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The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset . Telephone: Wells (0749) 72126.

Editor: G. Wilton-Jones

May I take this opportunity to apologise for the late issue of this August B.B., and offer the excellent excuse that I've been caving which is what we're all about, isn't it.  Oh yes, a little bit of drinking as well, but you all know what Euro-fizz is like.

Bob Hill has promised an article about our stay in the Mont Blanc region. He and Jem successfully reached Mont Blanc summit, along with 288 other people, and there are many other tales to tell.  I'll give you all my version after I've read Bob's!

We should also have something on the 600 metre + through trip from Tanne du Bel Espoir to the Grotte de la Diau, canoeing down the Ardeche, and brief mentions of Orgnac and Cocaliere.

Also in next month's B.B., which should be out for the dinner, transcripts or extracts of letters from Blitz, recently returned from Nigeria, Karen and Gary in the States, and Big Jim, who is now going to stay out there a further two or three years. A short run down on the B.C.R.A. conference, more about the Manor Farm dig, how Walsall may go the way of many Florida homes and disappear down a hole, plus book reviews, plus all the latest news I can gather.

Bassett.

P.S.  BRING THIS WITH YOU TO THE A.G.M... .. and please read it beforehand!

THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB WILL BE HELD AT THE BELFRY ON SATURDAY 3RD OCTOBER 1981 COMMENCING AT 10.30AM.

AGENDA

1.                  Election of Chairman

2.                  Collection of outstanding ballot papers

3.                  Election of Tellers

4.                  Minutes of 1980 AGM

5.                  Matters arising from 1980 AGM

6.                  Hon. Secretary’s Report

7.                  Hon. Treasurer’s Report

8.                  Hon. Auditor’s Report

9.                  Caving Secretary’s Report

10.              Hut Warden’s Report

11.              Hut Engineer’s report

12.              Tackelmaster’s Report

13.              B.B. Editor’s Report

14.              I.D.M.F. Report

15.              Librarian’s Report

16.              Result of Committee election

17.              Election of Officers

18.              Members Resolutions

19.              Any other business


 

Minutes of the 1980 Annual General Meeting of The Bristol Exploration Club

The meeting was held at The Belfry on Saturday 4th October 1980 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 Roy Bennett were nominated from the floor.  A vote was taken and Alan Thomas elected by 21 votes to 1.  In his opening address the Chairman reminded those present that the AGM was the right and proper place to air any grievances or dissatisfaction with the club.  Outstanding ballot papers were called for and the following Glenys Wilkinson, Lawrie O'Neil and Dave Irwin elected as Tellers.  The minutes of the AGM held 6th October 1979 had been circulated and were approved by the meeting.

Matters Arising

Rare Books - The meeting maintained its view that the rare books should be kept in a lockable container.  This matter is in hand.

Constitutional Proposals - No further action is required at present on the proposals put forward by Michael Wheadon.

Insurance - As no viable policy could be found at a cost the club could consider it was considered best to leave the situation as it was until something viable becomes available.

Officers Reports

Hon. Secretary’s Report had previously been circulated in the B.B.  Tim Large had nothing further to add.  It was proposed by Nigel Taylor and seconded by Dave Irwin that he meeting adopt the report- agreed unanimously.

Hon. Treasurers Report was circulated at the meeting, Sue Tucker pointed out that the loses made on the boots could be explained by the fact several pairs had been stolen and payment on three pairs was still outstanding.  The club still had one pair of boots in stock.  Several Belfry accounts had not been passed to Sue Garth. Dell said he would pass these over. Nigel Taylor proposed seconded by Chris Batstone that the reports of the Hon. Treasurer and Hon. Auditor be adopted - agreed.

Hut Wardens Report was read to the meeting by the Chairman who expressed concern over the number of rogue keys and also the question of group supervision at the Belfry. John Turner proposed that no person be allowed to stay at the Belfry unless a member of a bonefide club and supervised by a member.  This was seconded by Val Wilkinson.  A vote was taken FOR - 37 AGAINST - 0 motion carried.  The situation regarding hut fees outstanding had now much improved. Jerry Crick proposed seconded by John Dukes that the report be adopted - carried.

