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Births

On Wednesday February 25th Betty and Johnny Shorthose, a daughter, Mary Elisabeth. Mother and Daughter both doing well.

Hearty Congratulations to Mum, and Dad, and welcome to the ”Young Idea”.

Editors Notes

I have learned that Alfie Collins hopes to be in double harness at Christmas.

At the request of a number of members we are printing the "Votes list of Candidates for the 1948 Committee":-

T. H. Stanbury 33
D.A. Coase 26
D.H. Hassel 25
A.M. Innes 20
J. C. Weekes 19
R.A. Setteriongton 18
G.T. Lucy 15
G. Fenn 12
J.D. Pain 5

The Committee decided to co-opt R.A. Setterington to the Committee because of the difficulty D.A. Coase finds in getting down for meetings.

Programme for March, April and May, 1948.

Saturday 13th March Swildons Hole
Sunday 21st March August Hole and Longwood
Saturday 10th April Burrington, General Caving
Sunday 18th April Eastwater
Saturday 8th May G.B.
Sunday 16th May Stoke Lane Lower Series

New Books

By R.M.W

The mere mention that there is a new book by Casteret should be enough to start a rush on the nearest book-shop. "My Caves", has just been published by Dent's at .15/-.

This is a chronological sequence to "Ten Years under the Earth” and brings us up to 1939, but it differs in some respects from that wonderful book. In this only one cave is dealt with in detail – the author describes very vividly the efforts he made to bye pass a trap in the cave of Labouiche, which required considerable effort in climbing and penetrating squeezes, only to find on regaining the river, that a further trap still barred the way. This he has not yet attempted to pass. The second chapter deals with some of the Basque Pot-holes which he descended (with aid of a winch and some terrifyingly thin cable) in company of Max Cosyns and Vander Elst - both one time stratosphere balloonists.

The remainder of the book is devoted to caving in general and a survey of facts and figures. He also discusses his own equipment, most of it little, if any, different from that familiar to us. His ladders, however, do not appeal to me. He pins his faith in 1/8" steel wire with magnesium alloy rungs, weighing only about 1.oz./ ft. He has 1600 feet of this - imagine about one Belfry-full of B.E.C. Ladder!

The final very interesting chapter records three years research into the habits of bats - their life-cycle, feeding and migratory habits. For some species do migrate, though why and how far remains a mystery. Some of the bats he observed and ringed successfully returned to their cave when released 180 miles away, though another group failed at 400 miles.

In the introduction, Casteret says: “Everything I have described has been observer, in the Pyrenees. I make no claim to ownership....but in many cases I have discovered and explored them. Visits to 700 caves.......are I think justification for the title. He does not claim it as a handbook or compendium, but rather a tale of adventure. Nonetheless, much can be learned from these pages by a pastmaster of the subject and even though he insists he is only an "Amateur and dilettante” he is beset by many correspondents suggesting suitable caves for exploration. One from said he had seen many large unexplored pots in the Apennines. It is only in the Postscript he bothers to mention that he refers to the Apennines in the Moon, which he had been studying in a telescope.

I feel this to be the work of a more sober man than the author of “Ten Years". His lone forcing of the Montesapn syphon in 1922, was, it seemed to me, a foolhardy risk, and as such he now recognises it. While he still prefers solitary exploration, he can in no case advise anyone to venture alone into the dark labyrinths below…. Do what I say, and not what I do.

The translation is by R.L.G. Irving, and very well done too. In one place only was I conscious of the fact that I was reading a book originally in another language, and that is a very difficult thing to achieve. Even a bad translation of ''Mes Cavernes" would have been better than none, but a very good one rejoices the heart.

26 photographs add a final touch to a book you must beg, borrow or steal (or you might even buy it - it's is worth it!).

A copy of the above book is now in the Club Library.( Ed.).

North Wales Border Caves

By A.C. Johnson.

