Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset.
Hut Warden: P.Townsend, 154 Syvlia Avenue, Bristol 3.
EDITOR:  D.J. Irwin. 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.

Tacklemaster Finds Tacklemistress


We understand that out Tacklemaster has at long last found his little Tacklemistress – Pretty Poly-propylene.  Congratulations Norman.

The Hut Warden Speaks

I must point out that credit facilities are not, not ever have been, available at the Belfry. Members using the Belfry are expected to pay their dues during the course of their stay at the Belfry.  If you are short of money why not pay your fees to the Hut Warden, or acting Hut Warden, before paying visit to the Hunters?

Caving and Climbing Meets

July 13th. Stoke Lane.  11am at the Belfry.

July 26/27.  Climbing in NORTH WALES.  If accommodation required contact Malcolm Holt, 5 Orchard Walk, Churchill, Somerset.

Autumn Holiday

Caving:  SOUTH WALES.  Camping at the Gwyn Arms.

Climbing:  NORTH WALES – details as July Meet.

SOUTH WALES C.C. – new Hon. Secretary:

Mrs Mary Galpin, 6 Trinity Rise, STAFFORD, Staffs.

Members wishing to organise trips to caves under the control of the S.W.C.C. should contact Mrs. Galpin giving as much notice as possible.-----------The B.E.C. Committee would like to offer the Club’s thanks to Ralph Lewis for his gift of neoprene off cuts.  These pieces (nylon lined) are suitable for running repairs and is free to members.


Cavers Bookshelf

By Roy Bennett

The Caves of N.W. Clare, edited by E.K. Tratman. Price 105/- (120/- from 1970)

This excellently produced book represents, according to the sleeve not, the results of some 17 years exploration and scientific work carried mainly by the U.B.S.S. in this area. It brings together and augments information previously only available in various back numbers of the U.B.S.S. Proceedings, covering most aspects of speleological interest in a readily comprehensible form, and successfully avoids becoming either a dull scientific treatise or merely a compilation of cave descriptions.


The ‘Mainly Historical’ introductory chapter gives an intentionally discursive but none the less interesting account of the exploration of the area, spiced with amusing anecdotes and others emphasising the liability of severe flooding in many of the caves.

The main scientific part of the book follows.  First the geology of the area is outlined with a commendable minimum of technicalities and with special emphasis on features of speleological interest.  The next chapter on the geomorphology of the area covers more complex maters and need more knowledge of the area for full appreciation.  It gives the setting for the account of geomorphology of the caves which follow. The close correlation of these unusually youthful caves with the present topography, and their formation in an un-faulted limestone area of gentle dip make this a classical area for the study of cave development under mainly vadose conditions.  Full advantage has been taken of this opportunity and a full exposition of vadose cave features is given and certain more general conclusions made.  The picture which emerges is one in which often long stream passages develops at relatively shallow depths below the immediate surface in a manner strikingly similar to parts of Yorkshire.  The rather out of fashion concept of water table control is used to explain these levels, and seems top work for these very useful caves which appear to be mainly developed at the lower limit of joint enlargement by percolation water.

The next chapter, on limestone solution, is also more general significance.  The results of calcium carbonate analysis of water samples from various caves is given with general discussion of the pitfalls awaiting the would be interpreter of such figures.  The latter are illustrated by a preliminary calculation of the age of a section of Pollnagolum stream passage.

The scientific section of the book closes with a chapter on cave sediments which illustrates the value of such studies in unravelling cave histories.

The second half of the book will be of more interest to the general caver as it is largely taken up by descriptions of all known caves and important sinks.  This section makes the book a must, partly for cavers attempting any original exploration in the area, and for the sporting caver who intend to do some serious caving.  The caves are described area by area so that all of the shale/limestone boundaries are covered.  Each cave is systematically dealt with and the descriptions are commensurate in length with importance of the cave.  The descriptions include notes on the original exploration where this is important, together with discussions of the formation of the cave etc.  There are excellent small scale surveys for most of the significant caves on ‘fold-out’ sheets so that altogether there is much more here than a mere guide book.  Many of the 50 or so photographs in the book effectively belong in this section. These are all black and white, and quite good on the whole.  They give a very good idea of the sort of caving that the area has to offer.  Some of the caves outside the N.W. Clare area are all described.  This including the misnamed Fergus River Cave.

There is a final chapter on Irish place names and appendices on surveying, water tracing etc.  There is a useful bibliography and a useful index.

To sum up this book at 5gns. (£6 from Jan. 1970) is a good buy for an individual who is particularly interested  in the N.W. Clare caves or in the geomorphology of caves in general. Apart from this it is a book for caving club libraries.

Ed. note:           This book is available from all booksellers and is published by David and Charles of Newton Abbot Devon.  256 pages.

W.C.C. Journals Nos. 115 – 117 reviewed by Alan Thomas.

The bi-monthly Journal of the Wessex Cave Club is excellently printed by off-set litho, has very clear line drawings and occasional photos – yer pays yer money and takes yer choice.  It has regular features such as Carl Pickstone’s ‘Northern Notes’ and good book reviews.  I am concerned here to mention the more significant articles.  All issues of the W.C.C. Journal cost 2/6 ea. and are available from Bryan Ellis.

