Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481.BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele:  WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     D. Turner
Members:          R. Bagshaw; R. Hobbs; D.J. Irwin; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas;

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. Thomas, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. Large, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Assit. Cav. Sec. R. Bennett, 8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trim, Bristol BRISTOL 627813
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 27 Quantock Rd, Windmill Hill, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
Hut Warden:      R. Orr.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. Orr (Acting for the time being)
Tacklemaster:    M. Palmer. 27 Roman Way, Paulton, BS18 5XB
B.B. Editor:       S.J. Collins, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Publications:     D.J. Irwin.  Address as aboveB.B.
Post:    Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.




As hinted in these pages last month, the A.G.M. turned out in the event to be both a lively and a lengthy affair.  In the opinion of the editor, the club - like Phidippedes (the original marathon runner for the higgerunt!) came out well from this gruelling run, for which all concerned should be congratulated.

Firstly, the degree of interest shown by our members in the running of the club is, I feel, quite outstanding and some thing in which we can take pride.  Not only was there a record total of 52 members present at the A.G.M. but, when the proceedings had to be adjourned to the next day at the Belfry for another three hours, a full quorum - although not strictly necessary - was soon obtained and held during the remainder of the meeting.

Secondly, and of equal if not greater importance, was the degree of patience, tolerance and good humour which enabled the meeting to surmount what could have proved deeply naive issues.  In the event, we were able to discuss subjects on which members held strong and often opposing views in a manner which at once made these views clear without precluding reasonable solutions.  I am sure that if the committee and club continue to respect other people's sincerely held views and to retain their sense of humour, we shall be able to look back at the 1972 A.G.M. as one of the landmarks in the successful development of our club.

The Ian Dear Show

Nowhere was this ability which the B.E.C. has to laugh at itself more noticeable than in the good humoured way the procedural tangle surrounding the Ian Dear Memorial Fund got sorted out.  In spite of the dangers, so clearly stated, of attempting to put words into Ian's mouth; I feel sure that he would have enjoyed this section of the meeting.


The subject of how much information on club business should be circulated to members via the B.B. was left, by resolution, to the discretion of the editor.  The formal minutes will be circulated later but in this B.B. will be found a very short summary of the proceedings, which I hope will be enough to be going on with.

Candidates Reviewed

Apart from one complaint (From our Hon. Treasurer, who claims that his wife was easily able to pick out which of the candidates shown in the sketch was supposed to be Bob Bagshaw) people seemed to be satisfied with the arrangements.  This might encourage us to do the same next year.



Committee Notes

BELFRY ENGINEER.  In accordance with a resolution at the recent A.G.M., the Committee give notice that the post of Belfry Engineer is, in their opinion, vacant - there being no member of the committee who feels able to undertake this post.  At present, the duties of Belfry Engineer are being undertaken by the Hut Warden, but the committee feel that a separate person is desirable.  Applicants should be willing to spend a fair amount of time at the Belfry; be prepared to encourage others to help and be prepared to keep in close touch with the Hut Warden, Caving Secretary and any others who might be affected.  Applications should be received by the Hon. Sec. in writing before the 1st of December, 1972.  The position of Belfry Engineer is a committee post which will involve co-option. The committee reserve the right to select or refuse any applicant.

ASSISTANT HON. TREASURER. Bob Bagshaw wishes to pass on the treasurer's job to a successor at the end of the club financial year.  The committee are therefore advertising for a member who would be prepared to act as his assistant and to take over from the end of the financial year (31st July 1973).  Applications in writing to the Hon. Secretary by April 1st 1973.

The committee wish to thank John Cornwell for his donation of photographs.  Any further donations will be gratefully received and will be used to form the basis of a club collection.

Bearing in mind the wishes of the A.G.M. for club members to be kept informed on club business and the factors involved by other resolutions about the A.G.M. and dinner dates and the need to look into the publication of Club Officer’s Reports, the committee wish to make known a formal resolution proposed by Dave Irwin and seconded by Roy Bennett “That Club Officer’s Reports should be submitted in future by the club officers to the August meeting of the committee and subsequently published in the August or September B.B. after approval by the committee.  Reports NOT received by the August meeting will NOT be published in the B.B., but read out to the A.G.M.”  The voting in favour of this resolution was unanimous.

