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.

Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     R. Bennett
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; R. Hobbs; M.A. Palmer; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; N. Taylor; R. Orr.

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.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 27 Quantock Rd, Windmill Hill, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
Hut Warden:      R. ORR.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. HOBBS, Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol.
Tacklemaster:    M.A 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.  Tel: PRIDDY 369.
Pbs. (Sales)      C, Howell, 131 Sandon Rd., Edgbaston, Birminham.
Publications:     D.J. IRWIN.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

MENDIP RESCUE ORGANISATION.  In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481


 

Editorial

The Stalactite Curtain?

The setting up of the various bodies - like the Regional Councils and the N.C.A. - was a move which many of us, who could remember a less beaurocratic era, viewed with some concern.

It seemed to us a pity that the situation in the North between cavers and local landowners had reached a state which necessitated the formation of a body to fight for access on caver’s behalf.  A bit of time taken off from caving to buy beer for the locals seemed a better way of doing things.  Nevertheless, we told ourselves, it was more likely that conditions in the North were different from those on Mendip, and it was hardly up to us to judge.

As long as the various bodies did what they were supposed to do, there seemed no need for any active comment.  Any body whose job was to make caving simpler to carry out was one which, on the face of it, there could be no quarrel with.

However; it has now been reported to us from sources which are normally reliable, that a very sorry state of affairs has come to pass.  It is one which could well affect; every Mendip caver in the long run to a much greater extent than would appear at first sight.  We have been told that the Northern Council have decided to DENY ACCESS to all caves under their control to ALL CAVERS from other regions unless their clubs join the Northern Council.  The setting up of this Stalactite Curtain - so different from the harmless and decorative formations we have underground on Mendip represents a new and sinister twist to the caving scene.

Well, at least we have been warned.  It appears that if Anybody is foolish enough to give any of these bodies teeth then they will bite.  This latest move can by no stretch of the imagination be described as helpful to cavers. It is a blatant example of power politics at its crudest - and should be a warning to all Mendip cavers.

There will, of course, be a temptation to press for the Southern Council to intensify its efforts to control caves on Mendip, so that we shall be in a position to retaliate. To say that such temptation should be avoided would be seriously to understate the position.  If this is, in fact, carried out; then the eventual end of club caving and the introduction of nationwide, regimented caving will follow inevitably.

In my opinion - and the reader is reminded that all the editorial matter in the B.B. is not necessarily the opinion of the committee or the club - anything is better than the type of regimented caving which we might well be heading towards if we don't watch out. The loss of caving areas or the loss of some Mendip caves are serious matters and one would not pretend that any such losses will help our caving position.  On the other hand, it is possible to pay too high a price for things and, in this case, it would be as well to go into the eventual price of bestowing power on councils before giving it to them.  As Tony Johnson pointed out last month, much of the ease with which we on Mendip have traditionally entered caves, or dug on other people's land has depended on the good relations we have enjoyed with them.  It is this that I feel we should be giving time to fostering - not councils.

“Alfie”

*****************************************

Members are reminded that NEW BELFRY KEYS are now available from MIKE PALMER.  They are issued either on production of an old key (plus 5p to cover administration costs) or by paying a deposit of 20p.  Members are reminded that ALL Belfry keys are the property of the club, and should be returned if no longer required.

If you send your old key or your 20p by post to Mike, remember to include a stamped addressed envelope for the return journey.

Mike also has a number of spare DIGGING ROPES in stock which are being kept in reserve.  However, if any diggers require a longer rope than they can get in the normal course of events – contact Mike.


 

Exposure to Cold Water

A report on the recent PAUL ESSER memorial lecture as advertised in the B.B. and attended by ALAN THOMAS, who sends this report.

Paul Esser was a Bristol medical student who died two years ago in Porth-yr-Ogof.  This year’s lecturer was Bill Keatinge, Professor of Physiology at the London Hospital.   The audience comprised a fair number of the divers and the cavers from Bristol, to whom were added canoeists, mountaineers and yachtsmen.  There were a number of B.E.C. members there but I was surprised not to see more.

The first point made was the enormous number of deaths in cold water every year.  There are approximately 1,000 compared to 12 or so in hill walking and climbing.

