Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset.
EDITOR:  D.J. Irwin. 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.


Annual General meeting – OCTOBER 4th. 1969 at the ‘Old Duke’ (in the upstairs room), 10.30am.

ANNUAL DINNER will be held at the Wookey Hole Cave Restaurant SATURDAY OCTOBER 4th at 7.30pm. Tickets 25/- each.

Details of the ‘get you home service’ in the September B.B.

Menu: -

Minestrone Soup,
Coq au Vin, 2 veg and potatoes.
Fruit Salad,
Cheese and Biscuits,

To ensure that you get your ticket book early with Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Bristol 4.

Headline News:

Congratulations to Barbara and Dave Turner, Dave and Lesley Jones, Pat and Mike Palmer, Jon and Val Ransome, Dave and Kath Serle on their family additions – just show what happens when the Belfry ‘lectrismo meter runs out of bobs!

Overheard At The Belfry

Female talking to Hut Warden:   “According to the rules, as Hut Warden, you should have had me in bed by 1 o’clock. Why didn’t somebody tell me?”


At least we have a Hut Warden that is consistent – he’s never there!


Letter To The Editor

Dear Sir,

Caving and the Unconscious. (B.B. No. 225 June 1969.)

I don’t want to criticise Henry Oakley’s article, because really it is rather a good one.  But as I have a big point to make, perhaps I may make some similar ones first.

Drowning – Step 1.  Leave it out.  Ruben and Ruben (1962, Lancet, I, 780.  I can quote references, too!) showed that only insignificant amounts of water can be tipped down the throat.  Besides this, every second counts, and you must get some air into the subject’s lungs. Nowadays we are trained to do this while still swimming.

The Sylvester – Brosch method of artificial respiration is not as difficult as mouth to mouth, but it is also not so nearly so good.  The latter cannot be learnt without training.

To wait for one minute before finding out if the heart is beating is excessive.

Don’t model your training on the assumption that there will be two or three others handy to help. You may well be all on your own and should know how to manage.

Laying the subject on his side (the so called ‘coma position’) is not as easy and needs to be taught.  It is important to get it right and not to inflict a head injury in the process.

Cold Exposure.  This is far more dangerous than Oakley suggests.  The rescue organisation should be called out at an early stage.  We may gripe, but it is right.

The amphetamines, when given with glucose and water are excellent treatment for exhaustion.  I don’t know why Oakley descries them.

I’m surprised he has omitted the hot bath treatment.  This is the rescue organisation’s business, which means that it is every caver’s business. (You are all in the M.R.O.).  It is by far the most satisfactory way of treating hypothermia.  It was the only thing that could have saved the recent Meregill victim.  But on that occasion, although they had four hours to prepare it, they had no telephone (someone dropped them on the way) and so no precise information about the subject the other side of the sump.

This brings me to my big point.  Reading about emergencies passes the time and whets the appetite.  It is of no practical good.  To learn how to deal with case of near drowning you must take a life saving course.  Barry Lane and I did this last year and found it very useful.  We are this winter conducting classes for the Bronze Medallion of the Royal Life Saving Society from early October to mid-December and would welcome cavers who can swim.  The classes are from 6.30 to 7.30pm in the University Swimming Bath, Queen’s Road, Bristol 8.  Entry for visitors 2/6.  Entrance fee for examination 5/-.  Temperature of water 81oF.

Come and learn how to do it properly.

Oliver C. Lloyd M.D.
Hon. Sec.
Mendip Rescue Organisation.


Operation ‘Alpha’ – Ogof Ffynnon Ddu

Member may not realise that B.E.C. members were looking for the elusive O.F.D. II soon after its discovery in 1946…the following is an account from the Club log of a C.D.G. meet on 15th – 16th November 1946 by the late Don Coase.

Present B.E.C.  D.A. Coase, G. Lucy, A. Hill.

OTHERS.  G. Balcombe, C.P. Weaver, J. Parkes, P. Harvey also numerous other people of the S.W.C.C.

The Bristol contingent travelled by road in convoy, or at least that was the idea, on Friday evening in pouring rain.  Coase and Lucy on that temperamental steed “Rasputin”.  (The writer feels that owing to his service to first, the Hon. Sec. and now to the Hut warden, Rasputin deserves a place in these records.  In fact Rasputin really deserves to become Honorary Life Member). + The convoy was in bits as far as Gloucester, then reunited for refreshment.  Then the cars departed and despite some masterly driving by Coase was unable to catch them up.  Then owing to a leaky carb. petrol ran out and pushing the bike for ¾ mile to a garage was the consequence.

