The Journal Of The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.

Editor: Robin Gray

It was good to see so many at the Mid-summer festivities even it the weather was a little unkind. In fact it rained heavily all day but that failed to dampen the spirits of the hairy band of Vikings who turned up to enjoy nights delights.

The chariot race started with a big bang and the chariots thundered away in clouds of liquid mud. The winners were MNRC who fielded a very strong and practiced team and got round in an incredible time to the surprise of all.  Next year it’s their turn to put on the games.  Well done MNRC.

Even in the rain the Belfry grounds were filled with people enjoying the excellent bar and waiting their turn to get at what must rate as one of Mendips finest feeds.  The organisation of this spectacular nosh-up was superb and all those involved are to be congratulated.

At about 10.30 the rain stopped for enough time to enable the firing of a short but lively firework display with some notable shells.

After the fireworks some fine singing of all the best songs was enjoyed until late in the Belfry Lounge.

Further celebrations are to follow soon including the club trip to France and the Dinner, details of which can be found in this News Letter.

This is my last BB before the AGM so to those of you who have sent in articles many thanks.




by Tim Large

Annual General Meeting Notice: The Annual General Meeting of The Bristol Exploration Club will be held at The Belfry on Saturday 5th October 1985 beginning at 10.30am prompt. A quorum of 30 members is required. Please make an effort to attend and become involved with the club's organisation.  Only paid up members may attend and vote.

Member's Resolutions: These can be submitted by paid up members, each resolution needing a proposer and seconder.  The contents of these can be any proposals for a change in club policy, rules or requests for committee action on behalf of the membership for its greater benefit.  Resolutions should be handed to the AGM Chairman.

Constitutional Resolutions:  These are proposals which need a proposer and seconder to amend the club constitution in some way.  These must be submitted to the Secretary in writing as early as possible as they can only be heard at an Annual General Meeting if they have been published in the BB at least one month before hand.

Committee Elections: Nominations are requested for election to the 1985/6 Committee.  They must be seconded by a full paid up member of the club.  Only full members are entitled to stand for committee. Full members are those people who have completed their year's probationary membership and have been ratified by the committee.  Nomination should be sent to the Secretary not later than Saturday 7th September 1985. They must be in writing and signed by a seconder.

Annual Dinner: As previously stated this will be held at The Cheese Pavilion Restaurant on The Bath & West Show Ground, Near Shepton Mallet on Saturday 5th October 1985 7pm for 1.30pm

The Belfry. There is still much finishing off work to be done by way of painting, fixtures and fittings. Volunteers are needed from you the members.  We have no more money to pay outside contractors to do the work.  It would be a pity to ruin a good job for the sake of a lick of paint.  Please contact Dany Bradshaw, Chris Batstone or Tim Large if you can offer any help.

St Cuthbert’s: Pumping operations have been in progress at Sump 2 with the aid of a compressed air water pump.  This was fed by fire hose kindly lent by Somerset Fire Brigade from a surface based road works compressor.  Much progress has been made into the sump - the end now being 60 feet from normal sump level and 21 feet below it.  Conditions are somewhat muddy.  Unfortunately the passage is still descending.

Eastwater - West End Series.  Since earlier this year when The Blackwall Tunnel was pushed and 1,000 feet of passage found which was called The Jubilee Line, not much else of note has been found.  Attempts to climb the aven in the new extensions were hampered by rapid and extensive flooding of the tube at the beginning of The Blackwall Tunnel.  This appears to be caused by mud blocking a small passage down which the stream drains.  It took the party trapped on the other side a couple of hours to bail themselves out.

Definitely a site for dry weather and the drain hole blockage needs dealing with!!

Halloween Rift: Trev Hughes is still making good progress here and is always looking for volunteers.  At present he is trying to get into Wookey before the American divers arrive to attempt the deep Sump 25 again.

Blackmoor Flood Swallet:  Otherwise known as Upper Flood Swallet.  The many years digging here by the MCG has at last yielded them some reward.  They have broken into about 600 feet of stream passage with good formations.  Prospects look good for further discoveries heading towards Cheddar.

Hut Improvement Appeal

About 2 months ago this appeal started in earnest.  We are looking for £3,500 from paid-up and life members.   Well, the good news is that to date we have received donations of £525.   The bad news is (or it could be good depending on your view) that this sum has been donated by just 16 members and none has been from fund raising activities. Where are all of you out there in your pedalos?  Came in the other 160 of you and let us see your money!   Our thanks for the 16 generous donations so far!


Bristol Exploration Club  50th Year Dinner


The Cheese Pavilion, Royal Bath And West Show Ground Shepton Mallet.











Tickets from Brian Workman, Oakhill, Bath.

Please send money with order for tickets stating your, choice of main course, beet or duck.



