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: Mike Willett
Hut Engineer: Nick Mitchell
Hut Wardens: Vince Simmonds, Bob Smith, Mike Willett
Librarian and Floating member: Alex Gee
 Hut Bookings:  Fiona Lambert

Editorial

Good news

We have a prospective editor in Martin Torbett.  For those of you who are not familiar with Martin, he can be regularly found in the Hunters on a Wednesday night as part of J'Rat's digging team.  He lives in Cheddar so should have no trouble in hassling the regular cavers for articles.  I hope everyone will support him in the way that most have supported me and keep the articles coming.  Any editor can only be as good as his/her articles, so that's down to you – the membership – to keep them coming.

Estelle

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


 

Caving and BEC News

Two Discoveries in Two Days!

His Lordship's Hole, Red Quar

Following a prolonged drilling and banging epic in the 20ft long, low crawl below the two chambers discovered on 19th June (The Gentlemen’s Urinals) a breakthrough was finally made on Wednesday 16th June into another 10ft of crawl leading to a free-climbable drop into "The Screaming Lord Sutch Memorial Chamber" - tastelessly named in the "aristocratic" theme which this cave is developing.  About 10ft in diameter and 12ft deep, this will be a handy place to stack spoil from a future dig in a silt choked bedding streamway in the floor.  Bad air due to bang fumes and the current high atmospheric pressure prevented more than a cursory investigation.  Total extension length, including the banged bits, is about 40ft.

Hazelnut Swallet, Biddlecombe

Mike Willett and Nick Mitchell’s dig here has also seen considerable drilling and banging recently. Following the winter lay-off work started again in April and by early June the top of a pitch could be seen ahead. This was made accessible on 17th June and an ecstatic Mike feverishly descended a ladder to find it reaching a choked sump 15ft below!  He was "not amused".  It’s a nice pitch though, with some fine fossils, and further work here will be undertaken when the inlet stream from Biddlecombe (Knapp Hill) Swallet has been diverted on the surface.  Total length, as above, about 30ft.

Tony Jarratt

BEC Annual Dinner

This year the Annual Club Dinner will be held at "The Bath Arms Hotel" at Cheddar on Saturday 2nd October, 1999.  Early booking will be essential, as places are limited to 100 people.  Tickets will cost £19 to include a glass of wine/orange juice or pint of beer on arrival, plus a bottle of red and a bottle of white per table of eight.  The bar is open until 1 am.  Bed and Breakfast accommodation is available for those who wish, at a discounted rate. Details will be included, with the menu which will be with you soon!

As usual the coach will be arranged to leave the Hunters at 7pm prompt.

BEC v Wessex Cricket Match

On Saturday 17tb. July at 2:30pm the Annual Cricket Match for the Sofa Ashes will be held at Eastwater Farm.  All are welcome.  There will be barrels of beer at reduced prices to lubricate the players and spectators, and no doubt enhance the quality of the game!!!

Committee changes

Due to Jake and Becca moving to Scotland for the summer months, Becca has resigned from the committee leaving the post of Hut Warden vacant.  Fiona Lambert very kindly stepped in to take over the hut bookings (see address in front of BB) and at the last committee meeting it was decided that the post of Hut Warden would be better spread between several people to make life easier.  Bob Smith has been assistant to Becca for some time, and along with Vince Simmonds and Mike Willett, will be taking care of the Hut Warden's job until at least the AGM!

New Members

We have two new members joined at the last committee meeting.  Simon House and Andy Elson.  Andy's claim to fame is that he has the deepest BEC sticker in his balloon's gondola, which now lies at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific just of Japan.  Unless anyone can prove different, we think he also has the highest Bertie in this atmosphere (we know there is one on a satellite somewhere!!)

There could be an article in the making here - anyone who knows of any interesting locations for BEC stickers over the years can they please forward this information to the editor.

Tim Kendrick's photos in the last BB.

I have a reasonable amount of information regarding identities and locations from many of the photos in the last BB.  I have an article promised which hopefully will make the next BB.

Just after the BB was released there was an 'Oldies' week at the Belfry and many of the people who were at the Belfry were in the last BB in those photos.  It was great to see so many of them at the Belfry.  Maybe next year we could plan an 'Oldies' week and publicise in advance as I have had several people say that if they had known they would have visited as well.  Maybe a slide show or other entertainment could be arranged.  Feedback from the older members to the committee on this would be gratefully received.  It is really nice to see that so many members from around 50 years ago or more, still have an interest in the BEC.

Albert's photos in March BB

My apologies, I forgot to give you the locations of Albert's pictures from the March BB.  The first of the pictures on the page is Rods Pot, while the other three of the pictures were actually taken in a tunnel in Wells, which is somewhere under Southover.

Reminder

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.  All slides or prints will be returned if requested.  The photo board has had the same set of photos on it for many months now so it would be nice to see some changes.

Ed.

Burrington Cave Atlas

I still desperately need photos for the Burrington Cave Atlas.  The text is ready to go, but I am seriously lacking in photos (or pictures). Please can anyone help me out on this as soon as possible as I would like to go to print with this over the summer months.

Ed.

Millennium Celebrations

The BEC committee is looking for ideas for celebrating the Millennium.  We have had ideas about T -shirts/sweatshirts etc. but need a design. If anyone has any design ideas or any other ideas for celebrating the Millennium (also our 65th birthday) please contact a committee member.

Ed.

Caving Logs

There is still no sign of the missing logbooks.  It is a shame that BEC history is being lost in this way.  If anyone has any idea where any of the logbooks may be can they please contact either Dave Irwin or Dave Turner.

St. Cuthbert's Swallet Newssheets.

We are missing No. 8 from the Club collection.  Does any member have a copy?  Photocopies will do quite nicely. Anyone with a copy would they please contact either Dave Irwin (01749 xxxxxx) or Dave Turner (01373 xxxxxx) as we wouldn't want to be flooded with copies.

Wig

BB 341

This was reported as missing from the club library as well; it is hardly surprising as it was never published!  See p.5 BEC Caving Report No 22, "An Index of the Publications of the BEC 1947-1987" by DJ Irwin!

J'Rat

A Gentle and Polite Reminder

Several items from the Club Library are still out on loan.  Will all members note that John 'Tangent' Williams and 'Wig' are cataloguing the library during the next few months.  To do the job successfully requires all items to be in the Library, seen and checked. Please return your loans NOW.

