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

Editor : G-Wilton-Jones

Officers Of The Club

Hon Secretary: Tim Large

Hon. Treasurer: Jeremy Henley

Tacklemaster: John Dukes

Hut Warden: Phil Romford

Hut Engineer: Phil Romford

Caving Sec: Martin Grass

B.B. Editor: Graham Wilton-Jones, Trevor Hughes, Nigel Taylor

Membership Sec: Fi Lewis

Librarian:Chris Batstone

Ian Caldwell has had to resign from the post of Hut Engineer.  He is currently taking a course at Cardiff University and is finding the pressure of work there to great for him to devote adequate time to B.E.C. business.

Phil Romford is presently taking over the task of Hut Engineer, as he feels Hut Engineer and Hut Warden are more easily managed by one and the same person


FOR SALE: One pair Dolomite Guida Major mountaineering boots, size 9, full steel shank, Vibram Montana soles, high ankle giving good support for front pointing.  Little used.  In excellent condition. £40 o.n.o.   Phil Romford.  Wells 75407


Henry's Hole

by Andy Sparrow

This new find is about 200 yards from the Backdoor of Box Mines.  It was found at the end of a friend’s garden during the digging of new foundations for a shed.  It consists of a natural rift together with mine passage, and has a total length of about 400ft.

A dig has been stated to try to find a connection with Box Mines.

Sketch Plan   


Belfry Notes

Since the scare about possibly losing the Royal Navy for mid-week revenue I, with the help of a few others, have managed to raise the standards of our accommodation a little. By writing a grovelling letter to the R.N., apologising for last year's shambles and indicating where improvements were to be made, and with the help of Graham Johnson (Bolt) I have had a favourable response.  The R.N. have now booked for several weeks ahead.  This should amount to around £300 income.  However, we must not become lackadaisical in our attitude - we still have a long way to go to meet my goal.

Changing Room: A number of people are leaving odd items of tatty clothing lying around, some of it unmentionable.  If, at the end of a weekend, they are not claimed or given away, they go on the fire.

So the message is, if you value it, take it home!  If you must leave kit at the Belfry, see me and I will try to provide you with a locker, at a cost, of course.

Working Weekends: It has been suggested that we try for a few months to have one working day coinciding with committee meeting weekends, which are always the first weekend of the month, so do try and help. Just to confuse the issue, the next working day is Saturday 12th March.

Car Park:  To aid people in the dark areas we intend to fit an exterior halogen lamp to the south end of the Belfry.  To prevent parking on the lawn we intend to place some large limestone blocks, which will very definitely be car proof.

Front Door: The Belfry now has a new front door complete with a new lock and even brass knobs (The appointment of Hon. Knob Polisher to the B.E.C. has already been suggested.  Please don't write. Ed!)  A new lock means a new key.  These are available FREE from the Hut Warden.  You may contact me at any time at the Belfry or at home to obtain one. All new issue keys will be serial numbered so I know who has keys.  I must appeal to all key holders not to have copies made for their mates, etc., since the whole idea of having a lock is to provide a degree of security to our property.

Lockers:  I am trying to collect fees owing for lockers used by members.  £1.00 for large ones, 50p for small ones.  I feel sure that some are not used but are still locked.  If you do not use your locker will you please let me know, so that I can re-issue it to someone in need.

Library Keys: It is known that a few keys are in the hands of non-committee members.  If you have one, please return it in the interest of security.


Two night-store heaters for the bunk rooms

Lots of 2' 6” wide mattresses

Timber for making duck boarding, 2 x 1 for example.



Chris Batstone, overheard at the "Bassett's" housewarming recently:

"Oi ! Move yer fat gut.  I can't get by.


Austria 1983

by Phil Romford.

There has been some disjointed talk in the pub on going back to the Dachstein area of Austria to try once and for all to bottom the Barengassewindschact.

