The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Som.  Telephone: Wells 72126.

Editor: D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset.  Telephone: Priddy 369.

Drinking At The Hunters

Fault Finding Chart (Reprinted from Surrey University Rag Mag. 1978).




Action to take







Drinking fails to give satisfaction and taste, shirt front wet.



Feet warm and wet


Mouth not open while drinking, or glass being applied to wrong part of face.


Incorrect bladder control

Buy another pint and practice in front of mirror.  Drink as many as necessary until technique perfect.


Stand next to nearest dog - after a while complain to owner about lack of house training.  Demand pint as compen­sation.

to be continued….


Martin Grass has sent in the following notes:

St. Cuthbert's: The Arête Ladder has been removed from the cave for repair.  The bolts are safe and all leaders will need to take a lifeline and ladder plus a short tether.  The ladder will be replaced as soon as it has been overhauled.

O.F.D.  As stated in the May BB, the Columns have been gated and will only be opened on 6 weekends every year.  ALL parties must be accompanied by a leader from the Nature Conservancy.  Dates will be published in future BB's.

Otter Hole has been booked for the BEC on September 6th 1980.  Anyone interested should contact Martin either at the Belfry or telephone (0582-35145).

Peak Cavern: Anyone interested in a trip should contact Martin NOW and he will arrange some dates.

BEC Leaders:

            DYO & Tunnel -             Graham Wilton-Jones (Te1:0296-28270)
                                                Martin Grass (Tel:0582-35145)

            OFD -                           G. Wilton-Jones
                                                Mike Palmer (Tel:0749-74-393)
                                                M. Grass

            Reservoir Hole:              D. Irwin (Tel: 074-987-369)
                                                M. Grass

Anyone who thinks that they are still leaders for OFD or DYO should contact Martin as the SWCC have no record of them.

A note to George from the ‘Wig’.  In response to your letter to the BB some 12 months or so ago, a short series of articles 'A Brief History of Mendip Caving, 1960 - 1980' will be published in the BB shortly.  This will cover all new caves and their locations and extensions to the then existing caves.


Italian News

From Stan Gee we have the latest news from the Italian Scene……….

It is a bit sickening but whilst the BEC and others thrutch, strain and heave for a few yards of new passage, we receive .the following information, via C.A.I. Magazine of recent discoveries (1979) in Italy.

At the Cacciatore, a fourth 'bottom' has been found at -715m and a total distance surveyed now comprising 8 kilometres.  Not satisfied with this, a dye test has proved a positive connection to the Corchia, though the way through has yet to be discovered.

About 300m from the Cacciatore, a cave called the Abisso Bader Meinhof, referred to as ‘BM’ has been discovered and a depth of -450m with the exploration not yet complete.

Still in Tuscany, at a cave called Abisso Roversi, a huge shaft of 310m has been found and a total depth of -755m reached whilst on Monte Sumbra, a swine of a mountain for access.  Abisso del Draghi Volante (Abisso of the Flying Dragon) has popped down for -500m.  The report doesn't say but in this cave a bad accident took place and the poor sod was stuck below for about 3 days.

Piemonte Exploration has been proceeding in Gache and Piaggiabella, but also a new hole has been found with a depth of -180m whilst on Monte Mondole, Abisso reached a depth of -320m.

Lornbardia. Passing of a siphon in the caves of Tacchi and Zelbio has produced some 3,000m of passage, making a total of 5,900m discovered since 1978.

Liguria.  1,300m discovered in the fossil gallery of the Grotta Rugli.

Friuli.  In Abisso Roversi a new galleria has reached a new depth of -585m and another new discovery has reached -650m in the Gortani.  Another cave noted as M21, they dismissed as chicken feed, has reached minus 399m with a total distance of 4 kilometres!

Veneto.  Abisso Malga Fossetta – down to -455m and at Vicenza, the Buso del la Rapa has been explored and surveyed for 15 kilometres!

Calabria.  Exploration in the cave of Angelo has produced 2,560m.  At this place there are 3 caves very close together but no connection between them has yet been found.

Sicilia. This must be the cavers dream discovery at the cave of Cucchiari where a 100m shaft leads to caves which, due to hydro thermic phenomena have draughts of air at 39 - 40 centigrade!  Yes, that’s what the book says, 39 -40 degrees centigrade!  Sort of like, 102 degrees in the shade.  Sounds just the place for an aging caver to retire to, it could easily become the Cheltenham of the caving world!