Hut Engineers Report had been published in the BB. Nigel Taylor had nothing more to add. Jerry Crick proposed seconded by Martin Grass that the report be adopted - carried.

Caving Secretary’s Report was read to the meeting by Martin Grass.  Martin stated the need for more Cuthbert’s Leaders.  Chris Batstone proposed seconded by Greg Villas that the report be adopted - carried.

Tacklemasters Report was circulated to the meeting by John Dukes who then amplified his report by saying that we still had tackle missing from last year plus another 9 ladders missing this year of which 6 appear to be unaccountable for.  We have 5 ladders of other manufacture, some being found in Swildons when our tackle has been stolen.  John said the meeting should decide what action the club should take to prevent further loses.  He also pointed out that tackle wasn’t being looked after properly.  Members must use a recognised good practice and ensure it is cleaned after use.  Chris Batstone asked if the club was going to replace and make new tackle.  John explained that materials had been obtained and new ladders would be made and old ones renovated.  Problems were at present being experienced with taper pins but these should soon be overcome.  Garth Dell proposed seconded by Jerry Crick that the report be adopted - carried.

Pete Franklin proposed a vote of thanks to John for maintaining the tackle seconded by Stuart McManus.  The meeting agreed.

Librarians Report - Chris Batstone said that the library had been reorganised and a new catalogue in progress.  No books had gone missing this year as far as he was aware.  The lockable box for the rare books was well in hand.  Woly Wilkinson proposed second by John Turner that the report be adopted - carried.

I.D.M.F. Report - no requests had been received for money.  Chris Batstone proposed, seconded by Garth Dell that the report be adopted - carried.

BB Editors Report had been published in the BB.  Dave Irwin said he had been unable to produce a quarterly BB as proposed due to lack of material. Garth Dell proposed seconded by Bob Hill that the report be adopted - carried.

Result of the Committee Election - 80 ballot papers were counted and the following elected: -

Tim Large - Hon. Secretary
Nigel Taylor - Hut Engineer
Graham Wilton-Jones - BB Editor
Martin Grass - Caving Secretary
John Dukes - Tacklemaster
Sue Tucker - Hon. Treasurer
Dany Bradshaw - Hut Warden
Sue Dukes
Stuart Lindsay

Members Resolutions - The 1979/80 Committee proposed that Martin Cavendar be made an Hon. Life Member in recognition of services to the club.  The meeting carried this unanimously.

Joan Bennett commented on the good effort of the club in raising over £800 towards the Belfry Improvement Fund.

Any Other Business

John Turner asked if the club had sent an official letter of sympathy to the Dors family re Ben’s death. The meeting considered that the club had already adequately expressed its feelings.

Garth Dell asked whether the club subscription would remain the same as last year.  It was proposed by Pete Franklin and seconded by Nigel Taylor that the subscriptions are not increased this year.  Carried unanimously.

There being no other business the meeting was closed at 1.05pm.


 

News in Brief

Remember the rumour recently of a big new stream cave on Mendip?  Well, I know someone who claims to have been down it.

From a Frog newspaper article, borrowed from Rocksport:  In early August BU 56, the new deep system leading to the Riviere St. Georges, near the P.S.M., was pushed to a siphon at -1335m.

Arphidia, right beside the P.S.M., has been extended to nearly 12km and parts of it run extremely close to the Verna, the huge chamber in the P.S.M.  A link between the two systems, which seems very likely, would give a new world depth records yet again.

Honorary Secretary's Report 1981:

This year has been somewhat turbulent, with much work crossing the committee table but not much to show for it. Membership stands at 172, maintaining nearly the same total as last year.

The Belfry improvements are still in action although they have not moved beyond the drawing board stage. There are several difficulties which have slowed progress.

Negotiations are proceeding to lease the St. Cuthbert's land from the paper mill.  At present a nominal rental of £90 p.a. has been agreed.

