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From now until the Annual Dinner, which will be held this year at the Cliff Hotel, Cheddar on Saturday October 7th, many reminders will be going out to members on various subjects connected with the Dinner and the Annual General Meeting.  The first of these - the nomination form - will be found in this copy of the B.B. As well as the usual space for the nomination of candidates for the 1962 committee, there is also a place on the form for member's resolutions.  These do not have to be sent in with the nominations, but, if you have some point which you would like to have brought up at the A.G.M., the form is a convenient place to write it down so that it won't get lost.

This year there is also the photographic competition and the song competition.  We want lots of entries for both, so get organised while there is still plenty of time!

We have just obtained a new typewriter for the B.B.  We hope that it will help to make the print more readable.  We could still do with contributions of PAPER which should be of foolscap size and duplicator type.



There will be a trip to AGGY AGGY on the 9th of September.  This trip is being organised by Alan Sandall, who should be contacted for further details.


Jim Giles (hereinafter referred to as 'the organiser’) has told us that the judges for the photographic competition will be JONAH, JOHNNY EATOUGH and "PONGO" WALLIS.  In the event of any one of these three judges not being able to turn up for the A.G.M. and dinner, "SAGO" has offered to act as a judge.     Don't forget that the closing date for this competition is the 15th of September.  Rules for the Song competition, also arranged by the organiser, will be found in this issue of the B.B.

Letters to the Editor of the B.B.

Dear Sir,

May we add to the recent remarks and correspondence concerning the St. Cuthbert’s leader system?

Since the cave was opened, there has been a steady deterioration in the condition of the cave (i.e. muddy hand prints on formations, broken formations, chocolate papers left about and spent carbide left in places other than those recommended. This deterioration has increased rapidly during the last two years in spite of the leader system.  We suggest that the rules be tightened up and that a limit be put on the number of cavers that one leader should take.  A list of all the leaders should be published.

We were recently amused, on reading the caving log, to see that it seems fashionable for some leaders to rediscover parts of the system already described in the caving log and the B.B.  This will soon lead to various parts of the cave having two names and this may have already happened.  The up-to-date St. Cuthbert’s Report is urgently needed, as is a meeting of leaders etc to allocate research projects.    There is much to be done without duplicating previous people's work.

Yours Sincerely,

John Eatough; R.S. King; Johnny Attwood; Roy Bennett; “Mo” Marriott.


St. Cuthbert's is one of the finest, and certainly the most complex, cave system on Mendip to date.  This makes it the sort of cave which is, and should be even more in the future, an object for serious research.  The present leader system, in my personal view, is an attempt to compromise between giving the ordinary caver a decent chance to go round the cave, and preserving it as intact as possible, for present and future research work.  It is worth noting that Derek Ford, who has recently been doing scientific work in the cave, was quite impressed with the general state of the cave and congratulates the club on the way in which it has been so far preserved.  This is all the more reason why we should not let it slip at this stage.  The club is placing considerable trust in the Cuthbert’s leaders and it is surely up to those leaders to recognise this and to keep an eagle eye on their parties at all tines.

As for duplication of discoveries, it is surely one of the first things that any potential discoverer of anything does to check that no previous record of that discovery exists.  All Cuthbert’s discoveries are pretty well written up nowadays and there is very little excuse for anyone falling into error here'.  Editor.


To the Editor, Belfry Bulletin,

Dear Sir,

I was astounded to read in your May bulletin that an 18" stalactite had been broken off in St. Cuthbert's Swallet.  It was not the act itself that astounded me, but the revelation - by the publication of what was termed a 'Caving Log' - that your club are still going into caves. I must ask you to reconsider the entire question of entering caves in the light of modern speleological thought.

The fact is that, although people are rightly concerned about the visible effects of their visits to caves, they fail to take into account the chaos they have caused in the unseen physical world.  The passage of a person through a cave may appear to, leave it intact, but in fact he has probably upset the chemical balance; arrested crystalline growth and left the ecology in smoking ruins.

