Hon. Sec: A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston s Mare, Somerset.
Hon. Editor: - S.J. Collins, Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol



The ninth of May has come and gone, and our new Belfry has been officially opened in reasonable B.E.C. fashion, for which event thanks are particularly due to the organisers, Pete and Joyce Franklin.

On Monday, the 15th of September last, the club was faced with the destruction of the Belfry and the necessity of finding a sum in excess of £3,000 very rapidly.  The alternatives would have been to abandon a Mendip headquarters for some time, or to put up some new temporary building, and thus push the problem of getting the club properly established on Mendip back for a long while.

By the ninth of May, two hundred and thirty six days after the fire, the club formally took possession of its new hut, and the formidable sum of money has almost been raised.  We can now actually pay every penny for the new Belfry, although this still leaves us with some debts and very little money for running the club over the rest of this year.

It would not be fair to single out individuals for the part which they have played in making this near miracle take place.  At its first meeting, the Committee agreed that it must be collectively responsible for the success or failure of the putting up and financing of the new Belfry. An editorial vote of thanks for their success would surely not be out of place on this happy occasion.

Temporary Emigration

It is with regret that we must announce that an assignment to the U.S.A. –  the land of the wigwam and of places like Wisconsin – has taken our Committee Chairman, Dave Irwin – better known as the Wig  –  away from Mendip for

a while.  Even sadder is the fact that he will almost certainly not be able to attend the A.G.M. and dinner this year.  He has had to resign from the Committee, but hopes to be back with us as soon as his work permits – unless, of course, he is made president of the national Spelaeological Association of America!  Seriously, we wish him a good trip and a speedy return.


Committee Changes

Owing to Dave Irwin’s absence, Gordon Tilly has offered to take over the production of caving reports. Bryan Ellis has agreed to be responsible for their sale.  Alfie has been elected Chairman of the Committee.  Other committee posts will remain unchanged.  The committee is now, A. Thomas, Hon. Sec.; R. Bagshaw, Hon. Treas.; R. Wickens, Caving Sec.; P. Atwell, Climbing Sec.; P. Franklin, Hut Warden; J. Riley, Belfry Engineer; N. Petty, Tacklemaster; T. Hodgson, Assit. Hut Warden; A. Collins, Chairman & B.B. Editor.


Car Pot

By Martin Hauan

On Friday, 27th March, a party of seven, made up from B.E.C. and Shepton members, made a descent of the infamous Car Pot.  Those in the party were Bob Mehew, Brian Woodward, Bob Craig (Crange) John Riley, Martin Webster, Martin Mills (Milch) and myself.  The weather was fair as we tramped over the fells to the Allotment by way of Trow Gill.  Each of us was secretly making up excuses to opt out of doing this notoriously tight hole. John Riley looked a bit fatter than usual probably due to the dozen or so sweaters he’d put on in an attempt to add those extra inches which would decide his fate.

The party gathered around the entrance, each waiting for the other to make the first move.  Cowardice overcome, we laddered the first pitch of forty five feet.  It was an easy climb, made somewhat awkward withy the hands full of ladders and ropes. At the bottom, the way on was through a small crawl which opened out into the top of the second pitch.  This pitch of twenty five feet was an easy climb.  At the bottom, a sideways slide and a ten foot drop brought us to the start of the most famous part of this infamous hole – the notorious BAPTISTRY CRAWL.   Bob Mehew, our gallant leader, set off trailing a rope.  After many sweet words, Bob reached the far end. Tackle was then pulled through. Marin Webster followed the tackle through.  Crange then made his first attempt, but it failed.  Milch and myself then passed Crange and pushed on until we were at the head of the third pitch.  Meanwhile, John was finding trouble getting through the sideways slide, so, without any misgivings, John made his way to the surface with Brian who couldn’t even get into the slide!  Crange, the veteran of Black Shiver, eventually got the message that his efforts were in vain – the hole just wasn’t big enough.  So, with four bods through the crawl and three making their way to the surface, anxious not to miss a minute of their drinking time, we carried on the face all the difficulties that remained.

