The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Nr Wells, Somerset.
Editor: D.P.Turner

As no one else was very forthcoming when Robin resigned as editor at the AGM it seemed a good idea at the time for me to try out my new word processing program on my computer - so it looks as if you will have to put up with me as editor for a while.  I’ve never been very prolific with caving articles and I hope that I do not have to start now.  What I am good at is pestering people and so all of you who promised me articles - beware!!  As all editors will tell you, this is your journal and it’s up to you to let me know what’s been happening.  I don't mind how you give me material, handwritten will do if you can't type, even on toilet paper (clean only if you please!). I  apologise for the quality of the print of this BB, next month I hope to have a better printer on my computer.

I was sorry to hear of the death recently of Oliver Lloyd, a life member of the BEC for many years. Oliver had considerable influence in the caving scene, particularly cave diving which he ran almost as a benevolent dictator for many years, and I am pleased that we have managed to persuade Mike Jeanmaire (Fish) to write an obituary for the B.B.  I started my caving at the time Oliver was pushing Vicarage Pot in Swildons and can still remember the way he led the trips with authority and thoughtfulness.

Club Committee 1985-86

Hon. Sec.                                  Bob Cork
Hon. Treasurer                           Mark Lumley
Caving Sec.                               Jeremy Henley
Hut Warden                               Tony Jarratt
Hut Engineer                             Dany Bradshaw
B.B. Editor                                Dave Turner
Tackle Master                            Steve Milner
Membership Sec.                       Brian Workman
Asst. Hut Warden                      Tim Gould

Committee members                  Phil Romford
                                                Ian Caldwell


 

Further Belfry Improvements

There are still a lot of jobs still to be done on the Belfry and everyone is urged to lend a hand - if only for a couple of hours or so.  A selection of jobs to be done - only a few of the many - are as follows:-

Main Hut

1.                  Paint inside walls to toilet in entrance hall

2.                  Fix hat and coat hooks to Changing Rooms

3.                  Paint rest of Changing Rooms

4.                  Lock to Changing Room External door

5.                  Clean out and fix hanging rail to Drying Room

6.                  Repair lock to loft

7.                  Internal painting to Bunk Rooms and Entrance Hall

Outside

1.                  Ridge tiles to Carbide Store  (to please the Fire Inspectors)

2.                  Vent holes to Carbide Store (to please the Fire Inspectors)

3.                  Fix frame and door to External Shed

4.                  Cut grass

5.                  Clean up Belfry site

Contact Dany before starting jobs as he will then provide all necessary materials.

If none of the above jobs take your fancy then I’m sure Dany will find you something else to do.

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

REMEMBER 1985-86 SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW DUE (£12 OR £18 JOINT) FILL THE ACCOMPANYING FORM IN NOW!! AND RETURN.


 

Sec’s Change

by Bob Cork

As you are probably aware Tim Large has resigned the secretary ship as from the A.G.M.  As his successor I have a high standard to upkeep if I am to do the job half as well.

Tim has served the club as secretary for a period of 8 years since 1977, in which time he has not only carried out the day to day running of the club, but has also been a major contributor to all the club’s projects.  Two of the more recent ones that come to mind being the Belfry improvements and the 50th Anniversary trip to the Gouffre Berger.

In recognition of his services to the club it was proposed by the committee and ratified by the A.G.M. that he be made a honorary member of the club.

I have recently received a circular from that most wondrous of organisations - the ‘National Caving Association'.  It is basically a census of cavers and caving clubs, the information from which will be used to support Sport's Council grants etc.

The first part of the form concerns itself with the usual rank, name, and serial number type questions relating to the club.  The second part is more difficult to answer, it manifests itself in the form of a table down one side of which are a list of age groups, under 18’5, 18-21, over 50’s etc. This poses no problem if all our members have been truthful about their age.  I mean everybody knows Alan Thomas is under 40 and J’Rat is 102 or would profess to be.  The next four columns adjacent to the ages refer to "grades" of cavers. They are headed "Grade 1" (hard caver), "Grade 2" (fairly active caver), "Grade 3" (occasional caver) and last but not least "Grade 4" (armchair caver). We have been asked to list numbers of our members who fall into each category, i.e. the number of armchair cavers we have who are under 18.  This as you can imagine is a delicate and awkward task.  I would appreciate it if the more modest of you would put pen to paper and send in to the B.B. editor what you think your personal grading should be and the reasons why.  Also if you have a grading in mind for another member, let me know.

Dr. Oliver Lloyd

On a more serious note, it is with great regret that we hear of the death of Dr. Oliver Cromwell Lloyd, a member of this club for many years.  He was respected throughout the caving community for the "true" character that he was and will be remembered by all of us for his contributions to the caving world.

Berger 85

The club's 50th anniversary expedition to the Gouffre Berger this summer proved a great success as all who came along will testify.  The cave soon realised it had met its Waterloo and allowed 28 of the team to bottom it.  A full account of the trip 3 will hopefully be published in a future issue.  [Only if some one sends me one!! – ed.]

Business and Pleasure

Stu McManus, who is the effluent side of his new company "Water and Effluent Treatment Services" or W.E.T.S. for short, has recently returned from his first overseas project in Brunei, Borneo. Whilst there he managed to take time out between work and running away from snakes, to visit the " Sarawak National Park" and its caves.  We hope to see an article and slide show from him in the future.

50th Anniversary Dinner

Alan Thomas has written an account of what must be one of the most enjoyable and historic club dinners most of us have been to.  The quality of the after dinner speeches was excellent and Alfie's splendid men who "drink like ten" surpassed themselves in the performance of "Oliver".

Another Golden Jubilee

The 6th October saw our 50th celebrations attended by many names from the past.  Most of whom had also spent the previous night in the third chamber of Wookey Hole celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first cave dive. The evening was organised by Jim Hanwell and all who had had an association with the cave were welcome. A demonstration of the sump rescue apparatus was given by Bob Drake and Geoff Price followed by much reminiscing between C.D.G. members, past and present.

Belfry Brew

This high gravity specially labelled beer may be now obtained from the Hunters or the Belfry at 90p per bottle or £1 if you are generous.  There is a limited number so it is wise to purchase early.

