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Brickbats Dept.

The notice at the bottom of this page we find a trifle disturbing.  While nobody would suggest that cavers deliberately try to avoid paying what nowadays is a small sum to the farmer, it is evident that many members tend to forget this item when changing to go underground.  It would be a bad thing if we got a reputation of dodging this sort of thing, and we hope that readers will take the Caving Secretary's notice seriously.

Censorship Dept.

Having told our anonymous correspondent 'Stalagmite' to be as forthright as he likes, we have had to delete a passage from his contribution this month, as we feel that - however justified his comment might be - it is hardly in the best interests of our sport, all this is not intended to make a mystery out of this subject, but to make clear to any contributors to the B.B. that criticism of other organisations are best dealt with by a  direct approach, and not through the medium of the club magazine.


In spite of everything, we are still living very much from hand to mouth.  If you have done anything worthwhile, which you feel would interest other club members (especially original caving) PLEASE send it along.


Finally, apologies for the lateness and lack of 'finish' of this B.B.  This is due to 'pressure of work'!



Would all club members PLEASE NOTE that a fee of ONE SHILLING is payable for each person going down G.B. cave and that this should be paid to the leader of the trip or some other person nominated to collect the money ON THE DAY OF THE TRIP.  On each of the last four occasions when the club has visited G.B., there has been a considerable discrepancy between the number of people on the trip and the amount of money collected and this has resulted in either the Caving Secretary or the leader of the party being OUT OF POCKET. At the time of writing, the discrepancy for the latest trip is £1.12.0!!  In addition, the leader of the party should ensure that some paper and a pencil are left at the entrance and ALL members should sign their names when entering the cave and cross them off when leaving.

C.A. Marriott,
Caving Secretary.

New Discoveries in Stoke Lane

by Mike Thompson.

Previous to the recent dive in Stoke Lane, there have been two attempts to pass the final sump.  On the 10th Septembers 1956, John Buxton ran into technical difficulties and was not able to do more than probe the sump without equipment.  He found what appeared to be the way on at a depth of about eight feet and to the right of where the stream entered the final pool.  On the 9th May, 1959, Phil Davies carried out a solo dive.  Passing through the opening discovered by John, he emerged into a chamber with a small air space.  Beyond, he entered what seems to be a submerged bedding plane four feet wile and eighteen inches high at a depth of five feet.  This sump was penetrated for about eighteen inches.

In 1960, those of us who dive in Somerset prepared a diving programme.  Stoke Lane was included more to make weight than because we had any real hope of making progress.  Never¬theless, on the 16th September, we met at the farm, "we" being a large party of Wessex, Shepton and B.E.C. members.  We made our way to Bone Chamber where diving commenced without delay. Steve Wyne-Roberts took first turn and vanished for an unconscionable length of time.  We got to the point of wondering whether to send in second divers when he returned, and, with a splendidly dead-pan expression, announced that he had passed the sump and that Stoke Lane III went “marching on". The sump was approximately twenty five feet long and contained a ferocious underground squeeze at presumably just beyond the point where Phil had turned back.  His consolation for having been so near must be that, with the type of equipment that he was wearing, it would have been impossible for him to have passed the squeeze.  Fred Davies then dived towing a line, and I followed.  Steve had not underestimated the squeeze, which would be tight above water, let alone below it.  Once past it, we emerged into a small pool, the commencement of a tunnel ten feet high and about as wide.  As soon as Steve rejoined us, we set out to explore.  This part of III is very similar to II.  At two points there are great piles of boulders similar to the Main Chamber, holding out promise of a high level system.  Further on, in a big passage entered on the left, are magnificent stalactites.  All this was too good to last, and after about four hundred feet, we found ourselves ruefully gazing at another sump.  The passage had become very tortuous and low, the sump occupying its full width, about twelve feet.  We turned back, but within a few feet I noticed an ascending tunnel.  We found ourselves in a complex of passages about four feet high, their floors covered in orange gours.  More by luck than judgement, we took the right turnings, passed a very low duck, and dropped back into the stream, having bypassed the sump. Once again the passage was big enough to walk along, but this time it rapidly decreased in height, developing into a wide bedding plane half full of water.  We crawled along this for about two hundred feet until we suddenly entered a cross rift.  Our combined electric lights were unable to show us the top, which must be seventy or eighty feet above the stream.  The continuation of the waterway now entered a waterlogged fissure, reminiscent of Buxton's Horror in Swildons V.  We penetrated this for about thirty feet before calling it a day.  We still had not reached another sump, but, judging from the quantities of foam on the water it was not far away.  The passage appears to widen below the surface, so we still have another diving prospect.

"And there" as Balch would have said, "the matter rests." and I would add “but not for long!"  We hope to be back in III this year, our first task being to open the sump for non-divers, or even create a new entrance.   There will be plenty of work for everyone if we are to explore, photograph and survey the new series.

Changes of Addresses

Jill Rollason is now at 141, North Road, St. Andrews Park, Bristol.

Noel McSharry's present address is 4267236 J/T N. McSharry, 303 S.U., R.A.F. Khormaksar, B.P.P.0.69.


With the advent of the lighter evenings, climbing has been recommenced in the Avon Gorge and it is hoped to meet every Thursday between 6 and 7 pm.  Information about any particular Thursday can be obtained at the Waggon & Horses the previous Thursday or by telephoning Roy Bennett during working hours at Avonmouth 3631, Ext 208.  New members are very welcome.

On the Hill

(or T.W.T.M.T.W.)

The spring has sprung; the grass is riz, I know where some weegees is.  They’re down in Burrington Coombe, in Goatchurch.  Scouts combined with the Bristol Cine Club are doing a film on a rescue in a Mendip cave.  Can Goatchurch be flooded?

