A very Happy New Year and Good Caving to all our members all over the World,

Grand Auction

The Club is auctioning an almost new pair of Tyrolean Shorts, complete with the usual natty braces.  These shorts of leather have been given by Henry Shelton, and will fit a tall man. Bids are to be sent to the Hon, Sec, by the end of February.

Poem

The following "Poem" arrived in the Hon. Sec's door by mysterious means and is unsigned. Members of the Club will however recognise without difficulty its author. (with many apologies to Shakespeare).

When motorbikes stand by the hut,
And Don the Diver cleans his plug,
And Sett screws up a loosened nut,
And beer comes frozen home in Jug,
When roads be white and slippery,
Then nightly sings the B.E.C. "Woo woo!
Alas Poor little Angeling”,
While Greasy George the plates doth clean.

When Macbeth doth refuse to go,
And caving clothes hang by the door,
And G,B. lies beneath the snow,
And Half-Pint's nose is red and raw,
When stew's been cooked, and beer runs free,
Then nightly sings the B.E.C. “Woo woo!
Alas Poor little Angeling”,
While Greasy George the plates doth clean.

Stupendous Discovery on Mendip

The following is an extract from a newspaper cutting recently sent to the Hon. Sec.:-

The spirit of adventure and exploration was high in the minds of all who went out on the Club Run last week with the ----------- traversing over rough cart tracks and muddy lanes of the barren, almost deserted Mendip Hills, white over with the frost of the night before, against a biting wind, they continued to their destination- Goatchurch Caves- going via Banwell, Shipham and Charterhouse.

Descending into the caves, which go down many miles having a great many turnings which must be chosen and remembered with care for the return journey, and armed with ropes and candles, a depth of approximately two miles was reached.

The more adventurous of the explorers succeeded in reaching a grotto through a tunnel known to cavers as the "Drainpipe", this being 1’6" in diameter and 20 feet Iong, here turning round and reaching the top again, muddy but pleased with their achievement, just as dusk was falling.

The afternoon run was met for tea at the Stirrup Cup Cafe, which is situated at the top of Burrington Coombe. -----------

Someone has been holding out on us! Two miles, It puts Stoke Lane in the shade. Will anyone with information please send in to the Hon. Editor at once!!!!

Climbing Nevis Peak. British West Indies.

The Menace Again!

Nevis is a small island which really consists of an extinct volcano, sticking 3,600 ft. out of the ocean. This mountain is covered in dense jungle right to the top, as are all the mountains in B.W.I..

Having heard of some rock near the cloud capped summit, George and I decided to climb it. We managed to get permission to start at 6.0 a.m. in the morning before it got too hot, and by 7.0 we had got to the base of a large gully.  The bed of the Gully was a vile mixture of mud, loose rock, ash and jungle, and the going was so loose that we had to take to the side of it. I can only describe the next part as climbing up a mass of vertical matted vegetation. By then it had got really hot and clouds of steam were rising off everything, also clouds of mosquitoes, bugs and what have you. We soon became eaten alive, scratched to bits, and generally done up in big heaps. After about 1,000 ft. of this sort of thing we came into the cloud level, and it became very cold. There was a sort of green twilight all the time, and the only living things were a vicious brand of ants, and some horrible looking monkeys that wailed and screamed at us. After this the going was somewhat easier over mossy rock and ash, and we arrived at the top. The top was covered in stunted grey trees covered in streamers of grey moss, and with a visibility of about 5 yards it was very depressing and cold. In fact the only sign that we were at the top was the fact that we couldn’t go any higher.

After a cold miserable meal we started off down another gully. In fact, once we started we couldn't stop and it was one long glissade to the bottom.  However, there were one or two rock pitches and George went flying over the first one, about 35 ft. into a pot-hole full of water, without getting seriously damaged.  I decided to be a lot more careful and lowered myself from a small tree which promptly came away, and I joined him, landing in a sitting position on a rock. I will leave the next part to your imagination, as it is not printable. After about two more hours of this sort of thing, we got back to the ship, being the first ones to have climbed the mountain by that side for 25 years.

J.Y. Morris

From the Hon. Sec’s-Post Bag

From Terry Reed, Off Klein Bonaire, (Wherever that may be, Ed.)!! . I would like to report that I believe some caves to exist at Point St. Marie, just North of Ballen Bay in Curacoa. I must have passed within 200 yds of them.

