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The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: Ted Humphreys

Cover Picture: The Balcony Formations, St. Cuthbert's Swallet

(Part of a photograph taken by Phil Romford )


1989 – 1990 Committee

Hon. Sec                 Martin Grass
Treasure                  Christ Smart
Caving Sec.             Peter McNab
Hut Warden             Chris Harvey
Tackle Master          Stuart McManus
B.B. Editor               Ted Hunphreys
Hut Engineer            Nigel Taylor
Membership Sec.     John Watson
                               Ian Caldwell



The big push in Cuthbert’s was a success in so far as the power cable and telephone from the Belfry to Sump 2 and the electric pump actually worked.  Unfortunately the pump could not handle the glutinous stuff at the bottom of the sump so the attempt was abandoned.  Plans are afoot, however, for further efforts.

The 60's/70's disco was a great success and enjoyed by all who came.  There was a report on a local radio station the following morning that an 'acid house' party on Mendip was raided by police but that no arrests were made. The BEC disco was visited by the constabulary but the suggestion that this was the party referred to is, of course, a wild exaggeration and totally untrue!

Last year I included the treasurer's report and club accounts in the BB and was told that this was wrong as these should be available only to members.  This year, therefore, they are produced separately. Those of the members who have their BB's posted to them will get their copy with it.  The rest can get them from any committee member.

In June 1959, the club published the Belfry Bulletin Digest Number One (price three and sixpence) edited, I believe, by Bryan Ellis.  This contained a selection of the better material that had appeared in the BB up to that time, I think it's time that Digest Number Two appeared with a selection from 1959 onwards and also, maybe, some of the items from the first digest. It makes fascinating reading the discovery of Stoke 2 - the discovery of the Ifold series - the ingredients for a Belfry Binder etc ... If there are any budding editors among you, step forward and be recognised!  I'd help out with the typing, to get it all on disc.  The club might even make a profit!

Please could I have contributions for the Christmas BB.

There are no articles whatsoever in hand and an attempt is always made to make the Christmas edition a special one. Anything would be welcome – articles, anecdotes, puzzles, games, cartoons, jokes, poems etc ..


B.E.C. Secretary's Report, 1990

Martin Grass

This year I honestly believe the club had one of its best committees for many years and much work has been started and more importantly completed.  The most important of these has been the signing of the St. Cuthbert's lease which now means we are responsible for a large area surrounding the cave.  This year should also see the publication of the long awaited St. Cuthbert's report. Everything is ready for the printers and it should be available for Christmas.  Thanks to everyone who has worked extremely hard on these two projects.

As can be seen from the Hut Engineer's report a lot of work has also been carried out on the Belfry, it is just a sad fact that work it is normally the same people doing all the work.

I have not found the post of secretary to be too taxing as most of the hard work has been handled by the other committee members (it's called delegation).  I have had the usual letters from prospective members etc. to deal with and the usual minute-writing which Glenys Grass has typed.  A big thank you to her for this.

Unfortunately this year has seen a deterioration of our relationship with our neighbour Walt. Mainly over his various tree felling activities in the Plantation. Hopefully our lease to this area will stop this type of destruction.

I have always maintained that continuity on a committee is very important and I am prepared to stand for secretary next year.  I also hope that the majority of my fellow committee members will stand and hopefully, some of the younger club members so we can get into a position of having new committee members each year but not having to change the whole line up which I believe adds to confusion.

Finally we have had a meeting every month this year and the attendance is as follows (10 meetings up to August)

Martin Grass                 8
Nigel Taylor                  8
Chris Smart                  10
Ian Caldwell                  8
Ted Humphreys             9
Chris Harvey                 9
Stuart McManus           8
John Watson                8
Peter McNab                5


Caving Secretary's Report, 1990

Peter McNab

This will be read out at the A.G.M.  Snablet has written it but keeps leaving it in Bristol or goes gallivanting all over the place doing silly things like caving!  I left this big space for it and now, since I need to get it to the printers as soon as possible, I haven't got anything that fits - Ed.