Then, to make up for the delay, some furious driving resulted. Along the winding hilly road across the Forest of Dean with a patchy mist to assist matters. This resulted in some amazing cornering on Z bends but luckily the bank was never scraped hard enough to cause a spill.

A short halt was made at Crickhowell for cocoa which Lucy produced and to tie the bike together again. Setting off once more with Lucy at the ‘controls’.  We hadn’t gone 4 miles when the primary chain broke.

This was awkward, as the rucksack with the tools was in the Weavers car.  So the two intrepid adventurers spent the night in a manger about 12” wide by 12ft. long with sufficient straw to lie upon.  Next morning after a chilly and uncomfortable night, the first bus to Abergavenny was caught.  After waiting on the doorstep for Halfords to open at 9 a new chain was purchased and the 9.15 bus taken back to the bike.

A car was stopped, tools borrowed, chain fitted and then off again at 10.30 and the Gwyn was reached at 12. Here Mrs. Price kindly found some grub. Then off to Danny Lewis’ where Mrs. Lewis welcomed us.  After contacting the gang who were already shifting gear into the cave, a return was made to a jolly fine lunch at Danny’s.

Then the operation really began.  After the kits were checked at the barn, they were packed in small (?) parcels and everyone duly loaded set off into the cave at about 4pm.  After much fun and games especially crossing the pots the sump was at last reached.  The major trouble was found to be, that while passing the stuff from hand to hand, the person at the end had nowhere to park the gear in the dry.  This meant hanging stuff on odd projections on the walls which required some delicate balancing.  This difficulty may, to a slight extent, crop up during ‘Operation Gough’ in Swildons.

A base was established on a small ledge where the three divers tried to dress.  The outstanding spectacle was Weaver and the writer in the nude, feeling quite warm, while the other poor ‘bods’ hung around in wet caving things.  Weaver and the writer were cunning!  They changed into dry togs, but Balcombe just jumped (?) into his diving dress as he stood. I don’t think he even wrung his socks out.  Brave man, me, I’m not so tough as that.

At last, after a confused struggle in the gloom, each diver having pushed the others around a bit to get more room for himself, all was ready.  As it was Weavers pet pool, in he went trailing flex behind him.  After some time, he returned and said after 8’ or so, the way on was along a “dirty little rift”, about 1ft. wide, and was pretty hopeless.  Graham then gave me the high honour of seeing what I thought of it, so I went in.

It was as CPW had said, a ‘dirty little rift’, but not quite so narrow as all that, at least 18” wide. So I inserted myself and got into it, though not without some horrid scratching sounds on my suit.  To make it worse, the ‘dirty little rift’ was lined with fossils.  However, once in I pressed on regardless and went some way down it.  At last I felt a bit lonely and I wasn’t sure whether Graham would approve of going down the ‘dirty little rift’ so I beat a retreat and reached base without springing a leak.

Graham then went in to looksee and whilst he was engaged in “aquatic sports”.  Someone produced a cup of ‘OXO’.  This certainly went down well.  Blessings on the heads of the OXO brewers.  At last Graham returned and said he had gone down a small drop ‘The Pit’, and that the way on was down a small tube, leading down the strike and to the right.  This was not very helpful, but CPW went to see for himself and I followed him.

To start with, my face mask leaked violently, but Graham managed to adjust it for me.  CPW tried to get down his ‘dirty little rift’ but couldn’t make it, so beckoned me to go on.  After a struggle I crawled over him and went on down.  The rift didn’t seem so bad this time, perhaps because I was using Aflo, which gave more light than CPW’s torch.  I floated down the drop off and was just looking at the way on, when my blasted facemask started to leak violently again.  Coupled to this, my nose clip slipped half off, so decided to get out quick.  So I turned off the main light of Aflo, and using my emergency torch went back up the rift. Halfway along I bumped into Weaver who was coming down backwards, so I tapped out distress signals on his posterior, whereupon he retreated and enabled me to reach fresh (?) air again where I was able to drain off a bit.  The OXO wallah again dashed over with more of his warming brew.