Bob and Martin had pushed on ahead, so Milch and myself eventually got round to following them. The third pitch of twenty five feet had an awkward take off.  At the bottom of the pitch, the way on was in a meandering rift that almost immediately opened out into the fourth pitch of fifty feet.  The landing on this fourth pitch was in a large rift.  At the head of the fifth pitch, an inlet came in from the side.  This fifth pitch of a hundred and thirty feet was made slightly damp by this.  The pitch is broken by a ledge about sixty feet down, so no individual climb in longer than sixty feet (surely 130 – 60 = 70 - Editor).  The bottom of this pitch was on a ledge some ten feet above the floor of the passage (sorry! That’s where the missing ten feet got to – Ed).  This is the ‘North Craven’ Passage.  Upstream, a mud bank with a ladder led to an extensive series of low passages, whilst downstream on the left of the passage was a small sump.  Continuing down the passage, a stream emerged from under a ruckle. Climbing the ruckle, one entered a large bedding plane.  The left side of this bedding plane is supposed to connect with the Far East Passage in Gaping Ghyll, through a four inch high passage.  Pushing on down the passage, you enter a largish chamber which, at the far side, has a stupendous stalactite, completely untouched.  The whole thing must be some ten feet in length and is a beautiful white.  Behind this, a muddy passage continues to a mud choke.  The formations in these lower passages vary from stalagmite bosses to delicate straws.  It is refreshing to find a place that still has its original atmosphere.  This atmosphere would almost certainly go if the Far East Passage was banged.  Without a doubt, the superb formations that make a fitting end to this equally superb hole would soon be smashed and the walls defaced.

Having seen all we wanted to, we started out.  The big pitch of one hundred and thirty feet was easy on the first part, but on the second part, the ladder cut across the shaft at an angle, and this tended to make one swing under the ladder for the last few feet.  This pitch was soon passed and the tackle coiled.  The fourth pitch was quickly passed and at the third pitch, tackle was hauled up the rift behind the ladder.  The actual climb was easy, but the take off was a problem. Baptistry Crawl was passed without too much difficulty.  With the most awkward parts of the pot passed, tackle hauling speeded up and the entrance pitch was soon reached.  With Bob at the top, and Martin half-way up, we hoped the tackle would not snag.  When Bob asked for some of the tackle to be tied on the rope, Milch just couldn’t resist tying everything on the rope just to see them suffer; and so up went the tackle with the ladder for the first pitch hooked on it.  That wasn’t planned!

Panic stricken, we watched the ladder rise.  Of course, we knew that they’d put the ladder down again – or rather, we hoped.  Many minutes later, the ladder appeared in the distance.  Relief. A quick climb and we were out. However, with no Crange, Brian of John in sight we had to carry all the tackle.  The walk over the fells was somewhat speeded up when it started to snow. A quick change, so that we didn’t miss any drinking time, and we were on our way.  The whole trip took only six hours, at the end of which you felt as if you had really achieved something.

The trip was very pleasing, the whole pot being very technical in the way of belays etc., which is a change from just bombing through large railway tunnels, mile after mile.

In order to catch up with the backlog of B.B.’s which have been held up for a variety of reasons, WE NEED ARTICLES, LETTERS ETC.  Have YOU done anything interesting lately?  Are YOU happy with the way that the B.B., the Belfry or the club is being run? Can YOU add any interesting comments to any of the articles which have appeared in the B.B. lately?  If you can, or aren’t or have (see above) why not write in to the Editor at Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol and tell him about it?  A short article note is always welcome.  An article is even more welcome.  Help us to get the B.B. back on time again!


April Committee Meeting

The April meeting of the Committee noted that the money from the sale of the barn to the S.M.C.C. was now in the hands if its solicitor, and would be paid into club funds as soon as the signing of the deeds was complete.  The new Belfry is insured, and full cover for various aspects is being investigated.  A hold up in the printing of the B.B. was noted, due to the fact that work on the new Belfry was taking priority. It was agreed that this must be so, but that other arrangements for printing would be sorted out as soon as possible.  Details of the progress of fitting out the Belfry continued to take up most of the remainder of the meeting.  A donation of 25 Oldham lamps has been received from Alan Coase, the proceeds of the sale of these to be put into the hut fund.  The committee would like to thank Alan for this generous gift.

