The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Editor: Estelle Sandford

Committee Members

Secretary: Nigel Taylor
Treasurer: Chris Smart
Membership Secretary: Roz Bateman
Editor: Estelle Sandford
Caving Secretary: Andy Thomas
Tackle Master: Rich Blake
Deputy Tackle Master: Mike Willett
Hut Engineer: Nick Mitchell
Hut Warden: Becky Campbell
Librarian: Alex Gee



For those of you who have not visited the Belfry recently, the mystery photo in the last BB was taken in Cuthbert’s streamway.

I have included a song for the benefit of our Belfry Boy, Bob Smith and his apprentice, Toby Limmer, who has recently joined the club!!

It’s nice to see articles on activities other than caving (see Mike Wilson’s article).  If anyone else has articles on non-caving subjects as well as caving, then please send them to me.  I am particularly interested in responses to Dave Irwin’s article on the 1968 floods.  It would be interesting to hear recollections and have a few photos so many of our younger members can get an idea of what Swildons was like with the ‘old forty.’

Keep the articles coming. I can never have too many!!

The cut off for articles and letters for my last full BB of this committee year is 22nd July.

Last minute news and dates can be taken until 25th July

The next BB is slightly earlier to work round the bits that have to be published 8 weeks before the AGM (nominations for committee etc.)  There will be a short issue out 4 weeks before the AGM which will contain committee member’s reports and voting forms for the committee, if there are enough candidates for a vote.


Letters and Articles in the BB are not necessarily the views of the Editor, the BEC Committee or the club in general.


The Belfry Boy

Tune: Sweet Lorraine

Author: P. MacNab

Source: Belfry Bulletin Vol. 92 No 2 February 1978

Well, I'm the Belfry Boy,
I'm every other buggers favourite toy,
Oh how it always seems to give them joy,
To put me in bloody pain.

Oh how they treat me hard,
Kick me all around the Belfry yard,
Lord you ought to see how I am scarred,
From when they shoved me up the drain.

And when a member calls,
I dash inside so they can black my balls,
And splatter me around the Belfry walls,
Till I've nearly gone insane.
            They sit me in a chair
Rub jam and marmalade into my hair
I sit and smile as if I couldn't care,
But later hang my head in shame.

And then they all insist,
That I am something called a masochist,
Especially when they all come back pissed,
And want to play their silly games.

But now I sit and wait,
Because I'm glad to know that some day fate,
Will bring along a brand new inmate,


Caving and BEC News


Photos are still required for the photo board at the Belfry and also the Belfry Bulletin.  Slides or prints or pre-scanned files are all more than welcome.  I will return any slides or prints that are sent to me once copies have been made or they have been scanned in - Ed.

BEC Website

Is accessible at the following URL

If you try to access it from links from other Websites, you will probably still get the old WebPage. It takes a little while to get other sites to change their links for new addresses.

49ers Party

For those of you who are not aware, there are quite a number of BEC members and other regulars from the hill who were born in 1949 and are therefore 49 this year.  They have decided to celebrate in style Midsummer's night (20th June) with a mass party at the Village Hall in Priddy.  Tickets are available from Tony at Bat Products and Quackers in the Hunters Lodge.  Here is a list of some of the known 4gers: - (apologies to any I have missed (or added!) - list was compiled in the pub!!!)

Mike 'Quackers' Duck, Tony Jarratt, Phil Hendy, Martin Bishop, Pam Watson, Pete Moody, Tim Large, John Dukes, Pete Slater, Wayne Hiscock and also Tricia Walker who sadly died recently.

Committee Members on the move

Nigel Taylor will be moving to Cheddar, Somerset in mid June (-ish).  The telephone number is unknown at present, but will be advised soon.  If you need to contact then the phone number will be listed under Mendip Demrock at directory enquiries.

Nick Mitchell has moved to Priddy, Somerset.  He can be contacted on his mobile.

Sea Diving and Fishing

There are a few of us regularly going to the seaside at weekends to go diving.  There are also plans afoot for a couple of weekends in Cornwall, one in July/early August and the other late August/early September. If you are interested in coming along either on the weekend stuff or the weekends away, please contact either the Estelle or Quackers.

Note also that sometime in July/Aug there will be a fishing/diving/walking weekend at Prawle point, contact Robin Gray for more information on that one.

Burrington Cave Atlas - Estelle

For those of you who are not aware I am updating and revamping the Burrington Cave Atlas. This was originally released as a BEC caving report in 1973, and has been sold out for quite some time.  All profits from the updated report will go into BEC funds, mostly for the library.  Obviously there have been quite a few changes in Burrington Coombe area since 1973, so I am hoping that some of the membership of the club would be prepared to help me in getting some of the information updated.  I am planning a Burrington Atlas working day Sunday 19th July. There is plenty of work to be done, not all caving, so feel free to bring noncaving partners and make it a day out.

If anyone can help me with information or photographs from the Burrington area I would be very grateful. I would like to use different photos from the original, and also will be looking for a good quality cover photo, painting or drawing.  Jobs to be done include:

  • Surveying of several extensions.
  • Checking locations (NGR) and descriptions of cave entrances match the references from 1973.
  • Photography, both inside and out of the caves.

If you can help me out on the 19th July or at any other time, or have information or photos that I can use, please contact me at the address and phone numbers (or e-mail) in the front of the BB - Ed.

Another Question from Blitz

Does anyone know how many Bertie Bats have we had over the years? e.g. on headed notepaper and on the BB etc?  Contact Blitz at the Treasurers address if you can help him.  (If someone can give me/Blitz copies of as many of them as possible, I'll publish them in a future BB Ed.)

Speleoscene No.33

This is available from caving shops and is free, but how about a donation to the local Cave Rescue Service.

Included in this issue is an incident report for last year from the British Cave Rescue Council. Mendip had a quiet year with only 6 underground incidents, of which all were rescued with no serious injuries. There is also information on the Cavers Fair to be held at Priddy on 3-5 July, 1998.  Life-lining systems are studied and the general results are listed in a table of what is kit is recommended in varying situations.

BCRA Meeting

Regional One-day meeting to be held in Priddy Village Hall at 9:30am on 21/11/98.  Topics include in depth lectures on Swildons and St. Cuthbert's Swallet.  Details to be arranged.

The Cavers Fair is Coming!

The weekend 314/5th July sees the Cavers Fair being held for the first time in Priddy.  Organised jointly between the NCA Training Committee and CSCC this event is all about getting underground, learning something new, and having a wild time!  You can book a weekend ticket in advance for only £12.00.

For more information on what is going on, see the plan of events later in the BB.


The Mud Sump drain hole was attacked again recently but remains pretty well blocked.  There was a small airspace recently but bailing is still difficult from either side, and parties completing a reverse Round Trip or Priddy Green Sink through trip may find exit this way impossible.

It has been free-dived by groups attempting reverse-round trips but this is VERY DANGEROUS as the sump can be up to 10 metres long.

Mendip Technical Group

A meeting was held at the Hunters Lodge on Saturday 31st January 1998 to try and hammer out a bolting policy for Mendip.  General conclusions were that re-bolting with resin anchors will generally only be carried out when existing anchors are no longer safe - i.e. no program of systematic bolt replacement although Rhino Rift is an exception as CCC have already approved a complete re-bolt.  The technical group will not have an independent identity (not another caving committee) but will be a loose association of cavers prepared to get involved. Further details from Andy Sparrow.

BEC Library

There has been a disappointing response to the request for donations to help out with new cabinets for the library.  If anyone wishes to donate contact Alex Gee, but it is looking as though we will be needing to look into alternative methods of raising funds for the library. Another stomp maybe, or has anyone got any other ideas???

Caving Trips

Check out the rolling calendar on the back of the BB - Andy has listed some dates for caving trips, mainly on Mendip.  Please contact him if you wish to go on any of the trips.  Hopefully we can encourage new members to get a bit more involved.

Working Weekend

The recent working weekend saw the same old faces who turn up to most working weekends.  Lots was achieved, including replacement outside door on the bunkroom, work on the kitchen, painting and a general clean up inside and out.  Thanks to Roz and Becky for organising the BBQ.  Next working weekend will be 21st/22nd August, it would be nice to see a few fresh faces there!!!

Club Rescue Practice

Saturday 13th June Tyning’s Barrow Swallet. Meet at the Belfry at 10.00 am. Contact Andy Sparrow, Club rescue team leader for further details.


Scotland 98 - The B(e)are Bones version

By Pete Glanvill, May '98

25th May saw Quackers and I leaving Mendip for the annual Scottish migration it being Quackers first but hopefully not last trip to Sutherland.  It was a no frills journey with only one planned detour to collect (huh!) a dive light from Stuart Kirby's place near Gloucester.  Stuart turned out to be in Wales, the light was not constructed and my cheque was buried under a pile of invoices on a cluttered (that's polite) workbench.  Quackers conducted a major but successful dig to find some bulbs for his light before we departed muttering under our collective breaths.

Many hours burning up the motorways, A9 etc. got us surprisingly early to Taig nam Famh (the Grampian bothy) where despite dire prognostications we manage to elbow out some bunk space before departing for the Alt and a meal.  Eric was presented with a photomontage of Northern Lights and a couple of individual shots of Simon Brooks.

The next morning dawned sunny but with a low cloud base.  I opted for Canisp while Trevor Knief (who arrived the previous night with Peter Rose) opted for Ben More Assynt.  In the end we went our separate ways both getting some good walking in and fine views as the cloud base lifted and the sun appeared.  After the descent we repaired to the Inch for beer and Jimi Hendrix on the stereo.  He was still playing when Trevor and Pete staggered in 3 hours later!

By this time J-Rat, Estelle and Tony Boycott had arrived. Julian Walford appeared in the morning to announce that we had a blocked drain - serious stuff when it's feeding the cesspit. After obtaining some rods from Nicky at the tea rooms Pete Rose wearing rubber gloves got down to it.  Leaving him to it we had to think about caving. By mutual agreement the cave divers decided a good attempt should be made to find a by-pass to sump 6b in Claonaite so the plan was to transport bottles etc. up to the entrance and then do some digging in Damoclean.


Pete Rose giving the cesspit a good rodding.

As we disappeared down the drive Pete shouted the glad news that he had cleared the obstruction and we could again freely empty our bowels into the toilets of Taig nam Famh.

The first of several long slogs up the ANUS valley then took place with Quackers tagging along muttering about peat bogs.

On the way up J-rat and team rediscovered After Dinner Hole and an assortment of old bones.  By the time we reached Damoclean Quackers was distinctly unimpressed but cheered up when we started digging - he hadn't got caving gear!  Several cold hauls later and with several hundredweight of crud dumped on the spoil heap we sat down for soup and cake before packing up and returning to the Alt.

Very little cooking was done this year partly because the food in the Alt is so good and partly because Trevor seemed to have gunned down the contents of a country park.  One evening we had duck, on another pigeons were on the menu and on yet another venison.  Trevor claimed they were road kill put out of their misery but I have my doubts in view of the fact that he arrived at the hut armed with fishing rods, shotguns and probably had the odd Kalashnikov stowed away in Pete's glove compartment.

That night everybody retreated to another bunkroom - the one Trevor was not going to be snoring in. We got away with it for the rest of the week until J-Rat let him in 6 days later to create a serious insomnia epidemic.

Tuesday looked very promising to the point of becoming a shorts day.  This has nothing to do with stuff in optics but that critical point where the weather temps one to bare one's legs.  Not today I decided.  J - Rat and co headed for Traligill with a full programme of attacking Whinging Dog Dig, digging in Birthday Hole and wallowing in Waterfall Rising.  After a brief scrabble in Birthday Hole the wokless team left, before giving WDD some stick and plaster.  Having gained an appetite they had a quick lunch at Glenbain and returned  suitably wokked  up  to Birthday  Hole.   Quackers did sterling surface work again (how could he forget his caving gear) and J-rat was just about to consider inspecting the end and the effects of Tony B's last bang when a loudish aerial rumble brought the proceedings to a halt.  A huge thundercloud had materialised over Conival (think Close Encounters OTTK) and big sparks started flying everywhere.  Wallowing in the streamway of Birthday Hole seemed suicidal so a rapid retreat was made to Glenbain where Quackers was entertained by seeing JRat twitch as he was hit by a secondary strike.  I suppose it's one way of getting your fags lit!

The storm over Conival, (the one that zapped J'Rat)

Meanwhile in Claonaite Julian, Pete and Tony were oblivious to all this.  All went well until we started kiting up at which point a loud crack and hissing from every orifice on Pete's brand new virgin, never used, pristine Oceanic demand valve indicated some kind of catastrophic first stage failure. Dive aborted apart from a quick dip by Julian.  Serendipity as far as I was concerned because I managed to get some excellent pictures of Cavity Wall passage on the way out.  The sun was shining as we wandered down the hill and back to the hut.

On our way to Lochinver we noticed the clouds building over Traligill and took several interesting pictures of the storm creeping over the limestone block.  Down at the harbour we found Jim Crooks removing a knackered engine from his boat - bang went thoughts of asking him for a boat dive.  However he was happy to fill our tanks and we repaired to his shed that was unbelievably tidy apart from a half constructed wood panelled pond made with Jim's usual ingenuity from odds and ends lying around the place.  The usual "craic" developed.  Apparently the last winter had a been a time of strange aerial sightings - not just displays of the Northern Lights but a variety of spectacular UFO sightings (perhaps Pete Rose did see something last year!) of a cigar shaped space ship and silent bright lights in the sky seen by a variety of witnesses.  Sounds like a case for Mulder and Scully.  Eric at the Alt was happy to confirm that, yes, it had been a strange year in the sky.