CPW then went in again to retrieve Aflo, but wasn’t able to get down this ‘Pit’ and reach it.  So I went in again, after making sure that my face mask was sealing properly.  The ‘dirty little rift’ was becoming quite friendly by this time.  Arriving at the bottom of the ’Pit’ I decide to try and have another shot at inspecting the strike passage.  It was certainly too small to get through without considering the risk of getting fouled, altho’ it would be an easy crawl if it were a common garden dry passage.

I then detached the guide line and was just going to start back when I began to float off the bottom. This was rather shaking.  After turning off the oxygen, I tried to free the relief valve on the breathing bag which I presumed had fouled under the canvas’ horse collar’.  By this time I was stuck to the roof and had to let go the Aflo which robbed me of quite a lot of extra ballast.  I found I could not reach the valve owing to the restricted space I was in.  What with buoyancy and the force of the current I war shooting up the passage at quite a speed.  I could see the lights at the surface but how far away they seemed! All of a sudden I was at the surface again to my considerable relief.  The ‘dirty little rift’ has laughed last.

So it fell to Graham (Balcombe) in the end to retrieve the Aflo without incident and to conclude officially Operation ‘Alpha’.

Then the pleasure of undressing and changing back into wet caving things; then packing up and getting out of the cave about which the least said the better.  The gear was at last thankfully dumped in the barn and Coase and Lucy returned to Danny Lewis’ where a meal was ready, and after a conflab, bed.

Was it worth it?  For me, ‘Yes’.  I learnt quite a lot.  Although the operation did not lead us to miles of passages, I, as a diver, gained in experience, ready for the next trap.

+ “Rasputin” was Don Coase’s motorcycle.



B.E.C. Publications Department is proud to announce the publication of PART 1 of ‘Alfie’s’ Spelaeodes on Saturday OCTOBER 4th. 1969.  PRICE 4/-  30pp. with illustrations by JOCK ORR…..

PART 1 includes the tales of

Sammay Smayle

Freddy Fry

  And Kenneth Lyle and his Caving Machine.

The Spelaeodes are being issued in three parts, Part 2 being published just before Christmas. Purchasers of all parts can obtain (from ‘Wig’) a plastic binder to bind all three parts as a single volume when they are finally published in February next year.

Members wishing to have Part 1 sent through the post to them can take the advantage of getting them on publication day at 4/- post paid.  This part will be sent in flat envelopes.

Orders for this publication may be sent to either ‘Wig’ (Dave Irwin, 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3) or Bryan Ellis, Knockauns, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset. To ensure getting your copies on time make sure you order is in by September 20th together with the cash (no stamps please).  REMEMBER THE PROFIT FROM THE SALE OF THE SPELEAODES WILL BE GIVEN TO THE HUT FUND.




                                                                        NOW to avoid disappointment

When you discover that they have been out of print for months.


Monthly Notes No.26

By ‘Wig’

Members will have noticed the work programme in the June issue of the BB – I hope that this will encourage more members ‘on the Hill’ to give a hand.  There are several sites being worked – all show real signs of going quickly.  Last year work in East Twin resulted in a new survey and an interesting new digging site. For a short spell this dig was pushed with Keith Franklin, Dave Irwin and John Riley – though extremely awkward and muddy it revealed the top of an arch into which the stream is flowing. Left for the winter, and other work in St. Cuthbert’s, the increased size of the winter stream did a lot of work for us.  A rift was opened up to a depth of 40ft. and is reported to be still going.  If this depth is correct then it now forms the lowest part of East Twin.  ‘Wig’, Norman Petty and John Riley will be working the site early in August.  The results will appear in the next issue of the B.B.

Another point of interest is in the Rabbit Warren Extension (St. Cuthbert’s).  Dave Turner, gathering material for the Cuthbert’s Report, entered a passage where the sound of a ‘large’ stream could be heard.  This is of considerable interest because if this IS a large stream then there is a very good chance of getting into the upstream reaches of the Plantation Stream.  The other point of interest lies at the top of Cerberus Rift.  A tight high level passage, discovered just after the Spring Holiday, needs chipping open.  A three foot high passage leads on up dip.  Again details of any further discoveries will appear in the B.B.

