Editor’s Notes.

As part of the process of tidying up the B.B., a distinction will be made between notes about the B.B. (like this one) and the occasional ‘Editorial’.  The latter type of article will appear from time to time under the title ‘Comment’ and the first of these appear in this B.B.  These articles will normally represent the personal opinions of the editor, but the one which follows has been written at the request of the recent A.G.M.  Whilst it cannot be held to represent the views of the club word for word, its general tone may be so regarded.



As most readers will know, the pipe – which for many years deflected the flow of water away from the ladder on the Forty in Swildons – was recently removed by some cavers who, presumably, wished to increase the ‘sportiness’ of the cave.

A similar situation has occurred in Eastwater, where the M.R.O. guideline has been removed for, one imagines, a similar reason.

The provision of fixed aids in caves is one of the perennial talking points amongst cavers and one which will always find supporters and opponents.  This is one of a number of related topics in what might be called Cave Ethics to which there is no absolute answers.  Unless special arguments can be produced in any particular set of circumstances, one imagines that the guiding principle must be that of catering for the majority.

Both Swildons and Eastwater are open to all cavers from all areas, whether club members or not.  In the case of Swildons users of the cave include novices doing their first real pitch, as well as highly experienced cavers engaged in exploration and extension of its lower limits.  One imagines that both these groups would approve of the pipe on the Forty.  In the first case it is pretty essential – there has already been a callout on the 19th September due entirely to the pipe’s absence – in which a novice was unable to climb back against the flow of water.  In the second case, the cavers involved have undoubtedly had enough strenuous caving not to worry about the easing of their return journey up the Forty.

The situation in Eastwater is somewhat different.  With our entering into a discussion as to whether the Ruckle should have been interfered with in the first place and whether or not it would have been more or less stable by now than it is, the fact remains that its present stability is highly questionable and that it has already claimed one victim.  The guideline is for cavers’ safety and one wonders how the removers would feel if someone else had pranged as a result of the removal.

Can it be that some so-called ‘Tigers’ – however much courage and fitness they posses – are rather weak on imagination?  There are places in most Mendip caves where tigerish feats can be performed without increasing the difficulties of either novices or rescue parties or those who are passing through to do a strenuous job further on.  Cuthbert’s has a multiplicity of fixed aids and yet this leaves room for feats like the recent climbing of High Chamber to a height of 200 feet.  Enough to satisfy any person with ambitions to become a tiger.  (There are also places where one can become a ferret too!)

If there remains some to whom these arguments are not acceptable, then, surely, in the open Mendip caves, fixed aids should only be installed or removed with the owner’s permission.  Admittedly this raises the question as to whether the owner has been correctly advised, but, correctly advised or not, if a fixed aid is installed with his permission, then that fixed aid becomes his property and its unauthorised removal cannot be justified.

Finally, it should be remembered that any irresponsible act – especially if an accident results – can hasten the day when all caves on Mendip will be gated and subject to entrance restrictions.  If being a ‘tiger’ involves such irresponsible acts, such people should be confined to tanks rather than caves.



It has been agreed that all important notices appearing in the B.B. shall be “boxed” like this one, to draw more attention to them.



The Committee would like to remind members that the club room at Redcliffe is now open again.  The club library is open in this room every Thursday and there is a very good selection of caving and climbing books to be borrowed.

An account of the Annual General Meeting etc. now follows, for which we make no excuse for its length. Very few club members were actually at the A.G.M. and it is felt that a full account will at least enable those who were not able to be present to learn what went on

Report on the AGM

The 1965 Annual General Meeting did not open at the advertised starting time, as there was not a quorum present.  It was not until Kathy Searle entered amid cheers at 3.20 that the meeting could begin. Oliver Lloyd was elected Chairman nem, con, and he asked the Hon. Sec. to read the minutes of the 1964 A.G.M. There were no amendments or objections to the minutes and it was proposed by A. Collins that they should be adopted.  This was seconded by G. Tilly and carried.