Bottles filled we did the seafront timber collection crawl before buying pies at the bistro which now boasts a conservatory.  Did you know the proprietor is an ex Mendip caver?  Put my name on the list for mail-order pies - just in case. 

Tony Boycott by the Montego at Kylesku

By the time we had reached Inchnadamph the flood pulse had come through and the river was a raging torrent although the storm was very localised for the trout farm stream at the ANUS valley remained at the same level it had been earlier in the day.

On An Teallach Pete and Trevor aborted their ascent on seeing the approaching storms.  According to the log a vagrant sheep advised them to go no further.  So they retired to a hotel to chat up an Aussie barmaid instead.

Quakers, Tony, Estelle and I rounded the day off with a pleasant sunny dive at Kylesku although Quackers and Estelle had bad attacks of ear pox.  Over the grilled langoustine one of the local barflies admitted to sinking the blue Montego I had photographed last year.  She wants photos perhaps the insurance will believe her now!

The next day dawned seriously sunny.  This was the biz - shorts and sandals on and an early start to attack Claonaite.  The terrible trio of Boycott, Glanvill and Walford headed for the hills.  The Bone Cave route is quicker than walking up the valley to Claonaite is my tip of the year.  Down at Sump 3 all the kit worked and 3 divers arrived in 4 ready for business. Julian and Tony tore off to 5 while Pete took a leisurely trip through looking for possible side passages. Some boulders were pulled out of a hole to the right of the choke at Sump 3 and a possible way on seen - later inspected by Tony and pronounced unpromising. Fawlty Towers looked interesting but loose and PG was not keen on a solo scrabble so moved onto 5 where photos were taken.  He then located a dig off an oxbow just before the ramp down to the pool.  This let him out of having to free dive 5 as Julian's promised air space had not materialised.  After taking some excellent photographs of the area around the sump and armed with gloves plus suitably shaped bits of pebble he began excavating a crawl ending in boulders while Tony went to 7 to engineer a route he thought might get into Treen Scene.  However although he could hear Julian, Julian could not hear him over stream noise and the route looked too tight.

I, meanwhile, was working my way into the boulders armed with a crowbar Julian had found.  Several rumbles and high speed reverse wriggles later a large spoil heap was accumulating over downstream sump 4. I handed the tool to Julian and Tony when they returned.  After a spell Tony handed the weapon to Julian who started to get really mean with the boulders which came trundling down the crawl in increasing size and numbers.  Suddenly Julian vanished and after a tentative look at the walls and roof of this highly unstable passage we climbed into a small ascending breakdown chamber which must be very close to Edward Concretehead in 7.  I decided the extension should be called 'The Rock Machine turns you on'.  A few desultory pokes at the boulders later we decided either bang or more digging energy was needed for further progress.  It was time to slog on out.

Back on the right side of 3 the roar of water was ominously loud and the stream from Rising Damp just before the climb down to Sump 2 seemed to be flowing well. The struggle out against the high water was entertaining and the Sump 1 bypass was a nose in the air job to pass. On the surface the sun was shining but my shorts hung out to warm in the sun were soaked (as was all my gear).  The area had copped a thunderstorm similar to that that had hit Traligill the previous day and we were lucky not to have been trapped by the flood pulse

Tony Boycott at Sump 3 m Claonmte

Other members of the team dug in Waterfall Rising or went for walks.

On the Thursday an enthusiastic team including Peter Rose and Trevor Knief hauled clag out of Rana watched by an inflatable sheep - well you need some home comforts.

Tony, Estelle, Pete G. and Quackers went for a coastal walk out to Kirkaig Point near Badnaban.  This proved to be a superb location for watching sea mammals including seals, porpoises and dolphins.  On the way back we did our bit to keep Scotland's beaches tidy by removing all buoys, boulder nets and digging skips (cans) that we could but having to leave the drums of oil (!!) behind.  Coffee and browsing at Achins book shop was followed by another air fill and twenty questions about the strange bones Jim had found on the beach; the current consensus is that they are a whale's pelvis.

Later in the day another visit was paid to Kylesku for wreck photography and scallops.  Pete found a large lobster - it's still there.

In the Alt that evening we learnt firstly that the services of the GSG dog rescue section were needed at Strath Kanaird and secondly messages had been left at various locations regarding a boat dive in the Summer Isles.  I had been phoning Andy Hobrow at Achiltibuie all week but he seemed to be involved in continuous S&M practices - the voice on the answering machine kept telling me he was tied up. After some fiddling with Eric's phone I got through to Craig Barnes and booked a dive for the Saturday morning.

Quackers at Kylesku - Note the Gaelic underwater god of farts following closely behind!

The next day a strong rescue team went to look for Peggy the entombed Jack Russell.  They found a possibly previously overlooked area of limestone, a small hole and no dog. However J-Rat and Trevor did explore another new cave nearby.  There is a sequel to this tale but I will leave you in suspense.

Claonaite 8 consists of a short series of muddy, roomy but very gloomy tunnels with a side passage ascending to a bouldery choke.  At the far end of a spacious chamber another big ascending tunnel probably ends in a solutional hole.  The streamway is a narrow canal and the contrast to the noise in 7 is striking. The canal ends in an impressively large sump pool into which Simon quietly sank.  We stood shivering patiently until the twitching line and a dim orange glow indicated his return.

Meanwhile a hard team consisting of Tony, Julian (back from a day's work at Dounreay), Simon and Peter were back in Claonaite.  Simon had designs on 8 while the rest of us planned a bypass to 7 some surveying and photography.  Simon and Tony dived the sump while Julian dived into a hole above it and started digging. Pete took photos and by the time he'd packed up everyone including Julian's feet had gone.               

Tony Boycott - Far side of Sumo 3 in Claonaite

He wriggled into the muddy hole Julian had excavated to confront a very awkward squeeze a couple of metres in.  Then his lamp started to go dim!

Feeling a wobbler coming on he reversed out, got a spare light and after some judicious digging wormed his way up a crumbly corkscrew to within earshot of the others who had completed the exploration of Claonaite 8 rather quickly and were patiently waiting for Simon to find Claonaite 9.

The sump seemed to close down he reported but he decided to have another look in view of the amount of air he had. After another cold wait he surfaced to report that the route was choked by a roof collapse but could conceivably be crow barred.  The flow went through the choked section.

Tony, a hard task master, then insisted we survey 8 so with chattering teeth and a borrowed Q-light I crawled up various passages carrying the tape then made up likely figures to shout out.  An attempt to survey out through the by-pass was aborted when I dropped my loaned light through a hole in the floor and Julian had to dig it out!

Eventually all the kit was packed and we headed out with photography next on the agenda.  I got some excellent pictures of the Twin Falls of Jabaroo, the area round the bones and some of the bones themselves as well as Portobello Promenade.

Tony Boycott at the Watershute in Claonaite

The trip out from Treen Scene was painfully slow and we eventually reached the surface after 9 hours underground.

After a trip to the Alt - in shorts by yours truly, some us returned to the hut to savour the scallops lovingly prepared by Trevor earlier.  Here's a tip though Trevor - never boil scallops!  They should be fried with wine herbs and shallots and served on a bed of rice, which is what we did when we got back.

Next day the technical training section of the CDG and BEC went on a boat dive from Achiltibuie with Craig Barnes.  A nice sunny day to travel over to the Fairweather about which I have written before. All dived successfully except for Simon who sustained an attack of cold (from a strategically placed hole in his dry suit crotch) agoraphobia, and negative buoyancy all at once after hitting the water.

After some coffee and cake we chugged across the bay to a rock known as Latto's Island and had our second dive.  We were told it would be very unlikely that we would complete a circuit of the island so it took me a minute or so to realise that the wall Tony and I were swimming past 40 minutes into the dive was one we had passed at the beginning.

Tony Boycott at the Cascade in Claonaite

The underwater scenery was nice with lots of starfish and burrowing sea anemones. We surfaced and seeing the dive boat some way off, headed to the island until we were rescued.

Meanwhile the caving contingent did some surface work, dug or went walking.  That evening in the Alt it was learnt the Peggy the deceased Jack Russell had reappeared emaciated but none the worse for her period of incarceration. The pot will have to be renamed Resurrection.

The Saturday evening could be the start of a long tradition.  Eric and Christine laid on a mega curry session with umpteen dishes which was rounded off by a slide show from Pete and Simon.  Pete showed local slides and Simon showed some of Pakistan but was more successful by playing to the gallery of boozed up Glaswegian fishermen who cheered every time fish was mentioned.  Simon was a little frostier when pictures of Jenny appeared.

The Sunday was Pete and Quackers' last day.  Quackers mouldered in the hut while Peter joined Estelle, Ivan, Tony and the inflatable sheep at Rana Hole for another hauling session.  On the way downhill Estelle, Pete and Ivan had a good job of changing the boulders at the rising - so now you know who did it.

Pete and Quackers rounded the day off by attempting to find the Kylesku lobster.  We failed but Pete found Quackers a large crab as a consolation prize before proceeding up the hill to dive for scallops in the harbour. He also earned brownie points from a local skipper by removing a rope from his prop.

Well that's it from me but Estelle can have fun now doing a re-edit on the rest of the log.


Tankard Hole Song

Tune: Ain't Gonna Need This House No Longer
Author: R. Lawder
Source: Alfie

Last summer a dig was started by some blokes from the other Club,
In a shakehole by the roadside not so far from the Hunters pub,
With occasional draughts of cider, diggers soon had piled a heap,
To the envy of the weegies and the puzzlement of the sheep.

Chorus:            Ain't gonna need this cave no longer,
                        Ain't gonna need this cave no more,
                        With it's stalactites on the ceiling
                        And it's stalagmites on the floor,
                        Ain't gonna force this squeeze no longer,
                        Ain't gonna bang this sump no more
                        'Cos our Tankard Hole is going
                        and it's going to beat them all.

Oh the Entrance it was narrow, so there wasn't much need to shore,
But further down it's ample, twenty feet by sixty four,
It was tedious to climb the pitches and a risk the gulf to jump,
So we built an elevator from the first pitch to the sump.

You can keep your Tratman's Temple, and your Devil's Elbow too,
And your Morton's Pot with stemples, and your Cuthbert's entrance queue
For our Tankard Hole is going, going steadily down the dip,
Taking Swildons as a feeder and St. Cuthbert's as a drip.


Funny Insurance Claims

•           Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have.

•           The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intentions.

•           I thought my window was down, but found it was up when I put my hand through it.

•           I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way.

•           A truck backed through my windshield into my wife's face.

•           A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.

•           The guy was all over the road.  I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.

•           I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment.

•           The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside.  He went to rest in the bush with just his rear end showing.

•           In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.

•           The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of a skid by steering it into the other vehicle.

•           I had been learning to drive without power steering.  I turned the wheel to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction going the opposite way.

•           I was on my way to the doctor's with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.

•           As I approached the intersection, a stop sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before.  I was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident.

•           To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck the pedestrian.

•           My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.

•           An invisible car appeared out of nowhere, stuck my vehicle, and vanished.

•           I told the police that I was uninjured.  But on removing my hat, I found that I had a fractured skull.

•           When I saw I could not avoid a collision, I stepped on the gas and crashed into the other vehicle.

•           The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.

•           I saw the slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman as he bounced off the hood of my car.

•           I was thrown from my car as it left the road.  I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.

•           The telephone pole was approaching fast.  I was attempting to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end.

•           I saw her look at me twice; she appeared to be making slow progress when we met on impact.

•           No one was to blame for the accident but it never would have happened if the other driver had been alert.

•           I was unable to stop in time and my car crashed into the other vehicle.  The driver and passengers then left immediately for a vacation with injuries.

•           I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home.  As I reached an intersection a hedge sprung up obscuring my vision.  I didn't see the other car.

•           I had been driving my car for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.

•           I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the roadway when I struck him.

•           The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran over him.

•           The trees were passing me in an orderly row at fifty miles per hour when suddenly one of them stepped out into my path.

•           I ran over a man, he admitted it was his fault since he had been knocked down before.

•           I ran into a lamppost that was obscured by human beings.

•           The accident was caused by me waving to the man I hit last week.


The 49ers 49th Birthday Party



A Letter From Harry Stanbury On Early Exploration In Stoke Lane Slocker

Harry and Glynn Stanbury
Bude Cornwall


Dear Estelle,

It is a long time ago that I wrote to the B.B. - so here goes!

First - Congratulations on the "New Look" a great improvement!

I had intended to write this some time ago but Glynn is recovering from a serious operation & so my time has been rather fully occupied.

I was very interested in Dave Irwin's article in BB 494 on Stoke Lane & feel that I could clarify a couple of things.

When we made the "recce" trip to Sump 1 it was only the three of us - Graham B., Don C. & myself who went through Browne's Passage to the "dark & horrible pool" the others only went as far as the entrance to Browne's Passage.

We did not take down diving gear - the object of the trip was to assess the feasibility of doing so.

When we reached the "dark & horrible" after feeling about Don eventually vanished from sight - Graham & I waited & waited - Graham turned to me & said, "Well, I suppose we'll have to get the silly bastard out" & with that Don re-appeared triumphant.  Graham & I followed him through & the rest is history.

