Important Notice to all Bristol Area Members

There will be NO MEETING at St. Matthew’s Hall on THURSDAY May 11th.  The hall is wanted for another purpose on that night.

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We very much regret any inconvenience caused by the sudden cancellation of the two meetings at Easter.  The Hon. Sec. was not informed of this cancellation until it was too late to make an announcement in the ordinary way.

Spring Dance

The Spring Dance, held on April 14th. was a great success, although not so well attended as the Autumn one.  This was no doubt due to a combination of circumstances, not 1east of which was the fact that we had no Thursday Evening meetings for the two weeks previous to it.  Thanks are again due to Pam and her band of stalwarts who were responsible for the organisation of the Dance, and to the band of ladies who wrestled so ably with the refreshments.

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Whilst we are in a thanking mood, thanks also to Ken Dobbs, who is making ladders for the club and has already completed a 35 foot length.  The need for extra tackle has been apparent for some time past, and  Ken's efforts will ensure that all those who want gear will be able to have it without ‘queuing’ for it.

Programme for June, July and August.

With this issue of the BB each member will receive his Programme for the next three months.  Trip 4, to and the Pyrenees, requires your name sent in before the last day of May if at all possible if you are interested.  Please let us know, 1, if you have transport, and if so what kind; 2. your starting place; 3. the amount of gear you are taking, and 4, if you wish to camp or sleep in hotels.  The sending in of your name entails no obligation on your part to finally go, but will give Sett, some idea as to how many to expect.  Trip 9, The Bude Camp is always a popular one.  The arrival date can depend on the person coming.  For the cave-minded there is plenty of digging in the Smuggler’s Hole and the exploration of the numerous caves in the cliffs; whilst there will be swimming and surfing to wash to mud off.  Diggers can find employment for then to their hearts content; they should contact Henry Shelton, who would be delighted to see them.

List of members.  1950.  No.2.

John Pain                            ‘Bibury’, Old West Town Lane, Brislington, Bristol. 4.
Don Coase                           18.  Headington Road, Wandsworth, London.  S.W.18.
G. Platten                            Rotherfield, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, Hants.                       
Jim Steer                             23, Andover Road, Knowle Park, Bristol. 4.
George Lucy                        28, Bibury Cerscent, Henleaze, Bristol. 7.
Peter A.E. Stewart               11, Fairhaven Road, Redland, Bristol. 6.
Terry Reed                           53, Dongola Road, Bristol. 7.
Dick Belamy                        5, Heron Road, Easton, Bristol.
Tony Crawford                      10, Elm Close, Hendon, London, N.W. 4.
Angus Innes,                        246, Filton Ave., Horfield Bristol. 7.
Mrs. M (Dizzie) Thompsett    St. Faith’s Cottage, Hawkechurch, Nr. Axminster, Devon.
Roger Cantle                        46, Cherrinton Road, Henleaze, Bristol. 7.
Tony Setterington,                21, Priors Wood Road, Taunton, Somt.        
R.M. (Pongo) Wallis             Briarcroft, Marlborough Close, Latchford, W.O., Warrington, Lancs.
J.M. (Postle) Thompsett        St. Faith’s Cottage, Hawkechurch, Nr. Axminster, Devon.

Cave Research Group Transactions No.8, Vol.1, is just published.

It is entirely devoted to a description of Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, in the Tawe Valley by E.A. Glennie.  The text is illustrated by a large plan and 11 plates of original photographs.  Those who have visited Ffynnon Ddu will find it of great interest to them, whilst those who have not yet had the opportunity of visiting this very interesting welsh cave will find their appetite whetted.  The price is 4/- post free from:- P.B. Binns, 34, Alexandra Road, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, or via Hon. Sec.

T.H.S.

Notes on a recent trip to South Devon

by R.W.G.C.

(These are the caving notes promised in the last BB.  Ed.)

The party drove to Buckfastleigh via Newton Abbot and Totnes.  Arriving at the cave, Bakers Pit, the party of ten changed in the cave entrance and descended with Johnny (Menace) Morris leading.  Bakers Pit lies just to the right of a church near Buckfastleigh, in a large copse filled with piles of rocks and dead trees.

