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The time is once more upon us we must begin to think of such things as A.G.M.s and Dinners, starting of course with nominations.  Following the custom started last year, we shall not be printing forms for nomination, since only a few are used and two hundred used to be printed.  Instead, if you have a particular person or persons in mind you would like to see stand for the 1965 committee, ascertain if they are willing to stand if elected and then write as follows: -

To R.J. Bagshaw, Hon. Sec., B.B.C. 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.

I wish to nominate…………………for the 1965 committee.  I have ascertained that he/she/they are willing to serve on the committee if elected.

………………..(Name). ………………..(Membership No.)

and send it or give it to Bob Bagshaw.  In accordance with the club constitution, members or the retiring committee who are willing to continue if elected are automatically nominated.  This year, apart from ‘Mo’ Marriott, who does not wish to stand again, all the members of the present committee are prepared to continue. There is thus no need to nominate any of the following: -

R.J. Bagshaw, S.J. Collins, N. Petty, R. Bennett, J. Ransom, G. Tilly, K. Abbey, M. Palmer.

Nominations should reach Bob as soon as possible.  Voting forms will NOT be sent with the September B.B. but will be sent by post to every single member of the club.  In case of joint members, a separate envelope will be sent to each.  A short, factual write up on all candidates will appear in the September issue of the B.B.

Practice Rescue

by Mike Palmer (Assistant Caving Sec.)

Whereas I agree with most of what ‘Mo’ says in his article, his last one paragraph prompts me into making a few suggestions that might overcome the ‘soaking’ experienced by the victim, especially if it means avoiding the wire rift.

I feel, having watched the operation at Traverse Chamber Pitch and helped in the operation at the other two pitches, that with only with a little bit of thought and engineering, the handling of the victims at these three pitches could be made a lot easier.

To outline the basic idea, a small sketch might be explanatory being most adaptable, in the main, to Traverse Chamber Pitch, shown on the next page.

No doubt the angle of the cross line would nothing like as severe as sketched, but it shows the idea. All this can be rigged up by the laddering party and the rawl bolts can be put in at any convenient date.  The idea of the rope secured at the bottom of the carrying sheet is to steady the victim on the descent and if anything were to happen to the cross line, the body would be held reasonably safely by the two ropes, one from the top and one from the bottom.

On the other two pitches, similar plans could be adopted, this time employing stemples (of Eastwater fame) or two rawlbolts with a chain slung between them.  The idea this time is to raise the hauling point above and in front of the haulers.  On Gour Passage Pitch especially, this could be of some help, because on the rescue, great difficulty was encountered due to the victim being pulled into the side of the pitch instead of up it.  Also of course, the inevitable tangle with the ladder and lifeline was experienced.

Roughly the same procedure could be applied on Pulpit Pitch, but possible first of all the amount of gear should be considered.  On the rescue much more rope and greater lengths were found to be necessary and this caused a rather long delay.    The tying of a rope to the base of the carrying sheet as shown in the sketch was used and found to be very useful in keeping the victim away from the water.

The poor victim suffered quite a lot of battering on the last two pitches, besides getting soaked, so I would think that any method that could be evolved to overcome this would be welcomed, especially by the ‘unfortunate’.

One last point I would like to add is that several other leaders considered the method practicable and possible labour saving, so I should be very interested to hear of any comments.

Odd and Ends

Solution to last month’s anagrams.  1. G.B. Cavern; 2. Lamb Leer Cavern; 3. Arête Pitch; 4. Maypole Series; 5. Saint Cuthbert’s Swallet; 6. Forty Foot Pot; 7. Badger Hole; 8. Eastwater Cavern. 9. Primrose Pot.

Overheard in the Hunters  “A caver is a member of a caving club who is not renovating an old cottage.”

Comment by Alan Thomas on returning from Swildons IV. Swildons 4, Alan Thomas 0!


Many members of club contributed recently towards a wedding present for Roger Dors and Jacky.  We have received the following letter from Roger….

108 Hampton Road,
Bristol 6.
14th August

Dear Friends,

Thorough the medium of your magazine, my wife and I would like to express a very big thank you for the generous cheque which you gave us as a wedding present.

Wishing you all continued and safe prosperity on Mendip.  Thank you again,

            Yours Faithfully, 
                        Roger Dors

Tourist Routes

by Dave Irwin

Due to the increasing dumping of carbide, handling of formations, breaking of formations in the cave etc., it has been suggested by another leader that it would be a good idea to fix standard tourist routes through the cave which would be graded to suit the party.