The committee wish to give notice that a sub-committee is to be formed to look into all matters connected with voting.  It is hoped that Mike Palmer will chair this sub-committee.  All members interested in this subject should contact any member of the committee.  It is hoped that members having a variety of different views will come forward in order that this subject can be looked into as widely as possible.

The Hon. Librarian would be grateful to hear from any member about books of interest which might be added to the club library.


Three smaller Caves of Wharfedale

DEREK SANDERSON sent in this article, which he says is a description of one afternoon and evening's caving while in Yorkshire.  The trip could be classed as a potter, though strenuous at times. Goes to show that all trips in Yorkshire are not too hairy.!

These caves were visited by Roger Wing (B.E.C.) Derek Sanderson (B.E.C.) and Keith Sanderson (W.C.C.) in an afternoon when the original plans to visit Darnbrook Pot and Cheery tree Hole had to be abandoned - access to these caves being denied at present following an accident in Cherry Tree Hole.

ROBIN HOOD'S CAVE. S.D. 978 657 LENGTH 960' Grade V

We underestimated the severity of this cave, and only allowed ourselves one hour for the trip, which proved to be far too short a time.  The entrance consists of a three foot diameter pipe running under the B6160. The pipe leads to a step up of a few feet, through a horizontal squeeze and into a low bedding plane.  There is about two feet between the flat roof and the broken floor, and progress is by slow painful crawling.  The rock is pale brown and dry.

After about a hundred and twenty feet of slow progress, the floor level drops slightly and one enters a low, wide flooded chamber with the roof dipping to the right below which the water makes its escape.  The water is startlingly clear and about a foot deep.  A further forty feet of crawling on all fours leads to a duck round a flake of rock and on to Connection Duck.  This duck is twelve feet long and should be treated with respect, as there is only two inches of airspace for much of its length, and that only in a narrow groove (the Nose Groove).  There is a hand line.  We floated through feet first.  Whilst in the duck, even the slightest movement can cause a small wave to swamp the nose, necessitating a hasty retreat.  We found this out the hard way.  The duck is not really feasible as a free dive as it ends abruptly.

At the far side of the duck, the streamway turns to the left in a small chamber (one can actually stand up!) but passes under a boulder after a few feet.  This forms a wet squeeze and gives access to a narrow rift. We climbed the powdery rocks, but could find no way on at high level.  However, a short crawl through boulders above the stream gives access to a bigger parallel rift.  A fifteen foot climb and traverse over loose boulders leads to a high level chamber of comparatively roomy dimensions.  From here, the upper route to the further reaches of the cave leads off.  This was first explored by the Craven Pothole Club in 1971.  By now, our allotted time was up and we returned to the surface.

There is a Grade 4CX survey of Robin hood's Cave in the C.P.C. Journal for 1971.  The danger of flooding should be borne in mind.

ELBOLTON POT S.E. 007 615  Length 500'  Depth 135' Grade III

On the summit of Elbolton Hill, half a mile west of Thorpe.  According to Northern Caves, Volume 19 the entrance is "15 yards west of cairn".  We found it to be a hundred yards S.E. of the cairn - in the next field!

A deep slit leads straight on to the entrance pitch of 55’.  Te problem here is to find a suitable belay point.  A short wooden stemple has been placed low down in the entrance slit but this seemed unsafe, so we removed a railway sleeper from the top of a nearby rift (we replaced it afterwards!) and used it as a belay point from outside the cave.

There is no problem about the pitch itself, but it is still reasonably impressive as it drops from the narrow entrance into an average sized chamber below.  From here, several ways lead off.  To the west (uphill) a narrow passage leads past a short muddy canal on the right and rises towards the surface before it ends in a choke. This seems to be leading towards the rift from which we removed the railway sleeper.  Directly behind the ladder, a passage leads off but not entered.

