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Arrangements for the, B.B. in 1963-64.

Kevin Abbey is now in charge of the Postal Department and an arrangement has been worked out whereby all the B.B.'s are addressed and wrapped before being brought round to the Wagon on a Thursday.  Members who are at the Wagon will be able to pick up their B.B. as before, and the rest will be immediately posted.  By this arrangement, those members who rely on the post should get their B.B. within two days of it being published in Bristol.

In connection with this, a few of the members who have not been receiving, the B.B. regularly by post have failed to send their change of address to Bob Bagshaw.  Members are reminded that they cannot expect to get any communication from the club unless their up to date address is in the files.

Having moaned for some months about the lack of stuff to put in the B.B., the editor now finds himself confronted with a temporary surplus.  An attempt will be made to make this B.B. and the November B.B. both of twelve pages, but the rest of the material submitted will go towards making up what we hope will be the biggest and best Christmas B.B. ever.  Authors are asked to be tolerant of this situation and are reminded that it is difficult to allocate priorities to the various articles in the stock pile.


The Annual General Meeting

The 1963 Annual General Meeting was declared open at.2.50 pm with a good attendance present.  D. Hasell was elected as chairman.  Three tellers were elected for counting the ballot papers and the Minutes of the 1962 Meeting were read and adopted.

The Hon. Sec. then gave his report.  He announced that there had been a total of 32 new members elected during the year, compared with 31 and 27 for the preceding two years.  The total paid up membership had increased by 7 to 145.  In fact, it was somewhat greater than this as several members had paid their subscriptions since he had written his report. He pointed out however that there were still a number of considerably overdue subscriptions.  The attendance at the dinner this year was likely to be 130 as distinct from 114 last year.  The Charterhouse Caving Committee was now in operation and permits were now available.

There were no questions resulting from this report and its adoption was proposed by Mike Luckwell and. seconded.

The Chairman then called on the Hon. Treasurer to give his report and after the traditional expressions of surprise at finding the same bloke get up to speak, the report was read.  In spite of the large item of expenditure on the Belfry, the club's finances were in good shape.  The usual annual plea followed for more expenditure on tackle and the Hon. Treas. suggested that if we were unable to build enough we should consider buying it. He said that he did not consider it sound policy to build up a large surplus of cash, as the club's money should be spent on furthering the club's caving and climbing activities; neither did he think it was a sound plan to show such paper assets as the value of the Belfry. He concluded with a plea for the prompt payment of dinner tickets.

In the discussion following, Sett suggested that the membership application form should include an application for club ties and car badges.  Kangy queried the sub to the Mountaineering Council.  Bob replied that it had not been requested.  Dave Smith said that if we were going to buy ladders we should test them first.  This was agreed.  Mike Luckwell proposed that the report be adopted.

The Caving Secretary then gave his report.  A very encouraging increase in the number of younger active cavers had occurred, but he hoped that they would do more in Cuthbert’s. The caving meets had been very successful and there had been another series of discoveries in Cuthbert’s since the last A..G.M.  As announced by the Hon. Sec., the C.C.C. system was now in operation, but the Caving Sec. would require at least three weeks notice, for a G.B. trip.  He pointed out that some of the tackle in Cuthbert’s now needed renewing.

Jill said that she had had no idea of when the caving meets had been held.  The Caving Secretary replied that they had all been published in the B.B. with ample warning.  Jill replied that she had not had a B.B. for some time.  Kevin suggested that there were not enough leaders for the younger members to be able to do more in Cuthbert’s as suggested.  Mo asked why didn't some of the younger members apply? A general discussion on leaders followed during the course of which Mike Palmer offered to lead whenever required within reason.  The Chairman ruled that this was more properly a subject for the forthcoming Leader's Meeting, but suggested that the meeting be thrown open to any other interested parties.  With masterly timing, Make Luckwell then proposed that the report be adopted.

The Climbing report followed, and the Climbing Secretary said that there had been two trips to N. Wales. The trend is now for more people to take part, but for less good climbing to be done.  An Easter party camped near Land's End and at Whitsun a party visited the Dewar Stone.  Parties on the Avon Gorge on Thursdays have been a regular feature of the season. There were no questions and Mike Luckwell therefore proposed that the report be adopted.