The balance of nature in caves is very finely adjusted, simple self-reproducing fungi forms and viable bacteria are in the soil, air and water and lend support to worms, tiny beetles and Crustacea.  A caver lifts samples of these from one part of the cave on his clothing and sets them down elsewhere, causing the multiplication of certain forms of life in parts of the cave at the expense of others.  Numerous alien bacteria are often introduced.  If we could examine a caver under a high powered microscope - especially your members - we should see that they are surrounded by clouds of their own germs, playing old Harry with the local breeds.  The caver leaves a trail of exhaled breath throughout his journey and may temporarily raise the CO2 content of the air by as much as 0.1%. Surely, as a preliminary measure, it is not asking too much that you should take in your own supply of air and take out your exhaled breath.

The use of flashbulbs causes photosynthesis affecting the pigmentation of certain life and crystal forms. I have found isopods quite blinded after having lights carelessly shone upon them.  Crystals grow into grotesque - shapes after being subjected to the pressure of nailed boots and one could go on finding similar examples indefinitely.

Surely the time has come for the B.E.C. to join with other leading caving clubs of this country and use their resources to prevent people from entering caves rather than encouraging them.  The wanton exploration of unknown caves must cease.  Perhaps in ten years time we shall be able to relax, having gated or blocked all the entrances, and rest content in the knowledge that beneath us the caves are secure in their natural state, unspoilt by the presence of man, developing as nature intended in their pristine splendour.

Yours faithfully,

Harry Pearman.

Note.    Mr. Pearman, of the C.S.S., has graced these pages before, when he gave us another insight to his vast fund of knowledge.  Unfortunately, this must of necessity be an infrequent occurrence as the passage of germs and other micro-organisms from one part of the country to another caused by his sending these communications obviously constitutes a grave threat to the ecology of the country as a whole.  It is suspected that the well known Lamp Pox was originally brought to Mendip in this manner, as, previous to visits by the C.S.S., it was unknown in this part of the country.   Editor.

Archaeological News

Axbridge Museum.

Saturday 22nd July saw the official opening of the new Axbridge museum by Prof. L.S. Palmer. The museum of the Axbridge Caving Group and Archaeological Society, until recently housed in a large wooden construction just off the town square, has been fortunate in finding a home in the Town Hall.  The new surroundings are more fitting for its excellent collection of archaeological and speleological exhibits.  The members of the society in general, and Jack Weare, their curator, in particular are to be congratulated on the results of their work.  A visit to the Town Hall is thoroughly recommended.

One of the most interesting cases, from an archaeological point off view, is that housing the Haywood Cave Burials.  These were discovered when the society began to force an entry into Haywood rock shelter. A cairn of stones which blocked the entrance was found to contain ten human skulls mixed with ochre and implements of Mesolithic date - the first burial of this type and date to be found in this country,


Recent excavations on the site of a Dark Age/Medieval cemetery on Lundy, carried out by members of the B.E.C. and Lundy Field Society, revealed foundations of buildings, tumbled walls etc, associated with 14th century pottery.  A hitherto unknown tombstone was discovered, orientated N-S, with the inscription L L L C O H I, which as yet we have been unable to decipher.

Caves on Lundy will be examined at a future date in detail but can be classified as follows:-

(a)                Artificial "caves" in the upper Devonian shales.

(b)                Sea caves in granite at present sea level.

(c)                Sea caves in granite above present sea level.

(d)                Artificial holes in granite

Group (a) includes such "stores" as Benson's Cave beneath the 13th Century Marisco Castle and Group (b) the caves of Seal Hole, Virgin’s Spring (a freshwater spring in a sea cave) etc.

An unrecorded hole high up in a granite fissure was pointed out by a man who entered it some fifty years ago and it seems to have been either a mine or some secret store place.

Archaeologically, the most interesting are the high level caves of the Double Decker and Queen Mab's Grotto which compare with the raised beaches of the Devon coast and the prolific cave sites on Gower to the north. Mesolithic flints and Bronze Age remains have been found on the island and it is hoped that these caves may produce further evidence of prehistoric occupation.

K.S. Gardner.