Just a Sec

The committee have received the resignation of Dave Irwin with resignation.  Dave is off to the States for six months.  He will continue to edit the caving reports, but their production has been taken over now by Bryan Ellis and Gordon Tilly on a temporary basis.

The Southern General meeting of the C.R.G. will be at ABERCRAVE Welfare centre, Swansea Valley, on the 27-28th of June.  I can let anyone who is interested have all the details.

The B.S.A. National Conference and Exhibition will be held at the University of Nottingham from the 11th to the 13th of September.  Again, I can provide all details including the photo salon, for which I have application forms.

Don’t forget the B.E.C.’s exhibition opening in the City museum in June.  Nike Palmer has undertaken all the arrangements.

Monthly Notes

With Dave Irwin away in the states, an arrangement has been made for his feature on caving matters – Monthly Notes – to be carried on in his absence under a different authorship. We hope to be able to include Monthly notes again in the next issue of the B.B. – Ed.


The Encharted Mountain

by R.S. (Kangy King)
(Our man in France)

For me, our trip to the Aigues Tortes, to climb the Enchanted Mountain is inextricably mixed with memories of vintage pass- storming in a Citroen 2CV.

The Augues Tortes is a Spanish national Park to the East of Viella.  It is a beautiful place, well wooded, with sharp peaks and a gem of a mountain called Los Encantos which, I suppose, is the Spanish for enchanted. Anyway, it ought to be, for Los Encantos is rather fairy tale like, rising in a sheer wall split by a giant cleft and crowned with pinnacles, the whole reflected in the surface of a green lake.

The ‘Deux Chevaux’ by contrast, is entirely practical and was obviously conceived by a man with a morbid fear of being copied.  It is a “CV, or 425cc of pure slog, with bodywork which takes to pieces at the drop of a hat.  It rattles and flaps and bites fingers if you should slam the door with the windows flapped up and the hand on the sill.  When the window is not nipping fingers, it is smashing elbows – but it is possible to learn. Take changing a wheel for example. No jack?  Easy!  One man lifts one side of the 2CV while the other swaps wheels.  Petrol is ordered by the pint.

Heroically, Alan Bonner and I navigated across Spain form east to west following the most northerly of the roads, driving round each pothole and boulder, making for the Aigues Tortes. Zigzagging slowly upwards, hugging the hairpins and following the bets and least broken parts of the dirt mountain roads suddenly evoked the early days of motoring.  Upwind, the route was clear; downwind we were obscured by our own dust.  Bouncing and bumping over the ruts with only just enough power to surmount the next step in the track and with the uncertainty of ever reaching the top, this was a page out of motoring history.  The desperate attempts to conserve both tyres and momentum; the sense of achievement at the pass; and the feeling of being on a long journey were experiences not to be missed.

We arrived at Espot, the village at the entrance to the park.  The Michelin map clearly shows a road leading into the park.  What it does not show is the state of that road.  It beat us.  At mid-day, the 2CV ground to a halt on a steep section where a stream had washed away the surface to leave a rocky step.  We collected stones and dirt and made a ramp and tried again – and failed again.

It would be better, we reasoned, in the cool of the evening when the denser air would give more power. So we ate and drank and sunbathed and walked a bit and eventually tried again – and failed once again.

Our walk had not revealed any possible camp sites until well up the road.  It had also shown us Los Encantos and had wetted our appetite.  We had no alternative but to try another road on the west side of the park, so once again we emptied the 2CV of seats and slept in it.  The next day, we stormed the passes in our historic machine and finally, fuming, clattering, bouncing and pushing, fought our way into the most perfect of camp sites. It is a green meadow dotted with trees, close by a still lake.  It was here that we rested and plotted how best to assail the enchanted mountain.

Interesting enough, Los Encantos was a far from us as it could be and still be in the park.  We would, at least, see a lot of the park. So the plan was made.  We would carry a bivouac to the peak, as high as was possible.  The next day we would sort out a route and climb it.  Bravely we would leave the rope behind – and would manage without it, or retreat.  Light and fast – that would be our way!