Regarding the survey. Don decided not to publish the survey because there was a strong movement locally to turn the cave into a show cave.  The survey showed that the Throne Room was adjacent to a shake hole in the field above. The alternative would have been to "throw" the survey by several degrees, but this was regarded as unethical & was rejected.  Regrettably I have no information of the whereabouts of the original drawings.

On a lighter note; for several years I was on the extramural circuit in Bristol & N. Somerset giving caving talks to groups ranging from Scouts to O.A.P.S.  I took them on a tour of Mendip & of course this included Stoke Lane.  When I called for questions at the end one question invariably cropped up "How did that man who went through first know that it was safe to do so?"

I pointed out that he knew it was safe as when he put his arm through first he knew that there was air space because when he brought his hand out it was dry!!

This was usually met with a sagacious nodding of heads.

I hope you can read this, Estelle, I regret that at 82 my writing is not more legible.

All the best in 98



Stoke Lane Slocker - History

By Dave Irwin

The short extract from my notes on the history of Stoke Lane Slocker prompted 'Tommy' Thomas to send some extremely useful info on the relationship between Max Unwin and the newly formed SMCC and of the extraction of the human and animal bones from Bone Chamber in Stoke Lane II.  Harry Stanbury has also made some comments in a letter, published elsewhere in this BB, and, by the time members receive this issue I shall have been to Bude and talked to Harry, as I've done on a number of occasions in recent years relating to early club activity.  The note relating to the diving gear is quite correct and it was a slip of my memory - related to a comment made once by Don Coase's younger brother, Alan.  Many apologies to all readers.  Alan told me that Don felt cheated by the Stoke Lane sump as it was so short!  The question relating to the location of the remaining members of the party, in Cairn Chamber or at the beginning of Browne's Passage is one of the points that Harry and I will be discussing.  All will become clear in the final text of the full version history which commences in the 1880s and records the first descent in 1905.

Whilst we are in a 'remembering mood' perhaps older members may be able to help on a number of queries: -

Stoke Lane Slocker:  In 1949 there were two rescues in this cave, one involved Sybil Bowden-Lyle, of which there is plenty of independent information - what happened to cause the other? No records exist in MRO files and no mention of a problem is to be found in the local papers.  The reference to these rescues come from," no sour jokes please ... a note by Frank Frost in the then Wessex Circular.  No clues have been found in their caving logs for that period.

Burrington digs:  Snogging Hole and Burrington Hole.  References to these two 1946 dig sites are to be found in Volume II of the BEC Caving Log. Does anyone have details of their exact location?  It seems from various comments in the Logbook that Snogging Hole might well be the entrance to the site now known as Pierre's Pot.  An additional note to the entry implies that the digs were started sometime before and the reader is referred to Volume I of the Caving Log.  I have to report that the first volume of the BEC Caving Log is missing does anyone have any information relating to this invaluable record? It contains details of activity during the years immediately after the reforming of the club in 1944; early electron ladder construction and subsequent trials on the 40ft Pot in Swildons among several other importance references.  Any information to either Alex Gee, the club librarian, or to the writer.

Swancombe Hollow Dig:  Dug by BEC members, including the late Dan Hasell, during 1946-1947, the site is in the Swancombe Valley near Blagdon.  Does anyone have any notes that might relocate the site and any details of the work?

The area surrounding the St. Cuthbert's Depression has several features that have attracted cavers in the past.  Bog Hole, originally opened and dug by the UBSS was later continued by the BEC. Where exactly is the site, it is said to be under the farmyard laid by Walt Foxwell but that's only hearsay. Any offers of information. Further, another site, this time a shaft was recorded by the UBSS and an entry in their caving log for the 7th August 1944 contains the following note: 'The shaft opposite the old mine workings was also examined and found unpromising .... '  Where is this?


Thirty years ago - the great flood.

By Dave Irwin

Seems like only yesterday that one of the most talked about occasions in the history of 20th century Mendip caving occurred.  At the time it happened I was caving in Ireland with a bunch of BEC, SMCC and WCC members.  The weather had been perfect and several wet caves had been visited or pushed, including St. Catherine's II with its thrixotropic mud filled passage.  Just before our return we met a party of UBSS who told us of the rain storm that had hit the Bristol area a couple of days previously.  Hardly had we got in the door to the flat in Bristol, with our sodden rucksacks, than Tim Reynolds and I were set upon by Roger Stenner!  'You know about the floods in the area' he commented.  Then suddenly with great excitement he uttered 'The Forty's gone!'  'Settle down Roger.  What do you mean the Forty's gone?  It can't go anywhere.' Gradually, regaining his senses, he told us the story that the Water Rift in Swildons Hole had been scoured out by the flood waters and that no-one any longer needed to ladder the pitch.  A way had opened up near the bottom.

There then followed a few days of intensive caving in the evenings and as a result the BB, published a week after the flood, contained the first detailed article, written by the writer of this note, on the changes that had occurred in the caves about central Mendip.  This was reprinted in the CRG Newsletter and British Caver shortly after.  To amass a good summary of this famous occurrence perhaps caving members who were about at this time would put down on paper their observations and perhaps Estelle could published the lot as joint article in the next BB.  Just to give a gentle nudge, Pete Rose, Nick Chipchase and Pete Glanvill were among the last to see the Forty Foot Pot in action, Dave Turner and Brian Prewer were among the first down G.B. Cave and Swildons Hole respectively - so get pens to paper - or fingers on those computer keys.

Just to whet your appetite here are a few piccies from my photo archive collection of Cheddar Gorge the day after!



Scotland 98 - The Alternative Report from the Log Book

By Estelle Sandford


Pete Glanvill, Mike 'Quackers' Duck (25/4 - 6/5)
Pete Rose, Trevor Knief (25/4 - 2/5)
Tony Boycott, Estelle Sandford, Tony Jarratt (26/4 - 7/5)
Julian Walford (27/4 - 29/4, 30/4 - 3/5)
Simon Brooks, Nick Williams (29/4 - 4/5)
Robin 'Tav' Taviner, Graham 'Jake' Johnson, Richard 'Rubberman' Blake (1/5 - 10/5)
Ivan Young (1/5 -4/5)
Pete 'Snablet' McNab, Anette Becher (1/5 - 3/5)
Steve Bellhouse, Kate Janossy, Dave Robinson (1/5 - 4/5)
Fraser Simpson (1/5 - 4/5)
Roger Galloway, Liz Millet (1/5 - 3/5)
Rebecca Campbell (4/5 - 10/5)
Martin Hayes (5/5 - 10/5)

On Tuesday 28th J'Rat, Estelle and Quackers went to Whinging Dog Dig and then to Birthday Hole. Firstly to Birthday Hole where an attempt was started on reopening the cave after the winter floods.  We moved all the large boulders, but needed the wok to progress any further. It had been left in the car at Glenbain.  On to Whinging Dog Dig via the Waterslide, V.C.P. and Deeply Depressed (thoroughly blocked).  W.D.D. was given some chemical persuasion, and then back to Glenbain.  After lunch, back to Birthday Hole with the wok. J'Rat dug in the thrust plane while Estelle hauled the spoil out and Quackers built an anti-flood wall.  After PA hours of bloody hard work the digger booted his way through into the streamway, but was then put off going to inspect Tony Boycott's last bang by the resounding echoes of a major thunderstorm. The froth on the roof also discouraged lying in the stream while it was pissing down above!  The team then made a rapid retreat to Glenbain and just beat the rain (but not the lightning as AJ found out to his distress as he lit up and tingled near the power pole at Glenbain.  He has had 2 past "strikes" to his credit already!) With spectacular lightning, thunder, rain and hail hammering the mountains a further rapid retreat was made, this time to an unlit Inch to drink bottled beer as the electric was down. An interesting day (all thoughts of diving/digging Waterfall Rising   were abandoned.)

Wednesday saw a visit to Waterfall Rising by Estelle and J'Rat.  Each did about 20minutes worth of underwater digging, clearing out a lot of the silt that had been washed in over the winter.  Caution beware of swimming towards the waterfall in flood conditions - it nearly ate Estelle.  This dig is very cosy in a dry suit.

After the initial 'callout' on the Thursday night in the Alt, Friday  1st May saw Nick W, J'Rat, Estelle, Quackers, Pete Rose, Trevor, David the Gamekeeper, attending an attempted Dog Rescue.


Ben More and the Storm that zapped J'Rat!

An introduction from Eric at the Alt, who got wind of a dog having been lost in a pot near Strath Kanaird. It turns out the dog actually went missing last week so our chances of finding it alive were slim, but it was a chance for a look at an area none of us had seen before and the gamekeeper was grateful for our efforts.

The land is managed from Langwell Lodge but access is gained by driving up to the hydro dam and walking N.E. onto the ridge.  The area is the normal peat hag, but about 5-10 acres of top of the ridge is limestone with numerous dolines and depressions.  Above 50m level in altitude, travelling NW off the ridge, is a small resurgence where water appears between boulders, could be interesting for a days digging, although we did not have time to investigate.

Work concentrated on the hole that David said the dog ("Peggy") had disappeared down. We worked for about 4 hours, but all we were doing were chasing a hole about big enough to roll a grapefruit down. No sign or sound of the poor dog, and so we called it a day at about 3pm.  Not a bad day nonetheless: splendid weather.  About 50m from Peggy's Demise an open pot about 10m deep was explored by Trevor and J'Rat - through a bedding to a conclusion in a small chamber.  The obvious name is Strath Kanaird Pot.  This could be a new limestone area if Jim Salvona hasn't been there first.

View of Sutherland area from Strath Kanaird

On Saturday J'Rat walked from Ledmore Junction to the obvious limestone area near the pine copse behind Ledbeg.  At 233, 141 is a small open hole in a doline with a possible 10' deep open pot below. Needs digging.  PLEASE AVOID TillS AREA FOR THE TIME BEING as the writer let free a caged crow found nearby and he assumes the local keeper will not be happy! There is some superb limestone pavement and a possible mine or quarry tips in this area.  J'Rat's suggestion was to call the cave "Pot of the Relieved Crow" or something similar.

In the bar (Alt) the day after the failed dog rescue David the Gamekeeper appeared to let us know that Peggy had appeared on the doorstep this morning - very thin and bedraggled but also very much alive.  The digging and noise must have helped in some way.  We were bought beer as a reward, which combined with Christine's mega curry and Simon and Pete's slide show (with Glaswegian fishermen heckling) made a great night.  So, mucho brownie points for the GSG and we'd better re-name Peggy's Demise as Peggy's Pot.

Nick, Kate J. and Steve B spent more time on Sunday prospecting at Strath Kanaird.  Fine limestone pavement, but no real speleological potential.

A bang clearing trip to Whinging Dog Dig on the Bank Holiday Monday.  Removal of the debris gained view into about 12' of low thrust plane. This was pushed to conclusion on the following day, as it ended in a foot sized pool of shite.

Tav and Nick Williams returned to the obvious sink by the footpath just before the footbridge over the Traligill near Lower Traligill Cave.  Hilti'd a couple of boulders and dug down between 'solid' rock walls to reveal a practically penetrable passage for 6ft.   Reasonably promising prospect but looks a watery place. Name awaiting inspiration.   The following day Tav returned with J'Rat and removed a few more boulders to access the 'open' passage revealed yesterday. Just as the team were about to progress, the 'solid' rock roof dropped an inch or so and they had to collapse it over the way on.  To regain the lost ground they dug a round hole down on the other side of the sinkhole and after a couple of hours, uncovered a sizeable open cavity which took the whole stream and looked very good.

Simon Brooks and Tony Boycott on the Summer Isles diving trip

Just as they were about to go in however, the entire sinkhole shuddered and collapsed big style taking one crowbar, tonnes of bloody big rocks and nearly two diggers with it. The way on is now effectively blocked. There is definitely a cave under here but scaffolding is essential as it's a seriously dangerous place.  As it doesn't appear to have a name Tav and J'Rat suggested Earthquake Sink.

Birthday Hole was then blocked at the entrance with loads of boulders and left to fend for itself; it was taking a good sized streamway.

Wednesday arrived and finally Estelle extracted Rich from the bar and got him underground!  Filled up quite a few bags at Damoclean, but the spoil behind the shoring is collapsing in.  Needs a lot of attention before removing move gravel from the floor; scaffolding and cement may be the safest way forward.

Tony Boycott visited Snablet's dig in ANUS cave and gave it some more chemical persuasion.  He also lost his watch somewhere in there, but after a later attempt to find the watch, it was assumed that the bang probably blew it into space wonder what the altimeter thought of that???! ! !

Tony Boycott at Waterfall Rising

Rana Hole was also attacked again and another 60 odd skips in 5hrs or so removed.  A haulers seat was constructed above the entrance using the Mole Hole tripod, a fish box lid and a small boulder net.  The parasol, ashtray, etc. are yet to be provided. There are small holes appearing under the floor boulders.  This should hopefully provide the non-divers route into the Great Northern Time Machine (one day!!).

The last day for most of us saw Estelle and Tony in Waterfall Rising emptying bottles.  Water rose 6 inches while underwater and flow increased considerably.  Reached the bottom of the loop and can look up ongoing thrust plane.

J'Rat and Martin went to ANUS Cave to Jim's Drip Chamber Dig (Snablet's dig).  Cleared bang debris using new skip (left in situ) to find infilled passages trending ahead and uphill to the left.  Banged 3 boulders to enable Snablet to dig the crap out for the foreseeable future.  Tony's watch still not found (Probably vaporised)

The weather had deteriorated and the remainder of the team, were forced to seek refuge in the Alt and the Inch for most of the last 3 days.