The second conference of Cave Rescue Organisations will be held during the weekend Sept 30th/Oct 1st 1961 in Bristol. Further details will be published later, but it would be appreciated if members having any suggestions or topics for discussion would let me know as soon as possible.  Amongst those already tabled are:-

Sumping apparatus; Problem of bad air; Design of stretchers; Relations with police; Moving boulders; Special apparatus; Training of cavers in C.R. techniques; C.R.O. in Ireland.

K.S. Gardner.

CAVING LOG for 1961

28th May. St. Cuthbert's.  Norman, Keith, Pete, Mo.  Fixed the Coase Memorial plaque in Cerberus Chamber.

23rd May.  August Hole.  Ray and Pete.  Upstream passage.

3rd June. St. Cuthbert's.  Jim Giles, Alfie and Sett.  Checking possible places for new entrance.  The top passage was lengthened by six feet and a  survey made.

3rd June. St. Cuthbert's.  N. Petty and R. Stenner.  Continued to fix the Coase Memorial  Plaque.

3rd June. St. Cuthbert's.  Keith, Pete Franklyn and Mo.  More digging upstream of Dining Room.  Air space found and strong draught noted.  More digging required.

3rd June.  Raiders Rift and Hawks Hole.  Ray Winch.

4th June.  Swildons.  Mike Calvert and Ron Wynkell.  To sump to find specimen tubes left by Bruce Lynn.  No catch.  Water very low.

4th June. St. Cuthbert's.  D. Ford, P.M. Giles ("Beau" Giles).  D. Ford continued his geological survey. Gour Hall to Everest Passage.   Jim took photos in the same area.

10th June. St. Cuthbert' s.  To Cerberus Chamber with R. Winch and Mike Johnson.  The Don Coase plaque is now fixed.  N. Petty.

10th June.  St. Cuthbert's.  P. Millar, S. Tuck, K. & P. Franklyn, Mo.  Continued digging in stream passage, dig eventually abandoned and stream diverted down hole.

10th June.  Swildons IV.  Party Phil Davies (W.C.C.) John and Garth.  This trip was to transfer equipment into IV for the attempt on VI on the 17th.  We were a tired party by the end of the  trip.

19th June.  August Hole.  Ray Bushy plus one other.

11th June.  Swildons.  Fred Davies, Derek Ford, Nigel and three others.  Took kit down to IV.  Nigel was clapped out at the end of it all.

17th June.  G.B.  Keith, Pete, Paul Mack, Sheila, Mo, four others, R. Stenner plus two schoolgirls from Lockleaze on a photographic trip all taken with side lighting.

19th June.  Swildons.  P.M. Giles, W. Foster, K. Thompson, B. Dibben.  Tourist trip to Barnes Loop.

18th June.  Hilliers.  Ray, Bushy and some others.  We managed this because we found the only Cerberus caver left.

24th June.  Swildons.  George and Dave. Paddy, Nigel and Ron Wink ‘ole.  Quick trip down to sump I where Dave and Ron rested.  George, Paddy and Nigel went down to Sump II.  Water was b…..y cold.

25th June.  Swildons IV.  P.M. Giles, K. Dawe (S.M.C.C.)   Removal of diving and other equipment from IV and collection of dye samples from the wet way, sump I and Series IV.

25th June.  Stoke Lane Slocker.  Ray, Bushy etc.  The most distant parts of the cave are obviously not often visited and the glitter etc of the formations is something quite different from anything else I have seen on Mendip.  It was absolutely superb.  The best trip I have been on for years.  On the way back, of course, Bushy's trousers burst.

1st July.  Dallimore's.  Ray and Bushy.  Not exactly a super cave but can be entered when you cannot get down Cuthbert’s.  There are a couple of passages which would go after a bit of digging.  I don't think there is much future here though.

1st July.  Swildons.  J. Hill, P. Mack, M. Luckwell.  Trip down to Sump I.  Very dry indeed.  Despite that, two thirds of the party arrived at the bottom of the forty with no lights.  The Beach at Sump I was in a quite disgusting condition.  Air smelt strongly of C2H2 and there were empty carbide tins, discarded clothing and  spent carbide which made the whole place look like a rubbish tip.