Before suggesting routes that I think would be suitable – to get the ball rolling – perhaps I might highlight some of the spots that have been spoiled…

1.         Base of Cascade

Could not parties be taken into Harem Passage and approach the Cascade from the Railway Tunnel and leave via the Tunnel?  Ban the climb by the Curtain.

2.         Curtain Chamber.

Isolated curtains have been broken.  The remedy is to omit Curtain Chamber completely from Tourist Trips.

3.         Boulder Chamber.

Carbide dumping goes on throughout Boulder Chamber, mostly at the foot of the climb to Annexe Chamber, alongside Quarry Corner, at the turn off to the Cascade, at Vantage Point etc.  Mostly within fifty or sixty feet of the Kanchenjunga Carbide Dump.  Has this been dumped by official parties or has it been dumped by leaderless parties entering the cave during the week by the old entrance which is not locked?

There routes are suggested. A normal route, a severe route and an intermediate route of V.Diff. standard. They are as follows: -

Normal Route

Arête, Wire Rift, Quarry Corner, Harem Passage, Rabbit Warren, Rat Run, Cerberus, Stalagmite Pitch, Duck and out via Rabbit Warren Extension.

Normal Route

Arête, Wire Rift, Quarry Corner, Harem Passage, Rabbit Warren, Duck, Stalagmite Pitch, Dining Room, Cerberus, Rat Run, Everest, Out.

V. Diff Route

Arête, Wire Rift, Quarry Corner, Harem Passage, Rabbit Warren, Rat Run, Cerberus, Stalagmite Pitch, Duck, Rabbit Warren Extension, Catgut, High Chamber, Pillar Chamber, Wire Rift, Out.

Severe Route

Arête, Pulpit or Wire Rift, Quarry Corner, Harem Passage, Rabbit Warren, Rat Run, Cerberus, Stalagmite Pitch, Duck, Rabbit Warren Extension, Catgut, High Chamber, Harem Passage, Fingers Traverse, Everest Passage, Stream passage via Bypass Passage, Water Chute etc, Out.

These routes have deliberately left out September, Coral, Curtains etc. to preserve formations and keep parties out of the potentially dangerous Coral/Long Chamber area.  What do other members feel or suggest about this subject?

Book Review.

Potholing: Under the Northern Pennines. by David Heap.  Pub. Routledge & Paul.  Price 35/-

Anyone who enjoyed the exploration cum guidebook of underground adventure will have to add this volume to his caving library.  The author, as well as having a sound knowledge of British caves, has led expeditions to Norway, the Gouffre Martel and La Grotte de la Cigalene. He describes normal caving trips to several of the more severe systems with sufficient detail to be a guidebook. Caves covered in this way include Penyghent, Lost Johns, Grange Rigg, Providence Pot to Dowe Cave, Swinsto Hole and Simpsons.

Dave Irwin

Caving Log

Edited by Barry Lane

June 1964

On the 13th of June, Andy MacGregor and Dave Smith explored a hole near the top of Upper Traverse Pitch in St. Cuthbert’s and found it to be a much quicker route to lower Traverse Chamber than via Sentry and Bypass Passage.  In Swildons on the 14th, Roger Stenner met with some trouble on the Forty, when a girl damaged an arm muscle and somehow got her boots caught up in the ladder about halfway up.  A Cambridge University lad then went up the ladder behind her, and managed to remove her boots.  The girl then came out of the cave without much fuss and without needing further assistance.

Castle Farm was dug on the 20th and 21st by Roy Bennett, the Franklins, Barry Wilton and Dave Irwin. Dave’s report states that the floor was lowered and digging was continued at the side rift at the bottom of the shaft.

On the 25th of June, Dave Irwin took a party into St. Cuthbert’s and noticed that one of the small curtains in Curtain Chamber is broken!!  This may be due to carelessness when walking to the main part of the chamber. Alan Thomas and Geoff Bull dug in Hunters Hole on the 27th.  From their report, a recent collapse on the right hand side of end of the dig reveals a solutional tube going up for about thirty feet, containing straws.  The work on Hunters Hole has recently been revived by Alan, who is showing a very great interest in it.