Bristol Exploration Club Annual General Meeting Agenda

To be held at The Belfry on Saturday 5th October 1985 at 10.30am prompt

1.         Election of Chairman

2.         Collection of outstanding ballot papers

3.         Election of three tellers

4.         Apologies of absence

5.         Collection of members resolutions

6.         Minutes of 1984 Annual General Meeting

7.         Matters arising from 1984 Minutes

8.         Hon. Secretary's Report

9.         Hon. Treasurer's Report

10.        Hon. Auditor's Report

11.        Caving Secretary's Report

12.        Hut Warden's Report

13.        Tacklemaster's Report

14.        B.B. Editor's Report

15.        Hut Engineer's Report

16.        Librarian's Report

17.        Ian Dear Memorial Fund Report

18.        Result of ballot for Committee

19.        Election of Committee Posts

20.        Any Other Business

Minutes of the Bristol Exploration Club Annual General Meeting held at the Belfry on Saturday 6th October 1984 at 11.05am

Present: Tim Large, Alan Thomas, Graham Wilton-Jones, Chris Smart, Tony Jarratt, Brian Workman, Matt Tuck, Greg Villas, Chris Batstone, Bob Hill, Andy Lolley, Keith Gladman, Robin Gray, Alan Downton, Axel Knuston, John Watson, John Turner, Chris Castle, Bob Cork, Brian Prewer, Dany Bradshaw, Stuart McManus, Robin Hervin, Nick Holstead, Jeremy Henley, Phil Romford, Roger Sabido, Joan Bennett, Ian Caldwell, Dave Irwin, Glen Grass, Martin Grass, Nigel Taylor, Trevor Hughes, John Dukes, one other.

Apologies: Oliver Lloyd, Pete & Joyce Franklin, Fiona Lewis, Rich Stevenson, Jerry Crick, Gill Turner, John & Sue Riley, Lavinia Watson, Nicola Slann, Roy Bennett, John Chew, Dave Turner, Miles Barrington, John Theed, Dave Pike, Lisa Taylor.

The meeting was convened at 11.05am with 36 people present.  Nominations were requested for a Chairman two nominations were received Jeremy Henley and Phil Romford.  A vote was taken Jeremy Henley 10 and Phil Romford 15.   Phil was therefore elected to the chair.

Members Resolutions: None

Minutes of 1983 Annual General Meeting:  Proposed by John Turner and seconded by Jeremy Henley they be accepted and t'1ken as read. Carried.

Matters Arising From 1983 AGM:  The shower meters are ready for installation.  After investigation the telephone charges cannot be reduced.

Hon. Secretary's Report:  Read to the meeting.  GWJ queried the claim for lost tackle.  TEL explained the circumstances.  Proposed by S. McManus and Seconded by Dany Bradshaw the report be adopted.  Carried.

Hon. Treasurer's Report:  As circulated at the meeting by Jeremy Henley.

Hon. Auditor's Report:  As circulated at the meeting by Joan Bennett.  Neither had anything further to add.  Nigel Taylor asked what investigations had been made into the thefts from the Belfry.  Jeremy Henley explained that theta was no sign of the culprit or the money.  It was agreed to keep an eye on the situation. Proposed by Jeremy Henley and seconded by Stu McManus that a locked ammo can be bolted to the Library wall for depositing Hut Fees.  Motion carried.  Chris Smart asked about the Navy usage of the Belfry.  Tim Large explained they were just starting to return.  Proposed by Nigel Taylor seconded by Ian Caldwell that the Belfry Rates and Insurance be split 50/50 between subscriptions and Belfry income.  Carried. Brian Prewer proposed a vote of thanks to Jeremy and Joan for a fine set of accounts.  The meeting agreed.

Caving Secretary's Report:  Stuart McManus read this to the meeting.  Martin Grass expressed concern about a lack of Cuthbert’s leaders.  Mac said that we did have several but dates do tend to clash. Joan Bennett supported the caving secretary's want for more expenditure on caving projects and equipment.  Chris Batstone suggested that members may not be aware money is available for club digs and projects.  Nigel Taylor suggested a special fund for digs but Jeremy pointed out that it was impractical to have a separate fund or an upper limit. Proposed by Nigel Taylor seconded by Greg Villas that the report be accepted. Carried.

Hut Warden's Report: Jeremy Henley said that most of the points had been made in the Hon. Secretary's Report.  Only £3 was outstanding in Hut Fees at present.  The Duty Hut Warden system had worked but a full time warden was needed.  Chris Batstone said that in his opinion the system does not work as many wardens don't stay at The Belfry.  Nigel Taylor suggested that you will get less volunteers if you expect them to stay at the Belfry.  Chris Batstone volunteered to be Hut Warden the meeting accepted this.  Nigel Taylor said that a book should be kept at the Belfry with booking in it.  Proposed by Nigel Taylor seconded by Keith Gladman that the report be accepted. Carried.