So far those interested are Trev Hughes, Tim Large, Rob Harper, John Dukes, Ross White and myself. However, to date there is no firm commitment from anyone to say that we can form an expedition.

I think it is well known that this is an S.R.T. expedition.  Therefore I am looking to pull together 10 – 12 strong cavers who are well practised in S.R.T. and, preferably B.E.C. members.  It is the opinion of some who have been to the area that if we do not bottom it this year we shall have to offer it to the Austrians. We can’t have that, can we!

So, you guys, let’s have some committed response from you.  I am prepared to coordinate the expedition if I get sufficient support. However, I must add that each person may be asked to pay deposit to the expedition, firstly to be a form of commitment – I know you lot, you say you’ll do one thing, then go off and do something else – ands secondly to help toward the purchase of expedition equipment.  At this early stage I do not know how much money we are looking for.

When I have had sufficient response to this plea, I shall call an expedition inaugural meeting to discuss finance, travel, equipment, accommodation, etc. and possibly form an expedition committee.

On small aside: I am hoping to have time to get to Chamonix for some mountaineering after the expedition.

The approximate timing of the whole affair will most likely be mid to late July 1983.

You may write to me at:  Coxley,Wells, Somerset.

Please consider this seriously and contact me with any queries as soon as possible.

Incident At Lamb Leer

Following a rescue call-out to Lamb Leer recently Martin Grass and "Tom Big", well known B.E.C. member, Club Secretary and M.R.O. WARDEN, rapidly kitted up in front of the Belfry stove and then dashed to the scene.

Some weegees were met at the top of the pitch.

" O.K.. lads," says our “Tom”.   “Make way for the M.R.O."  “ We'll soon have everything under control," he continues, as he ties off an S.R.T. rope and threads his rack.

"See you at the bottom," he calls to Martin , and is about to leap off the edge for a super-fast descent when he hears Martin musing -

"Shouldn't your rack be threaded the other way round, 'Tom'.”






A World First To Cap Them All

( Coal gold + base minerals of Southern Africa 1981)

This article written by C J Taylor A.R.I.C. Chlorides Technical Director takes an in-depth look at an important development in the cap lamp industry.  The article was sent to us by Colin Priddle (Pope) who lives in South Africa.

The South African mining industry is the largest user of cap lamps in the Western World.  Our mines requirements run to some 570,000 lamps - 3% of the western world total - while India is estimated to require 550,000 lamps and, there are some 850,000 in the other non-communist countries.  The Soviet Union and China between them are estimated to have some two million cap lamps in use.

The history of the cap lamp dates back to candles and subsequently the break-through of the Davy lamps which allowed naked flames for lighting without fear of methane fires. This was followed in the early 1930’s with the first electric miner’s lamp incorporating a battery encased in a metal cylinder worn on the miners belt.  It was not until 1950 that lead acid accumulators replaced the old alkaline battery and introduced for the first time the advantages of a self-service operation in the storage frames.

Since then, the mining industry has been growing at a fast clip world wide, but the miners cap lamp market has been relatively static.  Increased mechanisation and longer shifts offset what would otherwise have been a proportionate market growth.  This situation has now changed as the traditional miners cap lamp nears the end of its capacity for use in a rapidly changing mining industry.

Though the 1950-based cap lamps have served the industry well, certain disadvantages became of increasing importance in a rapidly developing mining industry which was gravitating towards longer shifts and deeper level mining.  These factors were particularly important in the South African mining sector following the boom in metal prices in the late seventies.  As new mining plans were announced the need for an advanced miners cap lamp led to a focus on the traditional products disadvantages. These were:

a)       Limited ampere-hour capacity which does not allow for longer shifts.

b)       Inadequate light output for industry’s future needs.

c)       The accumulators need constant topping up which means removing each filler plug for inspection.

d)       Charging time was considered too long as the industry moved towards longer shifts. A 1:1 charging to light availability ratio was regarded as Optimal.

e)       Liquid filled batteries incorporated a spill danger which caused minor accidents such as acid burns; and

f)        The mass of lamp unit was considered somewhat high in relation to output.