Walking downhill, one passes three drops on the right.  The first is a twenty foot pitch into the Grand Canyon.  This can be bypassed by descending either of the two remaining descents.  Both are climbable and lead into a horizontal rift-like passage which ends after about a hundred feet.  The last part seems to have been mined.  Some ten feet past the bottom of the third descent is a small tube on the right which leads directly into the Grand Canyon, at the lower end of which is the final pitch of twenty feet (belay to iron bar) into a terminal bedding chamber choked with mud.

The whole cave is muddy and similar in character to Hunters Hole.  The entrance pitch is the main at attraction.  Whilst sitting in the mud of the terminal chamber, a quiet voice was heard to say, "I hope nobody pulls the chain!"


FOSS GILL CAVE  S.D.  948 744   Length 899’ Grade  III

Major resurgence in the wood in the opposite side of the valley from Starbottom.  This is the most interesting and enjoyable of the three caves, being rich not in formations but in the variety of sculptured and scalloped rock.

There are two points of resurgence, a small lower cave on the left and the main cave above and on the right.  A low crawl in the water leads directly into the first of three fine short but deep canals, and instantly one is struck by the coldness of the water.  The first canal is about 70’ long and six feet deep at its upper end, though there are ledges three feet below the surface.  The canal is followed by a ‘T’ junction. Left leads towards the lower entrance while right leads upstream in a low crawl over smooth deep brown rock until a turn to the left leads to the second canal.

The second canal is shorter - about thirty feet - and not so deep and leads to a short length of stream passage with about five feet of headroom and containing raised ribs of rock just below the surface of the stream.  This breaks into a cross rift.   The way on is to the left, where a climb over boulders soon leads one into the third and the longest canal.

This third canal is about a hundred feet long, five feet deep and five feet wide and leads directly on to a low boulder pile beyond which is another 'T' junction.  Here, the stream can be clearly seen to bubble up from a hole in the floor.  To the right is a high rift whilst a tributary stream enters from the left. Following this stream, one enters a low, wide bedding plane (flat out crawling!) with mud banks either side of the small stream channel.  Fifty feet further on, the stream develops into a narrow rift containing a foot and a half of water.  Progress is made by wriggling on one's side.  An odd feature here is the redness of the rock and a sort of a rim stone ledge six inches above the water - formed by what appears to be mud coated with iron-rich calcite.

The rift widens slightly for a few feet, but narrows again, to a squeeze section about ten feet long which is immediately followed by an eight inch letterbox to the right.  Here, the nature of the cave changes to a horizontal bedding plane with gullies cut in the floor and with dark grey mud covering the surface.  After thirty feet of slithering, the way on appears to become too tight, but there is a strong draught.

It is worth while going out of one's way to pay a visit to Foss Gill Cave.  Whilst Northern Caves Volume I grades the cave as III, I agree with the author of the article on the, cave in the C.P.C. Journal for 1971 when he says, ‘I fully endorse the C.D.G.  Review comment that 'considerable exposure is involved in this cave which should be regarded as severe.’  After only a short time in the water, even with a good wet suit, one feels very cold.'

A Grade 4C survey can also be found in the C.P.C. Journal.


Have you been into any out-of-the-way caves lately?  Let us know about it if you have.  Guidebooks are all very well in their way, but you can't beat actual personal accounts of trips down lesser-known caves!


Open Letter To the Club

Member’s are encouraged to write to the B.B. on any topic connected with the club.  This letter raises a point which members may wish to develop further.

During the entertainment after the Annual Dinner, I was buttonholed by an attractive young lady in the Grotto Bar.  I was a disappointment to hear that she only wanted to talk politics.  Her complaint was twofold.  “Not only”, she said, "was the committee rather out of touch with the members of the club, but many members of the club were afraid to approach the committee with complaints or suggestions."

It is my belief that the committee are in touch and will do their best to right a wrong or take any other action PROVIDED THAT THEY KNOW ABOUT IT.  In my job as Quality Manager, I am probably better aware than many that in the hard world of business, a dissatisfied customer is a major problem which has to be corrected immediately.

