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The Annual General Meeting.

Once again, the voting forms go out with this month's B.B. and the A.G.M. will soon be upon us. These are the two methods whereby the average member gets his (or her) say in. the way in which the club is run - so do turn up at the A.G.M. and don't forget to vote for the next year's committee.

A number of members have suggested in past years that we should give a resume of the past activities of various committee members to acquaint those who do not know them personally. This, we have always skated out of, since completely factual accounts are very difficult to present.  This year, however, our anonymous correspondent ‘Stalagmite’ has come forward with his own list and, on the principle of giving him his head, and with the usual proviso that his opinions are not necessarily those of the Editor or the Committee, we are  letting his article  stand exactly as he wrote it.


Owing to delays in the printing, a few of you will be getting this B.B. with a temporary cover. Next month, it is possible that we may have to send out a B.B. without a printed cover.  This is a strictly temporary measure.

A big 'thank you' to all those who have sent in articles of late.  With the promise of more to come, it looks as if we shall be all right for a while, but don't stop writing!  It's surprising how quickly they get used up!


A.G.M. & Dinner

A.G.M.  The following resolution has already been received for discussion at the A.G.M.  It; is proposed by I. Dear and seconded by A. Sandall that ‘A sum of Fifty Pounds be put aside to purchase an efficient hot water system - either solid fuel or perhaps oil - in the Belfry as a positive move towards a cleaner ‘Belfry.’

Dinner.  Ian Dear has suggested a competition for the dinner and is prepared to give a copy of one of Balch' s books as a prize for the winner of a competition to  'Write a caving story (fact or fiction) in not more  than 250 words suitable for an after dinner speech.  The three best (or only) entries to be read by the authors at the Dinner.'

A.G.M.  We have been criticised in past years for not telling members where and when the A.G.M. is.  Here goes then.  The Annual General Meeting of the Bristol Exploration Club will be held on the first Saturday of' October 1963 at Redcliffe Hall, Guinea Street, Bristol at 2.30 p.  Please be punctual.

Dinner.  Dinner bookings should be made by application to the Hon. Sec. R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4 and should reach him at least ten days before the dinner.  Applications received after this date cannot be guaranteed places.  The price is 12/6 per head.

Fairy Cave Quarry

Recently, it was decided by the Cerberus Committee and the quarry management that some form of government was required for cavers in the Fairy Cave Quarry group of caves and so, in addition to Cerberus leaders, members of other clubs were appointed leaders in order that they need not apply to Cerberus each time that they require trips. Leaders are:-

Wessex                     B.E.C.                            S.M.C.C.

M. Thompson.            M. Thompson.                 M. Thompson.
M. Baker.                   M. Baker.                        F. Davies.
J. Hanwell.                 B. Ellis.                           B. Ellis.
I. Davies.                    S. Collins.
D. Warburton.             J. Rollason.
B. Prewer.                  B. Prewer.
D. Berry.                    D. Berry
G. Pointing.                G. Pointing.
A. Surrel.                   M. Wheadon
D. Ford.                     M. Palmer.
                                 G. Selby.

The Committee appreciates that duplication has occurred.  The committee would also like to ensure that the number of persons per leader be limited to a reasonable number.  Six has been suggested, and that the leader ensures that the cottage and surroundings are left in a reasonable state.

Mr. Garlick, the quarry Manager, requires at least 48 hours notice of pending trips and his decision regarding access is final.  Mr. Thompson has received permission to organise any diving which might be carried out.

To obtain entry, leader to apply to Mr. Garlick, Manager, Fairy Cave Quarry, Oakhill (Oakhill 267) stating name and name of club.  Cerberus Cottage is locked and the key is obtainable from Mr. Garlick or R. Frost, 1 Creighton Close, Wells.  Trip fees are 1/- per person.  Cerberus Trip Sec. is. D. Percival, 27 Maple Gardens, Bath.

Trips from the Caving Log

by John Ransom.

On the 6th, a Hydrodynamic Engineering Trip in St. Cuthbert’s by Messrs Bennett, Miller and King. Down to sump via September, they found the water overpowering.  Final remarks at sump. 'Disgusting Dig!”  Mike Calvert and party followed at sump digging on the 9th.  Left spade there.       .