Edward Whymper

Climber and Alpine Traveller

By Mike Wilson

I decided to write a segment for the BEC climbing division because: -

1.                  Some people probably know that the climbing division exists.

2.                  I have yet to see anything written in the BB by said division – let’s hope the climbers may respond!

This extraordinary young man was born in London in 1849 and became a wood engraver.  This skill and artistic ability inherited form his father served him well throughout his life.  When he was 20 years old the publishers William Longman asked him to make a series of Alpine Sketches.  The year was 1860.


Edward Whymper, aged 25 years - Courtesy of the Alpine club

The result was Whymper's first visit to the Alps, which fired up his climbing interest in the peaks! Bearing in mind that many summits had not been reached!  His prime target was the Matterhorn and in all he made 8 ascents of varying heights - from 1860 to 1865.  (More of July 1865 later!)  He also ascended Mt Pelvoux!

A sketch of Michel-Auguste Croz by Kay Wilson

The Breche de la Meije - Pointe des Ecrins - the Col de la Pilate - and Mont Dolent!  All of these were first ascents in the French Alps by a young 25 year old Englishman!  Albeit aided by local guides.  He also managed the first ascent of the Grand Cornier - latterly of course, in 1865, he is credited with the first ascent of the Matterhorn with the following guides: - Croz, Peter Taugwalder and his 2 sons (as porters) Lord F Douglas Hadow and Hudson, a top amateur climber in 1860.  He travelled to Paris by boat and train then from Paris by train via Sass and Stalden to Zermatt in Switzerland.  Travelling alone with just a sketchbook and his diary.  Fortunately he had a working knowledge of French, which stood him in good stead during the short 5 years from 1860 to 1865.  A gentleman called Hinchcliff who had recently climbed the Riffelber kindly offered to teach him some rockwork.  He agreed to accept this kind offer which proved to be his first step towards alpinism.

I feel that this mans subsequent exploits are amazing bearing in mind that up until 1860 he had only read about mountains and had never seen any, or attempted to climb some of the highest peaks in France!  He very humbly describes his scrambles in his diaries.  In those days, the 1800s, rich tourists travelled the Alps on mule back but Whymper had to use his legs and hire the occasional guide.  One such guide 'Inho' had agreed to get Whymper from Bionaz to Valtournache via a mountain pass accompanied him to the top of the pass and then refused to go any further, making off with Whymper's rucksack and all his sketching gear.  He was forced to buy all new equipment and (make do) with his sketches!  He returned to Bionaz managed to find the errant guide and retrieve his kit!  Needless to say the guide received an earful for his pains.

Whymper's first serious ascent was Mt Pelvoux 12,973 ft in the French Dauphine Alps.  The start point being the town of Briançon. Whymper then walked up the valley Aile Froide to the village of La Pisse.  Here he engaged a guide (common practice in those days) called Semoind. He then walked up to the Sapeniere glacier and camped for the night with his companions Reynaud and Giraud.  His other companion Macdonald had not shown up. The group then spent a day casting about on the approaches to Pelvoux.  Eventually Semoind admitted he was lost and they returned to the bivvy.  Macdonald was discovered on the next day!  So at 0400 on the 3rd day a second attempt was mounted.  By midday they had reached the snowfields and a previous cairn, the limit of the route 30 years ago.  At 1345 they finally climbed the last precipice and stood on the summit of Pelvoux. The return was not without incident. Macdonald fell at the glacier but fortunately was roped up, also the bivvy was not reached by nightfall and the group spent the night at 10,500 ft in very miserable conditions with no food or cover, just some wine, a spirit lamp, and some brandy and water.  They all contrived to sleep under Whymper's plaid shawl.  The next day the camp was reached and a descent to La Ville was completed. Whymper and his companions all suffered from fleas picked up in dirty inns and guesthouses the problem being discussed from time to time.  His guide Semoind stated (quote)  "As to fleas I don't pretend to be different from anyone else, I have them!"

In 1861 Whymper revisited Breuil and discovered Antoine Carrel, who lived in the village of Valtournanche, he had already attained a height 12,650 ft on a previous attempt at the Matterhorn in 1859.  Whymper also knew that that had been 3 previous attempts at the summit, one by 4 Frenchmen guided.  One by 2 Englishmen unguided who reached 12,000 ft and were only forced back by high winds and bad weather.

The third attempt had been made by Vaughan Hawkins and Carrel Bennen.  The latter was to die in 1864 on a mountain called the Haute de Cry. The 4th person in the party was Professor Tyndall who engaged a poor quality guide but only managed to reach the Chimney above the Col de Lion.  His guide gave up and he was forced to retreat.  Needless to say he resolved to return with a small team and use Carrel as guide.  So ended the first attempt!

There were several more abortive attempts on the Matterhorn by Whymper which are well documented. The final important ascent was on the 13th July 1865 at 5.30 in the morning when he set out in a party of eight: - Croz, Peter Taugwalder and his 2 sons, Lord F. Douglas, Hadow and Mr Hudson. Hudson and Douglas being the experienced alpinists along with Whymper and Peter Taugwalder.  So there were five experienced alpinists and three relatively inexperienced people.  Two being engaged solely as porters.

The first day was taken up by just attaining height in a steady manner and the group decided to camp at 12 o'clock approximately 11,000 ft up.  The afternoon was spent sketching and waiting for two of the party who had gone ahead to recce the route for the following day.  In good spirits they all settled down to sleep 4 in the tent and surprisingly the other 4, by choice(?) slept outside!  At dawn they all started out, 7 going on up and one of Taugwalder's sons retreating back to Zermatt.  The original intention was to leave the two boys at the camp.  Sadly the arrangement was changed, allegedly "over a problem with food distribution".  At 9.55am they reached a height of 14,000 ft, the experienced men leading and step cutting where necessary.  Croz now took up the lead followed by Whymper, Hudson, Hapow, etc.

Hudson was going well but Hadow required continuous assistance, probably through lack of experience!  Eventually a bold step around a corner led the group within 200 ft of the summit. Foremost in everyone's mind was the fact that an Italian group had set off from Breuil on the 11th July.  Four days earlier there had been talk of sightings of "men on the summit".  Croz and Whymper ran neck and neck up the slope and reached the top most ridge at 1.40pm.  "The peak was theirs".  "A great achievement".  They saw the Italian group 1,200 ft below on the Breuil side led by a Signor Giordiano. This group turned back!  But Giordiano tried again on the 17th July with 3 other people and gained the summit!  Whymper's victory had been a narrow one!

Whymper actually stated that Giordiano should have stood on the summit with him, which was generous. The party spent one hour on the summit and then Whymper and Hudson decided on the order of descent (a crucial decision in the light of the following events!).  Croz 1st, Hadow, Hudson, Lord F Douglas, old Peter Taugwalder, young Peter Taugwalder and Whymper last.  At the first difficult section, Whymper noted the additional rope had not been tied to the rocks as had been previously agreed.  They descended for some distance then Whymper tied himself onto old Peter at the request of Lord Douglas.  What happened next is history and tragic, Croz was helping Hadow by placing his legs in the proper footholds, apparently a common practice then!  Whymper states the end of the party, him included were unsighted by a mass of rock but he believes Croz must have turned round to descend a couple of steps himself when Hadow slipped, fell on him and knocked him (Croz) over.  They flew downwards dragging Hudson from his stance and Lord Douglas after him!  Peter Taugwalder and Whymper took stances, kept the rope tight between them but the rope parted between Taugwalder and Douglas.  Whymper was forced to watch his companions fall one by one from precipice to precipice, 4000 ft onto the Matterhorn glacier.  The 3 men left were transfixed by fear and stood for half an hour unable to move.  The young Peter being in front would not go down.  Eventually old Peter moved to a rock fixed a rope and they managed to reach a stance together.  Whymper states (quote) "I asked for the rope and found to my horror it was the weakest of the three and should not have been employed for the purpose which it had been used".  It was just a reserve to be attached to rocks and left behind if necessary.  For 2 hours they descended totally unnerved, fixing hand lines and cutting the rope when necessary.  Finally bivouacking on a ledge and spending a miserable six hours, then at day break descending via the Hornli ridge to Zermat.  On the 19th of July the bodies were recovered but Lord Douglas was never found.  So the first ascent of the Matterhorn occurred and the mountain claimed its first lives.

Whymper suffered a great deal because of the accident and was accused, rightly or wrongly, of "cutting the rope" to save his own life.  If Taugwalder's account and Whymper's are to be believed this is not possible because it would have been old Peter Taugwalder who would have had to cut the rope.

Whymper stayed in Zermat for 8 days then returned to England, "blasted by the Times Newspaper", in spite of the fact that the editor and staff knew very little, except reports from Switzerland with no factual backup.  The Punch Newspaper later apologised for their "scurrilous" attack.

Old Peter Taugwalder, who was exonerated of any blame by Whymper, left his country for America and subsequently returned to Schwartzee in 1888 and died there and Young Peter lived to a great age.  Whymper returned to Haslemere in Hants and spent 6 years writing "Some Scrambles Amongst the Alps".  He revisited the Alps between 1877 and 1886 just walking the valleys and glaciers.

Several visits to the Arctic were made in 1867 and 1872.  He also made 2 trips to Greenland which were regarded as failures in his eyes! The Matterhorn was revisited in 1874. He ascended with the guide Carrel and took photos to illustrate his lectures in England.

Five years later, 1879, Carrel and Whymper went to the Andes.  They ascended Mt Chimborazo, camping at 16,000 ft, where they tried to study the effects of high altitude.  Sadly although having spent 2 weeks at 10,000 ft all three suffered terribly from altitude sickness.  Carrel states "I thought we were dying".  Eventually they managed to camp at 17,283 ft and finally reached the summit "the highest climbed peak at that time".  Carrel and Whymper both suffered frostbite due to poor quality clothing at altitude.  The Andes tour was a success with several more mountains climbed accompanied by the Carrels.

Andean Indians were not Whymper's favourite people.  A dirty and impoverished country with even dirtier natives is how he described them. His views were not improved when he was “ripped off” by a hotel keeper who locked the expedition mules in a compound and made him pay "an exorbitant bill".  Whymper was not a man to be crossed.  Subsequently Whymper returned and horse whipped the man in the main street as revenge!  Poor Carrel was paid off in the port of Suayanquic and warned to "take care". He and Bersagliere went out drinking and gambling, ending up "like you do" at the local police station "penniless the next day".  "A warning to all young climbers" Whymper returned to Haslemere and spent twelve years writing "Travels Amongst the Great Andes of the Equator” (Read it - ED).  The Times applauded the double volume in 1891.  Wood engraving declined as a profession, Whymper used books and lectures as a means of income.  His lectures were well attended and his grand appearance in later years plus his dramatic flair held people spellbound.

Later in life he returned to the Alps several times, wrote 2 guide books on Zermatt and Chamonix.  He married and had a daughter Ethel.

During 1901 at the age of 60 he made several expenses paid visits to the Canadian Rockies (CP railways stood the bill).  He had a free hand but they were not happy trips.  He turned down several ambitious climbs proposed by his guides.  For example Mt Robinson and Mt Assinbourne. His passion and fire had gone.

Whilst never giving up travel he suffered from dizziness and insomnia which (quote) "troubled him greatly".

In 1911 he did the rounds in the Alps finally stopping at Chamonix.  He locked himself in his room, refused all medical aid and died alone 4 days later.

So ended the career of one of England's most controversial climbers of the Victorian age.

Ref. books:-

'Some Scrambles Amongst the Alps' - Whymper.

'Matterhorn man' - Walt Unworth.

'Travels amongst the Andes' - Whymper.


Correction to Last BB

From Roger Stenner

The maps of the streams which feed St. Cuthbert's Swallet, in Frankie and Roger Stenner's article in last month's BB, was not very clear.  Sorry.  If the following key is used, the links between the article and the two maps should be easier to find.

The grid references of points numbered 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 were measured from the original drawings, and the other references are from the survey data, rounded to the nearest metre.
















St. Cuthbert's Swallet Entrance Shaft

Sample Site 1 Mineries Pool Outflow Stream

Sample Site 2 St. Cuthbert's Stream near main stream sink

Sample Site 3 Fair Lady Well

Maypole Sink

Intermittent overflow channel       From


Maypole Overflow Corner

Intermittent tributary complex


Source of former (pre 1985) St. Cuthbert's Stream

Pool, now breached (not numbered on the 25 inch map)

Lower Corner (wall corner near footpath)

Upper Corner (wall corner near Fair Lady Well)

Wall Junction (behind the Belfry)









54368 54331





















(Apologies - the printers couldn't quite cope with the fineness of the maps - Ed)


Attborough Swallet Progress report

By Dave Shipton

A run down of Attborough Swallet over the last 2 1/2 years. Report 22/11/94

Attborough Swallet like Wigmore Swallet is in an unusual geological location, the cave being located in Dolomitic Conglomerate and marl.  A hydrological connection exists between this site and the up stream sumps in Wigmore.  The cave was entered and explored by the Cotham Caving Group in late 1992, previously the site had been dug by W.C.C., M.N.R.C., and S.V.C.C. between 1956 and 1966. The cave is also known as Red Quar Swallet and was originally dug by the MMRC in the 1930s.  (See "Caves of Mendip")

The concrete piped entrance shaft requires a 15ft ladder and a short belay at the bottom.  A short crawl then gives way to a rift, 40ft long and 30ft deep - a 20ft ladder is required.  15ft from here is a bold step across the rift and climb up via a tight and slippery muddy tube (break through: 7-10-92) great care needed on the climb up, this leads into a small decorated chamber - The Attic (break through: 11-10-93).