Tackle Master's Report. 1990


The tackle located within the Belfry store has been in constant use as usual.  The quality of the lifeline ropes has been reviewed with the outcome of two additional ropes (1 x 45m. and 1 x 20m.) being purchased, the existing ropes have either been scrapped or cut into shorter lengths. Tackle bags have also been provided to carry lifeline rope and so protect it from damage within the cave. Please remember to use these tackle bags.  Ideally I would have liked to have bought more life lining rope but due to club finances being low this will have to wait until the next financial year when additional ropes and tackle bags will be provided.

The only real complaint I have is that ropes and ladders are sometimes being left dirty and lying in the Belfry changing room.  I would appreciate if members would assist by either making the culprits see the errors of their ways or I would ask members if they see any tackle lying around the hut please would they clean it and hang it up to dry within the store, after all it is your tackle!

The SRT rope which is kept by the Tackle Master has not been used that much over the last year.  Their main use has been on expeditions abroad. (Matienzo at Xmas and Austria this summer).  Perhaps this reflects the lack of organised or other trips by club members to Yorkshire etc.  Remember the ropes can be used for trips on Mendip as well.  Newer members may not be aware of the SRT rope and so I have taken the opportunity to list it at the end of this report.

The club has bought four 10m. ladders during the year and these together with two ladders donated by a member of the club are also kept by the Tackle Master for use on home or away trips.  I would appreciate it if members borrow this ladder for away trips, to ensure that some tackle is left in the Belfry store for other members to use.

It would be appreciated if organisers of expeditions book tackle in advance so that rope and ladder can be made available to other members whilst you are away.

Members have been donating old rope for digging and it would be appreciated if these members would hand them to the Tackle Master, and not just put them in the store as, believe it or not, old SRT rope etc. sometimes finds its way onto the active lifelining hooks! I would therefore prefer to hold on to the digging rope myself and issue it to members who will know exactly what it is for rather than leave it in the store.  I do have quite a few 100 feet of rope available for digging purposes, so please diggers don't hesitate - come on down!

Equipment held by Tackle Master.

SRT Rope.

1.         54m. Blue Water
2.         18m.
3.         33m.
4.         40m.
5.         100m.
6.         40m. Edelrid
7.         Rope Protectors.
8.         Tackle Bags.
9.         Hangers and Maillons.


4 x 10m.  Ladders
2 x 25 ft.

Survey Equipment.

3 sets of Clino and Compasses.
1  30m. Survey tape.

Other Items

1 Cement Mixer
(For Hire on a day rate)

Please contact Tackle Master two weeks in advance of any trip to organise issue of tackle.



B.B. Editor's Report. 1990

Ted Humphreys

Only five BB's have been produced again this year.  I keep scratching my head for ways to attract more material!  We have currently about 225 members in the club but over the last year only 25 or so have contributed to the club journal (and this number includes all the committee members!).  To those 25 thank you very much your contributions were much appreciated by all. As for the other 200 members - how can I get you to put pen to paper?  Even if you no longer do mammoth super-severe trips, there must be some unrecorded caving exploit(s) that would interest members.  Everything ought to be recorded, even if it’s only for posterity!

Perhaps I should quote some statistics about the BB.  The current print run per copy is 250 (I always have a few left over).  I did try reducing the number to 240 once and some clubs on the exchange list missed out.  When the BB arrives from the printers, J'Rat kindly volunteers to hand out as many as possible before the remainder are posted (Thanks J'Rat!). The number posted is about 120. This is an important number - if it’s less than 120 I have to stick the stamps on and get very gluey - 120 or more and the Post Office franks them.  The number of pages per issue drops as the year progresses, from 33 at Xmas to 14 in August, being directly related to the amount of material available (perhaps the editor should hoard articles - were it only possible!).

Although being Editor involves many hours sitting at this keyboard, I have quite enjoyed the experience and would be prepared to continue next year if the club so desires.

Hut Warden's Report, 1990

Chris Harvey

The year started well with quite a few bookings from Clubs who normally stay.  During the second half of the year the bookings dropped off somewhat and seem to have levelled out on a low.  The reasons for the decline in bookings in my opinion are as follows:-

1)       The general condition of the Belfry leaves a lot to be desired.