Cheerio for now, see you boys at Cucchiara

Stan Gee

PS: The strangely garbed characters seen busking at Laycock Folk Festival, with a BEC sticker on his melodeon and attracting the amused attention of two BEC ladies was me, I admit it. As the label said “The BEG get everywhere”.

Many thanks Stan hope to hear from you again later in the year.

A Note From The Tacklemaster

John Dukes

Will all members please note that they should use spreaders on ladders to prevent unnecessary strain on the cable at the top rung.

Quote of the MONTH

A Special Constable talking to PC Plod (Nigel Taylor) "Didn't you use to go caving?"



by Tim Large

1.                  Dinner 1980. It will be held at the Caveman Restaurant, Cheddar on Saturday 4th October 1980 7.30pm for 8pm.  The menu will be very similar to last year with Roast Beef as the main course.  Wine will be included in the price and also a drink before the meal.  Price £5.

2.                  Recently a meeting was held at the Belfry to discuss any improvements to the club H.Q. Previously to this plans had been published in the B.B. and those interested submitted their comments. It has been decided to consult an architect to see what is possible with regard building regulations etc. Once this has been done we will know exactly what we can do.

3.                  The Committee has decided that due to lack of material for the B.B. that a large version of the B.B. will be produced quarterly - as you received for your April/May version. This will include the main articles about club caving activities etc.  In future editions it will have a different cover, possibly with a photograph on it.  In between the quarterly issue there will be published a B.B. News-Sheet containing only day to, day club business and notice of events.  This will only be issued to Club Members.  Any clubs with whom we exchange will only receive the quarterly Journal.

4.                  Recently there have been thefts from cars parked at G.B., Cuckoo Cleeves and Pinetree Pot. Members are advised to leave no valuables in their cars whilst they go caving.  Also thieves are not very particular about how they break in - Cuckoo Cleeves a crow bar was used to lever the boot open.  At G.B. the dash board of a Ford Capri was wrenched out in order to remove a radio.  You have been warned!!

5.                  The committee has noticed that there must now be quite a number of lapsed members who still have keys to the Belfry and St Cuthbert’s.  It would be appreciated that if any members know the existence of such keys, they could be returned for re-issue to, new members etc.  This would help keep ever rising costs down.

6.                  A slide show by Paul Deakin will be held at the Hunters on Saturday 20th September 1980 at 8pm.

7.                  There is still a vacancy for a non-committee post of Publications Officer.  This entails editing and arranging the printing of our special publications such as Burrington Atlas, Cuthbert’s Reports etc. Several sections of the Cuthbert’s Reports are ready for publication, but until we find someone willing to do the work they will unfortunately remain unpublished.  Anyone interested?

8.                  The Somerset Trust for Nature Conservation is about to take over the Mineries Area as they have done with Longwood Valley.  We have established close contacts with the Trust as our H.Q.'s is close to the area and members have quietly enjoyed this stretch of countryside for many years. The two main objectives appear to fall in line with BEC views.  That is to stop the Hippies from camping and to stop the motorcyclists who have recently increased in number and have been defacing the area.  Volunteer wardens are needed - anyone interested contact Tim Large, Nigel Taylor or Brian Prewer.

9.                  Sue Tucker has recently expressed her concern over the ever increasing work of the Treasurer. This year the amounts of money involved are quite staggering hence the paperwork to keep pace with it also increases. Sue would like assistance in the form of a membership Secretary - as we had some years ago.  This persons role would be to collect membership fees - keep the address list up to date and submit figures to the Treasurer and send out the B.B.  Anyone interested should contact any committee member as soon as possible.

10.              Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  A reminder that this fund is available to younger members who’s financial state is perhaps not so rosy, particularly those still in full time education, university, etc.  Grants can be given to enable members to undertake caving expeditions, projects etc, Anyone give a grant is expected to write a report for the B.B.  If any members are interested they should contact either Tim Large, Sue Tucker, Mike Palmer, Sett or Martin Grass.


1980 Annual General Meeting

Election of Club Officers

Nominations are now requested for the Committee Election.  These must be seconded in writing and be sent to the Hon. Secretary by the 6th September 1980 at:

Tim Large,
Hon. Secretary, B.E.C
53 Portway,

Annual Dinner

at the Caveman Restaurant, Goughs Caves, Cheddar.

Nigel Taylor is prepared to arrange a coach to run from the Belfry to the Caveman and back to the Belfry after the dining and wining.  Those who want to take advantage of this facility should contact Nigel (at the Belfry or write c/o The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset, as soon as possible to ensure that the right size coach is booked.  A charge will be made to cover the hiring costs.

