The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: John Williams

1993 - 1994 Committee

Hon. Sec.                Martin Grass
Treasurer                 Chris Smart
Caving Sec.             Jeff Price
Hut Warden             Estelle Sandford
Tackle Master          Mike Wilson
Hut Engineer            Tim Large
B.B. Editor               John Williams
Membership Sec.     Nigel Taylor


 

Editorial

Well its been some time since the last BB and quite a lot has happened in the intervening period; for one thing I've had a chance to collect quite a few articles, some of which appear in this issue, indeed my thanks are due to those of you who have been forthcoming in this respect keep it up!

Since the last ish the BEC have, as usual, been all over the place including Ireland, Yorkshire, the Philippines and even occasionally to the Belfry.  I'm sure that Spike will have-something to say about some of these events later in the rag.

The most recent event of note on Mendip has been the British Cave Rescue Conference, which was held at Eastwater Farm on the weekend of 9-10-11 July and was a resounding success. This was organised by the MRO and thanks must go to all those involved in the setup and running of the event and in particular Dany Bradshaw.  A complicated program of events was scheduled for the weekend and went very well with only minor hitches, a credit to all concerned.  Practise rescues were enacted in GB, Eastwater & St Cuthbert’s and a large number of people participated both above and below ground.  There were also workshops and demonstrations throughout the proceedings.  I will not go into further details here as there is a separate article later on.

Before I end this piece may I just remind the membership that there are now only two committee meetings scheduled before the (dreaded) AGM on 1st October and that consequently any nominations for next year's committee should be forwarded to the Hon.Sec. ASAP & certainly no later than the September meeting.  Also Officers' Reports need to be with me by the September committee meeting in order that they may be published before the AGM.

It was noted, with some regret, at the last meeting that several of this years committee members will not be standing again next year and thus the posts will need filling .... any takers??

Finally I'd like to point out that there are articles not included in this ish that perhaps should have been, but due to time restrictions I'm unable to publish them as yet. Those of you who wrote stuff and can't see it here, fear not, its probably in the next one.

Well that's quite enough waffle from me for now, save to say that I plan to have the next issue out in a shorter space of time than this one.  Indeed its being prepared as you read this.

Cheers all ......... Jingles.


 

Austria - Dachstein '93

From the Log of Vince Simmonds.

19.8.93

A night of sorting kit and loading the van.  An early start tomorrow so a quiet night in the Hunters - at closing time we decided to go home.

20.8.93

4.15 am and on the road. A steady enough journey to Harwich in a slightly over laden van.  McDonalds big breakfast is definitely not to be recommended.  Arriving at the ferry port and discovering that you have your wife's passport comes as a bit of a shock - so the only thing to do is go for it anyway.  A very smooth crossing, only problem is - beer is 2 for the price of 1, result - 6 hour pissup!!. ... An eventful night-time drive through Germany.

21.8.93

Luckily we were waved through the Austrian border and by 9.00 am we had arrived in Halstett.  We had some breakfast in the town before heading up to the Seilbahn hut and contacting Rich Blake at the Weisberghaus. We were asked to get some supplies for Wolfgang & Elfi so we had to get ourselves a crate of Steigl.

The afternoon was spent basking in the sun by the side of a mountain pool - good beer cooler until the crate tipped over and all the bottles sunk.  Diving in ice cold water to get a beer soon sobers you up; for a while anyway.  The evening was spent at the Halstett Somerfest doing our bit for British diplomacy ... & failing miserably!!

22.8.93

Picture a sunny Sunday in Salzburg with a stonking headache, trying to find the airport when the only phrase book is on its way up to the Weisberghaus.  Sticking your arms out and making noises like an aeroplane gets some odd looks and people run away from you.  However, after finally getting to the Flughafen, VS met PNI, AB, FM bang on time.

A long slog up the mountain in the afternoon sun wasn't fancied so we caught the Oberbraun cable car and had a much easier stroll to the Weisberghaus. 

MK arrived late because he had been to Strasbourg instead of Salzburg.

23.8.93

After two glorious days the weather has turned shit.  A late start, it was 4.00pm before VS. RB, BL & Josef (Austrian caver) arrived at G7 (LUMPENHOHLE).  RB & VS entered the cave with 200m of 10mm rope in a very large Daleswear anti-caving bag & various ladders & bits of kit in an equally large bag.  We rigged some short pitches and beat our bags through; such gems as "101 Damnations" & ''The Exhaler".  We rigged a traverse around to the head of the big pitch, threw down a rock and decided we'd had enough and started to make our way out.  We met BL & Josef at the 10m pitch and while they started out we stopped for a smoke. It was then we realised it must be raining as we heard the sound of running water all around us.

8.00pm on the surface the rain had stopped and a steady jaunt back to the Weisberghaus in growing darkness.  The Steigl certainly went down well.

24.8.93

The weather forecast was not good so we went walking.  A search was made for the entrance to B1 before VS, RB, BL, IJS & AS went up to the Simonyhohle, the others carried on searching.  A Do-Diddley day just drinking in bars.

25.8.93

It was still raining so we eventually managed to talk ourselves out of caving.  IJS & MK had a look at G6-3, small pitches and cave blocked by an ice column.  The rest of us spent the day in the Weisberghaus playing pigs but mostly drinking, it was after all VS's birthday.  Elfi cooked a superb birthday supper. Schnapps, Steigl, Cider & Champagne do not mix well & everyone was wrecked.

26.8.93

Oh my head!!!   We've cracked back to the bar.

Boxhead ... "Is this the British Dachstein sleeping expedition?"

"Those chosen (by themselves) to snore for England!"

Going for G7 tomorrow.

27.8.93

An early start and we're off.  Snablet, AB & MK camped near the caves last night and we then all made our ways to whichever mission we'd decided on.  At G5 (EISTURNERHOHLE) we got some water supplies. RB, VS & VL headed off for G7.

AB & MK had started to rig the big pitch last night so RB went ahead to finish rigging and push on to the bottom.  VS & BL started the survey.  First drop was 46m followed by 38m then 21 m then 9m onto a very loose ramp, rocks went rattling down.  A 13m drop and a very wet survey station to a traverse.  RB was on his way back and reported that the pitch ended in a choke. (30m drop onto a large ledge and a 70m pitch.)  A steady ascent was made and an easy pace back to the Weisberghaus.

Snablet and Co. had better luck in G5, its still going.  PNI & IJS might have found another site close to the camp.

