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TWO important announcements. Firstly there are a series of Belfry Working evenings on WEDNESDAYS.  The Belfry needs a lot of regular attention if it is even to stay as it is, and more if it is to be improved.  PLEASE support the Hut Engineer and TURN UP EARLY.

Secondly, the next meeting of the Communications Committee will be on Sunday, 1st May at 11.30am at Dave Searle’s Cottage.  We have made rather a mess of getting the time and place right in the past, which probably accounts for the low attendance, but again, PLEASE turn up this time.

NOW AVAILABLE. B.E.C. CLIMBING REPORT.  “Some Sandstone Climbs in the Frome Valley”

This is a report on climbs made on outcrops of sandstone by B.E.C. climbers.  The justification for the report is that climbing techniques required on sandstone are different from those required on the more famous local limestone.  The effect of rain is small and on several occasions it has been possible to climb in this area when limestone climbing would have been impaired.  Copies are available from R.S. King, 22 Parkfield Bank, Pucklechurch, Nr Bristol, at 2/6 per copy – Postage & Packing 6d extra.

Photoessay Competition

As a result of the notice in last month’s B.B., several members of club have expresses their intention of entering this competition on Photoessay lines.  The scheme has now been discussed with them and some basic rules agreed.  These have now been expanded into a set of rules for the competition as follows: -


1.                  There shall be two basic classes.  Class “A” for 2” x 2” colour slides, and class “B” for Black & White prints.

2.                  Any members may send in any number of entries in either or both classes.

3.                  Where more than one entry is submitted, the subject must be a different one for each entry. Thus, the same subject may not be submitted by one member in both classes.

4.                  All photographs must be the work of the exhibitor.  The processing may, however be carried out professionally.  The layout, in Class “B” must be the work of the exhibitor.

5.                  The subject may be any aspect of club activities and may be treated seriously or humorously.

6.                  Each entry shall consist of a minimum of SIX and a maximum of TWELVE slides or prints. There ahs been some discussion about this rule and, as a result, entries having less than six slides or prints will be considered.  The exhibitor of such an entry may, however, run the risk of disqualification.

7.                  A title shall be provided for each entry.

8.                  Connecting or descriptive words up to a maximum of TWENTY words per slide or print may be used. The use of such words is not compulsory.

9.                  A system of judging will be worked out later by discussion with the competitors.  All entrants must agree to abide by these rules.


Each entry in this class shall comprise a set of slides plus an optional ‘script’.  This script shall consist of the words allowed in the rules plus instructions as to when each slide is to be changed.  The title of the entry may be written down at the top of the ‘script’ or be provided as a title slide.  In the latter case, this slide shall not count towards the total number submitted.  It will thus be possible to show 12 slides plus the title slide if desired.


Each entry in this class shall comprise a set of prints plus an optional ‘script’.  The entry shall be mounted on a suitable piece of hardboard, exhibition board or similar stiff backing material.  The entry shall be titled and the script, if any, laid out with the photographs in any manner desired.   (i.e. can be put between each photograph and the next – under each photograph – or in any other manner).  Photographs need not all be the same size.  The only restriction is that competitors are asked not to make their entry too large.

The closing date for this competition is the day of the 1966 Annual General Meeting and Dinner – October 1st. 1966.


It is not too early to be thinking of said Dinner!  If YOU have any ideas of what you like “Laid on” – within, we would hasten to add, reason – let any member of the Committee know.  Just think, You could start a new B.E.C. tradition!  (like buying the Editor a pint?).


As most members know, the subject of Cave Communications is one in which the B.E.C. is actively working. The Communications Committee hopes to be able to demonstrate a working system at the B.S.A. conference later this year.  It is thus interesting to see that our more ‘far flung’ members are also interested in this subject, as the following letter from George Honey shows…..

34, Knightsbridge Walk

To the Editor, Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir,

On my recent visit to Mendip I found the subject of Cave Communication was causing much interest. May I add a few words and ask for comments from fellow cavers?

A present, the only way of communicating from cave to surface or over a long ladder pitch is by telephone.  This, of course, is inconvenient as telephones are heavy and cables soon deteriorate when left underground.  This brings up the first point.  How large a piece of equipment will cavers carry?  I am thinking now in terms of a ‘black box’ the size of a Nife battery.

The other way round the problem is, of course, to use radio, but we all know that you can’t receive even Caroline through five hundred feet of Mendip.  It is possible to use radio underground, however, in the following ways.

1.                  On a long Ladder pitch like Gaping Ghyll or in any very large chamber almost any form of Walkie Talkie will do, the cheapest at present are transistor W/T’s which work in the 7 to 9 Mc/s band and cost about £8 a pair.  They are, however, quite useless through five hundred feet of rock.

