Editorial

Next month, the nominations forms for the 1958 committee will be included with the B.B., and it has been suggested that we include a few words on the subject with this month’s issue.

By means of the nomination of new candidates for the committee, the voting for them, and the proposal and voting on resolutions at the Annual General Meeting, the average members gets his say in the way the club is run and in who is elected to carry out his wishes.  Our club is a thoroughly democratic one in which every member has an equal chance to have his ideas adopted at the A.G.M. – a state of affairs which is by no means enjoyed by the members of all caving clubs..

It thus pays all of us who are interested in the way the club is run to treat the nomination forms, voting forms, and attendance at the A.G.M. reasonably seriously as they come round as they soon will.

“Alfie”

October Committee Meeting

The plans for the new stone building have now been done as promised by Pat Ifold.  The Electricity Board have now connected us up to the mains!!  In addition, a calor light has been installed as an emergency light.  Two new gas stoves are now connected – one of these has an oven.

We are still trying to obtain a water meter before the mains water can be installed.  Arrangements for the Dinner are now in hand.  The subjects of trees for the Belfry site and Cuthbert’s leaders were also discussed.

New Members.

Owing to the nearness of the Christmas B.B. and the annual complete list of members, we are holding these over.

M.N.R.C.  Winter Session of Lectures.

These are held by the Wells Natural History and Archaeological Society in the Museum.  Friends of members are admitted at a charge of 1/6.  lectures of interest are as follows: -

November 8th  The Geology of Mendip…Dr. F.S. Wallis    7.30pm.

December 24th.  Clare Adventure…Prof. E.K. Tatman                   7.30pm.

February 14th.  Caving Films of G.B. and Axbridge Ochre Mine…Mr. E. Humphrey  7.30pm.

March 7th.  The St. Cuthbert’s System…Mr. D.A. Coase  7.30pm.

March 28th.  Pioneering Days in Mendip Cave Exploration…M.J.H.  Savory            7.30pm.

Caving in Malaya

by Brian Prewer.

A few months ago, I wrote an article for the B.B. on the caves of Malaya, in which I described a trip to the Siamese border, to Kaki Bukit where I found several caves which appeared worthwhile exploring at some later date.  At this time, lack of tackle and the proper clothing prevented us from exploring them there and then.

Over the weekend of June 8th and 9th last, four of us from the R.A.F. Station, Penang returned to Kaki Bukit and explored two large caves and one smaller one.

We left Penang on the morning of the 8th, and hired a Morris Minor car and travelled about seventy miles north to Jitra where I had found a small cave on my previous trip.  Thus time we had obtained a hundred feet of nylon rope from the R.A.F. Yatch Club so we were able to descend the fifteen foot drop from the surface into a fairly large chamber about forty feet by thirty feet.  To the left of this chamber the floor sloped steeply away and a small passage led off from the lowest point.  On entering this passage a strange rushing sound was heard – we had disturbed hundreds of bats who decided that their dark abode was no longer safe.  When the bats had all left we tried again, and after a short crawl we found ourselves in a small, well decorated chamber.  The formations were all dry, and thus lacked the beauty that most formations which British caves possess.  This chamber led to another smaller chamber from which we could find no way on.  A rather disappointing cave – the bats are quite welcome to it.

Late that afternoon we reached Kaki Bukit and went straight to the place where I had seen a really large cave resurgence on my last visit.  The local inhabitants call this cave Wang Tangga Cave.  We changed at once and went below.  The entrance is about fifteen feet high and is quite dry, the stream emerging from about ten feet lower down.  Once inside, the passage descends for about thirty feet to where it meets the stream.  The stream here is about fifteen feet wide and two feet deep.  The actual stream passage is about thirty feet in height.  We made our way up the stream passage for about a hundred feet to where the stream reached a depth for four feet.  Things were beginning to get slightly uncomfortable by then, so a little further on we decided to traverse along one wall just above the stream.  A ledge must have been put there for our use.  In some places, traversing was impossible and we were again in water up to our chests.  After more than five hundred feet of this, the passage opened up into a chamber some hundred feet long by fifty feet wide and fifty feet high.  The stream had disappeared somewhere to our right.  At the far end of this chamber was a fantastic display of gour pools some of which were over ten feet across and there were also some excellent stalactites on the roof.  Here our photographers got to work, after salvaging as much gear as possible from the soaking wet bags.  Eventually they succeeded in getting two cameras and one flashgun working.  Using some American flashbulbs and H.P.S. film, they assured us that our patience would be rewarded.  At the first attempt the flashgun failed to operate, and on the second we got the pleasing effect of being in complete darkness, for the one torch we had went out.  The flashgun was in pieces as soon as we had another torch on, and was found to be full of water.  On the third attempt we were successful and despite a few more hitches, all the photographs we took were a success.

