Editorial

Here it is – a little late as we suggested it might be, but we won in the end.  This is the new cover, size and type.  Any resemblance to the old B.B. is purely accidental.

It might interest newer readers to note that the B.B. in its original form was foolscap size – the size of this one when folded out flat.  It changed after fifteen issues to quarto size, and now has reduced its size once again.  If it goes on getting smaller, there will come a time when you’ll need a microscope to read it!

Seriously, we hope members approve of the new disguise and are all promptly inspired to write sheaves of articles to fill its pages.  One snag about this layout is that the B.B. can only come out in multiples of four pages, so that if there is not enough for an eight page magazine, we will have to cut right down to four.

In the past, there have not always been enough copies of the B.B. for everyone to get a copy.  In that case, the postal department have been giving priority to club members, which is only fair, and some of the clubs to whom we send copies of the B.B., have thus had to go without.  We hope that, mow we have made these improvements to the B.B., it will be possible to guarantee a copy each month for everyone, including all the clubs to whom we apologise for the poor service they have had in the past.

It only remains for us to let you get on with reading this, and to wish all club members, and all cavers and climbers a very happy and prosperous new year.

“Alfie”

January Committee Meeting

At the January meeting of the committee, L.R. Mortimer and Miss Pat Irwin were elected members of the club.  Good progress on the new hut was reported.  The climbing secretary reported that the last organised club trip proved to be badly supported.  Another trip will be organised in February.  Permission was given for Cave Science to reprint any information on St. Cuthbert’s.

Notices

A show entitled “Caving with a camera” will be given by Dennis Kemp at Redcliffe Hall on Thursday, 8th February at 8pm.

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The next guest days for G.B. have been provisionally sent out by U.B.S.S.  The days for the B.E.C. are January 30/31 and March 12/13.

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“Prew” is willing to take his car up to the Annual dinner of the Bradford Pothole Club, which is being held at the Devonshire Hotel, Skipton, on Saturday, 6th February at 6.30 for 7pm.  Anyone interested in attending this dinner and going up in “Prew’s” car should contact him at once.  From what we know of the B.P.C., it should be well worth going up to Skipton for!

Before & After

by R.J. Bagshaw

Before I visited G.B. recently, I had not been there for about ten years, and it was forcibly pointed out to me by the Hon. Editor that both old and new members might be interested in the changes I noticed during that time.

The first, and most welcome change was transport.  Back in the good old days when caving was caving, the trip to G.B. was made either on push bikes; or by bus to Burrington, followed by a gentle walk over the top.  Now, in this spoon fed age of Goon Suits etc., we arrived by car.  Even the field gates were now replaced by cattle grids to ease the journey.

On arriving at the barn, it was found to be nearly full of hay – a luxury unheard of in my courting days.

We walked over to the cave, and were greeted by the sight of a concrete blockhouse with its devilish cunning burglar proof door (?).  The entrance squeeze seemed more difficult than it used to be in my day, and I was inclined to put it down to the exertions necessary to unlock the trapdoor, or possible the weight of the blockhouse.  A further possibility to this theory put forward by Professor Devenish that the growth of the caves is not limited to stalactites, but is shared by the rock.  I cannot see any other explanation than one of these three.

The grottoes gave the impression that the vandalism over the past ten years was less than the years which went before.  On the other hand, the best formations tend to get vandalised first and this may merely mean that there has been less left for vandals to damage since I was there last. The Letter Box afforded more evidence that rocks grow larger and therefore all squeezes grow smaller a la Dev. This was borne out by the fact that only one member of the party came through fast enough to need persuading not to continue down the drop.

The Devil’s Elbow was nearly unrecognisable.  It was bone dry!  Although the passage was smaller, the absence of water was a great improvement, but I missed the ladder at the end.

I should like to meet the persons who have obviously spent so much time sharpening the rock edges between the Devil’s Elbow and the Gorge.  On second thoughts, perhaps my hands are softer than they used to be.

Just in time, I remembered to keep high enough in the squeeze into the Gorge to avoid the Devenish effect.  The Gorge is still a very impressive sight, but the White Way has lost all its former beauty.  The terminal passage has been expanded, and many other side passages opened.  No doubt by much toil and effort on part of the U.B.S.S.

On the way up the Gorge, a noticeable increase in the size of the boulders was observed.  The slope also seemed more steep, perhaps indicating that the rate of growth of cave rocks increases with the altitude above sea level.

The return to the surface was rapid.  Comparatively, at any rate, but there was a considerable delay before the locks could be securely fastened.  On returning to the barn, a dead cow was observed which certainly was not there ten years ago.

There are no prizes for guessing the word deleted form the title of this article by my better half!

Belfry Binder…….a comment on last month’s article.

George Lucy was heard to remark in the Hunters on Christmas Eve, that the article on the Belfry Binder was very fair, but that for fifteen seconds, one should surely read fifteen minutes.  He also said that a good Binder should be such that no individual ingredient could be identified in the final mixture as served.  We asked the author – Sett – for his comments.  Sett said that some stews were indeed as George described, but nevertheless, he had given the correct and traditional recipe.  If the Binder, after having been cooked, is left to simmer while people come out of cavies and got changed, it will change to the appearance and consistency which George describes.

Solution to the Christmas Crossword.