2.                  If a discontinuity can be found, like vertical fault, it seems very possible that Very High Frequency can be propagated along the line of the crack.  This method is of academic interest only as the cost of equipment is likely to be prohibitive.

3.                  Communication by induction is quite feasible.  Already one successful experiment on Mendip has been carried out. I feel an extension of Prew’s system would be to run an insulated wire from the surface through the cave.  Only one wire would be needed but what would caver’s think about leaving wires ion the caves?  The whole idea is to build a system similar to the paging systems installed in hospitals.  The main equipment would of course be on the surface and all the caver would have would be something the size of a small transistor radio.

4.                  The final system which is well worth investigating is the use of low frequency radio waves which would suffer less attenuation when passing through rock than do frequencies we listen to a radio station on.  There are some problems here, though.  A suitable frequency would be 20 – 30 Kc/s and the aerial for such a system would have to be several turns of wire right round the edge of a field above the cave or a vertical wire several hundred feet long hanging down, say, a mine shaft.

James R. Wait of N.B.S. ( United States) has a done a great deal of work on L.F. propagation.  Most of his work is in the Proceedings of the National Bureau of Standards and the American Radio Engineer.  I have got the data for rock below 1 Mc/s and it seems that we stand a chance.  I have had a talk with the propagation boys and they said that there has been a big security clamp on L.F. propagation, as it is being used for long range submarine communications.  They thought that over the distances we were interested in, a few watts might suffice if we had the whole thing tuned up properly.  There are frequencies where there is a lot of noise and stray earth currents may be troublesome but they suggested 20 – 30 Kc/s with single sideband modulation and ferrite rod antennae on the portable stations.

I would be pleased to hear from all cavers on their views of what they want a communication system to do.

George H. Honey.

Easter 1966

by P.A. Kingston

Most of the members arrived at Heirwith Farm or Greenclose Cottage on Thursday night with the exception of the Bennett’s and Phil Kingston, who spent Thursday walking over Ingleborough looking at Gaping Ghyll and the so-called dry shafts of Newby Moss, all of which were taking streams.

Friday morning saw party of ten assemble at Bull Pot.  After a bit of trouble with an un-booked party, the pot was descended.  The first pitch of thirty five feet led to a wet pitch of fifteen feet.  This was followed by a dry fifty foot pitch, the first twenty feet of which is very similar to the Entrance Rift of St. Cuthbert’s.  The next pitch – fifty feet and extremely wet – considerably reduced the numbers in the party.  Roy Bennett and Phil Kingston descended and Alan Thomas after descending most of the way, found his hands were too cold to climb and returned up the pitch.  Roy and Phil then continued into a dry series and carried on happily to the bottom via a pool with a deep mud floor.  When the return journey was started, considerable difficulty was encountered.  After an hour of combined tactics, the bottom of the fourth pitch was reached and ascended. The second pair (Trevor Birkbeck and Martin Hutchins of W.S.G.)  reported having similar difficulty in a wet passage at the bottom of the Fourth Pitch.

The evening saw the B.E.C. at the local hostelry.  The next day saw a large party – led by Norman Petty – descend Upper Long Churn and Alum Pot via Lower Long Churn.  The waterfall from Diccan Pot into the final chamber of Alum Pot was extremely impressive. Meanwhile, the Bennetts and Alan Thomas found a useful contact for future trips behind the Ingleborough Show Cave.

Easter Sunday saw a vast number of cavers descend via Bar Pot to Gaping Ghyll Main Chamber with excursions to West Chamber, Old East Passage, Pool Chamber and Sand Caverns. Dave Irwin remained at the head of the hundred foot pitch to lifeline.

This badly timed trip resulted in arrival on the surface too late to visit the pub, but we were saved from an evening’s abstinence due to Tony Meadon pleading his case to the landlord of the pub and thus obtaining one large bottle of mead which was gratefully consumed in Norman Petty’s tent at 1.30 in the morning.

A weekend in which more people caved than was expected, the weather more miserable and the Northern Pennine Club more violent than at the equivalent weekend last year.

Owing to demand for Belfry places by visiting clubs, and the need to accept them whenever possible in the interests of good relations and maintenance of Belfry Funds, members are strongly advised to BOOK IN ADVANCE whenever possible.  On Bank Holiday weekends, THIS IS ESSENTIAL.

Readers will no doubt wonder what has happened to the Caving Log recently.  We assure them that it is not the fault of the compiler, but that it has happened that the right sort of space has not appeared in the layout of the B.B.  We hope to be publishing a larger number next month, with plenty of room for this – brought right up to date – and other articles.  Thought you might like to know.



The last page of this B.B. contains another of the cartoons by Jock Orr which have been appearing of recent months.