If you feel that you have any complaint or constructive suggestion which could start an action leading to the advancement of the club, TELL THE COMMITTEE.  You can write or contact one of the members of the COMMITTEE or speak at a committee meeting.  If you are too shy (young, new, distant) to try any of these but are willing to talk to me I will discuss your suggestion with you and guarantee to support your case and put it to the committee.  I further guarantee that you will get action or a reasoned answer why not.

To sum up, it worries me that members could even think that the committee is unapproachable, and you can't really expect to get action to cure a fault until that fault is known.

If you have managed to read this so far, you may think "It's only that B. old fool Sett shouting his mouth off:!", but let me reassure you by saying that I have shown this letter to Dan Hassell, Nigel Taylor, Sue Gazzard, Dick Chandler and Sid Hobbs and they all agree with its sentiments and are prepared to act the same way as a sort of ombudsman if required.

R.A. Setterington (“Sett”)

Editor’s Note:    Well, there you are the.  It would seem difficult to imagine anyone who could still feel that his views are not getting over after this offer!

Dates for your Diary


Friday, November 3rd.

Friday Night Club.  Priddy Green Sink and clean up afterwards in Swildons.

Saturday, November 5th.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Gour Rift and completion of survey of Cuthbert’s II.  9 am at Belfry.

Saturday, November 11th.

Sunday Digging Team.  Foxes Hole, surveying.  Meet at Belfry 10 am.

Saturday, November 11th.

Club activity.  Log collection for winter fuel supply from forestry.

Saturday, November 11th.

Talk on home made wine making by Sett.  Theory plus brief question and answer session plus some wine tasting.  Winemakers pleas bring samples.  Everyone bring a glass.  7 pm at the Belfry.

Sunday November 12th.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Taping and transferring maypole to High Chamber.  Belfry at 9 am.

Saturday, November 18th.

Sunday Digging Team.  Burrington. Surveying small caves.  Belfry at 10 am.

Saturday, November 18th.

Friday Night Club.  South Wales. Meet 9.30 am at Penwyllt.

Sunday November 19th

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Gour Rift Dig.  Belfry at 9 am.

Sunday November 19th

CUTHBERT’S LEADER’S MEETING 2.30 pm at the Belfry.

Saturday, November 25th.

Cuthbert’s Practice Rescue.  10.30 am at the Belfry.

Sunday, November 26th.

Club Meet.  Coral Cave. Belfry at 10.30 am.

Sunday, November 26th 

Sunday Digging Team.  Coral Cave Surveying.  Belfry at 10 am.


Friday, December 1st.

Friday Night Club.  East Twin Valley with wet suits.

Sunday, December 3rd.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Gour Surveying in High Chamber.  Meet at Belfry 10 am.

Saturday, December 9th.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s Maypoling in September Chamber.    Meet at Belfry 10 am.

Sunday, December 10th.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  September Chamber or Gour Rift Dig.    Meet at Belfry 9 am.

Friday, December 15th.

Friday Night Club.   G.B. Permits essential.

Saturday December 16th.


Sunday, December 17th.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Gour Rift Dig. Belfry 9 am.

Saturday, December 30th

Friday Night Club.  Singing River Mine.  3 pm.


Saturday, January 13th.

Club Trip.  Banwell Caves.  Meet at Belfry 10.30 am.  See Tim Large for further details.


Half a Minute

A brief account of the main features of the Annual General Meeting.

Opening bang on time with no question as to whether a quorum was present or not, the meeting got off to a good start.  "Sett" was elected chairman.

After a query on the validity of the ballot papers, the preliminaries were soon over, with tellers duly appointed; member’s resolutions collected, and last year's minutes taken as read.  After a short discussion, the meeting went on to the Hon. Sec’s report, and his verbal additions to the published text.  These, in fact, caused no comment and the meeting went on to discuss our boundary problems, which it finally referred to the new committee.

The Hon. Treasurer's report, together with the Hon. Auditor’s report followed.  This latter is to be part of the official agenda in future. It was agreed that the new committee look into club finances in detail and might have to put the sub. up if it cannot be kept at its present level by suitable economies.

The Caving Sec.'s report produced no comment, except for the public declaration by the Caving Sec. (when asked by, the Hon. Sec.) that he agreed that the B.E.C. was the best club on Mendip.  Is this the start of a series of oaths of loyalty which club officials will be required to swear?