The second point was that the commonsense thing to do if immersed in cold water often proves to be the wrong thing.  In the ‘Lakonia’ disaster, many people undressed to facilitate swimming, and those who could not swim exercised in the water to keep themselves warm.  In fact, both these actions increased their susceptibility to hypothermia.  Experiments show that if you exercise in water below 25OC, you increase your circulation and reduce your internal body insulation and hence your deep body temperature.  Above 25°C exercise serves to increase body heat.  Wearing ordinary clothing in cold water may only keep the skin temperature up by a few degrees but it has a profound effect on deep body temperature.

Thin people cool down much faster than fat people in cold water - and hence fat people survive longer. Since it is too late to do anything about one's build once one is in the water, the only practical thing to do is to wear a well fitting wet suit.  Gloves should be worn even if the hands warm enough, because there is a great loss of body from the hands.

Hypothermia alone does not account for all the deaths that occur in cold water.  Between 10 and 15% of people suffer from ventricular abnormalities on entering cold water.  In extremely rare cases, this could lead to cardiac fibrillation and death. Immersion in cold water causes rapid breathing, a rise in blood pressure and sometimes a doubling of cardiac output. These factors could lead to heart failure.  Rapid breathing in choppy water could lead to the inhalation of water.

Professor Keatinge tackled the problem of sudden death in cold water experimentally, and we saw on film a demonstration of a man swimming in water at 4.7°C.  He started off strongly enough and high in the water. There was little disturbance of the water as he swam.  At the end of this experiment (short of the attempted time) he abruptly stopped and commented minutes later after he had been hauled out of the water and had made remarkable recovery "I don’t know why I stopped - I just couldn’t go on."  Had he been alone in open water, he would certainly have drowned and the coroner might well have attributed his death to cramp.  In fact, his difficulty was due to the greater viscosity of water at the lower temperature.  This is a new observation and may well be the answer to many hitherto unexplained deaths in cold water.


 

Traverse Closing In Cave  Surveying

Continuing and concluding the article started last month by Dave Irwin and Roger Stenner.

The procedure is to fix the starting co-ordinate at, say, point A (or point B) and calculate the co-ordinate changes of the line ADB to point B.

Before the errors in a multi-traverse network can be thus distributed, it is necessary to determine whether any part of the network contains an error which is larger than the expected positional error.  This may be done by examining the co-ordinate changes from one point in the network to another point, taking a variety of routes chosen so as to reveal any bad routes. By a process of elimination between these bad routes, the actual section which is causing the error may be isolated. To make the procedure clearer, consider the following example - which is part of St. Cuthbert’s survey.  Figure (v) is a block diagram representing the network of passages

This network contains 100 closed traverses, and an examination of them all is impracticable and unnecessary.  The traverse lengths of each part of the network are tabulated below:-

 

Traverse

Length

Legs

 

C5 – C7

C5 – L4

L4 – M1

L4 – 7A

C5 – 7A

7A – I2

I2 – M1

I2 – I1

M1 – I9

I1 – I18

I18 – I9

C7 – G5

G5 – I9

I1 – H1

H1 – H7

H7 – G5

H7 – G5

C5 – I9

30’

60’

510’

257’

121’

92’

58’

30’

69’

55’

108’

179’

139’

15’

35’

37’

707’

3

4

36

14

9

7

3

1

4

8

6

12

10

1

2

4 +

2 +

38

The co-ordinate changes from station C5 to station 19 were examined by a number of routes.  The method used was find a number of routes which agree with each other and then to examine the routes remaining.  For the example shown, the results are shown below.

 

Routes 1, 2 and 3 were considered first.  Route 1 can be seen to be different from the other two, and a calculation showed that this difference was greater than that expected from positional errors.  Thus, the actual error was presumed to have been due to a mistake.  The actual place was pinpointed by the technique already described and, after resurveying the doubtful legs (only two were involved) the figures for route 10 were obtained with much closer agreement.

 

 

Traverse

North

East

Height

Slope Dist

Legs

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. C5-G5-I9

2. C5-C7-G5-I9

3. C5-7A-I2-M1-I9

4. C5-L4-MI-I9

5. C5-L4-7A-I2-M1-I9

6. C5-C7-H1-I1-I2-M1-I9

7. C5-7A-I2-H1-H7-G5 (Route 1)

8. C5-7A-I2-H1-H7-G5 (Route 2)

9. C5-7A-I2-I1-I18-I9

10. C5-G5-I9 RESURVEYED

73.62

79.12

81.40

79.97

81.73

80.39

75.60

74.47

78.60

78.66

131.47

123.06

126.19

127.47

125.55

127.87

125.09

126.49

125.81

126.69

114.26

107.30

107.57

107.33

109.07

102.20

108.20

107.44

104.63

112.32

846

347

340

565

536

288

440

436

405

846

48

25

23

33

32

17

34

32

31

48

The remaining routes were chosen to test each of the other sections of the survey.  For each of the routes, the difference between the co-ordinates and the approximate mean co-ordinates were tabulated, together with the 1 and 2 standard deviation expected positional errors.  Results are as follows