Weather Reports In Yorkshire

Arrangements have been made by the C.N.C.C. to have local weather reports on display at the following points (weekends only):

1.                  Front door of the Spindle Tree Café, Clapham….5.00pm.

2.                  Interior of National Park Information Centre, Clapham.  Whenever centre is open.

3.                  Penyhghent Café, Horton-in-Ribblesdale…5.15pm.

4.                  Notice board at the Police Station, Ingleton, early evenings (time uncertain as station not continually manned).

By telephone:

1.                  Penyhghent Café, Horton-in-Ribblesdale (tel. Horton-in-Ribblesdale 257)…5.15pm.

2.                  +National Park Information Centre (Clapham 419) 11.00am (until 4.30pm Saturdays and Sundays)


3.                  Settle Police Station (Settle 2542)..5.30pm

4.                  +Head Warden, Yorkshire Dales National Park (FRIDAY EVENINGS ONLY – if not otherwise on duty) (Airton 256) ..6.30pm to 10.00pm.

+          Although only available at limited times, the National Park Information Service will endeavour to provide information on current weather conditions in addition to reading the forecast.  Please ask for any information you feel would be of help.  (Reprinted from N.C.C. Newsletter No.31 (June 1969).

New Lifelines

The committee have authorised then purchase of 600ft. of full weight nylon to be cut to various lengths.

Members are reminded that all tackle must be returned to the store where necessary, folded coiled and washed.  An unknown borrower recently returned ladder L14 in such a state that he left it in the changing room for John Riley and ‘Wig’ to discover.  The ladder is NO LONGER IN A USEABLE CONDITION.  Several of the wires have broken rendering the cable unsafe to a point that anyone attempted to climb they wouldn’t reach the top. The Committee take very dim view of the attitude of some members with respect to tackle and they warn that if any member is found misusing tackle they will take action that will be most unpleasant for him.

C.R.G. Foreign Language Library

C.R.G. Newsletter Nos. 115 and 116 contain lists of part of their Foreign section of the C.R.G. Library. Publications mentioned cover caves and caving in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy.  The list is to be continued in future newsletters.  (In B.E.C. Library).

Charterhouse Caving Committee

Hon. Sec.’s address:

A.J. Knibbs, 2 Rectory Lane, Byefleet, Surrey.

New G.B. Survey

published by U.B.S.S. Price 4/-  (In B.E.C. Library).

A revised plan survey of G.B. was released with their Jubilee Issue of Proceedings.  This survey is now available separately from Bryan Ellis, Knockauns, Combwich, Bridgwater, Som.

It is a great pity that the U.B.S.S. cannot produce a completed survey of the system showing elevations and sections.  The relationship of one passage to another could be of real interest to the caver; or is it perhaps that the U.B.S.S. do not want this information available generally?

The plan shows all the new extensions and all known passages.

HUT WARDEN CHANGES:  Recently Bob Cross was appointed Assistant Hut Warden but his move to Southampton has made this task rather difficult to carry out. In his place the Committee have appointed Chris (Zot) Harvey, Jock Orr, Martin Webster and Dick Wickens – all Assistant hut Wardens until the A.G.M. when the position of Hut wardens can be discussed in detail.


                                                THE B.E.C. GET EVERWHERE---

Recently a party was held in George Pointing’s caravan, now installed on the W++e+ site at Upper Pitts, including ‘Alfie’, Phil Davies, George (of course), Dave Berry, Sally xxx (oops – Ed) Merrett among others.  As the party didn’t break up until early morning most were not in a fit state to get home an so unknown to ‘Chairman’ Hanwell, Upper Pitts was declared open and the party continued inside the ‘Gin Palace’.  So, the B.E.C. have been there first and to prove it they have left their beer stains.


The Use of a Barometer in Cave Surveying

By R.D. Stenner

For quickly checking the altitude at any point in a cave and for producing a survey of the surface contours above a cave system and the value of a sufficiently accurate and portable barometer is obvious.  The instrument has a place in rapidly surveying a system which is essentially vertical, in nature, used with a clinometers and compass.  The combination of instruments can be used to survey continental shafts that may be hundreds of feet deep, and the resulting survey can be as accurate as one produced using a tape, providing that the precautions outlined in the following article are followed.