Austria

Members will be pleased to know that the Barengasse Windschacht, a BEC find, was bottomed this summer at a depth of 640m, where it terminated a tight sump, by a team from the in Northern Cave Club.


 

AGM Minutes

Minutes of the Annual general meeting of the Bristol Exploration Club held at the Belfry on Saturday, 5th October 1985

The meeting was convened by the Hon. Sec. Tim Large, there being sufficient quorum present at 10.40am.

Present:-

Tim Large, Joan Bennett, Bob Cork, Dany Bradshaw, John Dukes, Paul Hodgson, Ian Caldwell, Axel Knutson, Dave Pike, Andrew Middleton, Richard Payne, Alan Turner, Dave Turner, Jeremy Henley, Brian Workman, Kangy King, Chris Batstone, Steve Milner, Mark Lumley, Tony Jarratt, Keith Gladman, John Turner, Andy Lovell, Georgina Ainsley, Tim Gould, Frank Darbon, Laurence Smith, John Watson, Greg Villis, Pete (Snablet) Macnab, Brian Prewer, Stu McManus, Pete (Snab) Macnab, Chris Smart, Bob Hill, Martin Grass, Glenys Grass, Robin Gray and Chris Castle.

Apologies:- Pete Franklin, Richard Clarke, Edric Hobbs, Mike Wigglesworth, Dave Irwin, Rob Harper, Lavinia Watson, Fiona Lewis and Phil Romford.

Nominations were requested for a chairman Stuart McManus and Kangy King were nominated.  A vote was taken which Kangy won by a large majority.

Minutes of 1984 A.G.M.  There had previously been published 'in the B.B. They were taken as read and accepted by the meeting unanimously.

Matters Arising. Tim Large pointed out that these would be dealt with elsewhere during the course of the meeting.

Hon. Sec’s Report. Tim Large read his report to the meeting.  No questions were forthcoming.  Proposed Chris Batstone, seconded Stuart McManus that the report be accepted. Carried unanimously.  A vote of thanks for Tim’s work for the club was proposed by Stuart McManus, seconded Chris Batstone - carried.

Hon. Treasurer’s Report.  Jeremy Henley produced the financial accounts which were distributed at the meeting. He highlighted the need to raise as much money as possible to reduce the overdraft taken out to cover the costs of the Belfry improvements.  At present this stands at £2750.  Proposed Dave Turner, seconded Stuart McManus that the report be accepted - carried.  A vote of thanks was expressed at the meeting.

Hon. Auditor’s Report.  Joan Bennett had examined the accounts and found that they represented a fair and reasonable record of the club’s financial position.  The report was accepted by the meeting and a vote of thanks given.

Caving Secretary’s Report.  Stuart McManus read his report to the meeting.  Proposed John Turner, seconded Martin Grass that the report be accepted. Carried and a vote of thanks given.

Hut Warden’s Report. Chris Batstone read his report. Stuart McManus highlighted the need for a full time hut warden for the smooth running of the Belfry.  Proposed Dany Bradshaw, seconded Paul Hodgson that the report be accepted.  Carried and a vote of thanks given.

Tackle Mater’s report.  Bob Cork said that last year we had 26 ladders.  We still have 26 ladders - but not necessarily the same ladders!  Some appear to have been swapped for ones of other manufacture.  There are several lifelines and two tackle bags missing.   Some tackle is still in Eastwater Westend series.  Abuse of spreaders and tethers still continues. He considered that the system started last year whereby the tackle is more freely available to member is working reasonable well.  The only expenditure this year has been the purchase of tackle bags.  New lifelines will be needed soon.  Proposed Dany Bradshaw, seconded Tony Jarratt that the report be accepted.  Carried and a vote of thanks given.

Editor’s Report. Robin Gray read his report to the meeting.  He highlighted the problem of the shortage of articles without which the B.B. could not be produced.  Joan Bennett said that she was disappointed by not seeing an obituary to Oliver Lloyd. Tony Jarratt agreed to ask Mike Jeanmaire to write one.  Proposed Stuart McManus, seconded Dany Bradshaw that the report be accepted. Carried and a vote of thanks given.

Hut Engineer’s Report.  Dany Bradshaw said that work on the Belfry went well with much effort being put in by members to save expenditure wherever possible.  There is much finishing work off work to do, which members will have to do as no funds are available to pay contractors anymore.  Some work includes outstanding maintenance items.  Stuart McManus pointed out that Dany did much work on the Belfry in his own time without charge.  Also that we have thank John Dukes for the electrical wiring work. A vote of thanks was given to both. Proposed Keith Gladman, seconded Chris Batstone that the report be accepted - carried by meeting.

Librarian’s Report. Tony Jarratt read his report to the meeting.  Proposed Paul Hodgson, seconded Chris Smart that the report be accepted - carried.

Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  Stuart McManus explained the purpose of the fund - being to provide grants to younger members, or these not in full time employment, to enable them to travel and go on foreign expeditions.  This account is kept separate from all other finances.  This year only one grant was given of £60 to Lisa Taylor who went on the Gouffre Berger trip.  Proposed Dave Turner, seconded Brian Workman that the report be accepted - carried.

Election of Officers

Treasurer :                     Jeremy Henley
Hon. Sec.:                     Bob Cork
Hut Engineer:    Dany Bradshaw

Ordinary committee members: Brian Workman, Phil Romford.

These were the only persons standing from last year's committee.  As no nominations were received the following co-options were made at the meeting.

Caving Sec.:                  Mark Lumley
Hut Warden:                  Tony Jarratt
B.B. Editor:                   Dave Turner
Ordinary members:        Tim Gould, Ian Caldwell.

Proposed Bob Cork, seconded Dany Bradshaw that the A.G.M. instructs the new committee to examine the constitution with regards to the methods of election of the officers and committee of the club.  Passed unanimously.

Any Other Business

1.                  Proposed Bob Cork, seconded Stuart McManus that Tim Large be made an Honorary Life Member of the club in recognition of his work far the club.  Carried unanimously.

2.                  Jeremy Henley asked the meeting to consider raising the subscription, although it was not necessary for running the club at present.  It has been several years since it was last raised and we do have an overdraft. Better to raise it often and in small amounts rather than wait for a large rise when it is unavoidable. Proposed Brian Prewer, seconded Ian Caldwell that the annual membership subscription be increased to £12.  A vote was taken.  For 27, Against 7, abstentions 2.

