Belfry Bulletin

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Editor’s Note

A most members will already know, it was decided at the last A.G.M. that the Belfry Bulletin should be run by an Editorial Board.  This board consists of “Spike” Rees, Alan Sandall and myself and since the A.G.M., we have been joined by Bob Price.

Having introduced ourselves, we should like to explain what we have done so far and what we hope to do in the future.  The printed cover will be standard from now on, and older readers may recognise the title styling.  This first appeared on B.B. number 3.  I believe that we have Don Coase to thank for the design.  The large print headings are designed to assist those who, through failing eyesight or insufficient practice, have difficulty in reading small print.

Failing some dire catastrophe occurring, we will have each month’s B.B. ready for stapling on the first Thursday of the month regularly.  (We’ve got to do this in any case, as we’ve had all the dates printed on the covers in advance!).  We shall not appeal for articles, but will amongst you with big sticks.

Seriously though – we have made a start, we hope in the right direction.  There is still a lot of improving to be done.  Any suggestions will be very welcome, including any offers of help, materials of work.

“Alfie”

Report of the Annual General Meeting 

----- A personal account of the main items of interest – by Bob Bagshaw.

The A.G.M. started a little late and the attendance reached a total of 37.

The Hon. Secretary reported that the total membership had fallen slightly to 117.  The drop from 98 to 82 for the Annual Dinner was attributed to the petrol, situation.  It was hoped that the purchase of the Belfry site, the installation of mains electricity and water and the provision of a new Tackle Store would soon be completed.

The Hon. Treasurer reported that, in view of the proposed expenditure, the outstanding loans should not be repaid yet and he appealed for donations or more Life Memberships and also for the prompt payment or subs.

The Caving Secretary reported the continuance of work on most of the caves discovered by the club.  A very small cave had been entered during the year.  The participation by the club in the Pen Park Hole project had not gone smoothly.  He deplored the attitude taken by some members of the group set  up by Professor Palmer and suggested that club abandon its share in the work.  After some discussion, it was agreed not to do this.

The Climbing Secretary reported another successful year, which included several trips to the Pyrenees and Skye.  There have been several trips for novices to the nearby climbs as well as trips to the regular climbs throughout the county.

The Tackle Officer reported the loss of one 20’ ladder.  (This has subsequently been found with the Wessex tackle).  Three more 20’ ladders have been rebuilt during the year.  The new tackle store will ease the storage position and enable a better check to be kept on tackle.

The Hut Warden reported a total of 1,062 bed-nights in spite of the loss of some regulars to the Shepton Hut.  A Bank Holiday record of 115 bed nights was set up over Easter.  The redecoration of the Belfry was continuing.

The Hon. Librarian reported that there had been less borrowing of books in spite of the purchase of 16 new books.  The use of a cupboard at Redcliffe Hall has been offered and when books are there perhaps the borrowing, and also the attendance at the Hall may increase.

There were several resolutions regarding improvements to the B.B. and after some discussion, an Editorial Board was elected.  A vote of thanks to Harry Stanbury for his work was carried unanimously.

Following some argument, a resolution to delete the words “one of whom shall be a lady member” from clause 5 of the club Constitution was carried by 18 votes to 6.

The meeting closed at 5.45 after a vote of thanks to the chair.

February Committee Meeting.

The 1957 committee held their first meeting at the Belfry on February 3rd.  The following jobs were allocated: -

Hon. Secretary and Treasurer         R.J. Bagshaw
Chairman                                      R.A. Setterington
Caving Secretary                           D. Coase
Climbing Secretary                        R. King
Hut Warden                                   A. Collins
Tackle Warden                              N. Petty
Hut Engineer                                 C. Rees
Assistant Hon. Secretary               A. Sandall
Ladies Representative                    J. Osborn

Other business dealt with included the provision of a larger notice board and a chalk box (both of which have been promised) the production of certificates for Hon. Life members, the plans for the new hut (which are to be submitted to the Town and Country Planning) and the progress on obtaining mains water and electricity.

Notices & Reminders

New Members.

We welcome the following new members to the club: -

Peter Graham (375)  6, Lawrence Mansions, Chelsea, London S.W.1.
John Jenkins (374)  126 Bridge Lane, Golders Green, London N.W.2.

List of Members

To keep the recently published list of members up to date, the following should be added: -

74/80    Tompsett (Mr.  & Mrs.) 51 Rotham Ave, Gt. Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex.
245       Pembry, J.S.  Grove View, Hambrook, Nr. Bristol.
270       Brown, V.  79 Ingleside Rd., Kingswood, Bristol.
273       Hampton, Mrs. L.J.  Gesling Hill, Thorner, Nr. Leeds, Yorks.
372       Healy, M.J.  25 Water Lane, Bristlington, Bristol 4.
373       Hobbs, S.M.  135 Doncaster, Rd. Southmead, Bristol.

-----and the following amendments should be made: -

237       Scott, B.  should read 39, Colbrook Ave, Hayes, Middx.
348       Thomas, D.M.  should read 1 Ashburton Rd., Southmead, Bristol.

Caving Reports.

There are still some copies of the Cuthbert’s report left.  Price 2/6 or 3/- post free.  Apply to the Hon. Sec.

Library Books and Lamp Spares.

These are now available every Thursday night at Redcliffe Hall.

Annual Subs.

The Treasurer would like to remind those who have not yet paid their subs. for 1957.

Scrambles Swallet

Miss Jean Campbell, Geoff Fowler and Kangy King beg to announce the existence of a natural cavity which they have discovered on Sunday, January 27th, 1957.

The swallet, the presence of which had been known for some time, had defeated earlier attempts at digging by continually refilling any excavation with mud – so it had been abandoned.  However, a storm altered things.  It blew down a tree at the site, and the hole which appeared drained a small pond, thus removing the mud menace.  This was the situation when our heroic trio began their investigation.

The first stage in the dig was to remove a selection of large boulders which at once revealed a narrow sloping passage ending after about six feet.  Wriggling in we found one bat and a loose floor.  Wriggling out and then wriggling in head first, steady work was began on the loose large stones and fine-earth floor, which was banished form the immediate scene by ingeniously pushing it upwards and backwards between the legs.  This brought us to more boulders.  These were removed by much strenuous pulling upon a rope which was too short, and frantic pushing from below.  A particular bulky rock was pulled out and through the hole and to the left is was possible to see a large, indeterminate open space.  The hole was big enough to squeeze through.  We lit more lamps, and with considerable excitement squeezed through the hole, dropping into a passage the floor of which sloped steeply and was of loose stones and earth.  We moved easily on until the passage ended after about twenty five feet, in another choke.  This looked as it would take a longer time to clear, so we retreated.  Once outside, the discovery was named Scrambles Swallet and photographs were taken.  We are particularly pleased that the cavity is inhabited by no less than eight Lesser Horseshoe bats, all un-ringed.

For those interested in viewing the Swallet, it is situated (I digress here to ask the Editor to make sure he places the commas correctly) and please don’t knock down any more of the dry stone wall as you leave.  In accordance with current Bristol practice, Mr. Fowler insists that, before anyone is allowed to explore, the entrance shaft must be enlarged considerably and made safe for him to enter comfortably.  No photographs to be taken without his permission.  Miss Campbell insists that no-one is to enter until the botanists and geologists have had their fill.  Mr. King insists that he’s never seen such treacherous looking clay and would like some corporative shoring.

The possibility of extending the system seems good.  One is able to see a rift on the left of the entrance and the stream flows vigorously to the right.  We think that the bats used the steam course as their entrance and exit.

With due modesty, we suggest that this discovery might be classified as B.E.C.’s first for 1957.

Odd Items

A trip has been arranged down LAMB LEER for Sunday, March 24th, at 3pm.  Names should be given to the Caving Sec. (D.A. Coase) to reach him by or on Thursday, 21st March.

Poem to fill up an odd space.

At Hunter’s Lodge – a certain bloke
Occasionally gets slightly tight.
While showing all the lads a joke
He met his “match” the other night!

Climbing - Weekend in North Wales.

For some time now, it has been the practice of mountaineering members of the club to hire a brake for the purpose of travelling to North Wales.  With a certain amount of imagination it is possible to fit eight people plus gear into a brake.  We aim to leave Bristol, after picking up the excursionists at strategic points, at about 6.30pm on the Friday evening, arriving at a suitable farm after midnight.  Naturally, we do as little as possible while we are there, and with profound relief we start back late on Sunday afternoon.  Each person makes his own arrangements for food, entertainment and bed.  Bed is usually in a barn or a tent.

The total cost of the whole weekend (excluding beer money) seems to be of the order of twenty five shillings per head.  (Does this include the cost of overturning vehicles as well? – Ed.)  This cost was before petrol rationing, and the increased cost of petrol is expected to add five shillings per head to the bill.

If anyone would like to be given notice of such trips, I suggest they contact me.  I regret that it is not possible to give notice in the B.B., as they are usually arranged on the spur of the moment.

Ron King. – “Kangy.”
Climbing Sec.

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The following has been extracted from a letter recently sent out by the U.B.S.S. concerning their new regulations about G.B. Cave: -

The “In” and “Out” notice board at the entrance to the cave has been altered as the former arrangement was unsatisfactory.  It is now an indicator board with date, club, and “In” and “Out” tabs, which should be used instead of writing on the board.  The board will only show the club down the cave and not the individual names of cavers.

This Society (the U.B.S.S.) acting agents for the owners wish to remind clubs, and through them, individual members, that it is still the policy of the owners to restrict entry to the cave, and that a “free-for-all” type of entry has never been envisaged or sanctioned.  Nevertheless, there is evidence from several difference sources that members of clubs are not observing the spirit of the rules, even if they manage to stick to the letter…..they have been granted considerable privileges by the owners and these should not be abused for if they are the owners are likely to withdraw them.

The guest rule is only intended to cover two groups of persons either members of a visiting club in another caving area, or a distinguished visitor of friend of a member.  Such persons should never exceed three in any one trip.

…….If a club party is large; there must be an adequate number of experienced cavers in it.  The total number of the party, including any guests, must not exceed 20.

…….Where more than one day is allocated at a weekend; the club may use either day but NOT both.

 (A special supply of application forms was sent with this letter.  These have now been given to the Caving Secretary to whom members should apply).

B.E.C. Dates for G.B. Trips.

March 30/31
May 11/12
June 29/30
August 3/5

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Any articles of information may be given or sent to any member of the Editorial Board, or sent direct to the secretary.

Secretary.    R.J. Bagshaw, 56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
Editor           S.J. Collins, 1 Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol 8.