The Tackle Officer announced that sixty feet of standard ladder had been rebuilt and a new sixty feet made.  Unfortunately, we have also lost eighty feet over the same period.  We now have 180' of standard ladder and 60' of wood and wire. The Chairman asked if the rope promised at the last A.G.M. had been produced.  Norman replied that it had.  There was a suggestion to go over to making the S.M.C.C. type of ladder and Frank Darbon suggested the W.S.G. type.  A discussion followed and it was agreed to refer the whole problem of tackle to the new committee.

At this stage the meeting stopped for tea.

After tea the Chairman announced the results of the committee ballot.  Votes are given in brackets. Bob Bagshaw (51) Norman Petty (50) Mo (45) Alfie (45) Gordon Tilly (38) Kevin (38) Roy Bennett (35) Alan Sandall (33) Mike Palmer (31) Sett (30) John Ransom (30) Keith Franklyn (30); the first nine being elected.

The Hut Warden's Report followed.  The bed nights had reached the all time record of 1361 - an increase of over 400 on the previous year.  More than 2/3 of this total had been put in by "regulars".  There had been a general increase in cleanliness, due mainly to the improvements in the Belfry accommodation.  There was still room for improvement.

Joan Bennett proposed a vote of thanks to all those who had helped to improve the Belfry, to which Mike Palmer added a vote of thanks to the Ladies who, he claimed, not only assisted in tidying the Belfry but also acted as a steadying influence.  This latter remark received a rather mixed reception and brought forth cries of "under thumb!"

Garth said that the Belfry was still dirty on Sunday nights.  The Chairman asked that concrete suggestions be made.  Kangy suggested a supply of hot water and asked whether the crockery had been removed as requested?  The Hut Warden replied that it had.

A vote of thanks was given to the Hut Warden, and the report adopted.  (This, of course, being proposed by Mike Luckwell)

The Belfry Engineer's Report followed.  The Belfry had been re-roofed; repainted; the car park levelled and laid; the Tackle Store cleaned out several times; a new concrete path laid to the Detailer; a locker for M.R.O. kit made and the new Women's Room completed.  The report was adopted (guess who proposed this?) and a vote of thanks given which was carried with acclamation.

The B.B. report followed. The Editor said that the B.B. had been its usual size this year and although a stock of articles was now held, response had been poor earlier in the year.  He mentioned difficulties with paper and said that we would have to buy some for the time being.  There was a possibility of printing the B.B. by the offset litho process.  Mike Luckwell proposed a vote of thanks to the Editor.

The Assistant Hon. Ed. then gave his report.  There had been a lack of publicity on Caving Reports and although the present position was financially sound (a profit of £10 had been made over the year) there were now no covers left and no new reports coining along.  Garth mentioned surveys and Kangy replied that it was possible to buy these from Bryan Ellis.  Mike Luckwell proposed that the report be adopted.

The Librarian’s Report followed.  She said that the library had been reorganised and that 100 borrowings had occurred. Six new books had been bought and a further six acquired.  It was hoped to purchase more books and member’s suggestions would be welcomed. In this connection the Chairman ruled that a copy of the Denning Report was not in line with the general subject matter of the club library.  The report was, naturally, adopted as a result of the by now unexpected proposal of Mike Luckwell's.

A discussion on the Postal System arrangements followed and Kevin Abbey volunteered for the job. Joan rennet volunteered to assist if required.

Under 'Members Resolutions', the resolution put up by Ian Dear concerning the purchase of a water heating system for the Belfry was carried.

Finally, of course, Mike Luckwell proposed that the meeting be closed.

Editor's Note;     As I had been ill, and was not fully recovered at the A.G.M. (or Dinner for that matter) I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the above account.

NOTICE!!!!  The next CUTHBERT’S LEADERS MEETING will be held at THE BELFRY on the 17TH NOVEMBER 1963.  Any interested cavers in addition to Cuthbert’s Leaders will be welcomed.


It appears that a letter from Dorothy Waddon to the Editor has gone astray, presumably in the post, and that in fact she wrote some time ago to the B.B. asking for the acknowledgement which follows to be published.  Owing to the method whereby letters are dumped in the communal hallway, they do occasionally go astray, and we hope that Dorothy will understand and accept our publication of her letter as now received from Bob Bagshaw.

