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; M.J. Palmer; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; 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.
Assit H.W.        N. TAYLOR, Whiddon, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tel. WELLS 72338.
Hut Engineer:    M. BISHOP, (Acting)  Address to follow..
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



Clangers Department

Unfortunately owing to the fact that the B.B. is usually produced in rather too much of a hurry; mistakes creep in.  Last month's issue contained some mistakes which were of more then the usual amount and warrant some apology from the editor.  Firstly, some of the names of people who formed the sub-committee on voting procedures were left out.  Profuse apologies to Nigel Taylor and to Joan Bennett on this account.

Secondly, a number of mistakes occurred in the write-up on the Burrington surface survey.  These will be found (I hope) corrected in this B.B.

A Month Behindhand

While in an apologising moody readers will have noticed that the B.B. has been running behindhand for some time this year.  The obvious way out of this - to combine two issues - is being firmly resisted, as we hope to be able to catch up and provide twelve issues during the year.

A. G. M. And all that

Because of the month behindhand, we start the round of paperwork which leads to the A.G.M. in this month's B.B.  Members will remember that the A.G.M. last year was a lengthy affair which had to be continued on the Sunday, and for this reason, the minutes are being split into two B.B.'s so that a huge chunk of A.G. M. minutes will be avoided.  Whilst on the subject of A.G.M.'s it is not too early to mention that this year's A.G.M. is on Saturday, October 6th - this being the traditional first Saturday in October. It should also be noted that, in accordance with a resolution made at the last A.G.M., this one will be held at the BELFRY and will start at 10.30 in the morning.  There will, of course, be a suitable break to enable members to visit a local hostelry for refreshments between the morning and afternoon sessions.

Stoke Lane Slocker

The new arrangements for access to this cave are now out.  I have not actually seen them myself, but as described it looks as if it is going to be considerably more difficult to arrange trips to this cave than has been the case in the past.  The cave is administered by the West London Caving Club, who have a headquarters nearby; with an arrangement with the present farmer.

If the access arrangements are as tough as they sound, there will be a temptation to use the C.S.C.C. as a means of getting them slackened, but against this must be set the right of a caving club to make agreements with local landowners.  The situation appears to be one in which friendly talks may prove the best method of solution to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Paying The Piper

Talking of the C.S.C.C., an interesting argument cropped up at their last meeting on the subject of raising money if this ever became necessary to safeguard any particular cave. It was suggested that, in this event, money should be collected by a levy attached to the annual subscription of club members of all participating clubs.  This, of course, would have the effect of clubs contributing in the ration of their respective membership – the bigger clubs paying the lion’s share.

It becomes difficult to see how this can be equated with the theory that all caving clubs have an equal say in the affairs of the C.S.C.C. – either we must say that clubs contribute according to membership, nobody could blame them if they insisted on a voting system also based on membership.  He who pays the pipe, calls the tune.




We are naturally pleased to publish this letter from our old friend 'Sett' especially as it says nice things about the B.B.  It is good to know that at least one club member reads it!

Dear Alfie,

The April B.B. is one of the best you have ever published.  However, there are several items which, in my opinion, justify comment - some briefly, some at greater length.  Let us discuss the shorter ones first.

What a well designed collection of articles on gorges!  I have always enjoyed open air caving and could, perhaps, point Kangy at some other worthwhile gorges in France.  I hope he will excuse me if it turns out that I am teaching my grandmother to suck eggs.

The gorge which goes from Le Rozier to Mayueis is one that he probably knows and is particularly spectacular when viewed from the platform above Grotte Dargilan.  Johnny Ifold might like to know that they now collect the post daily (in joke!)

Over in the Vercours (Esso map ref. V13 and 14) there are several notable gorges and cirques.  The Grands Goulets (not to be mistranslated!) used to be ignored by the locals.

Changing to your article on knots.  You are quite right to point out that the more vicious bends make a more anti-¬slip knot but generally weaken the system.  I doubt if this is as important with man-made fibres as with natural.  I have tried to tie the knot by the method shown, but I can't make it match the completed picture.  Perhaps you would like to check.  I wouldn't be surprised if one of our ex-navy members writes in to say that he has known this knot for years under another name.  If you don't get any response, try John Ransome.

There should be no trouble lifting a quarter of a ton with an ordinary caving or climbing rope.  A climbing rope in good condition will have a breaking strength of at least a ton and a half.  It needs to, to withstand the shock of a hundredweight and a half body falling from above a belay to end up suspended the same distance below. Any rope, stressed to this limit, should survive that particular episode but NEVER be used for climbing again.

