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, N. Taylor, B. Wilton, M. Bishop

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.
Asst. Treas.      B. WILTON, 27 bVenus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol.
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



Hon. Treas.

Most older members, if asked to name the person who has held a particular office for the longest time in the history of the B.E.C. might well recall our founder, Harry Stanbury who held the posts of Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer from the inception of the club in 1935 until he retired from the committee in 1951.

This spell of sixteen years has, however, easily been beaten by his successor Bob Bagshaw, who has been Treasurer ever since and who retires at this forthcoming A.G.M. after staying the course for no less than twenty three years.

Whilst it is true of many of the jobs necessary for the running of a club such as ours, that a constant supply of fresh faces does nothing but good; there are some jobs where a degree of stability and experience breeds confidence and this is, perhaps, particularly true where finance is concerned.  The calm and unflustered way by which Bob produced £3,000 out of the hat in what must be record time for a club such as ours in order to finance the building of he present Belfry must surely be the highlight of his long term of office, which started before many of the younger members of the B.E.C. were born.

We wish his successor a literally prosperous career as the third holder of this office in the 39 years of the B.E.C.'s existence (He should, of course, last us until 1996!) and hope that Bob will continue to take a lively interest in the club whose fortunes he has guided for so long a time.

Better Bought Than Taught

We note from the Sunday Times of July 22nd, that the army are to hold an enquiry into the death of a 15 year old boy soldier in Porth yr Ogof.  This incident, according to the newspaper already mentioned, has produced a 'sharp reaction' both from the South Wales Caving Club and the Cambrian Caving Council.

The use of caves by the army for physical training has long been deplored by many cavers.  In my own case, I well remember a conversation with a terrified lad one Friday the Hunters who was dreading his forthcoming visit to Swildons the next day, but daren't refuse to go because the penalties he would incur.  This sort of thing is emphatically NOT what caving is all about, and one can only hope that it no longer exists.

The leaders on the ill-fated trip into Porth yr Ogof were both army sergeant-instructors who - again to quote the newspaper - 'were qualified cavers and only this May attended the scout caving course at Whernside in Yorkshire.'

It is tragic that Ian Calder's words describing caving certificates as 'a certificate which neither ensures accident-free trips nor an educational approach to caving' should be so rapidly endorsed by events.  Whilst there is nothing actually against the running of courses and the granting of certificates; it must always be realised that the only real qualification is experience and one should talk of an experienced caver rather than a qualified caver.  I would sooner be in a nasty situation underground with a caver who had years of experience behind him than with one who had just completed a course on caving - however good that course might have been.  Whether the leaders were in fact, experienced as well as 'qualified' was not stated in the newspaper account.

By all means let organisations who have vested interests in the physical fitness of their members encourage them - if they will - to go caving: but let these bodies get their members to go where the experience is with the country's caving clubs.



In view of the success of the 'Old Men's Weekend' this year, "Sett" is thinking of holding one next year about may time, maybe on similar lines to the last one, or perhaps in some other form according to people's wishes.


The Committee would like to thank Buckett Tilbury for his gift of additional storage heaters for the Belfry.

Members going abroad may like to know that if they get a form E111 filled in and attached to their passports, this will give them the same medical treatment facilities as, are received by natives of the E.E.C. countries they may be visiting.  It still pays to check just what these are however, because medical treatment is not always free.

The Hon. Librarian appeals to members who have returned books, periodicals etc. NOT TO FILE THEM BACK into the library system, but to leave them on the library table.  This will prevent them being mis-filed.

The Hon. Secretary is appealing for NOMINATIONS for the 1973-1974 Committee.  These must reach him IN WRITING by the 8th of September at 10.30 a.m.  No seconder is required but the permission of the person or persons nominated must have been obtained and they must have agreed to stand if elected.  The paper nominating them MUST SAY that this is the case.

The Committee wish to announce that they have co-opted to fill the vacancy of Belfry Engineer.

Members are asked by the local council NOT to park cars on Priddy Green if visiting Swildons.  Cars should be parked on the UPPER GREEN (by the church) and for short stays on the SIDE VERGES of the lower green NOT on the central area of the green.

The committee wish to announce that, in accordance with the instructions given to them by the last A.G.M., they propose a change to the constitution; "That the word 'ratified' be inserted before the word 'members' in clause 5 of the constitution".  This is the appropriate notice required by the constitution to be published so that, if the A.G.M. agree, the constitution can be changed at the forthcoming A.G.M.


Club Officers' Reports - 1973 - Caving Secretary's Report.

N.B. All officers reports published this year in the B. B. have been approved by the Committee.