28.8.93

It's raining again and it's been raining all night.  MK has had enough .... he's left!

Spent the day in the Weisberghaus sorting survey data and drinking.

29.8.93

Great!!  It's stopped raining ... and started snowing instead .... it's freezing!!    We decided to go for it anyway, so we all slid and slipped our way across the mountain. Snablet and RB went for G5 even though the snow was beginning to thaw.  VS, AB, IJS & BL went to G7 to finish surveying & de-rig the cave.

Got to the 10m pitch only to discover that no one had any tabs, or as Boxhead called them.  ''The Elixir of Life."

VS arrived at the ledge below the 38m drop to meet IJS who said AB was returning.  As AB came up with a bundle of rope VS enquired as to the whereabouts of the other 200m rope.  "What 200m rope??" came the reply.  AB wasn't happy as he re-rigged to retrieve it.

A battle then ensued to get all the kit back to the surface.

Thankfully the others had kept the bar open in the Weisberghaus as it was now 11.00pm.

Snablet and RB had quickly left G5 as it was too wet.

30.8.93

Spent the morning kit sorting.  Snablet and RB have gone back to G5.  IJS & PNI are exploring a snow plug near the camp.

VS & AB went to G7 to bring back all the kit from the entrance.  Snablet & RB pushed another 5 pitches in G5 and it's still going.

31.8.93

The weather has changed again .... we now have a blizzard!!  Major fester day ... back to the bar.

1.9.93

We have to go for it today .. .VS drew the short straw.

VS & BL went into G5 to de-rig as much as possible.  Once underground the hangover soon wore off.  The thawing snow meant the cave was getting wetter and a certain amount of gear had to be left behind until next year.

A very drunken night in the Weisberghaus (for a change).

2.9.93

Everyone looks & feels rough.  Kit slowly gets sorted and packed and carried over to the Seilbahn.  More Steigl, Schnapps, good-byes & more Schnapps and then off.

The van was loaded and we were on our way.  We had a stop in Bad Goisen to see Robert (ex Weisberghaus) where we had to have a large meal.  We dropped BL at Salzburg railway station and VS, IJS, Snablet were the heading for the Hook of Holland ferry port.

3.9.93

Arrived at the ferry port with little time to spare and hassle because VS didn't have a passport. We did manage to make the Hunter's Lodge before closing time and Snablet managed to sleep all the way after shouting ''Your mission, if you wish to accept it, is to make the Hunter's"

(Tune Ode to Vince on his Geburstang (PNI et al) My Way)

And now the end is near
And so I face the final Steigl
My friends I'll say it clear
I state my case, which I know is feeble
I've had a right skinful
I've sampled each and every Goldbrau
And so because of this
I'm very pissed now

Schnapps!  I've had a few
But then again too few to mention
And then I tried a brew
A strange colloquial invention
It seemed to dull my brain
But thankfully it has all gone now
And so because of this
I'm very pissed now.

For what is a man
What has he got
If not a beer
Then he has not.. ........ etc ...


 

Water Sampling in St. Cuthbert’s Swallet

On Sunday 29th May, Jingles collected a set of water samples from the cave and Frankie and I startled a couple of adders while crashing around in the marshy ground in the valley, taking water samples and (if everything went as planned) measuring stream sizes.  Two Belfryites had membership numbers low enough to remember when I last used to do this kind of thing (more than 20 years ago), and several people asked what was going on.  It's all very logical, really.

Stream studies in the cave started in the earliest days of the exploration of the cave. An account of the early work has been written up; there may even be a copy in the library (C.R.G. Trans., Vol 10 No 2, p.49­60, May 1968).  Although I did some Pyranine traces, I was especially interested in measuring the characteristics of various inlet streams, and surface streams feeding the inlets.

In 1972 I wrote up my findings, embedding them in a draft account of scientific work carried out in the cave.  The text was intended to be the basis for the projected Report No. 13, Part 0 (the St Cuthbert's Report then being written and published part by part).  At that time I was unaware that I was being progressively disabled, and by the time the draft was retuned to me, I was incapable of doing anything with it.  In 1991, while recovering after the miracles of micro-surgery, I looked at the draft again, having been pressed to tidy it up for publication.

I had studied the Plantation Stream from its source (the Mineries Pool outlet), via Plantation Swallet to Plantation Junction.  There were some very unusual features.  The Total Hardness of the stream at Plantation Swallet and at Plantation Junction were both very precisely related to the stream size.  The correlation coefficients (the way of expressing how close the agreements are) were unusually high.  The situation contrasted very sharply with the G.B. stream, which I had studied in 1968, and where such correlations were absent.  However, my results were very dated, and I needed to know if they were still relevant.  Still rather shaky on my legs, I took a walk, helped by Frankie, around streams feeding the cave on a crisp winter afternoon, when all the vegetation had died back.

As soon as we got to the entrance I could see there had been a major change.  In the '60s and early '70s the stream had only ever been that size in high flood conditions.  Was the Plantation Stream breached at the "Maypole Overflow" comer?  We came back out of the depression, and along the track towards the Mineries Pool.  At Plantation Swallet, I was not surprised to see that the water no longer reached the actual swallet.  Ever since Tim Atkinson's trouble with "vandals" while he was monitoring the streams in 1971, the stream went underground half way between the swallet and the nearby "Maypole Overflow" comer.  The "vandals" had breached the clay lining of the stream, and I remember how surprised I had been that the new route had acted simply as a short cut into the cave, without causing any measurable changes in the stream.  I walked towards the "Maypole Overflow" comer, expecting to find the stream there, cascading down into the valley.  But at the comer, the stream bed was empty.  Just a bit soggy.  We traced the empty stream towards the pool. In the middle of the marsh near the pool, we found the breach, where the entire stream from the Mineries Pool outlet went into the depression, and on towards the cave.

The old Plantation Stream bed was very soggy, still draining a sizeable area of marshy ground, but the quantity of water would be only a small fraction of its former size.  We went back to the entrance.  At the old top dam the huge stream was back-flowing strongly into the Maypole Sink.

The Maypole Series would be spectacularly wet, and the Drinking Fountain would be going well. Looking back to the lid of the cave, I didn't have to use much imagination to remember what a roar there would be going over Pulpit Pitch.  But what about Plantation Junction?  Surely somebody would have noticed that Plantation Stream was only a shadow of its former self!  I was shaken when Zot told me that he had noticed no change whatever at Plantation Junction.  What on earth was happening there?