In order to meet the needs of the mining industry world wide and the South African market in particular, Chloride pursued the development of a new miners cap lamp and accumulator. The technological objectives of the research programme demanded a product that would incorporate:

a)       A maintenance free accumulator

b)       Shorter charging time.

c)       Higher ampere-hour capacity

d)       Improved light source and output!  and

e)       Reduced mass

Consequently, Chloride Technical in the UK, a subsidiary of the international Chloride Group, the worlds largest manufacturer of chargeable batteries, launched a two year development programme which resulted in the development of a maintenance-free accumulator and improved cap lamp.  In April 1980 the group placed some 200 of the new lighting units at Vaal Reefs and Doornfontein gold mines for testing which was monitored by the Chamber of Nines. The results surpassed the industry’s expectations and will result in full scale manufacture of the product later this year.

The new Chloride accumulator is the hub of the development.  Being maintenance free it should contribute to improved cost effectiveness while its power specification promises a much improved power: mass ratio, thereby fulfilling two of the major criticisms levelled at the traditional units.

In normal batteries oxygen and hydrogen are released from the electrolyte bring the charging process and this requires the units to be topped up with water.  However, Chlorides work on recombination technology has resulted in the manufacture of a battery which never needs to be refilled and thus can be completely sealed.  In fact though the battery is a lead acid type, the electrolyte is contained within the plates and the separators, so even in the event of damage to the battery case; there is no liquid to spill.  Thus, allied to maintenance free operation, Chlorides product should contribute to improved safety by avoiding minor accidents related to acid spilling.

Incorporated with the maintenance advantage the new mining accumulator is claimed to provide 61% more power, having a discharge cycle of 16 hours compared with 12 hours previously. At the same time the exterior casing has been cast in a plastic which showed nine times greater resistance to abrasion and impact than a hard rubber case.

This result should be particularly important in developing the export potential of the new miners lamp, as South African quartzites have in the past proved far more damaging to the battery cases than conditions pertaining in other parts of the world.






No. of Plates

Battery dimensions (mm)

Volume (m/)

Mass (filled with cover (kg)

Cycle Life


Container material


Duration (0.9A)

Operational voltage range (V)


3(2 negative 1 positive)

41 x 150 x 187



750 cycles (70% depth of discharge)

Resin Rubber


10 hours

4.00 to 3.70


3(3 negative 4 positive)

40 x 125 x 187



500-70 cycles (70% depth of discharge)

Abrasion resistant Rubber


16 hours

4.00 to 3.70

The, new accumulator is completely compatible with existing charging systems in the mining industry. But for full potential a new rack and charger has been developed which reduce the charge time through higher charge rating.  Incorporated in the accumulator is a fail safe feature in the form of an inner seal which allows gas to be released in the event of a serious over charge.

Though the significant breakthrough is in the development of. a maintenance free accumulator, Chloride has built into the unit certain other advances.  The plastic not only conforms to fire resistant specifications laid down by the mining industry, but is tamper proof and offers greater comfort to the user.  An integrated belt loop and the leak proof advantage make the unit more comfortable to wear, particularly in the narrow confines of a stope.  In addition the cable joining the accumulator and the battery has been redesigned with a new cable lock to prevent disconnection. Chlorides tests show that the cable lock can withstand forces of up to 670N at the headpiece and 1300N at the battery before becoming disengaged.

Allied to these efficiency and improved safety improvements the refined headpiece promises to fulfil the rest of the industry’s requirements.  In a mining environment the need for safety is paramount, and insufficient light at work stations contributes to minor accidents and a resulting fall in labour efficiency.  By incorporating a new-headpiece using a 4V 1A halogen bulb with a larger reflector, Chloride claims the new lamp boosts lumen output by six times.  (The introduction of a miniature halogen bulb is the result of extensive development by the major lighting companies in Europe and America).  Illumination at a distance of 2m is said to be 2klx, the greater energy needs being provided by the improved accumulator.