Wig

Austria Expedition '99

There will be an Austria expedition to the Dachstein during the first two weeks of August, if interested please contact Pete 'Snablet' MacNab on 01334 xxxxxx.  Other contacts for this are Rich Blake and Tony Jarratt.

Members moving.

Henry Bennett and Antoinette have moved to Bathwick Hill, Bath

Swildons after 1969 floods, (accidentally lost by the printers from the last BB) by Brian Prewer.   See his article in the last BB for more information

 

BEC vs Wessex Cricket Match

 

Saturday 17th July 2:30pm Eastwater Farm


 

Fairy Cave Quarry Caves - Stoke St Michael, Mendip

By Brian Prewer

After being closed for over a decade, the three most spectacular caves in Fairy Cave Quarry has been reopened to cavers.

Lengthy negotiations between the quarry owners, English Nature and a newly formed management committee have finally been concluded with a management plan being put into place with the agreement of all parties.

Due to the fragile nature of the three caves, Shatter, Withyhill and W/L, access will only be open to bona fide caving clubs by writing to the committee.  Party size is limited and no novices are allowed.  For the three caves named above a leadership system is in place.  A trip fee of £1 per person will be charged to cover maintenance and general conservation. Full details will be given when applying for a leader.

Shatter, Withyhill and W/L have long been considered amongst the finest stalactite caves in the UK. Shatter is over 1000m in length, containing many beautifully decorated chambers and grottoes whilst Withyhill, although shorter at 700m, is equally well decorated.  W/L is shorter again at 150m and contains some unusual crystal formations. None of the caves is in any way physically demanding and are regarded as a photographer's paradise.

Great care is needed in all these caves to protect their unique nature and for this reason tight access controls are required.

Other caves in Fairy Cave Quarry may be visited with permission from the management committee but without the need of a leader.  It is hoped that all the necessary work of re-taping and clearing entrances will be completed soon.

For further information write to the Fairy Caves Management Committee at "Bryscombe", The Quarries, New Road, Draycott, Somerset, BS27 3SG

On behalf of the FCQ Management Committee.

21 June, 1999

(Also printed in the Craven Record)

 

Elephants Trunk Chamber, Withyhill Swallet


 

Observation on the Growth of Flowstone in Fairy caves

By Brian Prewer

In the mid 1980s the caves in Fairy Cave Quarry were closed by the owners, Hobbs Quarries.  Prior to that led parties had been able to enter Shatter, Withyhill and W/L.  These three caves represented probably some of the finest stalactite caves in Britain. Each of these caves contained a profusion of stalactites, stalagmites and most other forms of flowstone, in fact in some chambers bare limestone was hard to find.

During the time when the caves were open, taping of vulnerable formations was done by the Cerberus S.S.  The tape used was thin coloured nylon tape.  In places this tape was wound around stal bosses or strung between stal and boulders.  During the years the caves were originally open inevitably, due to the profusion of flowstone, footprints were left in mud and in a few places on stal floors. These areas were part of the route followed through the cave.

Today, nearly two decades later, stal has started to re-grow, in particular, on nylon tape around stal bosses and over muddied flowstone.  In places some tapes have been completely sealed over while in others small stal curtains hang off horizontally strung tapes.  New crystal growth can now be seen in footprints on the floor and fresh mini gour pools cover some of the older darker flowstone.

It is clear that in Shatter Cave stal growth is very rapid - a couple of centimetres in a decade!  Of course this is exceptional but one has to wonder if the Show Cave guide is right to tell the public that stalactites grow at the rate of one centimetre in 10,000 years.

 


 

Vale - Bryan M. Ellis~ 1934 - 1999

An appreciation by Dave Irwin

 

Bryan, December 1998 - photo. Dave Irwin

Bryan died on the 21 st May 1999 at the Bristol Royal Infirmary after an illness that had plagued him for nearly five years. In his passing the British caving world has lost a figure who was held in high esteem by all who came into contact with him.  For myself his passing is all the more poignant in that I have lost a very close personal friend.

Bryan's achievements lay not in his caving prowess but more in his organisational abilities.  During the 35 years I knew him I found him to be interested in many aspects of the caving world, some of which caused him to be at the centre of great controversy.  When his mind was made up relating  to a particular topic  he  would fiercely  argue and defend his cause however great the opposition. 

Whatever ones personal views of the arguments, and on many occasions I argued fiercely with him from the opposite side of the fence, I was always left with the impression of a man with great conviction and for that you admired him greatly.

Bryan became interested in caving as teenager and when his training took him to London in the early 1950s he became a member of the WSG and in 1955 he joined the Shepton Mallet Caving Club.  He also joined the BEC and when the various membership options were devised he became an Associate Member which he retained until his death.  For several years he was the editor of the BEC Caving Reports. After joining the Shepton Mallet Caving Club he soon became involved with the running of that club in which he held many positions including its President and Newsletter Editor and in recent years was its Librarian.  His last major contribution to the SMCC was his involvement in the arrangements for their 50th Anniversary events in May and their special edition of the Journal dealing with the club's history.  During National Service he explored a number of caves in North Wales with Fred Davies and their work was published as a SMCC Occasional Publication.  He later, together with Roger Biddle, produced an abridgement of the SMCC Hut Logs. During the period before commercial outlets Bryan served the Mendip caving community well by providing an outlet for the sales of caving club publications and the rarely published caving book.  The boot of his car was packed with such material and cave surveys and when at the Hunters he would 'open up his shop' or hawk his material around in a large cardboard box in the pub itself.  During the 1960s Bryan's interest in cave surveying found him involved with the Mendip Survey Colloquium and he was partly instrumental in the creation of the Mendip Cave Survey Scheme which still exists in a greatly reduced way today. The first version of the St. Cuthbert's Swallet survey was compiled by Bryan from earlier work and his own of the Rabbit Warren Extension and published as a BEC Caving Report.  He was also involved with the survey of Holwell Cavern in the 1960s. The Mendip Cave Registry was also another interest and for some time he was its Hon. Secretary during to the 1960s up to the time of its demise.

Following the formation of BCRA Bryan took a keen and active part in the promotion of the new body and since that time held many important posts including Chairman.  In 1977 he prepared the first of two books on cave surveying that he was to write, a topic that was of great interest to him.  Later he became the first paid Administrator of BCRA that involved him in its day-to-day running and for several years he operated the BCRA club and travel insurance service often dealing with a request for cover the following day!