Between Pantymevyn and Cilcain a dozen miles south of Holywell, and 3 miles west of Mold, the River Alyn runs through a deep narrow valley. I say runs, but it only appears in flood as it spends the rest of its time underground in old lead workings which it enters a mile or so upstream, not far from a pub boasting the name of "We Three Loggerheads'' commonly called "The Loggerheads”. Up till 1939 there used to be a spar quarry on the east bank of the river. The spar was quarried originally from a rift 20' wide. When they had got into the rift for about 300ft. they broke into the end of an enormous rift chamber about 120ft high at about 30 ft from the deck. This only left them 50 ft instead of 140 ft to quarry so they left it. The chamber is about 5 degrees out of the vertical. The bottom of this chamber Is filled with the water that should be in the river outside. The chamber stretches back into blackness although your light is hampered by a remarkable vertical buttress that stretches about two-thirds of the way up the left hand wall and connects up with a vertical inverted buttress coming down from the roof and attached to the other wall, forming a huge arch in the bottom right side above the water and an equally large doorway on the top left side. The whole thing is so far in as to be in gloom but I have a sneaking feeling that it is made of stalactite. A person with more energy than sense might possibly climb down the left wall into the doorway as there is a slight horizontal bulge running along the wall, having an upper surface at about 55 degrees to the horizontal. The which appears by the sound of the stonesto be very deep is divided at the limit of sight by a large spur but as there is still about 100 ft. headroom further progress should be possible. A dingy would be needed for exploration but a paddle steamer would be alright for size. Just about 50 yds up the river bank is a real scorcher of a cave entrance all choked by greenish stalactite. It is about 25 ft long and about 10 ft. high. Several promising holes peep out round curtains of the stuff and a chisel and hammer might reveal things. Even more hopeful is a corkscrew aven in the roof all covered in stalactite, which is the most impressive one I have seen. By its position, this is most likely to be an outlet cave and there is plenty of room under the hill so it may go. To return to lead mines, about ½ mile further on is the most shaky piece of mining engineering I have ever seen; just right for exploration by Johnnie Morris. A level has been driven into the rock near one end of a 100ft cliff, but it must have bean unsafe and they continue until it was about 70 ft. high. Then they stuffed it full of props to keep the walls apart. The two walls are now just masses of loose stone; most of the props near the entrance have gone and those further in have been removed by about 50 ft. of the roof collapsing. The first 50ft. was only saved by the roots of two big oak trees it seems. Anyway a rope over one of the props would probably fetch it all in, as stones start miniature avalanches. In the field above there is a line of 3 open shafts with large slab walls about 8ft. in diameter. There are about 20 shafts dotted about on the side of the valley; and towards The Loggerheads the O.S. marks a place called Cat Hole, that none of the locals know.

There are a number of quarries in the area and I believe that small caves were found and may still be open, but I do not know at present anything more but will try and investigate soon.

The hills to the west of the valley rise to the Clwydian range where some magnificent hill walks can be obtained. The highest peak, Moel Famau 1820 ft, has the base of a monster cairn on top but the builders must have thought that it wasn’t worth lugging stone that far. From here fine views can be had especially towards Snowdonia.

It seems to me that North Wales has been sadly neglected, but under this present ---x petrol situation it will have to wait. All the caves I have seen have been within a mile of bus routes and ½ a mile of a road, so they are all accessible like those of Mendip. Also the owners of the land surrounding the cave entrances don’t seem too bad in fact they seem almost interested..

Tony Johnson has asked that any information about this area please be passed to him. (Ed.).

Trinidad

We have had some letters from Terry Reed. He is infesting Trinidad now and has found some caves there; we shall print his notes all being well in the next issue.

List of members.

We have decided to publish lists of members and their addresses, so that those members who live adjacent to each other, may know their neighbours.

1 T.H. Stanbury, Hon. Sec, 74. Redcatch Road., Knowle, Bristol 4.
3 D.W. Jones, 18 Highbury Road, Bristol 8
4 D.H. Hasell, Hill House, Moorlynch, Nr. Bridgewater, Somerset
5 R. Wallace, 32 Springleaze, Knowle, Bristol 4
7 G.A.R. Tait, 35 Laurence Grove, Henleaze, Bristol
9 F.A. Edwards, 14 Tuegla terrace, Bristol
17 J.V. Morris, Ye Olde Jolly Sailor Inn, Teighnmouth, Devon
19 S.C.W. Herman, 34 Jubilee Road, Knowle, Bristol 4
20 R.J. Bagshaw, 11 Hill Crest, Knowle, Bristol 4
21 G.R. Fenn, Kinsale Road, Knowle Bristol 4

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