The Climbing Sec's report went through even faster, with no comment at all by the meeting and even that guaranteed discussion raiser - the Tacklemaster's Report - produced little in the way of discussion.  A vote of thanks to Dave Turner was recorded for stepping into the breach at such short notice.

The Hut Warden's report produced a little discussion centred mainly around costs which, it was finally pointed out, were already subject to the findings of the new committee.  The Hon. Librarian's Report; Caving Publications Report; B.B. Editor's report and Hut Engineer's Report were all dealt with in what must surely be record tine.

With the main business safely over, the meeting went to the first of the resolutions - that by the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee to change its rules.  It was at this stage that the A.G.M. broke completely with tradition when Mike Palmer suggested an adjournment until the next day, owing to the very large amount of business still to be dealt with.  Encouraged by George Honey, the Chairman read out all the further business, which made the meeting realise that Mike P. certainly had a point.  In accordance with the general feeling, the Chairman adjourned the meeting.

At 2 pm. on the Sunday, the A.G.M. continued with a good starter.  A resolution to drop the word 'junior' from our description of younger members.  This was defeated, and the meeting went on to the I.D.M.F. rules.

A blow-by-blow account of the next two hours (all in rhyme!) will be found on the Belfry notice board. It is sufficient to say here that the meeting - with the best of intentions - found itself neatly trapped in a procedural difficulty of its own making.  The finally amended rules were eventually passed with three against.

A resolution that 'No provisional member shall be able to propose or second membership applications' was ruled by the chairman to be a constitutional change but that its acceptance by this A.G.M. should enable it to be put to next year's A.G.M. without any further discussion.

Various proposals affecting the voting methods were taken en bloc by the Chairman and eventually referred to the new committee.  The advice of the A.G.M. to this committee being that the ballot should be secret.

Another batch of resolutions affected the dates of the A.G.M. and dinner.  A discussion resulted in a proposal to hold the A.G.M. at 10.30 am at the Belfry to be followed by the Annual Dinner that evening.

A number of further resolutions followed.  It was agreed that, wherever possible, the committee should advertise any proposed co-opted positions.  The automatic retirement of all committee members after three years was defeated by a single vote.  A resolution tightening up the entrance qualifications was finally defeated after a discussion on the merits of the provisional scheme.  It was decided, by another resolution, to investigate forming a sub-aqua section.  The publication of Club Officer’s reports in the B.B. was referred to the committee and, finally, a proposal to phase out life memberships, was defeated with the proviso that if they do not keep in touch, they will be conveniently forgotten.

The dinner which followed was, although not the best by a long chalk, reasonably within the B.E.C. tradition. The actual meal was reasonable - and at least hot.  The later entertainment consisted of a punch and Judy show produced and directed by Oliver Lloyd, which was very well received followed later still by a typical piece of B.E.C. organisation - a film with a difference.  With the usual low cunning of the B.E.C., opportunity was taken to get the effect of two films from one.  On the first occasion, some new caving techniques were demonstrated in which cavers caved backwards while talking what appeared to be some central European dialect while all the time, a small group round the projector worked like beavers on their next project.  Eventually, by courtesy of people like 20th Century Palmer, Metro-Goldwyn, Prewer etc., we were able to see the same cavers moving forwards and speaking English - punctuated only by occasional growls, which seemed to occur when they found a prehistoric bone or two.

More seriously, our thanks, as usual to the organisers.  The B.E.C. dinner, after the debacle of 1971, seems to be getting back to form.  Let us hope that people will come forward in plenty of time who will be prepared to make next years dinner one of the really great club dinners.




An account by D.L. Stuckey of caving over the Summer Bank Holiday this year.

The vast midgy population of Crummock Dale Farm, already suffering from mild droughts had their peace shattered by the arrival of seven B.E.C. members on the evening of Friday, August 25th.  Roll call the next morning found Joan and Roy Bennett; Bob Cross; Ian Calder and Doug Stuckey alive and well, with Nigel Taylor and Ken James on the injured list.

