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

Editor: G. Wilton-Jones

Belfry Bulletin Editor's Report, 1983.

The year did not begin well, and with the chaos resulting from my move to Somerset the first issue was a four month job published in November.  The Christmas bulletin was hot on its heels, and was more like the size we ought to expect - 34 pages.

The remaining issues have all been bi-monthly, averaging only a dozen or so pages - recently it has been easier (almost) to get blood out of stones.  My hopes, expressed in my report last year, of producing a monthly B.B. have been thwarted largely due to lack of articles, in spite of the fact that caving activities by club members are thriving, particularly in the area of new exploration.

With some issues up to 30% has been written by me.  This is not the way for a decent B.B., which should be the result of contributions by all members.  I hope that next year's editor will have much greater success in persuading other people to write for the magazine, so that he is able to perform his allotted task, that of editing, instead of spending his time and energies space-filling.

My thanks are due to all those who have written for the B.B., not only during the last year but also over the three years of my editorship, and also to those who have assisted with publication, especially Jeremy Henley, for organising the printing; Dave Turner for the computerised address list and labelling facility; Trev Hughes for organising collation and distribution of the May/June issue while I was in India, and the few who have regularly assisted with collation around the Belfry table.

I wish the next editor well in his difficult task.  Relieved of the burden of responsibility I shall be on hand at times to assist where necessary, and even write the odd article.  After a suitable break I may even stand for re-election to the committee.

Graham Wilton-Jones.


 

Eastwater - West End Series.  The Log Book Entries.

8.5.83 Eastwater.

Keith and Andy. 5½ hours

Dolphin Pot, up Harris's Passage? to Ifold.

Had a frig in the boulders, then down to bottom.  .

5.6.83 Eastwater ( West End Extension).

J-Rat, Phil Romford + Q. John. 5½ hours

Met main party coming out of extension - the reason why we found it.

Had a good look around and were duly impressed.

The passage leading down from the high aven was followed until a local constriction was met.  ½ hours work with a lump hammer will remove this. In the meanwhile Phil went up a side passage, which was followed to a squeeze, which he couldn't pass.  Jarrat went through and reached a second squeeze, and I followed.  We then followed an inclined passage to the head of a 20 foot free climbable pot with another 40 (foot) narrow rift pitch at the bottom.  A climb over and continuing down the passage, ' GREEK STREET', led to a 60 foot (estimated) pitch.  The top needs enlarging to enter.  A very large stream could be heard at the bottom.  A tiring exit was made.  The flow of the water had increased considerably.

Eastwater. West End Series.

Keith Gladman + 8         5 hours.

Having found this lot the previous week-end, I had the dubious task of leading a motley crew of hung over cavers down to do a prov.(isional?) survey.  ("Where's the tape").  Enlarged entrance dig to enable the larger members to pass through. Everyone pushing every little hole. Those Buggers on the previous page (entry above), found a “bit” that we didn't find.  Retrieved digging gear.  Tim took bearing – the main rift runs 210'.  Returned to Ifold Series to find the previous page trying to find their way in.  Out same route, bumping into Jim Smart & Co., who didn't find their way in .

P.S. I have started something here.

p.p.s. THIS COULD BE THE BIG 'UN ! ! !

11/6/83 Eastwater - West End Series.

Keith Gladman, J-Rat, Andy Lolly, Quiet John Watson, Tim Large, MacAnus, Glyn Bolt(W.C.C.).     7½ hours

9.30 start!!! Keith, J-Rat, Andy & Q. John descended the 30' tight, vertical rift after a bit of hammering at the top.  This led to a larger section of rift with the world's nastiest squeeze inclined below it. J-Rat and Keith passed this (just!) to emerge 25' above the floor of the 60' pot from the impassable eyehole.  In the meantime the larger persons had been attacking the bedding plane where flood water sinks in the second rift.  No go.  They then carried on into the new stuff, and Tim and Glyn had a bash at the eyehole, showering J-Rat and Keith with stones, etc.

The latter two were now very committed - thinking that the inclined squeeze was irreversible!  They decided to explore onwards and found that the rift in the floor and halfway up was too tight.  Above this a wider section was blocked by a 2' stal column, beyond which a larger passage could be seen.  The column was duly sacrificed (and bloody tough it was too!) and the intrepid duo squeezed into 200' of large rift passage ending at another tight section. They were too knackered to push this. It should go easily with bang or hammer and chisel.  A couple of holes in the roof were not pushed.  This area is much bigger than the rest of West End Series and now gives us a total of about 1,000 feet.  We estimate the bottom to be c.150' below Dolphin Pot - roughly the same level as the Terminal Lift and bottom of Primrose Pot.  It is still heading off the survey.