The walk through the Aigues Tortes was full of interest and beauty.  Elegant peaks, still clear lakes and sparkling streams – all in blazing sunshine.  The long day ended with the onset of dusk and the collapse of me diplomatically, Alan thought we had gone far enough and, saved from further exertion, I gratefully prepared supper.  From the clearing in the forest, Los Encantos looked impossible.  At this angle, the frontal wall rose sheer.  The bounding ridge rose steeply and jaggedly leftwards from a col that in turn topped another wall.  We had hoped that we could outflank the mountain to avoid excessive difficulty, but the wall below the col seemed to scotch that idea, while the right hand ridge leading from the col formed the boundary of the valley we were in. We cursed the lack of rope and then logic that had made us leave it behind.  We very much wanted to climb.

The night was spent with Alan on an altar like stone in the middle of the clearing and with me at its foot. The ambience and the association of the altar caused at least one of the sleeper’s vivid dreams of creatures sniffing at quaking feet.  After all, the sleep-benumbed brain reasoned, this is a WILD LIFE park and the Pyrenean bear EXISTS.

It was rather nice when dawn came.  Breakfast over, the sacs hidden, landmarks memorised (bear tracks not found) we asset off to the wall below the col.  We carried only a bottle of water and a lump of Christmas pudding wrapped up in our lightweight anoraks.  The day, as usual, was set to be hot and clear.

With very little choice we made directly for the col, or rather the screes at the foot of the wall. As we topped an intervening ridge we had our first clue.  A scree fan ran from what must be a hidden gully.  We went straight to it and found about a thousand feet of gully, narrow but sufficiently inclined to climb easily without a rope.  It emerged on the col.  Directly ahead dropped away to a valley, to the left were twin towers of the summits of Los Encantos, immediately to the left was the only route to the nearest summit from here.  It was steep, exposed and narrow.  We wondered what to do, and looked at the right hand ridge of the col. It looked much easier and, feeling a little more cheerful, we thought that at least we could climb that.

We went to look at the first part of the way to our greatly desired peak.  A quick pull up a fifteen feet step gave access to a small meadow hollowed in the back of the ridge.  Leaning back, one could see the ridge continue in what appeared to be a series of overhangs.  We climbed cautiously up the wall at the back of the meadow and then, picking a line of weakness, climbed between two gendarmes to get to the ridge.

Two tiny figures gazed down into giddy nothing until their glance made out minute trees dotted amongst the screes.  As the mind became adjusted to the tremendous exposure, it was realised that, to continue, the exposure must be faced and accepted.  The way on was, in fact, on the other greatly exposed side of the ridge.

The climbing proved to be fairly easy.  The route finding however, was more difficult and slowly, step by step, we sorted out an acceptable route up the ridge.

The bathos of our arrival on the summit released all the tensions.  A herd of goats had got there first!  The friendly creatures nuzzled up to us and posed photographically for us against splendid views.  The summit is, in fact, a fairly substantial flat area and so we had no objection to them sharing it with us while we marvelled at their agility to get there. We discovered too, a small box containing a book.  There were about a dozen ascents recorded for the year, most of them in Spanish.  We were interested to see that a few weeks earlier an English pair had left their names in the book.  We decided to add ours.  On such a lightweight trip, we of course carried no pencil.  However, the very resourceful Bonner with a sliver of wood and a drop of blood (his!) succeeded in recording that Bonner and King of the B.E.C. had been there!

With our objective achieved and our names in blood on the summit, the pleasantly relaxed feeling gave way to a consideration of the next problem that of getting down and back to base. Crabtree’s solution to this problem was to close his eyes and walk about a bit.  Well, that might have been all right for Crabtree, but we didn’t feel it would be of much use to us.  We would like to have continued the ridge and gone to the next summit, but this looked as it would involve a fair amount of rock climbing, and we weren’t brave enough without a rope.  There is also a frontal gully which looked as if it might go easily, but we could not be sure and lacked the rope to get us out of trouble.  That left the airy way by which we had come.  Bit by bit we retraced our path; some time after, from the col, we were able to look up at the clean bright rock.

The gully went easily, despite several chutes of stones, leaving us to pick our way through the complicated rocks and vegetation below the gully to retrieve our rucksack.  By way of celebration, we decided to start walking.  We still had a long way to go.  Lunch; however, was a leisurely affair taken by a sparkling stream in the bright sunshine. Christmas pudding and soup, sardines and coffee.