There are two types of instrument that can be used.  The first is a capsule barometer calibrated to measure air pressure in millibars. One can read this instrument to an estimated 0.01mb. measuring differences of heights to ±0.3ft. representing a precision of one part in 105.  Such instruments are expensive.  The second type of instrument is an ex. W.D. altimeter, which is an aneroid barometer calibrated to measure altitudes directly.  The instrument most commonly available is calibrated at intervals of 20ft. and readings can be taken to be estimated to ±5ft.  Altimeter readings need to be corrected for temperature and relative humidity.  Both instruments have the same method of operation.

Air pressure varies in a complex way.  In some conditions an unstable inversion of layers can make any barometric survey unreliable.  In settled weather with a steady blight wind, pressure variations will be approximately linear.  In such conditions it is permissible to use a single instrument, duplicating readings at one station to obtain the correction graph.  The time of reading should be noted, and the air temperature should be measured.  In stormy weather and especially in thundery weather rapid and irregular changes in air pressure can take place.  If it is necessary to make a barometric survey in these conditions a second instrument should be used on the surface to obtain a correction graph.  If a strong draught such as may be met in a narrow constriction or at a pitch where a considerable volume of water is falling in a narrow shaft, and is strong enough to extinguish a carbide flame that may be a pressure difference big enough to cause considerable error.

All aneroid barometers must be tapped lightly before a reading is made.

The Calculation of the Results.

The change of height between two stations is related to the change of air pressure.  The relationship can be expressed mathematically by the following equation:

H =   x   x

h:  increase in height from station 1 to station 2

t:  mean temperature in 0oF

po:  air pressure in millibars at station 1

p:  air pressure in millibars at station 2

go: local value of gravity in C.G.S. units

gm:  mean value of gravity, 970.67c./sec2

wm = water vapour pressure at t0F x relative humidity divided by pm.

Pm:  mean pressure between stations 1 and 2

The local value of gravity can be calculated.

g(seal level) = 978.05 (1 + 0.005288sin2Ø – 0.000006sin2Ø)

where Ø is the latitude.

gn = g(sea level) – 0.000309H + 0.000042 ÓH

where Ó is the density of the mountain and H is the altitude.

If a Fortin barometer is used to calibrate a barometer or an altitude the readings must be corrected as follows:

Lc = Lt 1 - 

Lt: height of mercury column in cm at toC

Lc:  corrected height

 C: 0.0001818 per oC

 :  0.0000184 per oC

L.o.g. = pressure in dynes cm-2

Gn: mean value of gravity, 980.67 cm/sec-2

This is the pressure at standard gravity, and with go as before, and the mercury barometer calibrated for standard gravity.  The readings can be corrected for the local value of gravity as follows;

hn = ho x

hn: corrected reading                              ho:  observed reading


The gravity corrections are usually negligible, and leaving them out gives an error usually less than 1%. Neglecting the humidity gives an error of 0.5% at 50oF and 100% relative humidity.  An error of 5oF gives an error of 0.9%.  An error of 0.1mb gives an error of 3ft.

Examples of the Use of Barometers in Cave Surveying.

1. A sensitive capsule was loaned to the Bristol Exploration Club by the makers, Mechanism Ltd., of Croydon, for evaluation of the instrument.  The micrometer could be read to 0.05mb, and the electrical contact was sensitive to vertical movements of 6 inches.  The instrument was mounted in a wooden box measuring 9” x 9” x 7”.

A barometric survey was made by Roger Stenner and George Honey in St. Cuthbert’s Swallet, on 2nd August 1959, using the instrument.  The trip was deliberately lengthened to almost eleven hours.  Readings were taken at the entrance at the beginning and the end of the trip to enable the readings to be corrected (assuming a linear change of air pressure at the surface) and to test the correction, readings were duplicated at one station (High Chamber) with a time interval of five hours.  When the barometric survey was made the cave was un-surveyed, but it is now possible to evaluate the measurements.

Air temperature measurements in the cave have shown the air temperature to be fairly constant at about 10.5oC and the Relative Humidity 100% (Burt and Petty, 1958, pp -5; Petty, 1957, pp.3-4).

The equation becomes:  h = 54790 x 

The stations: -

1 – top of the Old Entrance Shaft.


2 – floor of passage from Entrance Pitch to Arête Pitch.


3 – Arête Chamber to top of Arête Boulder.


4 – floor of passage to wire rift.


5 – Mud Hall, bottom rung of ladder.


6 – Boulder Chamber, near Kanchenjunga.


7 – Upper Traverse Chamber.


8 – High Chamber floor.


