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B.E.C. Trip to Steepholm

By Andy MacGregor

On Saturday 7th September 1968, a party of B.E.C. members made a weekend visit to Steepholm accompanied by two members of the Steepholm Trust.  The party consisted of Alan Thomas, Andy Macgregor, Dave and Jane Glover, John Riley, ‘Fred’ Atwell and Martin Webster.

After an uneventful crossing we established our camp in the barracks on the south side of the island, Victorian and Georgian cannons were looked at, also remains of more modern gun emplacements.  The island was used as a gun emplacement from Napoleonic times until the Second World War except during the First World War.

The tide was going out, so we decided to walk around the island and look at the caves around the sea shore.  Most of the caves are on the north side, but there are a few on the south side.  There are about 20 caves from 10ft. to about 200ft. in length.  Sunday saw more caves looked at and then an uneventful boat trip back to Weston-super-Mare.

Extracts from the Caving Log

Edited by Phil Coles

28-7-68 to 20-9-68.

Now that the Log Book has been divided into two (Cuthbert’s and Non-Cuthbert’s) it would seem more suitable to deal with the extracts in a likewise manner.  15 trips have been recorded in St. Cuthbert’s including 5 digging trips, 4 surveying, a full-scale practice rescue and a further 5 of a general tourist nature.  Rule 7 of the new Cuthbert’s log states that all members of a party descending the cave should sign the log before the trip.   Many people seem to have a warped sense to remain anonymous; their signatures look like a bunch of politician autographs (perhaps it is! Ed.).  as it is important to know exactly who is down the cave will those gents of the feeble handwriting please make an effort to be legible.

On the non-Cuthbert’s scene, the BEC have been active in Burrington Coombe, centring on East Twin and adjoin digs – totalling eight trips in all (See Monthly Notes No. 18 p.150). East Twin has been now surveyed and apparently the digs are quite promising.  An old MNRC dig on the opposite side of the Higher Twin valley has been dug but has been abandoned for the moment because of unstable boulders.  Water sampling has continued in GB and Swildons has been visited on several occasions.  The Hunter’s Hole dig in Dear’s Ideal (See BB 138) has at last got under way and in my view is the most promising dig since Emborough! (and fell in!!  Ed).

The club is now in the happy position of running six digs concurrently – Cuthbert’s – Sump and Dining room; Hunters; East Twin; Maesbury and South Wales – is this a record?

On foreign soil there have been trips to South Wales and I hear that Alan Thomas and company have been pottering around in Austria!!!

ST. CUTHBERT’S SWALLET – Traverse Chamber Choke – reported changes at upstream end of the choke.

On 3rd September 1968 during a surveying trip base at Traverse chamber, measurements were made at the upstream end of the Choke to establish the extent of the reported changes. By comparing the results with measurements made on 27/28th October 1963 it is possible to say that the floor has been lowered a maximum of 1” and the passages extended a maximum of 1 foot. The reported changes here are therefore practically non-existent.

Roger Stenner.


 ‘There are caves so ancient that not only are they completely dry, but they are actually disappearing as they gradually become silted up’ – Norbert Casteret.


’In chambers deep, where waters sleep, what unknown treasures pave the floor?’ – Edward Young.