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Cuthbert's Leader's Meeting

The first Cuthbert's Leader's Meeting was held at the Belfry late in November.  The meeting was chaired by R.A. Setterington.  The following topics represented the main subjects of the meeting:-

Second Report on Cuthbert's.

Bryan Ellis stated that he intended to publish this in January of next year.  He said that he intended to print 75 -100 copies, as this seemed about the right amount, judging from past experience.  This was agreed by the meeting and A. Collins suggested the inclusion of some prints of September Series which he had received for the B.B. from Brian Prewer, but which would not be sufficient for the B.B. This was accepted, and the prints will be included in the report.  After some discussion on the history of the depression prior to the opening of Cuthbert’s, the Chairman suggested a long opening paragraph, giving a short account of this history.


After the present state of the art had been explained by B. Ellis, it was agreed by the meeting to publish what had been surveyed to date in the report, even if this meant that some parts of the survey would have to be of a low grading.  R. Roberts promised to provide a survey of September Series; R. Bennett promised to provide one of the Rocky Boulders and Coral Series and J. Eatough one  of the Cerberus Series.  All this data must be received by Bryan Ellis by the first of January.

A discussion on names of passages followed.  R. Bennett suggested fewer names and said that only important routes, junctions, etc, should be named.  He particularly objected to Surprise Passage.  He suggested that all names be revised, but it was pointed out by P.M. Giles and others that this would throw all past references into confusion.  The meeting agreed that, in general, naming in Cuthbert’s was good and in some cases - such as Oubliette Pitch - excellent and imaginative naming had occurred.

A further suggestion that all names should indicate the part of the cave system in which they were to be found was not considered practicable.

The meeting finally agreed to keep an eye on further naming and warned leaders that this must be done before such names reach the Caving Log and hence the B.B.  It was agreed that the part of the cave sometimes called Cascade Passage should official be known as the Railway Tunnel, and that the passage in September Series is Victory Passage, not Victoria Passage.


A. Collins said that, unless we acted quickly, all the work done in opening the new entrance would be wasted.  The meeting agreed to take urgent action.  M. Baker agreed to contact a source of suitable concrete pipe and B. Prewer agreed to contact Ben Dors as soon as some pipe had been found.  A. Collins said he would prepare the foundations and lay the pipes, but it was not worth starting until the pipes had been delivered.  He would need some assistance with the digging and the Chairman promised to round up some   suitable labour when the time came.  It was decided to fit a chequer plate cover which would be padlocked with the same lock as at present and to install a permanent steel ladder.  After some discussion, it was agreed that, when the new shaft has been satisfactory for some time, the present shaft will be destroyed.

Rescue Arrangements.

P.M. Giles outlined a scheme for a full scale rescue operation in the cave, which should simulate real conditions as far as possible.  The meeting thought this idea was good, but that a first attempt should concentrate in getting a fairly big man, in an unconscious condition, up the entrance pitch.  A. Collins was accordingly chosen and P.M. Giles agreed to make a suitable rescue harness for this operation.


The responsibilities of leaders were discussed at some length.  C.A Marriott announced that his first newsletter was nearly ready and it was agreed that these newsletters should keep all leaders abreast of developments and current problems.  After much discussion on the advisability of removing the names of inactive leaders from the list, it was agreed that the Caving Secretary prepare a rota of all leaders for call on tourist trips.  If a particular leader failed to respond or to give the Caving Secretary a sound reason, this would be brought up to the committee, who would then consider his removal from the list.


It was agreed to purchase plastic tape for taping routes.  M. Baker also agreed to organise a scrubbing party.


The meeting agreed that not enough was being done.  It was felt that the better distribution of information via the leader's News Letters and the publication of a survey in the near future should help here, by highlighting the areas where exploration would be most profitable.

Date of next meeting.

Unless special circumstances intervened, it was proposed to hold Cuthbert's Leader’s Meetings annually, on the Saturday nearest to the Twenty eighth day of November, for easy remembering.