2)       Working weekends must be more frequent as the place is deteriorating rapidly. 

3)       Only a small number of members are keeping the place clean and up together.

4)       Babs says members are nice.

We have had no service bed-nights again this year.  This is due to some of the points mentioned above in my opinion.  On a positive note, Roger has put his beer up again.    



B.E.C. Hut Engineer’s Report. 1990

Nigel Taylor

Since joining the B.E.C. nearly twenty years ago, I have undertaken three different committee posts. Hut Warden, Caving Sec, and Hut Engineer.  Though I cannot speak with any authority regarding the other committee posts.  I have always felt that the most challenging of all these positions is that of the 'Hut Engineer'.  So it was that I felt great trepidation in putting my head 'into the noose' for another year of Belfry maintenance and associated trauma!

Thus it is with great relief that I can report that, in my view, it has been a most rewarding year, made possible by both the firm support of this years committee and membership alike. Cries from the usual 'Doubting Thomas's' (Not Alan) to the effect of "It's no use having working weekends, no b----r will turn up for 'em" were definitely not true.

I decided that, in order to make a Belfry working-meet successful, certain basic criteria exist; to ensure sufficient tools and materials for the proposed tasks are assembled in time for the event (This is a prime requisite) to make a major event out of the meet and for it to last only one day of the weekend so that the keener cavers amongst us can get underground on the Sunday.  Further I reasoned that a 'Belfry Binder' of yester-year would round-off the working day, most especially if followed by some form of entertainment and perhaps a barrel!

So it was, that on Saturday 10th. March 1990, nearly twenty B.E.C. members, wives and girlfriends descended upon the Belfry and spent the rest or the day, in near perfect weather and harmony, completing the following jobs: -

Clear out of attic space, complete site clearance of waste and scrap and loading into two commercial waste skips and re-storage of useful items, full glass fibre insulation of loft space, insulation of water tanks and pipe work, repair of shower system and installation of thermostats and timers etc., replace broken sanitary-ware, cleanse toilets and shower areas in full, removal of old broken cattle-grid, refill with stone and build speed ramp and tarmac over, re-felt wood-store roof, re-point storm damaged main roof tiles and ridge, fix ridge tiles to carbide store, build carbide-store fire sand waterproof cover, general cleaning and much repainting of Belfry interior, clean-out Fair Lady Well stream and pond, fit new outside economy light switches, all of this and much, much more!

The end of the working day came at last, and a superb repast was prepared, cooked and served by Hon Sec's best, Glenys GRASS.  This was followed by ZOT's magnificent slides of pre-Argie Falklands.  Penguins etc. (With and without wrappers!). This in turn was followed by Chris SMART's "Antics on a Chinese bicycle" (I think that was the title), both slide shows accompanied by the usual banter!  The Belfry was packed.  After a brief respite at the Hunters, all returned to the hut and savoured barrels of further nectar.

The support for the event was excellent, though I have mentioned some names above I dare not mention more, for fear of ignoring someone from the list.  I was greatly impressed with the efforts made, especially by some of the ladies in cleaning the 'Bogs' etc.  Even flowers and a vase appeared in one!

As you will see from the Treasurer’s accounts, I had managed to inveigle from his clutches a very large sum of money for the hut and the basic necessary materials to effect certain non-recurring jobs.  The working weekend alone swallowed up in excess of £250, though the long overdue full insulation of the Belfry attic accounted for £144 of this sum.

Last October's A.G.M. directed a replacement fire to be installed, accordingly, in November we travelled to Wiltshire and purchased a fine new 'Arctic Stove’; this set the club back another £250+.  We then re-sited this in a far better position against the Library wall.  This not only gives more useable main room space but also adds heat through the wall to the library and books.  To offset an 'Anon member's' outstanding hut fees, a new wall surround was added.  The provision of a new chimney and flue to conform to new building regulations, as well as fire-safety risks, added nearly a further £300 to this expense.  I hope that the 1990 A.G.M. will agree however that this has proved to be monies well spent.