Sorry that the solution is all long and thin – it just happened that way

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Letter To the Editor of the B.B.

Dear Alfie

During a discussion at the works, the Belfry Radio set was mentioned.  An innocent bystander, during an interval in the conversation, asked what the Belfry consisted of and, giving us no time for an answer, remarked in a somewhat lugubrious voice, “Oh, it’s one of those exclusive country clubs, I suppose.”  We answered him that it is.

Truth surely is stranger than fiction!

                                                            Yours, too,    R.J. Price.

Climbing.

A weekend in North Wales is being organised by Geoff Mossman, who should be contacted for details.  The date is 5/6/7 February and the hut of the Vagabonds has been booked.

Moving Picture.

We know there are plenty on the wall, but if you want to help make the beggars really move, contact Bob Price, who is getting up a team to make a documentary film in 16mm plus sound of the club.

An Evening on the Cut

by Lady Chatterbox

On Thursday, the 26th November, 1959, after club, a large party of assorted loafers, nits, and hangers on – in short, B.E.C. members, deposited themselves in a steaming heap outside Auntie Syb’s for coffee (you, not I!).  By the time Syb arrived with Mossy and Dick – we had all begun to think that Syb had said, “All come round for coffee”, and then made tracks in the opposite direction.

Once inside, I was amazed to see that crumpled barbed wire seemed to be preferred to flowers.  I say this, as every pot capable of holding weeds etc., was filled with the former commodity, or oddity if you so prefer. Odd bottles peer from corners in the approved tradition of the club, and though the decidedly strictly Syb and Landlady, it is lightened by the modernising influence of Indestructible Alf’s rear bumper bar.  Coffee was served from an ancient and broken (pointed out by our hostess) jug.  It was a relic of the war (Crimean?).  The coffee was enjoyed by all, and Russian hats tried on.  It was found that either the average Russian is a pin’ead or the average B.E.C. member is a big’ead.  Those present were: -

Mr & Mrs Bennett
Indestructible Alf
Obscene Obbs
Might Mouse Sandall
Luscious Plum Sandall
Spicule
Gaff
Auntie Syb (Hostess)
Mossy
Dick
My Old Man
And your correspondent.

Things must be looking up! This was the second invitation to visit and slander somebody’s residence.  As usual, I enjoyed it.  If Syb was to move to Clifton, I could do a S.H.O.T.B.E.C. on her.  Time will tell.

Digging News

Visits were paid recently to quite a few of the sites which are at present being actively dug on Mendip, and we wondered if club members would be interested in the present state of the art as applied to some of these holes.  If we have got any of our facts wrong, profuse apologies will appear in next month’s B.B.

PRIDDY GREEN SWALLET.

This hole, situated on the green between Maine’s Barn and the old piped water supply, is being dug by the S.M.C.C.  All are welcome to lend a hand when they are in residence, however.  A really professional concrete shaft has now been installed, and work is continuing on opening the rock space beneath.  This consists of shifting the odd flakes which block the way on.  It is, of course, hoped that this dig will lead directly into the aven in Swildon’s IV, but if it doesn’t, it looks fairly likely to lead somewhere and will doubtless increase the underground knowledge of the area. Incidentally, the word ‘they’ at the beginning of this description refers to the S.M.C.C., who should be contacted for any further information or with any offers of assistance.

EMBOROUGH SWALLET.

The initial work on this swallet – a B.E.C. dig – was described last year in the B.B.  Work was then stopped during the dry weather, as the diggers felt that a knowledge of the behaviour of the stream at this stage was pretty essential.  The stream has now been running, and has been found to sink not where supposed, but in between the original and new entrances to the cave.  Since a fair amount of work is likely to be involved, an agreement has been reached with the S.M.C.C. to proceed with the dig in the spring as a joint B.E.C. – S.M.C.C. dig.  The local farmer has been contacted again and is quite willing to allow any work to proceed in the swallet as long as the swallet remains cow-proof.  All who have seen the stream in spate running into this hole agree that there must be something underground at Emborough.

NINE BARROWS SWALLET.

We understand, although we have not yet had a chance to go and see this dig, that the prospects are good. The dig is being conducted by Mike Holland, and when asked about progress he reported that this was occurring in a downward direction!  An interesting feature of the stream entering the hole is that it rises only a short distance away, to sink again almost at once into the hole.  Rumour has it that recent Mendip catchwords will be suitably immortalised underground in this hole if a suitable cave is entered.

SPRINGFIELD SLOKER.

Another S.M.C.C. dig, this sink at the moment has a stream of remarkably cold water entering it. Should it become necessary, this stream could easily be diverted.  The hole, or as much as could be seen without getting wet, looks very interesting, although the entrance may prove too tight.

ALFIE’S HOLE.

No work has been done in this shakehole since the last boulder breaking up session.  The only chance of further progress appears to involve the removal of a further lot of rock from the floor of the pitch.  Anyone interested in flogging a dead horse should get in touch with Alfie.

COOPERS HOLE.

No recent news from the M.C.G. who are digging this hole has been received.  When last visited, they were digging through the infill under the roof, and following the course taken by the water which drains into the hole. Any further news will be reported.

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THE BELFRY BULLETIN. January 1960.  No. 143.

Secretary, R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.

Editor, S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.

Postal Dept, B. Prewer, 14 Egerton Road,, Bath, Somerset.