The Hon. Sec. then gave his report.  The club had gained 26 new members during the year.  This was slightly down on the annual average of 30, but this was more than balanced by the fewer resignations.  The actual paid up membership stood at 183 which was an increase of 11 over last year.  Attendance at the Dinner was also up by 9 to 129.  The main event of the year from the Secretary’s point of view was the formation of the Council of Southern Cave Clubs, which was progressing favourable.

Bob then dropped his bombshell – one he has threatened for some time now – but which we hoped might never materialise.  He announced that he would be retiring from the post of Hon. Sec. as from next A.G.M.

Arising from the report, Gordon Tilly said that the impending resignation of the Hon. Sec. was a shame but, he presumed, couldn’t be helped.  Kangy asled Bob if he could not reconsider, to which Bob replied that he was sorry but his mind was made up.  Gordon Tilly then proposed with regret that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Tony Philpotts and carried.

The Hon. Treasure then gave his report.  He said that the revenue from subscriptions was lower that last year as less life memberships had been taken out.  The receipts from tackle included £5 from T.W.W.  Joan Bennett asked if any provision was being made to acquaint new members witch provisions of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  Bob suggested that the Committee could take care of it. Roger Stenner suggested that each new member be given a copy of the rules of the fund with his membership card. At the Chairman’s suggestion, Roger made this into a formal proposal.  This was seconded by Joan Bennet and carried.

Alan Thomas announced that the profits from the Barbecue, which were to have been for prizes for the Juniors Cavers’ Competition could well be added to the Ian Dear Fund, since he had had no entries for the competition.  The Chairman thanked Alan for this suggestion and it was agreed to add this sum to the Fund.  Kangy asked why the subscription to the British Mountaineering Council was not included in the fictional statement.  Bob replies that it was because he had not yet paid it.  It was proposed by Gordon Tilly that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Roy Bennett and carried.  Roy then asked Bob if he would be prepared to carry on as Hon. Treasurer.  Bob replied that he would and the Chairman suggested that it would be a good idea for the treasurer to be a person whose work is of a financial nature.

The Caving Secretary then gave his report.  The year had been an extremely active one, with work on Cave Rescue, Radio Communication, the Austrian trip and caving all over the British Isles.  There had, however, been no active outdoor digging.  Entries in the caving log had shown an increase.  St. Cuthbert’s remained the most popular cave.  New discoveries had been made in this cave and another round of survey work was due to start.  A collection of cave fauna is also being carried out, as are further water temperature studies.  A number of weirs are being constructed to study water flow.  A Cuthbert’s Library is being set up, and the Leaders’ Newssheets revived.  The Flood Control system is about to be completed.  A new method of selection of leaders has been agreed.  The meets have been well attended, as an example 26 people turned up for the Cow Hole trip.  The trip to the Dachstein area was a success.  On the subject of cave communications, he understood that a fully working prototype was feasible in 9 to 12 months time.  Slide shows had been held, the show given by the C.S.S. on Triglav being very well attended.  It was proposed to hold more of this type.  The club is purchasing surveying equipment and it is proposed during the coming year to dig both Nine Barrows and Emborough.

The Chairman said how pleased he was to see the amount of interest being taken in rescue work.  Bob said that it seemed that the communications committee were rather dead at the moment to which Alfie replied that this was perhaps understandable since there was little more to discuss until someone produced a prototype.  Mike Luckwill proposed that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Frank Darbon.

The Climbing Secretary then gave his report.  There has been weekend meets arranged for every month, but 5 out of the last 11 had to be cancelled.  Private arrangements appeared to fill the gap.  The Thursday climbing was quite well attended and some climbs near Frome on Sandstone were investigated.  It was proposed by Kangy that the report be adopted.  This was seconded and carried.

The Tackle Officer then gave his report.  The total Bed Nights were 1,441 as against 1,800 last year.  On this year’s total, club members had contributed 1,012.  He was sorry to say that, after extensive redecoration, the standard of cleanliness had not improved.  There is, he said, an element which regards the Belfry as a hotel.  We warned these people that they might well find themselves paying hotel prices. There had been no breakages during the year, but the usual number of cups had been lost during the barbecue. All the blankets had been cleaned during the year.  In the discussion which followed, the Hut Warden was asked to what he attributed the fall in bed nights.  He replied that fewer people had taken holidays at the Belfry.  It was also suggested that perhaps the Hut Warden should be prepared to charge 2/- normally and only reduce this to the 1/- fee on evidence of work done.  The Chairman summed up by saying that a mixture of good example and big stick was the only practical solution.  It was proposed by Alfie that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by John Ransom and carried.