Also from Terry Reed, off San Luiz. (Ditto) Ed.. Spent my time in Curacoa in – you’ve guessed it - Caving!!  I was unable to visit the Virgin's Grotto ---- but I visited an old mine-working near Caracas Bay, which had broken into a big L shaped chamber.  I didn’t even need overalls, which with other tackle I'd lugged from-------?, Just walked in -------—— Hope to collect some dried Human Heads this trip.

From Tony Crawford,

If anyone is interested, there is a place called Cromarty inside the Morray Firth. As we steamed through the Cromarty Gap I sap that the right hand side was a cliff covered with sea caves which should be very interesting to explore. I was very sorry that I was unable to go ashore and explore them.------------On the Isle of Arran, off the S.W. coast of there is an island called Holy Island on the lighthouse end of which there is a cave which is easily seen from the path all round the island. This cave is really a split in the rock which you would call a cleft. It looks like an interesting cave and is worth exploring. I crawled as far as I could. It is not a sea cave at all, as fresh water trickles trickles through it and showers through the roof.  When the opening became too small I had to turn back as I had no spade to dig the earth in the bottom of the passage, where the floor was soft. The passage continued as I; saw when I shone my torch in and saw a larger chamber continuing. ----

Reed’s Cavern Buckfastleigh, S. Devon.

By G.W. Ridyard

During a visit to Plymouth during the second week of December, I met E. Masson Phillips, a newcomer to Caving, and a local archaeologist.

The outcome of our meeting was that on the Saturday morning I found myself on a bus bound for Buckfastleigh.

Buckfastleigh is-situated on the south-eastern fringe of Dartmoor and has a number of caves nearby in an outcrop of Devonian Limestone. The Devon Speleos, have their headquarters at Buckfastleigh behind the general store of Mr. Reed, discoverer of Reed’s Cavern. There we changed and set out, in pouring rain for the disused quarry where the entrance to Reed's Cavern is situated.  The party consisted of four sixth-form boys from Totnes Grammar School, one of which was "Jigger" Reed who as a caver is following in his father's footsteps, E.M. Phillips who is their science master, and myself.

Arriving at the quarry I found that the entrance was in a large rock shelter formed by a natural cavity half quarried away in the past. We waited here for a while for Mr. Woodward of the Devon Speleos, who was to lead the party. After a while the lads and myself decided to have a look at Spider Hole, a small cave system about 50 yards from our shelter. We were hoping to see some bats, but we had to be content with one rather sleepy Greater Horseshoe Bat, which swore softly when he was removed from his perch. This was one of the bats which had been ringed by the Devon Speleos. The Hoopers and the Reeds have done a lot of work of this type in the Buckfastleigh area.  Sometimes as was the case with this particular bat, the rings are rendered illegible by the bats chewing them.

Spider Hole lived up to its name, for in the semi-dark gone I saw some of the biggest spiders I have ever seen. Leaving our bat and the spiders we squelched back, through mud and. rain, to Reed's Cavern entrance; where we found Mr. Woodward had arrived with the key of the door which has been fitted a short distance inside the entrance passage.

The entrance was about. 8 ft. above the ground level and after negotiating this by climbing over a wheels-less farm cart propped against the rock face, we found ourselves in a small chamber with a certain amount of discoloured drip formation.  Pressing on we soon had to crawl along a low passage as far as the small, door which cuts off the bulk of the cave from the general public.  The door was in a side of the passage, and we made a right angled turn as we entered it.  A further crawl of some feet and a little squeeze brought us into the main chamber.

We emerged beneath two "Shark's fin" curtains of stalactite, of an orangish shade, one of which has had its point removed by someone who forgot to duck when he stood up. The main chamber I judged to be about 120ft long, 30 ft wide, and up to 30 ft in height.

The floor was very uneven with a number of large limestone blocks lying about and there was a small boulder ruckle at one point which leads, I believe, to a lower series. There was quite a lot of stalagmite on certain parts of the floor cementing boulders together. Around the sides of the main chamber were plenty of formations, and one or two stalagmite cascades, some rather dirty.