Traverse

Deviation from mean in feet

Expected Error

Position

 

N

E

Ht

Diff

1SD

2SD

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

-6.4

-0.9

+1.4

0.0

+1.7

+0.4

-4.4

-5.5

-1.4

-1.3

-5.5

-2.9

-0.2

-1.5

+0.5

-1.9

+0.9

-0.5

+0.2

-0.7

+6.8

-0.2

+0.1

-0.5

+1.6

-5.3

+0.5

-0.1

-2.9

+4.8

10.8

3.0

1.4

1.6

2.4

5.7

4.5

5.5

3.2

4.8

3.5

2.2

2.2

2.8

2.8

2.0

2.5

2.5

2.4

3.5

7.0

4.5

4.5

5.7

5.6

4.1

5.1

5.1

4.8

7.0

It will be seen that route 6 contains an error greater than the 2SD expected error and the possible compass error (which is 2.6ft for 1 degree calibration error.)  The co-ordination differences indicate that there is a mistake in the C7 to H1 traverse.  Routes 7 and 8 differ from route 9 by a relatively short passage length, and therefore a large change in co-ordinates is not to be expected, but this is not the case in fact.  Examination of the co-ordinate changes reveals that there is probably an error common to routes 7 and 8 and this must be in the very short section from H1 to H7. The remaining routes are limits of precision of the survey.

The carrying out of this procedure is a very necessary preliminary to the closure of a multi-traverse network if the surveyor is to avoid falling into the trap of allowing one mistake to distort the whole network - or the other trap of placing more reliance on his data than the instruments permit.

Least Squares Method

Having determined which sections of a network are reliable, there are two possible procedures.  With access to a computer, it is possible to use the method if least squares and thereby close the network in a single step. Most surveyors do not have access to a computer, but fortunately there is an alternative method which will give satisfactory results very close to those by the least squares method.  This method has the advantage that the surveyor can see exactly what is happening at each stage of the procedure, and can change the order of closure as he needs.  If flaws or defects crop up, they will be seen fairly quickly - which is not always the case when a major computer programme is run.  A simple electronic calculator is a great help in this work.

1.                  Work out the co-ordinate changes between two points across the network as previously shown.

2.                  Assign co-ordinates to one of these points, and work out the most probably value of the co-ordinates of the second point.

3.                  Ignore all stations except junction stations for the moment.  Take a junction station on a route which agrees closely with the co-ordinate changes of the stations already fixed.  From each of the two fixed stations, work out the co-ordinates of this station by a number of routes.  Find its most probable value as already shown.  If it differs markedly from the ‘uncorrected’ co-ordinates, then this route is a good fit only by chance, containing compensating errors which have been overlooked.  If so, scrap the procedure and start again omitting the offending section.

4.                  Continue this procedure until the most probable value of all junction stations have been worked out, always using the corrected co-ordinate changes as they are successively derived.

5.                  Finish with junction stations on routes with poorer closures.

6.                  Distribute the closure errors among the stations between junction stations.

Stations rejected because of poor closure pose another problem.  If closer inspection of all field notes; calculations and rough drawings fail to reveal the mistake and if resurvey is not possible, the rejected stations may be fitted on to the closed network by distribution of the large error but in the report which accompanies the survey, it should be made quite clear which parts of the survey contain the large errors, which should also be quoted.

Finally, it should be remembered that this procedure will cause some passage distortion - though this should be less than is found when the old 'hit and miss' closure system is used (and which has been found in the St. Cuthbert’s survey.  See note 1).

This is because the most probable values for a station's co-ordinates - whether worked out by the least squares method or the more long winded method - are -not, and cannot be the correct values for those co-ordinates.  They are, after all, values obtained by rationalising imperfect results.

Computing Station Positions

The authors used standard duplicated sheets for entering centre line measurements; calculations; station co-ordinate changes; corrected station co-ordinates and basic station details (roof, wall and floor distances).  This tabulation made the job of checking much easier.  The station co-ordinates were copied into a book in which traverse closures were used to correct the co-ordinates to give the final station co-ordinates.  This procedure is recommended to other workers.  If a computer is used, the printout should be in a similar form.

