List of Members 1949, No.8.

John Mason                    77, Hamlins Lane, Exeter, Devon.
W.A. Montgomery           c/o W.J. Shorthose, (Can we have your home address please?)
Ron Gollen                      58, Harrowby Road, Grantham, Lincs.
F/O D.E. Chadwick          152, Earls Court Road, London, SW. 5.
C. MacKee                      70, Imperial Road, Nottingham, Notts.
Ken. Oxby                      c/o 19, Baker Street, Nottingham, Notts.
Miss Maureen Pillinger     36, Gathorne Rbad, Southville, Bristol. 3.
Mrs. Gwen Ifold               Leigh House, Nernpnett, Thrubwell, Chew Stoke, Somt.
Miss Marie Williams        63, Ashburton Road, Southmead, Bristol. 7.
Clive H. Seward               25, Beaconsfiedl Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
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Hints on the Edification of Young Cavers.

By Heddifier.

As one of the Subterranean species of cavers, I thought a few hints about their activities would be useful to future lambs led to the slaughter – the very first is, of course, to keep right away from all suggestions of such expeditions.  For their further information, I should like to state, without responsibility, that certain rumours have been circulated that a caver’s first interest is in the consumption of strong liquor, and that his supposed main preoccupation would come second third or even fourth, in order of preference.  Vile scandals have declared that they prefer Whiteways for warming up rather than the White Way, and that their ears prick up at the mention of ‘the Hunters’, rather than that of the ‘Elephant & Castle’.  Let them show whether or not this is true.

Undoubtedly, and absolute necessity, if the lambs really intend to descend to the depths, is several years in a circus.  I should advise them to first become a contortionist; expert in tying the body in knots, resting feet on the shoulders, or twisting the trunk backward.  It would be advantageous if they learnt to stand on the head, balance on the ears, and/or hang by the teeth or the whiskers.  A rubber constitution is most important, too; a body must be fat to wedge in a crack, but needs to be more drawn out in coming through a place like the Devil’s Elbow.  Most unfortunately, it has been found that there is no time for dieting between the two extremes.

We should next, advise the lambs to go into pantomime.  Here they should become flying fairies and save many a soaking because males in white ballet dresses drifting around in G.B. for instance, would give an attractive variety to the scenery.  After seeing some of the kicks which professional cavers of, although fortunately never having been at the receiving end, the writer has wondered if any of them ever played the back legs of a horse.  For the lamb’s benefit I should like to state that that also would be useful training.

For the next few years the lambs should become quite familiar with water.  Swimming and diving are convenient accomplishments, while they should not neglect the practice of washing the neck.  They need not to be afraid of loosing weight, as they will find plenty of mud in the various caverns to replace it.  Much adroitness in swimming could be gained by monkey-climbing on a greasy pole placed as a bridge over a convenient river.  This mention of climbing serves to remind me that the lambs must be expert mountaineers also.

After all these physical activities, the writer thinks it may desirable to bring to their notice that fact that some intelligence is part of a caver’s makeup.  That all B.E.C. members possess it, has not yet been proved, but it is generally supposed that they do have it in various quantities.

Most certainly have a tendency to linguist abilities, and since the introduction of female speleos tender-hearted males have been known to use only the mildest invective (although with considerable expression).  As English and French are so well known, we should like the lambs to know that T.H.M. intend to learn Arabic as having the largest vocabulary.  Any verbal contributions from visitors to Arabia will be gratefully received, carefully examined, and if strong enough, joyfully used.  When the lambs get tired of caving, those languages will get them a good job in the Civil Service, which is always glad of an Arabic speaker to send to the North Pole.  This is one – perhaps the single one – of the advantages of caving, and we can confidently inform the lambs that their ten or twelve years of training will be well and truly wasted.

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Did you know that First Class Accommodation at very reasonable terms is available in Mendip?  If anyone is interested please contact: -

Mrs. Gwen Ifold,
   Leigh House,
      Nempnett Thrubwell, Chew Stoke,
         Nr Bristol.