No.115 – Feb. 1968.  The theme of this issue is Read’s Cavern; the new survey by W.I. Stanton is followed by two accounts of different aspects of the cave’s history, one by E.K. Tratman and the other by C.H. Kenny.  The other article concerns a “Caving Holiday in Rumania” by Tony Oldham and is an account of a holiday in 1967 which included a visit to the Speleological Institute of Bucharest and several of the caves.

No.116 – April 1968.  There is a useful discussion by P. Cousins of the most suitable lengths of rope for caving and their marking.  D.G. Everett and J.D. Hanwell give an interesting account of Dracott Cave Dig. Most of the Journal is taken up by the sad story of Mossdale told by Alan Fincham and the full report of the M.R.O. It concludes with the re-opening of Cuckoo Cleeves and the new survey by D. Warburton and P. Davies.

No.117 – June 1968.  The Cuckoo Cleeves survey is repeated together with the article by the surveyors, D. Warburton and P. Davies and an article arising from the Boxing Day (1967) incident when the M.R.O. was called out because two Wessex members were believed (erroneously) to be entombed in Cuckoo Cleeves; it is a description of the present state of the shaft and suggestions for its improvement.  There are accounts of little known caving areas viz: Merthymawr (Glam.) and Laubenstein in Germany.  Carl Pickstone writes of the drainage of the Yorkshire Moors by ‘gripping’.  This is a very important thing for the potholer to take note of as it results in the holes in the moor flooding far more rapidly than years ago.  

Caving Logs – Where Are They?

The B.B. Editor is attempting to gather all the BEC Caving Logs together so that they can be transferred to the Club archives at the bank.  Up to now the following have been collected: -

Volume 2  July 1946 – January 1949

Volume ? August 1964 – December 1966

Don Coase – Private log book No.3 c.1946 – 1947

Caving Log sheets August 1951 – 1952

Does any member know the whereabouts of the remainder of the logs?  Don’t forget the rumpus years ago when the 1954 log book was lost – IF YOU ARE SITTING ON THEM PLEASE RETURN them as soon as possible.  THIS IS THE ONLY RECORD OF CLUB ACTIVITIES THAT WE HAVE – have a quiet look in your cupboards and bookshelves.


On Describing the Accuracy of a Cave Survey

By Mike Luckwill

At the present time there is no generally adopted, satisfactory method of describing the accuracy of a cave survey.  What is required is a single expression to describe the degree of accuracy of a whole survey, assuming that surveying standards have been kept throughout the survey. We must first consider the reasons for wanting this statement of accuracy and the uses to which it will be put.

Every survey consists basically of a number of points whose positions (relative to some datum point – usually the entrance) have been determined.  Each position will be in doubt to a certain extent, i.e. each co-ordinate will have associated with it a possible error: the further the point is from the datum the larger the error will be.  It is the size of the probable error at any point in the cave which the description of accuracy must convey: the surveyor/user must be able to ascertain the reliability of the position at any point on the survey from the expression of accuracy given by the surveyor.

Unfortunately, a common expression of accuracy in use at the present time is the percentage misclosure: this has the unfortunate habit of varying with the length of the survey. Every point therefore has a different percentage misclosure, which, if the surveyor wishes to be thorough he must state on the survey; not a very practicable procedure.  Also the percentage error does not enable the accuracy of one cave survey to be compared with that of another cave, or for that matter, the accuracy obtained by one cave surveyor to be compared with that obtained by another.  Now it is quite clear that during the surveying of a cave the standards of accuracy is maintained throughout the length of the cave and should be expressed by a single quantity.

Let us suppose that a survey consists of N legs, each of length s and that each leg has an associated error, or misclosure m.  Then the error associated with the farthest point will be m/.  So the percentage error of each leg will be 100m//Ns%, i.e. 100m/s  /%, i.e. 1/ times the percentage error of one leg.  In this position the surveyor will have to give the percentage error associated with each leg, or each station.

A much better expression of accuracy is given by the factor  Q = m/  /, where m is the misclosue, and L is the length of a traverse.  In case considered above for one leg  Q = m/ / and for the whole traverse….

Q = m/  / / / =  m/ /, i.e. the same for each leg. If Q is known for the whole cave, (and it will be the same throughout the cave provided the accuracy of surveying has been maintained constant) then the error associated with any point, or distance, in the cave can easily be found

(m = Q/ ).

Let us now work an example. Table 1 has been reproduced from the St. Cuthbert’s Report (Page F.10, Table 4) by kind permission of the authors. Since we are aware of the way in which misclosures are distributed between the co-ordinates depending on the elevations and bearings of the legs in the traverse,, we shall begin by computing the true misclosures:





True misclosure



Since each traverse closes onto itself we shall divided each into two equal traverses giving:




Total length






% Error






Notice that the percentage errors are considerably different whereas the Q factors are very similar; the latter thus give a much better impression as the surveys are of similar parts of the cave and likely to both be if the same accuracy.  As the data has been given in feet, the Q-factor has units ft½It is important to remember that Q has units.

In connection with the worked example, one other point should be mentioned.  The Q obtained is related to the measured accuracy: the Q which would be quoted in the survey would in fact be higher than this as it would be based on theoretical considerations.  (Note that a higher Q value indicates a lower accuracy).