Various projects have been started such as rebuilding tackle and maintenance of the Belfry but a great deal of this work still needs doing.  Greater cooperation and involvement, both of committee members and of club regulars, is needed if we are to complete these necessary tasks, many of which must be done before the winter.

On two occasions this year it has been necessary to reprimand members regarding undesirable activities.  This resulted in one member being fined £10 for contravening a committee ruling.

The Club only gets the committee it deserves? but once elected I think it reasonable to expect support of the members.  Some may not always like all the decisions the committee makes, but then everyone must remember that they are always made with all members in mind, not just the active nucleus of that precise time.

Efforts have been made to find a new publications officer, and despite notices in the B.B., nobody has volunteered.  In fact, response to comment in the B.B. on various topics over which the committee may take action has been very apathetic.  If we had the cooperation and involvement so often seen on club cave digs then the more mundane tasks of maintaining the club headquarters, producing publications, etc., would be easily achieved.

During the year our Hut Warden, Dany Bradshaw? found other commitments keeping him away from the Belfry so by mutual agreement Dany stood down as warden and Quackers was co-opted to fill the gap.  At about the same time Sue Tucker advised the committee of her intention to resign at the end of the year.  Sue has been our treasurer now for three years and I am sure you would all wish to thank her for her service to the Club in this important role.  To fill this vacancy the committee is suggesting Sue Dukes, who has expressed an interest in the job.

Every year the pressure on caving increases resulting in an ever increasing round of meetings which need to be attended if we are to protect our point of view.  I have recently been invited on to the Somerset Trust Management Committee for the Mineries and hopefully can put caver’s views and protect our interests.

Hopefully we shall now be able to look forward to better progress in the coming year.

Tim Large.

Attendances at committee meetings, which totalled 11, were as follows:

Tim Large

Nigel Taylor

Graham Wilton-Jones

Martin Grass

Sue Dukes

John Dukes

Sue Tucker

Stuart Lindsay

Dany Bradshaw

Quackers

11

8

9

8

7

9

9

8

4

2 (out of a possible 4)

T. L,


 

Honorary Treasurer's Report  1981

Income and expenditure has been generally on a par with last year, with one or two drastic exceptions. The Gas and Electricity accounts have virtually doubled:

 

Gas

Electricity

79/80

£60.60

£244.89

80/81

£128.75

£530.68

So all members using the Belfry remember and take note.  The committee have tried to remedy this but it is up to you to switch off the lights, and turn the gas off when not in use.

It has been nice this year to write cheques for the tacklemaster.  Let us hope that his expenditure of £388.64 on materials has been well spent, and the club will appreciate some new tackle and make sure it does not grow legs!!

I was disappointed to note that the committee efforts to obtain a licence again this year to sell lottery tickets was a complete waste of time.  What happened to the enthusiasm of last year?  Not one lottery.  Does everything have to be left to the committee?

I would like to express my concern to the A.G.M. of the amount of usable cash tied up in Building Society and deposit accounts just gathering 'dust' and, of course, interest, transferred over the years from the general fund.  Perhaps this money could be used for the good of the Club and not, I hope, subsidise the subs.

As the outgoing treasurer I would like to leave the subject of the subs to the A.G.M.  Remember, they did not go up last year, but inflation and wages did, re Gas and Electricity expenditure, and unless the club wants to face a large rise in future years, when the general funds are in a low state, they should go up this year, even if only by £2.00

I.D.M.F.   This account, as usual, is just gathering more and more interest, for yet again no eligible members have asked to use this fund.

Sue Tucker.


 

Belfry Bulletin Editor's Report  1981

During the first half of the club year there was reasonable response to my requests for articles for the B.B.  However, more recently material has been difficult to obtain and B.B.’s have become rather thin.  Members have promised articles, but in many cases these have been slow in coming, if I have received them at all.  Frequently it is the same people who submit material.  Many thanks to these.  I owe especial thanks to Tim and Fiona for the writing and typing onto stencils of several pages of notes this year; also to Martin, who has assisted me greatly with the compilation of notes.