When Bryan agreed to undertake a project that appealed to him he would fully commit himself to the topic and pass his enthusiasm on to others to ensure that the end result was of a fully professional standard. He will be sorely missed.

On behalf of the BEC I would like to offer Pauline, Kerry and Martin our deepest sympathies.


 

The Priddy Connection - Part 2

- The final phase of digging in Priddy Green Sink and the breakthrough to Swildon's Hole, 1995-1996

By Adrian Hole and Tony Jarratt

"Through this a cave was dug with vast e pence;  The work it seemed of some suspicious prince." Dryden

Following the re-opening of Priddy Green Sink in December 1993 a brief flurry of digging trips to the extremely unpleasant end of Fault Plane Passage took place.  Those involved were B.E.C. members Adrian Hole and Ivan Sandford with Mike "Quackers" Duck and John Attwood. After several digging and blasting trips in the worm-strewn "cowsh" sump the enthusiasm for this site deteriorated and other options were looked at including the upper level R.A.F. Aven - abandoned by the S.M.C.C. team on 20th October 1964 and Shit Sump in Cowsh Aven Series.  It was considered by the previous diggers that the boulder choked crawl leading off R.A.F. Aven would connect with Anniversary Aven above the foul "cowsh sump".

Cowsh Avens

The summer of 1995 saw Ivan, Adrian, Alex Gee, Becca Campbell, Mike Willett and Guy Munnings, with members of the London Guildhall club and others, re-climbing the Bladder Pot route of Cowsh Avens and leaving fixed ropes in place which were later to prove of great benefit.  Top Avens were radio-located by Brian Prewer and found to be, as expected, just beyond the barn at Manor Farm.  Several potential dig sites were investigated here but enthusiasm for this remote site soon waned.

Return to Pretty Grim Stink

In Priddy Green Sink, Adrian, Ivan and Mike spent some time during August digging a small hole on the RH side of Fault Plane Passage, only to enter a body-sized chamber.  This site was abandoned and they moved upstream.

They were not convinced by the R.A.F. Aven theory and lured on by a strong draught in a 2" high, descending and decorated bedding plane, together with the relatively pleasant nature of the site, they put in a lot of work with plugs and feathers splitting rocks and clearing the crawl until stopped by a large boulder.  An attempt at moving this was made using the "Mike fetch!" method - usually highly effective - but in this case even The Willett couldn't move it.  Tony Jarratt was invited along on 26th November 1995 to pulverise this obstacle, little realising that this was to be the start of six months of body-wrecking misery - albeit with a happy ending!  Another bang the next day solved the problem and on 28th they pushed through the crawl to enter a 12ft square breakdown chamber with an aven, possible but loose dig in the floor and ongoing choked crawl.  The length of the extension was some 60ft.

Pottering with purpose

The next eight trips were all clearing and banging missions - once three times in one day! Light relief was provided by John A electrocuting himself. On 12th December the impassable rift at the end of the crawl was enlarged enough for Tony to squeeze down into a sloping passage ending at an undescended rift pitch. This area was called Hanwell's Hall in honour of Jim Hanwell (W.C.C.) pioneer Priddy Green Sink digger and 60 years old this week. That night the pitch was free climbed for c.20ft by Ivan and Adrian to reach a tiny phreatic tube heading down dip. The former almost broke a rib getting up the banged rift so both this and the tube were destined for enlargement.

 

Photo: Looking down the 20ft rift below Hanwell's Hall by Martin Torbett - 13th December 1995

Serious pottering

Unfortunately forty-six trips (!) were necessary, thirty-six of which were drilling and banging epics before the next breakthrough was made.  "This dig is getting monotonous ... "  The 30ft of tight, descending tube (with the Siren's lure of an intermittent stream in the distance) became affectionately known as the Blasted Bastard as drilling had to be done head downwards in severely constricted conditions and clearing was a nightmare.  As this took place during all of January and early February it should have been warmer underground than on the surface but the increasing draught made conditions decidedly chilly and bang fumes began to chase the diggers from the cave.  The cold did not affect the smell of the cave though and occasionally snuff was taken at the entrance to ward off the stench.  As the diggers approached an open cross passage - "A couple more bangs should do it" - Adrian sarcastically remarked that he expected to find "Four naked virgins and a barrel of beer" around the comer.

From Bastard to Virgins

On 8th February 1996 Rich Blake dug through into some 25ft of small passage going off to the left (The Virgins) and straight ahead (Barrel Passage).  Both of these ways on surprisingly needed banging and many sessions were done on them until on 17th February Rich passed a tight horizontal squeeze in the Virgins to reach the head of a pot with the Priddy Green stream pouring down another pot below.  As this was a solo trip he had difficulty in making his colleagues believe him!  These became known as Virgin One and Virgin Two, "The connection is now a real possibility".

The following day a strong team descended these 30 ft of climbs to reach a blocked crawl which was excavated and led to Virgin Three, a 15ft climb followed by another crawl and the final Virgin Four, a 10ft climb.  A low and squalid streamway led on and this was named Bar Code Crawl following the discovery of a laminated paper "bar code" bearing the legend "MAIN R J + PR/K".  A length of 120ft and depth of 70ft had been added to the cave and the diggers celebrated with fags and champagne in the worm-infested surroundings of Virgin Two. Everyone was delighted, " ... a bloody good reward for the time, money and effort involved by the B.E.C. team, built upon the several years of hard work put in by the combined club diggers of the early sixties".  A dangerously loose boulder series above the Virgins was later pushed up towards the floor dig in the breakthrough chamber below R.A.F. Aven.  The stream entering in this area comes via an aven from the "cowsh sump" at the end of the old cave.  It is another worm-infested, unpleasant place.

From Virgins to Clitoris

Banging then commenced in earnest in Barrel Passage until, on 13th March Rich was able to pass a committing squeeze (Clitoris Crawl - "'cos its a bit of a .... '') to reach a T-junction with standing sized passage and another 180ft gained. "We must be bloody close to Top Avens at this point".  To the left was a 50ft long aven series and "downstream", around a corner with small cave pearls and an aven was yet another choked crawl.  This was banged in conjunction with Bar Code Crawl over the next couple of weeks to reach an attractive, 60ft high aven named Stoned Bat after a "Bertie" shaped lump of limestone and the substances necessary to imagine it as such!  It bore a remarkable similarity to the upper Cowsh Avens.  A silted crawl below it was dug and blasted for a time but later abandoned when Mike found a better prospect at a slightly higher level.