The Use of a Computer in Cave Surveying

Desk calculators with print-out facilities speed up the calculation of station co-ordinates from the data obtained underground.  A computer would do the same work much faster and print the information in the format required.  It is, however, likely that restrictions on the use of a computer would more than offset the advantage of the time saved when comparing a computer with an electronic calculator.

Both procedures are a significant advance over the mechanical or manual calculators used in the early years of the survey.  A lot has been written about the use of plotting facilities.  The authors had the opportunity to use such a computer and did not do so for two main reasons.  Firstly, with the bulk of the drawing already complete when the offer was made, the time needed to type out data was too great and secondly the plotting would be on paper and we required it to be on plastic.  The use would be restricted to plotting station positions and drawing grids and this is only a very minor part of the total time needed to draw a cave survey.

Closing a Complex Traverse Network

As recently as 1971, the C.R.G. published a procedure for closing a complex network which involved closing every possible traverse.  In St. Cuthbert’s Swallet, this would involve closures of the order of 1030 traverses. This is clearly impossible. Co-operating with the late Mike Luckwill, a procedure was subsequently worked out for the closure of a complex network.  It is not possible to explain the method briefly here, but it will be discussed in a future article

Summary

The need for great care when calibrating a compass must never be underestimated, since errors due to calibration are likely to be the main source of true position error in a cave. Tabulating co-ordinate changes within a network as described makes it possible to close a network simply without the aid of a computer.  The results for the St. Cuthbert’s survey have been found to compare favourably with those obtained by the least squares method of closure, and greatly eases the location of errors within the network.


 

Caving In The Opera House

by ‘Wig’

When the curtain rises up on Tannhauser, the poor unsuspecting opera-goer has immediately to watch a cave scene for the whole of Act 1., though he doesn't see grotty cavers diving sumps or gleefully sliding down mud slopes.  However, many operas contain cave scenes as part of their story - ranging from Wagner to the light operas of Handel.  Since all other aspects of caving are currently being catalogued, I offer the following data for anyone's collection.

Bellini

NORMA Act II

Debussy

PELLEAS ET MELISANDE Act 11 Scene 3

Gluck

ORPHEE Acts II and III

Handel

ALCINA Act I

Purcell

DIDO AND AENEAS Act 11 scene 3

Verdi

UN BALLO Act I scene 2

MACBETH Act III

I LOMBARDI ALLA PRIMA CROCIATA Act 11 scene 2

LA FOPZA DEL DESTINO Act II Scene 2

Wagner

TANHAUSER Act I

SIEGFRIED Acts I and II

DAS RHEINGOLD Scene 3.

As Dr. Johnson once described opera as 'an exotic and irrational entertainment' so this could perhaps also be said of caving!


 

Tackle Story

An up-to-date report on the club tackle position by Mike Palmer the Tacklemaster.

I thought that some members might appreciate a brief outline of the present tackle situation; changes already made, and suggestions for the future.

At present, there is 320ft of ladder and 400ft of in active use by the club.  The St. Cuthbert’s store a permanent length of ladders at the request of the St. Cuthbert’s leaders.  This consists of two standard 20ft ladders and a heavy ladder for the entrance rift.  All this is included in the total length already stated.

In the reserve store (at my home at present) there is all the ultra-lightweight ladder, which is maintained mainly for special expeditions and trips to Yorkshire and amounts to 160ft of useable ladder.  There is also an additional 90ft of standard ladder, which makes the total length of reserve ladder come to 250ft.  Besides this reserve ladder, a few extra lengths of lifeline are maintained for special trips and eventual general use as and when replaced by newer ropes.  The total available is 355ft.

Unfortunately, since the retirement of Norman Petty, the tackle has not received the loving care to which it had become accustomed, and has deteriorated to the extent that there is now 285ft in need of repair.  This statement is made without any intended malice towards Norman's successors since I fully appreciate the task that they had accepted.

Now, what of changes?

The major change affects the splicing of the shackle eyelet on the ends of ladders.  Hand splicing will be phased out and replaced by a 'crimping' method which consists of a special alloy ferryle hydraulically pressed around the wire end which effectively clamps it to the main longitudinal wire of the ladder.  I do not intend here to discuss the technical pros and cons of the method, since these have been fully thrashed out at committee meetings - but they could form the basis of another article if requested or the subject of correspondence in the B.B.  However, it is worth while noting that the Wessex and Shepton clubs have been using this method for over ten years without any known failure in this type of splice.  To avoid any possible misinterpretation, I would like to stress that the new method only affects the ladder eyelets where the ‘C’ links are fixed, and not the securing of the rungs, which will still be fixed by the taper pin method.