Tacklemaster's Report:  Bob Cork read this to the meeting.  Stu McManus proposed a vote of thanks to Bob for sorting out the tackle problem. Martin Grass suggested the better marking of lifelines.  Keith Gladman said that he was pleased the new tackle system was working successfully. Chris Smart expressed concern over our liability on ladders acquired by ourselves over the years and not of our own manufacture.  Bob explained that it was the same as on our own ladders.  Tony Jarratt asked about supplying each lifeline in a tackle bag, Bob said that the club did have a need for more tackle bags.  The matter was left to the Committee.  Proposed by Chris Batstone seconded by Robin Gray that the report be adopted.  Carried.

Hut Engineer’s Report:   Dany Bradshaw read this to the meeting.  GWJ suggested paying more subs and having outside contractors do the work.  Bob Hill asked how many people would be prepared to pay extra for outside contractors to work on Belfry maintenance. Joan Bennett said the Hut Fund could be used for

Belfry maintenance once the improvements had been carried out.  Tony Jarratt said that to increase subscriptions drastically might put off new young members from joining.  Martin Grass said that there had been a change in people’s circumstances with members either living locally or off Mendip and not staying at the Belfry so regularly.  The Chairman took a vote on the use of outside contractors FOR 18 AGAINST 4. Proposed by Dany Bradshaw seconded by Tony Jarratt that outside contractors be bought in as necessary for Belfry maintenance.  FOR 25 AGAINST 3.  It was proposed by Stu McManus and seconded by Bob Hill that the report be adopted. Carried.

BB Editor's Report: As published in the BB.  Comments were made re lack of a BB.  Robin Gray said that this was due to lack of material. Tony Jarratt thought that we should keep the standard A4 format.  Chairman took a vote on continuing BB as it is.  Vote carried.  Proposed by Tony Jarratt seconded by Bob Hill that the report be adopted.  Carried.

Hon. Librarians Report:  Tony Jarratt read this to the meeting.  Stu Mc Manus proposed a vote of thanks for Tony's work.  Jeremy Henley proposed, seconded by Stu McManus that the report be adopted.  Carried.

Ian Dear Memorial Fund:  Stu McManus read this to the meeting.  There had been one application from Matt Tuck for an expedition to Norway.  Report is to appear in the BB soon.  Committee considered keeping fund as it always has been and perhaps adding to it in the future.  Proposed by Greg Villas and seconded by Chris Batsone that the report be adopted. Carried.

Election of Officers: Proposed by Dave Turner, seconded by Greg Villas that last years Committee be re-elected with the inclusion of Chris Batstone as Hut Warden.

Jubilee Celebrations: Tim Large outlined the proposals for the Summer Bar-be-cue, Special Dinner, Berger Expedition, Firework Party, Souvenirs, Winter Social, Publications.  John Turner suggested that a sub-committee organise these celebrations. The Chairman asked for volunteers - Tony Jarratt, Robin Gray, Nick Holstead.  Tony outlined plans for St Cuthbert’s Report.  The meeting agreed with the proposals.

Any Other Business:

It was proposed by Tony Jarratt and seconded by Dave Turner that a vote of thanks be given to Tim Large for all his efforts on behalf of the club.

Belfry Improvements: Phil Romford outlined the situation so far.  Plans & costings were circulated around the meeting.  Proposed by John Turner seconded by Alan Downton that the plans be accepted.  FOR 26 AGAINST 1 ABST 3.  The use of outside contractors was discussed but it was agreed to leave this to the discretion of the Committee.  Joan Bennett pointed out the need to keep an eye on the financial side of this project. Proposed by Jeremy Henley, seconded by Tony Jarratt that the improvements be complete by the end of May 1985.  Carried. Stu McManus proposed a vote of thanks to all those who had worked on the project. T he meeting agreed.

There being no other business the meeting was closed at 3.09pm.


Bluebell Quarry Climbs

Dear B.E.C., Happy Golden Jubilee!   Love, Kangy

My present is a collection of short climbs representing some exploration which Pete Johnson, Jonathan King and I completed this year.

The climbs are set in a beautiful beech wood with bluebells by a river.  Locally it is called the Bluebell Wood and it is on the River Frome at Bury Hill, Winterbourne Down, Bristol and by association Bluebell Quarry gets its name.  There are other quarries in the area but this is the best.

The climbs are all about thirty feet long and we have named them from the left and facing the cliff:-

Foxglove Traverse          4c

Foxglove Crack 4a

Bobby's Climb               5a

Drainpipe Corner            3a

Caroline's Slab               5b

Golden Bluebell             5c

Protection is scarce and the rock is still loose, though not as loose as it was.  The grading assumes a top rope, without one Golden Bluebell might be E2 for example.