Here was the conundrum. If Zot was right, there would have to be a completely unexpected route from the depression to Plantation Junction. Because of the link between Maypole, Plantation and the Drinking Fountain, this possibility could not be ruled out altogether. For about two years I spoke to various Cuthbert's leaders, trying to get water samples to tackle this problem. There was no possibility that I could get well enough to go down and collect them myself, unfortunately. Perhaps I talked to the wrong people. Perhaps I didn't explain myself very well.  Then, just a few weeks ago, I talked to Jingles, and within days I was making up standard solutions, cleaning glassware that had been gathering dust for 19 years, and testing an alterative to portable weirs for measuring streams sizes at the surface.

Between 1966 and 1968 I measured the ratio between the sizes of Plantation Stream and the Main Stream at Plantation Junction on 8 trips. The size of the Plantation Stream was measured at the surface with a temporary rectangular-notch weir.  Plantation Stream was always bigger than Main Stream, the ratio varying from 2.2:1 to nearly 50:1.  Here was the yardstick for comparison with new data.

On Sunday last, Jingles gave me the bag of water samples.  Because of exams at Bristol University, I haven't been able to do some crucial analyses yet.  Total Hardness and Alkaline Hardness titrations provided the first new results.  Main Stream was bigger than Plantation Stream, and there is no unexpected new cross-link.  The Total Hardness titrations gave a ratio of 1.97:1, the Alkaline Hardness titrations gave 2.00:1.  All right, there's a lot of luck in getting such close agreement, but it made me feel good!

Stream ratios at the other junctions (Maypole stream, Old Route stream, Drinking Fountain, Disappointment Pot) are less precise (the salt concentrations were too similar) and I'm waiting until I've had a session with the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer before I'll commit myself, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed about the samples we took for salt dilution measurements on the surface stream.

The first results also make it clear how much the concentrations of salts have changed at Plantation Junction.  Some changes were expected, others were not.  I have been delighted by the results so far.  It felt good to be doing some water chemistry again after such a long layoff.  I had quite forgotten how much I enjoy doing this work, and I hope that Jingles thinks the results are worth the effort he made to collect the samples.  I am so very grateful to him for joining me in this project.

We are hoping to repeat the exercise in high, moderate and low-water conditions, and we will then be in a position to bring out an updated account of the hydrology of the cave.  I would like to share the pleasure I get in doing this work by bringing some of my gear up to the Belfry next time.  If you want to see how it's done, please come along, and see the results there and then, "straight off the burette".

Roger Stenner


 

Badalona B15 to B1

This is the trip that gave the BEC "A" team such an epic in 1991 that none of them would write anything about it.  Since I had managed to sneak in a year before it was decided after a longish lunchtime pub session that I should write at least something about it all.

After the grim battles of the Sima GESM the idea of sliding down ropes and walking out through a large river cave appealed to the Keith Sanderson caving holiday regulars.  A quick scan of " Great Caves of the World" showed that at that time, (1989), the deepest pull-through trip in the world was, so to speak, almost on our doorstep. Badalona B15 to B1 looked a doddle if you closed your eyes to the 116m pitch closely followed by a 54m pitch - oh and the Inferno a 30m low airspace swim which frequently sumps.  Not to mention the Belgian-type squeeze in the entrance series.  It was as good as in the bag.

Late July 1990 was fixed as a definite date.  Of the core team members there were Keith Sanderson (WCC), Mark Madden (WCC), JJ Bevan (NCC) and myself plus Kev Clarke (WCC) and Dinny Davies (ULSA).  Jake was going to come and help uphold the BEC honour but had to drop out.

The top entrance, (B15), is situated in the Ordesa National Park in the Central Pyrenees on the Southern slopes of the mountains surrounding Monte Perdido. Even if you have to use caving as an excuse it is a wonderful area to visit.  High snow-dusted peaks lead down to alpine meadows seething with butterflies and eventually end in a series of deep gorges all of which have been bolted for sporting canyonning.  In the main "collector" gorge can be found a number of resurgences, one of which, B1 or the Font da Escuain is the bottom entrance for the through trip.

The all-day drive down through France was epic with temperatures on the auto route reaching 44 deg C, (111 deg F), and international warfare breaking out between the aggressive invaders, (Germans), and the natives over bottles of mineral water at the service stations.  When we finally arrived at the pre-arranged campsite in the town of Ainsa we were too knackered to do more than have a few beers and some food and then slope off into the undergrowth with our bivi-bags.  The rock concert going on in town only disturbed our sleep patterns for about the first four seconds.

Over breakfast next morning we discovered that we were not the only team who had permission to do the cave - there was a small tented village at one end of the site full of Belgian cavers all intent on the same trip.  Subsequent international discussions revealed that we did not actually have official permission.  They did. Their permit from the Spanish authorities was marginally more impressive than the Magna Carta whereas as our scruffy letter from the local caving club turned out to be the equivalent of having written to the Severn Valley for permission to go down Lost Johns.  As with the BEC/NCC the following year we did not let that stop us.

Day 1 was devoted to finding the bottom entrance and checking out the paths.  Traditionally the way back from the bottom entrance, (which is in the true left hand side of the gorge), had been to drive to the village of Escuain at the top of the opposite side and leave a car there for the returning party.  However there were several drawbacks to this.  First - the drive there was a real car wrecker, second - the path to the bottom entrance was an almost sheer descent of about 1000m and hence for a knackered party of cavers would be an almost sheer ascent for about 1000m and third - there was no simple way from Escuain to the top entrance which meant complicated logistics to do with cars and car keys.  As everyone who goes there quickly realises the more logical approach is to follow the track up the left hand side of the gorge to a small parking slot just below the abandoned village of Revilla from here a well worn path leads down to the floor of the gorge at a reasonable angle and 40 minutes walking past idyllic blue green pools and tempting cascades leads to the B1 entrance.  This is an easier track both for people and vehicles and has the added advantage of being the logical starting place for the walk to the upper B15 entrance.

With the temperatures still soaring to well over 35 deg C, (95 deg F), we stopped off at several pools on the way down to cool off.  The nearest large pool to the track was also being used by several French and German canyonners and walkers whose lean bronzed Adonis-like physiques contrasted strongly with our large flabby white beer bellies.   We consoled ourselves with the thought that this was incontrovertible proof that English beer is the best in Europe.