The 13th saw R. Roberts, A. MacGregor, D. Smith and A.T. Williams in St. Cuthbert’s.  While exploring Upper Long Chamber they found a tight squeeze under a slab which leads to a small chamber.  A squeeze in the lower part of this chamber leads to a small 'v' shaped pitch which in turn leads to the upper reaches of Coral Chamber. The initial chamber is located near an incessant drip.

More discoveries by Richard Roberts and party on the 14th again in St. Cuthbert’s.  In climbing to the highest part of Long Chamber, they found a large chamber with no previous boot marks with the floor covered in white flowstone and containing some very fine erratics.  The way in is very unstable.  This party also found a new way from Long Chamber to the Central rift leading down to Coral Chamber.  They propose to call the new chamber Straw Chamber unless there are any objections.

On the 30th, Mike Thompson, Jim Giles and Pete Miller carried out an experiment in St. Cuthbert’s Sump, using a rubber ball on a string.  They lost the ball, but are confident of going through to Wookey and asking for their ball back!  A polythene bag was found on the way out.  Mr. Miller investigated the contents and will give you his opinion if asked.  Spade brought out.

Forest of Dean

(13th and 14th July, 1963.)

During this weekend, members of our club were guests of the Gloucester Speleological Society, and a trip was arranged for Saturday down some of the local Iron Ore mines, to be followed in the evening by beer and skittles at one of the local hostelries (of which there are a large number).

The first party was led by Dave Parker and consisted of 'Mo' Marriott, the Franklyns and Joan Bennett. The second party was made up of Alan and Carol Sandall, Norman Petty and our beloved Hon. Treas/Sec.  This party was led by Tony Iles and they were joined by three other members of the G.S.S.

The mines visited were old iron ore workings which are situated in the Carboniferous Limestone which outcrops around the Forest of Dean coalfield.  The impression which one gets after visiting these particular mines is a confused picture of a series of quite large natural chambers interconnected by mine galleries.  There are a large number of mines in the area which interconnect underground.  We in fact, from one entrance, visited four mines - Old Ham, New Ham, Swing Pit and Easter Pit.  The entrance is approximately 600' above sea level and the water table is at about 300.  During mining operations there was continued pumping but now that activity has ceased, the water table has risen to its natural level and many of the lower stretches are not now able to be explored.  To Mendip cavers it seemed most odd to go through long, dry, dusty passages and suddenly to come upon static bluish (or was it greenish?) water stretching quietly away into the darkness.

According to our guide, and also gathered from a little homework, the metallic ores were found in irregular pockets in the Carboniferous Limestone.  Iron bearing solutions from the Coal Measure Shales, which overlay the limestone, permeated the open jointed rock and deposited the ore. Removal of the ore gave rise to the large ‘natural’ chambers which are the major feature of the mines.  Iron Ore has been worked in the area since Roman times but most of the mines closed at the beginning of the century as the ore field became exhausted.  Several of the mines, including the mine we visited, were opened during the war, but were finally closed in 1945.

Saturday evening was devoted to beer and skittles at the New Inn near Five Acres.  The G.S.S. arranged an alley for our use and also provided us with two players to make up numbers.  The B.E.C. team lost the match despite the efforts of Keith as Sticker Up (or Snooker Down?) and Bobby as keeper of the score.  The game was nevertheless most enjoyable and much beer was consumed.  When the game finished a section of the party adjourned to an upper room from which the sounds of music had come during the evening, the undoubted highlight of the weekend was when Keith jived with the local oldest inhabitant, and only stopped because he thought she might have heart failure.  However, the sight of the Franklyns Mo and Kangy twisting in climbing boots ran it a close second.

The party then returned to the camp site and Mo demonstrated that he climbs as well, if not better, under the influence than when sober.  He completed a very fine traverse round the barn which the G.S.S. use, going daintily from ledge to ledge and over rafters, demonstrating his 'clutterbucks' to perfection.

Sunday morning found several members of the party in a very delicate state of health, and so we will pass on to some of the events of the afternoon.  At this time, some of the party went to Wintour's Leap and a little climbing was done.  The weather was not good and Roy Bennett and Dave Quicke went up Corner Buttress (Diff) while tigers Marriott and King went up Beginners Route.

There are 13 climbs listed in the guide, and we understand that a new one is being produced.  This cliff should provide quite a good practice area for climbers from Bristol when the Severn Bridge has been completed, as it should be within easy reach for climbing on summer evenings.