The story started twenty years ago when I used to take Jonathan for little boy walks along the Frome and poked around the quarries there.  (Reference, "Some Sandstone Climbs in the Upper Frome Valley", B.E.C. 1966).  We are spoilt for climbing around Bristol and the nature of the rock failed to appeal to my friends though some of the climbs done then are challenging and well worth while exploiting in wet weather, winter or way home from work. And its only ten minutes from my home!

The unusual sharp edged incut corner overhang caught my eye and at the time I included it in some film I made.  I imagined how it might be climbed and never quite forgot so I was pleased when Pete in a weak moment was kind enough to come to see.

We cleaned out foxgloves to make Foxglove Crack and enjoyed it.  Later when we were showing Jonathan the quarry he invented Foxglove Traverse and I took a flier when the only proper handhold came away.  The foxgloves remain in place.  Pete and I dug our way up the Drainpipe one wet wintery day and it is probably much easier now.  It is surprising how steep and strenuous the cliff is and while Jonathan reckons the Drainpipe to be 3a, it is an arm wrecker.  Suitably encouraged by the potential of the climbing we devoted several visits to cleaning up some of the lines.  We abseiled to clear ivy until Pete was satisfied and did Bobby's Climb. This starts immediately below the overhang on the left hand wall, pulls over on a good hold which I had to work hard to reach and then follows a crack line steeply to the top.  More work concentrated on improving the finish on the right hand wall by shovelling topsoil, dangling in a harness, from the nice sharp edge of the top ledges.  We paid special attention to the blank bit above the distinguished overhang. It remained blank.  As a reward for our labours we had a go and retired tired.

The team reassembled for an all out attempt on the corner and in turn we inched higher and higher cleaning, trying combinations, dropping off through shear fatigue until the climb to the overhang had been worked out.  Pete had dug out a pebble filled crack which gave a vital finger hold and enabled us to lean back and by bracing the feet try for holds on the face above. The strenuous exercise shattered our arms and we had to leave it.  Two possible solutions, one involving an impossibly high handhold up to the left on the face and the other involving a too low crack around the corner were slept on.

Last Christmas holiday Jonathan felt like having another go and discovered a vital combination which enabled him to brace out on highish footholds to reach for a niche on the edge with his left hand - before shouting "aaaaarrrrgh" or whatever Tarzan said to Jane.  Before his arms went completely he tried another line to the left and completed Caroline's Slab in the middle of the wall.  Well, truth to tell it is not so much a slab as a bulging off balance wall and again it is fingery and strenuous.  His pitiable cries of "Have you got me" from the last few feet at the limit of his rapidly diminished strength nearly caused me to weaken but I remained composed and kept the rope slack so that he climbed it.

Really wound up about The Last Great Problem I went back for another go but you have to be built like a hairy gorilla to cope with the overhang.  It was completely unsuitable for my more refined techniques because I like to be pulled up things like that.

And there it rested for months.

Spontaneously, Jonathan now very match fit and home for the weekend said "Let's go and do it."

He got into shorts and chalk while I set up a top rope.  It started to rain.  He seemed to be obsessively fussy about keeping his far out sticky boots dry and he immediately laid back on tiny holds merely to avoid the straight forward muddy alternative.  Quickly up to the overhang, he adjusted his feet and reached over for the upper notch on the edge and in the same moment rejoined me back on the ground.  He got out his climbing helmet while I stuffed the erstwhile handhold into my pocket as a souvenir.  "Did you see that," he said indignantly, “It hit my head but didn't hurt because we were falling at the same rate!" Back into position, slightly more easily because the hold was now a little lower and cleaner, he could pause to consider the next move.  This was dynamically to move his right hand, from the vertical crack around the corner and pull up with his left, to the new edge hold.  The function of the right hand was to keep his feet braced against the back wall, releasing it to go for the next hold lead to a spectacular sequence of events.  The forces now acting became exclusively vertical and without horizontal equilibrium his feet came off and flailed in the air.  The load coming abruptly onto that key hold displaced it - and Jonathan and I were face to face once more.  He seemed agitated.  Said I'd given him the impression that we'd cleaned the climb.  I said, "Don't forget frost shattering."  He said, "Hold that bloody rope," and shot back up to the place where his legs flailed in the air once again.  It was obviously hard.  Both holds were improved but it needed strength to pull up enough

to get his now slightly damp sticky boots out of space and onto rock.  He pulled up, locked off his arms and twisted to place his right boot at waist level on the lowest of the edge notches.  Several heave-ho’s and an elated Jonathan was able to rest and shout down to me to tell me all about it.  Relatively easily from then on, though nicely positioned, the climb continues up a corner and it was cracked.

The final climb in the Golden Jubilee Collection was named Golden Bluebell.