Changing yet again to electronics for caving.  Like you, I too am on the fringe of electronics, although I try to keep in touch with modern developments.  The ideal one to one system is obtained by designing the receiver to be as quiet as possible and have a gain which just makes the background noise audible. (This does not apply to broad¬cast systems.)  Modern transistors and OP AMPS are infinitely quieter than some of the early transistors and should be seriously considered.  The U.S. Navy has worked underwater systems both with audio frequencies and with V.L.F. Carriers.  George Honey, who appeared to know what he was talking about, suggested a 150Hz carrier.

I have seriously considered organising a meeting (teach¬-in/seminar) on underground communication, but pressure of work puts this off until around or after the A.G.M. Perhaps we could sound out the electronics experts before and at that time to see if such an event was worthwhile and who could usefully attend.

" Sett "

Editor's Note:     On knots, I believe that I said the knot has to be 'pushed together' to tighten it, as it is so non slip that it won't do this for itself.  You get slightly different looking versions according to how you do this, but topologically they are all the same knot. I have tried John Ransome, who does not know the knot.

CLANGS On B.B. 306 of this year's B.B., the clinometer was, of course, read to 10 MINUTES OF ARC not feet.  The confusion arose because the sign 10' is the same for both measurements!


Hazards of Cold Water

A report on the Paul Esser Memorial Lecture by Alan Thomas appeared in the B.B. for Feb.  This, sent in by Oliver Lloyd, is the official summary of the lecture.

Summary of the Paul Esser Memorial Lecture delivered on 14th February 1973 in the University of Bristol by Prof. W.R. Keatinge.

Some of the most exciting sports are the dangerous ones, but the risk becomes quite small if the hazards are under stood.  Of all these, water sports take the greatest toll of human life: about 1,000 deaths a year, compared with about a dozen on the mountains.  Death from shipwreck results more often from cold than from drowning.  Old fashioned equipment was designed to provide flotation rather than to protect from cold, but ideally both should be provided.  Since the last war, much research has been devoted to the study of body cooling of volunteers, with core temperature measured by electric thermometers. These give most reliable measurements when swallowed to lie just behind the heart.

Body Cooling

Thin men cool faster than fat men, because the layer of fat insulates the body core.  The cold causes the blood vessels in the fat to shut down.  Channel swimmers are usually fat.  The usual summer sea temperature here is about 150C (590F).  At this temperature, fat men have a distinct advantage over thin.  For thin men, the critical water temperature at which heat balance is possible is about 200C (680), while for fat men it is 100C (400F).


Below these temperatures, the rate of body cooling is uncontrollable, even by shivering.  The rate of body cooling can, however, be reduced.  Firstly, keep still, because exercise in water (unlike air) always accelerates body cooling, if the water is cold enough to threaten life. Secondly, keep on as much clothing as possible as this will slow down the rate of cooling.


The same principles apply to children, who often seem to tolerate cold water better than adults.  This is an illusion.  They cool more rapidly, both because they are usually thinner and because they have a larger surface area of skin in relation to body weight.  Girls generally cool more slowly than boys, because they are fatter.  In one experiment, one boy cooled as much as 3.20C (5.760F) in 33 minutes.  All the children who looked really cold were found to have core temperatures of less than 350C (950F) - the normal being 370C (98.40F) which is a fairly serious degree of hypothermia.

Cold Vasodilatation.

At temperatures near freezing point, the protective shutdown of blood vessels in the skin becomes reversed due to paralysis of their muscular walls.  The resulting vasodilatation accelerates cooling, particularly of the hands, from which heat pours out of the body.  The practical answer to this is a wet suit with gloves. Whales and seals, do not get cold vasodilatation at low temperatures and so their blubber will always protect than against heat loss.

Sudden Sinking.

Professor Keatinge quoted the case of a young athlete out sailing in the winter on a reservoir, when his boat over turned.  He had only fifty yards to swim to the shore, but after he had got half way he shouted that he couldn't go on, and sank.  Cramp may be ruled out, as he was in good training.

Study of skin reflexes to cold shows that respiration is accelerated, and air is not expelled from the chest as fully as usual.  The heart accelerates; the cardiac output doubles and the blood pressure goes up. Possibly the over breathing in choppy water might cause water to be inhaled; but a more important finding was that irregularities of heartbeat occurred (ectopic ventricular beats). These occurred in 10 to 15% of subjects on being immersed in cold water.  After a few minutes these irregularities ease off, because the nerve endings in the skin adapt to the cold.  None of these things accounted for the sudden sinking of the lad in the reservoir, so that it became necessary to design an experiment under controlled conditions which would imitate the circumstances.

