No, it is not Christmas again. Neither is it some national day of rejoicing, like the Editor’s birthday or the thousandth anniversary of the founding of the B.E.C. in Saxon times by Aleburp the Unsteady.  If the nine page size of the B.B. is celebrating anything, it must be the wonderful amount of material which, at the moment, is coming in from members and others.

Instead of keeping some of this for next month, it is nearly all being printed now, in the hope that this upsurge of writing is not a flash in the pan, but might actually lead to a bigger B.B. on a regular thing.

The diversity and standard of the material is again very encouraging to an editor who has been half starved for too long.  As a result, you will find in this B.B. two articles describing the new work in Mendip caves; extracts from the Caving Log; a description of the last Climbing Section’s trip to Cornwall, besides features such as ‘Stalagmite’ and Sett’s monthly problems.  The odd notice and book review completes the B.B. and the two caving articles are illustrated with maps.

With the proposed advent of a national caving magazine, the future of club magazines may well seem open to question, apart from their value as newsletters.  On the other hand, club magazines should reflect the particular club they serve and, if this present production of good material continues, there should be no worry as to the place of the B.B. in the future scheme of things.

“Alfie”


 

Recent Excavations in Lamb Leer

by Dave Palmer.

1. Concerning Excavations on St. Valentines Landing.

On Sunday, 5th January, a new M.N.R.C. dig was started on St. Valentines Landing, the site being the tight mud filled passage and the chamber leading to the terminal rift. The conditions in this passage were everything but ideal – cramped position; bad air and a pool of water it was necessary to lie.  In view of this, it was decided to enlarge the entrance to the passage, lower the floor level to drain the pool and make for more space for subsequent operations. A large volume of mud and boulders was removed on Jan. 5th and 12th and digging commenced in the ascending passage. The dig required three people. One digging and two passing back. Of these only the person at the face had good air.  In fact the air was so bad at the second and third digging positions that at times even a candle would not burn.  However, on January 19th a breakthrough was achieved giving access to approximately twenty feet of ascending passage with some small formations ending in a choke of thin stal. floor and loose cave earth with a two to three inch air space. The relative dryness of this new position led to a vigorous attack the following week when a further breakthrough gave access to another sixty feet of tight muddy passage ending in a ‘T’ junction with one ascending passage blocked at the start by one extremely large rock. There were signs of water action.

Reference to the late Prof. L.S. Palmer’s geoelectrical survey (1957) showed that the position of the descending passage was approx. above the rift leading from the large chamber which is alleged to exist.

On Sunday, February 2nd, a small party removed the large boulder and entered the descending passage, which closed down after a short distance and ended in another junction, one side being a tight stal. choke and the other a constricted boulder filled passage where some progress may still be possible.  Work here continues (2.2.64).

 

2. South Western Inlet Passage

During visits to Lamb Leer in the later past of last year, a passage was noticed entering the main chamber on the south west side, above the large flowstone formation clearly visible from St. Valentines Landing.  A traverse was also noted, running towards this passage from the Windlass Platform and, in view of the possibility of reaching the inlet via this traverse, two climbers from B.C.S.T. were persuaded to come along and try it.  On Saturday 12th January only one climber arrived and did about half the traverse, but he was suffering from a “morning after” feeling (as was his mate, who didn’t even turn up) so the project was left until the following week, when both climbers were in fine form.  They completed the traverse, despite the difficulties of having literally to yell instructions above the fantastic racket made by a certain club who shall remain nameless and who, incidentally decide to cook a mid-day meal directly under the traverse  –  ignoring completely the warnings of falling stones etc., from the climbers.  However, the traverse being successfully completed, they fixed a ladder and the passage was entered.  It was approximately 75 feet above the floor of the main chamber and ran its forty five feet in length directly over it, terminating in a thirty foot ascending aven.  The passage was richly decorated with stal. and flowstone formations and the colouring was particularly striking – reds and blacks as well as pure white.  The passage was photographed the following week and the ladder removed.  The piton remains for anyone who feels capable of reaching this very impressive inlet passage.