Our walk home continued, and tea was taken at a rough Spanish cabin where we bought litre of wine. Half of this was consumed by us and the other half poured into the nearest stream – justifiably.  Leglessly, we sank into camp and subsided into our respective heaps to reflect on what we had done and to plan what we would do.

Mountains like that get into the blood.


Books Held in the Club Library

Many club members know that a fairly large selection of books are held in the club library.  A few members have even been known to borrow such books from time to time.  This list shows all of the books which are available for members to borrow.    If a number of members wish for a book to be added to the library, they should let the Hon. Librarian (Dave Searle) know and, provided that enough members want the book and/or the book is not too expensive, it can usually be added to the list.  A suggestion that the thickness of each book should be published, so that members might know what books to borrow to prop up the legs of tables, etc, was felt to be not in the best interests of library users.  The list follows: -



Texas, the caves of

Nat. Speleo. Soc., U.S.A.


Jenolan Caves ( Australia)

B. Dunlop.


Homes of Primeval Man

Josef Kunsky.


Wookey Hole, It’s Caves & cave Dwellings

H.E. Balch.


Cave Men, Old and New

N. Casteret.


My Caves

N. Casteret.


Ten Years under the Earth

N. Casteret.


The Cave Book

Earth Sci. Inst. ( U.S.A.)


Derbyshire, The Caves of

T.D. Ford (1st Ed.)


Mendip – Its Swallets Caves & Rock Shelters

H.E. Balch.


Mendip – The Great Cave of Wookey

H.E. Balch.


Mendip – Cheddar, its Gorge and Caves

H.E. Balch.


Mendip Caves, the

H.E. Balch.


Au Fond Des Gouffres

N. Casteret.


Cave Hunting

W. Boyd Dawkins.


Caves and Caving, Number 2



Underground Adventure

Gemmel and Meyers.


Caves of Adventure

H. Taziefe.


Adventures Underground

V.S. Wigmore & A.M.W.


Rouffignac, the cave of

Nougier & Robert.


British Caving (First Edition)

Ed. Cullingford, C.R.G.


Darkness under the Earth

B.W. Franke.


Caves and Caverns of Peakland

Crichton Porteus.


Pennine Underground (First Edition)

N. Thornber.


Underground in Furness

E.G. Holland.


Copper mines of Alderney Edge

“Jug” Jones.


Cyprus, some caves of

“Jug” Jones.


Scotland, some caves and mines

“Jug” Jones.




High Heaven (Fr.Dauphine)

Jacques Boell.


South Col (Everest 1953)

Wilfred Noyce.


First over Everest

Houston Exped. 1953.


Nandi Davi, the ascent of

B.W. Tilman.


Nanga Parbat, the Siege of

Paul Bauer.


Sandstone climbs in S.E. England

E.C. Pyatt.


Romance on the Rocks

C.A. Hall.


Climbs in the Canadian Rockies

F.S. Smythe.


Mount Everest – the reconnaissance, 1921

C. Howard-Bury.


Kamet Conquered

F.S. Smythe.



Maurice Hertzog.


Mount Everest, Epic of

F. Younghusband.



M. Banks.


Conquering of the Celestial Mountains

Yevgeny Simonov.


Kanchenjunga – the Untrodden Peak

F.S. Smythe.


Mountains of the Moon

P.M. Synge.


Climbing, Where to climb in the British Isles

E.C. Pyatt.


Mountains of Memory

A. Dunn.


Mountains Prospect



Mountains of Snowdonia, the

Carr & Lister.


Of Men and Mountains



Everest, the ascent of

J. Hunt.


Rockclimbing and mountaineering

C. Brunning.


Mountaineering, Readers Guide to

Library Assoc.


Britain ,Climbing in

J.E.Q. Barford.


Mountaineering, a short manual of

Burns, Shuttleworth.


Mid Moor and Mountain

Balsillie & Westwood.


Mountaineering, the Technique of

J.E.B. Wright.




South West Scotland

Ward, Lock and Bowdens.