No doubt the question of a bi-monthly B.B. will again arise at the A.G.M. Several B.B.’. have been produced as bi-monthlies this year, partly due to lack of material and partly because my own activities have not allowed the time for B.B. production, this latter particularly precluding a B.B. in August.

I see the B.B. as performing several functions:

1)       keeping members in touch with the club and its activities (diary and club business);

2)       keeping members in touch with each other;           

3)       giving up to date and detailed news of Mendip happenings;

4)       giving up to date news, mainly in brief, of national and international caving;

5)       offering articles, both serious and humorous.

This last is what actually fills the B.B., and what members must be prepared to take time to produce, if they want a journal of reasonable size, and not simply a short, monthly newsletter.

Graham Wilton-Jones.


 

Caving Secretary's Report   1981

1981 has been a reasonably active year far the Club, but mainly on the tourist trip side, as little new passage has been found.  (This is probably due to inactivity on the digging front).  Haydon Drove Swallet is being attacked by two younger members of the Club, and hopes are high for a breakthrough.  A regular team, led by Tim Large, has also been active in Goughs Cave and Cheddar Gorge but work has slowed up during the summer months due to the amount of tourists about.

As usual, most Mendip caves have received at least one visit from Club members over the past twelve months. Looking through the log it is pleasing to note a number of trips to Swildons 12 and I have heard rumours of a Club dig at the end of Victoria Aven - any takers?  Off Mendip the arranged Club meets have been well attended: these include Peak Cavern, Otter Hole, the Bradford P.C. winch meet (where five members reached the end of Far Waters) and South Wales at Easter.  This was definitely the most popular with about 30 members turning out with visits to O.F.D., Dan yr Ogof, Agen Allwedd, Tooth and Llethrid, as well as a dip in the sea off Gower.

St. Cuthbert’s has had its usual tourist trips, and the number has remained steady over the last couple of years.  Work in the cave is being concentrated at Sump 2 and a team is regularly working, mainly on a Wednesday night, at blasting its way across the sump.  The Arête ladder is still out as we are still waiting for the new one to be delivered.  Hopefully it should be installed by the A.G.M.  Work is also progressing slowly with refitting the pipes that take the entrance stream into the cave although this might not be necessary now as the water appears to be sinking in the depression and entering the cave at the ledge pitches.  Consequently the entrance rift has been bone dry for months now.  Two new leaders have been appointed this year: Ian Caldwell (B.E.C.) and Alison Moody (W. C. C.)

There has not been an official Club expedition this year, which is a shame with an un-descended pitch awaiting the Clubs return in Austria.  It seems this year that the mainstays of overseas trips have fallen into that cavers trap known as love with J-Rat, Trev Hughes and Bassett all doing their own thing. However, Bassett and Jane have been touring Europe so tales of caverns measureless to man are awaited from them.

I am prepared to stand again for committee, if elected, but I feel more interest should be shown by members in running for committee (competition is healthy).  Too many members this year have complained over their beer pots about various Club matters but none are doing anything positive about it.  Let us hope we see their names on the voting form this year - as well as yours!

Martin Grass.

Latest news from Yorkshire

gathered by Martin and Geoff Crossley:

New Goyden has been connected to Goyden Pot, via a sump and a very low air-space canal.  Total length with Manchester Hole is over 5 miles. This adds up to a system with a downstream sump 20 and a total of 34 known, divable sumps!  Downstream sump 8 in New Goyden has also been pushed to 750 feet on its way to Nidd Head.

Hurtle Pot is now 80 feet deep and 750 feet long from the diving base.

A shaft above Far Waters of Gaping Ghyll has been found.  This was a lost shaft from the 19th century.

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

QUOTE:  Tourist to cave guide in Cheddar~

"Are all the caves here underground?”


 

Hut Engineer's Report  1981:

It is often said that hell is paved with good intentions; if that is true then the Belfry certainly is not Heaven!