Another intended change will be the introduction of blue anodised alloy identification sleeves between the two end rungs at each end of the ladder.  The main reason for this change is that the present method of identification by means of resin soaked glass fibre tape requires frequent replacement. The anodised tubes should last for years and can be renewed when repairing tackle.

A change that is already in operation is the use of BLACK MARKER sleeves, along with the customary club marker, for DIGGING ROPES.  This has been introduced and I particularly wish to stress this point to indicate the difference between digging ropes and lifelines, because on several occasions I have noted that digging ropes have been used as lifelines - with obvious consequences should an accident occur.

I should like to stress, particularly to new members, that all lifelines have a BRASS or COPPER ring at each end with a rope reference number and the club initials stamped on it. Unless the rope is identified in this manner, it should not used as a lifeline.

New notices have been pinned up in the tackle store to assist in the correct stowage of caving and digging tackle.  Other notices have been put up to act as simple reminders to pay tackle fees where appropriate, to fill in log books and, most important of all, to clean the tackle after use.  I have, on several weekends, had to wash tackle that has been put away by members after caving trips, because of the filthy muddy state in which it has been left. Please help each other by cleaning all your tackle after a caving trip.

Whilst on the subject of tackle care, there are different opinions in the club on whether it is best to fold or roll ladders for carrying purposes.  I personally have no preference, but would point out that on no account must any method used to cause twisting or sharp bending of the wires. It would be interesting to have views on various methods, with the aim of adopting a specific method for use within the club.

Regarding suggestions for the future, I think that these should come mainly from you, the members. Please write to me; the committee or preferably the B.B. about any ideas or criticisms you might have about the club tackle.

One idea that I have is to take the marking of the digging ropes a stage further by dyeing them completely black in a nylon cold water dye.  Nigel Taylor’s idea of storing tackle in the Belfry loft warrants some consideration.  I have heard suggestions that the club ought to provide ropes for abseiling and I am sure you have lots more, so let's hear them!

P.S.  It is intended to organise one or two ladder building sessions during the spring/summer months, details of which will be displayed in the Belfry.


 

They sought them here,
They sought them there
They sought those caves
Every blooming where!

With the spring on its way, and thoughts turning to holidays, “Mr.” Nigel Taylor sends in this account of a very recent trip to Tunisia.

The trip took place from the 20th to the 24th of February this year.

After a long wait and eventual flight, nine Mendip cavers arrived at the Sarsse (? Ed - I can't read it very well!) Palace Hotel, Tunisia to begin a three day holiday in the 'Golden Mediterranean Sunshine' (which we never saw) and spend some of the time down Tunisian holes (which we very nearly never saw!)

Martin Mills, ‘Jesus’ Smith, Bob Craig, Mike Jorden, Alan Butcher, Martin Webster and organising duo "Kayray" Mansfield made up the S.M.C.C. party while Nigel Taylor represented the B.E.C. to ensure the tradition that the B.E.C. gets everywhere!! A misunderstanding concerning a Mr. D.J. lrwin later managed to halt the entire Tunisian Administration and Immigration system; passport control and hotel staff!

Anyway, after our safe ensconcement in the bar – whoops! sorry! - in the hotel, we ventured forth on the first day to look at the catacombs of Sarsse - a maze of five miles of tunnels, of which we saw a hundred and fifty feet complete with a Balch's Dependable Illuminant thrown in - all for a small sum - and watch your pocket as you go my boys!

After such an intrepid adventure, we left the Milch-daubed Kittycombs, where the hole cats were buried and returned to the hotel to set about renting two Peugot 404's for our travels in Tunisia.  That evening was spent celebrating Nigel's 21st birthday (what – again! Ed) which went on long past 2100 hours.

The Thursday broke (as did the heavens) and the party went beetling into the hills around Kirowan and much time was spent looking for the route to a Roman temple nearby which we were told could be found the 'Cave of the phantom horse'.  Upon asking a policeman, after the preliminary shaking of hands, he jumped into the leading car and off we went!

