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Your 1953 Committee will be as follows.

R. Setterington, R. Bagshaw, D. Coase, K. Dobbs, P. Ifold, C. Coase, A. Johnson, A. Celline.

Further details will be printed next months ‘BB’.

A report of the Annual Dinner and the A.G.M. will appear in the next issue, as both these events will happen after this issue has ‘gone to press’.


The Dewar Stone Climbs, South Devon.

By ‘A Climber on Skye’

The Dewar Stone climbs (map ref. 638539) on the rough granite outcrops of Dartmoor, are situated on the right bank of the R. Plym between that river and the R. Meavy, about 10 miles N.E. of Plymouth.  The nearest road approach is at the bridge just below the stream junction, and after crossing the Plym by stepping stones or trees, a walk and a scramble upstream for a mile brings you to the main cliff about 20 yards from the water.  The whole area is completely wooded and there is a good campsite at the base of the cliffs.

The climbs on the main cliff vary from easy to D.N.I., and average about 150ft. in length, so everyone is well catered for.  Two smaller outcrops standing back behind and above the main cliff offer further climbs to more wandering types.  Climbing is in boots or rubbers, but if you intend to roam around, rubbers, while better on the rock itself, are rather a menace due to the vegetation and wet leaf mould about the place.  For non-climbers the walks up the valley will provide a good deal of interest.

Looking at the main cliffs as you approach upstream, the first climbs are on the first pinnacle on your left.  The climbs on this pinnacle all start at the edge of a 15ft. wall which is climbed without assistance of nearby trees.  (I hope).  After scrambling up a rocky ledge, there are a number of routes up the steep slab to the top of the pinnacle, which is detached from the main face.  By sliding down the opposite side you can cross over to this face; alternatively you may execute the ‘Devil’s leap’ from the pinnacle top.

There are a number of short climbs in the chimney behind this pinnacle and its base.  A climb to the left is known as Holly Tree wall; this is a poor relation of its namesake, and, like the others is never more than a good ‘diff’.  However, it leads, by climbing to the right, to a high traverse across the whole face which becomes decidedly tricky in places.  To the right of the pinnacle is a gully, Mucky by name, which higher up is quite interesting if tackled from the pinnacle climbs.

Between this gully and the main gully to the right is a buttress which gives good climbs tackled from either gully.  After gaining and climbing the arête for 40ft. you reach a small ledge.  The way on is via Morris’s Crack (the Menace, of course) in front of you, or by the more severe Gray Crack to the left.  At the top either traverse left or keep straight on to the top.  There are one or two other routes on the buttress and the side of Main Gully, to which nail marks will provide ready clues.  The climbs on this buttress are in general slightly harder than on the pinnacle.  In the Gully proper there is only the scrambling route up through the natural tunnel at the top, which should interest the cavers, perhaps, although the high traverse described earlier does cross this region.

Next to this gully is the main face proper, which produces some of the most severe climbs yet pioneered on the Dewar Stone.  The first, Central Groove, starts up a wall to the right of some large boulders.  The climb continues up the back of a steep groove for 60ft, or so, when a traverse out to the right turns and overhangs at the top of the groove.  From here the way is easier and lies straight up via a small chimney to the top.  While this climb can be classed as severe, Whitackers variant, which climbs into the central groove from the left of the boulders and then branches back to the left across a slab to another chimney is probably slightly harder.

Next, in order, come the two climbs pioneered in pre-war days by the Climbers’ Club; the Climbers’ Club Direct and Ordinary.  Since the war Johnny Morris, Pat Ifold and George Whitaker have concocted a ‘Climbers’ Club Super Direct’, which is a more horrific version of the Ordinary routes.  ‘Climbers’ Club Direct’, a severe climb, starts by a combined assault on a crack in the centre of the Main Face, which is later forsaken for a groove to the right, leading to a pitch.  After 10ft. cross to a further groove on your right, which is climbed until an overhang forces you out onto a ledge and into a crack on your left.  A little higher, a further move to the left is made across a vertical wall to climb a thin slab to the top.  The ‘Ordinary’ route, slightly less severe, starts right at the far end of the cliff up a gully where a left hand traverse brings you to the piton on the ‘Direct’ route, which is followed for 35ft. before an excursion is made to the left along a ledge returning right to an overhang.  This is turned by a chimney to the left, from where there are two routes to the top.

The ‘Super Direct Route’ (D.N.I.)   involves moving over a mantelshelf to the left from the piton and back again higher up to the ordinary route and on up the direct route.  A further excursion up a crack to the right enables you to make a delicate left hand traverse across the face of another mantelshelf on to a tottering block from which a groove and a chimney lead to the top.  This climb is definitely not to be tackled unless you are perfectly ready for it.

In conclusion, the Dewar Stone, although somewhat isolated, is in a beautiful part of the country and is a place well worth a visit, the climbs are many and varied, the rock good, though with some vegetation and the effect on climbing out above the trees as the climbs do, is a very satisfying one.

Building a Belfry

By Tony Johnson

Part 5.  (Conclusion).

People are now beginning to recognise the existence of the new edifice.  The approach of summer leads to a new felt roof.  Here, a warning; do not sweep it over the eaves as we did, as this gives the same effect as a hat with no rear brim does on a wet day, the nether regions get soaked from above.  The numerous accidents that occur at this time are solved by a flight of doorsteps a la Postle Tompsett, which defied our best intentions to break them.  All this merry tinkling and raucous Scotch shouts announce the fitting of the windows, which noise wakes our venerable Hut Warden who, struggling out from a pile of plans and designs, give vent to the puzzling statement that he has had it and that he knows what to do with all the other plans.  To drive this home he lays the first batten, and the inside of the hut changes, as in a transformation scene, to a series of cages.  Whilst this is being done Harry Stanbury is having great fun with coils of wire ‘Wring the Place’ – more like entwining it, I should say.  Anyway, the number of lining board nails put through the wires later on should give a strong job.  These lining boards are a bit of a problem, but, after much thought the B.E.C. devise a means of installing them on car roofs without the necessity of a pilot’s licence, and after a few months thrutch by the jigsaw puzzle experts, the thing is decently clothed.

But wait, the scientific horrors have not been asleep, quite.  Bunks and the welding kit provide fun and frolic, and the generator’s efficiency goes way over 10 p.c. by using it to drill holes as well as produce electricity and hot water.  Numerous brightly coloured tins are by this time appearing and Henry Shelton et femme blithely tell us we are going to paint the thing.  How, if you have never painted lining board, don’t!  Each piece has its own gremlin that washes off the paint as you put it on, and until they are sized up no colour remains.  Thus, after a very decent interval, boys and girls are installed in their own inviolate castles instead of on the floor to the discomfort of those nearest the floor.

Stagnation now sets in with a vengeance, and all the frenzied appeals of your Hon. Scribe pass unnoticed except for the odd half brick.  Anyway in desperation he decided to remove the Mendip Weather from the front door, and the porch so concocted was intended as an example to others.  Have you ever tried to set an example to the B.E.C.?  Don’t.  They just say ‘D--- good show’ and press on regardless.

A final last word, for are nearly at the present day (Thank goodness).  Major components having been donated by persons unknown, the kitchen has at last been evolved as an entity.  After a few weeks’ operation it appears ideal for two people to operate together but hopeless if a number of awkward bods insist in cooking their horrible grub at the same time.  Still, at present we are searching far and wide to start the whole process again by fitting extra sections to accommodate our expanding population.  The results of this will be expounded in a decade or so.

P.S. If anyone has a book on making concrete, please pass it on to our Hut Warden and Mervyn Hannan.  They tried to make a concrete stove base, and for reasons that are not quite plain, finished up with chippings that were finer than before they added the cement.

Tony Johnson

POEM or You’ve had your Wordsworth.

By Jill Rollason.

I wandered westwards, full of care,
Fearing a caving trip was due,
When all at once I was aware
Of swarms of mucky cavers, who
With scruffy hair, all dark with mould,
Were muttering curses in the cold.

As many as the crocks that stand
And stiffen in some iron-works,
They shuddered as their fervour waned,
And screwed their mouths in groans and smirks:
Full twenty I saw with one look,
Pushing each other in the brook.

They all were loud in wrath, but some
Outdid the loquacious mob in word
(A caver could not but be glum
To see himself caught in the herd).

I gazed and gazed – but little thought
What joy the scene to me had brought:
For oft when in my bunk I doze
And dream of caves that should be done,
I think of Jones, of Sett, and Coase,
(Who totter down them one by one),
And when my heart with praises fills
For those who graunch beneath the hills.


You Never Know


As civilisation slowly gropes its way into the more remote corners of the Belfry, it will probably be decided to issue a little booklet to new members to help them settle in.  Let us therefore peer into the future and take a look at some of the contents of: -


Available from any club official (price 3d) or from Mr. Bagshaw. (price 1/6).


The Club runs regular Helicopter services from Wells and Bristol to the Belfry.  All enquiries should be addresses to the Chief Pilot (Mr. Johnson).   Members wishing to alight at intermediate stops should apply to the Parachute Officer (Mr. Rice).  Large parties should use the Bristol Bus routes which run from all major towns to the Belfry.


On arrival at the Belfry, all members should contact the Hut Warden (R.A. Setterington) whose office is in the administrative block.  To reach this from the entrance proceed down Eastwater Avenue past the Helicopter Park and the ornamental garden and take the first turning on the left after passing the statue of Dan Hasell.

Should the Hut Warden not be available, his secretary should be consulted.  If, as will usually be the case, she is also not available, the Assistant Hut Warden should be contacted.

Parties of 100 or more are asked to book in advance, as the sudden arrival of parties of this size throws an unfair burden on the domestic staff.


All requests and complaints should be addresses to the Chief Catering Officer (Mr. Jones).  Breakfast will be served in bed unless otherwise ordered.  Members are requested not to detain the maids bringing early morning tea, as others are waiting for this.

Members are advised to arrive promptly for dinner to avoid missing the floor show, after which there is dancing to the music of Alfie Collins and his Haphazard Harmony.


Members are reminded that care should be taken when bathing in Mineries Pool as the marble steps and surround become slippery when wet.

Members are requested not to use the lifts for journeys of less than four floors, as the lifts place a heavy load on the main generating station, causing the Chief Electrical Engineer (Mr. Lucy) much inconvenience.

Finally, members are asked not to throw their cigar butts on the carpets as this does damage the pile.