The cave proved to be one of great interest, although not of the over-strenuous type.  The main point of interest of the cave is the Dutch Oven; this proved rather tight and one tended to slide out of control (please don’t anyone say ‘ Who ever slides under control’?).  The whole cave system is lined with a particularly tacky kind of mud, and the B.E.C. once again looked a little more natural. (Who believes in washing, anyway?) ,

The next day we visited Kents Cavern, which is situated in the Ilsham Valley.  We were shown round this very interesting show cave by a cordial guide.  This cave is well worth a visit by any caver, the museum, records and charts being exceptionally good.

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R.H. Newman makes his debut in BB with a horrible line-shoot entitled

‘Dicing in N. Wales.’

Three of the more ambitious members of the B.E.C. to wit, messrs. Pat (Where did you get that hat.) Ifold, Roger (Rotten Guts) Cantle, and Ron (Holler in the night) Newman, nipped off smartly in the Newman buggy towards Capel Curig at 18.00hrs on Maundy Thursday.

Progress was rather slow, since a new engine was being run in, but the trip was far from uneventful.  We considerably shook the citizens of Tewkesbury en route with our climbing sets and Cantle’s anecdotes - hardly up to drawing-room standard - recounted in an alcoholic whisper audible several yards away.  As a result of our sojourn in Tewkesbury, and Cantle’s propensity to car-sickness, that gentleman blazed a trail of glory all across N. Wales, and delighted the rest of the party with his antics in the middle of the road with headlight illumination.  (For further gen on this, consult Cantle).

We arrived at the barn just after dawn, to be greeted there by Bob Crabtree grinning over the top of the half-door.  He provided us with a very welcome cup of char, after which we piled into fug-bags and kipped down until mid-day.  We then nipped into Capel for some Dutch courage and returned to have a crack at Y Gribbin via the Zig-Zag route.

This consisted of three pitches; the first about 20' up to an outward sloping ledge; the second up a crack in the face for about 15’ where the face sloped back into a slab, in which the crack continued for another 30'; and the third consisted of a crack in a vertical face, which proved to be a tight squeeze.

Roger led on the first pitch, and Bob on the other two, hotly pursued by Newman and Ifold, at third and fourth place respectively.  The climb was quite easy, although a very boisterous wind made it more difficult than it should have been; the Cantle hat was whisked off, but it was retrieved by a mob of hill-walkers below, who were eyeing our efforts with amazement, and it was returned to Pat, still waiting to come up the first pitch.  An easy scramble then brought us up to the top and we walked down by an easy way and adjourned to the Royal at Capel.

During our absence the barn had filled up with other climbing bods, and Newman was able to put in some extra-mural activity that night.  It may be added that this had nothing to do with the subsequent howls from the Newman quarter; they were the result, strangely enough, of a caving nightmare

The next day we intended to do Snowdon via a ridge walk, but the weather clamped down.  We sat in the car for a few hours waiting in vain for the torrential to blow over, teaching Bob to play bridge in the meantime.  The wind was so powerful that it was rocking the car all over the place, despite the ballast provided by four husky bodies and all our gear and provisions.  We finally abandoned the project and returned to Capel for tea, beer and more bridge.

That night there was a hearty singsong in the Royal, during which the B.E.C. covered itself with glory and inspired all present with awe.  The singsong won for us many friends and much respect (one character was later heard boasting that he had an uncle in Bristol!!).  Most of the credit for this must go to Cantle, who seems to command an unlimited number of songs.

Sunday was the best day of all, despite the Welsh Sabbatarian outlook which forbids the sale of booze on that day.  There was no rain, but the wind was still blowing a gale, sending walls of spindrift scudding across Llyn Ogwen, and there was snow and ice on the mountains.  These weather conditions changed a ‘Difficult’ climb into a ‘Severe’ one.

We tackled the Milestone Buttress of Tryfan in two parties – Bob and myself in the first, Pat and Roger in the second.  It was our intention to take the Ordinary route, but it seemed that several hundred people had the same idea, so, not wishing to queue up, we decided on the Pulpit Route and Ivy Chimney.

This route took us right up the right-Hand edge of Milestone Buttress, with a wicked-looking gully just to the right, which made the climb very exposed.

Most of the climb consisted of slabs (The high wind upsetting the delicate balance required for slab climbing) except for the last two pitches - both very difficult and exposed where Bob led us all in one big party.  Roger and Pat were having difficulty with a new rope; on one occasion when I belayed above Bob and seeing him up, I could see the other two far below wrestling with stiff, unruly coils of rope strewn all over the mountainside.

The first of the two difficult pitches was Ivy Chimney itself.  Actually, the chimney was easy – bags of flakes and jammed feet and handholds - but getting out of it was a masterpiece of contortionism and sheer brute strength of arm that creased all of us.

Two big, long, tapering boulders blocked the chimney exit, and it was necessary to climb under them and out to the right, into an extremely exposed position over the gully, and then to wriggle up between the two boulders, which over-hung the gully.

The space between the boulders was V Shaped, with the open end of the V to the right, so that the further right one wriggled, the wider the space between the boulders.  In order to get a space wide enough to wriggle through, one had to move over a few hundred feet of nothingness, with only a friction hold over each boulder with each hand.  One then had to haul the body up between the boulders on hands only.  It was pretty murderous, especially with cold hands, too numb after a few minutes to feel the rock.  And the Tryfan guide book has the nerve to describe this manoeuvre as ‘amusing’!!

To crown everything, with Bob and myself on top and Roger halfway up, a wicked looking white curtain drifted lazily down the valley.  It hit us just as Roger was on the tricky section - hail, driven along by a gale-force wind.  Stuck between two difficult pitches, the three of us had to huddle up until it blew over; fortunately, it did so soon.  Meanwhile Pat was curled up snugly in the bottom of the chimney, well sheltered.  We could see all the people below lucky enough to be able to walk off, doing it at top speed. In answer to our query, Bob informed us that we too, could get down just as quickly – all we had to do was to close our eyes and walk around for a bit!

The next pitch was not so difficult as it appeared from below, but it was very exposed and Bob led us up very cautiously.  The rest of us with the added security of a top rope were able to fly up.  From here we coiled up our ropes and started the long grind to the summit, via the North ridge and the Cannon.  Halfway up we encountered two hill walkers, plus, of all things, two dogs one of which was a diminutive Yorkshire terrier, with legs only two inches long – completely useless for scrambling over boulders.  The B.E.C. lent a hand, and we rewarded with the incongruous spectacle of Pat plodding upwards with a pocket size pooch tucked under one arm!  We came down as before by an easy route with a pretty fair scree-slide thrown in.

One particular occasion we forgot our torch, and finding our way back to the barn in complete darkness proved to be the most dangerous part of a dicey weekend.  After several hair-raisers we finally made it, and spent the rest of the evening playing bridge and drawing on Roger’s inexhaustible fund of songs.

Next day – Monday – we intended to spend a morning on Idwal Slabs before returning to Bristol, but the weather beat us again, so we spent it instead on the Royal’s dartboard.  After lunch we bade Bob farewell and started back.  There is a certain rat in Capel which was probably very glad to see the last of us – Roger will tell you why.

On the whole the trip was quite successful and very enjoyable, despite the weather, and it convinced me that climbing is superior to caving.  If any of you think otherwise, then join the next trip to North Wales.

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We are delighted to welcome back to the fold, after a lengthy sojourn in South Wales the master of Rasputin, to wit one Donald Coase.  He says that he found the state of both huts amazing and expresses his appreciation of the way that they are both kept spotless and tidy internally.

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At the Belfry there was a large crowd down for Easter and a good time was had by all.  The electrical work is now complete except for the mains switch and some work has been done towards the levelling of the remainder of the site.  More lining board has been put up and the order has been placed for the Calor-gas equipment.  The ladies room was used as a complete unit for the first time at Easter, thus bringing the permanent sleeping accommodation in the new Belfry up to 21.  This together with the bunks in the old hut and available floor space compares very favourable with the accommodation offered at the Grand Hotel.  We are advertising for a bar-maid whose chief duties will be to summon the faithless to stew and to bring bowsers of booze from the Hunters.

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T.H. Stanbury        Hon. Sec. 74, Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4. (Bristol 77590)
F.W. Young,          Assist. Hon. Sec. The Barton, Stanton Drew, Nr. Bristol
W.J. Shorthose,     Hon. Sec. London Sect. B.E.C., 26. Gateshead Road, Upper Tooting, London, S.W. 17.
A.M. Innes,            Hon. Librarian.  246, Filton Ave., Horfield, Bristol. 7.