The impressive specifications of the new accumulator and headpiece have been sustained in local testing underground and have led to a very favourable reaction from a mining industry committed to enhanced safety and improved cost control.  In April last year 200 lamps were placed in both Vaal Reefs and Doornfontein and during the testing there was a notable decrease in the incidence of minor accidents.  In fact, the new product is probably technologically ahead of current mining industry needs, but should offer lighting to keep abreast of development in mining methods.

Though the maintenance free miners accumulator and improved cap lamp has a rival in new European nickel cadmium units, price and power capability suggest the lead acid system will be far more popular.  Not only does the maintenance free system offer significantly higher light availability, which makes it particularly suitable to South Africa’s longer shifts, but it is also priced some 7% lower.  This pricing difference stems from the cost of the metallic constituents in the NiCd Battery and the longer production runs possible in South Africa where 3% of the Free Worlds miners cap lamps are in use.


Not only will the launch of the maintenance free accumulator and improved headpiece be a world first for South Africa, but at the end of 1981 all components will be made locally. Initially the only imported component will be the halogen bulb, but plans are in hand to manufacture the item in South Africa.

In order to cater for local demands Chloride has invested some R1 million at its Benoni factory. Recently, Chloride SA managing director, Don Searle, said production would be geared to satisfying South African demand.  But as the South African Company will be the only Chloride operation worldwide manufacturing the new accumulator and headpiece export potential is huge.


The total cap lamp market outside the Soviet Union and China is estimated as 2 million units of which 570,000 – 30% are in South Africa and 550,000 in India.  This R50 million market includes export potential of around R35 million, in which the advantages of the long South African production runs and the manufacture of a product suited to arduous conditions locally should enhance sales potential of the Chloride development.  Thus, one local demand is satisfied the maintenance free development should allow South Africa its first major drive into a potentially huge export market.  Management is confident of success as the Chloride product is competitively priced.

The introduction of a world first maintenance free battery in the cap lamp market and the development of export potential could have far reaching effects in an industry constantly aware of the need for containing increases in mining costs.  Beyond that, the development could well pave the way to maintenance free, motive power batteries for underground and surface use which will help the industry in the constant battle to contain costs.


a)                  Completely sealed.

b)                  Maintenance free.

c)                  60% more capacity in accumulator.

d)                  Under test conditions battery case offered nine times more resistance to abrasion and impact than the old unit.

e)                  Fits all existing charging units but for complete technical compatibility the new charger and frame are recommended.

f)                    Extra burning time and even illumination.

g)                  Leak proof even if container is damaged.

h)                  Re-sealable safety - the inner seal allows gas to be released if battery is seriously over charged.

i)                    New cable lock which prevents cable from being pulled out of lamp or battery unless force exceeds 670N at the headpiece.

j)                    Flame resistant container for underground application.

k)                  Tamper proof - special tool needed to take off lid.

l)                    Stainless steel shoe available for hard-rock mines.

m)                New lamp fits onto any standard helmet.

n)                  Six times greater lamp output.

o)                  Charging rack designed to take 10 lamps or multiples thereof with features which make it easier to handle and offer longer life.

Colin Priddle’s note: "I’ve got two of them cost £16 each (R32) Charger (R30).  They are superb, Terrific beam, 16 hours light".


Bassett's Notes

EDITORIAL DISPLEASURE: Over the past few weeks there has been a distinct lack of articles. Therefore it’s a rather thin B.B. covering two months.  In future I shall number each B.B. according to issue, and not the months covered. Thus, this B.B. is not Vol. 37, Nos. 1 & 2.  The next issue will be no. 2 for the year, whether it comes out in March or December…and that depends upon you.  Put pen to paper now!

DEADLINE for next issue's articles is Monday March 21st.  Write or 'phone (Wedmore 712284) or give me your offering when you see me in the Hunters.