Back in camp tactics were discussed.  Before leaving England we had decided to cave as two separate teams each carrying two 60m ropes. As there was a 116m pitch on the trip this smacked to me of poor planning but I was assured by all the experts who had never been down the cave that we could use the re-belay bolts for intermediate pull­through stations.  Since I could not work out why this would not stand a good chance of leaving at least three people hanging on one bolt half-way down a 100m+ pitch I was mightily relieved to hear that the Belgians had re-rigged both it and the 54m pitch directly below with a new rope.  New bolts would have been nice as well since those in there were a tad dodgy, (for further information on this ask Bob or Dany about their experiences in 1991 - I believe that after appropriate trauma counselling they are now able talk about it).  Less comforting was the news that the Flems had been trapped by flooding at the notorious Inferno section of passage and considered it vital to install a food dump before anyone else from their party attempted the through trip.  In the light of this we slipped an extra Mars Bar into the tackle bag.

Incredibly for UK cavers we actually did have an early start next day and the first team of Keith, JJ and myself were on our way out of camp by 5:00am and dawn's early light found us walking up the hillside behind Revilla with loaded tacklesacks.  We were pictures of elegance in well ie, shorts and scabby t-shirts.  Above Revilla the path was an easy amble to a small refuge and from there a line of cairns erected by the Flems led to the entrance. Two hours walking maximum.

Keith and I kitted up in our wetsuits and harnesses while JJ elected for dry grots and oversuit.  Then JJ pointed out that while we had been changing his new watch, with a built-in altimeter, had indicated a change in altitude of 10m.  Since he had spent most of this time sitting on the same rock we discounted the obvious explanation and discussed the relative probabilities of either a sudden geological surge of the Pyrenees or a change in barometric pressure indicating in its turn an imminent change of weather. We settled for the change of weather option but was it going to get better or worse?  Wispy scraps of cloud had started to build up and there ensued a lengthy discussion in which Keith, (physicist), attempted to argue the case from first principles whilst JJ tried to remember what it had said in the booklet that came with the watch.  Eventually Occam's razor was brought into play with the time-honoured phrase of "Sod it.  We're here now and I'm not flogging all that way up this hill again."

The entrance pitch was about 45m and already rigged with a single rope and the entrance series which followed was narrow and snaggy although the Belgian-type squeeze presented no significant problems.  Half-an-hours caving and several pitches of up to 30m got us to aT-junction at about -240m where we picked up a small stream.  Here we turned left and followed the water down a much larger passage.  We had lost count of the pitches after a while which meant approaching each new pitch with a sense of trepidation as we knew that the big one (Pozo Grande) was our next significant obstacle and no one wanted to be the first to abseil 30m only to find another 86m of air below his bottom!  As it turned out we had no need to worry.  True to their word the Belgians had rigged it with brand new single rope and there were several re-belays en route.  We were glad to be using figure-of-eight descenders as the sheath of the rope had slid down and bunched up at the bottom of each section and it would have been a nightmare to do with a Petzl stop.  Apart from the problem with the rope sheath and some dodgy bolts the big pitch and the 54m one below it were relatively stress-free.

Below the big pitches there was a long stretch of big well decorated fossil passages all easy walking with only a few short pitches up to about 18m which led to the 28m pitch of Pozo Negro where the main river passage was met at a depth of about 925m.  Here JJ tantalised us with a sensuous goose pimpled striptease whilst perched on a spray lashed ledge as he sensuously slipped into a thin windsurfing wetsuit that he had been secretly carrying in the bottom of his tackle sack.

From the bottom of Pozo Negro the caving was sheer delightful fun.  We skipped down the passage leaping down small cascades into pools and abseiling the occasional short pitch for about two kilometres.  On the way there were two sumped sections which we bypassed.  The second of these was quite interesting as the fixed rope hanging out of the roof was quite heavily calcited.

In theory the next major obstacle was the Inferno a 30m low airspace swim.  However the actuality was a two foot airspace with a howling gale through it which was strong enough to set up waves on the water and a handline for the "swimmer" to use.  Despite the apparent lack of risk I took the precaution of unclipping my tacklesack security cord from my harness "just in case".

Immediately after the Inferno is the 21m Cascade Silvia which had been the main obstacle to upstream exploration of the B1 entrance.  This was a heavily stalled and stunningly wet pitch rigged dry by a traverse out to the side.  I clipped into the traverse rope and shrugged my sack off my shoulder only remembering that it was not clipped onto me when it was a rapidly diminishing yellow blob in the spray and gloom.  Once down at floor level we spent a while getting severely chilled and bruised under the thundering waterfall before giving it up for lost - only to find it floating down the passage ahead of us some minutes later.

Although the survey says that there is another cascade pitch before the entrance I have no memory of it. My next memory is of floundering around the lowish airspaces of the entrance lakes with a fast failing carbide light looking for the way out and crawling out into a stiflingly hot night. The trip from entrance to entrance had taken about 11 to 12 hours.

The walk out in the dark was entertaining mainly because we all just seemed to run out of energy as soon as we left the cave.  JJ set off first but stopped and then I fell over him fast asleep on the path.  I managed to get to the top first taking about an hour mainly because I knew that if I stopped I would never start again, Rip Van JJ was about half an hour later and then Keith was about three-quarters of an hour after him.

This trip is still the most "fun" caving trip that I have ever done.  Apart from possible bolt problems on the big pitch there is nothing particularly difficult, dangerous or arduous about it and having got the caving out of the way the rest of the holiday can be very pleasurably spent eating and drinking in the excellent local hostelries with the occasional canyonning trip to work up an appetite.

Rob Harper - 8/5/94.


 

The B.E.C. Go To Ireland.

At the beginning of April (some would say very appropriately) various members in separate parties descended on the Emerald Isle for some caving.  What follows are two accounts of the events that occurred.

From Estelle Sandford .....

After a lumpy Stranraer - Larne crossing (much agitated by the consumption of Murphy's) a drive through Belfast - past the police budgie cages - we arrived at Belcoo, found a pub, lots of Guinness & Pete Bolt.  We stayed at Corallee cottages which were a bit more upper class than the average caving hut.  J-Rat drove Pete out of their room with his farting and snoring on the first night!!

On Saturday we met up with Vince, Ivan, Roz, Davey & Steve, who were roughing it camping & we all went to Marble Arch show caves, where we also met Emma Porter.  We did Upper Cradle - big streamway & lots of boulders - then Lower Cradle through duck into Marble Arch show caves up into the extensions and out through show cave entrance.  (We were lucky to get through the duck, a party turned up later and found it flooded!!)  We moved on to Boho and did a pre-cocktails trip to Pollnagollum Coolarkin & big railway tunnel type cave with a waterfall at the entrance ending in a massive boulder choke.  Afternoon cocktails at Linnet and the Macguires in the South for the evening. Lots of other caving clubs about including Grampian, ULSA & Huddersfield Uni.

