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Notices

Annual Barbecue. This is being held this year on JULY 4TH.  Note: NOT Saturday nearest midsummer’s day. Tickets are price 6/- and are obtainable form Barry Lane.

Caving Meets. The trip to Derbyshire has been arranged for the weekend 28/28th June. There is SOME accommodation at the Eden Pothole Club’s hut.  Otherwise camping.   All interested should get in touch as soon as possible with the Caving Secretary ‘Mo’ Marriott.  There will be a trip to Giant’s Hole and possibly Nettle Pot as well.

Change of Address. The Editor has moved.  His temporary address is: - S.J. Collins, c/o Mr & Mrs Reade, “Homeleigh”, Bishop Sutton, Somerset. Incidentally, he still has no name for his cottage and will give half a gallon of bitter or the equivalent value in any other booze to the best usable suggestion.

Personal. Bob and Mary Price have a new addition to the family, a baby girl, as yet unnamed.  Congratulations to you both.

Annual Dinner. The Committee are already staring to plan for this (they have to, to make sure of a booking).    If YOU have any grumbles, or suggestions for the venue, or for things to do at the dinner itself, get in touch with any committee members as soon as possible.

Caving Log

Edited by Barry Lane.

On the 10th May, a trip was made to Primrose Pot by Kevin Abbey and six others.  From Kevin’s report in the log, everyone got though the squeeze at the head of the pot except himself who, due to physical and psychological reasons, decided to abstain.  Apparently the rest of the party managed to bottom it without much difficulty and the total time for the trip was nine hours.

On the 18th May, ‘Mo’ Marriott and Oliver Lloyd took a close look at the proposed rescue route from September Series in St. Cuthbert’s.  Oliver considered the route to be quite possible, but tedious in places.

Two trips were made to Swildons IV on the 20th and 31st of May.  On the 20th by Pete Sutton and party and on the 31st by Dave Smith, Alan Williams and party.  The practice rescue also took place on the 31st and Mo reports that excellent progress was made and that more will follow in a later B.B.

Swildons

a short account by Phil Townsend.

Editor’s Note:    In view of the totally erroneous reports of caving accidents and the subsequent rescue trips which have been know to appear, unfortunately, in the press on occasion, it is the policy of the B.B. to print a brief account of the facts as soon as possible after such an event.

Two club members; out for a walk late at night, brought the news back to the Belfry that there had been an accident in Swildons and got everybody up at 3am on Sunday morning 7th June. By 3.15 the first party of five, including a doctor, entered the cave.  They found the patient twenty of thirty feet downstream of the end of Barnes Loop. About fifteen minutes later he was moved to a convenient ledge and put in a goon suit which was then blown up to keep him as warm as possible.  The first report to reach the surface on the condition of the patient stated that he had a suspected fracture of the skull and his pulse was weak.  The second party entered the cave at about 4 o’clock with the carrying sheet and ropes and reached the spot as soon as possible. While this party and the first began the task of moving the patient upstream, a third party put a heavy hauling rope of the Twenty Foot Pitch and arranged a pulley at the top of Suicide’s Leap with another hauling rope.

The patient was semi-conscious and was successfully moved up to the twenty, where the carrying sheet had to be readjusted.  He was then hauled up both pitches with comparative ease.  A new party had meanwhile assembled in the Old grotto, where a rescue kitchen with hot soup and horlicks tablets were also set up.  The patient was taken from the Old Grotto up the Short Dry Way to the top of Jacob’s Ladder and then by way of Kenny’s Dig to the Wet Way. At this stage, he regained consciousness temporarily, but was delirious and confused.  From the top of the Forty, the time taken to reach the entrance was two hours, and the party finally emerged at approximately 9.15am.

The Symonds Yat Area

From caving to climbing.  The last B.B. seemed to have been written mainly by ‘Mo’ Marriott.  This month it is Phil Townsend’s turn!

by Phil Townsend.

Nearly the entire climbing section – both of us – joined the Bennetts and set off one Saturday morning from Bristol in fine weather.  The already colossal party of four was increased yet again at Aust Ferry where the Tucks joined us.  As something by the way of an aperitif, we considered traversing round the ferry in mid river, but we decided is was too easy.