A good swimmer dressed up and got into water at 4.70C (400F) and started to swim, but within 90 seconds he sank and had to be pulled out.   We were shown a film of the next swimmer repeating the experiment.  First we saw him over breathing, due to the cold water on the skin.  Then he began swimming but was holding his head high out of the water, which is tiring. He quickly began to get exhausted and to make small mistakes.  After 7½ minutes he had to stop and be pulled out.  On the bank he was utterly exhausted but within a minute and a half was talking cheerfully.  “I don't know why I couldn't”, he said, “I just got exhausted; I couldn't go on.”

The explanation why cold water is more exhausting than hot is very simple and has nothing to do with hypothermia.  This man had no drop in core temperature.  It is that cold water stickier (more viscous) than warm.  It is trying to swim in treacle.

Editor's Note:     The dynamic viscosity of water is 1.5138 at 4 degrees centigrade but drops to 1.0019 at 20 degrees. Thus, water not far from freezing is half as viscous again as water at a comfortable temperature.

Practical Advice

Always wear a life jacket when sailing.  If you have to abandon ship on the open sea, make sure you are fully clothed or wear a wet suit.  Don't exercise yourself, but keep afloat until rescued.  The natural thing to do is to swim about.  This is one case where the natural thing is the wrong thing to do. If you are caught in cold water without a life jacket, do not swim for the shore; cling to the boat until rescued if rescue is on the way.

When a subject appears to have died from hypothermia, do not despair.  Plunge him, if possible, into a bath of water as hot as the hand can stand. This is a life saving measure if done early.  The hot bath should not be continued after a satisfactory heart beat and respiration are restored.

Alcohol taken before immersion in cold water does not noticeably accelerate heat loss and makes the ordeal more tolerable.  On the other hand, if taken after two hours of exhausting exercise, it can cause a dramatic fall in blood sugar, which eliminates the ability of the body to control temperature, and so may be lethal.  So if you take a hip flask up a mountain; take some sweets as well.

Editor's Note:     I am obviously wrong here, but I have always been under the impression that alcohol dilates the surface blood vessels and, by thus warming the skin from inside, makes the subject feel warmer although he is in fact getting colder. Perhaps Oliver might care to enlarge on the effects of alcohol, this being a subject of some interest to the B.E.C!


The committee would like to thank Andrew Nicholls for his work in getting our rates for the Belfry halved.

Older members may like to hear that 'Mo' Marriott was married on June 30th.

The committee wish to announce, that, having accepted the resignation of Rodney Hobbs from the committee and the post of Belfry Engineer, this post is now vacant.  Martin Bishop has been asked to fill the post in the meantime and is thus Acting Belfry Engineer and an applicant for the position. Will any other applicants please get in touch with any committee member as soon as possible, as the committee have little time left in which to act.

The committee wish to announce that, in accordance with the instructions of the last A.G.M., they have chosen Barry Wilton from the candidates offering themselves for the job of Hon. Treasurer to take over from Bob Bagshaw at the end of the club financial year (31.7.73.).  Barry has accordingly been co-opted on to the committee.


Minutes of the 1972 A.G.M.

The first of two parts of the official minutes of this meeting.

The meeting opened at 2.35 with some 52 members present.  The Hon. Secretary called for nominations for a Chairman.  D. Hasell, R.A. Setterington and S.J. Collins were nominated.  D. Hasell said that he would not be able to attend the entire meeting and the meeting therefore voted for the other two.  Votes were in favour of Setterington (20-14) who was thus declared Chairman.

The Chairman then called for the ballot papers but queried their validity since there had been a departure from the usual practice.  The Hon. Secretary explained the system he had used, which was designed to ease the work of the tellers.  Each paid up member had been sent a form, which he did not have to sign.  There were no spares and thus no member could send in a second form.  Dam Hasell then proposed a resolution to declare these forms valid.  This was seconded by Pate Franklin and carried unanimously.

The Chairman then called for three tellers.  Mrs Meaden and Mrs Palmer were suggested from the floor.  Dan Hassell volunteered to act as the third teller.  The Chairman then called for member’s resolutions, a number of which were then handed in.

The Chairman then moved on to the minutes of the 1971 A.G.M.  These had been published to all members and he therefore ruled that they be taken as read.  He asked for any objections to the minutes.  There were none, and Frank Jones proposed their adoption.  This was seconded by Maurice Iles and carried without dissent.