It is interesting to note that, even with all the work in Lamb Leer, the M.N.R.C. also managed a digging trip to Vicarage Pot in Swildons II and a pleasure trip to Balch’s Hole to say nothing of various other small activities.  I think that, far from being the least active club on Mendip, they are probably doing more than any other club at the present time.


 

Easter in Cornwall

by Roy Bennett

The usual Easter trip to Cornwall was not as well supported as in previous years with a maximum of nine people staying for part of the time.  In spite of the optimistic forecasts by the met office, Friday was quite wet. Undeterred by this, the assembled company walked to Wicca Pillar where Roy Bennett and Brian Reynolds climbed in the rain while the Mossmans and Joan Bennett went walking.  One of the climbs was enlivened by a large hold coming away in Brian’s hand.  This produced the expected result and produced a deep suspicion of certain statements in the guide book.  (Granite is the only suitable rock for sea cliff climbing because of its reliability etc.) As a diversion from these operations, some caving was done under a huge pile of boulders near the Pillar.

Saturday was a little better, and various people went walking or skived at St. Ives.  The climbing contingent, augmented by the inclusion of Phil Townsend, repaired to Rosemary Cliff etc., where Brian top roped a tentatively hard route.  After this, Rosemary Ridge was climbed.  This was found to be quite straightforward except for a chock stone which looked more difficult than it actually was.  While this was in progress, Norman Petty and Dave Quickens went walking in search of an old tin mine.

On Sunday the party went to Lands End where Norman and Joan walked to Sennen viewing a stranded trawler being dismantled on the way.  Only two climbs of any length are described for this area and both were climbed after considerable argument as to their whereabouts.  The first, Knight’s Climb, was rather disappointing but the second, Hotel Buttress, was quite interesting.  A severe variation was top roped to get the feel of the rock and was found to be no harder than the last pitch of this normally v. diff. climb.

On Monday the climbing party – again reduced to two – did an interesting climb on Pordernack Point. This had a fine finish which looked ‘orribly loose but wasn’t.  By this time the sun had ventured out and the party headed home with reluctance.

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NEXT TRIPS      18th & 19th April – Wye Valley.     Whitsun – Dewar Stone.

Details from Climbing Secretary.



Cuthbert’s Rocky Boulders, Coral Series and Long Chamber.

As discussed at the Cuthbert’s Leaders Meeting, the various overlapping discoveries in this part of the cave have led to a considerable confusion.  Please note that a trip has been arranged for: -

10am Sunday May 24th

and anyone who can contribute to the sorting out is invited to join the party.

Cuthbert’s The Annexe Chamber Area

As recently mentioned by Mike Luckwill, the lesser known parts of the Cuthbert’s System offers the caver unlimited sport and variety of formations, the Annexe Chamber area being one of these.  I do not pretend that any of this system is new, but would be most interested to hear from these who recognise this description and survey.

Climb to Annexe Chamber from the Boulder Chamber and pass through squeeze under right hand wall of boulders leading to small chamber (actually a large space between the boulders). To the right leads a fourteen foot climb.  The left hand wall is stal. lined in its upper reaches and this part should only be climbed on the right hand side.  This climb leads to a large chamber some hundred feet long by thirty feet wide, the floor of which is inclined at some thirty degrees.  When climbing through this chamber, care must be taken not to disturb the loose scree and that good footholds be found at all times due to the existence of holes and rifts in the floor up to seventy feet deep.

To the left of the fourteen foot climb, a rift passage can be seen leading to a ten foot climb and small chamber.  Following the passage leads to a richly decorated chamber with fine stal. formations. The highlights of this chamber are the cluster of helictites and the crystal clear straws and flowstone.  The chamber splits three ways.  The obvious continuation of the passage very shortly becomes a fifteen foot climb to an upper grotto.  EXTREME CARE MUST BE TAKEN WHEN CLIMBING, AS THE SUPERB CLUSTER OF HELICTITES LIE NEAR THE FOOTHOLDS.  Perhaps a chain or fixed ladder could be assembled at this point?  The upper grotto defies description but includes every type of formation imaginable, such as Cat’s Whiskers nearly three inches long and a helictite tripod!  The white gours should also receive a mention.  When entering this grotto through the squeeze, a watch must be kept to prevent the fine straws from being destroyed.  A passage on the left leads to a boulder ruckle with three obvious ways on.