Falls and Caves of Ingleton, the

J. Hamer.


Outdoor Guide, the

R. McCarthy.


Unbeaten Tracks

P.E. Barnes.


Wye valley

Ward, Locke and Co.



L.R. Muithead.


The Dorset Coast

G.M. Davies.


Cambrian Journey

R. Taylor.



C.R.B. Barrett.


Welsh Three Thousands, The,

T. Firbank.


Eastern Alps

Baedeker (1981).


Road Book of Scotland

A.A. Handbook.


Archaeology and Geology


Fossils, Birds, Reptiles & Amphibians

Br. Museum.


Fossils and Plants

Br. Museum.


History of Palaeontology

Br. Museum.



Patrick Geddes.


A.B.C. of Geology

A. Harvey.


Archaeological Remains

J.R. Garrod.


Geology in the Service of Man

Fearnsides & Bulman.


Geology and scenery

A.E. Trueman.


The Hampshire Basin & adjoining areas



Bristol and Gloucester District



Wells & Springs of Hertfordshire



River Scenery, Vale of Neath

F.J. North.


History of Devonshire Scenery

A.W. Clayden.


Prehistoric Britain

C. & J. Hawkes.


Britain’s Structure & Scenery

L.D. Stamp.


What Happened in history

G. Childe.


Geology around Weymouth



Progress and Archaeology

V.G. Childe.


Digging up the Past

L. Woolley.


Romance of Excavations, the

D. Masters.


Early Britain

J. hawkes.


Guide to Anglo-Saxon Antiquities

Br. Museum.


On the Track of Prehistoric Man

Herbert Kunn.


Reappraisal of Peruvian Archaeology

W.C. Bennett.


Man’s Journey through Time



Aragonite Spelaeoyhems as indicators of Palaeotemperature

G.W. Moore.


Water Pollution Research, 1946



Irish Cave Excavations

J.C. Coleman.



Belfry Opening Song

Having literally nothing to fill the last page of this B.B. with, it is proposed to publish the words of the song which was ‘performed’ at the opening of the new Belfry.  Older members may possibly be reminded of the past episodes in Belfry life by this potted history of our belfries in rhyme….

We are the exploration club, from pub to pub we roam,
But although we wander far and wide, the Belfry is our home.
Long years ago, the B.E.C. lads had no fixed address
And kipping in the nearest ditch caused members great distress
So we built a Belfry on the slag heap – right by Les Gadd’s cess
For whatever is worth doing, we will do it to excess.

One day old Beecham said to us, “You are a drunken crowd.
Your singing may be clever, but it feels amount too loud!
I’m fed up with your shouting, swearing, honking drunkenness
So I’ll let you have some land of mine where I can hear it less.”
So we moved the whole place down there like some dirty great express
For whatever is worth doing, we will do it to excess.

At last the Belfry fell down, and the new one stood alone
And bods said, “Let’s rebuild it in something tough, like stone!
We’ll get our stone for nothing,” they cried with craftiness
“But if we build in stone then very slowly we’ll progress.”
So we built a stone hut just for caving bods to wash and dress
For whatever is worth doing, we will do it to excess.

One day some blokes returning from the Hunter’s Lodge one night
Said, “Here’s a flaming turn up – the Belfry’s caught alight!”
Astonished cavers read next day in the Western Daily Press,
‘The Belfry’s all burnt down, blokes; it’s a write-off we confess.’
For whatever is worth doing, we will do it to excess.

The Long Term Plan Committee said, “We’ve a crafty plan
To build a brand new Belfry, if you lot think we can.
We’ll never get a grant in time, so it’s all off unless
We raise three thousand quid – it’s quite beyond our means, we guess.
So shall we build this Belfry, blokes?” – the club all shouted, “YES!”
For whatever is worth doing, we will do it to excess.

So now we have a new Belfry in a new and splendid state,
And, according to our motto, we’re here to celebrate.
On other clubs and weegees, we’ll once again impress
That no one can approach us when it comes to booziness
For when we get lit up like this, we damn nigh fluoresce!
For whatever is worth doing, we will do it to excess.

(A verse about putting up the ‘new’ wooden Belfry has been omitted through lack of space).


Stencils completed 17.6.70.