Meanwhile in the foul and flood-prone Bar Code Crawl work was progressing with difficulty.  Both Carl Jones (S.W.A.G.) and Tim Francis (M.C.G.) had managed to thrutch a fair distance along the crawl but enlargement was needed to make digging feasible.  Its marked resemblance to Shit Sump in Cowsh Aven Series was a strong clue as to its destination and on 11th March 1996 Adrian emptied a small amount of flourescein into the foetid stream - to be seen 15 minutes later emerging from Shit Sump by Tony and Rich.  On 1st April the "cowsh" filled end of Bar Code Craw I was reached and pronounced just too grim to dig.

From Clitoris to euphoria

All work then concentrated on Mike's dig near Stoned Bat Aven - later to be called Tin Can Alley. Mike himself was temporarily absent from the dig as he was attempting to pass off sclerosis of the liver as Weil's Disease!

Throughout April and May the struggle continued (some seventeen trips) until, on 3rd June 1996 Tony once more returned to Cowsh Aven Series, this time accompanied by Alex. At Top Avens they could distinctly hear Mike shouting in Tin Can Alley - at a higher level and seemingly about twenty feet away.  "We were then the first people to hold a conversation between Swildon's and Priddy Green Sink .... a tremendous achievement after some 37 years of intermittent digging in the Sink and 38 years of sporadic climbing and blasting in Cowsh Aven Series".  That day the end of Tin Can Alley was banged three times!

The following day another bang sent debris crashing onto an empty Coca Cola tin and "Bertie" sticker left purposely in Top Avens and Rich's dangling legs were soon the first bit of human (?) anatomy to enter Swildon's from a second entrance.  The Big Trip was planned for the next day.


Photo of the connection and first exchange trip team by Paul Stillman (M.N.R.C.) - 5th June 1966

 

On having climbed the "Twenty" an uneven number of times*

*With apologies to Mike Wooding (1965)

At 6.35 p.m. Ivan and Tony entered Swildon's.  Soon after Rich, Mike, Adrian (S.M.C.C. and specially invited to represent the Cowsh Aven team of 'descended Priddy Green Sink.  Ivan continued via Blue Pencil to meet Tony in Four after the latter had been forced to frantically free-dive down the streamway due to faulty diving gear. Five minutes later the others abseiled out of the roof and much handshaking and imbibing of Amarretto (the nearest thing to liquid gelignite if only in smell alone!) was indulged in. Brian then free-dived out while Mike, Adrian and Rich went "overland" and the others began the long slog - almost 500 feet vertically - up Cowsh Avens to emerge on the Green after a surprisingly short (2¾ hours) trip.  Apart from the fresh air they were also extremely pleased to find the bottle of champagne hanging on the entrance ladder!  Both teams were met with camera and booze-wielding reception parties and the night was suitably finished off in the Hunter's in company with Jim Hanwell, Fred Davies, Dave Turner and other previous diggers - without whom the connection would never have happened.  Someone pointed out that we had increased the depth of the Swildons system by one foot so we were forced to celebrate even more!  We estimate that this phase of the connection cost about £400 in explosives alone and that over the last 38 years the total cost in bang would be about £1,000 at today's prices - about £1.00 per foot!!  There were over 115 digging trips in six months and 100 separate charges fired.  Was it worth it?  Yes! As Oliver Wells stated in 1960 " .. it will be a great day when a connection can be made."  It was!

Other trips involved surveying (still not completed!) and tidying up.

The Diggs. Photographers, Surveyors and Bolting Team etc.

Adrian Hole, Mike Willet, Mike "Quackers" Duck, Ivan Sandford, Jo ?, Guy Munnings, Jon Attwood, Tony Jarratt, Pete Hellier, Nick Mitchell, Martin Torbett, Estelle Sandford, Ken Dawes (S.M.C.C.) Becca Campbell, Graham "Jake" Johnson, Pete Glanvill, Brian Prewer, Nigel Taylor, Jeff Price, Dave Ball, Alec Smith, Stuart Sale, Tim and John Haynes, Helmut, Michelle and Anette Potzsch (Ziloko Gizonak), Andy Thomas, Nick Gymer, Rob Harper, Dave ?, Mike Wilson, Rich Blake, Sean Chaffey, Paul Brock, Vince Simmonds, Sean Howe, Andy Sparrow, Dominic Sealy (W.C.C.), Pete Bolt, Henry Bennett, Roz Bateman, Dave Shipton, Dave Bryant, NickBurcham, Paul Stillman (M.N.R.C.), Carl Jones (S.W.A.G.), Tim Francis (M.C.G.), Anthony Butcher (S.M.C.C.), Chas Wethered, Trevor Hughes, Ben Ogboume, Jeremy Dixon-Wright, Anette Becher and Pete "Snablet" McNab.

References

Irwin D. The Priddy Connection, Belfry Bulletin, 502,Vol. 50, No.9, May 1999

Jarratt T. Caves be where you make 'em Descent, 131, August/September 1996

Jarratt T. mss Logs, Vols. VI (1994-1996), VII (1996-1998) (Quotes in italics above are from this source).

Assorted snippets in Descent, BBs and various diggers' logs.

The Priddy Green Song (P13 BB 499) and A Winter's Tale (see below)

Acknowledgements

Robin Main, Priddy Parish Council, Alan Butcher (S.M.C.C.).


 

A Winter's Tale

Tune: The Keeper. Author: G. Weston.  Source: Alfie

Two cavers they did caving go,
As cavers will through rain and snow,
Why they do it, I don't know,
They must be ruddy keen-o.

Chorus: Any joy? Bastard,
            Doing well? Ruddy hell,
            Way down, go down, very smelly down,
            Beneath the Priddy Green-o.
            To my lay down, down,
            To my low down, down,
            Stay down, slow down, very smelly down,
            Beneath the Priddy Green-o.

The farmer's wife doth early wake,
And rise before the dawn do break,
To feed the cows on cattle cake,
Till grass again grow green-o.

But Mister Maine, I greatly fear,
Must surely be distressed to hear,
That all his cows have caught diarrhoea,
The worst he's ever seen-o.

Now picture those two sons of toil,
Full fifty feet beneath the soil,
Sharply showered with Linseed Oil,
Their language was obscene-o.

So follow this advice of mine,
Observe the cattle as they dine,
And dose them up with kay-o-line,
Or wait until they've been-o.