The A.G.M. may also care to note that the new stove and loft insulation partially negate any need for an expensive Central Heating system in the hut.  The night storage heaters combined with the extra insulation are now more efficient when allowed to work properly.  It is my personal view, based upon research into costing a system for the hut, that the expenditure is in excess of what this club can afford. Therefore, the proposal of last year's A.G.M. should, with this year's 1990 A.G.M., be voted to be held over for at least one further year, in order to monitor the revised state of the hut's heating and insulation system.  Regular Belfry stayer's have said to me that the hut can in fact be too warm on a weekend if the fire is going well.  I would welcome the direction of the A.G.M. upon this point, as I hope to stand again for Committee this October and should like to offer myself again for election to the post of Hut Engineer.

You may also have noted that new 'high-security' locks have been fitted to both the Library and changing room doors.  Your main Belfry key no longer fits the changing room door and I should like to explain the idea behind my thinking on this subject:- This ensures that guests given the special 'Guest Key' can enter the hut (via the changing room) but cannot gain access to the club's tackle.  The tackle-store key now being available to all members from the key box inside the front door, opened using your main Belfry key.

I should most especially like to thank Pat CRONIN and Stu (MAC) McMANUS, who have both worked hard, and freely given of their time, in installing the new 'Super-Shower' system.

Constant small jobs around the site have been tackled by members and myself this last year and the amount of time it involves cannot always be measured by outward appearances. For example, I have surprised myself in discovering that I have made over five dozen telephone calls to planning depts., rating depts., fire officers, lawyers, builders merchants etc., and driven over 720 miles upon Hut Engineer business this year.  If, as I suspect, these figures are matched by the other members of the outgoing committee.  I believe this is no mean feat and should be borne in mind by the very rare but sometimes vocal complainant within the club.  Usually this beast absents itself from any work or club effort!

I am indeed proud to have worked with a very active B.E.C. committee this year.  Much effort and work has been done and I believe this has most fittingly culminated in the signing this month (August 1990) of the "St. Cuthbert's Lease" after much effort by many past and present committee members.

I end in thanking you all, may the club continue to go from strength to strength, yours in caving and comradeship.

Mr. 'N'


Membership Secretary's Report. 1990

John Watson

This year will be my 4th year as membership secretary and each year late payment of subscriptions is a problem.  This year more than most!  The need for a new stove and other expenses has left the club extremely short of funds, especially at the start of the club year.  Prompt payment of subscriptions would alleviate this problem considerably. I would like to remind all members that subs. are due after the A.G.M. (1st weekend in October).  To avoid the unnecessary expense of sending B.B.'s to members who do not wish to rejoin this year, no one will receive a B.B. after the 1st of January (i.e. 2 months after the A.G.M.) if they have not paid their subs.

On a brighter note membership is up again on the previous year.  Although some have fallen by the wayside, a few older members have rejoined after a slight lapse.


Librarian's Report, 1990

Michael McDonald

Slowly progressing to some sort of order.  Various pictures are being prepared to go on the wall - Jill Tuck, Zot, J'Rat and his barrel in the Mineries plus cave photos and the odd decent survey of local prominent caves.  We are also at capacity so we need a few more units, especially to house Club Journals which in their own way are the most valuable source of reference material. Cataloguing is proving difficult as so much is missing and it's difficult to catalogue if you don't know what you're supposed to have in the first place.

BOOKS NOT BOOKED IN (as at 18th August)

Potholing by Heap.  Andy Sparrow since 20.4.89
Darkness Beckons by Farr (sic).  Stewi since 15.10.89
Mines of Mendip.  Pete Bolt since 9.12.89
Darkness under the Earth.  Jake since 21.1.90
Cheddar Climbs.  Brian Johnson since 1.3.90
Mendip Underground.  Pete Bolt since 3.3.90

I'm concerned at Darkness Beckons as it’s out of print and now a collector’s item, probably.  If we lose it getting another may be difficult. Return it please.  'Mendip Underground' is a guide reference book and should not have been removed anyway!