Resignations from the Committee:

Garth Dell and Dave Irwin will not be standing again this year for election to the Committee.  The remaining seven members of the Committee will be standing again but to ensure an election there needs to be at least three new nominations.  Garth is currently the Hut Warden and Dave Irwin, the B.B. Editor.


I’m afraid that this issue of the B. B. has had to be spread over two months again simply because NO new material has been sent in for publication.  On a matter of principle I'm not intending to fill the pages of the B.B. with padding written by myself.  Neither has it been a lack of effort on my part in trying to get members to put pen to paper but the common replies are "I haven't the time" or "Yes, I'll get something to you in the next few days" (which, needless to say never arrives).  As a talking point for the AGM, members will have to think very carefully before demanding a Monthly B. B. from the new Editor UNLESS THEY are prepared to supply material for publication on a regular basis.  To publish a monthly BB is a responsibility that ALL members must shoulder and ensure that they send at least one article a year.  Just ponder on this little fact: To fill a 14 page B.B. (that is so often demanded by the Belfry regular) requires SEVEN articles a month if each spreads over two pages.



Belfry Alterations

a note on a recent meeting between interested parties at the Belfry.

Following the publication of the suggested alterations to the Belfry, published in the March BB a meeting between the Committee and about 10 members took place on a hot, sunny morning at the Belfry.  The published plans were discussed in detail and criticisms and alternative proposals were discussed in detail.  Buckett Tilbury sent his comments via Graham Wilton Jones and Pete and Joyce Franklin brought up their suggestions in the form of plans based on those published in the BB.  The meeting agreed that they strive for the ideal plan without, at this point in time, any consideration to the final cost.  It was appreciated that whatever was decided upon at this meeting could well be pruned accordingly when some professional estimates were obtained.  It was generally agreed that the staircase to the loft could not be installed in the main living room and the proposed position for them would be inside the main entrance.  An alternative layout proposed by Pete and Joyce put the men's dorm up in the loft and building in a long dormer window.  The existing men's room would be divided into a women's room (at the far end of the building) and the Library (adjoining the main living room). The Changing area and shower cubicles were also revised giving a better 'flow' of people through the area.  Plans will be drawn up and professional advice sought.  A sum of £50 - £100 was allocated for arch. and surveyors fees in the first instance. The revised plans will be published in the BB hopefully before the next AGM.  A further point was agreed upon that the project should be split into a phased programme to be carried out over a number of years ensuring an easy running of the Belfry during the alterations.  More details later.


Minutes of the 1979 Annual General Meeting of the Bristol Exploration Club.

The meeting was held at the Belfry on Saturday 6th October 1979 being convened by the Hon. Secretary Tim Large.  A quorum being present the meeting was opened at 10.40am.  The Hon. Secretary asked for nominations for a Chairman Alan Thomas and Sett were nominated from, the floor.  A vote was taken and Alan Thomas elected.  In his opening remarks the Chairman reminded those present that the A.G.M. was the right and proper place to air any grievances or dissatisfaction with the club.  'Members therefore speak up now or forever hold thy peace'.  Outstanding Ballot Papers were called for and three Tellers elected.  Apologies for absence were received from O.C.L., Steve Tuck, Chris Smart and Stuart McManus.

The minutes of the Extraordinary General Meeting held on 7th October 1978 had been published in the B.B. - The meeting approved these with comment.  No matters were arising.

The minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on the 7th October 1978 had been published in the B:B. - The meeting approved these.


1.                  A letter of thanks to Alfie Collins had been sent by the Hon. Secretary on the 30th October 1978.

2.                  B.B. Printing Machine.  The one which had been available via Sett had been acquired.  Bob Cross seconded by Nigel Taylor proposed a vote of thanks to Sett for his efforts in securing the machine- The meeting agreed unanimously.

3.                  The new Trustees have been elected and the necessary documentation completed.

4.                  Re A.O.B. The meeting agreed that the first motion be deleted regarding Garth Dell as it contradicted the second motion.

Hon. Secretary’s Report.  Already published in the B.B.  Adopted by the meeting following proposal by Jerry Crick seconded by Martin Bishop.