GAPING GHYLL - INGLEBOROUGH: I suggested a couple of issues ago that I might soon have a snippet about the G.G./Ingleboro' System.  After yet another dive by Geoff Crossley and Geoff Yeadon the two caves were finally linked, though only just.

A passage leads From Radergast’s Revenge, above the Ingleborough sumps, to a boulder choke. In Gaping Ghyll, beyond the Clay Cavern Orifice and below the Spirla Aven area, a small tube descends to a chamber ,in which the ceiling and three of the walls are very loose boulders (The "Boy" dug there for a time when he was a member of ULSA, while Jane Clake, "Bones” of the B.P.C. and I had another poke there last Whitsun.  The G.G. chamber was proven, by radio-location and an ultra accurate re-survey to lie very close to the choke off Radagast's.  On the connection trip a party was present in the chamber. Initially only a visual connection was made, but, at another point, through the boulders in the roof of the G.G. chamber, a foot/hand connection was possible.

Due to the instability of the G.G. chamber, digging the choke from this side has been rejected, and digging to make a through trip feasible will take place from the Ingleborough end.

I wonder if the newspapers have remembered their promise, made years ago, of £1,000 to people who manage to link the two caves.

SUBS:  Apologies from Fi if you have paid your subscription for 1983 (if you're reading this B.B. you should have by now) but have not yet had a receipt.  The late issue of receipts is due to Tim & Fi's move a few doors up the road.

CAVE SCIENCE: B.C.R.A. TRANSACTIONS:  These are quite often rather deep, very specialist papers, their subjects totally beyond the understanding of the average caver and far outside his or her interests.  However, all of Vol. 9, No. 4, Dec. 1982, should be essential reading for all active cavers.  Its title is "Techniques and Equipment".  You'll find it in our library.  Make good use of it.

AGEN ALLWEDD: Martyn Farr tells me that he has been along on some of the Chelsea S.S. digging sessions in Trident Passage (off the end of Main Passage) where a crawl now extends for over 1800 feet.  The new passage runs parallel to Southern Stream Passage.  It appears to be the upper fraction of a much larger passage. The infill starts as a fine grained deposit - typical Aggie Main Passage stuff, but gradually becomes coarser throughout the length of the extension.  Clearly the hope is that finally the fill will be cobbles, and then there will be the river....

There is an enticing draught at the digging face, and the very easy progress (tens of feet at a time) mean there is no shortage of diggers, in spite of the arduous hour of flat out crawling required.

Some of the Rock and Fountain Caving Group climbed into ''new" passage above Turkey sump, only to find that C.S.S. had been there before - a long ago unrecorded visit. However, there are good possibilities of extension.

C.S.S. have discovered that three times the volume of water upstream of the 4th boulder choke flows downstream to the 5th choke.   3 - 1 = 2. Therefore there must be another big streamway, somewhere behind the 5th choke, and a new dig is planned for the site.

MEXICO: Bob, Dany and J-Rat have returned to Mendip full of tales, and there has already been a slide show in the back-room at the Hunters.  We await their full, written report with eager anticipation.

DONATIONS:  Many thanks to Oliver Lloyd for a donation of £5 towards the Building Fund, and also to John King and J.R.S. Roberts for donations of £20 towards the same fund.  The fund is steadily growing.  What ideas have YOU had for raising more loot?

ADDRESS LIST:  Thanks are due to Dave Turner and one of his computers for the new, computerised address list.  Dave has created a suitable programme and we have just about completed the listing.  The system is easy to update and to alter, and has just about done away with one of my biggest chores - writing address labels.  Did you notice the label on your last B.B.?

WOOKEY HOLE:  Trev Hughes and Rob Harper have pushed a passage that bypasses Sump 23.  It may be that extensions to this passage will be made in the future, giving a dry route all the way from 20 to 24.  Some avens remain to be climbed.