 

A Summary of Exploration in the Dachstein ( Austria) 1992 – 1997

By Pete 'Snablet' MacNab

Introduction

The Dachsteingruppe is a spectacular limestone massif rising to 3000m.  It is located about an hour's drive south east of Salzburg.  We stay in the Wiesberghaus - a pleasant mountain hut with a bar, food and accommodation.  The Wiesberghaus is located on a large limestone plateau; there are caves literally next to it.  The plateau is about 1800-2000m high and completely covered in caves, many of which reach depths of around 700-800m (including BEC/NCC finds: Barengasse-Windschacht, Jager Hohle and Orkan Hohle).  The caves we have spent the last few years looking at are about 1.5 - 2 hours walk away.  We put some tents up near the entrance as an advance camp or emergency camp in bad weather. At valley level, near the picturesque village of Hallstatt, a master cave "Hirlatz" has been explored by the local Hallstatt caving club to over 85km with 1041m depth range, currently 14th longest and 49th deepest in the world.  We are based on the plateau above it.

 

The Wiesberghaus - photo by Mike 'Quackers' Duck

Summary of going leads left after 1991:

Eisturnen Hohle (GS):

101m deep, a crawl led out of (what was thought to be a terminal) chamber to a passage which led to a pitchhead.

Lumpenkerl Schacht (G7):

166m deep, the cave descended an active shaft series. Exploration was left at the head of an approximately 60m deep un-descended pitch.

G8:

Promising entrance in a new area.

G9:

Promising entrance in a new area.

Verborgene Hohle (Hidden Cave):

250m deep.  This cave found by the NCC in 1990 was left at a pitch head.  Unfortunately, the cave lives up to its name, and we have been unable to locate the entrance, since.

(ref: BB & Canadian Caver article by Chris Lloyd-1991 British Austrian expedition report).

1992

Eistumen Hohle (GS)

The route that Rich Blake found in '91 proved to be a winner.  The cave was pushed down several pitches where it intercepted an active streamway in a lofty meander.

Lumpenkerl Schacht (G7)

Due to the horrendous nature of Razor Blade Alley, a higher level alternative route was sought.  The route was found, which in turn led to the discovery of a second much bigger shaft series, which turned our focus away from the 91 route.  The second shaft series was partially descended to an airy rock bridge (The ability to swing).  Huge inlets joined the shaft at this point.

1993

Halstatt from the Wiesberghaus. Halstatt in the valley, hidden under clouds. Photo: Anette Becher

Eistumen Hohle (GS)

Exploration continued down the meandering streamway, The cave was starting to produce quite a lot of horizontalish (approx. 45 degrees) development, unusual in recent years of British Dachstein caving.  Lots of short stretches of passage interspersed with short pitches. The exploration of the cave again ended at a pitch-head.

Lumpenkerl Schacht (G7)

Exploration focused on descending G7's second shaft series.  We were successful, but disappointed.   The cave proved to be solidly choked at -304m deep. However the cave contained an extremely impressive and daunting 220m deep (multi-pitched) shaft.  The cave should not be totally written off, as it still contains a number of un-descended pitches, most notably at the bottom of the 91 shaft series.       Although it may just prove to be an inlet to the 92 shaft series, it may on the other hand be another multiple shaft series cave which are so common in Austria (e.g. Orkan Hohle, Kanichen Hohle).  (see BB article, Vince Simmonds caving diary).

1994

Eistumen Hohle (GS)

Exploration continued along and down several pitches following the streamway. The going got tricky through a tight section of rift/meander but continued the other side to another pitch-head. The cave so far has been surveyed to -208m deep and 554m long, the cave has been explored down several more pitches for approximately another 100m depth.  It is still going!

1997

The Griinkogel, peak under which the Hirlatz Hohle lies Photo: Anette Becher

Magnum Hohle

This cave was explored and surveyed down to a lake in 1987 (see BB article: Dachstein 87, Mark Lumley).  After several failed attempts to gain permission to dive the sump at the end of the Wilder Western series in Hirlatz to see if it would head to G5, about a km to the south west, we decided in our best wisdom to have a go at Magnum, as a dress rehearsal for diving the bottom of G5 should we hit a sump.  If G5 is going to connect with Hirlatz we would certainly have to dive the Grnkogel sump at the end of the Wilder Westen series.  So Magnum was duly rigged again, bottles and gear ferried in. Unfortunately much to our dismay the sump had dried up leaving a thick mud choke.  On the bright side Magnum Hohle is now 40 foot deeper.

Other developments in Hirlatz Hohle

The local Hallstatt caving club dived the sump at the end of Wilder Westen series in Hirlatz and discovered large amounts of passage (Sdwesten series) including the largest passage and chambers in the cave.  Since the original trip a sump bypass has been found. This is very significant for the exploration of Eisturnen Hohle (G5).  Hirlatz is now only approximately 250m away horizontally from the surveyed end of G5 and possibly as little as 360m below the actual end of G5.  There is every possibility that G5 is a small stream inlet to the Hirlatz system.


 

Austria 1999

We are going to mount another expedition to the Dachstein in the first two weeks of August. Our objective is to try and bottom Eisturnen Hohle (G5), with the hope it will connect with the Sdwesten series of Hirlatz Hohle. If this is achieved it will make Hirlatz Hohle the fifth deepest cave in the world and third deepest through trip. If it is not connected, we will still have a superb cave in a spectacular location on our hands.  There are many other caves in the area which need paying close attention to, especially G8 and G9, which are still requiring pushing, both with un-descended first pitches (these could be good projects for those who don't want to go deep to find virgin cave).  There are currently 14 people who have expressed an interest in coming along this summer (some from as far away as Mexico).  If you would like to come along, you are more than welcome, and there are plenty of caves, climbs and walks etc. (the beer's not bad either).  Anyone interested please let either Rich Blake, J'Rat, or me (Snablet) know and we will provide you with more details.


 


 

Cartoons

 



 

Causse Du Gramat Easter 1999

By Vince Simmonds

Those present:

            Vince Simmonds
            Roz Bateman
            Ivan Sandford
            Fi + Jack Lambert
            Pete Bolt
            Debbie
            Rich Blake

The place:

Situated in the South West of France, South of Brive-La-Gaillarde, and lying between the Dordogne and Lot rivers.  The area has long been popular with British cave divers; there are a great many resurgences along the valley bottoms.  On the plateau there is a variety of caving trips available from classic stream passages, older fossil series - many very well decorated to vertical with a range of difficulty.  Also in the area there are many show caves, some better than others, again with mixture of types including some fine painted caves.