The Belfry Engineer’s Report followed.  This was read by Mike Luckwill and the B.E. was suffering from a sore throat.  The response to labour requirements had been very good.  A set of tools had been obtained, but more tools could be out to good use.  A very successful working weekend had been held in which the wooden Belfry had been renovated.  A new washbasin had been fitted in the woman’s room.  A display table had been added to the amenities of the living room, and the Belfry roof repaired.  The new flush toilets were almost complete and would be opened soon. The showers had been postponed as it was considered that the toilets should have priority, but in any case, the stone Belfry was now thought to be unsuitable for them.  A sub committee had been set up to look at the long term development of the Belfry site.  A vote of thanks was proposed to the Belfry Engineer by Alfie and seconded by Gordon. It was then proposed by Roger Stenner that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Gordon and carried.

The B.B. Editor then gave his report.  It had been a very average year for the B.B. – neither good nor bad.  He was reluctant to discuss proposed improvements, but showed the meeting some designs for the new coverts.  It was agreed to adopt the design sponsored by the Editor.  A vote of thanks to the Editor was proposed by Kangy and seconded by Gordon.  The adoption of the report was proposed by Gordon, seconded and carried.

The Hon. Sec. then read the report of the Editor of Caving Publications.  Bryan said he was not certain that he should be giving a report as he thought that he had resigned but he understood that Gordon Tilly was now in charge of the production and the Bryan retained the sales and editing.  A new report had been published during the year and the sales of earlier reports continued.  It was proposed that the report be adopted by Gordon Tilly and seconded by Roger Stenner.

The final report was that of the Librarian.  She announced that it had been quite a year with 77 borrowings.  Additions to the library had been mainly magazines and guides etc.  Roger Stenner asked whether a list of all books in the library could be published. Alfie said that such a list had been published when Sybil was librarian, but that there had been no demand for copies. It was agreed that there was no case for duplicating such a list, but the Librarian said that she would endeavour to let Roger have a list.  The adoption of the report was proposed by Roy Bennett and seconded by Kangy.

The first of the members’ resolutions followed.  It was proposed that, “The Tackle Officer hereinafter be known as the Tacklemaster”, the proposer and seconder being Dave Irwin and Alan Thomas.  The Chairman asked what would happen if a female ever took over the job?  The Hon. Sec. was heard to mutter that this would mean another alteration to the rules, but that it was a well deserved compliment to Norman.  The Chairman asked Norman what he though of it, and he replied that, “It had a good solid Victorian ring.” The resolution was carried unanimously.

The second resolution was put forward by the 1965 committee and proposed, “That the category of Associate Membership be abolished.”  The motion was carried unanimously.

A third resolution, aimed at putting tolerance on the quorum figure, was discussed and finally withdrawn.

Under “Any other business”, Mike Luckwill asked what the club’s insurance cover actually provided. It was established that it was a third party policy and did not cover injuries to members themselves.  After a discussion, the meeting felt that it was up to the individuals to arrange personal cover if they considered this to be necessary.

Tont Philpotts then proposed a vote of thanks to Bob for his work over the years as Hon. Secretary which was seconded by the entire meeting. Finally, Roger Stenner brought up the question of the club’s attitude to the removal of the pipe from the Forty in Swildons.  The editor was instructed to write an editorial deprecating this action.

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 5.10pm.


Junior and other younger members of the club are reminded that it may be possible to assist them financially on projected trips abroad for caving or climbing purposes under the terms of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  Members wishing to obtain such assistance should get in touch with members of the Fund’s Sub-Committee whose names they will find in this B.B.



Sunday, 6th September.  Committee Meeting at 10.30am in Alan Thomas’ caravan.

Communications Meeting at the Hunters at 1pm.

Belfry Planning Meeting at the Belfry in the afternoon.