After a couple of hour’s hill walking, a large hole was sighted high up in the limestone bluff to the right of a scree and boulder run.  Soon, spurred on by this, we came upon a large solutional development some 30ft wide and 45ft deep set back against a rock buttress with inlet tubes in the back wall all leading upwards and choking down.  One largeish passage leads to the right and above the pit and is used as a shelter by both birds and a friendly passing shepherd in bad weather, whom we met.  He knew, as far as I could tell, of no other caves nor had seen the like of us in his many years and disappeared despairingly as Milch made a hairy gully slab climb to look at a high level passage he had spotted further up the scree slope.

But of the 'Caves of the phantom horse' there was no sign except a resurgence chamber slightly to to right of the ' Temple of the waters' and at the same altitude, which we found on our descent from the ridge.

At the top of the gully was an excellent view scanning a vast area of the Kirwan range and plateau lands. A mine working was found on the easier land on the other side of the scarp face.

As time, unlike us, was not prepared to stand still, we made our descent of the scarp face gully and rejoined our jubilant Tunisian guide eager to show us the temple and to sell off part of it for £1 per little lump.  On our showing he'll never be a wealthy man.  Yet one interesting point was noted by Ray Mansfield.  The guide sported a C.T.S. tie presumably their official organisational body.

On the Friday, a mammoth drive of over 250 miles was made and much time was spent on the discovery of a square kilometre of pseudo-karst scenery, made up of water- and wind eroded sandstone, in which lay vadose canyons up to 30ft deep with large pots and pools which were all bone dry at the time of our visit.

Later on during the day, many small rock shelters were noticed as we traversed the mountain ranges. Our travels were interspersed with comments from Butch like, “This looks like Iceland if you took away everything”, and Nigel’s imperialistic waves to astonished but friendly natives upon whom he bestowed his magnificence!

All in all, a very interesting and enjoyable time was had by all, except by 'Jesus' who couldn’t find a pub that sold Newcastle Brown, nor any C.R.G. members ready to rise to his B.S.A. bait!

On Saturday, much haggling was done in the ' Medina' - the old walled town of Sarsse, before we were whirled away to bake inside Monastir International Airport Terminal for 4 hours for a French-delayed aircraft.  When we eventually boarded, we had another hour's delay and were then forced to fly to Italy where we couldn't land due to congestion and then made a dash to Stuttgart for a refuelling stop, leaping in before three aircraft already waiting to land.

Seven hours after take-off from Tunisia, we arrived in Birmingham, and in Butch’s car made the Hunters in an hour and twenty minutes exactly, getting there at five minutes past eleven for a pint and a last drink with the emigrating Wessex Hut Warden Greg Pickford, who, at the time you may be reading this, should be well on his way to New Zealand and virgin caves.

Editor’s Note: Not virgin - the B.E.C. has been there already.

Editor’s other note: There appears to be some doubt as to the exact part (if any) played by Mr. Irwin in the account by Mr. Taylor.  According to Mr. Irwin, his name has no connection at all with the story you have just read and should therefore be removed.  According to Mr. Taylor, I was not supposed to alter a word from those he wrote.  Since both these gentlemen uttered vague threats should I fail to comply with their instructions and being a natural coward (the yellow streak down my back is available for inspection at any committee meeting!)  I have carried out little judicious editing from the original which, given luck, should please nobody!


 

Library List

A club library list has been produced and placed on sale at the Belfry for members to purchase at 10p each (p.& p. 5p).   It will prove of value to members both regular at the Belfry and those not so regular and living off Mendip.  In 12 pages o quarto it lists all books, periodicals and the like that are held in the library and is up-to-date to September 1972.  For those not able to visit the library, books and periodicals may be sent through the post - postage and the necessary insurance to be covered by the borrower except for some rare items which are not lent out.  Those wishing to borrow by post should contact Dave Irwin, at Townsend Cottage (see front of B.B.)  Will members note that all items are on loan for ONE MONTH only. Several members have had books out for much longer periods and it would be appreciated if they would return the items as soon as possible as it will save me having to write to them individually.

Dave Irwin.

An Amendment to ‘Climbing in Black Rock Quarry'

I would like to thank Alan Tringham for the boost to my ego in connection with the new climbs at Weston-in-Gordano; described in last November's B.B.  He has not got his facts quite right.

The Phantom Groper was climbed by N. Jago and D. Targett and the so-called Central Slab Route is, in fact, called the Stripper (V.S.) and not mild V.S. as reported.  This was also climbed by D. Targett and N. Jago.  Unfortunately, Alan Left out the best route in the quarry.  This is Vanishing Tattoo (H.S.A2). The route takes the middle of the red wall using bolts, free moves and hard pegging.  This was put up by N. Jago, D. Targett and G.E. Oaten.

G.E. Oaten.

Members Addresses

M.T. Dorp, 4 Manilla Rd, Clifton , Bristol 8.
R. Ellinor, 3 Chipperfield Rd, Kingswood, Bristol BS5 4DP.
S.H.Grime, Shenavall, 62 Souter Drive, Holm Mains, Inverness.
G. Marshall, 29 Stonehill, Hanham, Bristol BS15 3HP.
P.B. Marshall, 43 Horton St, Frome, Somerset.
I.J. Rees, 182 Newbridge Rd, St. Annes, Bristol BS4 4DS.
Mr. & Mrs. R.S. Toms, 89 Apple Grove, Enfield, Middlesex.

A REMINDER THAT SUBS ARE NOW DUE.  THE ORDINARY RATE OF MEMBERS ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION IS NOW £2. 50, PAY BOB


 

The S.M.D.T. in Yorkshire

A short account by D.L. Stuckey

The Dowber Gill stream sinks in its bed a few feet from a steel and concrete monument to man’s engineering skills.  Via this climbing frame of an entrance shaft, four B.E.C. and one W.C.C. members entered Providence Pot.  At the foot of the shaft, a short crawl brought contact with a guide wire, the other end of which was found 2,000 feet away after a confusing sequence of mud chambers; oozy crawls and short climbs, all of which led to Dowber Gill Passage.

Here, the stream, last seen on the surface but now under the firm influence of the local fault, makes a beeline for Dow Cave nearly a mile away.  The caver’s route is anything but a bee-line, as it involves high level chambers; traverses, and well-scalloped stream passages.  The continuous changes in level, plus the distance involved, adds up to some strenuous caving before entering the sizeable passages of Dow Cave.

The party of D. Turner; D. Irwin; M. Taylor; G. Pickford and D. Stuckey required five and a half hours to complete the through trip.  For general guidelines I would refer you to Pennine Underground and/or Northern Caves Volume 1.  A more detailed and colourful account appears in David Reap’s book ‘Potholing Beneath the Northern Pennines’.  For Mendip men, the trip is bit of a collector’s piece and once done, it's done!

Publications News

A review of what is coming out in the near future, by Dave Irwin.

A trend that has become apparent in the last couple of years is the question "What is new in the publications pipeline?"  To put questioners at ease, here are a few notes on what to expect to see published during the next few months.

Caving Report No 14 - Balagueres 1970 - by Roy Bennett.

Though long overdue, it is of considerable interest.  This report covers the caves that were visited by the B.E.C, in this little-known area of the Pyrenees.  Available March/April 1973.  Price about 25p.

Caving Report No 17 - A Burrington Atlas - by D. Irwin, C. Howell and D. Stuckey.

A collection of surveys of all the caves associated with Burrington.  Includes new surveys of Sidcot; Foxes; Milliars Quarry Cave; Rod's; Tunnel; Whitcombe's; Barren; Nameless; Elephant; Toad; Frog; Drunkards and many others.  Also included are surveys of Goatchurch; East Twin; Reads and Avelines that are already available through the survey scheme and adapted for this publication. Background notes on each site are given. Available April 1973, price about 40p. DEMAND FOR THIS PUBLICATION IS ALREADY VERY GREAT so members who want a copy should get in touch with Chris Howell NOW as numbers to be printed are obviously limited.  At the moment, we have firm bookings for over 120 copies.

Caving Report No 13 - St. Cuthbert’s Swallet - Cerberus; Maypole; September and Long Chamber Series.

Work is almost complete and these will be published under a single cover.  Available about May/June 1963.  Price about 40p

Drunkard’s Hole, Rod's Pot and Sidcot will be available as separate surveys during the course of the next few months.  Drunkard’s at the printers now.  Price for each 10p.

Work has already commenced on another atlas - that of the Caves of Western Mendip.  If the Burrington project is a success, this too will be published as a caving report.

Those B.E.C. Caving Logs that we have are being edited and published as a series of Caving Reports. Members interested in obtaining copies (and there are some dating back to 1944) should let Dave Irwin know, so that numbers required can be estimated.


 

Yet Another Report on a North Wales Trip

by G.E. Oaten.

The weekend of the 26th January saw the exodus of a few B.E.C. members to the Promised Land - Snowdonia, North Wales.  After hours spent in sharpening ice axes and crampons, we were somewhat dismayed when the weather forecast promised us mild, wet conditions.