Over the page is a sketch plan of the main part of WEST END EXTENSION, EASTWATER CAVERN.

This is a compilation sketch, several members having added bits as they have been discovered.

It is by no means either complete or relatively accurate.

Sketch map of area near Eastwater entrance showing Wardour Street radio-location point.

(see account of trip on 9/7/83)

Depth = 54m, 9m from wall opposite stile.  This puts the end about 4m the other side of the wall, depth 50m. 

Biffo

As the eyehole could not be hammered open (thoughts of using bang to extricate those below) - they were forced to return through the inclined squeeze.  Keith swore never to go through it again.  All then exited slowly and very tiredly after Tim and Glyn had fired 3 lb of bang at the eyehole.

The trip is now one of the hardest and most awkward under Mendip.  Highly recommended.  If it goes any further it'll be a right royal bastard.  No stream at all this week.  Where's the 360' Way water???

J-Rat.

12.6.83 West End Series, Eastwater.

Q. John and Darren        ½ hrs

The aim of the trip was to inspect Tim's banging of the eyehole above the pitch.  The eyehole had been completely demolished so ½ hour was spent clearing the bang debris to make the area safe.  A ladder was lowered and a wary descent made down a small rift. At 25' a ledge was reached with two alternative drops, the next part of the pitch being 50'.  On the way down the alternative descent which J-Rat and Keith had descended was noted.  After 300 or so feet the end was reached, the way on being narrow to continue.  The passage seems to enlarge about 10' beyond where it turns sharp left and drops at a small pool.  We then made a systematic search but nothing was found except a superb collection of helictites in the roof just before the end. We then made our way out, retrieving J-Rat's ladder on the way.  At the top of the pitch we heard voices and met up with Bassett, Jane, Blitz, Chris and Buckett.  On the way out we decided to look for any continuation.  One was found but needed digging.  Being tired we gave up.  So the passage noted on previous trips was entered without damage to the false floor. The walking passage lowered to a hands and knees crawl.  After 30' or so a boulder blockage was met and made safe.  An 8' high by 3' wide passage was entered - REGENT STREET. This was followed until we were soon in an 8'+ wide x 30' high passage.  We could not believe our eyes or luck.  The passage was totally different from any known Eastwater passage - 100' or so of walking.  The first of the formations were met - white stal bosses and small cave pearls on the floor. A climb up a stal flow led to a small chamber with crystal formations and helictites.  A few feet further on an unbelievable little chamber - CHYSTAL PALACE - with a white curtain and flowstone and fantastic termite type plinths made of delicate crystal flakes.  Here we stopped and went back up the pasage to a parallel passage, totally different in character.   A 20' climb was left and we returned to the main cave? 'Joke' Ha! Ha!  Here we met Blitz and Buckett on their way out.  We told them of the news.  They, of course, thought we were exaggerating, so we showed them.  We soon reached the previous limit and I carefully crossed the delicate crystal flakes with as little damage as I could to the formations.  The passage continued on the other side, past more formations to a beautiful, emerald green lake across the entire width of the passage - 3 ' wide x 30' long.  This was crossed.  A small hole, through stal. led to a further drop with a pool.  The passage closed after a few feet more.  We then made our way back to Crystal Palace and soon met Bassett and Jane who, hearing our excited yells, had followed.  We then made our way back to the pitch. This was descended carefully to a small phreatic tube, to a bend after a desperate squeeze.  An exit was made.

15.6.83 Eastwater - West End

Tim Large, Phil Romford, Andy Lolly, Keith Gladman.        6 hours.

Photographic trip to Regent Street.   A most amazing piece of passage, totally out of character with the rest of the cave. Also explored side rifts following an elusive but strong draught.  Passage running at 210'.  Side passage which leads up to boulder choke running north.  Looked at hole in floor at start of Regent Street - leads to a junction with tight 15' rift in floor.  Needs removal of fallen block at top and very thin person to push it.  Lake looks to be over 20' deep and belling out underwater.  Much need for extreme care and restraint on visitors to area or else many vulnerable formations will be damaged.

8.6.83 Eastwater - West End Series

Tim Large, Jayrat, Glyn Bolt, Andy Sparrow + Q. John

Explored rifts back from the passage with the huge flake.  Followed for 70' - 80' up and down rifts past superb helictites.  Was joined by Tim 'morale support' and continued to a passage blocked by boulders and a tight squeeze.  This was left for another day - good draught.  Climbed in passage noted by Andy Lolly.  Heading back up Regent Street.  This was followed for 50' - 60' to a local constriction which needs enlarging to get through to 15' of bigger seen passage.