Metric and S.I. conversions.

1 ft½  =  0.552 m½        1 m½  = 1.8912 ft½    

1 m½  =  0.03162 k m½       1 k m½   = 31.62 m½          


Route Severity Diagram

By S.J. Collins

Ed. Note –         The figure shown immediately below was accidentally omitted from the last part of this series on page 44.

Two routes passing through the same cave space.

PART 8    Recap On Basic Signs

We now have all the basic signs we need.  Later, we shall see how we can make theses signs tell a lot more about the cave but it must be emphasised once more that we can ‘read’ an R.S.D. with only an elementary knowledge of the ‘language’ if we want to.  Here is a part of an R.S.D. using the basic signs we have already dealt with.  Underneath is the amount we can ‘read’ from it if we have only understood or read some of the parts which have already come out in the B.B.

Going from ‘A’ in every case

If we only know the signs for Passage and Pitch

‘The passage from ‘A’ divides and one branch goes on while the other goes down pitch, along a passage and down a second pitch’.

If we also know the sign for constriction

‘The passage from ‘A’ becomes tight and divides.  One passage goes along and possibly reaches another tight place? The other passage goes down a pitch, along another passage and down a second pitch’.

If we also know the signs for wetness and exposure.

‘The passage from ‘A’ reaches a tight, wet ledge which may be either traversed of climbed down.  The climb leads to a lower passage which is also wet and down a wet pitch’.

If we know all the basic 8 signs

‘The passage from ‘A’ reaches a tight, wet ledge which may be either traversed of climbed down.  Both upper and lower passages continue in the same chamber or rift and finally separate. The lower, wet passage leads to a wet pitch while the upper ledge traverse leads to a passage which in turn leads to a boulder ruckle’.

You will see how we can read more detail as we know more of the ‘language’ of the R.S.D. but you will also see that we can read quite a bit without knowing very much.

This ends the basic part of this course on the R.S.D.  Later parts will show how these eight basic signs can be made to show the cave in much greater details.


Editorial Setup

Since last year both the B.B. and Caving Reports have been merged together.  Members will remember that this is how it used to be in ‘the good old days’.  Then later Bryan Ellis took over the Caving Reports and ‘Alfie’ continued with the B.B. When Bryan resigned as Editor of the Caving reports at the last A.G.M. the Caving Reports have returned under the wing of the Editor of the B.B. and the whole venture re-organised into what may be called the Publications Department.  This whole affair is an enormous undertaking and obviously could not be carried out by one person, so several people were asked to help in various ways.  Several of the jobs are boring and others can give a great deal of satisfaction even though many hours at the typewriter or drawing board may be involved.

The general set-up then is an unofficial sub-committee, who have yet to meet!  Comprising of Dave Irwin (Editor B.B. and Caving Reports); Gord. Tilly (production and preparation of the final artwork for the Caving Reports); Dave Smith and Andy MacGregor (postal department, B.B.); Bryan Ellis (postal department, Caving Reports); John Riley (Printing, B.B. from May issue). In addition to these members like Roy and Joan Bennett are offering help in the form of typing and revising parts of the Cuthbert’s Report and lastly, but not least Barry Wilton has been of extreme value for his advice and help where off-set litho printing has been concerned.

The sale of caving Reports remains steady with one exception.  The Cuthbert’s Report has beaten all previous records and it looks as if the Caving Report No.5, Headgear and Lighting will not be far behind! B.B.’s are selling well and we are now having to print some 50 per issue for sale!  

Black Shivers Attempt

By Martin Webster

The Spring Bank Holiday saw the dawning of the proposed Dining Room Team trip down the newly discovered Black Shivers Pot on Black Shivers Moss.  On the Saturday morning, after a great deal of indecision, we eventually assembled a team of eight cavers (it was also the B.E.C. Yorkshire meet from which most of the team was made up of – Ed.) and made our way to the Hill Inn to begin carrying the vast amount of tackle up onto the fell.  Unfortunately, we were rather unsure about the exact whereabouts of the cave entrance and so spent the rest of the day scouring the moor looking down the thousands of shakeholes and getting extremely hot and annoyed when the entrance failed to materialise.   Finally it started to rain and we decided to do a quick trip down Sunset hole.

To make it more interesting on the way out we tried traversing along the passage, however, even this ended in failure.  After all it does become a little tedious trying to traverse along a crawl with one’s posterior dangling in an ice-cold stream!

The following day, a team of four set off to make a desperate attempt top locate the ‘offending’ hole; this time armed only with personal gear, maps and a compass. On the way up the fell, we stopped at Meregill just long enough to annoy the ‘Bennett Team’ who was just about to descend this fearsome gulf, and then started taking bearings and distances to the position of the Grid Reference.  Four hours, and a lot of swearing, later we were still no nearer to finding the cave, so feeling rather disillusioned, we wandered across to one of the more interesting of the holes that we had glanced at about four hours earlier.  When we checked its position on the map we found, much to our embarrassment, that the bearing coincided exactly with that of Black Shiver.