I might get rid of the photo-copier.  It's broken more often than not, is hardly ever used and takes up valuable space, which is at a premium.  Old Climbing etc. magazines are being stored in the attic for want of space.  Maps and surveys are now sorted and classified in the map chest.  Most of them are a little dated, so if anyone has any useful up-to-date material, maps, surveys etc. please let me have them.  Any other contributions also very appreciated.  'Expedition' box files have been made up ego Mexico, Jamaica, Perth, West Virginia etc. so if you have any snippets to add, or a load of bumff an anyone area, let me have it so I can add to the collection.  I feel much of our stuff is very dated, so we need constant modernisation of our collection and info.  We only have a limited budget for new books and this is usually spent replacing what is pinched or lost, so we need contributions from the membership to keep our library flourishing.  Has anyone got any spare plastic covers for the two library strip lights?  The two I got off the back of a lorry are just too small.


Membership Changes

We welcome seven new members, who are: -

1141       Gary Jago. Farrington Gurney
1142       Angela Garwood. Cathays. Cardiff
1143       Jane L. Evans. Roath. Cardiff
1144       Sophie Crook. Roath. Cardiff
1145       Roz Bateman, East Harptree. Bristol. Somerset
1146     Leslie Robert Williams, Prestleigh. Shepton Mallet, Somerset
1147      Simon Benedict Taylor, Draycott. Cheddar, Somerset


Nigel's Dirty Weekend?

(or, The BEC Cleanup)

A monologue by Mike Wilson

We set our alarm for 7.30 and climbed out of warm cozy bed
Quick scoff down snap and coffee, we're off up Mendip T/shed
We arrived at the shed fairly early, to find mates all sitting intsun
"Hey Up" has anyone seen Nigel? He's got list of work to be done!!
Nigel arrived at 10.30 and we all got stuck in reet good!!
Babs cleaned out "crap" in toilet. Whilst Blitz hung a new door of soft wood.
Zotty had a grand row with Walter, and we all took his side in some way
Don't let him get away with it Zotty, he ne-er gave us his timber I'd say.
Come tea time it were rock cakes and biccies. All cooked by the "Dragon's" fair mitt.
Snap tin were guarded reet close like, in case Hannah got paws into it.
By midday tasks were progressing.  Shed were real shiny and bright!!
We're all looking forward T/barrel and slide show with Zotty tonight.
First of all there's a grand feast by Glenys. "Wow" what a blow out that became!!
Gorging spuds, garlic bread and beef wellie. Hurrah for chef Glenys "What's her name?"
Well it's time to put tools away tidy and say well done lads  "Proper Job".  Reet sad
It's too bloody hot in the Belfry.  Some idiots lagged roof space, Real Bad.


The End is Nye or is it?

Steve Woolven

Having spent a week in the Dordogne in July we couldn't leave without visiting the Grottes de Saut de la Pucelle.  Echoing Vince Simmonds article: 'it's a superb fun trip' we also took 6 ladders, 1 rope and various slings, belays etc.  The problem we would like to clear up is the END???!

Graham Nye and myself entered and followed the main stream passage leaving ladders at every would-be pitch and jumping in and swimming the deep pools, even though there was some kind of drought on and only a trickle of water flowing through the cave.  After having laid out all the tackle, we passed a very large deep black pool by traversing to the right some way down the cave only to come up to a 30' pitch which definitely needed a ladder.  Rather than call it a day I back tracked to our last ladders and took them back down (Quite a few of the first pitches are easily free-climbable, so don't make our mistake of laddering everything that can be laddered).

From here we followed the streamway down quite a considerable distance, with very nice formations, till there was some breakdown and boulders, followed quickly by an insignificant pool of water.  Here we could find no way on?  After a good look around; there being a lot of writing in the mud on the walls where other people had stopped; one thing bothered us!!  Where is the Plaque to Martel?  We could not find it (Ref: Vince Simmonds article, May '90).  We concluded either: -

1)       Somehow we missed a small hole that passed this sump? or

2)       Some buggers nicked the Plaque as a souvenir?

Can anyone put us right?

I would like to thank Trebor and Steve Redwood who supplied us with literature on this area, which helped us tremendously.  Apart from the trout in Vince's article we found an evil looking lizard sitting static on a rock, about twice the size of the outdoor ones.  Black in colour with orange markings down its back; which I thought a fake rubber one until Graham gave it a prod (That's another beer I owe him).

