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After last month’s B.B., we trust that club members will overlook the size and to a lesser extent, the contents of this one.  Your Editor has been away in London for a week, which has tended to muck up the B.B. arrangements.  However, we will try to get back to an acceptable standard next month, and meanwhile wish all readers a very happy new year.


Club Officers

As a result of the recent election, it is now possible to announce the names of the club officers for 1964 as follows: -

Hon. Secretary & Treasurer          R.J. Bagshaw.

Caving Secretary                         “Mo” Marriott.

Assistant Caving secretary           M. Palmer.

Climbing Secretary                      R. Bennett.

Tackle Officer                              N. Petty.

Hut Warden                                G. Tilly.

Assistant Hut Warden                  K. Abbey.

Hut Engineer                               J. Ransom.

B.B. Editor                                  “Alfie” Collins.


To avoid the loss of further tackle, the tackle store will be locked in future.  Keys are permanently held by K. Abbey, N. Petty, R. Bennett, J. Ransom and G. Tilly.  In addition, four keys are available at club each Thursday for mid-week cavers.  These must be returned within a week.

Cuthbert’s Leaders Meeting

Firstly, apologies are for the lateness of these minutes, which have been delayed due to forgetfulness and Christmas.

The meeting was held at the Belfry on Sunday, 17th November and was very well attended.  Out of the possible total of 27 leaders 17 were present and as there were five or six who were definitely not able to attend, this was quite a good showing.

An agenda was issued to leaders which seemed to cover most points for discussion, which went as follows: -

Revision of Leaders List and New Leaders.

Everyone seemed to agree that the list of leaders should remain as it is, there being no satisfactory way, without offending someone, of revising it at present.  Two exceptions to this, though, become apparent during the discussion on item 2.  Regarding new leaders, two points were decided.  Firstly, that leaders should have a good working knowledge of the cave and essentially the By-Pass Passage and Pulpit Routes. 

Secondly, that prospective leaders would serve a probationary period in which they would arrange to take other leaders caving (with/without a party) to convince them of their knowledge of the cave.  It is suggested that the other leaders should consist of THREE, the total being formed by either one, two or three trips.  The new leaders were accepted with these stipulations.  These were Bryan Reynolds, Kevin Abbey and Nick Harte. A forth person awaits acceptance pending further enquiries.

Responsibilities of Leaders in the Cave.

It was decided that parties should be restricted to six including the leader, thus minimising delays in the cave; allowing greater areas to be covered and giving greater control of the party.  Leaders must be well equipped and should ensure that the party is also adequately equipped and that the club rules concerning these matters are being adhered to. A leader has the right to refuse anyone a trip who he thinks might endanger the party for any reason e.g. inadequate dress etc.  The two exceptions mentioned in item 1 are that Leaders found to be persistently avoiding arranged trips may be removed form the list by the order of the next Leaders Meeting and that any leader noticed to be negligent (e.g. allowing members of the party to cause damage – permitting excessive numbers etc.) may be removed from the list by the same means.

Cleanliness of the Cave.

The dumping of carbide was discussed and it was decided that it could be left anywhere in the streams and otherwise only at the following places.  Quarry Corner – Dinning Room – September series in Illusion Chamber. Next, it was decided that greater care by leaders was required (sometimes the biggest culprits!) to ensure removal of chocolate wrappers, flashbulb packets etc.  A party is also to be arranged to clean up the Dinning Room, which is becoming very untidy.

Naming of New Discoveries.

The meeting decided that new names should be proposed at Leaders Meetings and that they would only be accepted by a majority vote at such a meeting.  This is to ensure that overlapping or double naming does not occur. In this connection, Roy Bennett volunteered to run a trip to Coral series – Long Chamber area to finalise and agree on names given by recent discoveries.  These will finally be accepted at the Leaders Meeting as described.

Practice Rescue Trips.