Sunday, split groups ... Vince et al digging Coolarkin.  J-Rat, myself & others looked at Leggacapple, a very wet dig site, & Gortalughany Pots on Swanlinbar border in Cuilcagh mountains - lots of wet entrances, then back to Boho to find the others.  Pete was whinging about being cold & wet so we dropped him off at a (closed) pub to sit in front of the fire.  After we'd been up to Coolarkin to see if the rest were there and found no van, we went back to pick up Pete who told us that the police had stopped and were looking for some cavers in a cave that sounded like Coolarkin, because of an accident.

It transpired that what had happened was that Steve (an asthmatic) had felt ill and wanted to go to Enniskillen hospital to get on a nebulizer for a few hours.  He had dropped the rest off at Coolarkin to dig and arranged to be back by 3.30 ish.  However the doctor at the hospital had decided that Steve was too ill to leave and despite him telling of cavers stranded without transport they still insisted that he could not leave.  When later a caver turned up, Steve explained details of the cave to him in order that he could meet them but at this point the RUC arrived saying that they were dealing with the situation.  They read Steve acts on terrorism and told him that if this was an ambush that he would be liable!!!  He had to sign forms and was left under police guard while 6 RUC officers went over to Belmore forest...5 hid in the bushes and a female officer, armed with a gun and in a flak jacket went down to the cave entrance only to meet Davey Lennard coming out.  (If his grots weren't brown beforehand they were now!!!)  They gave Davey a lift and picked up Martin Grass (rightly so .... ed) as Davey didn't know the way & drove them to Enniskillen to pick up the van. Finally we made it to Bush Bar in the south for Guinness and a lousy rock band.

Monday ... I went with Roz, Ivan, Vince & Davey to Shannon cave (Steve was still in hospital).  An interesting cave.  According to the out of date guide book it wasn't really much but a survey sheet we had gave more info ... the entrance being an Eastwater type boulder ruckle only tighter in places, also very loose, opened into slightly bigger passage with good formations and finally into a Welsh type big wide streamway with lots of high level bypasses - thank God as we needed them on the way out!!  We finally got to a shored up bit which Vince & Roz managed to get past into big passage but the rest of us had fun getting out when it started to collapse on us and trying to keep it stable for Vince & Roz to get out!!  (Apparently this bit regularly collapses and has to be dug out - Gaby Burns surveyed it and said he's never going back there again!!)  We went back via some pretty oxbows as the stream had sumped a lot of the lower passages (thank God for those high level bypasses) the water had risen by about a foot while we were down and the entrance was now interestingly wet!!

Martin, Mac and J-Rat went to Whitefeathers cave nearby and afterwards went for a sit down meal with some Irish birds they had pulled, taking Tony along as gooseberry, leaving me stranded in Belcoo.  Fortunately some ULSA lads were staying in the cottage opposite us so I had to go back with them via a party ... what a shame.!!

Tuesday ... All went to county Sligo Martin & Mac told us there were dry caves so most of us only took dry kit. .. went and found roughly where Secarrow caves were and parked up the Mercedes van.  We strolled up the driveway to ask the farmer ... no reply so we looked around in adjacent woodland and along the road, then Martin, Mac Tony & Steve went to knock on the door again.  The rest of us were just off the road nearby when we heard a screech of tyres, a hand break turn & saw a Garda car haring up the drive.  The sight that followed was highly amusing .... Tony, Martin, Mac & Steve being herded down the driveway by aforementioned Garda car. It turned out that we were in a community watch area and that someone had informed the Garda of potential terrorist movements.  They had thought that we were either exchanging arms or breaking in.  They had even sent a special branch man armed with a flat cap!!  The Southern Garda are much more relaxed.

After this we managed some caving with Davey & Vince going up stream from a very wet resurgence into reasonable cave system.  We then went over to Keshcoran caves, 17 entrances in all. Vince & Roz tried digging one and made about one foot progress.  Between us we looked at all of them.  Then back to Belcoo where Martin, Mac & Tony went to an Egon Ronay restaurant while the rest of us roughed it on chips and went to the Linnet bar till late. The Landlords son trying to teach us Irish folk dancing and Davey trying to teach Morris dancing at 2.00am was quite interesting.  Poor Steve was not allowed to drink due to medication.

Wednesday ..... Me, Mac, Martin & Tony did the boat trip part of Marble Arch then with Steve went from Noons hole to Linnet bar on a long walk across Belmore Mountains to find digs ... Lots of potential.  The rest went to Boho caves, and met in Linnet for afternoon cocktails.  We the went to Mr Johnson’s to look at his etchings, on the underside of his staircase dating back to the 1930s Yorkshire ramblers, also a 1959 BEC, WSG, BPC trip ... names engraved included T. Marston, F. Darbon, D. Terry, C. Smith, D. Hoskins, T. Nash & I. Dear.  It must have been a caving hut in those days as it had dates of first descents also.

Tonight the oldies (Martin, Mac & Tony) were too tired so just stayed in & went to bed early whilst the rest of us went to the Linnet, one more time.  Its amazing the body's capacity to drink a gallon plus of proper Irish Guinness and get up the next morning and go caving with no undue effects.

Thursday ... Maurice, who owns Corallee Cottages, came caving with us down Pollaraftara ... entrance rift and crawl to main streamway, mud climb ... really slimey through muddy series and on to some pretty gour pools then into canals.  Tony produced a pink blow up pig, blew it up, and knowing that Vince & Co were just in front of us so we'd meet them on the way back, took the pig along the canals and met Vince.  Tony left it at the sump for someone else's amusement & we came out. Met Martin & Mac who had had light failure & so stayed back ... we all went out.

Final nights cocktails in the Linnet, left very late.

Friday Going home ... unfortunately both parties went via Giants Causeway on the way back !!!!!!


 

Another version of the events perpetrated by the BEC comes from the log of Vince Simmonds (Who has been rather prolific with articles this issue .... thanks Vince ..... Ed)

Northern Ireland - Co Fermanagh Easter '94.

Vince Simmonds, Dave Lennard, Ivan Sandford, Roz Bateman, Steve Grey.

31.3.94

After a couple of beers and something to eat in the Hunters, we were on the road by 8.30pm.  The motorway traffic was heavier than expected. We had a scenic tour of the Peak National Park to pick up Steve - pity it was too dark to see anything.!!