While the others were pushing the rifts I was discovering a small round trip nearby!  We met up again and descended a tight hole in the floor at the start of Regent Street - this connects with Greek Street through a too tight hole.  We then made our way down Greek St. to the 70' pitch and thence to the rift beyond.

Tony quickly got to work with a hammer and in a short time he passed the previous limit by squeezing 4' above floor level.  20' beyond was a superb 50' pitch - a real classic, perfectly oval 20’ x 0’, cut in black rock.

Excitement was high! 2 ladders were retrieved from the 70’ and Tony, John and myself descended.  Below was a keyhole passage opening out at a 6’ pot after 30'.  Following this was 36’ of roomy phreatic tube running down dip and then turning on the strike where it became too low to follow. The passage draughted furiously but was liberally coated with flood debris.  We returned finding the 6' pot difficult to ascend.  Tim put a charge on the squeeze, then we de-laddered and made a long slow exit, with much moaning and cursing.  A bloody fine trip!

22.6.83.  Eastwater - West End Series.

Trev Hughes, Rob Harper, Darren Granfield, Edric Hobbs   3½ hours

Survey trip.

Underground at 7 pm, to start a grade 5 survey of this extension.  We started from the far side of the lake and worked our way back to the junction of the way in and Greek St., where our last survey station - no.17 -was marked. All side passages were left- but the locations plotted - and no ends were pushed.  We made the pub with about 5 minutes to spare.

From a diving viewpoint the lake is really worth a dive.  The pretties were left a bit muddles, I apologise.  I must hand t to Keith and Andy – it was a hell of a dig!

25.6.83  Eastwater - West End Series. 

Jayrat, Mac, Tim, Phi1 R, Q. John, Brian Prewer.

Whilst the others surveyed, we took a look at the end rift - needs banging.  We then climbed up in the roof of previous week and continued a further 25' and up 15' to a small grotto; squeezed through formations to enter passage - 2' high and 4' to 5’ wide.  We followed this for a further 15’, we could see 50'+ but turned back due to the fact I was on my own.  Tim and J-Rat surveyed Greek St. and put 1lb 10oz of bang on a draughty hole above squeeze leading to Lolly Pot.

Eastwater - West End Series.  26.6.83

Q. John + M. Brown.      4¼ hours

Trip to the pretties climbed up into passage entered on Saturday 100’ of passage found – entrenched bedding with nice red stal formations.  The passage follows the line of the large bouldery passage of Regent Street; the end being a few boulders blocking the passage from where 50’+ of passage can be seen. A slow exit was made.

26.6.83. Eastwater West End Series.

Trev Hughes + Rob Harper.         4½ hours

Continued the grade 5 survey of Regent Street and the side passages: especially the large ascending passage called Wardour St. (Rob says it’s where the blue movies are made).  Also tidied up various other bits.  Will someone please stop Quiet John discovering passage quicker than we can survey it!

29.6.83 Eastwater - West End Series.

Dave Turner, Paul Hodgson, Tim Large.    5 hours

Down to bottom of Greek St. - inspected bang - removed rock buttress to expose a small passage turning to the right. Brought Pegasus ladders out.  Had a quick look at Regent St. where Paul took a few photos.  Also noticed draught blowing from a passage at dogleg squeeze in Greek St.  Below 75' pitch just after squeezes, climbed in roof on left side of passage to find a bedding plane in roof - small drip descending into a steeply descending passage which appears to be upstream end of tributary aven, which joins main passage about 50' lower down  Missed the pub.

29.6.83. Eastwater - West End.

Darren and friends.         4 hours

Trip to the pretties, then explored the other end of flake rift.  Nice small rift passage, found some nice helictites and stal.  Also a good draught coming from an upward direction, but very small.  Couldn't go any further as light went out, so had to leave it.

2.7.83  Eastwater West End.

Darren, Quiet John, Drew ,Wormhole.      5 hours.

Went to pretty area and up to passage in roof passage went straight above passage below - could see through on various occasions.  The passage then split into two parallel passages, just above where Wardour turns to a boulder ruckle.  Left hand passage carried on for 50' and ended in unstable bou1ders.  Right hand passage was a very thin rift about 30' high and 53' long, ending with small boulder filled tubes.  Whole area is very unstable. Good fun trip.

7.7.83. Eastwater - West End.

Barry Wharton (prospective member ) + Rob Harper.         5 hours

Evening trip to"Serpentine" in Eastwater- fully examined with single diving kit - definitely no way on, maximum depth 4m.  Many thanks to Barry.

