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A Happy New Year to all our readers and Good Caving in 1958


We must, unfortunately, start 1958 with an apology from the Editor, who has been on the sick list for the last month.  As a result of this, the B.B. will be a week late this month and some of the letters about water Temperatures in Cuthbert's again cannot be published until he can return to work, where they have been left.  He hopes that he will be ‘back to normal’ by the time the February B.B. is due to to written.

As a result of several requests for a back cover, we have had the covers printed for this year to fold over and make a complete cover for the inside pages.  This should, again, improve the appearance of the magazine. We have retained the colour and design of last year.

We should like to take this opportunity to ask our contributors to indicate on their articles etc.; whether they are agreeable to having it condensed if necessary.  This has been done on some occasions in the past, so that it will fit into a particular issue of the magazine; and on most of these occasions, the author’s agreement has been given.  We should, however, like people to know that, where they consider this to be a bad thing, their wishes will be respected.

Finally, an appeal to vote for the 1958 committee.  There are plenty of names to choose from this year!  Make sure you get the people YOU want, and turn up in your thousands to the A.G.M. at Redcliffe Hall on Saturday afternoon, 25th January.  The Annual Dinner follows at Cheddar that evening.


December Committee Meeting

Two new decisions have been made concerning grades of club membership.  Joint membership is to be free if the husband is conscripted and would thus qualify for free membership.  This was passed Nem. Con. (5 for and 2 abstaining).  In addition, a new class of membership has been agreed to. This is Joint Life Membership and will cost 7 guineas.

The trees have been planted on the Belfry site and some of the fencing necessary is in position. The arrangements for the new Belfry, mains water, accumulator disposal etc., continue.

New Members

We should like to welcome John Cundy and James Goodwin, who have recently been elected to membership of the club.

Changes of Address and New Addresses.

For those who are determined to keep their annual list of addresses up to date, see the following: -

Delete the 5 from Bristol in Bryan Ellis’s address.

Add      389.  R. Burky, 52 Sedgemoor Road, Coombe Down, Bath, Somerset

G.B. Dates

The following Dates have recently been received form the U.B.S.S.: -

18th January; 1st March; 12th April; 31st May

Water Temperatures

December 15th, 1957.

Some more temperatures were taken in Cuthbert’s on December 7th by Norman Petty, Paul and Tessie Burt, together with a party of visitors from Leicester University led by Alan Coase.

To begin with, the party showed odd fluctuations in numbers and we were beginning to wonder whether we could ever count bods, let alone degrees; but it settled down at six and remained more or less so for the rest of the trip.

Surface water temperatures were taken in Cuthbert‘s pool and Plantation Stream.  At this stage, it was discovered that the party had no less than three thermometers for water temperature as well as a wet and dry bulb thermometer for humidity readings.  This seemed rather a lot, but the number was adjusted on the way down the entrance pitch, at the bottom of which, one was found to be broken.  This sacrifice must have placated St. Cuthbert, as all went smoothly afterwards.

Temperatures were taken at most of the places suggested by Don Coase (see B.B.118) and he saw to it that the temperature of the Wookey Rising was also taken (at 2.30 a.m.!)

All temperatures so far taken are summarized in the table in degrees Centigrade.  The thermometers used for water temp. could not be read accurately to better than 0.25OC, so that differences of less than half a degree must be disregarded.

“ Plantation” System

October 5th

December 7th

Plantation Stream at the surface



Rabbit Warren Extension



Plantation Stream at Junction






St. Cuthbert’s System



Pool at the surface









Dining Room



St. Cuthbert’s stream at junction






Combined Systems



Just below junction






Wookey Hole rising






Other Tributaries in Cave



Pool in Rabbit Warren



Maypole System stream



Great Gour



Air temperatures were also taken in December, in the same places as the water temperatures and they were consistently 10.1 to 10.2 except in two places, and the pools in the Rabbit Warren and on the Great Gour, where they were 10.5O

In December, the air temperature outside the cave had recently risen considerably, so that it was well above the temperature of the stream entering the cave.  Under these conditions, the larger the volume of the stream and the more rapid its flow, the lower would its temperature when it entered the cave.  Thus the Plantation stream entered around 0.9 degrees cooler than the slower, smaller St. Cuthbert’s stream.  As no other stream as large as these enters the ground in the area, it seems likely that any other water entering the St. Cuthbert’s system would be seepage water entering the ground at a temperature close to that of the St. Cuthbert’s stream or even higher.

From the table, it will be seen that the Cuthbert's stream had risen about one degree between the surface and Plantation Junction.  All other cave water tested, except the Plantation stream, was at about the same temperature (9.1 to 9.5) but the Plantation stream at Plantation Junction was nearly a degree cooler than the Cuthbert’s stream at the same place – about the same difference they showed on the surface.  This seems to support the view that the Plantation stream in the cave is correctly named, for had this stream been caused by seepage water, its temperature would have been at least a degree higher.