3.                  John Dukes advised the meeting of our need for some new night storage heaters. Donations welcome.

4.                  Brian Prewer proposed, Paul Hodgson seconded, a vote of thanks to all those who helped organise the club’s Gouffre Berger expedition - carried.

There being no other business the chairman closed the meeting at 1.27pm.


 

Hon. Sec’s Report.

Club Officers’ Reports – October 1985.

During our Jubilee Year much has been accomplished.  Our membership has risen from 163 to 191 with many past members rejoining.  At present that total includes 50 life members and 34 joint memberships.

The main achievement this year has been the completion of the Belfry improvements, on schedule, as directed by the AGM last year.  The cost of this work has exceeded our original estimations.  The committee was put in the position of accepting the go-ahead to do the work without a firm quotation.  Several builders were approached but all said that by the nature of the work it was difficult to give a quote.  In the end it was decided to give the work to Bradshaw and Baker of Priddy. As work progressed, problems were encountered which could not have been foreseen.  These incurred extra costs.  Wherever possible costs were minimised by doing jobs ourselves and obtaining several items very cheaply or for nothing.  Once it was realised that the costs were going to exceed the funds we had available then a decision had to be made.  Whether to stop at our financial limit or consider further funding for the project.  It was therefore decided to approach our bankers for overdraft facilities.  This we have taken advantage of although not up to the limit allowed.  The committee then circulated the membership for substantial donations which have helped to reduce the overdraft.  Other income has been found from profit made at the Jubilee Barbecue, Souvenir Beer and various fund raising activities.  I will leave the Treasurer to advice you of the exact financial position to date. Although the structure of the improvement is complete there are still many jobs to be done to put the finishing touches to the Belfry.  Also it is necessary to consider the installation of an automated central heating system to maintain the fabric of the property and provide an acceptable environment for the Belfry in keeping with the other improvements.  For this winter our existing storage heaters will be installed but only as a stop gap measure.   There will be no heating in the changing and drying areas.  I hope this illustrates to everyone that besides having no money to make expensive purchases at present, we also need the assistance of members to complete the finishing touches.

During the year the Belfry insurance was increased to cover its improved value and our Public Liability Insurance was changed to the BRCA policy.

Negotiations regarding the Mineries land and around St Cuthbert’s are still in hand, if somewhat slowly.  Any delay is purely as a result of the landowners.  Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise as should they have come up with an offer to purchase or lease the land, we would not have been able to find sufficient funds.

As those of you that attended know, “the Jubilee Celebrations” have gone well, despite the weather with our Barbecue and the Berger trip being successful.

Unfortunately, one action from last year’s AGM has not. been possible to carry out.  This is the Cuthbert’s publication.  Two reasons account for this - (1) lack of money – (2) the heavy workload on the committee and others.  Perhaps further thought should be given to the project at this meeting.

This year there are three resignations from the committee, these being myself, Stuart McManus and Chris Batstone.  Despite being circulated no nominations were received by the closing date.  Therefore, as has been the trend for too many years now, there will be no committee elections and co-options will be necessary to make the committee up to its usual number of 9.

The final Jubilee event - our Dinner takes place tonight when I hope everyone has an enjoyable evening.

Tim Large


 

Hon. Treasurer’s Report.

By far the most important event has been the modification to the Belfry.  During the year this cost £9,892 and a further £840 was owed at the end of the year for work done.  This changed our fortunes from being in credit to the tune of £6,090.21 at the end of last year to owing £1,633.82 (plus £840) at the end of the year. However, our income (including donations and fund raising) exceeded our revenue expenditure by over £2,000 in the year. The club should make every attempt to payoff its overdraft, which is likely to peak at about £2,750 before the next A.8.M.

So far only 19 people have responded to the appeal fund and they have contributed £630.  The message is quite clear.  Donations are needed.

Remember we have to pay interest on the overdraft which will cost somewhere near £400 a year at the present level.

Meanwhile there are other fund raising activities on-going which must help the club, not only to payoff its overdraft, but to move back into surplus so that normal operations can continue without borrowing from the bank.

Ensure you buy all the bottles of Belfry Brew and sell all the Balloon Flight Raffle tickets.

We should thank John Dukes for the electrical work that he has done on the hut free of charge; a major donation!  And Dany Bradshaw who did not charge for work done in overtime.

Jeremy Henley


 

Caving Secretary’s Report

Well, this our 50th anniversary has certainly brought a busy year for caving in the BEC.

Digging has continued throughout the year in Westend in Eastwater but not without mishap with diggers getting trapped the other side of the duck.  It looks like further work will have to wait until next year - don't forget the 50p tackle fee (we'll all get pissed).

Some of our younger members, Snablet and Tom Chapman have discovered quite a lot of passage in Swildons and promising digs continuing there.  Good luck to them - as usual caving activity has been going on amongst individuals of the club.

The two major works have been digging/pumping in St Cuthbert's with over 100 cavers spending >1,000 hours in attempting to pass the sump, as you are aware we did not succeed, but there again; caves are where you hid them!  But it did show that you can take a 2" hose pipe >3,000 ft and pump water at 500 galls/min.!  Our thanks should go to not only club members but to the Shepton (who brewed tea for us!) and to the Wessex who supplied teams, in fact during the height of activity over 20 different clubs were helping and my thanks go to all of them.

The other major event has been the club’s expedition to the Gouffre Berger.  I think I should say that without Tim Large's particular efforts here, we probably wouldn't have succeeded in achieving the level of success (over 25 out of 60 people to the bottom) and to Phil Romford in organising the tackle.  This trip was particularly successful bearing in mind other regions attitudes to Mendip and pitches!

Again, trips to st Cuthbert's have been busy as usual and the same old people have come up to lead. We have 4 new keen leaders and more cavers have shown keen interest in becoming one.  Perhaps its time to modernise the leadership system to enable members to obtain it and the form being updated to take consideration that we are now in 1985.  Perhaps a general form taking in the cave generally as opposed to step-by-step route by route.  And a proposer and seconder system - something to think about in the next year.