The Chairman then asked the meeting whether discuss the minutes.  Mike Palmer asked whether a list of tackle had, in fact, been produced. Dave Turner said that Bill Cooper had published an incomplete list in the February B.B.  Mike Palmer said that next year's Committee should be instructed to take more positive steps to ensure that the tackle was known and listed and generally looked after.  Alan Thomas said that in many ways the Tackle¬master had proved unsatisfactory, but that Dave Turner had since taken over and was sorting the problem out in a keen and efficient manner.  The Chairman said that perhaps further discussion could be left until the Tacklemaster’s report came up for discussion.

The Chairman reminded the meeting that Income Tax was another subject left to the committee by last year's A.G.M. Bob Bagshaw replied that this had now been agreed with the tax inspector.  The Chairman also reminded the meeting that no report had been received in 1971 from the Climbing Section.  Nigel Jago replied that a report was, in fact, published after the A.G.M.

Dave Irwin brought up the problem of the showers.  The Chairman suggested that this be raised later, when the Belfry Engineer's report was up for discussion.

The Chairman asked whether a Librarian's Report for 1971 had ever been published.  Various people agreed that it had not.  There were no further items arising from the minutes of the 1971 A.G.M. and the Chairman moved on to the Hon. Secretary's Report.

The Hon. Secretary said that his report had not been published in full.  Owing to circumstances beyond his control, the remainder of the report was not in his hands and he would therefore have to give an impromptu report to the meeting.  He said that this was a great pity, since he had spent much time in choosing the wording of the original.

He said that the main reason for his remarks in the open¬ing of the written report was the presence of factions within the club to an extent which, in his opinion, was quite unprecedented. He said that he felt that the solidarity of the B.E.C. was in some danger and instanced a similar state of affairs which had occurred a few years ago in the Shepton Mallet Caving Club. He said that some people considered the Hut Warden's attitude to have been hypocritical.  This, he said, was completely untrue.  The Belfry is being efficiently run and is cleaner tidier than it has ever been.  However, a group of fun makers have been staying away and making a laughing-stock of the B.E.C. in the Hunters.  He appealed to all members for a more tolerant attitude towards each other and added that club officers should not be denigrated in the official reports of other officers.

The Chairman then called for a discussion on both the written and verbal parts of the report. Tony Meaden said that the Hon. Secretary had mentioned trouble with our neighbour Mr. Foxwell in his written report and asked if the meeting could have a fuller explanation, which Alan then gave. Mike Palmer then asked why the committee appeared not to have taken suitable steps to resolve this matter. Jock Orr said that the B.E.C. was not really a party to the dispute but merely happened to be sited between the participants.  Opinion was divided on this point, with some speakers arguing that the club was involved whether it liked it or not, while others urged the club to stay out of what appeared to be a dispute between two other parties.  The general feeling of the meeting on became apparent at one point at which a speaker suggested that we keep out until we are forced to join in. This was greeted with a general murmur of approval from the floor.

After a further discussion, Mike Palmer put forward a proposal which was seconded by George Honey “That the subject of access to ours and Mr. Foxwell's land over land belonging to the Dors family be investigated by the next      committee, who should seek legal advice.”  An amendment was proposed by Alan Thomas “That the word 'independent' be inserted before 'legal'”.  This was seconded by Jock Orr and the amended resolution passed unanimously by the meeting.

Dave Irwin said that the remarks in the B.B. appeared to cast a slur on Dave Turner.  (The page in question being part of the written report from the Hon. Secretary) and asked if these remarks could be struck from the record. Jock Orr said that he thought the remarks were fair and implied no criticism of Dave in an form.  Mike Palmer said that his reading of the page in question brought him to the same conclusion as Jock Orr.  Dave Irwin said that he still thought that the remarks should be struck off and formally proposed their deletion.  This was seconded by Phil Kingston and defeated by 5 votes to 10, all the remainder of the meeting abstaining.

A discussion then arose as to whether club members receive sufficient information on committee matters and, in part¬icular, whether more should be published in the B.B.  Roger Stenner proposed that all such matters be left to the Editor’s discretion.  This was seconded by Kangy and carried without dissent.  Bob Bagshaw then proposed the adoption of the report. This was seconded by Dermott and carried nem. con.

The Hon. Treasurer's Report followed.  The Chairman said that this had been published but asked the Hon. Treasurer if he would like to add anything to his written report.  Bob said that he had no additions to make, but perhaps the Auditor's report should be read at this stage and both reports discussed together.  The Chairman then read the Hon. Auditor's Report to the meeting.