9.7.83. Eastwater - West End.

Quiet John, Tim, J- Rat, Dave " Wyoming Skunk" Neuson, Glyn Bolt, Julie, Pete Hann (WCC)          5½ hours

Radio location in Wardour Street, successfully picked up by Brian Prewer giving us a point near the old WCC hut. Q. John found 30' of tight phreatic Rift off Regent Street.  Tim and J-Rat pushed a bedding plane passage at the top of Soho which later gave us a physical connection into Ifold Series above the Magic Fountain.  This means that the new series has always been open but never been pushed!!!  This route, with a bit of work, could make an easier way in and a possible rescue route.  Large ascending bedding plane above here (in Ifold's) could provide a connection with the entrance series.  Glyn and Pete went in to Regent St. and Crystal Palace to take some snaps.  Useful trip, Skunk was duly impressed!

13.7.83 West End Series

A.+ P. Glanvill + Tony Boycott attempted to find the pretties .......

relying on a verbal description by Bassett.  Total failure.  The cave inflicted considerable G.B.H. on A.P.G. and A.P.G., failed to inflict similar damage on the cave

Pete Glanvill

25/7/83 Eastwater West End

Martin Grass, Chris Castle, Debbie Armstrong.

To Regent Street to photograph pretties.  Debbie's Petzl light was clapped - what a profane girl!

Chris Castle

23/7/83 Eastwater West End

J-Rat, Tin Large, Steve Lane, Chris Birkhead (ICCC), Mark Bound (ICCC).    6 hours.

To bottom (well nearly) where Tim laid 4lb of bang on the squeeze leading to Lolly Pot.  Satisfying crump.  Long, slow drag out as usual.  Also looked at passages above Ifold Series (Magic Fountain area).  Some promising draughting boulder choked holes in the roof need a poke.

J-Rat

6.8.83 Eastwater Cavern

Quiet John, Matt Tuck, Graham (UG) Summers (NCC).     4hrs 40mins.

To the bitter end to dig.  Q.J. and M.T. failed miserably at the last squeeze, so A.J. and 'UG' carried on to dig out 8 sandbags of wet gravel and mud.  More bags needed.  Hell of a strong inward draught.

J-Rat.

Thursday July 21st.      Eastwater

Jim Smart & Neil Scallon.  3 hours

Ferried all tackle required for West End.  Neil's lamp failed at Soho, so trip and tackle abandoned!

Friday July 22nd.         Eastwater

Jim & Neil return to West End.    5½ hours

The joys of Wardour St. & Regent St. consumed most of our attention.

Aug. 6th.          Eastwater

Mark Lumley, Jim & Neil.            3½ hours

Showed Mark the pretties. When we set off towards the pitches Mark & Neil's lamps started to give out; retreat.

27.8.83. Eastwater - West End

Tim, J-Rat, Pete Bolt; Debbie & Howard Limbert, Alan Box, Noddy (NCC)               7hrs 20mins

HORRIBLE dig at bottom eventually dug wide enough (in liquid mud) for J-Rat to squeeze through into 20' of ‘roomy’ phreatic passage with mudbanks.  THIS AREA COMPLETELY SUMPS!  There is a WAY ON but J-Rat was too knackered to push it.  It needs another trip.  1lb of bang laid on squeeze.  NCC 'impressed'.  Much light pox.

J-Rat

This is not a complete account of visits to West End Series, as some trips have yet to be written up into the Club log book, in particular the original breakthrough trip.

At least two articles have been promised for the B.B. but, as these are not forthcoming, I trust that a transcript of log entries will suffice as an interim measure.

Late News

Pierre's Pot – Burrington Coombe, very close to Goatchurch.

After banging the draughting entrance the WCC have entered 400' of walking sized phreatic passage. The present end is a boulder choke; further prospects will require extensive digging.


 

The Mint Imperials Go To France

by Debbie Armstrong & Steve Lane

Nine members of Imperial College Caving Club (including Steve Lane and Debbie Armstrong) visited the Vercor area of France for 3 weeks in July on a combined caving trip and end of year holiday.

We camped at the Municipal campsite in La Chapelle - en - Vercor for the first 2 weeks pad then moved on to a campsite near Autran for the last week.  It’s worth while noting that the cost of the first campsite was very reasonable and no one objected to us washing filthy ropes, S.R.T. gear and over suits in the campsite sinks and taking over the washing line for drying wet-suits, etc.!  Next door to the campsite we found a ‘Maison de Speleologie' who lent us guide books to the caves of the area and allowed us to photocopy the relevant surveys which was very helpful.