The only problem with the general activity is that the monthly trips have disappeared, and as I stated last year, its important that these trips shall be carried on since this is the only time that some members will actually meet others and with a club of 200 you can be excused if you miss one or two people!

Finally, when I took this job over I did it because somebody had to do it - but funny, I actually grew to enjoy it, organising trips to Cuthbert's etc. but I always knew that the job should be done by somebody who has more personal commitment to ensure that the monthly trips can be organised.

My personal circumstances have recently changed (I'm now working for myself) and because of that I can't guarantee that I shall be available to organise Cuthbert's trips etc. and therefore it's with regret that I shall have to stand down from the committee. The good news is I think we have found a younger (well about years 6 younger - he's 24 years) who'll be ideal in taking over the post.

Well all again I'd like to thank all members who have made my job easier to carry out.

Stuart McManus


 

Hon. Editor’s Report.

It is indeed true that the Belfry Bulletin is the main, if not the only link, that some BEC members have with the club, and therefore in an ideal world BB’s should be produced regularly.  Many members would shout "once a month".

However, we do not live in an ideal world.  I see little purpose in concocting a monthly magazine composed almost entirely of the little information gleaned from the Hunter’s and other caving publications together with editor's drivel.  For this reason the BB has been produced as and when there has been enough material to produce something readable.  (It is probable that the BEC saved on postage in this respect).  Thanks to many contributors, the BB has been produced on a more regular basis this year than last and I am very thankful to those who sent in excellent articles, especially those of you who have taken the trouble to have your articles typed.  My apologies to these who have still to wait to see their work in print.  It is not easy finding someone willing to type lengthy prose, often in unfamiliar tongue.

While an the subject of articles, I find it strange that write ups have appeared in magazines like Descent, concerning club's finds and digs while no articles have been sent for publication in the BB.  The club is active, and it is true to say that a caving club is often judged on its published work.  This is one of the main purposes of the BB.

Unfortunately, the job of editor is not just one of editing.  It almost always includes the tasks of typing, illustrating, paste up work, delivery of masters to our volunteer printer, collating, stapling and then taking all the flak concerning typing errors, spelling mistakes, late editions, lost copies etc. etc. etc.

On behalf of the BEC I would like to thank Jeremy Henley for getting the mag printed so often, and Brian and Lucy Workman for addressing and sending the copies out.  Also those members and the many little girls at school who have staggered round the table getting the thing put together.

I have enjoyed being editor to the BEC over the last 2 years, but now I feel it is time to hand over the task to someone with new enthusiasms and a different style.

Once again, thanks to the many friends who have helped.

Robin Gray N.D.D. ACVA.
Hon Editor to the BEC.

Librarian’s Report

As usual the library has “ticked over” with exchange publications and donations of material from members and other clubs, for which - many thanks.

The new library room is complete but much work needs to be done before it becomes the comfortable armchair caver's hideaway which is envisaged.

There were no requests for purchases of particular books this year and due to the present financial position of the club nothing has been spent en the library for some time. It is hoped to remedy the situation on completion of the room.

Tony Jarratt.


 

Fiftieth Anniversary Dinner

by Alan Thomas.

The Fiftieth Anniversary Dinner of the B.E.C. was a night to remember, as those who can remember will agree.

Dan Hasell, who has much previous for it, was the Toast Master.  Phil Hendy of the Wessex proposed the Toast of the Club on its Golden Anniversary.  After listing several items of gold which he had considered giving to us and then rejected, he finally presented Dan, on behalf of the club, with a piece of Fool's gold mounted on a plaque.  Kangy then presented Harry Stanbury, our founder, with a plaque marked "B.E.C. 1".  This reminds me of a phase a few years ago when all the waifs and strays of the B.E.C. had Christmas Dinner in the Belfry; after dinner, we used to ring Harry up and thank him for forming the B.E.C.  The next very long time was occupied by Bob Davies who introduced us very wittily to an apparatus called an AFLO which he had brought with him.  I was not clear if this had ever been a serious piece of apparatus or if it had been designed especially for his speech. Anyway, in the end he presented it to our Guest of Honour who seemed to be a Scotsman who had survived from the early days of caving and was in fact Graham Balcombe.

I then gave a very bare outline of what I had intended to say on the topic of Absent Friends because I felt that we had already heard a lot from people who had far more to reminisce about than I had and that because we had been starved of culture for seven years, the important thing was to get on with the play whilst those in it were still sober enough to perform it.

I said that I would have liked my thirtieth Absent Friends to coincide with the club's fiftieth and blamed Bobby for a lack of foresight.  However, when I looked at my diary I found that Bobby was only one year out. Later I was informed by Joan Bennett that when we changed the date of the Dinner to October we actually had two Dinners in one year.  So that my thirty Absent Friends did in fact coincide with the B.E.C.'s Golden Jubilee. Next year Absent Friends must have an official birthday like the queen.

However, I was thwarted in my attempt to shorten the proceedings by numerous presentations and raffles that followed Absent Friends.

The first presentation was made by Jim Hanwell who presented a photograph of Sump 1 to Jack Sheppard. Rob Harper then presented "Driver of the year" to Andy Lovell.  I was very to see that the shield which originally said "champion dormitory" and I had modified last year to present it to Rob, had been further modified to make it applicable to motor" cycles. Chris Castle then presented "Boar of the Year" to Andy Sparrow for becoming a professional caver.

Tony Jarratt then ingeniously presented "Sticker of the Year" to Alfie.  The presentations were followed by raffles.  Trevor Hughes did his usual striptease accompanied by his lady.


 

Oliver Cromwell Lloyd

Oliver was an epitome of English eccentricity, the popular view of the rest of the world is that we are a nation peppered with characters like Oliver.  The man was a part of English culture, fast disappearing, submerged by the transatlantic idiom.  Oliver was educated, refined, gifted but above all surreal.  In any setting his surrealism made him stand out, charismatic but alien, lovable but peculiar.

His settings were so varied that any caver who read his obituary in "The Guardian" would have wondered if it was the same O. C. L.  We could only glimpse one Oliver, he did not foster exchanges across his many universes.