Feeling rather silly after our exhibition of how not to use a compass, we rapidly got changed and went to see how far into the cave we could get.  The entrance was enough to put anyone off, being only one foot high with 5” – 6” of water in it.  This however soon opened up until the passage was about two foot high but it soon dwindles again, this time into an extremely tight 7” – 8” high, ten foot long squeeze – only one of our team could get through.  After the squeeze, the tight passage continues over sand and gravel until after two hundred feet the, now 1½ feet high crawl enters a passage which has a stream in nit and he walked on for about 100ft. to the head of the first pitch, which is 40ft. deep and very wet.  This was the end of our progress for the day.  On returning to the entrance one lucky fellow was found desperately trying to wriggle backwards out of the squeeze, after just failing to pass an extremely light bit at the far end of it.  At one stage we thought he was going to become a permanent feature.

The weekend was not exactly a ‘howling’ success for us, although now that we have found the entrance we are already planning another attempt.  This time however we will have a suitable team of ‘mini-men’!


Caving and the Unconcious

By Henry Oakley

Being a short article having nothing to do with caving and the subconscious…..

If you find yourself unconscious, you may regard yourself as being at the start of a one way trip to St. Peter unless your associates know the steps to be taken to prevent this. If, in addition to being unconscious you are not breathing, this does not necessarily mean that you have reached him but you may regard yourself as being as half way through the Pearly Gates. If your heart has stopped beating then the gates are closing in on you, but St. peter has been known to let people back even at this late stage.  So, be prepared and read on concerning how you may equip yourself with the knowledge of how to bring your friends back to life, snatch them from the jaws of death etc.

The commonest causes of unconsciousness in people down caves are: -

1.                  Drowning.

2.                  Hypothermia (cold exposure).

3.                  Head injury.


This occurs when water is inhaled.  The lungs may either fill with water so air can not get in, or the shock of the water going past the vocal chords (which lie in the upper part of the air passage into the lungs) causes the chords to close off the airway completely, so preventing either air or water entering the lings.  The shock of either of these two happenings may stop the heart instantly, but the first aid treatment is the same in either case.

1.                  Take the victim from the water, lie him on his side and quickly empty his mouth of water, seaweed, false teethe etc. with your finger.

2.                  Turn him onto his back, pull his chin up (away from the chest) as far a possible, with the head pushed back.  Never put the head on a pillow.  This prevents the tongue from falling to the back of the mouth so obstructing the air passage.

3.                  If he is not breathing, start MOUTH - TO – MOUTH artificial respiration.

(This is certainly both the easiest and most effective method of artificial respiration.  It is mentioned probably in II Kings, Chapter 4, verse 34, when it was done by Elisha, there is mention of it in the Philosophical Transactions No.475, p.275 Edinburgh 1744, and the Humane Society (now the Royal Humane Society) which was founded in 1744 to “promote the recovery of perfons apparently dead, efpecially from drowning” recommended, at the time for the purpose of “blowing with force into the lungs by applying the mouth to that of the patient, clofing at the fame time the noftrils.”

The methods of Sylvester (British Medical Journal 1858, p.576) of Holger Nielsen (Ugeskr Laeg. 1932, vol.94, pl.201) or Schafer Med.-chir. Trans. 1904 vol.87, p609) band of Marshall – Hall (Lancet 1856, vol.1, p.229) are difficult, need skill, experience, plenty of space, and suffer from the grave disadvantage that they are less efficient and are more tiring.

In mouthy-to-mouth artificial respiration, you take a deep breath, put you mouth over the victims mouth, pinch his nose shut, and blow air into his lungs.  If the chest expands you have done it properly.  When you take your mouth away to take another breath the air will escape form the lungs by the natural elastic recoil of the chest wall. The process of blowing air into the lungs should be repeated ten to fifteen times per minute until the victim begins to breathe on his own, until two hours have elapsed without sign of recovery, or until you are told to stop by a doctor.  Usually mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is sufficient to restart the heart.  If however, after one minute of effective mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration, no pulse can be felt either at the wrist or the neck (practise feeling your own – or your friends – now) external cardiac massage may be attempted (do not practice on your friends).  If the patient is breathing on his own, is moving, or appears to be waking up he DOES NOT NEED cardiac massage.  If you are in doubt as to whether you should cardiac massage or not – don’t.

If you have to, the way to do it is to lie the victim on his back, kneel beside him, and with both hands (one over the other) keeping the arms straight, smartly depress the lower end of the breast bone.  This should be done 30 – 40 times per minute and to be effective the breast bone should be depressed by 1½ inches.  After every 3 presses there should a short pause to allow the person who is doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to inflate the lungs.  Ideally you will need three persons, one to do the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, one to do external cardiac massage, one to observe the movement of the chest and to check for the return of the pulse.  Frequent change-over of the personnel involved should be made as it can become very tiring after a few minutes.

Usually all that is required in a case of drowning is that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation be employed until breathing restarts.  In an emergency where it is not possible to get the victim to a flat piece of ground it can be done effectively on a half floating subject in a confined space such as the upstream side of sump 1 in Stoke Lane Slocker (try it on your girl friend next time you are there).