Hon. Treasurer’s Report.  Already published in the B.B.  Joan Bennett expressed concern over outstanding hut fees involving 5 people with the largest sum being £8.  Martin Grass proposed, seconded by Tony Jarratt that the meeting be informed of the debtor’s names.  FOR 21 AGAINST 8.  Bob Cross expressed concern over the names being made public.  Brian Prewer suggested that credit should never have been allowed in the first place.  Brian Prewer proposed, seconded by Sue Tucker that no credit be allowed in future.  FOR 6 AGAINST 20.  Dave Turner, seconded by Garth Dell proposed that credit be allowed for one month or until the next visit to the Belfry, whichever is the least. FOR 23 AGAINST 8 - Motion carried. Nigel Taylor, seconded by Jerry Crick proposed that the Hon. Treasurer's report be adopted - carried unanimously.

Hon. Caving Secretary’s Report.  The report had already been published in the B.B.  Bob Cross expressed concern over the fact that cave keys were not often available to members as they had already been loaned to guests.  He went on to propose, seconded by Martin Grass that the club has available at the Belfry two keys to each cave, one being exclusively for members the other for guests.  This was carried unanimously.  Nigel Taylor proposed, seconded by Dave Irwin that the report be adopted - carried unanimously.

Hon. Hut Warden’s Report.  Chris Batstone read his report to the meeting.  No comments were forthcoming.  A vote of thanks was proposed by Martin Grass, seconded by Nigel Taylor - carried unanimously.  Jerry Crick seconded by Mike Wheadon proposed that the report be adopted – carried.

Hon. Hut Engineer's Report.  Already published in the B.B.  Sett commented on the Belfry not having adequate ventilation.  This was previously recommended at the 1977 A.G.M. by Ginger Thomas.  Bob Cross endorsed this opinion.  Tim Large pointed out that the materials had been obtained for the work to be done. Chris Batstone, seconded by jerry Crick proposed that the report be adopted – carried.

Hon. Tacklemaster's Report.  Already published in the B.B.  John Dukes commented that the ladder taken for the Austrian Expedition had not yet been returned.  Martin Bishop said that he had the ladder at home for safe keeping as it had been left in the Belfry.  The meeting agreed on a vote of thanks to Martin Bishop for looking after it. Brian Prewer suggested that it was the responsibility of the signing tackle out if it became lost or mislaid. Dave Irwin, seconded by Chris Batstone proposed the report be adopted - carried.

Hon. B.B. Editor's Report.  Published in the B.B.  Adoption proposed by Garth Dell and seconded by Nigel Taylor - carried.

Hon. Librarian's Report.  Dave Irwin reported that there were some books missing.  One long outstanding book - 'Limestone and Caves of Derbyshire' had recently been located in the possession of Stuart McManus.  The meeting endorsed the Librarian's request that members borrowing books must enter details in the Library register. Concern was expressed by the meeting regarding the safety of the clubs rare books.  Sett, seconded by Garth Dell proposed that a suitable lockable box be obtained in which to keep these books motion carried unanimously. Jerry Crick proposed, seconded by John Turner that the report be adopted - carried unanimously.

I.D.M.F. Report. There being no report the Hon. Secretary said there had been one application during the year from Nick Thorne who was granted £40.  The fund still stands at about £300.  The meeting expressed the need to adhere to Ian Dear's original wishes, even though it meant the fund not being used as mush as in recent years.  Tony Jarratt proposed, seconded by Martin Bishop that the report be adopted - carried.

The Chairman announced the result of the Committee Election.  Those elected were as follows:- Dave Irwin, Sue Tucker, Tim Large, Nigel Taylor, Martin Grass, Graham Wilton-Jones, John Dukes, Stuart Lindsay and Garth Dell.  A vote was taken on the officer's posts with the results as follows:-

Hon. Secretary - Tim Large
Hon. Treasurer - Sue Tucker
Hon. Caving Secretary - Martin Grass
Hon. Hut Warden - Garth Dell
Hon. Hut Engineer - Nigel Taylor
Hon. Tacklemaster - John Dukes
Hon. B.B. Editor - Dave Irwin
Joan Bennett was unanimously elected by the meeting as Hon. Auditor.

Annual Subscription. The Chairman outlined the method by which the proposed subscription of £7.50 had been arrived at details of this had previously been published in the B.B.  Joan Bennett pointed out that in the last two years the club's capital had dropped from £1300 to £680.  Sett pointed out that all sections of the club should be self supporting i.e. Belfry rates and insurance should come from Belfry income.  Martin Grass and John Dukes expressed opposition to this stating that all members should contribute to the club facilities.  Dave Irwin suggested that by cutting the B.B. to six issues a year, and cutting expenditure slightly in other areas the club could raise £600 towards Belfry improvements during the next year.  The Chairman suggested that to supplement this, a donation of £2 per member or a standing order of £1 per month should be considered.