A little later, all camp personnel negotiated the route to the Craven stronghold at Gaping Gill. After the entertainment of rousing the Craven from their slumbers, our party split.  Ken and Nigel walked down to Clapham for a guided tour of Ingleborough Cave, Joan soloed lngleborough and Simon Fell; adding her name to the injured list by twisting her ankle, while the other members of the party  turned their attention to Disappointment Pot.

The dry conditions had reduced the stream to a mere trickle giving the duck a six-inch airspaces but the well washed nature of the pot throughout its length showed that under wetter conditions it could prove a sporting entrance to Gaping Gill.  Each pitch was tackled parallel to the Craven ladders already installed.  The Pennine Underground description was adequate except that, on inspection, we found the entrance pitch 15 feet and the Fourth Pitch 20 feet to be easy free climbs.

Ignorance of the Bar Pot route from Disappointment inlet to Gaping Gill main chamber resulted in the party visiting Hensler's Master Cave and then spending sometime in Hensler's Old Passage before returning to the Disappointment Inlet.  Co-operation with a Craven party at the third pitch split our party, all gaining the surface after some five hours caving.

Bob's knees voted him on to the injured list, as they received a fair battering in the grips of Hensler's Crawl.  Sunday saw Bob, Nigel and Ken on a joy ride round the dales, while Joan; Roy; Ian and Doug, visited Kingsdale with the intention of abseiling through Simpson’s Pot to the master cave and out via the valley entrance.

Leaving Joan with the car keys and an estimated through time of three hours, Roy, Ian and Doug, started a direct descent of Simpson's.  Progress was stopped by the squeeze below the pit.  With Roy's assistance from above, Ian and Doug, climbed the pit and the party set off on the roundabout route.  Storm Pot (35 feet) caused a halt when the rope jammed on the belay and much energy was wasted before the pitch was prussicked.  The descent then continued with the use of a rope left on the pitch by another party.  The passage to Slit Pot - excellent for abseiling with large and smooth belays for all pitches.  The other party was met, and they gave us a large metal ring for use as a belay on Slit Pot.

For the descent of Slit Pot (83 feet) the two ropes of 96 and 106 feet were tied together to enable retrieval. Using the ring on a peg and sling belay, the knot ran over the lip easily, leaving the belay behind.  Roy made a quick exit through the master cave while Ian and Doug de-tackled Roof Tube Pitch, reaching the surface after five hours underground.

Ian departed, seeking his wife's company in Brecon.  Beckhead Rising not far from the campsite received a quick visit from Joan, Roy and Doug. Camp broke on the Monday morning. During its existence, Jim Abbott, Graham Wilton-Jones and others put in surprise visits.

A worthwhile weekend.


Library News

'Wig' says, “The latest additions to the collection include many missing items that have either been exchanged or donated.  I would like to say thank you."

Additions include UIS Bulletins (1971); London Univ. C.C. Journal No 13; Cerberus S.S. Newsletter No 18; B.S.A. Bulletin No 6; Axbridge Journal 1966; C.R.G. transactions Volume 14 No 3 Mendip Bibliography Part 2; Speleologist Yearbook 1965; B.E.C. Belfry Book 1963-4; Plymouth C.C. Newsletters 36-41; Leicester & Nottingham Univ. C. Assoc. Journal No 1; H.M.S.O. Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act 1972 Chap. 21; M.C.G. Newsletter No 95; W.C.C. Journal No 142 Aug. 1972 and Dorset Caving Group Journal Vol 1 No 4.

Items of interest: Dorset C.G. survey of Crocodile Canyon (Portland): W.C.C. Journal includes several items, but Graham Balcornbe’s account of early diving operations should be read.  Hutton Cave. Has this been rediscovered by Chris Richards?  Did you know that the divers have extended Swildons XII?  All in the W.C.C. Journals mentioned.  The M.C.G. have unearthed an interesting letter written by the Stride brothers to Mr. and Mrs. Young of Longwood Farm describing the exploration of Longwood and the involvement of the U.B.S.S. Greg Smith compares this letter to the 'account' in Johnson’s dubious book ‘The History of Mendip Caving.’