To give members some idea of the numbers of trips made in the month of June, the log shows Swildons – 3 trips, Hunters, - 2 trips, Castle Farm dig – 1 trip and Cuthbert’s – 14 trips. The most popular cave may easily be spotted, but not all trips are entered up in the Caving Log, so a few more can be probably added to this number.  Perhaps these trips are not entered because people think they would be of no interest in the log, but every trip is of some interest (besides being required by Club rules! – Ed.)  Another reason may be that non-Belfryites do not use the Caving Log, and I think it would be a good idea if a secondary log was kept for this purpose at Redcliffe.

July 1964

On the fourth of July, Jim Giles and party took 22 feet of maypole to Lake Chamber in St. Cuthbert’s to explore the aven above it.  The lake was found to be full.  Lengths of maypole were erected below the large aven and a climb was made to the stal. ledge which forms a false roof to the lake.  A ladder was then made fast to the next ledge and with the aid of a skilful lasso throw, this was climbed.  A further climb was then made to the top of the aven, which unfortunately closed after a short horizontal passage was followed for about ten feet.

The other aven was then tackled from the second ledge, again using lasso techniques, but this also closed. Yet another aven, much shorter than the others, was tackled, but this followed suit.  The resulting score was thus. Cuthbert’s 3, Jim Giles nil.

Hunters Hole was dug on every weekend in July, and even twice on some weekends.  Alan Thomas, who is the main force behind the dig, was helped quite a lot by members of the Westminster Speleo-Group, who between them put in quite a lot of useful work on the dig.

On the 5th of July, Ray Mansfield plus party maypoled the hole in the roof of Coral Chamber and found that it led to a tight solutional passage.  Phil Kingston and Ron drake maypoled the hole in the roof of Pillar Chamber on the 18th, and discovered that the passage led to a high rift which was climbed for thirty five feet, a bedding plane, six feet wide, then extended for four feet, when the whole thing closed down suddenly.

A bit of “Straightening out” was done in Rocky Boulder and Coral series on the 17th by several Cuthbert’s leaders.  Rocky Boulder Series was apparently conquered and everything explored to the bottom of the final chamber.  Other passages above this final chamber were examined and the confusion over “which is Annexe Chamber?” was ironed out.

Tony Meadon and Mike Luckwill had a look at some passages behind Kanchenjunga and found some very sharp and unusual calcite formation, plus a beautifully stal. encrusted area containing many crystal pools.  Tony states that this must not be used as a route to High Chamber!

 ‘Mo’ Marriott has repaired the winch at Castle Farm and reports that it will now lift a weight of one hundredweight.

Climbing News

North Wales, 25th, 26th and 27th July.

To the climbers encamped in the Ogwen Valley, Saturday was not encouraging – with intermittent rain and low cloud over the mountains.  However, toward the East one was dazzled by a slight lessening of the gloom and it was decided that a valley walk in this direction would be in order. We set off therefore across the slopes North of the A5 and following an aqueduct, arrived at the upper end of Llyn Cowlyd.  This lake is in a very pleasing setting but is rather spoilt by a dam and other oddments at the outfall end.   The largest oddment was a control tower shaped rather like a Martian space ship, to which the B.E.C. gained access.  The sluice controls were all carefully locked however, and visions of cutting of Liverpool’s water supply faded rapidly.

After some lunch, the col to Llyn Bigau was traversed and Cwm Bigau ascended under the faultless navigation of en ex local bloke called Dermot (see B.B. Number 18!!).  At the head of the Cwm, the impressive cliffs of Craig-yr-Isfa rose into the mist, while the walkers did likewise over rocks and scree to the left.  At the col a split developed, and some descended to the campsite via Pen-yr-Helgi-Du while others took a lower route by Ffynnon Llugwy.  This is a very pleasant walk and much to be recommended on an off day.

Sunday’s weather was just as un-encouraging as on Saturday and certain (un-named) persons went touring by motor car.  Other more intrepid spirits approached Moal Siabod from the South with the object of ascending it, but gave up in the face of incredible odds (general lassitude etc.) To salve consciences, King, Reynolds and Bennett did an evening climb on the right hand end of Gault-yr-Ogof.  The climb did not appear to be in the guidebook, and the description of a different climb was used, leading to some confusion en route.

Sun appeared on Monday, and the residue of the party (King and Bennett) partook of an enjoyable amble up the Gashed Crag of Tryfon thus bringing the weekend to a close.

Roy Bennett.


Next Climbing Meet.       North Wales.  19/20th September

Obituary.  Lionel Williams.

It is with regret that we report the death of Lionel Williams while climbing in Skye. Although not widely known to caving members, Lionel was an active and popular member of the climbing section and will be greatly missed.

