this ‘safety’ device.  The moral is to avoid continental rigging (they didn’t seem to use any natural belays or rope protectors) and to carry a 'cow's tail on your sit-harness.

However, after two weeks in Italy, Stan was leaving for home so I drove back into France to the Vercors in the hope of meeting some other DCC members there. The DCC had moved on so during a day of torrential rain (lasting 36 hours non-stop) I went to four show caves in the area.  At the last one visited, I met up with some members of the Worth Valley Caving Club who kindly let me join their ‘expedition’ for the rest of the week. Their aim was not to find anything new but merely to enjoy a couple of weeks unrestricted caving in the fine systems in the area.  So we spent the next three days looking into caves that were not too badly affected by the earlier rain.  Eventually, all good things have to come to an end and so on the 11th August I set off back home, stopping once in France and arriving at Stockport on the Saturday night.

My gratitude must go to the members of MUSS, DCC, BPC, GSV and WVCC with whom I caved and to divine providence that allowed me to cover over 4,000 miles in a Bedford van without any breakdowns!


 

G.G. Winch Meet Whitsun 1978

By Glynis Beszant

 (Ed. note: I feel, after the thoughts of Chairman Wilton-Jones in the last few issues this article reflects the female mind when the men are underground!!  Still it’s good to see the girls writing their side of the caving saga!)

A party of three BEC members which comprised of G.W-J, Martin Grass and myself arrived rather late at the BPC dump; the lateness was due to us sharing the idea of going north with half the populace of London.  However, we, got there to see Rich Websell and Rob Palmer of the Wessex and as it was 2 a.m. we thought we’d be friendly and phone the Belfry just to check that the rest were coming up next day - as well as speaking to the Wessex, of course!

Next morning the condemned (me) ate a hearty breakfast before we drove to Crummock where we’d start the walk to G.G.  After packing our rucksacks so that we could carry more beer and less clothes, we set out with a full pack apiece and Graham with an additional suitcase.  He would insist that it was what the best dressed walker carried.  After walking up and down dale in the blistering sun with a stop every twenty minutes or so for Graham to relieve his suitcase arm and for me to reduce to a grease spot we were diverted by the sound of banging.  Arriving over the next hump we saw various BPC members digging away at a small shakehole ( Yorkshire’s picked up some Mendip habits after all).  We stayed around until the next lot of bang went off then completed the last leg to arrive knackered, at Gaping Gill.

After a very disbelieving welcome from the Bradford, after all we had promised faithfully for three years running and only made it this year, we looked around for somewhere to camp.  As all the ground near the beck was covered in a multitude of canvas we decided to pitch the tents at the top of the incline near the elsan tent, Bradford reckoned it eminently suitable for the BEC.

After hanging around for a couple of hours Tim L, Andy Sparrow and Backbone turned up with one rucksack full of compo rations – I wonder where they got them (?).  After eating we decided to go and identify some holes.  Graham, guidebook in hand, led the way.  We had an uneventful time chucking rocks down holes until we got to Marble Pot when after lobbing down huge boulders Andy heard a noise.  A lamb was at the bottom of the pitch.  The more athletic hacked back to camp for ropes.  On their return the ropes were lowered, the lamb fixed into slings and hoisted to the surface.  We returned to the beer tent and went to bed.  We were all wakened, except Martin, at 3am by the Bradford beating beer barrels around the tent!

Martin, Sparrow and Batstone went down the winch next day to look at Mud Hall and Sand Caverns and came up the winch much later to sunbathe.  Chris Batsone had warned them of unusual formations in Sand caverns before the trip and sure enough there was a pile of t..ds just waiting to be discovered by the BEC. Tim and Bassett in the meantime decided to take a million foot of rope that Graham had brought up back to the camp back to the car and to replenish our beer stocks.  On their return the variety of beer cans acquired from the pub put the idea of collecting empties to decorate the Belfry into Tim’s mind. This had alarming results as he promptly jumped into the rubbish pit to collect various cans only half an hour after the elsans had been emptied there.  Tim and G.W-J then went down Disappointment to Far Country and planned to come up on the winch.  However due to the drive wheel on the winch breaking (they had a spare) the queue was 3½ hours long and so our errant heroes came out Bar Pot.  During this time Martin had become Red Cross Brigade sending soup down to the frozen cavers in the windy bottom of the Main Chamber.

Dinner was late that night and the beer tent was first priority.  In the night Martin was awakened to Bassetts bare buttocks protruding in the tent - he'd been woken by a sheep rummaging in the rubbish pit and had got up to chase it out.  I must add that the sheep had proved a bit of a problem this weekend.  Apart from being brazen enough to filch food from around the tents and falling into caves AND the rubbish pit, they also had a curious effect on people.  Pete Faulkner was seen running a complete circuit around the top of GG shouting obscenities at woolly beasties and even Backbone was heard to shout 'mint sauce' at frequent intervals.