I would also like to say hello to Peter and Maria from Speleo Netherland, who were caving on our ladders and left a note on the car, whom we never did meet.

U.B.S.S. - Sessional Meetings 1990-91

Members are invited to attend these illustrated talks, which will be held in the UBSS room on the 2nd floor of the Students Union, Queen's Road, Bristol between 8 pm and about 9.30 pm on Wednesday evenings.

31 October 1990.           "The Exploration of St Cuthbert's Swallet" by Dave Irwin.

5 December 1990.          " New Mexico 1988 including the Carlsbad Caverns" by Chris Howes

13 February 1991.          "Cave diving beneath Cheddar Gorge" by Rob Palmer


Cave Excursions on Cebu Island. Philippines (Part 2)

Jim Smart

Sat March 25 - Tues March 28, 1989.  Tabunan Talamban, Adlaon, CEBU CITY.

Roque Cuasito does not operate on Pilipino time.  He arrived at my lodging with his 6 year old son Brian at 6.30 while I was still breakfasting.  By 7.15 we were at the Jeepney terminus in downtown Cebu City fighting to cram three large backpacks plus a small one for Brian into an Adlaon-bound jeepney.  A short while later one of Roque's employees arrived to act as porter and cook during our excursion.

By 10.30 the jeepney had brought us to Adlaon, a ramshackle one-street village at the road head. Here we met Liam, a middle aged simple country boy, whom Roque knew from many previous explorations in the area. Liam was already half drunk and happily agreed to come along with us and carry a pack, for a few pesos.

Our route into the hills to Tabunan Talamban was mostly along steep, single-file tracks.  Six year old Brian slowed our progress somewhat as did the hundreds of people we met travelling in the opposite direction. It was market day.  We haggled over various items and though we couldn't get a good price on a live chicken we did buy a large joint of lechon (roast pork) to supplement our diet.  By midday we were far beyond the reach of wheeled transport, across two deep valleys; outcrops of limestone were to be seen everywhere on the rolling and grassy landscape. (A few days later, in Cebu City, I was shown a book recounting the exploits of the Philippine resistance movement in this area during WWII.  There were numerous references to caves but what struck me most, looking at the pictures, was that this entire area - as far as the eye could see - was forested.  Today trees, in isolated clumps, account for probably less than 2% of the surface area. All gone in 45 years).

At last we arrived at the place Roque had planned for us to camp.  We waded our final river and, before we could unpack, received an invitation to crash out in the house of Alfredo Arcayan.  We readily accepted the invitation as storm clouds were rapidly gathering.  We'd no sooner charged up Roque's primus stove on the verandah of Alfredo's thatch and wood home (pigs occupy the ground floor) than the storm broke in a deluge that left market returnees stranded on the far side of the river and us assured that there would be no caving today.  Delighted, Liam held a whip-round (my money) and danced into the storm in search of a gallon of tuba, the local hooch.  We had a lot of visitors that night.

Day 2. Easter Sunday. March 26, 89.

The usual train of men and small boys followed us to the caves.  A man by the name of Perfecto was our guide: a wonderful, knowledgeable, shy man with no English whom I'd have liked to know better.  We followed him down river for an hour and a half, sometimes scrambling over boulders or walking along gravel banks and sometimes pushing through damp scrub: the sun was not yet high enough to dry the aftermath of the storm.

At last Perfecto led us along a trail rising high above the river's left bank, into some thorny secondary vegetation, to the entrance of the cave known as MIT-OL.  We were about 200 ft. above the river.  The climb over the entrance ledge was guarded by thousands of little stinging ants.  Mit-ol was a focal point of resistance against the Japanese in World War Two.  It had been a hard hike and we posed proudly for photographs.

It took quite a while for our team to negotiate the short climb down into Mit-ol 's main passage. Only about half of them were affluent enough to have their own flashlights and batteries though one enterprising fellow carried the standard domestic illumination: an old whisky bottle filled with kerosene with a corn-cob for a wick.