It was agreed that in the early part of 1964, a series of practice rescues would be run.  Firstly to sort out the areas which will present the greatest difficulty in rescue work and secondly to attempt to list the places at which accidents are most likely to occur.  A full scale rescue would then be run to find out the manpower and the difficulties presented by the cave rescue party.  It is rumoured that John Cornwell has agreed to act as the victim. It was also agreed that, as leaders were the obvious people to form the main body of any rescue teams in Cuthbert’s, the names, addresses and ‘phone numbers of the most accessible leaders would be forwarded to M.R.O. as soon as possible.  This is being organised by the Caving Secretary.

Locking, Enlargement of New Entrance & Status of Old Entrance.

The new entrance enlargement was put into the capable hands of Mike Thompson, who I believe, fulfilled his promise before I wrote these minutes.  Further, it was agreed that the new entrance ladder required modifying to make the shaft easier to negotiate.  Nothing else appeared to be decided on this matter.  When this had been done, however, it was agreed that the new entrance would be locked and a limited number of keys issued to leaders.  The old entrance was to be boarded over, or fitted with a lock, the only keys being kept, for emergency purposes, in the M.R.O. box.  The general feeling seemed to be to board up the shaft.

Digging Operations in the Cave.

Mike Thompson reported that the digging in the sump is coming along fine.  Apart from this, any other work must be kept silent about as there were no further reports.  The feeling of the meeting was that a bit more work could be done of people would pool their ideas on digs.

Review of Fixed Tackle in the Cave.

The tackle situation was discussed and a list of priorities evolved.  The tackle on Stal. Pitch urgently needed replacing and this pitch should be avoided until this had been done.  Alternatively a ladder and lifeline can be used.  No tourist trips are to use this route otherwise.  The chain on Ledge Pitch ladder requires replacing.  Care should be exercised when using this ladder. The Mud Hall requires repairing and securing.  The wire in the Wire Rift requires removing as it has become dangerous to hands etc. General feeling was that a chain be substituted.  A rawlbolt should be fitted at the top of Pulpit Pitch.  The Wire Rift Ladder requires fixing, and should not be walked on unless really necessary.

Any Other Business.

The question of sewage seeping into the cave was discussed and it was decided to refer this matter to the committee.  The meeting closed at 5.00pm.

Mike Palmer.  Asst. Caving Sec.

Climbing North Wales – 14/15 December, 1963

Nine members took part in this meet arranged by Roy Bennett.  We stayed at the London Mountaineering Club Hut at Nant Peris which was otherwise deserted throughout the weekend.

On Saturday we split into two groups.  Joan Bennett lead a walking party comprising Barry Wilton, John Slapp and Bob Bridges up Snowdon via the Pyg Track.  They found the conditions icy with some unusual frost formations on the summit cairn, and finished up by walking down to Llanberis leaving John’s car at Pen-y-Pass.  The other party, after some indecision, made their way to the Devil’s Kitchen where they found a variety of fine ice formations including a fifty foot cascade over the capstone at the back of the kitchen.  Roy Bennett and Brian Reynolds proceeded up the climb, followed by Mo Marriott, John Howliston and Lionel Williams.  Cold Rock and snow blowing vertically upwards made the climb interesting but lengthy (very interesting with cold rock as well as snow blowing vertically upwards! Ed) so, as it was getting late, we walked down the easy route to Ogwen.  On the way back to Nant Peris, we stopped at the Pen-y-Pass and discovered John’s car. Thinking the walking party was still on the mountain, Roy and Lionel went off up the track to look for them.  Meanwhile Joan and her party back at the hut were told of these heroic actions by the other climbers and Joan and John then set off to look for Roy and Lionel!  They finally met up somewhere near the causeway and returned to the hut together.