Each meeting with the man was fascinating, each one - and there were hundreds - I can recall vividly, as if he were playing a cameo role in each encounter.  Was this projection done consciously?  If it was, and asked directly if it was, he would only smile in answer.  I was first drawn to the man by his deep interest in the people around him, what they were and their adventures.  We spent many hours comparing notes, filling in on missing episodes.  At one stage he had albums of photographs, using each picture as a cue to describe the people he had met.  In all this there was a golden rule, accept people as you find them, never attempt to prejudge or categorise the un-categorisable.  In this way life becomes the 'moveable feast', a surprise at every turn.

Oliver could be humorous, humanly sensitive or ruthless.

Banquo at the feast of the king

One night at my table, after a C.D.G. meeting on training, the meal was interrupted by the news of a fatal accident at Wookey.  The meal resumed with the gallows humour, which active divers share with minions, the same fatalism that keeps anyone in the firing line from falling apart.  It was his turn, thank God it wasn’t mine, pass the wine over here.  Oliver rose from the table, visibly shaken and left for his room, commenting as he left that we were like "Banquo at the feast of Macbeth".

Later, intrigued by what he had said, I looked up the reference.  In Boece’s original account, Banquo was deemed as bloody and cynical as Macbeth.  Shakespeare, however, exonerates Banquo of his crime.  Oliver had merely cast himself as the king; his fellows at the feast were bloody but forgivable - even if the king was murdered.

The Wooding Affair

In 1966 Mike Wooding, at that time, secretary of Somerset section was believed by Oliver, who had loved Mike as a son, to be using C.D.G. as a vehicle for his own ends.  Oliver wrote to Wooding asking him to resign as secretary thus disproving the abuse of his position.  Oliver threatened complete character assassination if Mike did not comply. Wooding refused to relinquish the secretaryship.  The assassination as promised was total and to the letter, socially and academically.

Mike Wooding was forced to leave the Mendip scene.  Having read the letter I advised Mike to ignore it, believing that no one would act in such a way, and that my eyes and senses were at fault.  I was wrong I had unwittingly betrayed a friend and at this I could never forgive Oliver.  We had grown up quickly.  Oliver had blown his innocence.  Others, when they found that they had been used as pawns in his game realised that his motive had been to protect the group.  We ensured that Oliver never pulled the same stunt again.  The price was too high, but the independence of the group was preserved from any would be or imaginary tyrant.

In 1967 the focus of attention in British caving was the assault by various British expeditions to the Gouffre Berger especially that of Ken Pearce complete with royal patronage. His expedition was to push the sumps at the bottom of the then deepest cave in the world.  For the C.D.G.’s annual dinner at Wells, Oliver had prepared a skit on the entire scene, knowing that he had a captive audience.  As Ken had enlisted not only the N.C.D.G. for this purpose but also stars from the other sections who would in fact form the sharp end of the effort.

Oliver casting himself as Ken Pearce was very convincingly interviewed by Eleanor Bronn, whom he had invited to the dinner, in a make believe radio interview.  The expedition was not set for the Berger but was an expedition to put the first Briton on the moon.  Yes, the Brit in question was Ken!  The method of reaching the moon had that stamp of plausibility that was Pearce's trademark.  They would use ladders and scaling poles to the midway point then abseil down to the surface.  Eleanor probed the logistics of the food and equipment, at every would-be snag, Ken would have an answer.  Any weakness in plan or personnel was covered, getting to the moon was merely a formality.

It became obvious as the interview developed that Ken could not take into account possible failure because of his belief in his own infallibility.  Oliver had put a gentle mocking finger on Pearce's Achilles Heel. Finally, Ken was asked about patronage. Ken declared that not only did he have royal assent but that he had "God on his side".  With this simple line Oliver had turned the barb on his own antagonists, even me, thus proving that Oliver could laugh at himself. Events were to overwhelm Ken Pearce. Mossdale not only robbed him his 'sharp end" but the tragedy demoralized his team.  "If Ken could have learned to laugh at himself, the British caving spirit would have hammered at the gates of Sassenage to be let out", Oliver remarked later.

One morning, Oliver was leaving my cottage he met my next door neighbour who, in shirt sleeves, and a year or two older, was busy mucking out in the cool Peakland air.  For a second both men observed the difference in their physical state.  Oliver looked at both of us ruefully and said, "It comes for us all in the end, age.”

I met him for the last time in May at the Cross Streets in the dales.  "I will come up soon and let you have a look at my manuscript for a piece for a brass band I have written," at 15 separate lines, he was especially proud of fitting all the instruments on one script and that he had been invited to write the piece for the band's centenary.  I smiled, Liz groaned at the prospect.  It was Oliver's little game - an impish smile and he was gone. Oliver had physically deteriorated noticeably.  I was not surprised or even sorry at the news of his death, such a man would have found a lingering death an obscenity.

Let the curtain fall quickly and leave the stage with grace.  He would have delighted to the fact that people so young loved and respected him that would be memorial enough.  The man was a feast we must learn to go without.

Fish.

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

THIS SPACE COULD HAVE HAD A CARTOON BUT I CAN'T DRAW!!!

VACANCIES FOR RESIDENT ARTISTS - APPLY WITHIN


 

Forthcoming Caving Trips

I’ve just taken over Mac's job as Caving Secretary and I thought it best if I get cracking straight away and organise some meets for the next year.

The people I’ve talked to so far have expressed an interested in a few more Yorkshire trips, and with several members making frequent visits to the Dales already I'll organise this on a fairly regular basis.  I’d appreciate it if people would get in touch with me and let me know if they are going or if they want any specific caves booked.

In the meantime though, there are no SRT ropes in the tackle store so it's horizontal trips for the next couple of months while I try and remedy this!  Could people let me know of any personal ropes, hangers etc. that they don't mind being used on club meets.

Let me know the type of trips you want me to organise - I can only use my initiative until I get a clearer idea of what is expected.  I would also like to know where exactly you’d like to stay in the various caving areas. Unless people say otherwise I’m going to book the NCP hut, Greenclose, Clapham for Yorkshire meets, probably the Pegasus for Derbyshire and, obviously the huts for Wales meets will change according to the caves being done.

I’m writing for access at the moment and until I hear from the C.N.C.C. and the various landowners, no dates or cave bookings can be counted on.