2nd July.  St. Cuthbert's.  D. Ford. P.M. Giles.  Derek continued his geological survey.  Cerberus Series from Dining Room to Everest Passage and Curtain Chamber.  The lake is now dry.

2nd July.  St. Cuthbert's. Leader J. Hill.  Tourist trip to Dining Room.

4th July.  Swildons. Keith Gladman & Tony Lowes.

6th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  R. Roberts. R. Boakes, B. Lynn.  A 56 hour trip.  Most of the kit had been taken down on the previous weekend.  We camped in Cerberus Hall, which needed levelling.  This is an excellent site.  Our main occupations were sleeping and eating.  We did however, find time to undertake a complete exploration of Cerberus Series, which is far more complex than most people realise.  The lake in Lake Chamber is completely dry and there is quite a lot of passage at the far end, ending in a 15’ rock face which might be worth investigating.  We left the cave on Saturday night and hurried to the hostelry for suitable refreshment.

9th July.  Swildons.  Keith Gladman, Mike Calvert, Mike Lunner.  Round top of the cave on a trip which included going through Don's Delight.

8th July.  Raiders Rift and Hawks Hole.  Ray and Bushy.

9th July.  Rod's Pot.  R. Stenner plus two girls and one boy.

10th July.  Longwood. Keith Gladman, Tony Lowes.  Stream bed dry.  First sign of running water in the main chamber.  Final passage now blocked with several large boulders.  Found large BULL in barn on return.

11th July.  Back of Gough's.  Derek Ford, Keith Gladman, Tony Lowes, Peter Barker.  Good cave with many interesting and tight passages.  Had some difficulty finding the chimney that goes up to boulder chamber (very muddy).  Comical to listen to comments that weegees made as we were going through.  Had a look at Coppers Hole dig and found that the dig has been flooded.  Also shoring very unsafe.

11th July.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Prew, Keith Gladman, Gordon.  To Dining Room.

15th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  D. Ford, Jim Giles, R. Pyke, C. Hawkes.  D. Ford continued his survey.

15th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  Jim Hill,  Mike Calvert.  Failed to find Bypass Passage.

16th July.  Stoke Lane Slocker. F. Davies, R. Dunster, ?, M. Giles.  Trip to first sump which F. Davies passed but Giles baulked.

18th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  Bennett, Eatough, Attwood, Kangy.  Stepping lightly around the huge piles of corruption left by exhausted parties after previous intrepid expeditions, we arrived in Boulder Chamber.  We ventured into a “more complex series than you might realise" known collectively as Coral and Rocky Boulders Series.  "No, No!" we cried as he pulled and pushed yet one more boulder upon us until at last we reached virgin cave, passing Bennett’s previous best.  A very nice trip.  Kangy.

16th July.  Browne’s Hole.   Alfie, Nigel and Jill.  Two slim chaps went surveying with an astrocompass.  The Lamp Pox became evident after a while.

21st July.  Swildons.  Garth, Rosemary, Gordon, John R.

23rd July.  St. Cuthbert's.  B. Ellis, D. Ford, M. Grimmer, C. Goffin, P.M. Giles.  Geological survey plus collection of dye samples.  Dye was put into Plantation Swallet the previous week.  It appears that Plantation Junction is correctly named.

28th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  P.M. Giles, N. Clarke plus 4 schoolboys.

29th July.  Swildons IV.  K. Dawe, Eric, Nigel Clarke, Roger Boakes, Richard.  Sherpa trip to kitchen.

30th July.  Swildons.  R. Stenner + 2 boys.  Top series.

30th July.  Swildons.  D. Ford, O.C. Lloyd, H. Kenny, M. Hooper, P.M. Giles.  Another abortive attempt on the sump by P.M. Giles who, with M. Hooper returned to surface, while the others went on into series II.

30th July.  St. Cuthbert's.  A. Sandall, N. Ballet, N. Clarke, I. Dear, P.M. Giles, C. Sandall, R. Wyncoll, M. Palmer.  Lots of mud and Alfie Collins took part in the digging of the new shaft.  Contact was established with the passage mentioned in the trip of 3.6.61.  Some persuading of the intervening rock is now necessary.