Returning to ‘Three Ways Chamber’, a high level passage can be seen on the left and can be entered through the narrow rift lower down in the wall.  Keeping to the left leads to a fair sized boulder chamber with a fair stal. flow some six feet high and three feet radius on the right hand wall. Unfortunately, one has to enter the chamber by its side and again, great care must be taken to avoid soiling the ‘beehive’ side on the right and the fine curtains of the left.  Another interesting point in this chamber is the stream passage, now packed with large loose boulders (is this one of the original stream passages?).  To the extreme right of the chamber, in the left wall, is a steeply inclined vadose trench leading to a bedding plane richly decorated in places.  Bearing to the right leads one to the passage above the grotto with the white gours.

Returning once more to ‘Three Ways Chamber’ a hole in the floor leads to a narrow rift.  After ten feet, a right angle bend leads to a bedding plane inclined at thirty degrees which suddenly ends with a hole in the floor above a twelve foot drop.  It is advisable to use a rope belayed to a boulder in the bedding plane, as the stal. walls of the drop are covered with a layer of very wet mud.  Turning left in the passage below leads shortly to the large chamber above Annexe Chamber and continuing right down the passage leads one to a junction.  The right hand passage leads out to the Boulder Chamber under the Quarry Corner overhang – a place where it will not pay anyone to hang about.  The small remaining passage leads to the steeply inclined rift overlooking the passage above Kanchenjunga on the way towards Pillar Chamber.  Two minor passages with extensions lead (a) to the drip above Kanchenjunga and (b) to overlook the Boulder Chamber above Quarry Corner.

Further exploration in this area is being made and a further survey will be produced as soon as completed. In conclusion, please treat the formations and the boulder ruckle with extreme care in this interesting and beautiful part of Cuthbert’s.

 

 


 

On The Hill

by Stalagmite

Many thanks to Geoff Bull of W.S.G. for his comments on the effectiveness of miners in the Llethrydd Swallet Rescue.  I shall maintain that my expressed opinion – that rescues should be left to cavers – still holds good, and am pleased to see that the eminent Cheramodytes of Wessex is in agreement.  He was present at the rescue and is of the opinion that the rescue ‘sans N.B.C.’ could have been completed by dawn.  Actual time out was 5.30pm.

This is, however, only the second letter disagreeing with me, no one has agreed in print, but I’m not downhearted.

There is a proposal afoot to make speleo affairs governed by a national body.  There is much feeling amongst my contacts regarding this proposal generally, although the feeling is that it must come sooner or later and when it does there will be no choice  as to whether to join or not.  There will, I imagine, be quite a number of difficulties to overcome – consider the uniting of Mendip clubs alone!

News of a bi-monthly professionally produced caving journal for Mendip has reached me.  One thing bothers me about this is the copyright problem on material appearing in other club journals.

By the time this goes to print the Family Club will; have held their A.G.M. (according to my speleo diary).  The next A.G.M. should be Cerberus on May 2nd in Wells.  The next major event is within the club, where it is proposed to collate? enough leaders for Cuthbert’s to attempt to find out what has been discovered when in and around Coral series.  I believe that this takes place early in May.  If there are enough leaders left after this trip, there is rumour that the trial rescue which has been due for about six years will eventually take place towards the end of May.

September Series has been mentioned to me as the stepping off point.  From what I’ve heard from idiots who have been to that part, it seems most unlikely that the attempt can meet with success.  Presumably at least one of the leaders on the scene will have a key to the Tackle Store and will sign S.T. 1 for the stretcher.

Joking apart, I think that the new tackle system is quite sound (presumably the committee also does) but it does rather worry me – all this responsibility for ladders etc.  I wonder if we can get insurance against loss/theft of same?

A few welcome ‘oldies’ have recently been seen on Mendip; Alan Thomas caving in Hunters (Hole) and Alan Fincham in Hunters ( Inn).  This seems ideal with a weeks caving holiday and only wasting one day caving.  Alan F. also paid his sub.  The other rarity is the renewal of the Palmer/Wheadon caving club, Mike Wheadon having been seen, by me at least, on Mendip only about twice in the last eighteen months.