Provisionally club meets will be as follows:

Date

Region

Cave

Accomodation

Jan

Yorks

Notts Pot

N.P.C. Hut

 

 

Nick Pot

 

March

Yorks

Lancaster/County Pot

N.P.C. Hut

 

 

Juniper Gulf

 

Easter

South Wales

Craig-y-Ffynnon

Camping near Chrickhowell

 

 

Daren Cilau

 

April

Wye Valley

Otter Hole

Trip over 2 tides

Whitsun

Yorks

Gaping Gill.  Winch Meet.

Camping by main shaft

June

Derbyshire

Nettle Pot

Pegasus

 

 

Giants

 

August

Yorks

Providence-Dow (Dowbergill)

Camping at Kettlewell

 

 

Birks Fell

 

 

 

Penyghent

 

September

Yorks

Marble Steps

N.P.C. Hut

 

 

O.F.D.

 

Oct

South Wales

Dan-yr-Ogof

South Wales Hut

It had been hoped that a trip to South Wales could have been made on Nov 23-24 but unfortunately it has been impossible to arrange it in time.

In addition to the trips above, Steve Milner, Rob Harper and myself are doing a bit of work in the far reaches of the Time Machine (Daren Cilau), both digging and pushing high level stuff.  We'll be doing trips on a fairly regular basis and anyone who wants to come and lend a hand will be most welcome.

If anyone wants to contact me for information or with any idea (Don't tell me, I can guess) my address is 39B Apsley Road, Clifton, Bristol, Tel (0272) 742994 (Evenings), 293849 (Work).

Mark Lumley.


 

Majorca 1985

Jeremy Henley

Whilst I was making my geriatric way to camp 1 in the Gouffre Berger my wife was sunning herself in Puerto Pollenza, Majorca.  She so enjoyed the place, very small, very personal service with quite sensational scenery.  In front of the hotel a bay, almost totally landlocked, with a small channel to the sea hidden by hills to the left.  On the far side of the bay more hills and an area of flat land off to the right and then all way along behind the hotel a range of hills on the other side of which more sea.  This spectacular scenery, hot sunshine and lack of grockles, so enchanted her that she persuaded me, though she insists that I persuaded her, that she should return three weeks later taking me along.

The night before we left I packed quietly - in the garage - a tackle bag of caving gear.  I knew that Majorca is limestone and had heard of all the famous show caves.  I had no intention of going there though.  I had phoned Ray Mansfield - that international directory of cavers on Mendip - and he had given me three contact addresses.  I intended to go real caving.

The hotel staff were somewhat taken aback when I pulled the tackle bag out of the boot of the taxi but were more helpful when I asked them to try to contact the three names I had been given.

Firstly the committee Ballear de speleologia turned out not to be on the phone, neither was the first of the two individuals named but, fantastic, the third was and was phoned by the hotel management.  Mateo Alemany was most amicable, spoke perfect English, tried to get someone to go caving with me but eventually gave up. "I am sorry," he said, "but at this time of the year we are all very busy - I work every day in my restaurant my friends can only cave on Sundays.  If you had given us 4 to 6 weeks notice we would have fixed something".  In the summer on Majorca plan a long way ahead!

However the hotel staff were now enjoying this and on their own initiative they arranged for me to meet Pere Llobera, the head of the northern section of the Majorca mountaineering club.  His club address is Seccio de Muntanya, del club Pollenca, La Placa 1 - Pollenca, Mailorca.

Margaret and I got a taxi to Pollenca village and spent a very pleasant evening with the young men of the Seccio de Muntanya conversing in poor French pouring over speleo maps of north east Majorca, a copy of a small section of which is now in the library.  Unfortunately there were no active cavers in the north east of Majorca so if I was to go caving it was going to be on my own and I marked on my map four entrances to easy caves, photos and surveys of which I was shown, needing no ladders or ropes and being about 1000 feet or so long and the deepest about 300 feet.

I spent the next afternoon in blazing sunshine scrambling through dense prickly undergrowth searching for the nearest and easiest cave, eventually I got so scratched that I donned my waterproof overall as protection and managed a good imitation of a sauna. In the end I found an entrance too deep to attempt to climb on my own without aids and another entrance blocked with stones.  I returned home scratched, bleeding and muddy to the immense amusement of some and bewilderment of other guests in the hotel.

After that it was all downhill, cycling, swimming, discos and believe it or not I managed to tack about a bit on a windsurfer after some exceptionally good lessons from a laid back Englishman with a pretty Spanish wife.  Caving?  Not a bit of it.  As they say: "You don’t want to explore all the caves at once".


 

Log Book Ramblings

JayRat and others have been down Upper Flood and he say’s the formations are magnificent.  Access is closely controlled by the MCG who limit parties to a maximum size of 4 including the MCG leader.  Tony has promised an article for the next BB.

Hunter’s Hole has been visited recently by Tim Large etc with a view to possibly digging there again to bypass Cuthbert’s sump.

Ian Caldwell and John Watson have been back to their greasy hole at the bottom of Manor Farm - maybe it’ll go this time.

St. Cuthbert’s has had a few trips recently but it appears that no work has taken place in the cave since the marathon pumping epic in the summer.

Hut Fund

Things are looking up! Thank you all you good hearted friends and I might add that you are not all members of the club.  32 people have now donated £999; the smallest £5, the largest (two) £100 each.

The retiring secretary, latent life member, Tim Large told us at the the A.G.M. that we have 191 members of which about 32 members were joint so there are still a lot of you out there who I would like to hear from.  No donation is too small.  Don’t be shy, Shylock Henley's here and he will accept any sum from anyone.

B.E.C. Balloon Flights Raffle

The draw for the Balloon Flights raffle took place recently and the lucky winners were as follows:-

1st prize of 2 basket places                                            Ticket

            G.Fish, Weston super Mare.                               (1021)

2nd prize of 2 basket places

            Lil Romford, Bat Products                                   (233)

3rd prize of 1 basket place

            A. Hayward, Wilton, Taunton       (1447)

Jeremy will be contacting the winners shortly and Dave Turner and Brian Workman will fly the lucky few as soon as possible, bearing in mind that ballooning is most probably the most weather dependant sport there is.