Jock Orr said that the Auditor’s Report was very good and should be implemented.  Mike Palmer queried why the report had not previously been published.  Joan replied that it was a recommendation to the Treasurer and as such had not been published.  Nigel Jago suggested that it should be a part of the Agenda in future.  This was formally proposed by Jock Orr, seconded by Dave Irwin and carried 23-2 with the remainder abstaining.

Alan Kennett proposed that Joan and Roy Bennett be appointed as auditors for the forthcoming year. This was seconded by Bob Cross and carried without dissent.  Phil Townsend asked whether the committee could be instructed to look for a new Treasurer in view of Bob Bagshaw's announced retirement.  The Chairman agreed, and said that there was no need for a formal vote.

Roy Bennett said that we could go into a loss situation unless the costs of the B.B. were reduced or the subs increased.  George Honey suggested a bi-monthly B.B. and additional charge for postage.  Alfie replied that he had sounded out the club on a quarterly B.B. with small newsletters filling in the gaps, and that the club had come out overwhelmingly in favour of continuing the B.B. in its present form.  He said, however, that some small economies could perhaps be made on the postal side. Dave Irwin pointed out that publications other than the B.B. had shown an apparent loss, but this had been due to a peak on spending and would not show as an overall loss over a period of time. In reply to a suggestion that surpluses in other departments could be used for the B.B.  Dave said that these surpluses were for the Belfry and that it had always been agreed that the B. B. should be financed from subscriptions. Jock Orr said that the B.B. must continue as a monthly publication.  Dan Hasell amplified this by saying that he had always considered the B.B. to be an important part of the club and if the only way to keep it as it ought to be was by raising subscriptions, then this would have to be done.  Barry Wilton wished the meeting to know that he fully supported Dan' s arguments.  Mike Palmer wished to enquire whether subs were paid by members solely for their copies of the B.B.?  A discussion along the lines already described went on for some time and eventually Roy Bennett asked for a new vote on the frequency of the B.B.  This was taken, and produced 28 in favour of continuing as a monthly and 7 in favour of its being a bi-monthly.  Dave Irwin then proposed the adoption of the Hon. Treasurer's Report.  This was seconded by Andy MacGregor and carried nem. con.

The Chairman pointed out that the discussion just over had taken up much time and that there was a lot of business still to get through.  At this stage, the tellers brought in their results, which the Chairman read out by announcing the successful candidates in order of votes cast. These were:- R.J. Bagshaw; T.E. Large; A. Thomas; R. Bennett; S.J. Collins; D. Irwin; J. Orr; M.A. Palmer and N. Jago.

The Caving Secretary's Report followed.  This had been published and the Chairman asked if there were any comments.  Alan Thomas asked the Caving Secretary whether he thought that the B.E.C. was the best club on Mendip.  The Caving Secretary agreed that this was indeed the case. Andy MacGregor then proposed the adoption of the report.  This was seconded by Roger Stenner and carried nem. con.

The Climbing Secretary's Report - also previously published led to no discussion and was adopted after a proposal to the effect by Kangy, seconded by Barry Wilton.

The Tacklemaster's Report followed.  This was read to the meeting by the Chairman. Alfie asked whether Bill Cooper had handed over all the tackle which should exist.  He was assured by Dave Turner that this was so.  A discussion on tackle followed which resulted in the proposal to adopt the report being put to the meeting by Andy MacGregor seconded by Alan Thomas and carried without dissent.  A vote of thanks to the Tacklemaster was proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Tim Hodgson and carried without dissent.

The Hut Warden's Report followed.  This had been published and the Chairman asked if there were any questions.  Mike palmer said that the receipts from Tackle Fees were very disappointing and thought that this could be a result of the Cuthbert’s Leader’s Meeting having agreed to do away with them.  Dan Hassell asked if the Cuthbert’s Leader’s Meeting was competent to take such a decision.  He said that he understood that all decisions taken by that meeting required to be ratified by the committee.  Alan Thomas said that this was correct, and that the Committee had not heard about this suggestion from the Cuthbert’s Leader’s Meeting.  Jock Orr said that he had had fees from some Cuthbert’s Leaders but not from others.  Joan Bennett queried the use of the storage heaters and asked whether there was any rule to say when they were allowed to be used.  Jock replied that they would be used when it got cold enough. Joan said that she thought this could be very expensive.  This led to a discussion on fuel costs which in turn led to a more general discussion on Belfry Expenditure.  Dave Irwin proposed that in view of this discussion and the previous discussion on the cost of the B.B. “The committee should look into club finances in the widest possible context before any move to put up the subs was contemplated.” Jock pointed out that the Belfry had made a surplus.  Nigel Jago asked why we no longer kept a barrel fund going if we were hard up. Nigel Taylor replied that we were a Caving and Climbing club, not a travelling drinking club.  This led to a lively - if not spirited - discussion, which was eventually resolved by the seconding of Dave’s resolution by Alan Thomas, which was then voted upon and carried without dissent.  Dave Irwin then proposed the adoption of the Hut Warden's report, which was again seconded by Alan and carried.