32 Laxton Close,
Taunton, Somerset.

It is now almost eight months since Jack's accident and those of you who contributed towards the fund to assist me and our children must be wondering why there has been no acknowledgement from me.  Let me be quite honest and tell you that for a long while I didn't feel like accepting what I thought then was a charitable gesture.  Time has allowed me to face the situation and to think more clearly, and I realize how much you must have wanted to help.  So I would like to extend my very sincere thanks to all of you for the overwhelming response to aid us.  It is my intention to keep the money in trust for Anne and Alan until such time that it might further them in their education or any other aspect. Jack was a man who never did things by half-measure and this applied to his caving activities.  He was keen, enthusiastic and loved it.  Alas, it had such a tragic end.  But I feel this fund is perhaps the finest tribute you have given Jack.

Dorothy Waddon.

Editor's Note.     We understand that Dorothy would be very pleased to see any cavers who are in Taunton.

Castle Farm Dig

From the variety of Caving articles submitted, it is difficult to pick out one for priority of publication, but we have chosen this one since it describes the new club dig, which is giving promising results and may soon result in another Mendip cave.

by Gordon Tilly.

Location; West side of road from 'Miners Arms' to 'Castle of Comfort, thirty yards from gate opposite Castle Farm.

Against mixed opinions of wrong geological structure; wrong limestone etc; a dormant dig was re-opened on August 11th, 1963 after an initial inspection of the site the evening before.

Briefly, the historical facts are that the dig was, started in 1959 by John Andrews (a freelance caver) together with a friend who is now in Australia.  The lead was given them by the farmer (who it might be said is the most co-operative that one could wish for) who recalled that some years previously; there was a cloudburst in the area and the road outside his farm became a major river, running through farm and field. The water found its way to the depression nearest the road and soon filled it up (the size of this depression is 60' by 20' by 10' deep approximately).  Some few minutes later the depression was empty, leaving a small landslip in the South West bank.  It was at this point that Andrews commenced digging.

The dig was confined in area but revealed a rockface below two feet of Jurassic Oolite, of limestone fretted vertically and pitted over the entire surface.

Back to the dig proper. The initial moves made very little progress due to lack of manpower.  However, small probes were made to the East and West sides of the hole, which soon confirmed that bedrock was running in this direction, with a boulder pile on the North side.  During one of these probes a small pile of stones was broken into by Dave Irwin and a considerable draught was found to be issuing from them.  On August 13th, Gordon, Alan Whitcombe, Spike and Pam Rees and Brian Reynolds made great strides in removing many large boulders, and increased the size of the pit to approximately eight feet square.  On Sunday, August 25th, little progress was made due to heavy rain, but mud and stones were removed to obtain a clearer picture of the rock structure.  Water was found to be draining from the field to the dig, which was not holding any. Later that day, more mud and shale was cleared from the bottom of the hole.  It appeared that bedrock in the form of a narrow rift lay on two sides of the bottom of the dig, with a very large boulder forming a lintel at the Western end of the visible part of the rift.  The way on was seen under the boulder but was too tight to enter.  The pit was widened on the 29th august to find an alternative entrance but little progress was made until the weekend of the 21st September when Gordon, Dave Irwin and Dave Smith decided to dig over the boulder and face the problems of lifting it as it was restricting movement in the rift and making it impossible to work in.  This meant pulling down a seven foot bank of earth on the North side. The following day the boulder was broken up and moved out of harm's way.  During the digging into the West side, a small 'chamber' was found and this,           after the removal of small but awkward boulders, became the real entrance to the dig.  Monday saw vast changes in the pit, the west side overhang was removed and the entrance hole shored with galvanised iron as a temporary measure.   The remainder of the pit is now half filled with boulders and earth.

The way on is very clear for about thirty feet, but until a ledge some twelve feet down is cleared of mud and loose rock it is certainly unwise to probe further down at this stage.

(Some sketches showing the progress of this dig will be found on the next page.


The Annual General Meeting of the Mendip Cave Registry will be held at Wells Museum on Saturday 26th October 1963.  Further particulars may be obtained from the Secretary, B.M. Ellis, Fore Street, North Petherton, Bridgwater, Somerset.  The work of the Cave Registry is perhaps the most important practical project of inter club co-operative effort which has yet occurred on Mendip. COME ALONG AND SUPPORT IT I!!!!