The name of the cliff derives from Sir John Wintour who, being closely pursued by the parliamentarians in 1642 ‘galloped’ in desperation over the shelving precipice, escaped unhurt on the ground below, and got away by swimming the river.  This explanation was viewed rather sceptically, and we wondered if the cliff had become rather more precipitous due to subsequent quarrying. A very fine weekend, and our grateful thanks to the G.S.S.

Joan Bennett.

On The Hill

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

I propose to vary the article slightly for this month and deal firstly with our own club.  I make no apologies for views expressed in this article and whilst accenting that, as I write them, they must reflect my own views I would add that a lot of this information is gleaned from you - the average club member.

Next month will see us again at the A.G.M. & Dinner and each year a committee is elected to carry on the club's business for the year.  This is all very democratic.  We members elect them so let us at least know who we elected last year and my (and some of your) opinions of these 'Officers'.

R.A Setterington. (Sett)

Has been with the club since the beginning and is present chairman of the committee.  Has in the past been a very good Hut Warden.  Does not nowadays take part in caving.  Goes car rallying.

R.J. Bagshaw (Bobby)

Devoted Treasurer and practically a monument.  Caves annually and collects subs at any given opportunity (N.B. makes his own opportunities!)

S.J. Collins. (Alfie)

Editor (very ably) of the B.B.  Ex Hut Warden and digger of numerous small holes scattered round Mendip. We don't agree on all things.  Belfry builder.  Too fat to cave.

Norman Petty

Tackle Officer and Belfry Carpenter.  Does both very well, but some feel that these are ex officio posts.  Is an active Cuthbert’s Leader.

Tony Dunn.

Climbing Secretary.  Do we ever do any?  If so, we never hear of it (R.S.K. excluded)

C.A. Marriott. (Mo) & Mike Palmer

Caving Sec and Assistant.  Club meets appear to be becoming, very successful and, with the C.C.C. blood chit this looks like being a very important job.  Both are Cuthbert’s Leaders and cave occasionally.

John Ransom & Gordon Tilly.

Two dedicated Belfry Builders who cave also occasionally.  I notice that the Belfry is progressing well, almost time for a write up, since more people deserve thanks than I can name.

Garth Dell

Retired to join H.M. Forces and I hear rumours of Sarawak.

John Cornwell.

Defected to the Wessex whilst on the committee.  Is this compatible?  Cuthbert’s Leader.

Alan Sandall.

Seems to be known to all and his reputation precedes him.  Used to cave actively and still does occasionally.

Talking of active caving, I hear that Mrs. C. (Spike) Rees has managed to get tubby hubby caving - to Swildons IV.  Turning now to drinking, Priddy Fair has once more come and gone and I hear that Messrs Fowler and Mills were to be seen at the New Inn as usual, but this time on the other side of the bar where they were helping to speed (pardon the pun) the service.  The other day, I wandered into one of the better class of drinking establishments in Wells to find one of the B.E.C. associates - Miss Pat Laws - serving behind the bar.  There's not much hope of free beer however.

It appears that nine acres of the mineries on the eastern side of the depression from the Shepton Hut to the pool were bought by two members of the M.C.G.  If any club is looking for a site for an H.Q. perhaps it will be possible to come to an agreement.

An interesting letter in the Wessex Journal on Swildons Hydrogeology by Derek Ford.  It seems to me that it’s a pity to confine this sort of thing to one journal.  There is one other article of note, Jim Hanwell’s ‘Growth of Wessex'.  I suppose that if we boast of bed-nights, Wessex are allowed to gloat over affiliations.  I see Wessex have acquired some exposure suits.  Has B.E.C. ever tried this, or are its members too hardy?

Mendip  surveyors have held, an important meeting recently at which agreement was reached on several points and I expect an article may well appear in a future B.B.  (Certainly - Ed).  The thought that comes to mind here is why haven’t the C.R.G. organised something like this?  It was obviously desirable.

The S.V.C.C., only recently formed, has turned out a fairly good newsletter, though naturally enough with contributions by Tony Oldham.

Thought for the month - I'll be at the A.G.M. and Dinner.



It is intended to hold a trip to the Buckfastleigh area.  Camping, Bed & Breakfast or staying in hotels can be arranged to suit taste.  Please contact Mike Palmer for details.


It is intended to hold a Treasure Hunt over about thirty miles in the area covered by the 1” O.S. map of the Weston-super-Mare district.  Will those interested, please contact Mike Baker.