Next morning we woke to find that Tim had already walked to the top of Ingleborough and back in time for breakfast (mad fool).  After breakfast is when my purgatory began.  I had used every excuse not to go down the winch - even the lack of the £1 needed.  So they had a whip round (I think Tim footed most of the bill) to send me down.  The hour of torture began and I was, sent down after Tim.  The first 20ft over the overhand was alright but the speed after that convinced me the cable had broken.  A scream rent the air much to the amusement of those on the surface and I ended at the bottom an embarrassment to the BEC being in tears and calling for help to get me out.  A slightly nonplussed Tim hoiked me out and when I'd recovered showed me round the majestic splendour of GG Main Chamber!  Why isn't there an easier way down?

On the way up I decided that the speed down, if not right, for descent would be bloody marvellous for the ascent.  Still I tried to be stoic and fixed my eyes ahead, not looking up or down.  On reaching the surface a stream of abuse issued from the winch chair much to the amazement of Martin who was so sure I would have enjoyed it.  Tim got into the chair next and spent the next minute blowing his whistle for ascent - he didn’t' know the winch was broken - again.  Eventually Tim was brought up only to be showered with water by Graham.

Camp was struck, loaded into rucksacks and we walked back to Crummock rescuing two more sheep from Car Pot on the way.  There's something most peculiar about that route - it, took three hours to come up and 45 minutes to get back!  We loaded up the cars and sped off to Austwick and the Fighting Cocks where we were refreshed with ale and sandwiches.

Kingsdale was next port of call and martin, Sparrow and Bassett sweated up to Heron to abseil through and exit at the lower entrance.  Batstone and Tim investigated Yordas cave while I caught up oh my suntan. When the Heron crew joined us it was decided to abseil down Yordas Pot and out the cave.  Much discussion followed as to which rope to use on Tim’s 160ft pitch.  Graham had a 120ft rope which he was prepared to use but Tim wanted to try his new 160ft rope.  Just as well the later was used as the pitch turned out to be 80ft!  A quick brew up and we zoomed down to Keld Head for the lads in black rubber to wash and cool off.  By this time Sparrow was becoming very agitated about the time he would get back to Mendip as it might be too late to get his leg……well it’s a bit personal, you know what I mean!!

At last we were squeezing ourselves into cars already full to bursting with tents etc., and began the long haul down the motorway back the smoke - all slightly overdone with suntan but otherwise rather satisfied with the weekend.


 

Letters To The Editor

To the Editor, B.B.

Arriving at the Belfry on the 28th July (Friday afternoon) I was somewhat staggered by the absolute chaos and filthy mess within.

The furniture, such as it is, was completely soaked and thrown about the room, every article of cutlery was dirty and left in a heap on the worktop.  The whole hut smelt like a cow shed with rotting food, stale air and a general smell of filth.

I'm not saying that the type of piss up that resulted in this mess should not happen in the shed but the members involved (some of them of many years standing) should ensure that the place in cleaned up afterwards.  I hope other members will support any action that the Committee might care to take.  If anybody thinks this is the pot calling the kettle black, I clean up, my mess.

Trev Hughes, Aug 1978.

*****************************************

To the Editor, BB - A letter to the Pigs…

 (Pigs being the obnoxious members/non-members/guests using the Belfry)

On 3 or 4 occasions during, the past couple of months the Belfry has been left in a deplorable state. On one occasion during midweek it took about an hour to clean the hardened spilt food and grease from, the table and cooking areas, clean the sink and do the, washing up.  NOW this weekend 27th-28th July, the Friday night arrivals found they not only had to wash up partly cleaned cutlery etc., but after their labours found the furniture soaking wet, also the bunkroom backdoor was left open, a good job the recent invasions of undesirables were off to parts further north!  With attitudes such as these no wonder the Hut Warden has found it necessary to remove the greatest part of the cooking utensils only leaving a few tea-mugs out.

It also appears that an apathy of doing things in half measures is becoming incumbent amongst Belfryites, half the tackle store done and half the half made cess pit has been started.

Stu Lindsey.


 

Lifeline

by Tim Large

The lifeline can finally be belayed this month.  I hope it has been able to keep members, particularly those absent from Mendip, in touch with the clubs activities.

The Club has had the offer of some very cheap foam mattresses end has decided to purchase 100 of these to keep the bunkroom well provided for.  Also Tom Temple has donated a small number waterproof mattresses which will come in useful for the more incontinent amongst us.

At last we have the details for the purchase of Club sweatshirts.  The price will be about £5 being in one colour - NAVY with a white design incorporating Bertie.  A limited quantity will be purchased to begin with so if you are interested contact John Dukes - cash with order - sizes are small, medium and large.

I understand that the Cambrian Caving Council intend to vote against any NCA Constitutional changes proposed by the CSCC at the forthcoming NCA AGM in January 1979.  It appears that again they are not taking any notice of the views of the grass roots cavers.  If this is the case the Club will support any action intended stop this unacceptable attitude.  This could involve a boycott of the NCA AGM by CSCC which would mean that the meeting would be inquorate and no decisions could be made.

Ben Lyon of Whernside Manor has sent out a questionnaire on cave usage in the Dales.  Apparently the Yorkshire Dales National Park intends to judge the value on any cave site and the frequency of visitors.