The first assault was on Fumant and Ramats.  Fumant proved to be a good practice S.R.T. trip with plenty of small pitches and lots of rebelays.  Ramats, however, was disappointing as the team spent 3 hours slogging through the forest (but if dropped off at the right place it is only 5 minutes from the road!) only to find the cave sumped after 200m due to heavy rainfall.

The second day saw the Ramats party going down Fumant and the others driving to the Grotte de la Luire to ask permission for a descent beyond the show cave entrance.  The guides at the cave were obviously French 'speleos' and were quite happy to let us go down.  After entering via the show cave a series of fixed iron ladders (-180m) lead to the master cave.  Time allowed only a limited exploration of this as we had to be out by 6pm when the show cave shut.

We decided to do the Grotte de Gournier next.  This involved getting across a deep entrance lake.  Unlike the French (who don't like getting their feet wet), we didn't have 'un bateau' and as a result Debbie ended up swimming across (several times due to the rope getting tangled) to get a boat moored on the other side for ferrying the rest across.  However, even with a boat crossing the lake wasn't easy as I.C.C.C. certainly doesn’t stand for Imperial College Canoe Club and it was pretty obvious by the way the boat went round in circles that our star team won't win the university boat race. Oh well, it did provide the French tourists with some amusement.  An interesting high level traverse lead from the lake into the lapin cave which contained some beautiful gour pools and stal formations near the entrance - lots of photos were taken.  The rest of the cave consisted of 2½km of collapsed passage with boulder slope after boulder slope - boring:

Next on the agenda was Tresou which proved to be a very sporting trip that combined lots of pitch work with some horizontal development, loads traverses and water (including a 50m waterfall pitch).

After all this caving we decided it was time to have a rest day (or two) and indulge in the locals favourite pass time - namely eating and drinking.  With the vino at 40p a bottle (including 10p deposit) who could refuse?

The next few days were spent doing Pot de Loupe (S.R.T.), Malaterre (S.R.T.) and St. Vincent (more S.R.T.) - all reasonable trips with St. Vincent going below the 400m mark.

It was now time for another rest day (or three) and we took this opportunity to change campsites. Once installed near Autran we drove up to the Berger area to do some of the nearby caves - Fromagere (also known as d’Engins) and Jean Noire.  Jean Noire is best described as shitty, horrible and not worth the effort especially as it took 6 hours and a French caver to find it.

Fromagere on the other hand proved to be well worth while.  The first team down met a group of French cavers coming up the first pitch and with their limited communications (none of us can speak French) ascertained that they were leaving the cave rigged for further exploration and that we could use their tackle (bloody good job as otherwise we wouldn't have got half as far as we did).  The first group made it to the sump by-pass via tight passage way and lots of pitches (including a 200m pitch broken by ledges).  Note the novel French rigging of pitches involving at least 5 bolts/10 metres (anything to keep their feet dry) plus a few deviations just to make it interesting.  The appetites having been wetted saw several other groups making the descent with one party succeeding in reaching the -535m mark (at which point an unrigged pitch was reached) on a 25 hour trip.  Fromagere is known to extend to -900 so a lot more is left to be done.

While pushing Fromagere other trips were made down Trou Qui Souffle which also proved to be a good cave.

With the three weeks drawing to an end we all went out for a slap-up meal and got drunk (again).  In conclusion Vercor is an area that is fairly easy to get to, with good facilities (i.e. relatively civilised) and is well worth a visit if you have some spare time in the summer.

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

Rachael Clarke spent part of this summer in the Vercours also, joining the Crewe Caving Club trip to the Gouffre Berger.  This expedition attracted cavers from a variety of cave clubs, so was quite a cosmopolitan affair.  Rachael went as far as the Salle de Treize (Hall of Thirteen).  She also visited the Bournillon, the Gournier and the Coufin-Chevaline system (Choranche show cave is a small part of the last mentioned cave).


 

Library Notes

The following are recent additions to the E.E.C. library:

Vols. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 & 15 of 'Mines and Miners of Cornwall', by A.K. Hamilton Jenkin.

1 - Around St. Ives;

2 - St. Agnes - Perranporth;

3 - Around Redruth

5 - Hayle, Gwinear & Gwithian

6 - Around Gwennapp

15 - Calstock, Callington & Launceston.

'Mongst Mines &' Miners (underground Cornish mining scenes - 1895).

The Great Western & Lewis Merthyr Collieries.  A 72 page photographic essay by John Cornwell (old B.E.C. member). - Anyone wanting their own copies see J-Rat or Roger Dors £5 each, signed!

Many thanks to Trevor Shaw for donations of six foreign club journals and some old Axbridge newsletters.

J-Rat.


 

Five Go In Search Of The Burrington Master Cave

Mark Lumley

EPISODE 1.