Looking into the future.

It is proposed, if Stafford so wills, to run a trip to the south of next summer.  Although this is a very long way off, it is felt that a preliminary notice of this trip should be given now so that those who plan their holidays far ahead will be able, if they so wish, to make the necessary arrangements to go.  Although no details have yet been worked out, it is very probable that the Pyrenees will be area chosen, and that the cost will be between £20 & £25 each person.  A fortnight is the time tentatively mentioned.

If you are interested in this trip drop a line to the Hon. Sec.  The fact that you name is on the list places you under no obligation to proceed with the plan if you would rather not.  The list being for the sole purpose of gauging the popularity of such a trip.

T.H.S.

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Thanks are due to the efforts of: - Miss Marie Williams, Frank Young, Miss Daphne Weeks and Tony Preston for the communal effort that now published the BB.  Thanks also to Tony Johnson who turned out the stencil for the dance.  (Ed.’s note.  There is now a dictionary for those who need it)!!!

Although the response to the appeal for articles has been very gratifying, member’s articles are still urgently required, as it is desirable to have sufficient material for several issues in hand, and not to live from hand to mouth.

The Belfry

Although there is a small trickle of work going forward on the new hut, members are reminded that there is an urgent need for volunteers to make the place as we have planned.  It is realised that the B.E.C. is a cave club and not a society of enthusiastic amateur builders, and those members who have toiled so often and well are to be congratulated for their efforts.  Never-the-less it is felt that some of those who fold their tents and steal away when work is mentioned should at least remember that it is the effort of all the members that count, and give a little of the that which other have so unselfishly given for their enjoyment.

T.H. Stanbury

A visit to Ceiriog Caves.

By Pongo Wallis.

In his ‘Netherworld of Mendip’, E.A. Baker tells us of the first exploration of the Ceiriog Caves.  A few days ago I followed in his footsteps.

Unfortunately his description of the site is vague, but we managed to locate them without too much difficulty.  They lie in the Ceiriog Valley, which is the Shropshire- Denbighshire border.  From Chirk one follows the valley for two miles to Castle Mill, and the cave lies on the right bank of the river, about 150 yards downstream from the bridge.  The entrance is about 20 feet from the river and at first sight is most imposing, but this is merely a façade and the real beginning is quite a small hole.

I won’t attempt a detailed description of the cave.  Baker measured it as being just over 500 feet long, and a more recent survey has confirmed this.  Most of the cave is dead, as there are few formations to be found there, barring one small but beautiful grotto containing a considerable number of pendants and one or two attempts at erratics.  Like all the best grottos it is very difficult of access.  In most places the water has deserted the cave for lower levels which cannot be reached.  In any case there are presumably flooded as the level of the river in only slightly below that of the cave.  The water does appear at one point however, in the shape of a low crawl where it is closely associated with a thin mud – a most unpleasant spot.  Luckily it can be bypassed if one spots the way.  After the first 100 feet or more the cave is generally low and one cannot stand up for more than a step or so at a time.  The muddy crawls, of which most of the cave consists, are very tiring, but at least the mud makes it easy on the knees but quite a lot of the way the passages are not even high enough to let one go on all fours.  It is therefore very hard work, and the whole party was exhausted on getting out, despite the fact than after many major caves taking much longer.

It is the sort of caves that books call ‘sporting’, I didn’t hear it described while we were actually in it – most of the adjectives were a good deal more forceful.  But I can recommend to anyone in the vicinity a visit to it and a good afternoon’s caving.

Baker also mentioned another cave in the vicinity, but we were unable to find this. The locals mentioned yet a third, but this had, unfortunately been covered with a landslide a few years before.

From the Hon. Sec’s Post bag.

From Geoff Ridyard.