The report of the Southern C.C.C. on Conservation and Access as been published by many clubs, and those interested will find this in the Axbridge C.G. Newsletter for August 1972. Why don't we find, if not the complete, a potted report in the B.B.?  W.C.C. have published the M.R.O. Annual Repast in their Journal (No 142).

The Library Catalogue is now being compiled and will be published shortly.

STOP PRESS:  In addition to the items reported above, we have received from London Univ. C.C., Journals Nos 8-12 which, with many thanks, completes our set to date.  John Manchip has kindly sent a copy of Grampian S.G. Bulletin Vol.5 No 2.  The U.B.S.S. Proceedings Vol.13 No1 (July 1972) has arrived. Contents, though not of a startling nature, is well up to the usual standard and includes Rickford and Langford Resurgences - A problem in Limestone Hydrology; The Fergus River Cave, County Clare; Cloford Cave, Eastern Mendip; Priddy Long Barrow; Roman counterfeiter's den by George Brown of the Welsh National Museum - who uses the discoveries in Roman Mine as one of his main sources (B.E.C. Caving Report No 15 ROMAN MINE price 45p for a limited period) and says, "it is a considerable tribute to the care and enthusiasm which Mr. and Mrs. Tuck brought to their excavations" which goes to show that the B.E.C. do get out of pubs at times!  The October 1972 issue of Geographical included three interesting items: Pennine Pippikin, by Tony Waltham; Where Limestone Fashions Landscape (Ingle Smith) and a short item entitled Hypothermia on the Hills. Thanks to Chris Howell for donating these items.

Have you got your copy of 'Mendip's Vanishing Grottoes' yet? No doubt, like the caves the book illustrates, copies of this will one day vanish and become valuable collector's pieces. Why not invest in a copy while they are still available?  Only 50p from Dave Irwin.


We really HATE wasting any spaces like this one.  Have you looked round the new Club Library yet?  If not, you should and you will be surprised at what we have.  Why not borrow a book or two?


Tackle Master’s Report

Owing to his taking over the job at short notice, DAVE TURNER was unable to present his report before the A.G.M., but it is printed now for the information of club members.

This report is for the period August-September 1972, this  being the period covered by the present Tacklemaster.  All the club's tackle has been inspected in the last two months and a card index of all items created.


Seven of the ladders in use up to August were found to be in need of repair and have been withdrawn. The number of ladders in service at present is 25, making a total of 605 feet. The number of ladders under repair is 11, totalling 220 feet.  Most of these have been dismantled, and it is hoped to have these back in service in the near future..


The following are now in service: Nylon, 9 ropes totalling 894 feet; Ulstron, 2 ropes totalling 600 feet and Courlene, 1 rope of 100 feet.  This gives a total of 1,594 feet.


The club also possesses 2 Karabiners", 13 tethers, 2 nylon slings, 3 rawl and star drills and 6 rawlbolts.  A disturbing feature of the club is tackle is the rate at which it is diminishing. From the A.G.M. reports, it appears as follows:  Ladders, 1968 - 960 feet, 1969 - 940 feet, 1970 - 870 feet, 1972 - 825 feet including that under repair.  Perhaps the picture is not as gloomy as it appears, and if any member knows the whereabouts of any other tackle, would he let the Tacklemaster know?  Then, all members will be able to use it.

D. P. Turner, October 1972.


A Weekend in North Wales

We have just found room for another climbing article by G. E. Oaten.

After the tedious journey from Bristol to North Wales, we were greeted in Llanberis pass by a beautiful moonlit night which made our hopes rise for a fine weekend; but alas! our hopes were dashed to the ground on the Saturday morning by fine driving rain and low cloud.

Pete Sutton and a friend had been looking forward to climbing Cemetery Gates (200 feet X.S.) but this was now out.  So, more in hope than anger, they went to the climbing area known as Tremadoc.  It is rumoured that when it rains in the pass it is fine in Termadoc.  Once there, they set out to climb Vector (250 feet, X.S.) but this repelled their attacks, so they looked for easier game and found it on Striptease (160 feet V.S.) and Shadrach (180 feet V.S.)

