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Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset.
Hon Treas: - R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
EDITOR:  D.J. Irwin. 23 Camden Road, Bristol 3.

THE EDITORIAL STAFF WISH ALL READERS A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR

…and for your Christmas reading we offer the largest Belfry bulletin ever published – some 40 pages containing material from all quarters.

Accounts of this years visits to foreign parts including Austria, Ireland and France.  ‘Alfie’ concludes his series on the Route Severity Diagram and adds his usual Christmas contribution which is in competition with ‘Jok’ Orr’s piece of fiction ‘A Season of Goodwill’.  Jok tells me in passing that he had to do ‘one ‘ell of a lot of swotting for this piece of work – the auld cool!’  And for Mendip readers an account of the discoveries of Cuthbert’s 2 fills the exploration and new work – also an article by ‘Prew’ on the exploration of Shatter Hole – the latest of the big finds in Fairy Cave Quarry.

Editorial

Ethics

A letter from John Riley (page 183) raises an important point for discussion.  If a group of cavers are working a site of caving interest and are rewarded with a discovery small or large, do they have sole right of exploration?  This problem has not been with the Mendip community since the discovery of Nine Barrow Swallet.  In that particular instance cavers other than the digging teams explored the cave before the others had a chance to get to the cave.  Arguments put forward by some of the ‘trespassing’ explorers were ‘Well, I dug here in 1962’ (six years previously) and ‘Oh, well no-one seemed interested in pushing the place’.  Now with the discovery of St. Cuthbert’s 2 all and sundry are prepared to invade the place and push like ‘hell’ under the guise of ‘just having a look round at what you have found’.

Ever since I have been caving on Mendip, the B.E.C. above all has always attempted to keep to a high standard set of caving rules including the one that goes like this, ‘If you have found a new cave or extension then it’s your good luck – let me know when I can go and have a look’.  Unfortunately, even members of the B.E.C. are appearing to be above the law and pushing passages in the new section of St. Cuthbert’s 2.  I can only add – give the team a chance to ensure that the passing of the sump (Sump 1) is safe for tourist parties and push their discovery to its limit.  This will take most of the winter but please be patient; and above all it is hoped that the rest of the Cuthbert’s leaders will show the high standard of caving ethics that is expected of them.

It’s on the way up!

November 12th 1969 proved to be another landmark on the History of the B.E.C. for on that day the much talked about, much planned and much sweated for NEW BELFRY foundation trenches were dug. Members will no doubt be regularly visiting Mendip to inspect the building during its various stages of erection and to see just what they are getting for their money.  By close inspection of the plans and seeing the size of the ground plan it appears that we shall have nothing less than a very fine club ‘hut’.  A ‘hut’, although costing over £3,200, that will be both comfortable and functional. A ‘hut’ where there will be plenty of room for everyone to carry out his own personal requirements without falling over everyone’s feet.  As with all improvements they cost more to keep up.  The running costs of the new Belfry is likely to double those of the wooden building and so it is essential that the fullest possible use is made of the place in the future.  All one can add to this is ‘As a member of the B.E.C., why not spend an occasional weekend at the Belfry and meet the current crowd on Mendip – it hasn’t changed much and is just as friendly!  (For further details see ‘Just-a-Sec below.)

Finally Christmas is near and members will be whooping it up but the B.B. doesn’t close shop for any holiday but this is where I pack up and Mike Luckwill takes over – the best of luck Mike – and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all readers.

 ‘Wig’