Caving Reports

A reminder that these are on sale direct from Bryan Ellis at 41 Fore Street, North Petherton, Bridgwater, Somerset (post extra) or by arrangement with him at the Shepton Hut. Bryan also has copies of several surveys and other caving publications for sale.  B.E.C. Caving reports include: Surveying in Redcluffe Caves (reprint); The Manufacture of Lightweight Caving Ladders (3/-); The Shoring of Swallet Cave Entrances (2/6); A Survey of Headgear and Lighting available for caving (2/6); Some Smaller Mendip Caves – Vol. I (2/6); A Second Report on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet (3/-); Some Smaller Mendip Caves - Vol II (2/6) and The B.E.C. Method of Caving Ladder Construction (3/-).  If you are interested in caving literature and don't require any of these (or you've got 'em) Bryan is still worth contacting as he gets a very good selection of publications for sale

Before printing 'Stalagmite's' article for the  month, we have an anonymous note addressed from 'Wogland' which we think forms a fitting preface to the start of  'Stalagmite's' second club year of activity.

In answer to Stalagmite's very good article in last month’s B.B. (Sept) I really must congratulate him for putting his opinion so clearly.  Stalagmite's articles must, I think, give a lot of members interesting reading and thoughts, although I notice that now and again he slips up.

I sincerely hope that he will keep putting forth his views and opinions, but give him a friendly warning: Some people tell me that they know who you are - beware!


On The Hill

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

by Stalagmite

The 1963 A.G.M. provided a few changes in the committee; Sett and John Ransom being replaced by Roy Bennett & Kevin Abbey.  The clamour for "new blood" has always been high, so now let us wait and see. At the dinner, a few binds on the constitution of the election were voiced, but it all appeared legal to me. Talking of voices at the dinner, this year's, speeches were extremely good - Wessex forgot the toast - the reply was at great length and was followed by some, quick, quipping speeches from members, guests, and even police who thought we were clean and sober.

News from the clubs is, as usual, brief.  The U.B.S.S. seem to be very thin on the ground, not even sending a rep. for a free dinner, though I hear from Cerebus that the Long Ashton splinter group continues to cave.

The M.N.R.C. deserves a mention insomuch as it was recently reported in the B.B. that they did a bit of cleaning up in Cuthbert’s.  After the report of the Balch trip, one does not know quite what to believe of them - still, I hope they examined no polythene bags.

The Wessex will be holding their dinner on Saturday, 19 of October.  I'll be there.  The only other snippet I have of the Wessex via the Cave Registry is that George Pointing's dig at Thrupe Swallet is now an official club dig.

Cave Registry work is still progressing well, though I gather that the deadline of last Saturday for the manuscripts has nor been met and even after, there is quite an amount of work for Bryan to do.  Still, I hope to see the Register in the early part of next year.

Cerberus are holding their second annual dinner in November of this year.  With any luck, I'll be there too (If I can scrounge a ticket). For anyone who can remember the start of Cerberus there is news of Unwin who has reappeared though I gather that Cerberus are no longer associated with him.

During the B.E.C. dinner, there was a call to the M.R.C for an overdue party in Longwood.

The Family is spreading like the plague, and congrats to Dave Causer and Katherine (George).  If Mike Luckwell's next, it will look like a takeover bid for the B.E.C. as one of our new members turns out to be yet another member of the Family.

Shepton Mallet C.C. are holding their dinner early in December.  Have you ever tried getting a ticket for this?  Breaking into Holloway's easier!

No doubt at the forthcoming Cuthbert’s Leaders Meeting Roger will describe his new discovery in the Lower Mud Hall region a passage noticed during his recent survey work but not followed up at the time.

Bob Bagshaw arrived late at the dinner "sans auto" and appeared to be completely unruffled about turning over the car, as he quickly got to work collecting money!  A fair amount of intoxicants vanished after the dinner in the direction of Alan Thomas's house warming party, in fact, considering the shortage elsewhere; it appears that I should have joined the party. Alan's house is, I understand, situated at the bottom of Neil's garden.  Presumably this is a better arrangement to have the B.E.C. descend than to have the conventional fairies at the bottom of one's garden.

The editor was gracious enough to give me a vote of thanks at the A.G.M. for past articles - it's almost enough to tempt me to join the club!

Thought for the month (Supplied by the Editor this time.) If 'Stalactite' started dripping instead of praising Stalagmite, would they eventually form a pillar of Mendip Society?