"I say chaps" said the Prof " I've done a few solution tests down at the old lab and it looks like there's a good chance of finding a big cavern down at Burrington", "WIZZO!" cried the lads, "where do we start digging?".

"The bottom of Reads looks like the best bet 'cos it takes the main stream down to the abandoned water table level, parallel with Avelines"  said Lummo, oversimplifying as usual. "Golly!" went the others.

So the famous five armed themselves with spades, crowbars, hammers and bottles of pop, and set off with their famous mascot Spunky the sleeping bog on the start of another adventure.

The bottom of the cave was a sinister place and apart from the occasional comic book and discarded Boy Scout’s toggle there were no signs that anyone had EVER been there before. The lads set about their task with square chinned determination, sinking shafts and pushing side passages away from the terminal chamber but results were not forthcoming.

"Dashed hard work this fellows" Uncle Jim said wryly out of the side of his mouth as he brewed up some tea on the team stove. "Lesgoforapint!!"

"WIZZO" cried the lads, pleased at hearing their secret codeword for the end of the days digging.  In the corner of their 'Hunters' H.Q. they planned the future of their dig over pints of foaming Batscum, keeping their voices low and looking out for enemy spies.

"If it's going to go we'll have to push the terminal choke at the bottom of that inclined passage" said Potto, his eyes glowing as he puffed on a strange looking cigarette and tried to stop himself floating up from his chair, "it takes all the stream man, and never backs up .....OH WOW!" he cried and passed out. The lads toiled on through the winter. Spring came and one Tuesday night upper lips stiffened resolutely, they pushed down on their twentieth trip. Halfway down the cave Lummo spotted a hole in the roof.  That’s not on the survey chaps" he shouted excitedly and putting a spare candle in his shorts he pushed on up through the hole into a very unstable ruckle amounting to about 150ft of horrendously unstable new find. "The Browne Stain Series, men!” Said Lummo” We’d better call Dr Glandspill in on this one to see if it reminds him of the Berger!"

"Glandspill!!" roared the others "forget him, he thinks Karst Hydrology is a German Poet" they hooted.  The main dig pushed on until, though an excavated fissure in a side wall the main stream could be heard disappearing into the distance.

"Gosh" said Scallywag, the slimmest of the famous five "it's too tight for me; we need Honest Pat Croney to sort this out for us!"  Honest Pat appeared, some days later, laden with pumps, hoses and intricate tackle far beyond the lads comprehension.  He surveyed the new find with a discerning eye.

"Ere lads" he remarked, hands on hips" what you need is a damn good bang!!  "The five shuffled around uncomfortably, miscomprehending the comment and hoping that Spunky wouldn't get jealous.  So Honest Pat had noticed their spotty complexions and put two and two together.  To hide their embarrassment they spent every night underground that week and were rewarded with a tight bypass to the constriction bringing them to a 40ft extension at one end of which lurked a deep sump pool.

"WIZZO" cried the lads “next stop Rickford".  The next night Lummo and the Prof slithered down the cave in some new fangled wet-suit things intent on free-diving the sump...  "Are you all right" yelled Lummo having watched his comrade disappear into the pool some half minute previously "Fgblumpffft" came the spluttered reply "Fukitlesgoforapint!"

Some time later the lads were still scratching their heads, bewildered about where to go next. "What we need is a Cave Diver" said Uncle Jim.  "That Liz Price is a pretty plucky diver for a girl" said the Prof "  Spiffing idea!" replied Scallywag" Let's give her a ring.. . . ."

That weekend, with excitement mounting the lads descended Reads on their thirty fourth trip, encumbered with bottles, goggles and all the rest of Liz's diving gear and eventually, worn out they reached the sump.  They were surprised to see that the water level had dropped about four feet.

"The water level's dropped about four feet chaps" said the Prof, stating the obvious. "WIZZO' said Liz.  The Lads exchanged glances. She spoke the banter - Fine girl.

Liz beckoned the Prof to the sump to help her tackle up. He followed sheepishly with cheeks flushed. The lads waited in the dark expectantly.

"Gosh Uncle Jim" said Lumo" I hope it goes: "The Comment was wasted; Jim had gone to the pub vowing to return in an hour.   "Here we go" said Liz and disappeared under the water.  The Prof looked on with fingers crossed, cursing the villain who maimed his hand that way in his last adventure.  Shortly, rising bubbles showed that Liz was coming to the surface....or was it the All Bran??

"It gets too tight further down chaps" she gasped, “BOTHER", "DRAT", "DAMNED SHAME" came the replies.  She valiantly tried again, there was a body sized passage down there but it proved to be impassable with bottles in the way.