If any cave is only visited once per year, does it make it less important than one that has weekly visits by the hordes?  We would oppose closing of any cave regardless of its popularity.  What may be a lesser known cave today could be the King Pot of tomorrow.

The Committee have decided to publish the attendance record of this years Committee meetings they are as follows: -

Committee member

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Dave Irwin

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

A

+

Tim Large

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Martin Bishop

+

+

+

+

+

+

A

A

A

+

A

+

Graham Wilton-Jones

+

+

+

+

+

+

A

+

A

+

A

+

Russ Jenkins

+

A

+

A

+

Resigned from attending meetings in February with committee’s approval.

Barrie Wilton

+

+

+

+

+

A

+

A

+

+

+

+

Nigel Taylor

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Alfie Collins

A

+

resigned

Chris Batstone

A

+

+

+

+

+

A

+

A

+

+

+

John Dukes

(co-opted in February)

+

+

+

+

+

A

+

+

Martin Grass

(co-opted in February)

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

A

Bob Cross

(co-opted in June)

+

+

+

+

Sue Tucker

(co-opted in July)

+

+

+

+ present, A Absent

*****************************************

If elected to the Committee next year I would be prepared to undertake the secretarial task again, having thoroughly enjoyed nyself despite the various problems.  I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the AGM and Dinner.

Safe caving,
            Cheers,
                        Tim Large.


 

Library List

Number #3 - additions to the Library List published Sept. 1972.

Parts 1 & 2 were published in the March and August 1978 B.B.'s.

GLOUCESTER S.S.

Newsletter May      1965; Feb. 1968; July 1968; Oct & Dec. 1968

1969 - Jan - April; 1972 - Nov/Dec

1973 J/F; Ap; My; Jy; Sept.

1974 J, F, Mar, A, My; Sept; Nov; Dec.

1976 Jy/A; B/Oct.

1977 J/F; Mar/Ap; My/Ju; N/D.

GRAMPIAN S.G.

Bulletin 2(4, 5)

Index to Bulletin Vols 1 - 5 (1974)

Bulletin, 2nd Series 1(1-2; 4; 5)

Bibliography of Technical Articles

Caving Songs of Mendip; Occ. Pub No.3

IRISH SP. SOC.

Journal 2 (1) (2).

KENDAL C.C.

Ladder Construction - Epoxy Resin Process

LONDON UNIVERSITY C.C.

Journal (14)

MENDIP CAVER

Index to all volumes.

MENDIP CAVING GROUP

Newssheet Nos: 2 - 8, 10 - 17, 19 Journal Nos 5 & 6

Newsletters Nos: 2, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 20, 21, 24, 29-31, 35, 38, 39, 41, 42, 50, 55.

M.N.R.C.

1958 (Jy, Au, D)

1959 (May, Jy, D)

1961 (Jy, O)

1962 (Mar, Ju, S, D)

1963 (Mar, Ju, S, D)

Development of Artificial Climbing

Journal 2 (1)

NORTHERN CAVE CLUB

Journal (3)

NORTHERN CAVING CLUB

The Northern Caver 2 (1)

NORTHERN PENNINE CLUB

Newsletter (41); Journal 2(3); 3(1)


 

Annual Dinner

The 29th B. E. C. Annual Dinner SATURDAY 7th OCTOBER 1978 at the CAVE MAN REST., CHEDDAR

PRICE £3.50 each includes a free pint or glass of sherry before the meal and a bottle of plonk (between two) with the meal.

Meal includes Roast Beef nod Yorkshire Pud. ‘Silver Service’ is definitely OUT this year.  The veg. will be placed on the table; only the meat will be waitress service.   So, hopefully the meal will be over in about 1½ hours.

Send your reservations and money to the Club Treasurer Sue Tucker, at 75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Redstock, Avon.

All bookings should be in with Sue by the 2nd October at the latest.

Vale

It is with great regret that we have to report the death of two of Mendip’s well known cavers - 'Digger' Harris after a long illness and Prof. E.K. (Trat) Tratman.  'Digger' was a Hon. Life Member of the BEC and will long be remembered for his lack of smell that enabled him to gain an entry into the well known Cow Hole and his efforts in the exploration of Wookey Hole in the 1930's.  'Trat' whose caving activities date back to 1919 caved extensively through out Europe but will forever be associated with the caves of Clare in Eire, Swildon's Hole and for his study of the Burrrington Coombe caves.

News in brief:

Rock and - Fountain, S. Wales; large extension found, believed off the 3rd. Boulder Choke.  Said to be huge passages.

New stock of carbide ordered for supplies at the Belfry.

Don't forget to send in your order for a BEC sweat shirt to John Dukes.

ADDRESS CHANGE: Teresa Rumble, 71 Chiltern Close, Warmley, Bristol, Avon

Meets in Yorkshire organised by Dave Metcalfe: 10 Troughton Crescent, Blackpool.

Oct. 1st. Gingling Hole, Fountains Fell.

Oct. 29th. Notts Pot

Nov. 18th. Top Sink

Dec. 16th. Swinsto/Simpsons exchange.