That, unfortunately, is very true with the Belfry - it is very far from Heaven.  There are always many small jobs here and there to be done around the hut, and it should not take any ounce of sense for those Belfryites so inclined to see what needs doing and get on and fix one or other of these jobs.  Often much nasty back-biting and criticism is levelled at the committee, either individually or collectively.  But I say to those who shout loudest: "Get off YOUR backsides and YOU do it - PUT UP or SHUT UP".

With that to one side, I feel that the club set itself a massive task when it contemplated great changes at the Belfry, and in certain areas tried to pre-empt or was not aware of the various problems which arise with building methods, planning departments or officialdom.  Yet I do not feel that we have wasted any time as it is giving the Club a breathing space in which we can be sure that any money spent on the club hut is not only necessarily well spent but is also an investment in the club future.

It must be so well designed and planned that future generations of Belfryites do not sit about the hut planning to demolish it or tack bits on here and there!

To that end, John Gwythir, a professional and local architect has been engaged by me to present to the Club as learned a plan as can be devised, and thus enable the Club as a whole to make a decision on the matter.  Hopefully, unlike the infamous "St. Cuthbert’s Survey", this will be ready at the A.G.M. and Dinner (1981).

On Saturday 4th April 1981 Tim Large, Fiona, Quiet John, Quackers, Jane Clarke, Stu Lindsay, Dany Bradshaw, John and Sue Dukes, Bob Hill, Jeremy Pogue, Bob Cork, Chris Batstone, Graham Wilton-Jones, Andy Sparrow, Sue Tucker, ex-member Pat Cronin and Walt 'Farmer' Foxwell all descended on the Belfry and together many urgent jobs, large and small, around the hut and site were undertaken - amongst the most useful being the foundations for the new carbide store and gas bottle store, the erection of 'Bob Hill's Hut', repair of the cattle-grid base, hut cleaning and painting and the installation of an air brick in the bunkroom exterior wall (fixed in by Jenny Sandicott).  Though, perhaps, it is generally regarded to be invidious to name names, it was these people who gave up all of their weekend to work and worked hard.

Unfortunately, despite Graham Wilton-Jones's excellent work on getting out the Belfry Bulletin, the only thing I lazily bothered to contribute this year (that's honesty, Graham) i.e. a warning of a midsummer working weekend in July, did not get published in time - and had to be cancelled on the actual weekend due to a massive M.R.O. mock rescue involving the Belfry.

Tim, Fiona and I stayed for a week at the Belfry in July, and more odds and ends were accomplished along with meetings with the planners and architect.

What remains to be done is general upkeep of the hut nothing new but as all householders know, vitally important.  As the season dips into winter, I believe that the hut is generally in a good condition, but I urge each and every one of us not to become complacent in this regard.

Lastly, due to pressures of work, it will be necessary for me to go to London in January 1982 for three months, and I may not be able to attend all three of the winter meetings.  With this in the minds of you, the club members, I offer to stand for re-election to the Club Committee for 1982, and would, if re-elected, prefer to stand in a 'general capacity' on the committee, in order that I could concern myself directly with the club hut redevelopment and necessary fund-raising.  May I wish my successor all the power he can muster to his elbow.

Nigel Taylor.


 

Tacklemaster’s Report  1981

As can be seen from the following list, tackle is still going missing but not by the quantities of last year.  Would the members please consider what they propose to do about it as it is impossible for the tacklemaster to control the present system with any certainty of knowing where the tackle is at any time.

All the ladders and tethers have been dipped in Croda and approximately 150 foot of ladder has been re-wired.  Numerous ladders have had to have the ends remade after a very short time as ladders are not being belayed correctly and the thimbles are being pulled out.

During the last year I have bought the following:

25

1

100

100

100

1300

2000

200

Litres Croda PW 24

Metre 8 x 22mm2 chain (50 links)

4mm ferules

4mm thimbles

4mm wire

4,5 x 30mm long taper pins

ft. ladder rungs

“C” links

£27.32

£ 5.08

 

£15.96

£43.47

£73.49

£196.20

£32.20

I am at present making the jigs and tools to assemble the materials here in stock which will give us about 60 ladders.  We have enough ladder rungs in stock to manufacture:

100 - 4mm ladders, taper pin construction; 10 - 4mm ladders, pin and araldite; 10 - 3mm ladders, pin and araldite.