Judging by the water which was going down Pete Bird's dig the other day, it could be.  This dig was taking an impressive amount of water. Pete certainly deserves to be right about this dig, and it would be nice to see this sort of persistence rewarded.

The M.R.O., in the shape of Luke, arranged for some cavers to appear on T.V. sometime in the future. A suspense film, provisionally called ‘Operation Mole’ supposed to be taking place in Derbyshire, actually filmed at Wookey by the Glasgow studios.

Leaders nowadays are getting to be an ever increasing problem, from our own elaborate St. Cuthbert’s Leader System (I wonder how many actually know the system?) to the question of who is qualified to lead trips down most Mendip caves.  Surely not anyone or we merely repeat the latest Longwood debacle.  Unfortunately, I have no constructive ideas, so I will leave it to those who have. Comments please.

Clubs are having a comparatively quiet time, only a few gems of information have reached my shell like ears. The Shepton brood have appeared in a new type of caving headgear, which has also spread rapidly to some parts of our own club - Firemen's helmets, reminding me 'for arl the whorld of an old rhyme'.  With additional accessories, this could be the ideal equipment to deal with Firemen's Hole.

Nothing new has come from Wessex, although seeing one of the older 'empire builders' visiting again, I thought that maybe a new empire was in the offing, but no.  Wessex still chilly.  A bit more digging has been going on, it is rumoured, on Eastern Mendip by Cerberus and their minions, Border and H.M.S. Ariel, at St. Dunstan's Rising.  Working upstream from a rising has not so far proved very successful on Mendip   (C.D.G. at Wookey excepted).   I wish them the best of luck.

The M.N.R.C. nowadays leaves a big query.  No one seems to know what they are doing and, apart from a few members to be seen at the T.V. audition, they seem to be dead or at least dormant.

Axbridge are still doing their odd digging (I can find out nothing specific) and not only in caves. I see recently that they corrected the B.B. thinking that IT was the only monthly caving magazine on Mendip. Shocking!

News from our own club is by far the most startling this month.  Garth has taken leave of his senses (about the only sort of leave he'll get! - Ed) and has decided that 22 years in the army will help him recover them. Maybe it will.  It took me about two days in the service to find out that I'd had enough, and two years compulsory is more than enough for anyone. My spy reveals that there is a movement afoot which will put caving before drinking.  Surely the last possible thing to happen in a caving club of such repute.

In accordance with the B.B. article on writing an article it seems that on average already I should have retired and YOU should be writing this article.  This could be a good idea.

Thought for this month: Ponder on how difficult it is to think of a thought that will last a month.

P.S.  Can anyone tell me via the B.B. whether any work has been done at Cross Swallet since Fincham had his bang?


Climbing in North Wales

The North Wales snow had gone, at least the snow in our area had, and so the ice axes were left behind.  Instead of the anticipated snow climbs it was decided to walk to the cwm on the North side of the Carnedds, from the Manchester University Club hut at Tyn-y-Maes and attempt a roped climb.  Though the snow had melted and gone from the peaks and ridges, the cliff, being a North Face, was covered in unstable ice and a moderate route to the ridge was decided the safest.  The day was completed by some members of the party ‘bagging’ the peak of Carnedd Dafydd and following the ridge parallel to the Capel Curig-Bethesda road and dropping down to the hut.

Saturday evening was spent at the local pub where four members of the party gave a demonstration of snooker (“What’s the purple ball for?") while another two of the party took on a team from the local populace.

Tryfan, being convenient, was the obvious choice for Sunday's climbing and after some hair raising situations due to the intensity of the wind plucking climbers from the rock face, Gashed Crag and the First Pinnacle Rib were climbed.  Up to the moment when the two parties rendezvoused by Llyn Ogwen following the climb of Tryfan, the weekend had been conventional enough with numbers of the party remarking that the weather, apart from the wind, being extremely pleasant; but a minor drama was to follow.  Noreen. Crockford, who had declined to climb either of the two routes, walked to the summit to wait, but after an hour of intense cold, moved off the summit to the wall on the saddle between Tryfan and Glyder Fach.  The first party to the summit, Tony Dunn, Peter Scott and ‘Mo’ Marriott, descended to the wall, not finding Noreen and returned to Llyn Ogwen.  The second party, Geoff Mossman,  Steve Tuck and Lionel Williams, unaware of the events, returned to Llyn Ogwen without going to the summit.  When it was confirmed that Noreen was not with any party, Peter Scott and ‘Mo’ Marriott returned to Tryfan.  However, soon after their departure, Noreen returned and after ascertaining that she was safe and well, the rest of the party departed.  The weather on Tryfan had meanwhile closed in with snow and freezing rain on the saddle and summit and the cloud base had lowered to almost road level, making conditions fatiguing.  After two hours on the mountain, the search party returned to Llyn Ogwen.  It was then decided to spend another night at Tyn-y-Maes and return to Bristol on the Monday.

Caving Log

The only trip of note in January was the caving meet to Lamb Leer which has already been reported in the B.B.  On February 10th, John Cornwall, Kevin Abbey and Garth did some further pushing in the Long Chamber extension, and also removed some more of the telephone wire.

Various trips were done to Swildons, Eastwater, St. Cuthbert’s, August and Goatchurch during February and March.  These were of a routine or a photographic type except one quick look at the Cuthbert’s entrance situation on the 10th March to examine the effects of the cold spell with particular reference to the new subsidence at the top of the old entrance shaft.

P.S. Kevin Abbey (9th March) wishes to point out to Val Jones that he has also done Swildons Sump I twice!