We has a first class week at Priddy, and Don, Tom Ratcliffe and I polished off the Stoke Lane survey down to the sump.  We had intended going through the sump on Sunday but rain stopped play.  Anyhow on the Monday, Tom, Alfie and I went down and dug out a passage which needs further digging at the end.  It is off the Pebble Crawl and looks as though it will connect with the Tributary Passage which comes down to the beginning of Browne’s passage.

We all agreed that we had a wizard week and we certainly put in a few underground.  Personally, I did a G.B. a Top of Swildons, and four Stoke Lanes.  Altogether did about 18 hours of survey in Stoke and surveyed about 1,420 feet of passages including the bit we dug out on the Monday.

From John Hull at Mackinnon Road .

Last Sunday I had my first lessons in the art of mountaineering, given to me by a rather extraordinary chap called Hanson.  We went out into the bush to reach the climb and as we bumped along the truck in a 15 cwt. truck he would, every now and again shout to the driver to stop; raise one of his two guns and fire at what appeared to be nothing, then he would jump off and disappear behind a clump of trees returning after a few minutes sometimes empty handed, or sometimes wringing the neck of some bird or other.  Then he would murmur ‘Lesser Crested Bustard’ or some such name, and off we would start again.

We travelled in this way for some two hours before we reached the Pika-Pika Hills.  The hunk of rock that we were going to climb, from the distance looked like the wall of a house, and I began to wish that I’d stuck to caving.  The party by the way consisted of the expert, a semi-expert, myself and a chap who had never climbed anything but a flight of stairs.

We pushed off through the bush towards the base of the climb to the accompaniment of such remarks from our instructor as ‘You’ll love it!’ – ‘I smell Lion!’ – ‘Ah, Rhinos been here!’ – ‘I remember the last time I was charged!’ etc.  I became quite sure that I should have stuck to caving.

The rock face was some 150 feet high and after, we had been told how to tie ropes etc., we climbed up in turn.  The expert went first, stood on a ledge about an inch wide lit a cigarette, and from this vantage point some 70 feet from the ground shouted down words of wisdom to the novice and I.  The novice went next and managed to get some nine feet from the ground when he fell off, doing little to improve his or my peace of mind by this rash action.  He tried again and this time after much advice he reached the top.  Then it was my turn, and much to my surprise I found it a lot easier than some of the graunches done in the deep dark holes of .  The only disconcerting point of the affair occurred when I went to grab hold of a leaf of rock, which turned out to be a four foot long lizard; it stuck its tongue put at me and dashed off into the grass on the summit.

We climbed up and down several other pitches including a little back and foot work; and returned to the truck for beer and sandwiches.

My verdict: - Not so dusty, but give me caving any time!!

Talking of caving; next week I have a trip lined up to a coral cave on the coast, which has never been explored.  The snag to it is that, the entrance at any rate is reputed to have more bats to the square yard than any other known cave in the world, so ask our Bertie Bat if he wants me to take any message.

Suggested new Rule.  To be applied to motorcycling cavers.

‘The Bristol Exploration Club will not be held responsible for the fines incurred by members travelling through Cardiff in Convoy, when the said members all try to overtake the leading cycle to inform its driver that he is being followed by a police car.

Also, the B.E.C. cannot undertake to supply embrocation to be applied to the necks of pillion Passenger after being hauled up for being naughty.

Mens Bona Regnum Possidet.

(Ed.’s note.  This being freely translated means, ‘the cutest guy gets the kudos’.)

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There is still ample opportunities for members so inclined to indulge in a spot of digging.  There are two or three holes that will repay a few weekends hard work spent on them.  So roll up in your thousands, if we haven’t a room in a hole for you, there is plenty to do at the Belfries.

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We should like to remind members that we are still interested in their caving activities, and would like to receive reports to be included in the report book.  When it is considered that we are one of the most active clubs in , it is surprising that so few can be bothered to send in reports.  A few minutes work to turn out a note as to where the trip was, how many went and what happened, is surely a small thing to do in return for the facilities provided.