The Hut Engineer's Report had been published and the Chairman invited comments.  Kangy asked if the roof had been insulated yet, as it had a considerable bearing on fuel costs.  He was told that it had not, but would be before the winter came.  Nigel Taylor proposed the acceptance of this report. This was seconded by Bob Bagshaw and carried without dissent, as was the Librarian Report, which the meeting adopted without discussion.

A short discussion on the Editor's Report revealed a request for photographic material in the B.B. The Editor pointed out that photo litho plates cost 23/- each and wondered in view of the financial discussion whether it was the wish of the club to make the B.B. more expensive to produce.  The report was adopted after this had been proposed by Tony Corrigan and seconded by Pete Franklin.

The Caving Publications Report was adopted without discussion by the meeting, its adoption being proposed by Andy MacGregor and seconded by Dermott Walsh.

The Chairman then turned to the remaining business of the meeting, at which point Mike Palmer proposed an adjournment in view of the volume of business still to be discussed. George Honey queried this and asked if the Chairman could read out the remaining business so that the meeting could decide whether to adjourn or not.  On hearing the rest of the business from the Chairman he seconded the resolution to adjourn. This was carried unanimously by the meeting.

The Chairman then announced that the meeting stood adjourned to 2pm the next day at the Belfry.


Travels with a Test Tube

The first in this series appeared in the B.B. for February and the editor apologises for the delay in printing Roger Stenner’s second instalment!

Pollution studies took me next, in July, to Norway.  Several days were spent in splendid weather in fjords in Western Norway.  The people are very friendly towards Britons, who have no language problems because so many Norwegians speak perfect English. A lot of rain made the waterfalls very spectacular and the high roads still lay between huge banks of snow.  Skiing was still in progress high in the mountains.    Minor roads are surfaced with oiled grit, swept and repaired almost daily.  They are not for timid drivers or drivers with a poor head for heights. The fjords are deep, cold and clear and full of hungry cod.  Ferries are an integral part of the transport system.  They are regular, efficient and cheap.  After the first work in the fjords, I took the Great North Road into the arctic circle, for more work in the fjord complex starting at Bodo.  The tidal race at Saltstraumen causes a huge set of whirlpools; the biggest in the world I'm told.  Here, I managed to surprise the locals, who were catching two pound coalfish, by taking a 15¼ lb. cod on freshwater tackle.  Sitting back feeling pleased with myself, I noticed two huge birds circling overhead - white tailed sea eagles.  With the work finished and the mini packed up with my specimens, it was time to travel south again, towards Sweden where I would meet George Honey again. Before that there was time for a detour near Mo-i-Rhana to Gronligrotten a show cave not too far south of the Arctic Circle.

From the car park in a clearing in the forest at the foot of a valley wall, along path winds steeply upward towards the cave.  Visitors are warned to allow twenty minutes to reach the cave.  In hot sunshine, with sample bottles, C02 analyser, thermometers and cameras and wearing enough clothes for a cold cave, this time was about right.  By the cave entrance is a little kiosk, making a fortune from the sales of cold drinks. The entrance fee is paid here and, as well as post cards, they sell surveys of the cave.  As show caves go, this one is a little unusual. Photographs are permitted and people who wish can go down without a guide, as long as they have their own lights. The only help for tourists is a couple of planks; some fixed steel ladders and the odd handrail - not a place for open-toed sandals - and the guides! - two very pretty girls took it in turns to guide the parties.

The cave is fairly small, with about two thousand feet of passages and is about 320 feet deep. Water from a fairly big surface stream leaks through boulders to one side of the stream, re-appearing in the cave after about a thousand feet.  The cave is in very odd looking rock.  The Great ¬Oones like entrance leads into a fairly steep, boulder strewn bedding plane passage.  The main route lies to the left.  The stream is seen briefly entering on the right.  It is soon lost, re-appearing in a photogenic little waterfall.  It soon disappears again into a small slot, but it can be heard lower in the cave.  The flat roof is covered with drops of water, condensing on the cold rock from air made warm and moist by the stream.  After about six hundred feet, where the show cave ends, a passage leads upwards to another entrance.  Part of the floor was dust covered ice.  Back at the junction, a passage to the right leads to a flat out crawl over dry sand. The roof soon lifted in an obviously solutional passage.  A little climb to avoid a dangerously corroded ladder led to smaller and steeper passages.  At the top of a vertical rift, I turned back.  It was silly to start taking risks alone; without a reserve light; loaded with gear and in a foreign land.  Instead, it was time to start taking photographs and measurements.  After crawling round in a little maze, a big passage led back into the middle of the tourist route, by-passing the flat out crawl.