9 – High Chamber floor.


10 – Main Stream, Plantation Junction.


11 – Main Stream, Beehive Chamber.


12 – Gour Hall, lip of Great Gour


13 – Main Stream, bottom of the gours.


14 – Main Stream, the Duck.



Time hours

Air Press. mb

Corr’d Press mb

Depth feet

Height ab. O.D. feet

O.D. ht. from survey ft.

Difference feet

























































































































The agreement is good enough to show the useful ness of a single accurate barometer, used in stable weather conditions, and the value of such an instrument (use in conjunction with a clinometer and compass on a combined head) in an essentially vertical pothole, is obvious.  The variation between stations 1 & 4 may be due to a variation in air temperature near the cave entrance, warmer surface air being drawn into the cave.

2.  A. Single ex W.D. altimeter used in stable weather to survey surface features.

The surface features in the neighbourhood of St. Cuthbert’s Swallet were surveyed by Roger Stenner, Dave Irwin and Alan Thomas.  On April 2nd, 1966 a single line survey was taken across the valley from the cave entrance to Plantation Swallet by conventional cave surveying techniques, and a number of stations were marked.  Using this line as a base line, the depression was surveyed on April 3rd. 1966 using a compass and the altimeter.  The plan position of features in the depression were fixed by triangulation, using the compass.  The altitude of the features were determined by moving around the features in an anticlockwise direction estimating the altimeter readings to two feet.  Readings were repeated at the starting point, the cave entrance, and the rest of the readings were corrected.  The whole set of readings (and the corrections) were repeated, moving in a clockwise direction.  The corrected altitudes were compared.  In most cases the readings differed by less than two feet, in which case the mean was used. If corrected values differed by more than two feet the determination was repeated.

By this method the surface depression above St. Cuthbert’s Swallet was surveyed quickly and to the required accuracy.  The altimeter was free from the common fault of sticking and thus being unresponsive to small altitude changes.  Altitude measurements made that day were quoted as having a precision of ± 1ft.

3.  The use of two ex-W.D. altimeters in unstable weather conditions.

During August 1967 an expedition was made to the Ahnenschacht, in Totesgebirge, Austria, by members of the B.E.C.  During the expedition a series of altimeter readings was made at the surface by the writer, while Alan Thomas made a series of altimeter readings in the Ahnenschacht, over a period of 32½ hours.

The measurements were started during a fine hot spell and during the first night a thunderstorm swept the mountain.  The following day was dry and windy, but the night brought another thunderstorm, and ten hours of heavy rain that put an end to the assault on the final unexplored shaft. The results of the measurements made in the cave are shown in figure 1.  Results of the measurements made in the cave are shown in the following table: -


1  Entrance.


2  Top of Pitch 5.


3  Top of Pitch 9


4  Foot of Pitch 10.





Time (hrs)

Altitude Ft.

Correction (ft.)

Corr. Alt. (ft.)

Depth (ft.)

























































The altitudes quoted are relative to an arbitrary value of 5,000ft. for the base camp.  Apart from the second reading at station 4, the mean will agree to ±6ft., even in these unsuitable weather conditions.  At the time of the second reading at station 4 was made the air pressure at the surface was varying rapidly, and an error in time measurement of only ten minutes at the surface would bring the value of the depth to 460ft.  Figure 1 demonstrates the need for the second instrument if the weather is unsettled, or if the measurements have to be made over a long period of time.  Both of the altimeters were sticking at the time.

The Ahnenschacht is a cave which lends itself ideally to survey by the combination of accurate barometer, compass and clinometer, provided that the clinometer mounting allows for readings of ± 90o (degrees).


Odds and –ods!

Lost Johns ( Yorkshire) – another 1600ft. of passage discovered.

Dave Brook (ULSA) broke his collar bone forcing a squeeze 300ft. below the Allotment.

From the papers – Times (7-8-69): Lascaux Caves; the French Government has doubled the number of visitors into the cave to 10 per day.  The 20,000 year old paintings were attacked with fungus and the cave closed in 1963.  Last year the French allowed 5 visitors a day.

Guardian (?-8-69) – New chamber has been discovered in the Burgos Province, Spain, whose walls are covered with cave paintings.  Antelopes, Horses, stags and goats are represented; many animals are shown with their young or with unborn progeny in the womb.

A New Editorial Staff Service!!