1.4.94

We arrived at Lame by 11.30 am and a steady drive saw us arriving at Belcoo at 2.30pm.  We soon located Steve’s mates from Huddersfield, got his caving kit, had a brew & ready to go caving.  A bit of navigational misunderstanding & we finally located the caves.

White Feathers Caves ... (St Augustines Caves.)

Cave 1 A rock bridge upstream which no-one visited.

Cave 2 Another rock bridge 50m long with a good sized stream RB & VS explored this one.

Cave 3 An impressive entrance arch with several openings to the surface.  A good size stream passage meanders gently past some decent formations until it gets deeper and faster, then swimming leads to the bottom entrance. It was so much fun we did it again!! Players were RB, VS, DL & SG (Ivan gave it a miss) also several of the Huddersfield group.  After searching for the others and a very mellow night at the Linnet.. ... Boho.

2.4.94

It snowed a lot last night & there's a puddle in the tent coz Ivan left the door open, it also snowed in his sleeping bag.  Guinness doesn't give you a hangover!!  Drove into Enniskillen after breakfast to buy some maps, an unnecessary journey coz we later found we could have bought them at Marble Arch Cave.  The Marble Arch system was the scene for today's activities.  Taking part were .. .VS, RB, IS, DL, Emma, J-Rat, Mac, Estelle, Pete Bolt & Martin Grass.  Steves not feeling too good.

Upper Cradle Hole .... A gentle stroll upstream in a sizeable passage to a sump.  Downstream didn't go far & ended in a small lake. About 20mins caving.

Lower Cradle Hole .... Another stroll through large stream passage until reaching deep water & a swim; through a duck into a small water filled chamber with a lot of people bobbing about.  Another swim & duck into the showcave.  Quite a novelty going through the showcave in kit.  Before long a climb over a barrier, more swimming, a choke & then more walking in stream passage.  We did find some rather nice mud to wallow in.  Walked around for a bit coz Emma said we had missed something but we couldn't find it so we headed out.  We were going to swim out of the tourist boat trip but as the water level had risen by 12" we decided to give it a miss.  When later seeing the water coming out it was probably a wise move.

Coolarkin Cave .... Located in Belmore Forest near Boho.

Almost a shorts & t-shirt cave if it wasn't so cold.  A large stream passage with banks either side to walk on, ending in a monster choke described as " slur on Irish caving!"

Adjourned to the Linnet for cocktails.

3.4.94

Weather was shit so we decided to go digging the choke in Coolarkin cave.

RB, DL, VS & IS went digging, Steve was feeling much worse so he decided to go to Enniskillen to get nebulized!!  (He's athsmatic.)

VS had a tentative look into the boulder choke but could find no obvious route & it was decided to dig where the stream was sinking.  A lot of time was spent diverting the stream down one hole or another. VS managed to make some progress into the choke but the area was extremely unstable.  RB went down where the stream previously sank but again digging would be long term.  DL & IS spent all their time dam building & stream diverting.  We all had a poke at a hole halfway along the main passage, but it quickly closed down.  RB took some compass bearings so we could check the surface layout.  The frustrating thing was that water could be heard flowing beyond the choke.  After 3.5 hrs digging we decided to check the surface out.

On exiting the cave DL & VS were greeted by 2 RUC officers and as we entered the wood 4 more with rifles ... a little disconcerting!!!

We were questioned as to how many people were here & if we were meant to be meeting someone.  It was eventually explained to us that Steve had been detained in Enniskillen hospital with some pneumonia like virus & that one of us was to go with them to collect the van.  So DL got to ride in an armour plated Sierra!!

It turned out that Steve had to sign anti terrorist papers & an armed guard was left at the hospital in case we had set them up for an ambush.

While waiting for DL to return VS, RB & IS went in search of the shakehole responsible for the choke, we soon located it but there were no prospects for digging here either.

4.4.94 Shannon Cave ... Nr Skeagh ( Cuilgagh Mountain)

This was one of two caves recommended to us as being ok during wet conditions.  Just as well coz its been snowing again & the ground was already saturated. RB, DL, VS, IS & Estelle set off to locate the entrance & as normal spent some time in the wrong place before deciding to drive 2 miles up a forest track, moving fallen trees on the way.  We then had the problem of turning the van round without getting it stuck in a bog.

A damp descent through boulders getting damper the further we went, eventually leading out into more sizeable passage.  Dropping down through several levels there are some nicely shaped meandering passages before finally dropping into the main passage.  This was up to 50' high & meandering.  A good brisk walk with some boulder hopping and some squeezes. The passage then closes down to a very unstable choked area which RB & VS negotiated past some dodgy looking shoring.  We then followed some large stream passage to a huge chamber, probably 100' high, before rejoining the others.  On the way back we missed a crawl through boulders and found ourselves following the aptly named mistake passage.

We had a few fits & start route finding on the way out, partly due to rapidly rising water levels & damp squeezes on the way in were now very wet.  One place that had been a duck with 6" of airspace was now under water.  Luckily there was a route over the top.  We got back to the surface into a blizzard after 4 hrs of thoroughly enjoyable caving. We then drove to Enniskillen to collect Steve, who we met at a police road block after he had talked a nurse into giving him a lift back to our campsite.

Some food in Enniskillen and a steady session in the pub.

5.4.94

All of us drove to Co Sligo for the day & just for a change the sun was shining.  Our lesson for today was not to jump out of cars & vans & go running about in a community alert area as the screech of Garda patrol cars soon tells you its not the done thing.  It was soon sorted out, though it was amusing to see Martin, Mac & J-Rat being shepherded down a farm track by a patrol car!!!

Lecarrow Cave Nr Ballinafad (Lough Arrow)

2 entrances Sink & Resurgence, unfortunately a through trip was not possible.  DL, VS & J-Rat (pants t-shirt & boiler suit) entered the resurgence & followed some very pleasant stream passage with lovely formations.  About 200m of stooping passage with some wet thrutches closing down at a choke & sump. At the sink we were joined by Martin & we followed a gently meandering stream passage up to 15' high & 4' wide once again with some superb formations.  The passage eventually ended at another sump.

Caves of Keash ....

17 or so entrances high up on a cliff & very visible from the road.  Most of the caves were not long & were occupied by Brock! Steve said he pushed one for 600'. (What a Badger???? ... Ed)  RB & VS spent some time trying to dig a hole through into a chamber but lacked tools & time.  There were several joints running parallel to the cliff & joining several entrances.