After a very pleasant run through the beautiful countryside, we arrived in the region of Symonds Yat. In seeking a campsite, we encountered a strange being who was obsessed with half hour trips up the river ‘to see the beautiful local scenery’.  We eventually found a campsite a little further up the river, where we could stay only if we had no dogs, so I found myself smuggled in, in the boot of the car. After pitching tents we donned climbing gear and set off, heading in the direction of the nearest pub, which we PASSED, crossing the river (by a bridge) and then walking n miles (where n lies between 1 and 2).  This brought us to the somewhat derelict Symonds Yat Station.  We waited for ages, but alas, no train.  In a desperate attempt to encourage it, Barry was tied to the rails by his hair and the climbing rope.  Even this failed.  Despondent, Steve Tuck, Barry, the Bennetts and I set out along the track towards a distant pinnacle, a distance of some twenty yards.  We left Mrs Tuck holding the baby at the station determined to catch the train.

We climbed up through the woods to the pinnacle, which was on the hillside above the railway track. According to the guide book, the route up this pinnacle was V.diff, but two attempts at it – perhaps through lack of determination – failed.  Turning our attention to the cliffs behind us, we found some nice climbs of short duration.  The rock here was very firm with good holds, but quite vertical.

Descending to the railway once more, we followed it in the opposite direction through a long curving tunnel (Caving as well, then? Ed.)  Unfortunately this led us directly away from our intended direction so we dropped down to the river and followed it to our campsite.  The next day, we decided to go to Wintour’s Leap which is not far from Beachley on our way home, so we packed up and left Symonds Yat for the tourists.  The weather wasn’t so nice and it had rained in the night.  We stopped and looked at Yat Rock on the way.  This is an alleged 500’ precipice, but the climbing is limited and the rock not very safe.

Wintour’s Leap is very similar in appearance to the Aven Gorge.  The female contingent went off walking with the baby, which was a boy (I could tell because it looked as if it ought to have had a blue hat on).  The men (applied loosely) split into two parties to tackle a v.diff. on the main wall.  Steve climbed with Roy, and Barry climbed with me.  The climb involved the use of interesting techniques, but the holds are nice and sharp.  A six foot piece of overhang by a foot to eighteen inches at the top would have made a perfect finish, but through the absence of one good handhold, it was impossible.  The climb was finished to the left.  We set off for home just as heavy rain started.  A most enjoyable weekend.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE CLIMBERS?

Letters

23128511, Pte. Dell
Ord. Dep., Aden, B.F.P.O. 69.

To the Editor if the B.B.

Five months ago, I left England to spend a couple of years sunbathing and boozing in the middle East.

Today, I received my January and February editions of the B.B. which I instantly tore open and scrutinised.  Upon reading ‘On the Hill’ by stalagmite in the February number, I was reduced to a condition of acute hysteria at the mention of – and I quote – ‘A strange Orange Squash Cult’ which seems to be in evidence at the Hunters.

What has happened to the club in the last few months?  Is it the new influx of young members from Bristol, or are there some old type dominating females getting people under the thumb?  Surely, the devotees of this strange cult should be made to realise that songs like ‘A Local Bloke from Rodney Stoke’ are not just figment of the imagination, but are actually based on fact.  I don’t know about the readers of this drivel, but I certainly can’t imagine a nice hectic drunken singsong at the Hunters based on Orange Squash.  Think of the word being passed round on Mendip – “there’s a barrel of ORANGE on at the Hunters on Saturday!”  Help!

                        Garth
                        (Fighting for the right to drink good English Beer.)

Mathematical Puzzles

by Sett

Here is the answer to last month’s problem.

A.         Simple measurements on a thin toilet roll will show that the diameter of the core is half the external diameter whilst the core of a thick toilet roll is a bout a quarter of an inch less than the diameter of the roll halved.  The answers are thus simply, “None left” and “Time to buy another roll”.