When the drowned person starts to breathe he should be laid on his side, almost on his stomach, with his head pulled back as before.  If, in this position, he vomits up the large quantities of water that he may well have swallowed, it will spurt out onto the floor instead of choking him as would occur if he continued lying on his back.

As drowning in caves is such a serious matter, anyone who swims or dives in caves should know how to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.  Because of the coldness of the water even experienced and strong swimmers are at risk of drowning if they attempt swims of even moderate distances if inadequately clothed.  In a recent experiment (British Medical Bulletin, Feb. 1969, p.480-3) one out of four good swimmers was only able to swim for 1½ minutes in water of 40oF before he sank suddenly and had to be rescued.  Even if a person has been successfully resuscitated from drowning, the coldness of the water and the exhaustion of the victim renders him particularly prone to ‘hypothermia’ (cold exposure) and this may cause his death. The way to recognise this and deal with it is discussed in the next section.

Hypothermia  (Cold Exposure)

The normal body temperature is 98.4oF approximately, and in normal conditions the body manages to keep its temperature constant, by producing energy from food, despite the external temperature.  If you got very cold (it may happen) because of insufficient insulation against it (as by thin clothing or body fat) or the body can’t produce enough heat to counter it, your temperature will fall.  As this happened your body becomes unable to function properly, and at a body temperature of 90 oF you will become comatose and at 80 oF you will die.  This may be sad for someone and also wasteful as the army, or your country may need you.


The causes of cold exposure and its treatment are well known but it won’t hurt to list them again.

You are more likely to become victim of cold exposure if you are young, thin, unfit, or lost. Obviously the lower the temperature the more likely you will be affected.  The cold can only affect you if you are inadequately clad, and water by markedly reducing the insulating property of clothing can make clothing, which is perfectly adequate when dry, totally useless for keeping you warm.  If you are tired and hungry the body is less able to manufacture heat from food, and it appears that if your morale falls you become tireder and hungrier quicker.  In this manner the cold gets you.

The early symptoms of cold exposure are feelings of excessive fatigue and excessive shivering then as the body temperature falls the victim starts to behave in an odd manner perhaps by being excessively morose, or frivolous, or starts to play the fool, becoming aggressive or irrational.  As the degree of hypothermia increases he becomes drowsy, starts to fall over until he can no longer continue ands then lapses into a coma and within the space of perhaps half an hour he dies.  Often he is unaware of becoming a victim of exposure and may resent the suggestion that he is behaving oddly so it should be the leaders responsibility to watch out for the early symptoms of it among the members of his party and take the appropriate measures if it occurs.

The treatment of cold exposure in the early stages of treatment is to try to correct the factors that have brought it about.  If the victim’s clothes are wet the water should be wrung out of them, he should be made to rest and to eat something sweet as chocolate or sugar.  He should then be got out of the cave as quickly as possible, and if he’d able to, and if the way is not too arduous, then it is reasonable for it to be attempted without calling the rescue organisation. If the victim is judged unable to get out of the cave on his own then the cave rescue organisation should be notified and all efforts should be made while waiting to keep him warm.  To this end he should rest in a dry place, out of draughts if possible, he should be lent clothes from other stronger members of the party, and those members who stay with the victim should huddle round him to keep him warm.  (On mountainsides where the equipment may be available it is recommended that a tent should be pitched, the victim then being put in a sleeping bag with another member of the party – of either sex – for the warmth.  This is to be recommended for reviving even the most frigid!) When the rescue organisation arrives it may be found that dry clothes, food and hot drinks, may often be enough to sufficiently recover early cases of exposure so that the victim will be able to go out on his own feet.  Where there is any doubt then a full rescue procedure (with the subject in a neoprene exposure bag and a stretcher) should be initiated for him to have the best chance of survival.

On no account should drugs such as Benzedrine (amphetamine, dexamphetamine) morphine or alcohol be given to someone suffering from exposure.  When the affected person has been got out of the cave and is in a dry place, then alcohol, by increasing the flow of blood to the skin, may be of use in that it increases the rate at which a body picks up heat from the surroundings, but in a cave where the temperature of the air is cold then the giving of alcohol will increase the rate at which heat is lost by the body with disastrous results (e.g. death).

Head Injury

If you wear a recommended type of helmet (see B.E.C. CAVING REPORT No.5 – Headwear and Lighting) with a chin strap so that the helmet will stay on your head when you fall are likely to avoid the majority of head injuries.  If you fall down Gaping Gill onto your head you will not need to bother with the ensuing remarks and it will be immaterial to you whether you were wearing your helmet or not.

As an absolute rule, if you have a fall or a blow to the head that results in loss of consciousness, however briefly, while caving then the trip should be cancelled at once and you should get out and get to hospital as quickly as possible. Even where there is no bleeding from the scalp and here there is no skull fracture, a blow to the head may tear a small blood vessel under the skull and bleeding from this over the next few hours may cause headache, vomiting and drowsiness and progressively more serious effects.  Occasionally a blow to the head which doesn’t cause loss of consciousness may cause headache and vomiting and if this occurs you should again get out of the cave as soon as possible and see a doctor.