The situation in October is much harder to sort out, since a true air temperature is lacking.  It was assumed that this was 9.2 degrees, the temperature of the Cuthbert’s stream at the Dining Room, but it seems surprising that the cave air temperature should be lower in October than December. Perhaps drier air entered the cave and the stream cooled to below air temperature by evaporation?  If it is assumed that in October, the cave air temperature was between 9 and 10 degrees, then the fact that the Plantation stream changed less in temperature between the surface and Plantation Junction than did the Cuthbert's stream in reaching the Dining Room, is not surprising, since, although both streams ended up close to cave air temperature, Cuthbert's left the surface much further from it.

More readings are needed. The situation that would throw most light on the problem would be to have both plantation and Cuthbert’s streams entering the cave at the same temperature, this temperature being at least 3O different from cave air temperature.

Fortunately, it may be possible to get more direct evidence.  Water samples were taken from the two streams on the surface, and the Cuthbert’s stream was found to contain a great deal of chloride, the plantation stream little. It is hope to take water samples from the cave during the next temperature trip.

It is interesting that pools, such as the one in the Rabbit Warren and on the Great Gour, both very large compared with the volume of water entering them, should be able to remain up to 0.8O different from cave air temperature.  In December, their supply was cooler than cave air temperature, and it would be of interest to see if they maintain their temperature differential when the water supply is warmer than cave air temperature.  This seems unlikely.

The air temperatures of the cave were remarkably constant.  The difference of 0.4OC between the air close to the stream and the situations of the roof of the cave was probably due to air cooled by the stream tending to underlie warmer, stagnant air above; the direction of the temperature gradient tending to make the conditions stable in a similar manner to ‘frost pockets’ on the surface.  Presumably when the stream is warmer than the air, convection would occur and the temperature differences would not be observed.

The temperature of the Wookey Rising agrees well with the St. Cuthbert’s air temperature, and is probably the temperature of the whole mass of Mendip at this depth.

The relative humidity of the cave was at all times above 99%, the instrument used being sufficiently accurate to distinguish humidity between 99% and 100%.  It seems that an instrument having a sensitivity of not less than 0.025OC would be necessary to record the very small differences from 100% humidity to be expected in caves.  December 7th was not a day when humidity’s of much lower than 100% could have been expected in the cave, as the surface humidity at the time was 100%.  (A typical Mendip mist, in fact! D.A.C.)

N. Petty and P. Burt


I hope that our Ed. will not think me derogative,
If I say that this space seems to be his prerogative.
So creating a precedent is now my intention
With this little rhyming of my own invention

Mervn Hannam

Answers to Problems in Christmas B.B.

Xmas Xword.  Across: - (1) and (6) Electrolysis.  (9) Fluorides.  (10) Ghana.  (11) Not Home.  (12) Whorled. (13) Inhales its smell.  (15) Climbing reports.  (18) Ensigns.  (19) Alpacas. (22) Viola.  (23) Overthrow.  (24) Reels. (25) Needler.  Down.  (1) Elfin. (2) E Boat.  (3) Turmoil.  (4) Old and Sandstone.  (14) Hailstone.  (15) Cleaver. (16) Bog Oaks.  (17) Pipette.  (20) Coral. (21) Sewer.

Puzzle Corner:  The normal argument runs as follows: - Calling the three men A, B and C; A says to himself. “My disc is either black or white.  Let me assume it to be white.  In that case, B can see a black disc on C and a white one on me.  He will know that his own cannot be white, for if it were, C would see both the white discs, and since there are only two white ones, would know his own was black and would speak up.  By this reasoning, B would thus be able, to deduce his own colour. But he has not done so.  Therefore my original assumption was incorrect, and my own disc must be black."

A much quicker solution has been received from Jill Rollason.  In this one, A argues that since the Governor sets Great store by intelligence, he is not likely to set a problem that gives any of the three men an unfair advantage.  There is thus only one way in which they can all have an equal chance.  Therefore they all have black discs.

Tankards Hole

A report on Tankard’s Hole will eventually appear in a B.E.C. Caving Report on work done in some of the smaller caves on Mendip, but as this is not due to appear for some months, here is a short article on ths wave.  It is situated ‘In a shakehole by the roadside not so far from the Hunter’s Pub’ – thank you Mr. Lawder! – and many people have heard rumours about its doubtful stability in places.  Now for some facts.  Although several boulders look unsafe, the direct route to the lowest Chamber is safe, provided reasonable care is taken and that the urge to wander off the beaten track is suppressed.  However, every exploration trip in which Tony Rich, Russell Jenkins and myself took part, has included some incident and we were all lucky many times to escape injury, even though we were not taking any rash chances.  There is every likelihood of this element of risk to exploration parties continuing, if not even increasing, for the way on from the lowest chamber is very unpleasant.

Briefly, the cave is about two hundred feet deep vertically, and most of it is contained in two vertical boulder ruckles.  It contains no large stream, but in wet weather there are many small streams and the cave shows signs of intense water action.  There is quite a bit of work to be done in this cave.   First of all, there is a way on at the present end which requires exploring.  The cave has not been surveyed, although this is hardly worth while at this stage.