A few minutes along the Main Passage and Perfecto led us up a short climb to the left where we gained a narrow rift passage which in turn led to larger passage until we were halted by a couple of pitches above an enormous chamber about 100 ft. high containing some magnificent formations.  Even a veteran B.E.C. man would need a rope to continue here so we made a slow retreat while I sketched a survey.

Back in the Main Passage we continued away from the entrance until some extremely dodgy caving amongst some very loose boulders brought us up to a second entrance.  Jungle bashing brought us back to the Main Entrance about 100m. away.

Sadly most of the team surfaced with bats or speleothems as souvenirs.  Several of the boys had taken catapults into the cave and, though their hunting had mostly resulted in broken stal, enough bats - each about the size of a Greater Horseshoe - had been killed to provide a small feast.  A small stick fire was quickly prepared and the dead bats - fur and wings and all - were flung onto the embers.  One nimble bloke had even caught a couple of swifts but these were far too decorative to be eaten.  I saw them the next day in his house, tethered by their legs to his door frame.

In a nearby pasture we cooked rice and opened tins of fish which we ate with our fingers off a communal banana-leaf plate.  Then we turned our attention to Cathedral Cave.

An exposed and bouldery entrance chamber leads to large walking passage on the left.  A fire was lit in anticipation of the bats to be eaten later.  A notice in carbide smoke on the wall of the Main Passage warns guano collectors to keep out "signed Barrio Captain".  While most of the team remained in the Main Passage playing with their catapults I followed Perfecto past a Crossroads to a T-junction.  To the right the passage soon petered out in a couple of ascending calcited rifts, but left led to about 100m. of comfortable walking passage until a sharp left turn into a tunnel passage 20ft. high x 30 wide led to a definite conclusion.  I grovelled around in some painfully sharp alcoves here without success. A nearby high level passage was not explored.

Retracing our steps towards the T-junction we explored a passage on the right which returned us to the crossroads in the Main Passage.  A tricky climb on the far side of the Main Passage that only Perfecto and myself were able to negotiate brought us after a short while to three alternative entrances - 2 vertical and one horizontal.

After a short rest for cooked bats and cigarettes we headed for base arriving there about 4 p.m.  We cracked open the tuba and as the glass was passed round - the custom here is to have only one glass and wait your turn - so the tales of our activities expanded and improved.  Liam decided there wasn't going to be enough tuba to get us through the evening so he held another whip-round (my money again). Roque and I accompanied him to the store - about 20 minutes walk away where we found the majority of the villagers roaring drunk.  While Liam haggled over the price of tuba, Roque and I spent about 60 pesos (US $3) on a mountain of food and that night about a dozen people ate and drank to their heart's content on the veranda while another storm lashed its way up the valley.

Easter Monday. March 27.

Everybody very hungover. Reluctantly about five of us got ourselves to the store by noon where we employed an old guy to lead us to some springs about 45 minutes away upstream.  The associated cave passage was disappointingly small but they did provide the Filipinos with some more bats which they cooked while we sheltered from another passing storm.

After lunch we decided to call it a day.  We were too hungover to care much about caving.  On our way back to base Brian and I stopped for a swim in the river until an agitated cry from the bank caught my attention.  Looking upstream I saw a flood pulse bearing down on us. Within two minutes the river which was about 35 ft. wide at this point turned muddy and threatening and the water level rose about 18 ins.   Fortunately we managed to get ourselves stranded on the right side.

Tuesday. March 28.

We started the long hike back to the road head unaware that it was local government election day and all public transport had been granted a holiday.  Worse, there was a 24 hour ban on liquor sales.

At the first store we came to the owner agreed to let us drink beer in her private kitchen since she didn't think the law applied to foreigners and their friends.  She also cooked us an excellent breakfast.  We then continued our way on foot towards Cebu City in search of the elusive transport. Every liquor store we passed agreed to serve us beer and we were quite drunk when, way after dark, we cadged a dangerous ride into town in the company of the electoral ballot boxes and a dozen heavily armed and equally drunk members of the Philippine constabulary.

Jim Smart. Sept 1989. California.