The M.C.G. have got  a new hut near the Stirrup Cup Café (we used to call it the Stomach Pump – Ed.)  Although the Castle is nearer, there is still a strong contingent who get to the Hunters.  Recently there have been some lads, alas from Bristol, who have got disgustingly slewed at Hunters and reports are that Ben is not amused.  Neither am I for that matter.

One last thought. Nick Barrington’s new restaurant at Axbridge will be pleased to provide dinner for you – a t a price naturally.

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The editor must apologise for not having found room this month for the programme of dummy rescue in Cuthbert’s next month.  He hopes to be able to publish the B.B. for May in time for the article still to be of value.


 

New Books

….reviewed by Kevin Abbey

Caves of South Wales and the Marches.  (D.W. Jenkins & Ann Mason-Williams).  Published by the Dalesman Publishing Co. at 7/6.

Written in the same style as ‘Caves of Mendip’ it includes a very complete list of Welsh and Forest of Dean caves.  A short history and seven maps of the area make up a very good book.

The Red Peak.  (Malcolm Slessor)  Hodder & Stoughton @ 30/-.

A climbing book.  A really frank account of the expedition climbing Russia’s highest mountain.  Well worth reading.

B.E.C. Caving Publications

Obtainable from Bryan Ellis, Knockauns, Comwich, Bridgwater, Somerset.

No. 1

(Revised 1963)  “Surveying in Redcliffe Caves, Bristol.

by S.J. Collins.

Price 3/-

No. 3

(Revised 1962)  “The Manufacture of Lightweight Caving Ladders.”

by B.N. Ellis.

Price 3/-

No. 4

“The Shoring of Swallet Cave Entrances.”

by S.J. Collins.

Price 2/6

No. 9

“Some Smaller Mendip Caves – Vol. II ( Western Mendip)”.

by J.H. Tucker.

Price 2/6

No.10

“The B.E.C. Method of Ladder Construction.”

by D.A. Coase & N. Petty

Price 3/-

St. Cuthbert’s Surveys.

Provisional Plan (As published in Caving report No. 8)          Price 2/6

Addendum No. 1 to Plan (September Series).                     Price 1/-

Extended Section of Major Passages.                                Price 2/6

Caving Report No. 6 “Some Smaller Mendip Caves Vol. I (Priddy Area)” is at present out of print, but further copies are expected during this summer and orders will be accepted. If ordering by post, please send 1/- to cover cost of postage of one publication, 1/3 to cover cost for two publications, or 1/6 to cover three or four publications.

Bryan has a further 130 different items available for sale and will send his complete list if requested.

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NOTICE!!! Neoprene rubber sheets may be obtained at 10% reduction for wet suits.  Order at ONCE through Barry Lane.

By the way, whatever happened to OUR caving programme?

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THIS MAY BE YOUR LAST B.B.!!!!!!  The rule that ‘the membership of any individual who fails to pay his or her subscription by the 30th April shall deemed to have ceased’ is going to be interpreted a little more literally this year by the B.B. Postal Department.  If your sub is still due, please send it to Bob before your name is struck off the list for the B.B.


 

Caving Log

 

The Castle Farm dig continued on Sunday 8th and Saturday 14th March.  On the 8th, it was dug by Dave Irwin plus five others who removed mud and boulders, and on the 14th by Andy MacGregor and Dave Irwin who dropped the floor by a further four feet.  A small side passage was investigated, which appears to be way on.

From Friday 13th to Sunday 15th, Kevin Abbey and Barry Lane spent a weekend in Cuthbert’s using Cerberus Hall as a campsite.  From Kevin’s report, it seemed that a little too much time was spent lying in sleeping bags; eating; drinking and smoking.  However, on Saturday, Gour Rift was investigated just above the duck and was climbed for an estimated sixty feet.  At this point, the rift seemed to close down and only very small continuations of the rift were found on the way up.  On the Sunday afternoon, Phil Kingston and Ron Drake helped them out with their kit.  Kevin has noted a few points about the weekend which may be of interest. Firstly, after twelve hours or more, one feels like doing nothing except fester (some people feel like this without actually caving at all – Ed.).  The second point is that a tent, although not essential under the conditions, is a very good help at sleeping.  A third point is that, after some time, the noises made by the water begin to sound like that of people talking. The total time spent underground was 43 hours.