Back on the surface once more, there was time to admire the scenery.  Above, a noisy raven was slowly circling.  All around was the dense forest and across the valley gleaming in the brilliant sunshine was the Schwarteisen¬glacier, the second biggest in Europe.  The ferry needed was out of action, so I could not visit it but the cave made a pleasant break in the work programme.


Eskdale 1971

Tony Tucker sends us this account of what was obviously a typical B.E.C. visit made to the Eskdale area in November of 1971.

We left Bristol from Gulliver's Travels at Bedminster at about 7pm.  Eleven of us (I think) and piles of gear roped on top of the Transit and stacked inside - with us sitting in any empty space we could find.  Pete Franklin was driving and things went reasonably well until we left the motorway - apart from occasional attacks of cramp etc. However, a few miles further on, Bob Cross (our rough country navigator) proceeded to get us lost as best he could. While he was looking at a map to try and find the most devious route possible, we came across a small town which suddenly leapt up out of the night and, before he could stop us, we all jumped out and staggered to the local chippy - all the pubs being shut.

After a sumptuous feast of F & C. – and I can thoroughly recommend that chippy ~ though for the life of me I can’t remember where it is - we set off again and, after pushing the Transit up a steep hill complete with hairpin bends (it looked like a ruddy mountain in the moonlight!) we finally drove into Boot.  We were meant to be there at midnight but what with Bob's mountain roads etc., it was 1.20am when we arrived.

The Burnmoor Inn was still open and we all piled in demanding ale.  That is a pub with a difference!  Jose, the landlady is quite a character and she runs the place with her husband and Eric the barman.  We sat in a corner of the room for mutual protection against her approaches, where we cringed and supped our ale.  Steve Spratt had an interesting experience, but I can't go into details because Alfie wouldn't print them.  We staggered out at about half past three and unfurled our sleeping bags in some dilapidated cottages across the street.

On the Saturday, we again visited the pub for morning drinkies, where we found Jose and Eric crawling around on the floor looking for his false teeth.  Just a quickie, whilst deciding where to go.  Decided on a visit to Wastwater.  The weather by this time had taken a turn for the worse and when we arrived at Wastwater it was incredibly damp, with an evil swirling mist writhing up from the lake.  The only thing to be done, of course, was to go to the pub which lay conveniently situated just outside the car, and to stay there until they chucked us out. Eventually, we were thrown out and, as the weather was still somewhat unpleasant, the majority of our group decided to walk round the lake and then drive back to Boot.  However, three stalwarts; Crange, Steve Spratt and myself, decided to go up Scafell, down the other side, and back to Boot across country. That was in theory.  In practice it was a trifle different.  Part way up, we lost Steve and thought that he had fallen in the lake.  We called out but received no answer, so we looked for him but failed to find any trace. By this time, we were rather worried, thinking that the Demon of the Mountain had carried him away.  A few minutes later, I stumbled and nearly fell over Steve, who was lying beside a boulder.  As he was wearing black waterproof clothing, we hadn't seen him. When asked the reason for this odd behaviour, he said he was tired and had decided to lay down.  We couldn’t argue against this logic, so after a fag we carried on.  When we were about three quarters of the way up, the weather began to clear - only to be replaced by darkness.  By this time, we were crossing what could be described as a scree slope composed of very large boulders.  After negotiating this obstacle, it was almost pitch black, so we held a meeting to decide whether to go on or to turn back.  The intrepid Crange wanted to go on, but we said that it was foolhardy and dangerous as we had no lights.  It was decided by two votes to one to go back down and return to Boot along the road - a distance of sixteen miles.  We walked about eight of them when all of a sudden we were drawn by a strange force inside a building which, on examination, proved to be a public house. The gods were on our side at last, and we settled down with a pint of beer.  It was then decided to phone our people at Boot (the beer having cleared our heads) and tell them where we were just in case they were getting worried. We did this, and Peter said that he would come and collect us.  We didn’t argue.  On the way back to Boot, we were told that the other party had raided a sawmill and swiped enough timber to last us the night (supplemented by some old furniture from the cottages.)  We all had a meal and decided to visit a different pub for the evening’s refreshment. We accord¬ingly snuck off and, after an enjoyable time, went back to the Burnmore Inn.  Jose was furious, accusing us of only coming back when the other pubs were shut (which was true.)  However, she soon calmed down and we started supping again.  There was a group of Yorkshire lads in the room as well and we soon had a good singing match going – foreskins in the sky and all.  Jose became quite upset because nobody was taking any notice of her, so we sang ‘Edelweiss’ all the way through, upon which she broke down and told us how she had been raped by the Nazis during the war.  The singing then continued until about 4 a.m., when we began to stagger off to bed.  Bob Cross was highly slewed and kept apologising for bringing us to such a terrible place.  We told him to shut up and that we were enjoying it immensely.  After several people had been ill we eventually got to sleep.