On Sunday, the higher climbs being covered with ice, we all went to Dinas y Cromlech.  Lionel and Barry went up the flying Buttress Route followed by Mo, Bob and John Howliston.  Roy and Brian started up Neb’s Crawl but about halfway up got lost on an unstable pile of boulders and heather and finished up doing the top third of Horseman’s Route. Joan Bennett and John Slapp sat at the bottom and acted as scorers for Roy and Brian as they accidentally dislodged stones from the aforementioned pile.  Afterwards, Mo, Bob, John and Brian went across to a little pinnacle called the thumb which was climbed by way of a large crack by Mo and Brian while Lionel and Barry tackled some boulder problems and Roy and Joan tackled their lunch.  We all enjoyed this weekend very much indeed, so many thanks to Roy for organising it.

Brian Reynolds


By the way of a change this year, Sett has suggested that he contributes a series of problems for the B.B. each month, of a similar type used by O’Bierne in the New Scientist which used to be tackled regularly at the Belfry.  Each problem will be in two stages, one for amateurs and one for mathematicians.  Sett will decide who is a mathematician and they are debarred from claiming the monthly prize for solving the simpler part.  Prize is one pint per month to either the amateur or mathematician who produces a logical solution to his part of the problem.  Answers to the editor for forwarding, or (preferably) direct to Sett.



A.         The diagram represents 4 stage and 16 stage moves from A to C.  If we consider the possibility of making the steps very, very short what will the length of the line AC become if AB=BC=1 inch?

M.        Assuming that the answer is /2, prove that /2 is irrational.

“On The Hill”

by Stalagmite

Having now emerged from the alcoholic haze which surrounds everything at this time of the year, I now find time to look around to see if anything interesting has happened lately. The seasonal time of last month seems to have given the lie to the B.E.C. on teetotalism in the Wessex, and I hear this point was noted by Gordon Tilly who visited the lads at Hillgrove; returned to the Belfry and then did a ‘Carter’ by flaking out on the floor (R.I.P.)

The S.M.C.C. held a successful dinner at the Red Lion, Shepton Mallet where a good meal was enjoyed by all and there have been suggestions that the next official B.E.C. Dinner should be held there.  I say official so as not to be confused with the Christmas gathering traditionally held at the Star, Wells.  The S.M.C.D.G. held a trial dive at Balch cave which I gather was not successful. Still, I think they might be termed one of the most active bodies on Mendip.

The B.W.W. with the charterhouse C.C. have returned trusteeship of August/Longwood to Mr. Young who now has absolute carte blanche as to who he allows or not down.  The E.G.M. problem now seems to have resolved itself and has turned us, I hope, once more into a caving club rather than a quasi-political organisation.  I sincerely hope that all are now pleased to see John Ransom back in harness and look forward to some Belfry Bulletins.  There are at least ten caving clubs on Mendip.  B.E.C., Wessex, M.N.R.C., S.M.C.C. and U.B.S.S. to name but one.  I deliberately refrain from using the term active here since I can get no news of at least 50% of them.  The M.N.R. should be now be installed in an incomplete state, in the county library. Perhaps reading through this will bring forth more activity.

That’s my lot for the moment.  Not very thrilling, but one really can’t make a silk purse etc.  One last snippet, I hear that Mike Palmer and Pat Laws got engaged. Congrats from Stalagmite.

Ruthless Rhymes for callous cavers

The editor has a small space to fill up here, and, on the flimsy grounds that one member has asked for some more of the ‘Ruthless Rhymes for callous cavers’ which appeared in the B.B. from time to time some years ago; proposes to bore you with further with some more from this nauseating collection of twenty size sick caving verses.

Getting through a bedding plane
Teddy squeezed, but all in vain.
“Ah well,” they said, “That’s just like Ted
He always thought he’d die in bed.”

Jimmy bet us he could crawl
Through a crack extremely small
Now he’s gone it isn’t funny.
How are we to get our money?   

Much as we would like to stay
And extricate poor Clarence Day
We’ll have to leave him stuck, I fear,
For opening time is getting near.

Quentin, neath a stalactite
Raised himself and stood upright.
Now there is a shocking dent in
The hat and cranium of Quentin.