John Turner suggested that a sub of £10 per year was not unreasonable, which would give us enough money to project further into the future and consider better improvements. John Dukes suggested that other fund raising schemes should be tried such as lotteries and Jumble Sales. Brian Prewer pointed out that it could be dangerous to raise the sub too much as the club may lose too many fringe members and therefore still not increase its income.  Tim Large suggested splitting the B.B. away from the sub with the B.B. optional at say £2.50 and subs at £5.  Garth Dell asked what advantage this would give.  Tim Large explained that it would keep the actual sub lower and those members requiring the B.B. including Life Members would have to pay the £2.50 subscription.  Dave Irwin supported the idea.  He also said that much work needed to be done on the Belfry.   Money for this was needed quickly.  Tim Large proposed, seconded by Brian Prewer that annual sub be separated from the B.B. costs FOR 18 AGAINST 19 - motion failed.  Maureen Wheadon proposed, seconded by Dave Irwin that the annual sub be £8 FOR 24 AGAINST 7 - motion carried.  An amendment motion was proposed by Martin Grass, seconded by Nigel Taylor that the annual sub be £9 FOR 12 AGAINST 20 - motion failed.


1. Para 2a - delete 'in any way whatsoever'.

2. Para 4a line 2 delete 'full details' substitute 'Notice'.

3. Para 5b line 5 delete August substitute September.

4. Para 5h line 4 delete from 'or if that is beyond' to end of paragraph.

All these amendments were passed with a large majority.  Mike Wheadon expressed concern over various ambiguities within the new constitution. He proposed, seconded by Dave Irwin that the committee be instructed to consider his points and report back to the 1980 A.G.M. - motion carried with a large majority.


1.                  Proposed by Tony Tucker, seconded by Bob Cross that the B.B. become a bi-monthly journal in order to limit expenditure in this direction.  Bob Cross explained that he considered too much money was spent on the B.B. He would prefer that the £2.50 per head costs were spent on the Belfry improvements.  Nigel Taylor emphasised the cheapness of the B.B. by comparing it to 5 pints of beer.  Jok Orr expressed support for a monthly B.B. as a way of keeping members not on Mendip regularly in touch with the club.  Graham Wilton-Jones said that the B.B. was always up to date with news due to its monthly publication and therefore good value for money.  A vote was taken and the large majority voted against the motion.

2.                  Proposed by Roy Bennett, seconded by Dave Irwin.  That the Committee set up a Belfry Improvements Fund and solicit donations from members by any means they think fit.  Passed by a large majority.

3.                  Proposed by Tim Large on behalf of that Committee, seconded by Cuthbert’s Leaders that the club should look into obtaining comprehensive insurance cover for all members including Cuthbert’s Leaders.  Passed with large majority.

4.                  Proposed by Roy Bennett, seconded by Dave Irwin. That the Committee be instructed to investigate the question of comprehensive insurance for Cuthbert’s Leaders and obtain such if they consider the club can afford the premium.  Motion carried.


Mike Wheadon drew the meetings attention of the donation to the club by John Ifold of his collection of B.B.'s.  John suggested that it might be worth a Life Membership.  The meeting did not think it worth a Life Membership but accepted his donation.  Sett agreed to have a word with John Ifold on the subject.

Dave Turner expressed concern over reliance on a proposed wood burning stove for the Belfry.  He considered that it may present problems if wood supplies became scarce or expensive.  Various members from the floor said that there was no chance of wood becoming that scarce in the foreseeable future.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 3pm


Earlier this year, Roy Bennett and 'Wig' sent out a letter to all Life Members - the response has been such that most have contributed a sum of money to cover the cost of their BB's - one member gave in kind sufficient to produce at least six small size BB's.  Sue will be contacting these members in the near future but in the meantime Roy and 'Wig' offer their thanks to all who have contributed.  One who sent a letter to Sue was George Honey and he writes "I've got a letter signed Roy and Dave and I do realise that prices have increased.  I do look forward to receiving my BB which is now read to me.  You see, my 'candles' have gone out (I've lost my matches)."  Britt, his wife, added a postscript, asking that if any of the 'old friends', or for that matter any younger caver, have a few minutes to spare, would they write to George.  Any letter that's received will get a reply if they carry the correct address. So, come you oldies!


IMPORTANT DATE TO REMEMBER : - The 1980 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB will be held at the BELFRY at 10.30am prompt on SATURDAY 4th OCTOBER 1980. Don't forget to be there.