The draw made £130 which is very disappointing as the current price for balloon flights is about £60. So we have donated £300 worth of flights for under half price!  If we ever do it again I shall expect a bigger effort from members as here was a missed opportunity to boost the club funds at a time when it is so badly needed.

Dave Turner.


 

Bristol Exploration Club - Membership List October 1985

828 Nicolette Abell                  Faulkland, Bath

1059 Georgina Ainsley            Redland, Bristol

987 Dave Aubrey                    Park St, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

20 (L) Bobby Bagshaw            Knowle, Bristol, Avon

392 (L) Mike Baker                 Midsomer Norton, Bath, Avon

818 Chris Batsone                  Bathford, Bath, Avon

390 (L) Joan Bennett               Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol

214 (L) Roy Bennett                Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol

998 Crissie Bissett                 Exeter, Devon

364 (L) Pete Blogg                  Chaldon, Caterham, Surrey

145 (L) Sybil Bowden-Lyle       Calne, Wiltshire

959 Chris Bradshaw                Cheddar, Somerset

868 Dany Bradshaw                Eastwater Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset

1005 Jane Brew                      Sutton-in-Craven, Keithley, West Yorkshire

751 (L) T.A. Bookes                London, SW2

992 Mark Brown                     St. Andrews, Bristol

924 Aileen Butcher                 Holt, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

849 Alan Butcher                    Holt, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

956 Ian Caldwell                     University College Cardiff, Cardiff, Wales

1014 Chris Castle                   Little Manor, Downhead, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

1062 Andy Cave                     Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset

902 (L) Martin Cavender           Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells, Somerset.

1048 Tom Chapman                Barrows Road, Cheddar, Somerset.

1003 Rachael Clarke               Ardross, by Alness, Rossshire

1030 Richard Clarke                Normans Green, Plymtree, East Devon

211 (L) Clare Coase                Berkeley-Vale, New South Wales, 2259, Australia

89 (L) Alfie Collins                   Litton, Somerset

862 Bob Cork                         Stoke St. Michael, Somerset

1042 Mick Corser                   Woodbury, Exeter, Devon

827 Mike Cowlishaw               Micheldever Station, Winchester, Hants.

1060 Peter Crawley                 West Wickham. Kent

890 Jerry Crick                       Reaseheath, Nantwich, Cheshire

680 Bob Cross                       Knowle, Bristol

405 (L) Frank Darbon              Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. VIT 6M3

423 (L) Len Dawes                  Main Street, Minster Matlock, Derbyshire

815 Nigel Dibben                    Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

164 (L) Ken Dobbs                  Beacon Heath, Exeter, Devon

829 Angie Dooley                   Harborne, Birmingham

710 Colin Dooley                    Harborne, Birmingham

1000 (L) Roger Dors                Priddy, Somerset

1038 Alan Downton                 Sundon Park, Luton, Beds

830 John Dukes                      Wells, Somerset

996 Terry Earley                     Wyle, Warmister, Wiltshire

771 Pete Eckford                    Pelting Drove, Priddy, Somerset

322 (L) Bryan Ellis                  Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, Somerset

1064 David Evans                   Didcot, Oxon

1063 Peter Evans                   Abingdon, Oxfordshire

232 Chris Falshaw                  Fulwood, Sheffield

269 (L) Tom Fletcher               Bramcote, Nottingham.

894 Phil Ford                          Yeovil, Somerset

404 (L) Albert Francis              Wells, Somerset

569 Joyce Franklin                  Stone, Staffs

469 Pete Franklin                   Stone, Staffs

1049 Gerard Garvey                Fulwood, Preston, Lancs

769 Sue Gazzard                    Tynings, Radstock, Nr Bath, Avon

835 Len Gee                          St. Edgeley, Stockport, Cheshire

459 Keith Gladman                 Holt, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

1069 Angie Glanville                Chard, Somerset

1017 Peter Glanville                Chard, Somerset

648 Dave Glover                      Green Lane, Pamber Green, Basingstoke, Hampshire

1006 Edward Gosden              Brighton Hill, Basingstoke, Hants

1054 Tim Gould                      Redland, Bristol

860 Glenys Grass                   Sawbridgeworth, Herts

790 Martin Grass                    Sawbridgeworth, Herts

1009 Robin Gray                     East Horrington, Wells, Somerset

432 (L) Nigel Hallet                 Address not known

104 (L) Mervyn Hannam           St Annes, Lancashire

999 Rob Harper                      Hanham, Bristol, Avon

4 (L) Dan Hassell                    Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset

893 Dave Hatherley                 Cannington, Bridgwater, Somerset

974 Jeremy Henley                 Leg Square, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

917 Robin Hervin                     Trowbridge, Wiltshire

952 Bob Hill                           2441 B6 Wassennaar, The Netherlands

373 Sid Hobbs                        Priddy, Wells Somerset

736 Sylvia Hobbs                    Priddy, Wells Somerset

905 Paul Hodgson                  Pennybatch Lane, Burcott, Wells, Somerset

898 Liz Hollis                         Batcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

899 Tony Hollis                       Batcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

920 Nick Holstead                  Trowbridge, Wiltshire

387 (L) George Honey             Address not known

971 Colin Houlden                   Bruton, Somerset

770 Chris Howell                     Edgebaston, Birmingham

923 Trevor Hughes                  Wookey Hole, Wells, Somerset

855 Ted Humphreys                Moorsite, Marnhull, Sturminster Newton, Dorset

73 Angus Innes                      Alveston, Bristol, Aven

540 (L) Dave Irwin                   Townsend, Priddy, Somerset

922 Tony Jarratt                      Pelting Drove, Priddy, Somerset

668 Mike Jeanmaire                Peak Forest, Buxton, Derbyshire

1026 Ian Jepson                     Beechen Cliff, Bath

51 (L) A Johnson                    Station Rd., Flax Bourton, Bristol

995 Brian Johnson                  Ottery St. Mary, Devon

1001 Graeme Johnson            East Park Road, Leicester

560 (L) Frank Jones                Pelting Drove, Priddy, Somerset

567 (L) Alan Kennett               Henleaze, Brsitol

884 John King                        Wisborough Green, Sussex

316 (L) Kangy King                 Pucklechurch, Bristol, Avon

1007 Jonathan King                Pucklechurch, Bristol, Avon

542 (L) Phil Kingston               St. Mansfield, Brisbane, Queensland, 4122, Australia

413 (L) R. Kitchen                   Horrabridge, Yelverton, Devon

946 Alex Ragnar Knutson        Bedminster, Bristol

874 Dave Lampard                  Horsham, West Sussex

1029 Steve Lane                     Bamford, Derbyshire

667 (L) Tim Large                    Wells, Somerset

958 Fi Lewis                           Wells, Somerset

1056 Chris Larkin                    Innesfree Way, Constantia, 7800, South Africa

1015 Andrew Lolley                 Kingsdowm, Bristol

1043 Andy Lovell                    Rowan Walk, Keynsham, Bristol

1065 Mark Lovell                     Keynsham, Bristol

1057 Mark Lumley                  Clifton, Bristol 8

1022 Kevin Mackin                  Yeovil, Somerset

1067 Fiona McFall                  Knowle, Bristol BS4

651 Pete MacNab (Sr)             Cheddar, Somerset

1052 Pete MacNab (Jr)            Cheddar, Somerset

550 (L) R A MacGregor           Baughurst, Basingstoke, Hants

725 Stuart McManus               Wells Road, Priddy, Somerset

106 (L) E.J. Mason                 Henleaze, Bristol

558 (L) Tony Meaden              Westbury, Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset

704 Dave Metcalf                    Long Eaton, Nottingham

1044 Andrew Middleton           Harrow, Middlesex

1012 Al Mills                          Ston Easton, Wells, Somerset

1053 Steve Milner                   Clifton, Bristol

936 Dave Nichols                    Address not Known

852 John Noble                       Tennis Courts Rod, Paulton, Bath

624 Jock Orr                          Sturton-by-Stow, Lincoln

396 (L) Mike Palmer                Yarley, Wells, Somerset

1045 Richard Payne                Sidcup , Kent

22 (L) Les Peters                    Knowle Park, Bristol Avon

499 (L) A. Philpott                   Bishopston, Bristol, Avon

1037 Dave Pike                      Luckinbgton, Chippenham, Wilts

337 Brian Prewer                    West Horrington, Wells, Somerset

481 (L) John Ransom              Patchway, Bristol, Avon

682 John Riley                        Waramanga, ACT 2611, Australia

1033 Sue Riley                       Waramanga, ACT 2611, Australia

1046 Gerard Robinson             The Common, Patchway, Bristol

986 Lil Romford                      Coxley, Wells, Somerset

985 Phil Romford                    Coxley, Wells, Somerset

921 Pete Rose                       Crediton, Devon

832 Roger Sabido                   Lawrence Weston, Bristol

240 (L) Alan Sandall                Nailsea, Avon

359 (L) Carol Sandall               Nailsea, Avon

760 Jenny Sandercroft             Victoria Park, Bristol

237 (L) Bryan Scott                 Havestock Road, Winchester Hants

482 Gordon Selby                   Wells, Somerset

78 (L) R Setterington               Taunton, Somerset

213 (L) Rod Setterington          Chiswick, London W4

1046 Dave Shand                    Easton, Bristol

926 Steve Short                      Ashlea Park, East Huntspill, Highbridge, Somerset

1036 Nicola Slann                   P.O. Lane, Flax Bourton, Bristol

915J Chris Smart                    Nr. Bradford on Avon, Wilts

911 James Smart                   Clifton, Bristol

1041 Laurence Smith              West Horrington, Wells, Somerset

823 Andrew Sparrow               Wells Road, Priddy, Somerset

1 (L) Harry Stanbury                Bude, Cornwall

38(L) Mrs I Stanbury               Knowle, Bristol

575 (L) Dermot Statham          Westcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

365 (L) Roger Stenner             Weston super Mare, Avon

867 Rich Stevenson                Wookey, Wells, Somerset

583 Derek Targett                   East Horrington, Wells Somerset

1039 Lisa Taylor                     Weston Road, Bath

1035 John Theed                    Staple Hill, Bristol

284 (L) Alan Thomas               Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Somerset

348 (L) D Thomas                   Little Birch, Bartlestree, Hereford

571 (L) N Thomas                   Norwich Rd., Salhouse, Norwich, Norfolk.

699 Buckett Tilbury                 High Wycombe, Bucks

700 Anne Tilbury                     High Wycombe, Bucks

74 (L) Dizzie Thompsett-Clark  Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex

381 (L) Daphne Towler             Nyetimber, Bognor Regis, Sussex

157 (L) Jill Tuck                      Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, Gwent, Wales

382 Steve Tuck                       Coxley, Wells, Somerset

1023 Matthew Tuck                 Coxley, Wells, Somerset

1066 Alan Turner                    Leigh on Mendip, Bath, Avon

678 Dave Turner                      Leigh on Mendip, Bath, Avon

912 John Turner                      Launceston Rd., Tavistock, Devon.

925 Gill Turner                        Launceston Rd., Tavistock, Devon.

635 (L) Stuart Tuttlebury          Boundstone, Farnham, Surrey

887 Greg Villis                        Banwell, Weston-super-Mare, Avon

175 (L) Mrs. D. Whaddon        Taunton, Somerset

949 John Watson                    West Horrington, Wells, Somerset

1019 Lavinia Watson               West Horrington, Wells, Somerset

973 James Wells                    Yorktown Heights, New York, USA

1055 Oliver Wells                    Yorktown Heights, New York, USA

1032 Barry Wharton                Yatton, Bristol

878 Mne White                       Royal Marines Police, Hamworthy, Dorset

1068 John Whiteley                Holnepark, Ashburton, Devon

1061 Kerry Wiggins                Brighton Hill, Basingstoke, Hants

1031 Mike Wigglesworth         Keynsham, Avon

559 Barrie Wilton                    Haydon, Nr. Wells, Somerset

850 Annie Wilton-Jones           Llanlley Hill, Abergavenny, Gwent

813 Ian Wilton-Jones               Llanlley Hill, Abergavenny, Gwent

914 Brian Workman                Little London, Oakhill,  Bath

1011 Lucy Workman               Little London, Oakhill,  Bath

477 Ronald Wyncoll                Holycroft, Hinkley, Leics.

1050 Richard York                  Cheddar, Somerset