If you are knocked unconscious and stay unconscious you should be placed lying on your side, almost on you stomach, with your head turned to the side with your chin held up as was described in the section of drowning.  In this position, if vomiting occurs you will not run the risk of inhaling the vomit.  Many people die after head injuries from inhaling their vomit who would otherwise have made a rapid and eventful recovery.  Your friends should make sure that you are breathing quietly; if you are not they should clear your mouth out and pull your head back with your chin up and forward, until a position is found in which you are breathing easily. One of them should make sure that for the whole time that you are unconscious you are able to breathe easily. At no time should be left, and you should be secured so that there is no danger of you falling further of having further rocks fall on you.  If you are unconscious for more than a few minutes and/or on recovering you are unable to get out of the cave on your own then, the cave rescue organisation should be called.  The important thing is that you should get to hospital with as little delay as possible and without incurring any further injuries.

Bleeding from the scalp, or from elsewhere, is easily controlled by pressing on the edges of the skin (around the place where the bleeding is coming from) with ones finger tips, or by pressing a firm pad of cloth or bandage against it.  Remove any obvious and loose pieces of bone, rock or karabiner that you see on the wound before applying pressure to it.  Pressure for ten minutes will stop most bleeding (on no account should a tourniquet be applied around the neck to stop bleeding from the head).

If a very severe head injury occurs and death is immediate, or within 10 minutes or so, there is nothing that you can do.  Unless you think that he has stopped breathing because he has inhaled vomit, it is a waste of time to attempt mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or cardiac massage on victim of a severe head injury in a cave.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING that you can do for a person who is unconscious as a result of a head injury, or when breathing again following drowning, is to like him on his side almost on his stomach, with his head turned to the side and with his chin pulled up SO THAT HE CAN BREATHE without the danger of obstructing his air passage or inhaling vomit.

If the rescue organisation were to find that your friend has put a beautiful length splint onto your fractured leg while you have suffered at the other end because you were left lying on your back while unconscious, they may well feel aggrieved at the waste of plaster of Paris.  As for you, you won’t be in a position to mind anything evermore.

There is only one other form of loss of consciousness that you are likely to have to deal with in a cave and that is a person who has epileptic convulsion.  This is a sudden loss of consciousness, often with no warning, which may or may not be associated with powerful repetitive movements of the limbs for a few minutes.  The affected person may then have to sleep it off for about half an hour, and during this time may well be irritable if roused.  He should be got to a safe place, put on his side and watched until he recovers.  If in doubt as to what to do someone should seek help, but usually if watched, and if he has not hurt himself as a consequence of his fall, he will be able to get out of the cave on his own without feeling any ill effects.

In the three main conditions discussed above, the first aid management by members of the victim’s party may save his life, however it is imperative that a doctor should see the victim as soon as possible, even if he has apparently completely recovered.  Luckily such catastrophes are not everyday occurrences in caves, but as they can occur anywhere from the Lake District to the M4, the basic principles of first aid treatment are worth learning and remembering.


BELFRY BULLETINS are available to non-members (Annual Sub 18/6).  Back numbers of B.B.’s are available for most 1968 issues.  Also a number of members have made their copies of the early B.B.’s available.  These are on sale for 9d. each and the proceeds will be given to the Hut Fund.


On Climbing


Having just finished reading David Robertson’s biography of Mallory +, I am more than ever attracted to this unique man.  Possibly a man such as he, with a heart and lungs twice the size of an average man, could not fail to become one of the world’s greatest mountaineers when he came under the tutorship of R.L.G. Irving in 1904. Throughout his education, Mallory developed a great fondness for, and skill at, essay writing and surely few can hope to approach the standard of his writings where mountains and mountaineering are concerned.  So well does he capture the spirit of climbing during the first thirty tears of this century that it is difficult not to wish that it could be recaptured today. What one tends to forget, in this age of leisure, that few people had the money, or more important the time available, to partake in excursion such as his.  Now that we can all spend a fortnight each year in the mountains of Britain and Europe and most weekends in North Wales, we cannot complain of lack of opportunity. Even if first ascents on the Lliwedd slabs are no longer available to us, we can still enjoy the moonlit walks over snow-covered Crib Goch.  The danger lies, in this day and age, when what is readily accessible is also readily neglected.

+ “George Mallory” by David Robertson, Faber and Faber, 1969.  55/-.

Letter To The Editor

In a recent letter (Bel. Bul. No, 253, Mar. ’69) I suggested that the uncertainty of the position of St. Cuthbert’s sump was of the order of 40ft.  I regret to say that this was an error and what I should have said was 20ft. However, having carried out further calculations on the data published in the Gour Hall report, I now find that even this may be too large.  I humbly apologise therefore to the surveyors for aspersions cast, although I wondered why they did not protest – modesty perhaps?  (No, just snowed under with the basic work on the survey – but wait until Part ‘B’ of the Cuthbert’s Report is issued! Ed).

May I quickly summarise my latest calculations?  Since the lengths were measured to a greater accuracy than the angles, error form this source can be neglected in a rough calculation.  Assuming a traverse of n legs, each of length s and a standard error e in the angles (elevation and bearing) the misclosures of traverses are expected to have a standard error of

M = se /.  This gives us a limit of 3se/  for the misclosure over a total lengthy of sn. 

Thus Q = 3e/.