I have had offers from a few members to assemble this ladder, but would do with as much assistance as possible as it is very time consuming.  When the jigs are complete, I would like to arrange for a tackle making day, once a month, and I should be obliged if the members will support me in this. The job which will cause a problem is the drilling of the rungs as we need the use of a pillar drill for approximately 10 man-hours to drill the rungs we have now.  Any offers?

Finally I would like to thank the members who helped me during the year, and, in particular, Trevor Hughes for the donation of a wire rope, and also remind members to fill in the tackle book every time they use an item of Club tackle.

John Dukes,

1 -  list of tackle overleaf

Tackle code

Date of

Manufacture

Dates checked

Tackle code

Dates checked

 

 

Aug ‘79

Oct ‘80

July ‘81

Sept ‘81

 

Aug ‘79

Oct ‘80

July ‘81

Sept ‘81

S1

S1A

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

S8

T1

T2

T3

T4

T5

T6

T7

T8

T9

T10

T11

T12

T13

T14

T15

T16

T17

T18

T19

T20

T21

T22

T23

T24

T25

T26

T27

T28

 

 

 

 

 

 

May ‘81

May ‘81

May ‘81

 

 

May ‘81

May ‘81

May ‘81

May ‘81

 

May ‘81

May ‘81

 

May ‘81

 

 

May ‘81

May ‘81

 

July ‘80

July ‘80

July ‘80

July ‘80

July ‘80

July ‘80

July ‘80

July ‘80

May ‘81

May ‘81

May ‘81

June ‘81

*

 

*

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

*

 

*

*

 

 

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

 

 

*

*

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

*

 

*

*

 

 

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

*

*

*

 

 

 

*

*

*

*

 

 

 

*

 

*

 

*

*

*

 

 

*

*

 

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

 

 

 

 

*

*

 

*

 

 

*

*

*

 

*

*

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

*

*

 

 

*

*

 

*

*

*

*

*

*

L1

L2

L3

L4

L5

L6

L7

L8

L9

L10

L11

L12

L13

L15

L18

L20

L21

L22

L23

L24

L25

L26

L27

L28

L33

L34

L35

L37

L38

L39

L40

L41

L42

L43

L44

L45

L46

L47

L48

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

*

 

*

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

*

*

*

*

 

 

*

*

*

 

 

*

*

*

 

 

*

 

*

 

*

 

 

 

*

 

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

 

 

 

 

*

*

*

*

 

 

 

*

*

 

 

 

 

*

*

 

 

*

 

*

 

*

 

 

 

*

 

*

 

*

*

*

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

*

 

 

 

 

*

*

 

 

 

 

*

*

 

 

*

 

*

 

*

 

 

 

*

 

*

 

*

*

*

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

*

*

*

 

Ropes

SB15

SB16

SB30

SB30

SB32

SB32

SB92

 

 

 

*

*

*

 

 

 

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

*

*

*

*

*

 

 

 

 

 

* indicates that the item was in stock on the date checked.


 

Round Britain Caving Trip 

Saturday 26th. September 1981.

Sponsored – proceeds in aid of Mencap, the National Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and Adults.

By the time you read this our Round England and Wales marathon may well be over, one way or the other.  On Friday 25th of September, at 11pm, four of us (Tim Large, Martin Grass, Buckett Tilbury and Graham Wilton-Jones) intend to leave the Hunters and do the following caving trips:

Little Neath - flood entrance to sump 2 and back;

P8 (Jackpot) - to sump 5 and back;

West Kingsdale – valley entrance to Rowten sumps and back;

Swildons - to sump 2 and back.

We intend to be back in the Hunters before closing time on Saturday 26th.  Obviously trip locations or schedule may be revised if the weather is bad.  Hoping to see lots of you in the Hunters on Sat. night!

Bassett.