We continued along a passage which brought us into a small rift chamber where we saw evidence of a former water levels some 4 ft above the general floor level. Here, was a bristling fringe of dogtooth spar along one wall and on the side of a rock which must have projected at one time above the level of the pool.  We traversed a number of rift and water-eaten passages until near the limit of our trip we saw the oddest helactite I have ever seen. This was in the form of a little stalacto-stalagmite column with two horizontally opposed arms sprouting out of it, each curving upwards. The impression is that of a little man, wearing a top hat and conducting a choir.  The whole thing is in white crystal-like calcite which is similar to the calcite forming the numerous small helectltes in this part of the series.  I do not think that G.B. Cavern can equal this Devonshire cave for this peculiar type of formation.

We retraced our steps to the main chamber and spent half an hour or so exploring a few side passages which were pretty tight and quite abortive. In one small cul-de-sac we saw a number of small mounds of needle like crystals which being brownish in colour looked exactly like a group of hedge hogs in hibernation. Finally we headed back for the entrance having abandoned the idea of trying the upper series as one of the lads was wearing gum boots and was therefore, not equipped for any strenuous rock climbing.

After walking back to Buckfastleigh in the rain we changed and cleaned up. Mrs Reed very kindly provided us with a first rate tea which was duly dispatched and after bidding our fellow mud-wallowers good-bye, Phillips and I left for the Plymouth bus.

To sum up I would say that Reed's Cavern is a very interesting cave and, although some of the formations have much to be desired so far as beauty is concerned, it is far superior to any of the Yorkshire caves I visited last summer. It is a good sporting cave and is moderately dry. The cave is well worth visiting if any BEC members should be in the neighbourhood in the future, and I have no doubt that Mr. Reed and the Devon Speleos in general would prove to be very helpful in any way possible.

Belfry Sub. Committee.

At a recent Committee meeting it was decided that the Belfry subcommittee to deal with matters relating to the erection of the New Belfry and to expedite its completion should be:- John Ifold, G.T. Lucy, Tony Johnson and Mrs. Tompsett, with Tony Setterington as chairman.

Library

The library will be closed from Feb. 1st. until a date to be announced later. All books MUST be returned by this date without fail. The Library Fine System is suspended as from the publication of this Belfry Bulletin until an announcement be made to the contrary.

T.H. Stanbury. Hon Sec

Note by Hon. Fester of B.B. The stencil seems to have slipped to the side during cutting. Apologies are offered.

At the A.G.M. a question was asked about B.E.C, activities other than Caving and the matter was discussed at at the last Committee meeting.

Walking and Climbing.  Will all those interested in either walking or Rock climbing please send in their names so that we may get something organised. Even if you think that a committee man knows your interests please let us know as your name may be the one forgotten.

We have a leader in mind for the walking Section, whose name will be announced when and if he accepts. Would any of the existing climbing types in the club like to suggest someone, not necessarily a club member who would give sound tuition to those interested.

Another unsigned epic.

A suggested Epitaph.

Here lies dear Don,
So sadly passed on.

He went down Stoke Lane,
When 'twas pouring with rain.

Tho' they pumped out the Sump
With a ruddy great pump,

He was well out of reach
In the tum of a leech.

So cavers take heed
If you*re able to read

Of the undignified end
Of a very dear friend.

D. A. C.    R.I.P.

Cave Research Group.

The C.R.G. is publishing in the immediate future 'The Transactions of the Cave Research Group'. It consists of 29pages of duplicate copyscript, a printed cover and 16 line diagrams together with 4 half tone illustrations.

The price is 4/-, Please send all orders to the Hon. Sec. as soon as possible. He will forward to the C.R.G.

Personal.

Mr. F.J. Shorland has become engaged to Miss Joyce Norman, a Telephone Operator at Taunton.

News Flash.

A mine Shaft was recently found open in Warren Field.

BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB BALLOT PAPER

Further item 3 of the A.G.M. agenda the following persons were nominated for the 54 committee

R Bagshaw, T H Stanbury,  D ,  K Dobbs,  R Setterington. A Collins A Johnson. P Ifold, D.A. Coase,  Mrs C Coase,  R Bennett N Petty

The Committee consists of 8n persons including at least one Lady member.

I wish to vote for the following:

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8 Lady Rep

 

NAME                                         Mem. No.

This form should be completed and returned to the Asst Sec 55 Broadfield Rd,  Knowle Bristol 4 not later than 10 MAR 1954.