"Fancy a pint" said Lummo who had messed his caving grots in the disappointment of the moment, 'come and meet our mascot''.  "Golly rather" Liz retorted.

And so the famous five, plus one set off for the surface and the sanctuary of the Plume of Feathers slightly dejected but resolved on finding another way down towards the Burrington Master Cave.  You know chaps" said the Prof swilling his Batscum "there's a phreatic tube about halfway down the Browne’s Stuart Series and its draughting heavily, heading right away from the known cave too.  If we start digging ...?”OH NAFF OFF" cried the lads in unison, but the spark of enthusiasm had been lit......

NEXT WEEK: Five push a draughting passage full of bat shit halfway down Reads.

Jim Smart writes that, only a week after Mark had written the above article, they found 300 feet of new passage in Reads.  A report and survey should be available for the next B.B.


 

Bassett's Notes

AUSTRIA 1983.  Rob, Rachel and Biffo returned from Austria full of tales of blizzard and storm, and the warmth and hospitality of the Wiesberghaus, Fritz and Greta.  In spite of the weather they managed to tackle up the first section of Zarengassewindschacht in preparation for the second group, comprising the 'Uglies' (Bob & Dany) and the N.C.C.

Bob & Dany report that Ben Dors Schacht was bottomed at nearly 600 feet.  After this a short passage with a few small drops quickly led to a 50 foot pitch to a ledge and then a 200 foot pitch.  Not far from the bottom this was a further pitch of about 250 feet, which was not descended due to lack of time and tackle.  A river could be heard at the bottom, which must be 1700 to 1800 feet below the surface.  Perhaps it could be the glacial river that feeds the Waldbach Ursprung.  Hopes are high and a return visit is already planned for next year.  A grade 5 survey was started and 'Lugger' (N.C.C.) is currently drawing this up. It seems to indicate that the cave has swung back underneath Barengasse, as we had originally supposed it would, Survey and article soon - I hope.

WOOKEY.  The 60' pot mentioned in the last issue proved to be blind, but another passage has been found leading back towards Wookey 20

AUSTRIA. P.S.  Members of the Club who have stayed at the Weisberghaus may be disappointed to learn that Pritz & Greta are moving out so that Fritz can take on his job as a butcher in Obertraun full time. Let us hope that the future manager of the hut will be as pro British cavers and drinkers as the last.

OGOF HESP ALYN.  Chris Milne (Wessx and C.D.G.) and Trev Hughes have passed two perched sumps near the bottom of Hesp Alyn, to enter large passage. The sumps are 5 feet long and 30 feet long, and Trev reckons they could both be baled.  The new passage is larger than the rest of Hesp Alyn and carries a stream.  So far the cave has been extended by over 2000 feet.  Down through boulders at one point a large river can be heard – almost certainly this is the Alyn River.

MANIFOLD VALLEY.  After the publication of a geological report, by someone who ought to know better, writing off the Manifold as a potential cave area, any other prospector might give up. However, digging there has paid off with the discovery of 1300 feet of passage.  Caves be where you find 'em.  Pete Glanvill should be writing us something about the find soon.

The following extract from 'The Vision of Glory', by J.S. Collis, and gleaned by Jane Thomas, must surely be referring to members of the B.E.C.

We were tempted to say, “There’s nothing left now for the iron-souled adventurers, the active visionaries, who; have sought to penetrate into uncharted places; with the possibility of irretrievable calamity facing them at every step.”  Yet…. There is spelaeology.  The spelaeologists.  They are not as other men: unexampled fortitude, steel-like patience, sublime audacity, the nerves of acrobats and the blood of fishes ....

BAT PRODUCTS.  Phil & Lil Romford have opened up their own caving/climbing/camping shop in Wells.  See next pages for ad. and map.  Phil often carries a number of items with him on his travels - look out for his red mini on Mendip.  I am sure we all wish Phil and Lil success in their venture.

EIRE.  During the dry summer Martyn Farr pushed beyond the own sumps in Fergus River Cave, Co. Clare, to discover yet another sump.  In Co. Kerry he found about half a mile of stream cave.

P.S.M.  Rumour has it that a new, higher entrance has been found to the Pierre making it, once gain, the deepest system in the world.  If the rumour is true, the cave must surely have passed the magic 1500 metre mark.

PICOS DE EUROPA.  The same little bird tells me that the deepest ever all British exploration has recently taken place in the Picos.  This record was previously by O.U.C.C. in Pozo del Xitu (1139m.), also in the Picos.

Bassett.


 

Members' Resolution For A Proposed Change To The Constitution.

