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Monthly Notes

ST. CUTHBERT’S SWALLET: Maypole Alpha (one of the avens above Upper Traverse Chamber) and Hanging Chamber were both revisited after an absence of several years, early in December.  From the base of Maypole Pitch John Dukes, encouraged though hardly assisted by Bassett and Jane, managed to reach high underneath the overhang to Hanging Chamber. Using a tape prusik knot 'a la Bassett' on the old wire for safety, John got in a runner some way up but jacked out on the minute, muddy, sloping, unstable ledges that he had mistaken for holds. Rob Harper completed the climb with some daring, totally unprotected moves, and now a ladder has been hung down the top section of the climb.  They gained further height but the way on appears to be across the Maypole rift, and the passage will require much thought and cunning to reach.

In Maypole Alpha Martin Grass, Tim and Duckett teamed up.  Tim put in a few runners and then Duckett pushed on over the Hairy bit and through a squeeze to find visual connection with Hanging Chamber and about 100 feet of passage with good stal decorations.  There are no ways on from here.

HAYDON DROVE SWALLET: Drew, Quiet John and Alan Thomas have been busy here and they have broken into passage which doubles the length to about 70 feet.

DAN YR OGOF: In the summer of 1980 some of us closely scrutinised the end of Tubeways, beyond Dali' s Delight - here is the obvious place to search for a dry route to the Mazeways complex and the elusive D.Y.O. 4 towards Sink y Geidd.  From one side of the final aven every feasible route was pushed to its extremity, and no obvious digging sites were apparent.  There was no significant draught at the time.  We were informed that the other side of the aven had been looked at.

On a recent visit to Dali's the draught was considerable.  We shall be giving this area further attention soon, probably using smoke to follow the draught.

THE RUMOUR: What rumour?

FONTAINE DE VAUCLUSE: With the F.F.S. financing the supply of bottles of helium mixture, Jochen Hassenmayer has dived the Vaucluse to a depth of 145m.  He was able to see on downwards for a further 30m.

WEST KINGSDALE RESCUE: During a weekend in which the worst flooding in living memory hit parts of the Dales, two parties went .into the West Kingsdale system.  One party three people became trapped on ledges above the rapidly rising main streamway. Members of C.R.O. managed to get near enough to them to throw a line, and it was then a case of jumping into the torrent and hoping.  Soon after their rescue the master cave must have sumped in several places.

Meanwhile the other party had entered Simpson's and had reached the bottom only to find a lake where there should have been a sloping pile of boulders at the base of Swinsto Great Aven.  The flood pulse had already arrived from Swinsto, and the party only just made it back up the Great Aven to safety before the flood pulse came through Simpsons.

C.R.O. callout was at 8 p.m. but at that time Valley Entrance was acting as a resurgence. Entry to Simpson's was equally out of the question.  By 5 a.m. there was less water, so one party entered Simpsons, but the Duck below Storm Pot was sumped.  The other party entered a very aqueous Valley Entrance.  In Roof Tunnel foam was thee feet up the wall at Window Aven and a raging river hurtled into the Downstream Sump, only two feet below the lip of the (normally) 17 foot pitch.  A traverse line was rigged along the ledges of the master cave and eventually the rescuers were able reach the base of Great Aven.  Above the noise of water their shouts were not heard and they saw no sign of the trapped party.  They made their way out, and then went up to Simspon's, as the C.R.O. divers were in the Valley Entrance team.  With mini-bottles, the Duck in Simpson's was passed and lined for free-diving, whereupon the rest the team came through.  The trapped party were found and were brought out via the rigged traverse in the master cave and thence Valley Entrance.

BURNING CHAMPERS ON THE BELFRY STOVE: Any of the less regular visitors to the Belfry recently may have been surprised by the vast stacks of Babycham crates everywhere - something wrong with Butcombe these days? they might well have asked. Actually Showerings wanted this festering pile of woodwork cleared from their site, so Jeremy Heney had it delivered, in four lorry loads, to the Belfry.

A substantial number were used to create an enormous blaze in the depression on Bonfire night – no one dared to try any fire-walking through the immense heat - and an effigy of O.C.L. was burnt after Bob & Dany tunnelled their way into the very centre of the heap to put their Boy Scout knowledge to good use and set it alight. Many thanks to Jeremy, especially from well-toasted Belfry regulars.

LIBRARY: If you have any suggestions of books or other publications the B.E.C. ought to buy for the Club Library, please make these to the librarians, J-Rat and Batswine, at the Belfry.  Furthermore, donations of literature are always welcome, even if we have little room for it at present.

BELFRY: Electricity - The last winter's quarterly bill was around £400.  Would members please try to minimise our electricity bills by turning out unnecessary lights, by not making extravagant use of hot water supplies (showers, wall heater, hot tap in women's room) and by ensuring that electricity supplies are switched off at the mains if you are the last person to leave after a weekend.

Guests - under normal circumstances, non-members are not allowed to stay at the Belfry unless a member, who will be responsible for them, is also present.

Mid-week usage - members are asked to supply their own fuel for the stove if they wish to use it mid-week. Burning lots of fuel to heat the Belfry for one or two people has been too wasteful in the past.  An instant type shower unit has been fitted in the women's shower cubicle, to assess if this kind of unit is suitable for the Belfry. Would mid-week users please use this, or use the slot meter and men's showers, and not switch on the main immersion heater in the hot water tank.  Please remember to pay your 10p for every time you have a shower