6.4.94

After drinking in the Linnet until 2.45am & not getting to bed until 5.30am, enthusiasm for caving was waning fast!!!. .. Still no hangover.

After dropping the others at the impressive Noone Hole for walking DL, RB, IS & VS decided to have a look at Boho caves.

Cave 1 ... After locating the various entrances, sink & resurgence, we decided on the through, to wash out the cobwebs.  Went u/s in decent cave passage, very cherty, & joint controlled.  Turned around & went d/s this time exploring various side passages, some dry & grovelly with a few formations.

Cave 2 ... RB & VS had a look at another resurgence.  A very narrow cherty rift with a lot of water, closing down after 40'. Very slimy.

Cave 3 ... ( Ravine Caves.)

A high, open joint with daylight showing. A climb up leads to a chamber with moonmilk.  A small hole leads to another chamber with several joint passages leading off, also decorated & all dry.

Cave 4 ... ( Ravine Caves.)

Another resurgence with a fine waterfall a little way in.  Followed the stream passage for about 30m to a sump.  Several side passages were followed but could not regain access to the stream.  The downstream caves were all located in an old quarry that had been allowed to re-naturalize & with a 30' waterfall was a very peasant place.

7.4.94 Pollaraftar

Everyone apart from Ivan & we were joined by Marius Lennard from Corallee.

A Sunny day at last if a little breezy.  A very pleasant walk over Knockmore about 20 mins to the entrance.  A climb through boulders into a clean washed rift led to a chamber where the 2nd entrance ladder pitch entered.  A walk down a small streamway led to a bit of thrutching along a high level sump bypass.  Then followed a walk through sizeable passage with a good deal of breakdown before coming into larger stream passage.  A muddy climb with a dubious bit of string led to a short muddy section before better passage with formations.  A long chamber with goured floor was followed before a climb up to boulders led to an exposed climb down the other side.  The passage then led to some canals, a good deal of swimming & some fine formations the passage finally ending in a large choke & sump.  On the return trip we were met by an inflatable pink pig closely followed by J-Rat.

8.4.94

After dropping RB in Strabane DL, VS, IS & SG made their way to Co Antrim to visit the Giants Causeway - a very impressive sight.  A landslide meant we could not follow the cliff path as far as we wished.  We then dropped in to Ballinatoy Harbour where we had a look at some small sea caves before making our way via the coastal road to Lame.

Snippets .

On the way to the Linnet one night Steve pulled in to let a car pass, when it didn't he opened the window to wave it on only to find himself looking down a rifle barrel, another RUC officer checking us out.

Specky to Estelle in the pub ...

"If you didn't swear every other word, you wouldn't spend all night talking."


 

An Arresting Experience In Myanmar.

Helen Harper

I am writing to set the record straight.  Rob, my husband, has fabricated a tale claiming that I was responsible for our arrest and detention by the army in Myanmar ( Burma) earlier this year.  It wasn't me who led us into trouble and what follows is my side of the story.  Many of you will know about an incident after Batspiss' engagement party involving half the Wiltshire constabulary in 1986 and another in Matienzo in 1990 when even his best buddy disowned him.  Since then I have been very reluctant to let him go abroad without me being there to keep an eye on him.  Shame I can hear you cry but is a man who's only line of defence is "But I've only been arrested twice since we got married" really safe let loose on his own?  He needs a grown up, to look after him, i.e. me since Blitz cannot be trusted!  On this occasion however both of us ended up in trouble.

I won't bore you with stories of being a member of an 8 person caving team to Meghalaya, where we surveyed and mapped 14kms of new cave passage or the visit to some small caves in Orissa and Andra Pradesh made by Rob and I.  That can be left to the real cavers.

I shall start with our arrival in Myanmar.  Having obtained our 2 week visas in London, well in advance, we extended our trip to South and East Asia by flying to Yangon ( Rangoon) from Calcutta via Bangkok.  Once in Myanmar we set of on the tourist trail 'up country'.  Myanmar has a regime similar to China, there are open areas where tourists can visit, grey areas where tourists are not supposed to go but are usually tolerated and closed areas which are strictly. 'No Go'.  This is because the Hill Tribes are fighting a guerrilla war with the socialist military government, funded by growing poppies for opium production. Consequently the government do not want tourists wandering around in these areas.  Whether this is for the protection of the tourist or to prevent them seeing what the government army is up to in these areas I do not know.

For the first part of our journey we travelled from Yangon to Thazi by train then by bus, (a Toyota pickup with about 30 people inside, on the roof and hanging off the outside), to Kalaw in the Southern Shan States which was an hill station in the days of the British occupation.

Here Rob realised we were only about 70kms north of an area for which he had references from some Aussie cavers.  Fired by tales of rivers disappearing into limestone ridges and entrances that could be seen from the shuttle flight to Yangon, he tried to find out if we could reach the town nearest to this area, Pinlaung, by public transport or Jeep hire.  The manager of the hotel at which we were staying informed us that it was not an area we could enter without asking permission from the Township branch of S.L.O.R.C.  (very 007) the State Law and Order Restoration Council and the local Police. Another local then advised us not to bother to ask because we would not be granted permission anyway.  Having had this set back Rob said 'F**k it lets go' but I wimped out and refused much to his disgust.  We then travelled on to Inle Lake and spent 2 days being ordinary tourists again. By this time I could see that if we didn't try to get to this potential caving area Rob would go it alone.  In fact he suggested that I tag along with some other travellers and meet up with him again later in Yangon.  I was then more concerned about him getting into trouble on his own and possibly disappearing without trace, so AGAINST MY BETTER JUDGEMENT I agreed to accompany him to Pinlaung.  We tried again to hire transport via a Burmese Mr Fixit but he refused to have anything to do with our escapade.