Committees always have been, and probably always will be, targets for criticism from the very people who have elected them to office.  The B.E.C. committee seems to be no exception to rule.  However, committees in their turn are adept at both countering the criticisms and levelling some of their own at the club the membership.  No doubt one of the moans at this particular time of year is the lack of nominations for the new committee.  The obvious question is: "Why the lack of enthusiasm?"  Four of the retiring committee have held various offices for over 40 years between them.  Whilst this dedication is no doubt commendable, does it not make the club over-reliant up such people?  The following resolution is put forward in an attempt to rectify a situation of apparent apathy.

A member, having served on committee of the Club for any three consecutive years, at the end of their third term must resign their post.

They may not seek re-election, nor be co-opted, onto the committee for a period of two consecutive years from the time of resignation.

The numbers of years are arbitrary figures.   It is the principle of the proposal that is important.  If adopted, it would ensure a regular flow of new committee members, new ideas and different approaches to problems.  We are convinced that this would encourage more people to stand for the committee.

Under the present circumstances there can be nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Proposed by: Jane Clarke

Seconded by: Marin Grass

See you at the A.G.M. and Dinner.  By now you should have ordered your tickets from Trevor.  He is also arranging a coach: Hunters, & Belfry to Cheddar and return.  Contact Trev if you want seats.

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

That the following changes be made to section 5.  COMMITTEE.

Paragraph (a) line 1 to read; the number of members on the committee shall be five.

Delete whole of first sentence up to No non-member.

Paragraph (b)  line 6. word 1 to read "five" delete nine.

   line 9. word 8 to read "five" delete nine.

Paragraph (a) Delete lines 4 & 5 up to "No member shall” Substitute; Secretary, Treasurer, Hut Warden.

   line 5. word 11 to read "one" Delete two.

Proposed by Chris Batstone.

Seconded by Rachel Clarke.


 

Wedmore Mercury

issue no. 21, week-ending 3rd. September 1985.

"Big Find" expected.

Potholers hunting for a 'hidden cave' in Cheddar have started a railway system to remove the tons of sand and clay they are uncovering.  The railway, developed by a local firm and paid for by Lord Weymouth's Longleat Estate, started operating last week.

Potholers are working at night off one of the main Cheddar caves and are confident they will soon make a big find.  They believe they are heading towards an underground river and a huge cave could be their prize.  They have gone 80 yards and discovered several smaller passages in the six months they have been working.

Manager Harry Bennett said enthusiasts have been searching for new caves for years but the present lead was very promising.

Caving Secretary's Report 1983.

The club has been involved in many activities over the last year making it a very active one.  At Christmas three club members returned from the large Mexico Expedition where much new passage was found.  Easter saw approximately twenty members visit County Clare for a week and all went caving at least once.  Some were involved in exploring new passage in The Cave of Wild Horses and also helping with a climbing project in Clare's only show cave Ailwee.  Another notable event this year was the return to Austria this summer.  The first party did not have much success due to the appalling weather conditions, but a subsequent trip by a combined BEC/NCC party descended the large pitch in Barengasseivindschacht which defeated a party a couple of years ago and reached another large pot at the bottom of which a large river could be heard.

Nearer to home the major achievement on Mendip has been the extensions found in Eastwater off the old BEC discovery of The Ifold Series.  A series of strenuous crawls and two fine pitches along with some fine stal make this an excellent trip, with good prospects for further discovery.  Wookey Hole has also received a fair number of trips from club members and various dry extensions have been found.  Progress is also being made at the only new club dig site Halloween Rift which is situated above Wookey Hole.

Unfortunately the new Arête Ladder has not been installed in St. Cuthbert’s but it has been made and is awaiting transportation into the cave.  We currently have twenty eight Cuthbert’s Leaders (Twenty one, BEC and Seven Guests). This includes three new leaders Alison Moody, Pete Glanville and Tony Knibbs.

Most of Mendips systems have been visited including Tynings Barrow where the continual work at A Day is slow but steady.  Over the months numerous trips have been made to all other areas of the British Isles and the club appears to be very active on the caving front.

Martin Grass
3rd September 1993

B.E.C. Dinner 1983

The Annual Dinner of The Bristol Exploration Club is to be held at:  THE CLIFF HOTEL, CHEDDAR on SATURDAY 1st OCTOBER 1983 AT 7.30 FOR 8pm

CHOICE OF EITHER ROAST BEEF or ROAST PORK (STATE WHICH WHEN ORDERING TICKETS)

TICKETS £6.50 each exclusive of wine.  ORDER TICKETS FROM: Trevor Hughes, 8 West Bank, Wookey Hole, N r Wells, Somerset.