The Journey

1-4-99

At 6pm Roz, Vince, Ivan, Fi, Jack and Rich set off for the midnight ferry from Dover, Pete and Debbie were to join us later in the week.  A fairly uneventful journey, most of the traffic was going the other way, so we arrived early and managed to catch a ferry at 10-45pm.

2-4-99

On disembarking we decided to make our separate ways to Gramat. Roz and Vince spent the night and most of the day driving and catching a rest now and again.  Arrived at the campsite at 6.30pm to find it wasn't open until the next day and no sign of the others.  When at a loose end go shopping.  On arrival back at the campsite we were met by Ivan and co. who had sorted out a Gite at very reasonable rates.

That evening we met up with some friends from Oxford Uni.C.C. who gave us some useful info, this was their last day.  A pleasant relaxing evening was had by all.

The Funtime:

3-4-99

GOUFFRE DE ROQUE DE COR (547/285)

Vince, Roz, Rich, Ivan

Located by following the N140 from Gramat to Montvalent road, take a right turn onto the D70 (Goudou). Stop at (T) junction and follow rail track south along path to large doline which is Roque du Cor.

This is an impressive site, a massive doline probably 100 metres across and 50 metres deep.  A descent to the left of a waterfall, handline useful, leads to a stream and low, wide entrance.  Passage continues as stooping size before opening up to walking size.  It's a shame the cave is only 750m before it ends in a sump.

We spent some time looking around the base of the doline where there are some remnants of cave and what would be some interesting dig sites.

GOUFFRE DE PADlRAC (553,68/284,41)

Not a difficult place to find as it is very well signposted.

All went over to the showcave but only Roz and Vince went for a trip.  A very worthwhile place to visit and excellent value for money.

Steps or a lift take you down the 70m deep chasm to a leisurely stroll along a large rift passage with stream before reaching a flooded section and a boat trip.  Then follows a guided tour around the well-decorated "Grand Dome".  A good hour and a half trip.

4-4-99

GOUFFRE DE REVEILLON (546,89/280,80)

Rich, Roz, Vince, Ivan, Pete

After finding Pete and Debbie in Gramat and hearing tales of forgotten passports, dumping their kit at the Gite we went caving.

Location along the N140 Gramat to Montvalent road turning right onto the D673 (Alvignac) before taking the first road on the left.  Stop just after an obvious valley to your right.  Follow the well-used footpath down the valley side to the gob-smacking sight of the Reveillon entrance arch 40m x 40m and home to a great many Jackdaws.

Followed the main stream passage until we came to a sump and no bypass.  We decided to try the Upper entrance, higher up to the left of the main arch.  Followed a stooping, crawling sized passage to a 15m pitch (ladder).  From the bottom of the pitch a crawl, with a fine yellow and black salamander, led to a large chamber with some formations - "Salle du Livre".  From the bottom of the pitch a climb up led after a left turn back to the top of the ladder.  We eventually found the way to "Salle Bernard" (turn right not left) but did not have the kit with us to go further (2x10m ladders).  Still a very enjoyable trip.

5-4-99

GOUFFRE DU SAUT DE LA PUCELLE (547,41/278,08)

Ivan, Vince, Roz, Pete, Rich

Location, could not be simpler, N140 Grarnat to Montvalent road after turn for Roumegouse.  Park in tree lined lay-by with stile leading to cave entrance.

This is the cave to visit if you only have time for one trip; it is a real classic streamway

You may have to avoid some French cavers trying to stay out of the water, wear a wetsuit and enjoy yourselves.

Follow the path down to the entrance and easy going to an old fossil passage where the way to the stream is on the left.  There are some pools to cross and I've seen people using boats to cross them, they are not quite waist deep.  Eventually a wet passage that is easier to swim through leads to the first of the climbs and the streamway proper.

The amount of tackle required varies on the water conditions.  We took six 10m ladders plus slings, tapes and ropes/handlines and never quite made the end.  BEWARE! some of the small drops look easy on the way in but are an absolute bastard on the way out especially with a bag full of kit.  Look at the larger pitches.  Some of them are free-climbable depending on conditions.

All said and done this is a fine streamway, just like a long Swildons', with some good formations.

Be prepared for a long trip of 6-8hrs.

6-4-99

IGUE DE LA CROUSA TE (551,53/269,26)

Rich, Roz, Vince

 

Located on the D14 Gramat to Reilhac road, 2.5kms before Reilhac stop in track on left before section of very straight road.  Follow obvious path, roughly north west, to cave entrance.

SRT trip.  Easy passage leads to traverse and drop (I5m rope) which leads to head of first pitch of 26m (30m rope) and then almost immediately to the second pitch of 39m (40m rope).  At the end of the cave is a piddly little dig in a trickle that has seen some half-hearted attempts at digging.  Once these pitches would have been well decorated but overuse and an extreme case of overbolting has resulted in the destruction of the cave formations. The cave has obviously been used as a training ground probably by the outdoor pursuits centre down the road. Maybe it should serve as a warning to all.

Afterwards we followed the road from Reilhac to Caniac-du-Causse (D42) and the Foret du La Braunhie, which is reputedly the site of 150 gouffres, grottes and igues it does, however, have the daylight shaft of ...

PLANAGREZE (546,55/259,56)

which has a large notice board near the entrance complete with survey.


A 74m shaft with a ledge at -30m drops into "La Salle de la Castine."  The way on is through a slot and another pitch.  We did not descend the cave but all the info we have is here.

Tackle:

            One 80m rope
            Two 60m ropes
            22 hangers and a tape

From the bottom of the 2nd pitch is a 60m river ending at a sump that has been passed to further sumps. There then follows a sloping pitch to a lake at -184m.  According to the board on the surface this lake is up to 70m deep.

7-4-99

GOUFFRE SPOTTING

Roz, Rich, Ivan, Vince

552.60/287.60: Line of Gouffres on map (2136 ET) near town of Magnagues. 4 Shallow dolines with inter-connecting passage up to 10m wide by 6m high all ending as chokes although there are a couple of through trips, one particular passage leading to the middle of a briar patch much to Vince and Richs' chagrin.

550.48/288.78: nr. Noutary. Single gated entrance by side of track.  Again sizeable passage but short and choked.

548.20/282.64 & 548.36/282.22: 2 Gouffres nr. Alvignac(Cantecor) 1 a low wide arch inhabited by critters.  1 was an old dig site.

548.92/284.30: Perte nr. to Miers. Stream sinks in conduit under road.

550.36/284.16: Muddy sink by side of road.  2 sinks Nr. Padirac.

551.94/284.00: Nr. Village of Goubert, 1 mucky sink described as another Bowery Comer with small cave above that had been modified.

552.86/283.16: 1 site in small valley below the last house in Andrieu looked a good spot with a friendly farmer.

The sink marked on the map wasn't all that inspiring until the farmer took us over to see his gouffre, a clean washed entrance 3m deep by 1.5m wide and a good flow of water.

8-4-99

THEMINETTES (559.84/271.12)

Roz, Rich, Ivan, Vince

Located in the town of Themines on the N140 between Gramat and Figeac, very obvious river sink.

Arrived at the entrance only to find lots of water disappearing into a flood prone cave decided to give it a miss.  We decided to head over to THEMINETTES (561,64/268,05) to locate the sink there. After a little driving/walking about we managed to locate the entrance-very impressive!  The river pours into a hole 2m x 2m and disappears into a rift too wet to attempt to follow it.  Across the entrance is a gate made of sleepers and telegraph poles to stop the debris.  We walked up the river valley where there are several lesser sites of interest.

Took a drive along the Cele valley where we looked at a couple of things but nothing worth a mention

9-4-99

VALLE DU L' ALZOU

Vince, Roz

Cracking day just right for a stroll.  Followed the GR6 path from Grarnat to Rocamadour through the Alzou river valley. The gorge is quite spectacular with high cliffs of limestone and several old ruined mills.  The paths and maps are of a high quality, this walk there and back is 25kms.  Rocamadour is a place you must see if visiting the area with its Chateau built high on the cliffs and narrow medieval streets, and a good place to have a beer break.

The return:

10-4-99

After tidying the Gite we again decided to make our separate ways back to dear old Blighty.  All managed to catch earlier ferries and made the Hunters for drinks Sunday lunchtime.

On the journey to and fro' we passed through an interesting little town called Loches, south of Tours on the N143 to Chateauroux.  Each house that was built into a hillside, seemed to have its own stone mine.  Some of the houses were built into the rock complete with windows and doors.  It merits a stop and a look maybe to break the journey.

Maps:

Serie Bleue 2136ET (top 25) Rocarnadour-Padirac

Serie Bleue 2137E Grarnat-Rocarnadour

IGN (Institut Geographique National) 2236 Ouest; 2237 Ouest; 2238; 2138 Est; 2136 Ouest; 2137 Ouest; 2138 Ouest.

These were the ones we used most of all but it is a large area and other maps may be required. Maps can be purchased in the Superrnarche (Leclerc at Gramat) or in the Tobacconists (Tabac).

Some other caves:

Igue de Toulze

564.28/245.64: From Figeac take the D19 to Grealou and on towards Carjac, after lkm turn left towards Cadrieux.  4km further, turn into the path on your left.  The cave is 300m further at the top of the hill.


6m entrance leads down a slope to a 10m pitch.  From the bottom of the pitch a large passage ends at an 8m drop followed by a 20m ledge. A 15m lake starts here, which according to the French description requires a boat.

Tackle

60m rope; 15m rope; 40m rope; 10m rope; and a boat!

IGue de Viazac:

547.82/261.10: Take the D42 Fontanes to Caniac road. 3km before Fontanes, turn left at the football ground.  Go on and do not take the path on the right.  100m past a 90-degree turn path on your right, cross a fence on your right, and follow the path southwards.  Take a small path to the left that leads to an open area, where you will find the cave (hopefully!).

Start from the south of the hole.  The 65m pitch is divided into two sections.  At the bottom of the pitch, the rope used as a line is followed to a 15m pitch and a 6m step leads to the Martel passage and hole.  A ledge crosses the Martel hole up to the top of the 81m Echo pitch.  At the bottom of this the Mud Room leads to a 24m pitch.  Climb down the rocks until the pier, you can cross the lake up to the landing stage.

Tackle:

90m rope for the 65m pitch; 70m rope for the line and 15m pitch; 50m rope for the ledge; 100m rope for the 81 m pitch; 2x60m ropes up to end of the trip; 16 hangers and 2 tapes up to Martel passage; 15 hangers and 2 tapes for the 81m pitch; 20 hangers and a deviation from the 81 m pitch up to the lake

The previous two descriptions have been taken from a French translation (Speleo Club de Figeac ).

There are of course many other caves in the region, i.e. Igue de St. Sol (539,54/282,71) with a fine 75m entrance shaft and superb formations, Grotte de Combe Cullier (539,06/283,13) bit of a grovel but worth a visit if you're at St. Sol and the showcave at Lacave (bit naff, too much lighting) that are well documented in various club publications.

More information:

Taviner, R. Wessex Journals

Simmonds, V. M.C.G. journals

Speleo Club de Figeac, Website (try caving links)

Weather: 08 36 68 02 46


 

Rock Anchors Using Resins

By Kangy King

With Reference to BMC Equipment Investigations

"BMC Summit" issue 4 page 12 has a report on placing staples in rock with resin.  Three incidents of staple failure were discussed in the report.  Two caused injury and all of them involved staples which were pulled out easily.

Hedbury Quarry, Swanage.

The climber lowered her weight onto the staple which although seemingly secure pulled out.

Tram Station Crae, Pen Trwvn

The brand new looking staple was pulled out preparing to abseil.

Lone Wall. Cheesedale.

The staple came out preparing to abseil.  Five others on the crag were pulled out easily.  It was found that the hardener had not mixed with the resin.

Each incident was investigated and advice given.

The report should cause some concern because some of the advice given may not be safe.

R.S. King and G. Bevan had a telephone conversation with the BMC editor and made the following points which are given here in the interests of safety. The comments were made from a perspective of many years engineering use and practical experience of resin systems, metal to metal bonding and composites and apply both to industrial use and direct life support systems involving resins.

Strength of resin bond.

A reasonable strength resin would not be expected to cure at less than room temperature.  All work should done on a dry day in summer.  (And not at all in a cave!)  Setting times to cure to full strength will be extremely variable under these conditions.

The recommendation that a blob of processed resin should be checked is excellent.  But not by taking to a warm dry home!  It must be left in the same environment as the work. Putting the test piece onto a piece of metal or at least on paper put into a plastic bag and tying it to the staple would be better.  Please note that hardening of the resin is a good indication that it has been mixed correctly but it is not an indication of attainment of full strength.  Even a week or more may not be enough to achieve this and at low temperatures it may never happen.

Cleanliness of the hole is indeed vital.

It was suggested that rather than flush the dust out with water, which will be difficult to remove and will prevent a good bond, the dust should be blown out with a tube.  There will still be moisture from the breath but this is not so serious as a wet surface. An intimate contact can be achieved, see below Reason i).

Mixing is vital.  The best strength is obtained by stirring the correct proportions both clockwise and anticlockwise. Better still use a commercial mixer.  Discard the first 50mm of resin expelled.

BMC Reasons

Reason i)

Seems to be a feeling that a rough surface will give a better joint than a smooth one.  A smooth surface will in fact bond to another surface if the correct resin and process is used.  The essential is that both surfaces should be dry and clean.  In particular the surfaces must not be contaminated by grease. If a staple has been handled with unclean or bare hands this could be enough to destroy any chance of a good bond. Mechanical abrasion of the surfaces increases the surface area and removes some contamination, however it could make complete decontamination more difficult.  The best DIY way to clean a smooth staple might be to lightly abrade with Scotchbrite and alcohol and wipe with a clean dry cotton cloth.

Reason ii)

The process of spreading the resin so that it makes intimate contact with the bonding surface is called "wetting".  It is an essential part of a good bond.  Rotating a rod in a hole is not good enough; using a rod to rub resin into the surface of the hole would be better.  Both contacting surfaces should be completely wetted.

Reason iii)

"Not advisable to drill two holes close together."  Agreed.  A minimum distance between holes depends on the state of the rock.  Our experience in drilling rock is that a near second hole can damage the rock between the two and another site is needed.  For a hard rock free of flaws a minimum distance of 6 times the diameter of the hole is a reasonable working rule.

BMC Conclusions.

"The legs should be not be smooth and should ideally be bent"

Bent legs should not be necessary.  Presumably they are intended to introduce a mechanical resistance to removal.  They would prevent a tight fit between the metal and rock.  Cleanliness is more important than roughness.

Commonly people make mistakes in mixing (Hardener with hardener! wrong proportions, insufficient mixing; great care must be taken.)

"Remove all dust from the hole, if necessary flush out all dust with water".  Cleanliness and freedom from grease is essential. The surface must be dry.  Flushing with water may do more harm than good for the reasons given above.  Note that some sealants are intended for use in water; adhesives are usually not.

"Place a blob of resin on paper take it with you (see above) and check after 24 hours". Always check that the resin and hardener have been mixed properly by making a test piece.  A mechanical test specimen is used in industry to give confidence in the quality of the process.

Resins both uncured and cured deteriorate with age and have limited lives.

BMC Broad Conclusions

Cheedale; agreed that the hardener was not mixed properly.  The staple at Swanage was probably greasy, perhaps through handling rather than "smooth and straight".

Specialist Advice

Pay attention to care with: -

The correct materials stored in sealed packages in a cool dry place and not used past the sell by date.

Cleanliness, particularly no grease.

A good fit between components and a good joint geometry for maximum expected load direction, usually this is at right angles to the axis of the hole.

A correct cure with regard to mixing, temperature, pressure, low humidity and time.

To cure: -

Following the manufacturer’s instructions closely.

Sacrificial test samples, if the anchor itself moves, destroy it!

My own recommendations are not to use resins for this purpose.  They are not foolproof.  It is insisted that the metal must be a good fit in the hole.  This will make a great difference to the shear strength of the joint.

For large holes with a poor fit, set lightly corroded steel in high strength cement (with PVA) and clean sand.

Better still use corrosion resistant Mechanical fasteners which may be removed for inspection and replaced.

All anchors must be inspected regularly.  Give them a bloody great yank along the hole axis (out of the hole) before use.  This will be far less than failure load and should do no harm, except to an unsafe anchor.  Think about third party claims if that helps and go for it.  If the load is normal to the anchor - and you don't leap about - you may not need glue because the staple acts like a hook - but I wouldn't recommend it!

Comments by

L.G. Bevan, International Aerospace Composite Committee (Diver) R.S. King, M.Sc. M.Phil. M.R.Ae.S. C.Eng. ( Bristol Exploration Club).


 

Rolling Calendar

Date                          Details -  Contact

2/7/99                        BEC Committee Meeting

2-4/7/99                     ISSA Meet, Dan yr Ogof - ISSA

2-4/7/99                     BEC Meet in Yorkshire Bradford PC, Brackenbottom, Horton-in-Ribblesdale - Estelle Sandford

3-5/7/99                     Cavers Fair, The Rock Centre, Chudleigh, Devon - NCA – Tony Flanagan

7/7/99                        Open night, Floyd Collins (Musical). The Bridewell Theatre, London

17/7/99                      BEC v Wessex Annual Cricket Challenge for the sofa ashes.  2.30pm Eastwater Farm, Priddy

24/7/99                      Mendip Challenge, based around Priddy Stomp at Priddy Village Hall in evening, with the Cheddar Blues Band – details to follow - John Dobson, ECG

28/7/99                      August Belfry Bulletin Cut off - Editor

6/8/99                        BEC Committee Meeting

9/8/99                        August Belfry Bulletin Out - Editor

29/8/99                      OFD Columns Open Day

31/8/99                      Committee members reports to editor - Editor

31/8/99                      BEC End of Financial year – all accounts and receipts to treasurer ASAP - Treasurer

31/8/99                      Ghar Parau Foundation Grants applications deadline

3/9/99                        BEC Committee Meeting

3/9/99                        Nominations for Committee Close - Secretary

10-12/9/99                  Hidden Earth ’99 BCRA Conference, Leeds - Dave Gibson

24-26/9/99                  NAMHO 99 Conference, Whitemead Park, Parkend, Nr. Lydney, Glos - John Hine

1-3/10/99                    Cave Survey Group field meet, Bull Pot Farm, Casterton Fell, Yorkshire

2/10/99                      BEC AGM and Dinner

3-30/10/99                  Brush with Darkness 2 Wells Museum - Robin Gray

8-10/10/99                  ISSA Meet Indoor Workshop with Robin Gray, Mendip - ISSA

2-3/11/99                    Cave Art exhibition by Robin Gray, Explorer’s Café-Bar (Gough’s Tear Room) Cheddar - Robin Gray

13-14/11/99                DCA/NCA Caver’s Workshop, Pindale Farm, Castleton, Derbyshire.