This news is rather brief. Trev hopes to be able to put together an article for us, but it seems that C.D.G. have copyright on any writing about Wookey.  Funny, I thought there was no such thing as copyright in caving circles.  Anyway, Trev is trying to obtain permission from C.D.G. secretary.

PERU:  Jan Wilson has written something on her visit to South America, only it's in the B.C.R.A. bulletin.  How about something for the B.B., Jane?

Still on that area, Sue Jordan is recently returned, and dropped into the Belfry a while back.

TACKLE MAKING:  This takes place on several Tuesday evenings at the Belfry.  If you are available any Tuesday, give John a 'phone call to check if it's on, and go along to help make some ladder.

The tackle store is looking slightly healthier these days, but if you still have B.E.C. tackle out, please return it a.s.a..p.  There are one or two other active members in the Club!



The Belfry Improvements

by Tim Large

At the last AGM members asked for the latest information regarding the improvements following publication in the BB prior to that meeting of plans which had been put forward for Planning Permission approval.  Over the last few years I have attempted to keep members informed via the BB of the latest position.  To dispel any uncertainty I have set out in the following lines the history of the developments,

At the 1979 AGM a members resolution by Roy Bennett and Dave Irwin proposed the setting up of a Belfry Improvement Fund as it was felt the Belfry needed bringing up to date.  This was passed by the meeting. The Committee subsequently set about organising various fund raising schemes and a Lottery Licence was obtained from Mendip District Council.  The Hut Fees were raised (Members from 30p - 50p Guests from 50p - £1) the extra increase being devoted to the fund.  Also at the AGM the subscription was raised from £5 to £8, in its calculation every aspect of the clubs expenditure was analysed, it included £1 per member for the fund.  These amounts have been transferred to the fund every year since.

At the 1980 AGM progress on the fund raising was detailed by the Treasurer.  The Hut Engineer in his report detailed the developments regarding the plans.  A planning meeting had been held on 16th May 1980 attended by 14 members.  At that meeting various ideas were discussed along with sketch plans by individuals of what would be desirable.  The meeting recommended that an architect be consulted for the best advice and to draw up suitable plans for submitting to the planning authorities. The report was approved by the AGM.

During the following year discussions were held with John Gwyther of Priddy a professional architect. Several 'on site' meetings took place.  Nigel Taylor and myself also visited Mendip District Council Planning Department in Glastonbury to obtain the relevant forms and to seek advice.  At the 1961 AGM the Hut Engineer (Nigel Taylor) again updated members of the latest progress.  There was not much to show but the plans were slowly being drawn up.

Final plans were submitted to the Committee on 6th August 1982.  These were approved and it was decided to submit them for the relevant permission with Mendip District Council.  At present these plans are still being considered and several queries are still being ironed out.  The estimated cost of the project is £12,000 with work being done by builders.  It has been necessary to work on builder’s costs as it is proposed to apply for grants from the Sports Council etc.  Any grants given will be based on such estimates.

Much thought went into the final plans the considerations were:-

1.       The Library is only a box room and does not give ideal storage for books.

2.       The Kitchen facilities are not ideally sited in the main room.

3.       The Showers and Chancing Room are not ideally sited or adequate.  Also there design should make for easy maintenance and maximum hygiene.

4.       There are no drying facilities. 

In the new proposals as publicised in the BB:-

  1. The Library is a room which can be used as a proper Library with space for tables and chairs, it will have adequate and proper storage space for books, maps etc.  Ventilation will be much improved providing for a better environment for the books etc.
  2. It was felt that a self contained kitchen would improve hygiene and release much space in the main room for lockers etc.
  3. The Showers and Changing Rooms both male and female will be better sited for ventilation and provide more room.  The main changing room will incorporate a dirty area entering the Belfry via the present women’s room external door.  Once caving kit has been removed members can go to a cleaner changing area which will include washbasins, toilet and showers.  A similar system will exist in the women’s changing area as can be seen on the plan.  Ventilation will be aided by extractor fans and floor to ceiling tiling and better drains are to be provided so that the area can be hosed down and kept to the necessary hygienic standards.
  4. The provision of a drying room leading off the main changing area was decided to be of utmost importance.  Ventilation will be provided by an extractor fan ducted to the outside wall.  Heating could be provided by under floor electric elements linked to the off peak meter.  This system is used at the Bradford Pothole Club and works very well.
  5. The new female bunkroom will still only cater for 6.  The space on the plan is at present shown to be flexible, but once a suitable size has been decided on the room a stud wall partition will be erected and any space left will be used for storage for the time being.  The vacant space will give us room to expand should the need arise.  One possibility for the vacant space would be an extension to the Library.