After the uneventful trip, Roy Marshall, Derek Targett, Nigel Jago and myself met up with Phil Kingston and Roy and Joan Bennett on the Saturday morning and made our way to the Ogwen Valley. Unknown to us at the time, Alan Tringham and Pete Sutton were at Tremadoc climbing Princess (280' H.S.)

Upon reaching Lyn Ogwen, we made the ascent to the summit of Tryfan by the North Ridge.  We then made our way to Glyder Fach via one or two small patches of soft snow.  We were greeted at the top by strong winds and poor visibility.  After a short rest we headed for Glyder Fawr, losing height quickly to gain access to Llyn-y-Cwm.  Roy Bennett and Phil left us here to return to Ogwen via the Devil’s Kitchen.  Nigel, Derek and I continued on our way on a compass bearing that took us down into Nant Peris in the Llanberis Pass, a walk of half a mile brought us back to the campsite.

After we had cooked a cordon bleu meal, we made our way to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, where we spent a pleasant evening in the Everest Room supping ale and listening to the music of two guitarists.  We arose late on the Sunday morning with an assortment of thick heads.  In this delicate condition, we were only up to a short walk and a stroll around the various climbing shops.  After this, we took our leave of the district and headed back towards Bristol.

Sofa Rugby

A short description of this new Mendip sport by the editor.

It is not often we get the opportunity to report to our members of the existence of a brand-new sport; but such is our welcome task at present.

Sofa Rugby is played indoors, in a room preferably of stoat construction.  The two teams scrum down on each side of the sofa, the object being to ram the opposing team hard against one wall - preferably grinding them between wall and sofa, or alternatively crushing them between sofa and floor.

The first game was played at the Shepton Hut between teams from the Wessex and Shepton.  As a result of this, the B.E.C. decided on away matches only, and the games are now played at Upper Pitts, the visiting team providing the actual sofa; settee, Chaise Lounge or what you will.

It was thus that I found myself travelling from the Hunters to Upper Pitts on fateful Saturday night; passing en route a sofa, which was being carried from the Belfry to the 'Harena' by suitable drunken stalwarts.  I must admit that, in these somewhat dull and conformist days, the sight of a sofa with legs, staggering along the road, gladdened my soul and took me back to the days when almost anything could happen on Mendip and usually did.

On arrival at Upper Pitts, the sofa was manoeuvred into the living room, and the teams lined up. What follows is a highly biased account of the subsequent proceedings.

On the first scrum down, the B. E. C. team pushed gallantly but, owing to the fact that a large number of Wessex craftily joined in after all the B.E.C.'s heads were down, our team got pushed against the wall.  On the second scrum a similar thing happened, and I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and watched the third from the touchline.  This was enlivened by the efforts of our scrum half (Tim Large) who nobly got round the back of the opponents side and pulled off as many of the extra players as he could.  Even so, we were still beaten.  The average sofa only lasts for about three scrums, and this one was then ceremonially burned outside.  It is a rough game and there are always casualties.  In my case, this took the form of a bruised rib, which is still a trifle painful.  All the same, a good game and an interesting addition to the Mendip scene while the supply of sofas lasts!

*****************************************

DON'T FORGET YOUR SUB - £2.50. PAY BOB BAGSHAW.

Winemaking

"Sett" proposes to run a course on the above subject at the Belfry, following the success of his lectures to date.  Cost for the course will be £1 or 20p per lecture (to Belfry funds.)  Dates and titles for the first four are as follows:-

24th March        Equipment and fermentation.

31st March        Flavours and recipes.

14th April          Cleanliness and disinfecting.

28th April          Acids; sugars; yeasts etc.

The rest will be announced in due course.  If interested, put your name on the list at the Belfry or contact Sett at 4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset - or just turn up.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 31.

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Across:

1. Measured cave passage in untapped way. (5)
4. Exit direction. (3)
6. Not found in G.B. door, but lower down. (9).
7. Underground feature in Mendip or London. (4)
8. Flat object in cave discovery. (4)
10. Last war St.? Try another formation.(5,4)
12. Distressing call. (1,1,1)
13. Describes rift or chamber in Longwood. (5)

Down:

1. European mountain becomes a friend. (3)
2. Stub cert for this cave. (9)
3. Browne’s Hole passage name. (4)
4. Tube to lie in Cuthbert’s. (9)
5. Poisonous word (5)
7. Jobs. (5)
9. Wig’s drink? (4)
11. Lead this once on Mendip. (3)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

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