We wish to convey our sincere condolences to his family.

Alan Thomas’ Weekend

I have just spent a very pleasant weekend with my brother and his wife introducing their children and my dog to the joys of caving.  On the whole, Buster complained the least.

We started very suitably with Denny’s Hole which, for the sake of the children, we descended with a hand line.  Buster seemed quite happy at the end of the cave, but soon became bored so I brought him out.  It was then that I met a party of three intrepid explorers about to descend by our rope.  Two of them wore shorts but the third – obviously a man of greater experience than his fellows – wore trousers.  He was the leader of the party as you can tell (quite apart front his being in front) by the fact that he wore as helmet and carried a copy of Balch’s book – open at the page – in his hand.

When Tommy brought the children out and began to coil up the rope, cries from below implied that we were leaving the intrepid explorers to die in true melodramatic fashion.  I then climbed down Fox’ Hole – mainly to show off – and was surprised to find the amount of passage at the bottom.  In the afternoon, we went to Stoke Lane and Browne’s Hole, now sadly damaged by Blasting.

The next morning we rose early (G.M.T.). You have to when you are living in a caravan with two children and three dogs – and headed for Burrington before the Whitsun rush. After looking at Avelines etc., we entered Goatchurch and descended as far as the Drainpipe.  You may judge how long it is since I have been in Goatchurch from the fact that I didn’t know that there was a squeeze just before the Drainpipe.  We left then cave as it began to fill up (with people).

The same morning early (Belfry time) we collected John Cornwell and Tim Atkinson from Hillgrove and prepared to descend St. Cuthbert’s.  Quote, “I don’t doubt that it’s a very nice cave but I can’t see what useful purpose would be served by my going down it.” – Guess who.  I have never been so impressed by anything in my life. St. Cuthbert’s is fab.  With one exception, which modesty forbids me to mention (Alfies Hole? – Ed.) it is the finest cave on Mendip and its state of preservation say much for all concerned.

In the afternoon we looked at Sandpits and then joined up with Molly and the two children who had been to Wookey Hole.  Next day Tommy and Molly and eleven year old Pamela went down Swildons with Bob Lawder while I looked after seven year old Scott and cooked the dinner.  Scott dropped 2cwt of cast iron on his foot, but the dinner was alright.

Altogether it was a very rewarding weekend.  The general solicitude for my well being is gratifying.  I was at a loss to explain why I had never been down St. Cuthbert’s before.  I don’t mind being asked how old I am.  There has been a lot of this sort of joke lately – largely the Editor’s doing, I suspect. Some years ago, when Pop Harvey offered me his chair at the Hunters it was very funny.  It was only this weekend that I realised that one or two youngsters were doing it as a matter of course.

Mathematical Puzzles

by Sett

June’s problem was intended to be much easier for the amateur than for the mathematician.  It is solved, for all practical purposes, by making a scale drawing of the wall and the stalagmite bank and fiddling a ruler about until the length of fifteen feet rests on the floor and the wall and just touches the bank.  The correct answer is 13’ 11”.

Tony Meadon sent in the only solution, a correct one, and has been paid his pint.  His solution was slightly different from mine but achieved the same result.  If we try to set up this problem in mathematical terms, we find that we are involved in solving a quartic equation.  This can be avoided by first finding the area of the triangle formed by the floor, wall, and ladder and the substituting.

Let the height up the wall be H, the length from the base of the wall be L and the perpendicular from the corner of the floor and wall to the ladder be A.  Then the area of the big triangle is HL/2 or 15A/2 or 4(H – 4)/2 + 42.  Therefore HL = 15A and H + L = 15A/4, therefore (H + L)2 = (15A/4)2 and H2 + 2HL + L2 = (15A/4)2.  But H2 + L2 = 152 and 2HL = 30A.

Substituting and solving for A, we get: -

A + 5.207 or -3.073.

HL = 78.1

Therefore H = 13.90 or 5.61.

This Month’s Problem.

When the U.B.S.S. were doing an archaeological survey on Read’s cavern they laid out the floor in a grid to help them in their final report. The grid started at the centre and proceeded outward as in the sketch.  They soon noticed that a large number of patterns appeared amongst the numbers.  If you draw a large grid, you will see these patterns.  Amateurs, a pint prize for the longest list of patterns. Mathematicians, a further pint prize for the longest list of patterns with an explanation as to why these patterns should appear.