30th July.  Hollowfield Swallet.  R. Wink 'Ole, Mike, Gerry, Mike L.

30th July.  Rod's & Drunkard's.  Ray Winch and some Brampton boys.

31st July.  St. Cuthbert's.  P.M. Giles, R. Pyke, N. Clarke.   Maypole Series.

31st July.  Swildons.  Ray and Bushy to Shatter Pot.  Bushy' s trousers split again.

1st August.  Cuthbert's.  D. Ford and R. Wynkoll. Maypole Series.

1st August.  Nine Barrows Swallet.  P.M. Giles, B. Prewer, N. Clarke, Ron Wynkoll.  Entrance tidied up and several large boulders hauled out.

1st August.  St. Cuthbert's.  P.M. Giles, N. Clarke.

2nd August.  Cuthbert’s.  Two trips led by Jim Giles and Mike Palmer with two members of the Craven Pothole Club.  This was the first exchange trip into the cave for some time and the tackle used was more than the club possess.  The total length of ladder used was 170’ and the ropes in use added up to 240’.  The extra ladder was supplied by N. Petty, and the C.P.C. bods allowed us to try a 120' length of COURLANE rope on the Pulpit Pitch.  This rope is nearly half the price of nylon and keeps an almost constant breaking strain over a longer period.  It is available from; HALLS-BARTON ROPERY, CLEVELAND RD, HULL.  All on the trip expressed their pleasure in using it.  A comment on Cuthbert's from the C.P.C.  "There's nowt like it in Yorkshire!"

Caving Log.

Owing to the amount of entries now being put into the club caving log, it is proving not possible to print it all in the B.B.  It is thus proposed to merely mention most trips and to print only trips involving work or new discovery.  Trips of general interest which are fully written up in the log will be printed as articles.  If anyone has any other suggestions, we shall be pleased to hear of them, and will arrange the printing of the log to suit the majority of readers.



WHY BE DIFFERENT. Everybody else will be wearing a CLUB TIE this year at the Dinner.  Get yours from Bob Bagshaw.  Price 1/6 only.      The tie chosen by gentlemen cavers with caving gentlemen in mind.

Song Competition

The following rules have now been received from Jim Giles:-

1.                  The song must be suitable for singing in mixed company at the Dinner.

2.                  Entries must be original and must be limited to the fields of caving and climbing and associated subjects.

3.                  Winning entries will be judged by a general vote at the dinner from the audience.

4.                  Closing date is the night of the dinner.

5.                  The competition is open to members and visitors.

6.                  Prizes to the value of 10/- will be awarded for the best two songs.

N.B.  Only the words need be original - any tune may be used.

PRIZES FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION.  1st prize in each class; 30/- Book Token. Runner Up in each class; 10/- Book Token.

Knots.  No. 1 The Bowline

by John Ransome.

It is a known fact that tying knots does not come easily to everyone, but all who go caving should at least be able to tie a bowline.  Your life, and that of others may well-depend on your ability to tie a bowline.  It is easy to tie and untie, and it is a good thing to practice tying it in the dark, or without looking at it, so that it becomes easy to tie it underground.

The most useful purpose for this knot (or hitch) is in life lining on ladders, pitches etc.

If possible, it should always be tied by the person about to use it.  A person is inclined to place more trust in his own work and, if tied by someone else, it may become too tight and affect the confidence of the person concerned.  In the case of accidents or with novices, the circumstances are of course different.

Take the rope in the left hand, and the end in the right.  Make a small loop in the rope, take the end and push up through the loop, take the end round the back of the rope, then down through the loop and pull tight.  With Nylon rope, it is best to put one or two half-hitches on after the bowline, as this type of rope is more likely to slip.

More knots in this series will follow at intervals.    Ed


The Belfry Bulletin Editor,  S.J. Collins,   33, Richmond Terrace,   Clifton,   Bristol 8. 
Secretary.   R. J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road,  Knowle, Bristol 4.
Postal Department.   C.A. Marriott,  718, Muller Road,   Eastville,   Bristol.