A drop in the floor leads down a twisting descent through boulders reaching a fixed ladder which gives access to the second chamber (break through: 4-11-93).  There is a too tight dig in the left corner.  A climb through  loose boulders            and scaffolding supports enables access to the third chamber (break through: 16-12-93).  Directly below the scaffolding is a very awkward and tight squeeze down, entering the Quick Link.  To the left is an inlet tube in the roof that gives a draught. This must be close to the surface, but it's too tight after 10ft.


Attborough Entrance - note the digging bags!!!

Directly below in the floor of the chamber is a 5ft drop through boulders and 20ft of narrow passage (Pain and Passion) ending too tight. Going back to the entrance rift and carrying on down through scaffolding to a squeeze leading under the floor into Happy Mondays (break through: 30-8-93).  To the right Quick Link Passage is entered, 40ft of narrow passage leading back to the upper chambers.  Opposite this is a small connecting tube which leads to Cotham Hall.  Carry on down Happy Mondays 20ft, and on the right you can enter Nigel's Dig, 20ft long ending in a mud filled passage. Continue down the narrowing passage of Happy Mondays and you enter Cotham Hall, 90ft long, 12ft wide and 10ft high.

To the right and down a fixed ladder is the Shower Room, continuing down through boulders to a T -junction.  Left is too tight, but connects with the hole in the roof of the left hand lower passage of Cotham Hall; to the right and you enter "Nasty, Nasty" (break through: 1-9-93).  90ft long and very muddy, 30ft along and a standing chamber is reached, with a squeeze at floor level.  Continuing the crawl through and you reach a passage on your right which goes into a small chamber and a very tight duck at the top end (possibly sumped) this enters Mud Hall (break through: 4-5-93) 40ft long narrowing up a slope to a dig possibly heading towards Nigel's Dig.


Attborough Swallet
Red Quar, Chewton Mendip
Surveyed by BEC Sept 93 - Feb 95
Drawn by T. Hughes
Scales 1:200, 1:2500
Entrance level based on OSBM (accepted value 273.16m) on cottage at road to Wigmore farm


Continue down Nasty, Nasty to what looks like the end and then go up and over a mud bank.  To the right is a very narrow squeeze upwards which leads to May Chamber (break through: 1-5-94) a small calcite chamber. By turning left at the mud bank a small squeeze and flat out crawl leads down to a 10ft pitch, Pit Pot (break through: 13-2-94).  At floor level a squeeze leads to a stream way, up stream is too tight.  5ft down stream leads to a tight sump.  The stream feeder is unknown so it will be very interesting to dye test some of the surface inlets around the area to try and find the source.

Back in Cotham Hall the passage on the left hand side gradually narrows down.  Just as you enter there's a small hole in the roof which leads down about 20ft to an on going dig possibly towards Pit Pot.  Continue down the narrowing passage 15ft to a Letter Box on the left, which floods in heavy rain - possible dig?  Just past this is an elbow which enters Twist And Shout (break through 12.10.93) with a very tight squeeze down an 8ft drop, then a 4ft drop and finally a 15ft pitch down the water rift to a sump 6ft long and 3ft deep which leads back under the right hand wall; this is where all the water flows off.  The rift has flooded up to the top in very wet weather.

Just above the water level there is an inlet on the left which feeds from Pit Pot stream way.  This does not dry up in summer whereas all of the rest of the cave inlets do(!?).  Back up the rift in the roof there is a 20ft tight passage leading over the top of the rift, but it is too tight.


Nigel Denmead in Cotham Hall

WARNING:  In very wet weather beyond the Mud Bank, Nasty Nasty will back up and flood, blocking access.

N.B.  The entrance system was B.A.R.A. dye traced to Cheddar Rising in 1973 (travel time 5 days) Wigmore Swallet (travel time, up stream sump, under 56 hours)

Digging by D. Shipton, D. Bryant and P. Evans.

Wigmore Swallet (top) and Attborough Swallet (bottom) in relation to the surface features.  Based on 1886 and 1903 OS sheets and original survey work (1:25000)


Newspaper Headlines

The following is a bunch of actual newspaper headlines.

  • Grandmother of eight makes hole in one
  • Deaf mute gets new hearing in killing
  • Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
  • House passes gas tax onto senate
  • Stiff opposition expected to casketless funeral plan
  • Two convicts evade noose, jury hung
  • William Kelly was fed secretary
  • Milk drinkers are turning to powder
  • Safety experts say school bus passengers should be belted
  • Quarter of a million Chinese live on water
  • Farmer bill dies in house
  • Iraqi head seeks arms








Some become unintentionally suggestive:

  • Queen Mary having bottom scraped
  • Is there a ring of debris around Uranus?
  • Prostitutes appeal to Pope
  • Panda mating fails - veterinarian takes over
  • NJ judge to rule on nude beach
  • Child's stool great for use in garden
  • Dr. Ruth to talk about sex with newspaper editors
  • Soviet virgin lands short of goal again
  • Organ festival ends in smashing climax







Grammar often botches other headlines:

  • Eye drops off shelf
  • Squad helps dog bite victim
  • Dealers will hear car talk at noon
  • Enraged cow injures farmer with axe
  • Lawmen from Mexico barbecue guests
  • Miners refuse to work after death
  • Two Soviet ships collide - one dies
  • Two sisters reunite after eighteen years at checkout counter






Once in a while, a botched headline takes on a meaning opposite from the one intended:

  • Never withhold herpes from loved one
  • Nicaragua sets goal to wipe out literacy
  • Drunk drivers paid $1,000 in 1984
  • Autos killing 110 a day let's resolve to do better




Sometimes newspaper editors state the obvious:

  • If strike isn't settled quickly it may last a while
  • War dims hope for peace
  • Smokers are productive, but death cuts efficiency
  • Cold wave linked to temperatures
  • Child's death ruins couple's holiday
  • Blind woman gets new kidney from dad she hasn't seen in years
  • Man is fatally slain
  • Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say
  • Death causes loneliness, feeling of isolation






Dicking About in the Desert, or Never Mind the Kalashnikov.What about the Pomegranate Stains?

by Tony Boycott and Peter Dowswell

During late October/early November 1997, Simon Brooks, Peter Dowswell, myself and Daniel Gebauer from Germany participated in the 5th Pak-Britain Caving Climbing Training Expedition to Baluchistan.  Simon has been going to Pakistan since 1989 and has built up a useful partnership with the Chiltan Adventures (sic) Association of Quetta, who were our hosts during the expedition.

Local contacts are essential, as without them the problems of obtaining 'No Objection Certificates' (allowing access to normally restricted areas and providing for native levies) equipment and transport would be virtually insurmountable.

Following a couple of days travel we arrived in Quetta to much razzmatazz at the airport - tinsel garlands, welcoming banner - the full biff.  This was followed by a solemn opening ceremony at the local Provincial Assembly Members Hostel during which Koranic prayers were recited and many fine sentiments were expressed, followed by Suleimani (black) Chai and biscuits. Simon and Daniel were then whisked away to the Pakistan TV studios for an interview - broadcast to over 40 nations by satellite - what superstars!

Quetta (population about 500,000) is the capital of Baluchistan, the largest and westernmost province of Pakistan, and lies surrounded by mountains at an altitude of 1700 metres.  It lies at the junction of the main roads to Iran, Afghanistan and via the Bolan Pass the main more populous Pakistan heartland.  Most of the city is modern, the previous buildings having been destroyed by an earthquake in 1935.  It has the air of a frontier town to it and thrives on the import/export business. Although Pashto (aka Pathans or Pashtun) is the dominant culture it is ethnically diverse and has large groups of Baluchs, Brahuis and Hazaras.


Local transport near Thang Ghara, Kharan

There is a large amount of traffic of all types, including autorickshaws, camels, donkeys, handcarts, bicycles and lorries and a traffic smog tends to hang over the city in the morning and evening.  It is also reputed to be the cleanest city in Pakistan.

The evening was spent discussing the forthcoming programme with Hayat Ullah Durrani Khan, our host and expedition co-leader.  This was then typed out for use in obtaining the No Objection Certificate (NOC).

The following morning was spent obtaining the NOC, after the usual prolonged discussions, and then a late start for Sirkii Kaach Cave in the Zarghoon Range.  A long drive along a rough road up the side of a mountain (the norm) led to 'base camp' next to an old cemetery. Having missed the Halal butchery demonstration (a volunteer sheep having been brought in the Land Rover) we continued a further two miles up the track before walking the remaining mile or so in the gathering twilight (also the norm) to the cave entrance.  The cave (previously described as having a chamber 500 feet by 100 feet) turned out to be a vadose canyon in mudstone with an overlying sandstone cap.  Eighty-five metres of cave was surveyed by PO and TB whilst noting various varieties of wildlife - ghundak (spider) cockroaches, bats (the norm) and a porcupine. Returned to camp to devour the aforementioned sheep and returned late to Quetta (the norm).

Pushto hospitality knows no bounds and is a matter of honour for whomsoever you should call upon - it is never too late to stop for a meal - and justice has not been done unless the guests have had three square meals a day.

Daniel Gebauer climbing up into Gundak Crawl in Pir Ghaib Ghara No I

Thursday 30th saw a trip along the Mastung Valley to Mangochar and a couple of caves in the Mountains.  The first (plus a couple of smaller nearby caves) Kaddi Coo char, was an old remnant about 150m above the valley floor consisting of a very impressive entrance, about 10m diameter, at the head of a gully in the cliff, leading to a series of low crawls.  PO & OG surveyed whilst waiting for the rest of the party to arrive with the cameras. The usual dicking about and food followed before departing for a cave on the Jolan road beyond Kalat (having picked up some levymen on the way).  The cave, Ziarat Sheikh Hadje Ghara, was located at the foot of Koh-e-Maharan (Snake Mountain) about 20 km beyond Kalat, and as it was dark by now, took a little time to locate.  The cave itself, although relatively short (29m) was interesting, being a shrine (ziarat) to Sheikh Hadje (and containing his grave) and being quite well endowed with stal.  Survey and photographs were followed by a return to the vehicles where quite a few local tribesmen had gathered.  They were a little unhappy on two counts, one that a few of our party had failed to remove our footwear in the cave and secondly they appeared not to want word of their holy cave to be spread around.  Returned to Quetta late.

Friday saw us off to Kharan in the west of Baluchistan a good 8 hours away by land rover.  We stopped at Noshki, about halfway and were given hospitality by the local magistrate, a friend of Hayat's, and a couple of levymen.  Shortly after leaving Noshki and the main highway the offside front wheel bearing on the landrover collapsed.  Not daunted, this was soon changed at the side of the road and we continued on our way, the land rover again almost coming to grief, soon after, when the road abruptly stopped at the edge of a wadi where the bridge had been washed away, and it came to rest slightly over the edge.  A little manhandling, however, and we were on our way again, over a particularly rough section of road, eventually reaching our destination about 10 km beyond Kharan after midnight.

Rising early the following morning, we surveyed and photographed Thang Gara, a large remnant at the foot of Koh-e-Bajarat, truncated by a wadi.  A very large entrance soon gave way to a rising sandy crawl with the usual bats in residence which pinched out about 100m from the entrance. Some time was also spent surveying/climbing the upward continuation of the entrance rift which rose to a height of 30 metres or more.  Lunch was punctuated by some impromptu Pushto dancing and singing followed by an attempt at teaching them how to do eightsome reels - one of the more surreal moments of the trip!  After looking at a few promising holes in the surrounding area and talking to a local tribesman and his camels, we set off for Quetta, stopping briefly at Kharan to weld a broken shock absorber, Noshki to return our levymen and buy food and then later at the side of the road to eat, eventually arriving after midnight.

Sunday was used to rest and to feed data into Daniel's laptop.

Monday 3rd November provided a day trip from Quetta to the Lak PasslMastung Valley area.  Whilst looking for one cave, some locals guided us to the nearby village of Bathora to examine a different one.

Although initially regarded with some suspicion (people often think caves may contain treasure and can't really understand anyone wanting to look at them for sport) we were eventually shown to the entrance of Kodi Ghara an interesting little cave of 82m, with some odd little chambers and an interesting low crawl, smelling strongly of porcupine and bats.  Then over the Lak pass to an entrance, previously observed, which turned out to be little more than a rock shelter, Ghosabad Ghara.  Thence back towards Quetta for another two small caves, Kassiabad Ghara 1 & 2.  Back to Quetta in daylight!

The following morning we set off on a four day trip through the Bolan Pass to Pir Ghaib, Sibi and the Nari River.  After the usual stops for supplies, we reached the Bolan Pass at about mid-day.

The Bolan is an impressive place, a deeply cut gorge surrounded by high mountains and with the railway and main road south to Karachi running through it. The railway is a monument to Victorian engineering skills and to the many men who must have built it under extremely harsh conditions.  There are a number of impressive tunnels and bridges, although as is often the case in Baluchistan with its flash floods at least one of the bridges was washed away and has been replaced.  One of the more interesting hazards of the Bolan (apart from the huge potential for installing crash barriers at precipitous drops) is the propensity for overladen trucks (mostly extremely colourful old Bedford lorries appearing to carry about twice their design load of 20 tons) to get stuck underneath railway bridges (where they cross over the road) thereby stemming the flow of traffic.  The usual response is for the traffic then to drive up (or down) the river bed until the problem is sorted.