Meanwhile, this left Maggie Sutton, Ross and Roy Marshall, Nigel Riche and myself at the Pen-y-pass cafe where we decided to brave the weather and set out on our intended walks. Maggie and Ross were to walk to the top of Snowdon via the miners track and the zig zags, while Roy, Nigel and myself were to do the Snowdon Horseshoe.  This involve ascending the pyg track to Grib Goch (2,816’) traversing the Grib to the summit of Snowdon (3,5601’) then over to Lliwedd (2,947’) down on to the miners track and back to the Pen-y-Pass.

We arranged to meet the girls at the top of the zig zag, so we set off on our different ways.  As we ascended the pyg track, the weather began to clear, allowing us to shed our waterproofs and to gaze at the majestic beauty of Lliwedd and Snowdon far to the left.  As we gained height and crossed the Grib, the wind became stronger and the visibility came down to about twenty yards, allowing us to see fleeting glimpses of the scree slopes below.

Grib Goch is a very exposed knife ridge where many an experienced walker has lost his life in bad conditions, so we treated it with much respect.

At last we reached the zig zags, but there was no sign of the girls.  We decided that the weather must have decided them and that they had gone back down.  After much discussion as to whether we should go on or not, it was decided that Roy should go down the zig zags, while Nigel and I continued the Horseshoe.  As we followed the cairns that mark the path, unknown to us, Roy had met the girls and continued with them to the top of Snowdon, and then gone back down.

The walk progressed with greater ease than we had thought.  Then it slowly dawned on us.  We had taken the wrong path in the poor visibility.  It was discovered that we were on Bwlch Nain that leads to the Watkins path.  After about a five mile detour, we finally reached the Pen-y-Pass cafe, somewhat disgruntled at not finishing the horseshoe.

That evening, we accomplished the ritual of supping ale to excess, but Sunday found us on a path that leads up to the Devil’s kitchen - which lies in Cwm ldwal in the Ogwen Valley.  The Kitchen is a large amphitheatre of rock and scree, with a huge rift that runs a long way into the cliff.  The path goes past Llyn Idwal up to the Idwal Slabs where budding Joe Browns are taught the art of rock climbing by their Outward Bound instructors.

We left the girls at the bottom of the Kitchen, and continued our walk to the top.  Once there, we walked the length of the cliff, to descend to Llyn LawaI by a steep gully to rejoin the girls.  A short walk brought us back to the cars and then the journey home, feeling tired but content at having had at good weekend.


Owing to the length of the remainder of Alan Coase’s paper on Photographic Apparatus, which was started in last month’s B.B. and bearing in mind the need to print the complete list of club members in next month's B.B., we are printing the rest of the paper in the Christmas B. B. rather then break it up into small instalments.  We hope that Alan, and those members who are interested in photography will bear with us!  Editor.


Articles, letters, snippets of information etc.  are always welcome for inclusion in the B.B.  The post box in the Belfry has not been used much of late, but should be a convenient way of getting YOUR contribution to the Editor.  Next time you are at the Belfry, why not write smoothing and put it in the box ?


Did you like the dinner? Any complaints?  The committee have to fix up annual dinners ages in advance and they will be glad to hear from you on this subject.  Don’t save up any moans until it is too late!  Let us know NOW, so that we stand a chance of DOING something about it.


Monthly Crossword – Number 27.






















































































1 & 13. Cuthbert’s passage. (3,3)
3. See 9 down. (5)
6. My niche? (7)
7. A ladderer does to a pitch. (4)
8. Type of underground passage on Mendip and London. (4)
11. Cavers do sport down this hole! (4,3)
12. 4 down and this are alike when underground. (5)
13. See 1 across. (3)


2. Making line fast. (5)
3. Common to Chamber, Wood and Hole on Mendip. (4)
4. See 12 across. (4)
5. Highest place in Cuthbert’s? (7)
6. I run cat for cave formation. (7)
9. (with 3 across)  Pitch in Cuthbert’s. (5,5)
10. Is this passage mine? (3)
13. From Pillar to this perhaps? (4)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword