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Pierre's Pot

This was first banged open by Pete and Alison Moody in 1983 giving 300 ft. of large passage.  A very strong draught was followed down a tight rift to a choke with distant sound of a stream (Flange Swallet is only 50 ft. away). Andy Sparrow started digging there with Pete and Alison in the spring of 1986 and the breakthrough occurred on January 17th this year.  100 ft. of passage was found leading to the water which was followed downstream to an aven and a sump.  Upstream there is a larger streamway and extensive dry series ending in well decorated chambers. Total length is 500 ft. - work continues.

Andy Sparrow 

Gough’s Show Cave

Andy Sparrow and Chris Castle have opened up a new route to the water in Lloyd Hall.  Starting at the top of the 70 ft. pitch is a descending rift to a chimney landing on a chockstone.  From there it is a 35 ft. pitch to the water.

Andy Sparrow

Wessex Challenge

As members are aware it is our duty to organise the Wessex Challenge for 1987, this being the "prize" for winning it again last year.  The theme of the challenge will be "The Quest for the Rusty Tankard" and will be held on 6th June at 4pm.

St. Cuthbert’s

The on-going clean-up down Cuthbert’s is plodding on at a leisurely pace but it isn't until you start bringing rubbish out that you realise exactly how much is down there.

After a consultation with Brian Prewer, I've brought out quite a bit of the old telephone wire, especially between Wire Rift and Gour Hall.  It was broken in so many places it was more of a nuisance than an asset.  In any event, for rescue purposes we have the mole phone so the telephone is presumably not now needed.  If needed it would be quicker to lay a new line than repair the old one.

Although regular specific cleaning-up trips exist everybody can do their bit by shifting stuff they find scattered about "uphill" as it were.  Every bit helps.  In particular, there's a few bags at the bottom of the Entrance Rift; a filthy great long piece of tubing at the bottom of Pulpit Pitch and a dump of stuff just downstream of the main streamway duck.  I've also found a carbide dump in Lower Mud Hall which will be cleaned up next visit.  Who the hell's using carbide down there?

Mike (Trebor) McDonald

St. Cuthbert’s Leaders Meeting

This had to be postponed and is now due to be held in the back room of The Hunters on Sat. 7th March at 7pm.  It is a long time since we last held a meeting and I hope that all leaders will make a positive attempt to attend.

For those who are not sure how the leader system works here are a few notes.  The leader system was set up soon after the cave was opened in 1953 with the prime objective to protect the cave.  It was realised that if unrestricted access was allowed many passages would be pushed which although appearing 'virgin' have either been carefully pushed to avoid damage to formations or were known, through the survey, to re-enter the known cave after after a very short distance.

Leaders have to make a number of trips into the cave, showing that they are familiar with all the major routes and have their 'leaders' form 'ticked off' by current leaders. The prospective leader's attitude with regards to conservation etc. is also taken into account before they are issued with a key.

Originally leaders had to be members of the BEC but back in the late 60's we extended the scheme to cover people outside the club providing that they had adequate insurance cover. This move was taken on two accounts; firstly, to head off accusations that the BEC were keeping Cuthbert’s as their own private cave; and secondly, to allow other clubs to provide their own leaders for their trips, thus taken some of the 'tourist trip' load from the BEC leaders.

I think that the leader system speaks for itself, there have been relatively few accidents in spite of the problems of the entrance rift, and the cave is not being spoilt quite as fast as most of the other caves.  This doesn't mean that we should be complacent and pat ourselves on the back. In fact we should be ashamed at the amount of rubbish etc. that has remained in the cave after digging pushes (I am as guilty of this as anyone!), and I am pleased to see that present members intend to do something about it (see Trebor's notes above)

Dave Turner


There will be a meeting in the Belfry on Saturday 7th March, for anybody interested in corning to Austria this summer.

The trip will revolve mainly around connecting last summers discovery - Weisalmschacht, with the Hirlatzhohle, making one of the deepest through trips in the world.

We hope to keep the numbers reasonably low this year as 3 car loads of BEC, the same number of NCC and a coach load of South Wales CC. tourists somewhat upset the local cavers and made a mockery of our host, Robert's "camp where you like but don't let the Foresters see you" policy!!  Those wishing to go should be proficient in S.R.T.

Mark Lumley

Treasurer's Report

Since the last B.B. little has changed on the financial front, we still have regular and quite healthy income arriving from the Belfry Bednights and deposit savings now total some £750.  The current account goes up and down like a yo-yo and there is little point in telling you what's in it, but suffice to say we're in a generally comfortable financial position at profit.

However, with the winter and cold weather now with us, guests and members staying at the Belfry may decrease which together with increased coal consumption and lighting etc. will affect income somewhat.  In addition, some £500 has just disappeared from the current account to pay for the new sweat and T-shirts and although this will be recovered in due course from sales, the cash flow has been hit a little.

Furthermore, following the fire in the Belfry over the New Year, the Committee decided it was necessary to update the fire prevention/tackling situation.  Hopefully we won't have another fire but we might as well learn from this one.  Some observers on the night of the fire mentioned a few pertinent matters which may need up-grading and changing.   This could cost £500 or so, thus proving a further drain on resources.

If you keep supporting the club by buying the new sweat and T-shirts and by using the Belfry, I think we'll survive a little longer,

Mike (Trebor) McDonald.


Our thanks go to Ron Wyncoll for the donation to the club of an Oldham charging rack, many thanks.

Black Holes Expedition

A 200 hour (8 1/2 day) sponsored camp in Daren Cilau has been organised starting on Friday 13th March. The team will be digging to try and get the Aggy connection over and done with.  Money raised will go towards the Black Holes Expedition to Mexico.  BEC members on the expedition will be Bob Cork, Dany Bradshaw, Tim Gould, Steve Milner and Mark Lumley.  All donations gratefully received.  Visitors at the camp are welcome.