From the data on the traverses in Gour Hall, s = 18’ and e = o.5o = 0.0087 rads. Appear to be suitable values to take and so Q = 0.16.

We first note that measured Q is 0.1 and is thus within the allowable limits (only to be expected of course).  Secondly we see that a surveyed length from entrance to sump (very apprx) = 250ft. gives a misclosure of 8ft.  That is the calculated position of the sump has a probability of only 1 in 1000 of being more than n ft. away from the true position of the sump.

                        Yours faithfully,
                                    Mike Luckwill
                                    (June 1969)

Ed. Note:          I do not intend to apologise for the apparent bias of articles towards the specialised subject of Cave Surveying as several articles are in the pipeline in addition to those that have appeared by the Mike Luckwill, our Mendip exile living in the smokey Midlands.  Several fundamental principles of the C.R.G. Survey Report have come under heavy fire – particularly taken from Members of the B.E.C.  So much have these comments been taken to heart by the C.R.G. that it appears that they are planning another series of discussions, with surveyors from throughout the country, to give the subject yet another overhaul!


The Quarries and the Cavers

By Alan Thomas
Originally published in the Mendip Preservation Society Newsletter.

A meeting was held on 17th. May, in the University of Bristol between representatives of the Council of Southern Caving Clubs, the Somerset County Council Planning Department, the Bristol Avon River Authority and Bristol Waterworks Company; representatives of the quarry owners were also present.  The purpose of the meeting was to ascertain which areas of Mendip had the greatest amenity value from the caver’s viewpoint as the County Council is carrying out a survey to allocate land for future working of minerals (limestone) inn the Mendip Hills.  Many of the facts that emerged are of general interest.

The rise in the demand for Mendip limestone as roadstone increase by between 5% and 7% each year. The availability of sand and gravel sources for the purpose will begin to be run down from 1975 and will be completely exhausted by 1980 unless the Ministry of Agriculture will release more land for this industry, which it is not expected to be willing to do.  This will presumably put an even greater pressure on the Mendips to provide stone.

The market for Mendip stone is very wide.  The quarries of East Mendip send stone south to Southampton and east to Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Essex, Sussex and even Kent.  Those of Central Mendip (around Gurney Slade) have a marketing area mainly to the south.  The Cheddar group send stone to the south and west as far as North Devon and the quarries on the fringes of Bristol have a limited but important market in Bristol and on into Gloucestershire.  It can be seen, therefore, that the County Council policy on quarries will be influenced by national, rather than local considerations.

Some interesting figures about cavers, themselves, were given.  In 1950 there were five main caving clubs in the area, whose membership totalled some 350 cavers; at the present time there are 60 clubs with a total membership of some 2,000 cavers.  It is estimated that by 1980 there will be at least 5,000 cavers belonging to clubs in the Mendip region (heaven forbid – Ed.) as well as many visitors from clubs in other parts of Britain.

At present there are about 14 miles of cave passage in the area and the work of exploration continues. Since 1950 about 1.5 miles of cave have been destroyed at Fairy Cave Quarry and other quarries.  Thus it can be seen that there is a very real conflict of interest and some compromise will have to be found.  A ray of hope for the cavers emerged that the quarrying is unlikely to take place in the vicinity of Burrington, Compton Martin, Priddy or Wookey Hole.

A solution to the problem of balancing the need for stone against the need for the continuing amenity of the Mendip Hills was put forward by Dr. William Stanton, a geologist with an extensive knowledge of the area.  He proposed that quarrying should be restricted to certain areas viz. around Gurney Slade and the area east of a line from Cranmore to Coleford.  Within these two areas there are reserves of 400 million tons of stone in the existing concessions available to conventional quarrying methods.  If we take into consideration the rate of increase in production we may reasonably expect these reserves to be completely exhausted by 1990.  If, however, instead of stopping at flood level the quarry companies installed machinery which would enable them to work at a depth of 350ft.below the water table, this would make an additional 7,000 million tons of stone available.

This would mean the existing concessions would last beyond the foreseeable future. Without further loss of amenity and that water could be made available to the river and water authorities.  Of course the production of stone would cost more but this might well be offset in part at any rate by the fact that the quarries would last very much longer and it would be worthwhile to put in bigger and more expensive plant.


HELP THE HUT FUND.  If you have any caving publications that are no longer required (Belfry Bulletins & Caving Reports) there is a good market for this material – in fact Dave Irwin has a waiting list for this material – particularly the early issues of the B.B.


Monthly Notes  No.24

by ‘Wig’

SWILDONS HOLE comes back into the news again with another rescue, though the first for many months. In fact, as far as the writer is aware the first since the July 1968 floods.  In fact it seems that it is another of those rescues that need not have occurred.    Linda Teer, a 17 year old student, and her two companions descended the cave and it was on the return to the surface that she found that she could not climb the 20ft. Members of her party attempted to haul her up the 20 but did not succeed in doing so.  One of the party went out of the cave and on to the Hunters go gather up a rescue party.  Members of the Cerberus, S.M.C.C., Severn Valley formed a team under the direction of Paul Allen and soon got her to the surface.  It is reported , from a reliable source, that she had not eaten since breakfast and the rescue took place early in the evening.