In a couple of places, there are alternative routes between boulders, an obvious way and a short cut. In one such place, the short cut avoids a very awkward squeeze but the boulders are unstable to such a degree that Mr. Rich did not even think of using it,  in passing tackle through.

I know of no photography yet, but there is nothing, but the boulders to photograph.  It would have been useful to have been able to confirm with photographs that a big change did take place in a collapse triggered off, in all innocence, by Maurice Isles during an eventful trip in September 1956, and there are a couple of fossils that may be worth a photograph.

Roger Stenner.

Date For Your Diary

Thursday, 23rd January ’58 at 7.30PM St. Mary Redcliffe Church Hall.


Colour Transparencies by Ron King and Allan Bonner

A Trip to O.F.D.

Where’s my speaking trumpet? Ah!  Hello folks!  The B.E.C. go caving abroad.  I mean South Wales, in fact Ogof Ffynon Ddu.

Saturday morning dawned (at 11 0’clock) to see Norman Petty and myself bustling up the Gloucester Road.  We had made good time till we got just outside Monmouth where a bald front tyre and a slippery bend added up to two lads sliding off towards Monmouth minus one m/c.  The damaged was assessed and a motorcycle shop soon straightened things out and brazed pieces on and after an hour and a half, we were on our way.  Here I must boast to being the only B.E.C. member who has fallen off a motorbike with Norman Petty.  I believe this is his first accident since 1946, which only goes to show what a good driver he really is.  We arrived at the S.W.C.C. cottage at about 3.30pm and met Roger and Daphne.  We visited the resurgence of Dan-yr-Ogof and also the Gwyn Arms.  A pleasant warm night was passed at the spare cottage.

First thing next morning (about 11 o’clock again) we left for O.F.D., and after paying our 1/- entrance fee, disappeared into the bowels of the earth.  It is quite unlike any Mendip cave, for you can walk around for an hour without bending your back!  We visited the stream passage, the Wire Traverse, the Column Series, Crystal Pool Chamber, Rawl series and Low’s Passage all ably led by Bill Little.  We also saw some of the formations – such as the fingers – which appear as photos in ‘British Caving’.

We regained the surface at 4.15 and left for the cottage.  We were held up at the Patti Hospital where it was visiting day, and two really wet and dirty lads were surrounded by people dressed in their Sunday best.

Eventually we left, after enjoying the hospitality of the South Wales Caving Club, and after an inmensly cold journey back, arrived in Bristol some 3½ hours later.

I’ll put my speaking trumpet away for now.  That’s all folks!

Russell Jenkins

Annual General Meeting

To be held at Redcliffe Community Centre at 2.15pm on sat. 25th January 1958


1.                  ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN





6.                  HON. SECRETARY’S REPORT

7.                  HON. TREASURER’S REPORT

8.                  CAVING REPORT

9.                  CLIMBING REPORT

10.              TACKLE REPORT

11.              BELFRY REPORT

12.              LIBRARY REPORT

13.              MEBER’S RESOLUTIONS

14.              ANY OTHER BUSINESS


 (Financial Statement follows on Page 6 overleaf)

Financial Statement For The Year To The Thirty First December 1957

Annual Subscriptions



£  56-16-0



£69-  6-11



Less Expend

£67-  1-8

£    2- 5-3




£    4-10-0

Annual Dinner:


£44- 15-  0



Less Cost

£41-   3-  0

£    3-12-0

Post Office Savings Bank Interest



£    2-12-5

Redcliffe Hall:


£  15-  1-1



Less Hire

£  10-  0-0

£    5- 1-1

Goods for Resale:


£    5-  5-2



Less purchase

£    4-  7-8

£    0-15-6

Caving Reports:


£    4- 12-0


Library Expenses

Les expense

£    0- 17-0

£    3-14-10




£    82- 7-1





Belfry Bulletin:

Stencils, paper

£  10- 17-8




£    8- 19-6

£  19- 17-2



£    9- 17-8



Less Levy

£    1- 15-0

£    8-  4- 8

Public Liability Insurance



£    7-   1- 1

Printing and Stationery



£    4- 10- 2

Postages and Telephones:



£    3- 19- 6

Donations and subscription to:




Cave Research Group


£    2- 10- 0


Mendip Cave Registry


£    2-  2- 0


Mendip Rescue Organisation


£    1-  1- 0


British Mountaineering Council


£    1-  0- 0

£    1-13- 2




£    6-13- 0

Surplus For The Year



£   30- 6- 4




£  82-  7- 1









Total Club monies @ 1st January, 1957



£  74- 1- 6

Plus Surplus as above



£  30- 6- 4




£104- 7-10





Post Office Savings Bank Account



£ 97- 0-11

Cash in hand



£   7- 6-11






The Belfry Bulletin. No. 120.  January 1958.
Editor: S.J. Collins  , I Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol 8
Secretary: R.J. Bagshaw, 56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol 4