On odd occasions members ask various questions about caving topics and some, though most are, not easily answered.  So far the benefit of those members a new series of ‘question and answer’ will appear from time to time in the B.B.  To set the ball rolling a member recently asked the meaning of the words ‘polje’, ponor, doline.  All of theses words seem to mean the same thing.  Do they and what do they mean?

Towards the end of the last century, a Serbo-Croatian geographer, Cvijic, described in detail the Yugoslavian limestone areas on the Adriatic coast.  Naturally he used a lot of Serbo-Croatian words to describe the features, peculiar to the area; one of these was the word ‘a bleak waterless place’ – Kras.  This type of area then becomes known as Karst.  I do not wish to enter into the arguments concerning the correct meaning of Karst; the definition which I prefer is that of Thornbury (1954): ‘The word karst is a comprehensive term applied to limestone and dolomite areas that possess a topography peculiar to and dependant upon underground solution and the diversion of surface waters to underground routes.’

There are of course a large number of English words which describe Karst features: words which differ from county to county.  Similarly, there are a large number of words in French and German performing the same task. In 1956 the Report of a Commission on Karts Phenomena set up the International Geographical Union, but made no mention of English words.  We are therefore left with foreign term; many of which are frequently misused.

If the writer really wants to read up on the subject, he should start by reading M.M. Sweetings article, ‘The Karstlands of Jamaica’, in The Geographical Journal, 124, 184-199. Meanwhile he may note that ‘doline’ means a pit at the bottom of which soil can be worked; a polje’ is a closed or almost closed valley up to 100 square miles of flat floor which may be flooded annually, and is of great importance of the local agriculture; a ‘ponor’ is a vertical shaft leading from the surface to a cave, ‘aven’ in French.

Finally, rather than use a dictionary or encyclopaedia to look up these terms the questioner would be well advised to use ‘A Glossary of Geographical Terms’ (ed: Sir Dudley Stamp, Longmans) as this goes more deeply into the differing opinions which usually exist concerning definitions of this type.


B.B. changes promised at the 1968 A.G.M.

For many reasons the changes promised at the last A.G.M. have not materialised, one might say, another bout of broken promises by the editor.  The main problem has been how the changes should be brought about and their relationship with the Caving Reports.  In the past it has been the policy of previous Editors to keep articles to a few words so as not to have a ‘series’ appearing in the B.B. serialised articles have never been popular because they tend to lack any form of continuity.  Yet they had to appear in the B.B. as they were too short for a caving report.  It appears to your Editor that a compromise situation has been with us for some time and the proposed changes to the B.B. should overcome this problem.  Member’s comments in the form of Letters to the Editor will be welcomed by the Editor for the September B.B. so that other members can feel the general trend before its discussed at the A.G.M.

With the generally larger B.B. (whether the material content is to members liking is quite another matter!) it has tended to produce quite a heavy work loading onto the B.B. Editor and the many helpers.  The major problem has been to keep to a time schedule each month by typing up to 22 stencils (38 last December) at about 25 mins.  A stencil, printing and getting the B.B. out on time.  With this in mind, the proposed changes will take care of the situation.  Well then what are the changes?  If members agree to them your Editor would like to see them introduced at the beginning of the next Volume next January.

The Belfry Bulletin will revert, as it title suggests, to simply a club newssheet of about 4 pages giving all the club news, comments ‘dirty washing’ letters, caving and climbing programmes, scandal, etc., which will run in the same numbering sequence as the present B.B.  Running parallel with the monthly B.B. will be a new publication, appearing three times a year entitled BELFRY JOURNAL which will be solely designed for caving and climbing topics with the mixture of reviews, photographs, surveys, route maps etc.  This publication will be free to members and contain some 40 – 50 pages of material, thus ensuring that the longer articles appearing in their entirety and allow the Editor more time to prepare the material than he has at the moment.

The B.B. will not be sold or exchanged but those clubs that exchange with us at the moment and the B.B. subscribers will receive the Belfry Journal instead.  The Committee has give its permission to purchase a second hand off-set litho machine and so the Journal and Caving Reports will be printed on this machine.  Not only will the print appear clearer than the Gestetner method it is a much more versatile medium in that photographs and line diagrams can be produced to such a high quality that it becomes difficult to determine the differences between this method and the half-toned printing block.  The cost, too, is generally lower.