Continuing down to Mach and the local District Commissioner's office we picked up four levymen before going on to Pir Ghaib. Mach has a thriving coal industry seemingly run under the most basic of conditions with the surrounding hillsides riddled with small drift mines with extremely rudimentary equipment and worked by hand.

Entrance to Snake Cave, Bolan Pass

Pir Ghaib is a pleasant contrast, a beautiful tropical oasis in the middle of the stony desert surrounded by date palms and with a warm spring.  A large pool just downstream from where the water gushes from the rock affords an excellent place to swim and relax.  Close by is a shrine to a local mullah (and grave) which was our base for the next two nights, the only disadvantage to this otherwise idyllic spot being the large numbers of hornets.  Pir Ghaib Ghara, at 1.3km Pakistan's longest cave lies in the steep sided gorge upstream and had been pushed to about 680m on previous visits.  It is reached by climbing part of the way up the mountain and then dropping down into the gorge.  The first night seemed rather a noisy affair, with barking dogs, falling rocks and SB's snoring.  My night was enlivened by being wakened at 2 in the morning by a dog licking my face.

The hillside was duly climbed the following morning and most of the party descended to the cave.  Most of the party returned at around sunset that evening apart from Daniel, myself, Simon and Wali Mohammed (Wallo) who decided to sleep overnight in the gorge, having emerged at dusk and decided that sleeping overnight with minimal food and no sleeping kit was preferable to climbing back up the gorge in the dark with no ropes.  The night was enlivened by a move into the lower cave after a careful inspection for snakes as sleeping on the pocket handkerchief sized piece of karrirnat in the back of the rucksacks was too cold, and none of the party succeeded in getting entirely into their rucksacks despite trying hard. 

White Spider in Pir Ghaib Ghara No 1

The additional benefit was an early start surveying the cave and most leads were fully pushed and Friendship Passage and Golden Jubilee Chamber discovered and surveyed.  The number of bats (small horseshoes, species not identified) in the cave was so great that they interrupted the surveying by hanging on the tape, T-shirts, lips, noses, eyelids etc.  Surprisingly no-one became ill (yet!) from such close contact.  The cave was also inhabited by large white hairy spiders, one of which was observed eating a large centipede, and many cockroaches, three of which were seen dragging away a dead bat.  Meanwhile PD endured the hell of swimming at the pool, enlivened during the previous evening by a snake swimming past him (he was assured that they cannot swim and bite at the same time), and some walking.  The rest of the party returned at about 3.00pm, smelling heavily of bat guano, to much applause, and after a swim and some food we departed for Sibi. Being much lower than Quetta, Pir Ghaib (985m a.s.l.) was hot and Sibi (220m a.s.l.) even hotter.  Sibi enjoys the reputation of being the hottest place in Asia with the summer temperature rising to the mid-fifties Centigrade.  We arrived in the evening to a bustling street market and spent around an hour there sampling the local fast food - jelabi, pakora, samosas, roasted peanuts in their shells - whilst Malik Abdul Rahim Baabai, the Chiltan's chairman and owner of our newer vehicle, a Toyota Hilux, made some phone calls.  We then continued to the Nari river, about l0 km beyond Sibi, camping and eating (after the usual slaughter of our live meat) well after midnight.  We also made a quick recce to the caves as a local hunting party were able to show us their location.  Half the party then decided to return to Quetta as Malik had some pressing business to attend to.

After an early rise we explored, surveyed and photographed the local caves before breakfast.  They lie close to the Nari River near the head works for a large irrigation scheme and a few yards from the main railway line to Harnai.  Formed in bands of soft mudstone between the limestone, they are relatively unstable and full of soft breakdown and some odd mudstone formations, altogether quite interesting and in a beautiful location.  The Nari, apart from providing good fishing is also home to small crocodiles. We then headed back for Quetta, stopping for an hour or two in the Bolan Pass to explore four caves there.  A pleasant time was has by all apart from Simon who had a close encounter of the serpentine kind in Snake Cave (Darah-e- Bolan Ghara no 1).  Having forded the river, barefoot apart from sandals, whilst surveying a snake fell out of the roof, disturbed by some cave swiftlets, bounced off Simon's helmet and landed on his feet.  Daniel was somewhat bemused by this incident as Simon swiftly exited the passage declaring loudly "fucking spiders" (his normal expletive). Two of the other caves, Armoury Cave and Chimney Cave both had extremely large bat roosts and the associated aroma.  Further stops at Bibi Nani for water (the land rover was overheating), Mach for chai, to watch the Bolan Mail train go past and to return our levymen, and the Bolan Pass to collect fresh spring water marked a pleasnt journey back to Quetta.

Entrance to Ghosalabch Ghara, Lak Pass

Saturday 8th November we spent the day at Marri Farsch, an impressive 200m wall at the side of a gorge about two hours drive from Quetta, with Simon and Nigel, a local ex-pat, attempting to provide tuition on safe climbing techniques, in between climbing competitions.  Peter and I wandered around the gorge collecting some plants and looking at a large boulder cave beneath the road.  The Chiltans are excellent natural climbers who seem to prefer free climbing. Wallo played along with Nigel and allowed himself to be life lined up to about 80m.  The effect was rather spoiled, however, when John Mohammed (Johno) free climbed up the wall past them stopping briefly to say hello.  Nigel suggested that he and Wallo should proceed back to the bottom as he could no longer lifeline him, whereupon Wallo offered to climb up the next pitch and lifeline Nigel.  Nigel declined and returned to the bottom whilst Wallo duly climbed to the top in the gathering twilight.  All of which reminded us somewhat of Obelix the Gaul.  A chicken and bhindi picnic lunch was consumed in the dark lit by burning bushes, before returning to Quetta.

The following day we headed east in the land rover for Ziarat and Pui.  A late start (usual dick about) meant that we did not reach our first objective, Kan Tangi, an impressive deep, narrow, steep sided canyon until mid afternoon.  An hour's walk brought us to the entrance, about 10m up the smooth vertical side of the canyon and it proved impossible to reach without pegs or scaling poles. Somewhat pissed off, we returned to the land rover in the twilight for chai and to continue our journey.  Next stop was Ziarat, a beautiful little village high in the mountains (altitude 2600m) surrounded by juniper forest, a favourite summer retreat of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader) the founder of Pakistan, and in the time of the British, their summer headquarters in Baluchistan.  It is somewhat reminiscent of Switzerland in an odd sort of way, and we had a welcome coffee at the Shalimar hotel before continuing on to Wani, where we stayed the night in the house of a friend of Hayat's.

Another beautiful dawn and early start, looking at Spedar China spring before heading over the mountain to Shirin and Pui.  The spring itself was quite interesting, coming from an attractive looking rift. Disappointingly it yielded only about 10m before ending in a sump pool with the water issuing from a too tight bedding.  Also noted were small fish and a freshwater crab, presumably remnants from earlier times as the spring water runs on the surface for less than half a mile.  The pass over the hill was yet another woolly track up the side of the mountain, although the scenery was impressive as usual. At Shirin there was a slight delay whilst the caves were not found which enabled us to sample the local apples from the adjacent orchards.  Apples from the Pui Valley are renowned for their quality, a claim well justified. On to Pui and with a little local assistance the caves were found, to the south of the village up a small side valley.  Ograha Ghat Ghara 1 & 2, as usual old remnants, yielded about 160m between them and were quite interesting, Ghara 1 having a pleasant domed chamber with a window to the outside.  After a meal we then started back for Quetta at about 4 in the afternoon, and after a three-quarter hour stop to look at another entrance reached a different pass back to the Ziarat valley - a short-cut to Chauter.  Half way up we had the recurrent land rover problem of choked fuel line and rigged the alternative fuel tank - a plastic canister of diesel in the front passenger well with a tube feeding directly to the fuel pump. Stopping on an incline was always interesting as the vehicle did not have a functional handbrake - the foot brakes being only slightly better.  Power restored we continued to the top and started our descent - a series of tight hairpins with a semi vertical drop of about 1000 feet.  This proved quite interesting on a crumbly uneven track as the hairpins were too tight for the long wheelbase land rover to get round, necessitating taking it to the edge and then reversing back.  The added safety feature was Johno at the rear door ready to jump out and put some chock stones in if things got out of control.  Another interesting feature was that when the land rover leaned over too much the Chiltans in the back would all sit on the opposite side as a counterbalance.  Chauter was duly reached and we continued to Ziarat for puncture repair, diesel and more coffee and apples.  A further land rover refinement was no heating in the back.  Being at high altitude it was rather cold - not a problem for the Chiltans who fired up the gas stoves in the back - slightly negated by us opening windows.  At about 10.30pm as we were coming into Kuchlagh, about 20 minutes short of Quetta, it was decided that we hadn't had enough to eat and would drop in on some Afghani relatives for a meal.  After some excellent food we eventually reached Quetta about 1.00am - altogether a most interesting day.

Tuesday 11th, Simon set off with 3 Chiltan members to have a look at some caves on the ridge of Takatu Mountain.  A successful day surveying 3 new caves, Khazana Takki Ghara nos. 1 - 3, total length 57.5m, as usual descending the mountain in the twilight. Daniel, Pete and myself had meanwhile gone shopping for stuff to take home, to visit some of Quetta's many bookshops and to get tickets for Daniel to proceed to Bangkok and for us to fly to Karachi, and failed to get into the archaeological museum.    

Entrance, Pir Ghaib Ghara No 1

Wednesday proved to be another marathon.  In the morning we all went to the Chief Minister's (of Baluchistan Provincial Assembly) residence for a flag presentation ceremony. After the usual photo calls, TV and chai we eventually set off to climb Zarghoon Mountain, Baluchistan's highest at about 11,700 feet to wave the flag in celebration of the Golden Jubilee and the success of the expedition.  Another long drive round the flanks of the mountain on a dirt road eventually led us, amidst magnificent ancient juniper forest, to the starting point at about 8500 feet, at around 4.00pm.  The approach was somewhat fragmented with several groups setting off up the steep boulder strewn slope at different rates and in different directions. The parties more or less reconvened at the gully marking the obvious route up the last 1000 feet of the more vertical part of the mountain.  With only about 45 minutes of daylight left myself and Daniel decided to return to the camp whilst Simon and five Chiltans pushed on to the verglas coated top, eventually reached in darkness.  Whilst we sat round the camp fire burning juniper wood and, in the absence of suitable provisions, experimenting with ginger tea and juniper berry tea (not a life enriching experience) they made their way back in darkness reaching camp at about 8.30.  Food and then back to Quetta about 00.30.

Our last full day in Quetta was prize giving day, with the ceremony to take place at the Serena Hotel at around 6.00pm.  Most of the day was taken up with the arrangements for this and of course making ourselves look a bit more presentable, but did allow for a visit to the archaeological museum.  Although not particularly extensive and lacking the sophisticated display facilities of a modern museum, it was quite interesting, containing exhibits from Mehrgarh, the earliest known site in the subcontinent (7000 BC - 2000 BC) Moenjodaro, the great Indus civilisation, a display of very old and beautiful Korans and a large weaponry section.  Pride of place was given to the blood encrusted scimitar used to assassinate the British garrison commander in 1919.

The prize giving and exhibition of caving and climbing gear was an impressive affair, the Serena being a particularly fine venue.  Verses from the Koran were sung beautifully by Malik's son, many fine speeches were made (recorded for TV of course), extolling the virtues of international co-operation and recounting our achievements, and medals, trophies and certificates were awarded by the speaker of the Baluchistan Assembly to much applause. Tea and savouries followed and we then spent the rest of the evening at the local Chinese restaurant, the Cafe China. Chinese food - quality and style seems to be something of a global constant and a fine time was had by all.

In true Chiltan style we managed to delay going to the airport for as long as possible and were the last people to board the plane.  We had not been looking forward to our overnight stay in Karachi due to the recent troubles.

View from entrance of Kaddi Coochar Ghara

A couple of senior mullahs had been assassinated the previous week and four Americans slaughtered a couple of days ago in retaliation for the trial of the World Trade Centre bombers.  We therefore spent the day at the airport hotel sitting by the pool before our 4.00am bus to the airport (accompanied by armed guard) and the long journey home.

All in all the expedition should be considered a success, with over thirty new caves surveyed totalling nearly two kilometres.  It would have been nice to find more, and with the amount of limestone present there is still good potential for a lot more.  The large distances to be covered take up a lot of time, however, and can be frustrating at times.  The country itself is ruggedly beautiful and the people extremely friendly.  I have no doubt that further work will eventually reveal some larger systems.


Turner, J (1977) First Field Report from the 1976 Speleological Expedition to the Himalayas. Descent 35, p 42-3.

Orpheus Caving Club (1990) Pakistan 1990.  DCA Newsletter 74 p 2-4

Antonini, G (1991) I "Mulinelli" del Biafo.  Speleologia 12 (24) p 28 - 32

Antonini, G (1991) Speleologia glaciale in Karakorum La Rivista del Club Alpino Italiano 2 p 56 - 63.

Bannert, D (1992) The Structural Development of the Western Fold belt, Pakistan King, J & D. St. Vincent (1993) Pakistan.  Lonely Planet Guide, 4th edition

Badino, G & G. Carrieri (1993) Hunza 93 Prima spedizione italiana nel Karakorum Grotte Torino 111 p 6-8.

Brooks, S. (1994) Observations on the karst & caves of the Karakorum International Caver 11 p 11 - 16.