So the overall intention of the proposals is to improve the club’s facilities based on more or less the sane usage as at present.  But should usage increase at some time in the future then we will have the space to expand into and facilities designed a higher throughput of people.  Of great importance is that the design incorporates features that ensure easy maintenance and a higher degree of sanitation. Those few left at the end of the weekend can much more easily clear up after everyone else’s mess!!!

For those of you interested a larger scale plan as presented to the Mendip District Council is on display at The Belfry.


Large Pot

by Rachel Clarke

Large Pot is the ‘new’ N.P.C. find, situated in a shakehole adjoining Little Pot.  Discovered in March 1982 the two distinct series of the cave have bean explored to a boulder collapse (Arcadia Series) and a perched sump (Red Herring Series).  The current N.P.C. journal gives a full, detailed account of the cave and a grade 4/5 survey.

The entrance pitch is 25 feet followed by a 15 foot free-climb to an awkward crawl (especially for tall people!) leading to the head of a 40 foot pitch.  The take-off of the pitch is tight, the belay - a wedge and chock stone in the rift.  The pitch widens out passing a bucket-shaped ledge at 30 feet to the bottom of the rift. A short climb is followed by a 20 foot pitch (thread belay above pitch) to Thornton Hall.  From the Hall, an obvious bedding with a double slotted floor goes to Pit Junction, where the two routes diverge.

To reach the 140 foot Colossus Pitch the left turn is made at the junction into the old Arcadia Series. At the Junction the downstream passage is the start of the Red Herring Series, the present drainage route.  We followed the Red Herring Series to the superb 80 foot pitch (thread belay in roof) which leads almost immediately to a 15 foot pitch (belay - spike on left).

At this point there is a choice of pitches - Flake Route (100 feet) or the Main Passage to a 40 foot pitch (bolt and chock stone belay), followed by a 23 foot free climb.  A small, twisting streamway emerges in Flake Aven, where the two routes converge at the head of a 23 foot pitch (flake belay). From the base of the pitch a grovelly crawl is compensated by good formations and small false floors.  At the end of the crawl the last ladder pitch (29 feet, thread belay) is followed by two short climbs (18 feet and 12 feet) to a boulder chamber; a wet crawl leads to the sump, which has been dived and is apparently 40 feet long, through two small air-bells, ending in a silt blockage.

De-tackling and tackle-hauling offers great entertainment, the entrance 40 foot pitch requiring military organisation and giving me a chance to improve my aim and practise shouting "Below!”

An excellent cave that warrants a second trip to visit Arcadia Series.


Letters to the editor.

Ref: Is Caving Hazardous to your Marriage?                5th January '83:

Dear Sir,

The article sent by Colin Priddle from R.S.A. (Rotten Statistical Articles?) is nonsense as it stands.   Perhaps there are chunks missing?

I'm sorry to see mathematics used in such a sloppy fashion.  It does not do us credit.  The analysis as presented is not logical.

Starting by assuming that the stated divorce rate of 2.4 means one couple in 2.4 are divorced in South Africa the author appears to ask the question 'is his group of 9 with 5 divorces amongst them typical of the population of South Africa or is it different?’ The 'rate' for the group as it stands is 1 in 9/5, or 1.8.

If another caver joined the group, they could be divorced or not.  If not, the rate is 1 in 10/5, or 2.0.

If divorced, the rate is 1 in 10/6, or 1.67

In other words, the group is so small that the addition of one more member would drastically alter the conclusions.  Beware of using statistics on small numbers.

We are invited to participate in some research because it is "important".  I can see that sampling a larger population would give more meaningful results if processed properly but why is it important?  What is important is that we should not be so egotistical that we neglect the marriages we've got.  Let's get priorities right.  It is easier to cave than to create a happy marriage.

Finally, I refuse to reveal the length of my marriage to Tim Large.  He and I are just good friends.




Dear M Editor,

A recent incident in Rhino Rift highlights the need to educate people - even Club members - in proper S.R.T. practices.  Prior to this event, which started an M.R.O. call-out, Tim Large and I were asked how the cave should be rigged, since it is fairly well known that Tim and I spent a lot of time putting in safe S.R.T. belays which provide free hangs and even knot protection.  I spent some time explaining to one of the errant Club members how to rig the pitches and what equipment to take for safe conduct.  However, after all this, he declared that our system was too complex and that he would do it his way!  We all know the result.  I must say that I find this cavalier attitude rather disturbing and express my displeasure.

This event prompts me to fully write up the Tim and I did for the benefit of all B.E.C. members indulging in S.R.T.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Romford.

Editor's note: For the benefit of those who know nothing about the Rhino Rift call-out, it occurred when two members were overdue from the cave.  One had little S.R.T. experience and had great difficulty ascending the second pitch.  This led to a delay well beyond their e.t.o.

It is Phil's belief that the difficulties experienced were essentially the result of poor rigging, indeed he believes that dangerous practices were employed which could have caused a serious accident.

He has promised to submit an article explaining what he and Tim have done to improve the rigging of ropes in Rhino Rift, and how we can make best use of the system.


New Members.

We welcome the following new members to the B.E.C.:

1014     Chris Castle, High Wycombe, Bucks

1015     Andrew Lolly, Kingsdown, Bristol.

1016     Darren Granfield, Nailsea, Bristol.

1017     Dr. Peter Glanville, Chard, Somerset.

1018     Richard Palmer, Weston-Super-Mare, Avon.

1019     Lavinia Mary Smith, Wells, Somerset.

1020     Robert John Bailey, Westbury-Sub-Mendip, Wells, Somerset.

1021     Edric Wayland Hobbs , Hokerstone Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.

Address changes.

Tim Large & Fi Lewis, Wells, Somerset. BA5

Ross White:  Arbroath, Angus, Scotland

Tong and Liz Hollis, Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

Jerry Crick, Bath, Avon.

Dave Nicholls, Kalgoorlie, W. Australia, 6430.

Brendan Brew, Leeds 8.

Meets List, March To May.






Manor Farm

Friday Niters

B. Prewer






Giants/Oxlow ?

Derbyshire w/end, staying at Pegasus Hut.




Giants/Oxlow connection is thought to be sumped at present.







Peak Cavern








South Wales

Saturday trip with Friday Niters

B. Prewer






County Pot/Link Pot

Yorkshire w/end staying at Bradford P.C. Hut, Brackenbottom

M. Grass


Simpson's Pot

As above

M. Grass






County Clare

Caving, Guinness, Walking, Guinness, Folk music, Guinness, Guinness, Gui...

M. Grass














Charterhouse Cave

Friday Niters.  Limited to THREE.  Alternative is Longwood.

B. Prewer






Lionels Hole

Friday Niters.





B. Prewer



Visits to all major caves plus some diving





M. Grass







Friday Niters Mystery Tour (by the sound of it )

B. Prewer






Swildons - Black Hole

Friday Niters

B. Prewer






Birks Fell Cave

Yorkshire w/end, staying at Bradford P.C. Hut

M. Grass


Roaring Hole








Pant Mawr

Camping at Crickhowell

M. Grass


Otter Hole




Agen Allwedd