On Sunday, we arose late and partook of a light breakfast then packed our gear for the ‘off’.  I tabled a motion that we should go into the pub to say farewell and there ensued a considerable debate over this - the opposition  being led by Crange, who said that he had forgotten his key and unless we left soon, he would be locked out.

However, the outcome was soon decided, and once again we trooped into the pub.  The B.E.C.’s ever present thirst had won again.  More beer.  We left before closing time (I think) and proceeded to Wrynose Pass where we had to de-bus again to allow the Transit to get to the top. By the way, going back to first thing that morning, I forgot to mention that when we at last woke up, it was to find that it had snowed during the night and that all the mountain peaks were covered in a layer of crisp new snow – a wonderful sight.

At the top of Wrynose, Cross and Glossop engaged in mortal combat with dry cowsh.  Bob came off worst.  We remounted the wagon and set off down Hardknott Pass, a terrifying descent.  Most of the time we couldn’t see the road in front because the descent was so steep - only the valley floor hundreds of feet below.

A ghastly odour was gradually wafting its way through our vehicle, which was traced to Bob who was still liberally bespattered with cowsh.  We forced him out of the Transit to enable him to dunk his head in a nearby stream, to get rid of the awful pong.  At this stage, our forward progress was halted by a horse which, as it was without rider, decided to delay our journey for as long as possible. Bob, refreshed by his icy wash, and with his brain still numb from the shock of the cold water, was heard to say, “Leave this to me, lads.  I've got a way with horses.”  We duly left it to him as requested and sat back to watch the show.  We were not disappointed.  Bob walked up to the horse, muttering words of encouragement in its ear.  No notice being taken of this approach, Bob decided to push it out of the way.  The horse objected to this treatment and tried to bite Bob, who retired rapidly.  We then urged him to ride it away, but the horse looked him in the eye, obviously trying to decide which bit to bite next and, when having finally made up its mind, it moved towards him to put its decision into effect, Bob leapt into the Transit with commendable agility.  We removed it eventually by nudging it gently off the road with the vehicle.

Fog on the M6.  We nearly got lost at Spaghetti Junction and wound up at a pub outside Cheltenham.  While the rest of us were drinking, Crange phoned home to explain that he had forgotten his key and to arrange a method of entry into the ancestral home.

We arrived back in Bristol about midnight after a most enjoyable weekend. Special thanks to Bob Cross, who arranged the trip and also to the rest of the party, without whom a lot of the atmosphere would have been missing.

Those present were: Joyce and Pete Franklin (our driver, thanks, Pete!) Brenda and Barry Wilton, Sue Gazzard, Tony Tucker, Bob Cross, Keith Glossop, Crange, Steve Spratt and Rod Hobbs.


The Caving Secretary would like to remind members to write up their trips.  The write-up does not have to be lengthy - merely the date; cave; leader and party if there is nothing else to put.  If trips are not written up, the committee gets a false impression of the amount of caving being done and - apart from anything else - may not be so keen in spending money in this direction - so WRITE IT FOR YOUR OWN SAKE!


Monthly Crossword – Number 35.




















































































1. Fret Choir in Cuthbert’s. (5,4)
6. Green on Mendip. (3)
7. Steep hill face. (4)
8. …will do it (see also 13.) (2)
10. Hauls. (5)
13. …excess. (see 8). (2)
14. Add fuel to fire on Mendip. (5)
15. Signal on line perhaps? (3)
17. Warty type of Mendip cave passage. (6,3)


2. Use this in caving? (4)
3. Concerning. (2)
4. Underground pile. (6)
5. Hill on E. Mendip. (4)
6. Possess. (6)
9. Digging implement? (6)
11. Caving adjunct. (3)
12. Agitate. (4)
13. Type of stal. (5)
16. Agreeable sound. (2)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword