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Tale Piece

The Tale Piece is for anecdotes, people profiles, or any other interesting item that you like and, of course - tales. Ideas and suggestions are always welcome.


Bill Combley’s Bio

Groucho Marx once said "I would never join a club that would have me as a member!", and for many years this held true for me.

I have been exploring mines, quarries and latterly caves since the age of about 10 when my father took myself and one of my older brothers on a walking holiday in North Wales and the Lake District, where we explored Rhosydd Quarry and some of T'owd Man's levels around Coniston by candle light. I was hooked! Every holiday I begged to go back to Wales and explore more and, to that end, over the intervening 30 odd years I have managed to do so.

I had a break from exploring during the 1990s to the mid 2000s as I moved to the very south of England, got married and raised a family, but then a chance e-mail from one of my brothers (who lives in Australia) led me into the murky world of urban exploration which led to me joining the Dark Places forum in 2004 and to exploring Box Quarry and other Bathstone Quarries. Whilst living in the south, my nephew asked me if I had a boiler suit he could borrow as he was off caving with a friend of his. I lent him my spare "decorating" boiler suit and off he went. A few months later I was invited by the same nephew to come on a day trip to Mendip to go caving. We had a poke in Rod's Pot and some of the other Burrington caves.

That was it. I was hooked again and I started spending more and more of my free weekends on Mendip, getting to know the caves and more importantly some of the local characters. I first started to stay at the Wessex, and most weekends I'd drop into Wells and spend money on shiny kit in Jrat's shop (I'd always ask Tony if he would like me to leave the money in his pot at the Hunters, but he wanted it in the till). I think it was Slug who suggested I stay at the Belfry rather than the Wessex; well that happened and I enjoyed my visits. In 2008 I moved into the heart of Priddy and joined the B.E.C. At first I was a bit "off the wall" to say the least (!) and underwent a period of extra probation - lesson learned there. Here we are in 2013 and I'm now part of the club committee with the post of Tackle Warden.

My "grand plan" for the coming year is to maintain the club equipment that the previous Tackle Wardens have left me, I shall investigate the age and suitability of the club's tackle and replace if it is deemed necessary. Please continue to use the tackle log to record where you're taking the kit, and, don't forget to wash it after use before returning it to the store!

Toodle pip, see you all at the Belfry, in a cave, or in the Hunters!

BB548 062

Who can name this famous Mendip caver?