From the Caving Log, it is seen that a new area has been found to which several exploration, photographic and survey trips have been made.  On Friday 17th, Noel McSharry, Phil Townsend & Dave Irwin surveyed this part of the new area, known at present as Chandelier Passage.  On Friday, 27th March, Alan Thomas and his brother went down Hunters and removed much litter.  Also more surveying was done in the Annexe Chamber area.


 

Mathematical  Puzzles

by Sett

Up till now, I have not yet had an answer to last month’s problem.  I’m not even sure that I have a full answer myself and I would welcome assistance on the last part from somebody more knowledgeable than I. Alfie has helped considerably, and I gather that the late publication of last month’s B.B. was due to his efforts on this subject.

A.         A possible layout of the races involving sixteen cars, four at a time is as follows: -

1

2

3

4

 

1

6

11

16

 

1

7

9

15

 

1

8

11

14

 

1

5

9

13

5

6

7

8

 

2

7

12

13

 

2

8

10

16

 

2

5

12

15

 

2

6

10

14

9

10

11

12

 

3

8

9

14

 

3

5

11

13

 

3

6

9

16

 

3

7

11

15

13

14

15

16

 

4

5

10

15

 

4

6

12

14

 

4

7

10

13

 

4

8

12

16

M.        If we define a contest as a race between two cars, then we have in general N cars racing M times in R races and C contests at c contests per race. Thus C = N (N-1)/2 and c = M (M-1)/2. But C/c must be an integer. Therefore, since any car appears in N-1 contests at M-1 per race, both N(N–1)/M(M-) and N–1/M–1 must be integers.  This gives either N–1/M–1 and N/M must both be integers or that N-1/M(M-1) must be an integer.

Therefore, for any value of M there are two series of values of N which give perfect systems.  One starts at N-M with a common difference of M(M+1) and the other starts at N = M(M-1)+1 with the same common difference. For example, when M = 4, the values of N are 4, 16, 28, 40, etc. and 13, 25 37 49, etc.  Simple algebra, or inspection shows that the first series starts N = M, N = M2 and includes powers of M.  It is always even when M is even and odd when M is odd.  The second series is always odd and contains, because of its method of formation, a fair sprinkling of prime numbers.  This is perhaps surprising on initial consideration. The second series is composed entirely of systems of the form R = N, 2N, 3N, etc.  A further interesting point is that perfect systems for a given value of N can occur for more than one value of M.

For example, N = 61 has perfect systems for M = 2,3,4,5 or 6.  The part of the problem which has only been partially solved is the method of laying out the actual races.  Both the Hon. Sec. and I have laid out 13 cars 3 at a time more or less by trial and error.  Alfie showed me an easy way for 16 cars 4 at a time, but I am still awaiting a general method.

Bobby Bagshaw has written me a most interesting letter.  Thanks, Bobby and I will be using your problems later; I will also be implementing suggestions.

The problem for this month is, I hope, not so mathematical and could very well have a very practical application.  The Hut Warden can buy two types of toilet paper for use at the Belfry in rolls. Call them thick and thin for the sake of the argument.

A.         How much paper is left when the roll has decreased to half its initial diameter?

M.        Give a minimum of five different methods of determining the number of sheets left on a part used roll with brief details of calculations where necessary.

Belfry Notice.

An electric Water Heater has been installed at the Belfry.  It will not take rough handling, so please use it with care.  It is an expensive item!

Now that it has been installed, there is no excuse for leaving ANY dirty washing up on the grounds that you were in too much of a hurry to wait for the water to boil. Please wash up EVERYTHING you used (including saucepans etc., which many members seem to think wash themselves up) after EVERY meal.

G. Tilly, Hut Warden.

News from Abroad.

We have had further letters recently from Garth and Nigel, which we hope to be able to publish next month.

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The Belfry Bulletin. Editor, S.J. Collins, 33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Secretary.  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
Postal Department.  K. Abbey, 15 Gypsy Patch Lane, Little Stoke, Bristol.