We decided to go it alone by public transport and caught another bus back to Aungban from where it is possible to travel north to the famous Pindaya caves.  This confused all the locals because they were convinced we should be going north to see caves not south.  At Aungban the next bus driver wouldn't have anything to do with us and directed us to the train station.  Here the Postmaster took us under his wing directed us to a stall for refreshment and explained that the train standing in the station would go to Pinlaung but didn't depart until 3.00pm, this was at 11.00am.  The station building was new but not completed, such is Burmese hospitality a room was opened especially for us to rest and wait, accompanied by a large pile of avocado pears a local cash crop.  Rob bought the tickets unhindered and we were directed onto the train by the Postmaster.  Then started an epic third world train journey, when it took 7 hours to travel 70kms.  Rob struck up a conversation with a man called Mr Black who spoke quite good English and owned a teashop in Pinlaung.  He and his mates left the train at the township.  As it slowed down people, goods and luggage piled out of the windows.  At the station proper about 3kms down the track we alighted.  It was about 10.30pm and dark.  We were told we could not sleep there and had to walk back into town. We set off down the road and after about 1.5kms a pickup truck passed us and a voice called "Mr Rob, Mr Rob, very sorry, this is my friend from army intelligence"

I was amazed how calm I felt at that moment.  We independently expected to be taken off for interrogation and torture.  After climbing into the pickup we were driven into the neighbouring army camp.  Every one kept assuring us that we had nothing to worry about.  Much to our surprise we were not dragged out to have electrodes clipped to sensitive parts of our bodies but taken to the town guest house.  The old man who ran it was woken up to let us and our escorts in.  Soon more members of army intelligence arrived and demanded to know what we were doing there.  Our passports and visas were scrutinised and Rob produced the photocopied references he had for the disappearing rivers.  The army people claimed to have no knowledge of any caves or rivers going underground.   However the old man knew something and even though he was talking Burmese he was obviously pointing in the correct general direction and telling them all about it. We were told off for not going through the official tourist authority M.T.T. (Myanmar Travels and Tours) and that it was not a "secure" area. However they said that they would enquire if we could stay and explore but that we must not do anything until permission was granted.  We slept soundly that night and awoke to find one of our guardians outside our door the next morning.  Had he been there all night?

After primitive ablutions around the back of the guest house we walked up to Mr Black’s Teashop where we had been invited for breakfast.  Our escort came too.  Then we had a tour around town.  A Buddhist festival was in progress so we watched the elephant dance.  Not a real elephant but a pantomime elephant like a pantomime horse danced by teams of two men who needed regular replacements.  At 9.00am another intelligence officer arrived and after a hurried conversation with our original escort we were informed that it was not a secure area, it was not possible for us to visit, we must return to the guest house immediately and go back to Aungban as soon as possible. With that we were marched back to the guest house and made to stay in our room.  Rob was even followed to the toilet in a shed on the land behind the guest house.  We tried to leave by bus or train but were told this was not possible so we hired the pickup in which we had first been detained, at our own expense, to take us back to Kalaw.  Our army intelligence escort travelled with us and made sure we checked in and paid for our room at the hotel before he left.

We were treated with great courtesy throughout the whole incident by every one we met.  The Burmese are the friendliest most helpful people we have encountered so far in our travels.  Rob is now trying to obtain permission through official tourist and government channels to return and prospect for caves.

So far Rob has only been arrested three times during our married life.  Admittedly I was detained with him on this last occasion but I was NOT responsible for our predicament, I was led astray!


 

Spike's Bit...

Most of what I would have gossiped about has been published elsewhere in this rag, but there are one or two bits juicy enough to mention .......

Like when some of the members went up to Yorkshire to visit John & Sue Riley at The Old Hill Inn and got pissed up .... just for a change you understand.

Apparently one night there was this bloke handcuffed to the cartwheel in the bar!

Enter one B.E.C. member of the female persuasion (Who in the interests of decency and potential blackmail threats, will remain nameless .... won't you Babs .. !!)

She enquired of the manacled one as to what was going on ..... he replied that it was his stag night. "Well they're not doing much to you are they?" she said and promptly disappeared.  Moments later as if by magic she had returned armed with razor blades, foam and a wicked grin.  At this point the victim probably started feeling a little nervous.  To cut a long story short (& Curly) she debagged him and removed his short & curlies replacing them with a blue condom and a BEC sticker.  I wouldn't fancy his chances explaining that one to his bride to be!!

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Dateline 23/7/94. Venue Priddy Village Hall.

The occasion this night was the celebration of the union of Andy Cave & Angie Garwood .... now Mr & Mrs Cave ..... to whom the author of this piece offers his congrats (As do we all I'm sure .... Ed)

Free beer, music, fun & frolics were had by all.  An appearance by The Belfry Boys and an excellent blues band went down very well, as did several barrels of Roger's finest.

The theme was "Boots & Headgear" and most people made an effort with only a few boring F**t’s turning up in caving helmets ..... shame on you.!!

The party went on till 1.00 when it abruptly teleported back to chez Cave where it revitalized itself and lurched on until about 5.00 a.m.  A good time was had by all and we even cleared up the next day.

I'd like to go on & on but Jingles won't let me .... still there's always next time I suppose.

ta ta for now ...... "Spike".


 

Odds & Sods

Estelle Sandford has moved (again ) and is now resident at the following address  Wells, Somerset
Greg Villis has changed his phone number to .... 0934 xxxxxxx

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Chas Wethered has lost a windowpane.... sorry spectacle lens.... he reckons it’s in the streamway somewhere between the entrance and sump 1 in Swildons Hole and will buy a pint for the finder.  I'm sure we'll all be rushing off down there to look for it won't we???

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As many of you may already know John & Sue Riley want to flog the Hill Inn in Chapel Ie Dale (NO NO NO I hear you cry .. .'tis sad but true)

So if any of you mega rich members fancy buying a pub for Xmas give them a ring.  They can be contacted on .... 0524-xxxxx.

I personally doubt that anyone is gonna top Sue's food though ....... Jx

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The Belfry Boys .... those purveyors of exotic harmonies (You What!!!) will be appearing at the Bath Arms in Cheddar on the evening of Sunday 18th September 1994 at 8.15pm, if anyone is foolish enough to be interested.

Rumour has it that they might be making an appearance at the club dinner this year too, so best make sure you are not there eh????

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Folk In The Bath starts up again on 4th September, at, surprisingly enough, The Bath Arms in Cheddar 8.15 on Sunday nights.  Snab has lined up some excellent acts for the season (So why has he got the Belfry Boys then???)  Anyone who is in the area on a Sunday night is more than welcome to come along.  At times this venue is almost a BEC meet! and is always a fun night out.

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Nominations for next year's committee should be forwarded to the Hon Sec to reach him no later than 1.10.94

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And finally

Roger Stenner informs me that the drinking cup in the entrance series of St Cuthbert’s Swallet actually takes water from the Belfry septic tank .... mmmmm lovely.

On hearing this Zot was heard to exclaim ....

"But I've been drinking it for 30 years & it's had no effect on me!"

............................................ I rest my case.