However, ‘Onward!’ – we have spent too much time here already.  A high level passage leads us from this chamber into yet another chamber even bigger.  The stream could now be seen below us, and after a short climb we were on the floor of the chamber beside it and looking back in the direction from which we had come, a yet more fantastic display of gour pools were see.  The highest one was probably twenty feet across, and the depth of water in it about eighteen inches.  Words cannot really describe these gour pools but only the photographs we took can do them justice.  (Prew submitted photographs of these gours to be used as illustrations to this article, but unfortunately there was not enough tonal range to enable stencils to be prepared.  Ed.).

Dragging our eyes from the gours, we crossed the stream passage once more.  The passage was now higher and narrower and the water deeper.  We could find no ledges on which to traverse.  This was then the end of the cave for us.  What lies beyond only a party equipped with a boat can find out.

Cuthbert’s Report

Water Temperatures

On Saturday, October 5th, a tourist trip was run during the course of which water temperatures were taken at various points as follows: - 1. The stream near the entrance where it sinks through the mud in the pool….53oF.  This had dropped to 50oF at  2. The top of Pulpit Pitch and at 3. The Shower Bath by the Lower Ledge Pitch on the Old Route.

Lower down the cave, near the Dining Room (4), the stream was 48.5oF, the same temperature as at 5.  A pool of static water in the Rabbit Warren, and probably the normal cave temperature.

On the surface, the Plantation Stream (6) disappears at 51oF, and after travelling probably a longer distance, enter(?) St. Cuthbert’s in the Rabbit Warren Extension and joins the main stream later at Plantation Junction.  The temperature at this point (7) being 50.5oF.  More work needs to be done on this before any definite conclusions can be drawn.

N. Petty.

Comment on the above.

Although, as Norman says. More work needs doing with regard to water temperatures in the cave; some preliminary conclusions can be drawn.  To simplify the figures given, the following diagram is included.

BB118-CuthbertsWater.jpg 

SKETCH OF PRESENT HYDROLOGICAL SYSTEM OF ST. CUTHBERT’S SWALLET

All temperatures in oF.   x indicates where more measurements are required.

The fall in temperature of the St. Cuthbert’s stream is as one would expect.  The rapid fall of 3oF to the Pulpit Pitch and the Shower Bath being caused by the vertical fall of 80 – 100 feet to these points, and then the ambient cave temperature of 48.5o being reached at or before the Dining Room.

It seems extremely unlikely that the water rising in the Rabbit Warren Extension and again at Plantation Junction can be fed by Plantation Swallet as has always been assumed, though without any real evidence.  The only evidence being that Plantation Swallet seemed the only possible source in view of the roughly comparable volume the flow of water at the riding by Plantation Junction being greater than the total of all other sources entering the cave.  It does appear to be possible for Cuthbert’s water to drop 4.5oF whilst Plantation water only drops 0.5oF over a greater straight line distance, the vertical drop being about the same in both cases.

If this assumption is correct, it leaves two further queries.  What happens to Plantation water?  This is simply that is does not join the St. Cuthbert’s System as it is known at present.  Secondly, where does the water rising on the Rabbit Warren Ext. and Plantation Junction come from?  The writer has always felt that the Drinking Fountain and Maypole Series are seepage collection from the south of Mineries Pool but Plantation Junction seems too large for seepage collection.  A further point is why the relatively high temperature of this water?  It will be interesting to compare the temperature with that of the Maypole Series stream, being the nearest tributary in that part of the cave.

The ‘x’ points shown in the sketch are points where temperatures are required.  It will be evident that these temperatures should all be taken during the same day, plus repeating all those taken already by Norman.  Both wet and dry bulb (can anyone lend us one?).