The Dinner

One of the best things about the B.E.C. dinners is that they do not follow to set a pattern.  This year’s dinner was well attended and the food was extremely good.  This was followed by what must be a club record for the size of a caving trip with a total of 104 people in Goughs.  One blot on the horizon was the fact that the club appeared to have drunk the restaurant out of most drinks before the rather generous extension finished.  On the whole, there seemed to be few complaints. The Mendip Dinner season is now open. Who is going to be diner of the year this year?

Club Officers

The following are the official appointments for the year 1965 – 1966….


S.J. Collins (chairman), R.J. Bagshaw, N. Petty, A. Thomas, G. Tilly, D. Irwin, R. Bennett, K. Franklin and P. Kingston.


R.A. Setterington (Chairman), R.J. Bagshaw, D. Irwin, R. Bennett and M. Luckwill.


A. Thomas, G. Tilly and S.J. Collins.


Hon Secretary and Treasurer        R.J. Bagshaw.

Caving Secretary                         D. Irwin.

Climbing Secretary                      R. Bennett.

Hut Warden                                G. Tilly.

TACKLEMASTER                        N. Petty.

Belfry Engineer                            A. Thomas.

B.B. Editor                                  S.J. Collins.

Hon. Librarian                              J. Bennett.

Assistant Caving Secretary          K. Franklin.

Assistant Hut Warden                  K. Franklin.

Minutes Secretary                       P. Kingston.

On Crossing the Gour Fault….

by Roy Bennett.

The picture of St. Cuthbert’s with the main development running into Gour Hall Fault line leaves the question of extensions beyond the boundary open.  Clearly cave water must leave this line somewhere to get to Wookey (or perhaps, earlier to Ebbor) and does so now at the Duck.  The sump is quite near the line however, and the stream could perhaps flow into the fault further on.  In this case, digging right at the end of Gour Rift could be an easier alternative to digging at the sump itself.

The holes in the roof of Gour Hall do not appear to cross the fault and the Pyrolusite Rift tends away from this line.  In the higher parts of the cave, in the Marble Hall area, streams coming down dip have been completely intercepted by the fault and there appears less chance of crossing.

This leaves the Cerberus Series where the water diverted form the Main Stream Passage appears, disappears apparently for good.  It could perhaps be lost through the fault.  There are tubes, too small to get into, between Lake and Mud Ball Chambers, going in the desired direction.  Some digging has been done in a small tube off the high level connection between the latter chamber and Cerberus hall.  The largest effort so far has been on the dig behind the Dining Room where the choked passage is much larger.  Either of these places are worth effort, though there is unfortunately no way of telling how extensive the fill is without digging it out!

Financial Statement for the Year to the Thirty First August 1965.

Annual Subscriptions




Redcliffe Hall:


£20-  3-0



Less Hire

£10-  0-0

£  10- 3-10

Club Ties



£    9-16-6

Donations etc.



£160-  7-0

Post Office Savings Bank Interest:



£    2-  1-7

Sales of caving Report



£    6-12-0

Annual Dinner:


£97-  2-  6



Less Cost

£96- 15-  0

£    0-  7-6










Less Receipts

£  52-11-10

£  48 - 5-2

Belfry Bulletin:


£  17-  7-6




£  14-  2-6

£  31-10-0

Postages and Stationery



£    1- 1- 0

Library Expenses



£    2- 9- 6

Public Liability Insurance



£    1-14-7

Charterhouse Caving Committee



£    4-  0-0

Council of Southern Caving Clubs



£    0- 10-0

C.R.G. Subscription (two years)



£    2- 10-0



£  27-17-10



Less Fees

£    8- 14-0

£  16-  3- 6

Goods for Resale:


£  38-  0- 9



Less Sales

£  14-  0- 0

£  24-  2- 7

Car badges:


£    6-10- 0



Less Sales

£    3-  8- 6

£    3-  2- 3




£    2-  8- 5




£140-  9- 0




£153-  4- 4




£293- 13-4









Total Club monies @ 31st August, 1964



£  82- 1- 0

Plus Surplus as above



£153- 4- 4




£235- 5- 4





Post Office Savings Bank Account



£258- 1-11

Less cash Overdraft



£ 22-16- 7


£235- 5- 4