Black Shivers – Martin Webster has sent in this specification of a member of a team that will descend this S.S.P.  If you fulfil at least 60% of the requirement you’ll do!  Must be mini-thin and have the urge to do hundreds of feet of wet, flat out crawling at the same time carrying 400’ of ladder, 350’ of rope, belays etc. Must be capable of climbing 400’ of wet pitches and still be fit enough to haul the rest of the party out of the cave and then remove all the tackle from the cave!  Must always be ready to buy the first few rounds at the pub afterwards.  Must be of the female variety; must be willing to endure the elements; must be willing!

…………All applications will be disregarded.

Spring Holiday in Yorkshire

About a dozen members set up camp at Skirwith Farm for the meet.  Alan Thomas, Keith Franklin, Norman Petty and others made their annual visit to Alum Pot and the ‘big’ pitch laddered.  Other caves visited in the Alum included Upper and Lower Long Churn, Borrins Moor Cave and Birthday Hole.  Roy Bennett, ‘Bucket’ Tilbury, the Boy, ‘Bert’ and others bottomed Meregill. Martin Webster attempted Black Shiver (account of the attempt to be found elsewhere in this issue of the B.B.). Sunset Hole, Hardrawkin Pot and Tatham Wife Hole were also visited.

One recent sunny Saturday saw the visitation of Swildons by several members of the S.M.C.C. and 1½ members of the B.E.C. (one gave up) dressed in traditional shorts, sports shirts, folded copies of the Daily Telegraph, candles etc.  The trip was abandoned at the Double Pots through the shortage of ropes and pulleys (see S.M.C.C. log).

Best wishes to Keith Franklin who recently departed for Australia after providing suitable refreshment one memorable Friday night at the Hunters.


ANNUAL DINNER & A.G.M. – Saturday 4th. October 1969.  Make a note in your diaries NOW……..!


Just a Sec

With Alan Thomas

A reception is to be held in honour of Brig. E.A. Glennie, C.I.E., D.S.O. on the occasion of his 80th birthday.  It will be held at the Staff House, The University, Birmingham at 12.30pm Saturday 2nd. August 1969.  It would be nice if somebody went from the B.E.C.; I shall be going myself.  It costs £1. I can give anyone who wants to go an application form.

We have been asked indirectly by Mr. Maine to construct and fix in position the gate on the blockhouse over Swildon’s entrance and we have agreed to do this.  Offers of help would be appreciated.

Flood Changes in G.B. Cave

The following details of the changes in G.B. Cavern have been received from the U.B.S.S.:

The Dry Way is now open, but the passage between the First Grotto and Mud Passage is now a squeeze, at the end of which is a 3m drop for which a ladder is advisable.

There is now a permanent ladder from the First Grotto into the Wet Way, courtesy of some other club.  The drop at the bottom of the chain in the Wet Way is now longer and a ladder is useful.

The Ooze is still blocked.

At the head of the Gorge is a large quantity of mud washed down from another swallet.  This is being removed slowly by the stream, which has scoured a way through it.  However, it is possible that more mud will be washed down.  Several boulders have been removed from the bottom of the Pitch, making the scramble down 15m instead of 12m.  Above the Pitch the bypass route for the water is blocked, so that in wet conditions it goes down the pitch.

Debris has been deposited in the Gorge below the Pitch, making the climb into the Oxbow 3.5m instead of 6m, and the bottom 2 m of the fixed ladder is covered.  The Bottom Dig is only passable for about 10m.

In the New Series there is a sand floor in the crawl to Helictite Chamber and many of the boulders in Boulder Chamber have moved.

There is a fuller account by Dave Savage in the Jubilee issue of the UBSS Proceedings.

Marianne Last.


The  C.C.C. has been asked to inform the Bristol waterworks Company of any sites in which they are likely to be interested in the Company’s area.

Description, name and map reference of any sites in which we as a Club might be interested should be sent to me as soon as possible.


B.E.C. Publications Currently Available

Caving Reports


Headgear and Lighting – completely revised by G. Bull.



Smaller Caves of Mendip, Vol.1.



Smaller Caves of Mendip, Vol.2.



B.E.C. Method of Ladder Construction (available August)



Long Chamber/Coral area of St. Cuthbert’s Swallet, only a few copies left – no reprint.



St. Cuthbert’s Swallet – Discovery and Exploration.  B.E.C. BEST SELLER



St. Cuthbert’s Swallet – Rabbit Warren – at printers.



St. Cuthbert’s Swallet –Gour Hall Area



St. Cuthbert’s Swallet – Maypole and Cerberus Series


In addition to the above various parts of the report on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet is in hand – Rabbit Warren Extension, Main Chambers and September Series will be available later this year.  Also in the pipeline are four important publications No.14 – Roman Mine, Monmouthshire; No.15 John Etough’s book of cave photographs; No.16 Ahnenschacht, Austria (possibility of a German Edition, No.16A); No.17 Flora and Fauna of Goughs Caves, Cheddar.  Details of these and other publications in future B.B.’s.

Several other out of print reports are in the process of revision (e.g. Shoring (no.4); Ladder Construction and Presentation of Cave Survey Data (Nos. 3A and & 10; 12).

The MENDIP SPELEODES are on their way – details in the July or August B.B.