Also, a temperature reading should be taken at Wookey Hole Cave, and the thermometers used checked against an N.P.L. calibrated thermometer.  One of our members working in a Lab. should be able to do this.

A further check which could be done, is by analysis of the water entering Plantation Swallet and comparing it with a similar test on the Plantation Junction rising.  Any offers from any of our chemists?

It would appear that the name “Plantation Junction” should have classed with that of the Priddy Green stream in Swildons in being a complete misnomer, but it would probably be difficult to change it now.

D.A. Coase

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor of the Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir,

While the local Mendip folk are not unused to the sight of occasional cavers littering the road between the Hunter’s and the Belfry, things can sometimes get a little too far, as on a Saturday evening recently when an extremely incapable type, who looked as if he had just returned from a trek in the bush, lurched into the bar, which was crowded with strangers, in addition to the ‘regulars’, and attempted to shove his way through the crowd at the bar, at the same time bellowing for beer.  Mine Host and his worthy wife were busily engaged in supplying the requirements of a thirsty throng already at the bar, and, since immediate attention was not forthcoming, our friend from the bush addressed the gathering company in terms which could only be described as obscene.  Judging from the shocked and embarrassed expressions on the faces several of the ladies who were present, and murmurs of displeasure from certain regulars who were present, it was a fair guess that no one was amused by this behaviour.

During the many years which he has been patronised by the members of the B.E.C., Ben has showed himself to be a more than tolerant landlord, and it is up to the club to ensure that the good relations which have previously existed are not destroyed by such incidents, whether the characters concerned are members of the B.E.C. or any other club.  I suggest that a suitable punishment would be immersed in the Mineries!

“Oldtimer”
(Name Supplied).

Partly to set “Oldtimer’s “ mind at rest, I think it is worth commenting that nowadays we are often in a minority at the Hunter’s and could not hope to keep order among all the types which sometimes frequent the pub without violence!  We have, however, made quite sure that Ben distinguishes between the B.E.C. and sundry other gangs of cavers.  The locals are also capable of sorting out ‘who’s who’ and Ben realises that we cannot be responsible, and do not associate ourselves with such types. – Editor.

 

To the Editor of the Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir – I have been going to write to you ever since I saw that Gesteprint in the Bulletin.  It certainly was grim!  The picture was much too contrasty before you started to make the stencil.  One thing – you must never set such large areas of black.  It causes the stencil to break down and makes the paper cling.  I am quite willing to produce a stencil for you, providing you supply the neg. or a decent print, and that I get a minimum of three weeks to do it in.  You should produce a picture as good as a cheap newspaper.

Yours etc.
Jonah.

Thanks very much for the offer Jonah.  How about it blokes?  Let us have some nice illustrated articles in future B.B.’s.

 

To the Editor of the Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir – I feel it is my duty to write in the hope of correcting any false impressions that may have arisen from a sentence in your esteemed journal of may 1957.  The sentence appeared under the heading Easter on Mendip and stated, ‘Among the skiffle tunes played was one which was thought to be the S.M.C.C. theme song – it was called “There’s a crack in this old building”’  The point I wish to make is that the theme song of the Shepton Mallet Caving Club’s regular runs,

Dear friends, the next time
You find yourselves in our locality
Try a sample of our hospitality.

On thinking of the many lazy hours spent over the valley enjoying our tea, milk, sugar, cigarettes and company many of the Belfry types will have to admit that the theme song above has been lived up to.  If the theme song suggested in the B.B. was adopted we should have to repair all but one of the cracks in our wall!

I remain, Sir,
A member of the B.E.C.
Bryan Ellis  (Hut Warden, S.M.C.C.)

I had to cut the above letter short to get this reply in…

The Shepton Mallet Caving Club
Are quite a decent shower.
We often pop inside their hut
To while away an hour.
We sit around, and all enjoy
Their hospitality
While we give Bryan cigarettes

Their badge it is a round one like
The sign of I.C.I.
With ’SHEPTON MALLETT CAVING CLUB’
In letters good and high.
It symbolises perfectly
Their speciality
They spell their Shepton Mallet with
A second round of ‘T’.

 

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The Belfry Bulletin.  Editor S.J. Collins, I Kensington Place, Clifton.