Ducluzaux, B (1994) Karakorum 1993.  Expedition de reconnaissance au Pakistan. Grottes et Gouffres 132 p 24 - 29.

Vacchiano, F (1996) Pakistan. Grotte (Torino) Year 39 no 121 p 56 - 62.


The Undergrounders - Well Almost! CAVING - What's it all about?

By Rich Long

Over the last couple of months my good friend Chris "Zot" Harvey has been back caving with us, no really, he has been going underground, honest, ask Mr Wilson.

Which prompts me to ask, "What is it all about then?"  Is it the deepest the tightest the longest it's still caves I'm talking about by the way, or is it all that and something else, like a ZOT TRIP. When you cave with Chris it's always an experience, I remember the first time he took me down St Cuthbert's, head first down the rift, what a sight to instil into the virgin caver.  OK, so, sometimes he doesn't have all of his kit maybe he's minus a light, oversuit, belt, krab, descender, rope, sling, key to the cave, but he's always got the essentials a big heart, enthusiasm, a love of caving and that bloody helmet with no chinstrap.

For about three years we have been planning to go to Yorkshire and do Swinsto together.  At last we got it arranged, picked Chris up Friday afternoon, me, absolutely hyper with excitement I like going out to play, Zot totally laid back.

"Hello Chris, everything ready?"

"Well, no, can't find me sleeping bag, but I've got me wellies and wetsuit!"

After a short search, organised by Zot's Dad, a wet sleeping bag which had hidden itself at the back of the garage was produced.  I'm not convinced it hadn't done it on purpose as it had been away with Chris previously.

On we go after we pick up Vicky who had also decided to try the trip.  Well after a Thrupe Lane tip with Mike Wilson, me and Chris she had been lulled into a false sense of security.  After a FIVE HOUR PLUS drive, God damn it, and hundreds of, “Don't let the B******'s back in!"  I am a Saint behind the wheel, we arrive in Clapham, at Big Roy's place.  “That was a long time wasn't it,” I said we should have come the other way and not the motorway.   Chris.

After mugs of tea and then liberal doses of beer and medicinal whiskey at the pub, Chris trying to equal Pam and dismally failing.  Bed time.

Next day, it had rained so hard no one in their right mind would go underground, fortunately Roy was in his right mind and it was decided to go hill walking.  Well everyone except Zot, who thought he would be better off guarding the car at Malham.  Fortunately on returning to the car Zot wasn't dead, although I wasn't convinced, he was just asleep.  Well at least I didn't have to give him the kiss of life.  Thank You God.

We dropped in to Horton, but everyone else had gone hill walking.  But we did see a nice locomotive steaming up the valley and across the viaduct, pleasant sight, but I must admit I didn't get quite as aroused as the hundreds of train enthusiasts who could have done with" ... a long cold shower, Boy!" as my old Reform School teacher Herr Hitler would say.

OK as we were so near it had to be the Hill Inn, where upon much coaxing, I attempted the wheel.  Do you find it amazing how quickly a "Go on, you can do it!" turns into a "Too Bloody fast!" the worst thing was some 'Stick Boy' hill walker climbed through with his coat on, "The ******* ******!"

However I accepted defeat gracefully, well, I considered it graceful even if the others didn't.  Next day more of the same.  More hill walking, this time in snow, followed by gales on Ingleborough then beautiful sunshine below Black Shiver, excellent contrast.

Anyway the trip to Swinsto had fizzled out caving wise, but for us it was still a great trip. Wherever we went we met Chris's friends who hopefully became our friends.  So what's it all about?  Not always being underground but being with like minded folk, like Zot who shares everything, who has shown me time and time again "Hey Rich, No Problem, take it easy."   Thanks Zotty, perhaps next time we can go caving?

P.S. The return journey was just as bad going Zot's way.  Haaa!







QuaecumQue Faciendum: Nimis Faciemus

Having noted the above Latin motto on some old Belfry Bulletins I asked for information in the last BB and I was pleased to receive a letter from Alfie Collins explaining the history and derivation of the motto.  He told me that the motto was his idea and dated from the first BEC Song competition.  (Now there is the next question - when was that?)  He said that he was the first person to see George Weston's contribution and thought that the last lines of the song summed up the club's attitude to life very well.

Alfie explained that the word "Quaecumque" means 'whatsoever' and should be in the feminine as the Latin for thing (res) is oddly enough feminine in gender.  The word "Faciendum" is the gerundive of the verb 'facio' which means 'I do' or 'I make' and its gerundive means 'fit to be done'.  The word "Nimis" means to excess and Alfie said that the 'Red Lion' at Green Ore (now re-named 'The Ploughboy') used to have a motto on its pub sign which read "Ne Nimium" which meant 'Nothing to excess' and was a good reason for the BEC not to drink there!  The final word "Faciemus" means 'we will do' and consequently the motto in total becomes:

"Whatever is worth doing we will do it to excess."

Alfie thinks that the motto was dropped when he ceased to be editor after the 1977 AGM and that the modern variant, "Everything to excess" is not what George Weston meant. i.e. some things are not worth doing!

Chris Smart (with very grateful thanks to Alfie Collins)


This particular Bertie was drawn for the current set of Belfry Bulletins, by Chas Wethered.  See the Caving News Page for Blitz's next history question


Meghalaya '98 - A Survivor's View

By Tony Jarratt 1/4/98

This year's expedition to NE India consisted of Tony Boycott (BEC/GSG), Tony Jarratt (BEC/GSG), Brian Johnson (BEC), Anette Becher (BEC/GSG), Simon Brooks (OCC/GSG), Jenni Brooks (OCC), Ian Chandler (WCC/CCC) and Andy Tyler (CSS) from Britain. Daniel Gebauer, Uwe Kruger, Ritschie Frank, Thilo Muller and Georg Baumler (Hohlen und Heimatverein Laichingen) from Schwabischeralb, Germany. Yvo Weidmann (Switzerland). Corporals Sher and Gurjinder Singh (probably the world's only Sikh cavers!) and the Khasi stalwarts from the Meghalaya Adventurers Association - Brian Kharpran Daly, Raphael Warjri, Donbok Syiemlieh, Colonel Fairweather Mylliemngap, Lindsay Diengdoh, Kyrshan Myrthong, Valerie Lalvula and others.  Our cooks, drivers, dhobi ladies and local guides kept the whole show on the road and enabled the cavers to concentrate on the job in hand.  So much so that after twenty days in the field, the total amount of surveyed passage (some two thirds of which was original exploration) amounted to over 26.4 km (15.3 miles), almost identical with last year's figure.

Our first discoveries were in the Cherrapunjee area where Krem Rong Umsoh (Ochre River Cave) was surveyed for 370m - leaving an extensive, bat infested upper level unmapped due to lack of time.  Krem Phyllut II (434m) and Krem Soh Pang Bniat (Thorn Apple Cave) where the writer was forced to adopt Mendip tactics to reach a large and as yet unsurveyed river passage heading both up and downstream for several hundred, bat filled metres!  The latter will doubtless provide an important piece of the extensive, segmented system known to exist in this fascinating area near the famous Raj hill station - only recently relegated from its title of "wettest place on Earth" by another Meghalayan town nearby.  While several of the team were busy here, a larger contingent had left by Wankhar Roadlines coach (honest) for the Nongjri area where over 5 km was surveyed in the 6.5km Krem Lymput system and associated caves.  A 24 hour "lurgi" began decimating the Cherra team who were now en route for our main area at Lumshnong in the Jaintia Hills.  Here we took up residence in the Soil Conservation Bungalow (C.B) just north of the village during a torrential downpour not good news when one of our projects was to be further exploration of the 19.2 km long, flood-prone Krem Kotsati / Krem Urn Lawan System running practically underneath the main road!

The following day the weather improved but fearing flooding underground we went surface prospecting beyond the known end of the system.  Here the tight and unpleasant Krem Sohmynken Khnai (Rat Shit Chilli Cave) was pushed by Tony Boycott for 30m becoming too small.  An extra treat here were the black and orange striped Tiger Leeches, one of which made a fatal error by biting the scrawny neck of a cigarette addict.  Smoking became a popular pastime over the next few weeks.

The nearby Krem Umkhang / Kharasniang was again visited in the hope of finding a connection to the main system.  This was not to be but as a consolation prize we didn't get wiped out as we squeezed through a dodgy boulder choke during an earthquake!

During the next few days work was concentrated in and around the Urn Lawan System where several km of fine passages were discovered and mapped.  The terminal choke was passed by the "old English gits" to reach two 10m and one 30m pitches with the sound of a roaring stream echoing up from the depths.  This turned out to be a possible inlet stream becoming too low downstream but providing India's first free diveable sump upstream, passed after some 3m Brian "Nobrot" Johnson.  Emboldened by this success he decided to repeat the performance in a downstream sump back in the main streamway above.  After several tries he spotted the tell-tale silver sheen of airspace some 4m into the sump and "went for it".  As he thrust his head into a 2" high, 3" wide airbell he realised his error, lost his mask, blackened his eye, gashed his face and shit his pants - all at once!  Desperately sucking small amounts of air and large amounts of water (most of which had already been through several hundred villagers) he successfully groped for the mask and reached a slightly bigger airspace.  Bigger maybe, nicer - definitely not.  He was only able to get the mask to his face by continued ducking down and wriggling, all of which activity served to use up the oxygen content of the airbell.  Suffice it to say that he eventually escaped - a bloodier and a wiser man!  His Swiss companion, Yvo, was suitably impressed and the reputation of the "old English gits" improved yet again.

On 24th February we fancied a change of scenery so were driven several km up the road to the village of Thangskai and the 50m deep pothole of Krem Malo.  This is the last resting place of a Tata lorry which descended the pot with seven people on board some years ago.  It was left last year at 467m long with lots of ongoing passages including a fine streamway where the way on led off from "Estelle's Dumping Pond".  This interestingly named feature will crop up again later in this tale.


The entrance of Krem Malo

After being filmed abseiling in by Uwe we mapped 230m of big inlet to a sandstone boulder choke guarded by an enormous spider and named it Mega Heteropoda Passage.  Next, the very attractive streamway was surveyed downstream for several hundred metres until Brian heard an odd droning noise.  Not relishing the 50m prusik out we were delighted to turn a corner and find a low entrance (exit?) in the jungle with the sound of lorries passing on the road above.  On hacking our way up to it a passing local indicated that it was downhill to Lumshnong.

Unbelievably, just round the next road bend was the C.B. - our accommodation - where an astonished Uwe found us partaking of tea and biscuits a few minutes later.  Our high spirits were suddenly dampened when we realised the probable source of the tea water - the village of Thangskai - and via "Estelle's Dumping Pond" to two small springs supplying our kettle and the whole of Lumshnong village!  Oh, the Perils of Expedition caving.

Uwe filmed us re-enacting our exit before we went back in to continue with the survey so as to have plenty to impress the Nongjri team who were arriving that evening.  This cave was later the scene of India's first proper cave rescue when, on a major mapping/filming trip, Jenni got lost while soloing out and peeled off a climb, injuring her legs and back.  Several hours were spent searching the cave, jungle and roadside ditches before she was located by Brian and Simon at the end of Mega Heteropoda Passage and assisted to the surface to fully recover after a few days rest.  At least we found several hundred metres of new stuff while looking for her and had the novel experience of being driven the 200m to the rescue by coach!  This incident concentrated a few minds on the possibilities of expedition accidents - but maybe not enough.

A day off was had by Brian J. and I who accompanied Brian K.D. and Bok on a recce to a different limestone area, Ladmyrsiang, which shows promise for a future visit.  A large tract of jungle covered karst rises from the edge of an open, grassy plain with a pleasant lack of the ubiquitous Tata and Shaktiman coal lorries and their continuous horn blowing.  A few small caves were noted here and there are rumoured to be many more nearby.

Back in Lumshnong we tidied up a few leads left over from last year.  The 15m pot entered from the mediaeval style coal mine, Krem Mawiong, was re-laddered and a further 8m pitch descended to reach a too narrow rift. Near the village our drivers spotted a python and later that day a bear was seen - it had apparently been doing something in the woods.

In Krem Urn Lawan Brian J. and Yvo had traversed above the 30m Old Men's Pot to find an inlet beyond and not the hoped for extension to the main system. Raphael, the team cameraman and talented artist, was being instructed by them in cave survey drawing whilst I did my bit by teaching Gurjinder the subtle arts of digging and pushing ridiculously tight squeezes.

The former was in vain but the latter yielded over 100m of superbly decorated inlet passages heading towards the elusive link with Krem Umkhang/ Kharasniang.

The tata truck at the bottom of the entrance of Krem Malo

 In return Gurjinder taught me how to find our way out of the bloody place after we got thoroughly lost. Later, joined by Ian, we surveyed about 220m in the "Anglo-Sikh Series" but again failed to make the connection.

On 2nd March Annette joined the rapidly swelling ranks of the disabled when she fell off a climb in one of the Chiehruphi caves and severed two tendons in her left hand. Daniel had succumbed to Housemaid's Knee and the lurgi had worked its way through most of the European team members.

Surveying continued in Krem Malo and some spectacular high level fossil galleries and soaring avens were found.  One of the many impressive stalagmites here was shaped like a Saguaro cactus from the classic cowboy films.  In Krem Umkhang/Kharasniang a final connection attempt was made by digging a strongly draughting hole in the floor but this failed due to the size of the wedged boulders.  With several small quarries nearby it may be possible to borrow a "bang wallah" next year to sort these out!  Our attempts were filmed by an incredulous Kyrshan who had never before seen such stupidity.