M.        Measure the diameters as indicated above, remove and count a measurable decrease in diameter.  The ratio of the squares of the diameters, allowing for the core, gives the required answer.  A second method is merely to look on the packing.  One firm quoted 500 sheets.  Thirdly, ask the shopkeeper or ring up the manufacturer.  Fourthly, weigh say ten sheetsa, divide the weight of the roll less the core, by this weight and multiply by ten for the answer. At a last resort, count the sheets.

This month’s problem.  In a fictitious cave on Mendip, there is a vertical wall rising from a horizontal floor.  Against the wall is a stalagmite bank, four feet wide by four feet high.  A party of cavers take down four sections of steel ladder each four feet long which bolt together with a four inch overlap, in order to climb the wall.  The ladder is placed on the floor and rests against the stalagmite bank.

A.         Using any method you like, find the height up the wall, to the nearest inch, the ladder reaches.

M.        Calculate the height to the nearest tenth of an inch

Please note:  I shall not be on Mendip for a few weeks, so will accept the first POSTAL solution.

The Mendip Cave Registry

From time to time, mention is made in the B.B. of the Mendip Cave Registry.  It has been felt however, that members are probably not really certain of what the Registry is, what it does, how it works and what it is all in aid of.  This article will attempt to answer a few of those questions.

The object of the Registry is to produce a book, which is under a continuous process of addition and revision, which lists every known reference book, which exists at present, that are to be found in the Bristol Public Library (Reference Section) and in the Somerset County Library at Wells.  There may, at a later stage, be more copies of the Register deposited in other libraries or with bodies connected with caving or allied studies.

The Register is not a large scale of a guide nook to Mendip caves.  It is true that a small amount of descriptive matter will be found under each entry preceding the actual references, but this has been included to give the stranger to the district a rough idea of the ‘vital statistics’ of the cave in question rather than as a guide to the actual cave itself.  You will still have to but a copy of Barrington if you want a guidebook.

The Register is primarily for the benefit of anyone doing or contemplating any serious work on caves in the area.  It will enable the user to find every word of importance that has ever been written on the cave in question.  This will, of course, involve an additional search for some of the textbooks mentioned, but at least will save the initial process of raising a bibliography.

Complete instruction as to how to use the Register are included in each copy, so it is not worth repeating them all here.  It is, however, of interest to note that the caves are all indexed by map references and that the appropriate maps are included actually in the Register books. Thus, if you happen to be wandering over and unfamiliar part of Mendip and see a likely looking depression or hole, reference to the appropriate map in the Register will provide the map reference and it is then a simple matter to ascertain whether any previous mention of the site has ever been made or whether any work has been done in the past. The Register can thus be of use to the general caver and nobody need feel that is just a reference work for experts only.  Since a brief description of the nature of the reference is given with each reference quoted in the Register, it is possible to say, trace the growth of exploration of Swildons directly from the Register without going further and reading all the references quoted.  A visit to see one or the other of the books at present in existence is thus well worth while.

I hope that this short description has shown that the Register can be of interest and use to the average caver.  Equally, the average caver can contribute usefully to the work of the Registry.  He can attend the Annual General Meeting – either as an individual or, by prior agreement with his club, as a representative. In either case he can help to formulate future policy, and perhaps be elected to do one of the jobs necessary to the running of the Registry.  Without going to these lengths, however, he can still help usefully.  There is, for example, a lot of field work still to be done. The existence of swallets and depressions is not yet completely recorded.  For the more armchair minded, there is the continual combing of literature published for new references to work in caves and the discovery of new caves or extensions to existing ones.  Any members who feels that he can contribute in these ways to work on the Registry should get in touch with the Secretary, Bryan Ellis – either at the Shepton Hut or by post.  (His new address appeared in a recent B.B.)  Any of the other officials of the Registry may also be contacted with offers of help.  The Mendip Cave Registry is the most comprehensive scheme of this nature ever to be tackled in a caving area and is, in addition a fine example of the way in which caving clubs can co-operate.  Its eventual success will depend to a large extent on the amount of use that the average cave makes of it, and the help that he is prepared to give.

S.J. Collins
Chairman, Mendip Cave Registry.

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Caving Reports etc. are available from Bryan Ellis.  Write for Prices.