Meanwhile, a few km up the road at Musianglamare, Andy, Ritschie and anyone else they could pressgang had been doing sterling work in Krem Umsynrang (pushed from 1.67kms to 4.85kms) and Synrang Pamiang (from 1.66kms to 6.21kms by the end of the trip - see below). 

Corporal Gurjinder Singh in the Anglo-Sikh series of Krem Um Lawan

Lots of other caves and coal workings in this area were visited and mapped.  The final 2kms of Synrang Pamiang were clocked up on a 15 hour + overnight trip by Ritschie, Andy, Brian K.D, Tony and I on our last night - well fortified by beer, rum and whisky to deaden the effects of the first 500m of awkward caving.  In my case it also deadened the awareness of a deep, open road drain into which I leapt from the coach to gain a few cuts and bruises.

This magnificently decorated system is very much like a major Welsh cave and the lack of multiple entrances makes for a fairly strenuous trip to the end and back.

Some of the cripples at the CB

A second entrance was found on this trip but being a trial coal shaft entering the ceiling of the huge main passage some 30m. above the floor it was not considered an easy way out. One has a certain sympathy for the innocent miner on the last shift.  The 20m high by 2-3m wide meandering river passage, Collaboration Canyon, which was where we ran out of time showed every sign of continuing in this style forever.  This is a tremendously impressive system which may well challenge Krem Kotsati/Um Lawan as India's longest cave if only the predicted high level passages some 20m up in the roof can be entered.  It even has underground leeches!  On the way out Tony severely bruised his leg and jarred his back after stepping into a concealed hole.  His temper was not improved when he later dropped a large boulder on the same leg. It was a slow trip out for us all and a miserable walk back to the road in a downpour but at least we had got our 2kms in the bag.

Another huge river cave, Piel Theng Puok, was left ongoing after 2.5kms in the Lukha Valley area below and to the south of Lumshnong.  This major resurgence system was explored by swimming in long canals formed behind huge gour dams and has great potential.  Other caves in this area are also ongoing and it will be a major target for next year.

India is now well and truly on the world caving map thanks to the dedicated work of these international expeditions and there is plenty more to be found throughout the state and probably in neighbouring states such as Nagaland.  Despite the proximity to Burma these areas are slowly being opened up to adventurous foreign tourists.

Needless to say we enjoyed the usual excess of superb food and passable booze provided by the Adventurers and despite all the injuries and occasional frustrations with the computers, due to a lack of electricity, a good time was had by all.  Our thanks go to all concerned who made it such a success.

This article has been published in both the Belfry Bulletin and Grampian S.G. Bulletin.

Refs. a selection:

International Caver n.22 (1998) pp.3-15

G.S.G. Bull. 3rd series vol.4 n.4 (March 1998) pp.11-18

B.B vo1.50 n. l (Dec 1997)

B.B vol. 50 n.3 (Apr 1998)

Caving in the Abode of the Clouds, the Caves and Karst of Meghalaya, North East India.  Report of the 1992 and 1994 Cave Exploration/Cave Tourism visits.

Compiled by the B.E.C and O.C.C. (March 1995)


Meghalaya 1998 - Synopsis  Updated

29.05.1998, 13:35 Uhr

16 February – 08 March: Georg BAUMLER, S. Annette BECHER. Eleazar BLAH, Antony BOYCOTT, Jennn, A. BROOKS, Simon J. BROOKS, Ian CHANDLER, Sijon DKHAR, Gregory DlENGODH, Jonas DlENGDOH, Lindsay DIENGlJOH, Clive W. DUNNAI, Richard FRANK, H.O. GEBAUER, Badamut HOO.JUN. Anthony JARRATT, Brian JOHNSON, Refulgent KHARNAIOH, Brian D. KHARPRAN DALY, Uwe KROGER, Babha Kupar MAWLONG, Kyrshan MITHUN, Thilo Muller, Fairwaether W. MYLLIEMNGAP, Gurjinder SINGH, Sher SINGH, Donbok SYIEMLEH, Andy TYLER, Valery VALVUlA, Raphael WARJRI, Ywo, WEIDMANN.

Guides & Informants: Kham (Chiehruphi), Nigel (Chiehruphi), Miniren BAMON (Tongseng), Bhalang DKHAR (Thangskai), Lucky DKHAR (Chiehruphi), Sijon Dkhmr {Nongjri}, Kynsai JONES (Cherra Pdengshakap), Agnes LAKHIANG (Sutnga), Robert LAI (Chiehruphi), Milan LAMARE (Sutnga), Wikyn LYNGDOH (Thangskai), Monris NONGTDU (Sutnga), Zuala RALSEM. (Khaddurn). Langspah RYNKHUN (Nongjin), Stingson SH1ANGSHAi (Chiehruphi).


date from

date to



1997- length



vertical range




East Khasi Hills District












































Sohra (Cherrapunjee)



















Lubon – Lum Bnai


























Sohra (Cherrapunjee)

Phyllud – Dam Um








Sohra (Cherrapunjee)

Phyllud no 2

















Sohra (Cherrapunjee)

Rong Umsoh








Sohra (Cherrapunjee)

Soh Pang Bnait








Pynursia: Rana

Wah Sir








Pynursia: Rana

Wah Synrem









Wah Thylong








Jainta Hills District









Citrus Cave








Lumshnong Village









Lumshnong: Chiehruphi

Mahabon 1








Lumshnong: Chiehruphi

Mahabon 2a








Lumshnong: Chiehruphi

Mahabon 2b








Lumshnong: Chiehruphi

Mahabon 3








Lumshnong: Chiehruphi

Mahabon 4








Lumshnong: Thangskai









Lumshnong Village









Lumshnong: Mynkre









Lumshnong: Mynkre

Moolich No. 2








Lumshnong: Musianglamare

Musianglamare Cave 1








Lumshnong: Musianglamare

Musianglamare Cave 2









Paltan Puok


















Pdieng Salah









Pile Theng Puok








Lumshnong: Chiehruphi

Pyrda 1








Lumshnong: Chiehruphi

Pyrda 2








Lumshnong: Thangskai

Romai Synhin








Lumshnong: Chiehruphi









Lumshnong: Mynkre










Sielkan Puok









Skei ( Lukha Valley)








Lumshnong: Village

Soh Mynken Khnai








Lumshnong: Chiehruphi









Lumshnong: Village

Umkhan - Kharasniang








Lumshnong: Chiehruphi









Lumshnong: Village









Lumshnong: Village

Umlawan No.3








Lumshnong: Village

Umlawan No.4








Lumshnong: Village

Umlawan No.5








Lumshnong: Village

Umlawan No.6 a-b








Lumshnong: Musianglamare










Urhulu Puok








Accumulated length of the spring surveys:






Cavers Fair 1998

3/4/5th July at venues in and around Priddy.

Organised Jointly by:
The National Caving Association and
The Council of Southern Caving Clubs

Programme of Events

The Cavers Fair is a national event allowing cavers to meet, socialise, improve their technical skills, and tryout specialist interests underground.

Friday 3rd July:


Registration from 7.30pm - midnight

Social evening with slides and cavers get-together.


Saturday 4th July:


Registration from 8am

*Breakfast served from 8am with refreshments available all day *

Times for the following to be confirmed:

Cave art exhibition

Hands on rescue equipment workshop

Underground first aid

Trade stands

Pre-booking is strongly advised - get the sessions you want and save money by booking in advance!

All Sessions Depart From Priddy Village Hall

Transport may be required! Please check in advance. Short caving trips 9.30am

Upper Swildons, Upper Eastwater, Burrington Caves and other venues according to demand.

Longer caving trips 1.30pm

Swildons Sump 1, Priddy Green Sink - Swildons through-trip, Eastwater and other venues according to demand.

St Cuthbert's Swallet 9.30am - 3pm approx. A choice of trips into this classic cave.

Underground Cave Art

with artists Robin Gray and Mark Lumley - choice of venues

Cave Photography Workshop

(provisionally Swildons Hole) session leader to be confirmed

Guided walk

with naturalist Martin Torbett(1.30pm) Cave video

with Pete Isaacs - shoot 9.30am in Goatchurch, edit 1.30pm using digital technology.

Basic SRT

Surface training Split Rock Quarry - 2 sessions (9.30am & 1.30pm)


Underground in Upper Swildons - knots, belays, Hand-lines, lifelines - 2 sessions (9.30am & 1.3Opm) Ladder and line

Swildons Old 40 foot Pot - advanced pitch rigging lifeline systems - 2 sessions (9.30am & 1.30pm)

SRT Rescue

Venue to be confirmed - for experienced SRT users ­2 sessions (9.30am & 1.30pm)

SRT Rigging

Venue to be confirmed - for experienced SRT users ­2 sessions (9.30am & 1.3Opm)

Novice and youngsters caving trip

Saturday 4th July - afternoon Goatchurch Cavern Compton Martin Ochre Mine

9.30am - short easy trip for mine enthusiasts

Singing River Mine

1.30pm Longer trip in a complex and fun system (10 metre entrance pitch)


Treasure Hunt for competing teams around Priddy area

*1st Prize £50.00 token from Quipu for Leisure*


with local band TUFF E NUFF


Sunday 5th July – morning:

Registration from 8.30am

Refreshments and breakfast

Hymac digging extravaganza, guided walk and caving trips: venues: TO BE CONFIRMED


Underground in Upper Swildons - knots, belays, Hand-lines, lifelines - 2 sessions (9.30am & 1.30pm) Ladder and line

Swildons Old 40 foot Pot - advanced pitch rigging lifeline systems - 2 sessions (9.30am & 1.30pm)

SRT Rescue

Venue to be confirmed - for experienced SRT users­2 sessions (9.30am & 1.30pm)

SRT Rigging

Venue to be confirmed - for experienced SRT users­2 sessions (9.30am & 1.30pm)


Variety of SRT routes to try with advice on hand. time 9.30am - 4pm

Sunday 5th July - afternoon


afternoon trips to visit 40' pot washed away 10th July 1968




Pitches for tents in field adjoining Priddy Village Hall available Friday and Saturday night only


Camping is also available locally at Upper Pitts (Wessex), The Belfry (BEC), The Mineries (Shepton).

Book and pay Clubs direct.

Family camping and caravan pitches are also available at Mendip Heights Campsite, Townsend, Priddy although pre booking is advised.


The WCC (Upper Pitts), The BEC (The Belfry), The Shepton (The Mineries), The MCG (Nordach) and the MNRC all have local huts for which pre booking is advised.




Social evening - FREE!!


morning and afternoon session or activity

£5 per person if pre registered

£6 per person on the day


Mendip Team Challenge

small charge for entry payable on the day


Barbecue and Stomp

£5 per person on the door


morning session or activity Split Rock SRT

£2.50 per person if pre-registered

£3 per person on the day


£14 per person













all cheques payable to NCA Training Account


If you are staying on until Monday 6th July contact Tony Jarratt for local digging trips

 Working Weekend

Cleaning, repairs, General maintenance.

Plenty of work for all!!

BBQ free for all workers

Sat/Sun 21st/22nd August

Meet at Belfry at 10.00am

Contact: - Nick Mitchell

Hut Engineer For Further Details

Rolling Calendar

Date                          Details -  Contact

13/6/98                      Rescue Practiceat Tyning Barrow Cave. Meet at Belfry – 10.00am Andy Sparrow

16/6/98                      Caving Trip – Longwood/August Evening trip - Andy Thomas Caving Sec.

20/6/98                      The 49ers Birthday Party Priddy Village Hall – Tickets £6 - Quackers, J'Rat Via Hunters Lodge or Bat Products

20/6/98                      GB Conservation Day 11 :00am at GB car park - Andy Thomas Caving Sec.

21/6/98                      Caving Trip – OFD Sunday - Andy Thomas Caving Sec.

3/7/98                        BEC Committee Meeting

3-5/7/98                     Cavers Fair, Priddy Village Hall, Mendip - Alan Butcher

7/7/98                        Caving Trip – Hunters Hole – SRT Evening trip - Andy Thomas Caving Sec.

15/7/98                      Caving Trip – Charterhouse Evening trip – numbers limited - Estelle Sandford Editor

19/7/98                      Burrington Day Work on Burrington Cave Atlas - Estelle Sandford Editor

21/7/98                      Caving Trip – GB Evening trip -Andy Thomas Caving Sec.

28/7/98                      Caving Trip – Eastwater/Dolphin Pot Evening trip -Andy Thomas Caving Sec.

7/8/98                        BEC Committee Meeting

July/August 98            Fishing/Diving Weekend at Prawle Point, South Devon Date to be arranged – Contact if interested - Robin Gray

??/8/98                      Austria Expedition Date to be arranged – Contact if interested -Alex Gee Librarian

21-22/8/98                  BEC Working Weekend - Nick Mitchell

4/9/98                        BEC Committee Meeting

18-20/9/98                  BCRA Conference, Floral Hall, Southport - BCRA

30/9/98 - 14/11/98       ISSA Exhibition, St David's Hall, Cardiff - ISSA

3/10/98                      BEC AGM and Dinner

2/11/98                      BCRA Regional One-Day Meeting, Priddy Village Hall. 9.30am Lectures on Swildons and Cuthbert’s - BCRA

18/11/98 - 28/11/98     A Brush with Darkness - Paintings of Mendip's caves - Wells Museum -ISSA

26/11/98                     Underground painting techniques /demonstration. Wells Museum 7.30pm      Robin Gray