This year has seen much caving activity both on Mendip further a field - especially South Wales and Yorkshire.  Also a small group of members have done original work in exploring and surveying some caves on the Western coast of Scotland.  Four members have joined caving teams in the Pyrenees who are exploring the Pierre St. Martin.

As usual, nearly every nook and cranny on Mendip has been visited by someone.  Digging has taken up a considerable amount of members' time with work progressing in Cuthbert’s, Manor Farm Swallet, Cuckoo Cleeves, Avelines, etc.  Hunters Hole has been attacked spasmodically but has not yet yielded to the methods used so far.  Rookery Farm Swallet was also dug during the year, but was abandoned when the bottom of the entrance shaft fell in.  Bucket Hole, which has not been dug for over a year now, is to be filled in.

On the surveying side, work has continued in Cuthbert’s and in Burrington caves, both being almost completed.  This year, St. Cuthbert’s has seen a drop in the number of tourist trips, but a rise in the number of prospective leaders who have completed the Leaders' Trips.

Much appreciated help was given by Roy Bennett who organised all the club trips to Yorkshire and South Wales.  These were well attended and plenty of enjoyable caving was done - some in company with the Bradford Pothole Club.

May I take this opportunity to wish next year's Caving Secretary the best of luck?

Tim Large.

Club Officers' Reports - 1973 - B.B. Editor's Report.

This has been a year of no major change to the B.B.  The club's journal has been stabilised for two years now at a normal issue of 24 pages of A5 per month.  During the first half of 1973, the B.B. has been running over a month late, but hopefully will have caught up by the time of the A.G.M.

There is no doubt in my mind, after handling journals of some other clubs, that we made the right metric choice in going to A5.  I am also convinced that centre stapling and the stiff cover to Barry Wilton's distinctive and eye-catching design were, again, good choices.  The B.B., like many other club journals, has had a number of changes of cover and of format over the years and I think we would do well to keep the present arrangements for some time to come; now we have good ones.

Various polls taken over the years - the last one being at the last A.G.M. - have shown a remarkable consistency in the wishes of club members for retaining a monthly journal and, again, I think we should now consider this subject closed - at least for a good time ahead.

On contents there is little to say.  As always, one prints more or less what one receives.  The only difficulty lies in the choice between printing long articles of specialist interest only, or trying to produce enough of more general interest without them.  I have tried to apply the principle of striking a balance between appeal to the average reader the one hand, and the club image as reflected in the B.B. the other.

An attempt to run regular features ('Just a Sec'; 'At the Belfry', etc.) has not proved very successful and these and other serial articles have fallen by the wayside.  I have kept the crossword going because a few people do it and others consider it a unique feature of a caving magazine.

In judging the B.B. over the year, it should be looked at the general context of journals of a similar type. This I have endeavoured to do throughout the year and find that the B.B. seems to be keeping its end up.  Problems of finding enough suitable material and of expanse do not seem to be confined to the B.B.

Within these limits, the only improvement that is being actively pursued is that of using the Xerox copy on to paper master process for the production of more professional looking headings etc.  The really big improvement would, of course, be to type the B.B. on an I.B.M. golf ball typewriter - but this will have to wait until we find someone who has not only the facilities but the time and the will to do it, or until either the club or myself can afford to buy one.

I should like to conclude by thanking all those who have contributed towards the B.B. in any way, without whose support we should not have a club magazine.  It may be unfashionable to name names, but out thanks should go, amongst many others, to Kay Mansfield, who sends out the B.B. with the usual Mansfield family efficiency but who is unfortunately retiring from this job; to Barry Wilton who has been organising a local delivery service and who is always available to help in any way; and to Kangy King our most regular contributor over the ages, now joined by his young son.  Perhaps when I am an old man, Jonathan might be sending me my B.B. from Toulouse.

Annual Dinner

This will be held at the WOOKEY HOLE CAVE RESTAURANT ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6th at 7.30 for 8 p.m.

Price per person is £1.65. Send your money to Bob Bagshaw (For the last time!) and make sure of your place at the B.E.C. Dinner.



An account by Graham Wilton-Jones of this fine area of the country.

Reading in the Christmas B.B. about the B.E.C./Shepton visit to Sutherland for the Grampian Dinner prompts me to add to Mike's article some of my own notes of a visit made to that area last summer.

I had originally intended to go to Sutherland with Jim Abbott and Co. but, as only he and I were interested, the idea fell through - have we not heard this saga before?  When I heard that Bob Mayhew and Crange were going up there for a week with a Shepton party, I asked to join them.

They already had a full load, and since I was to travel from East Anglia I went up in my own car.  I had just fitted twin carbs and was keen to see how they performed.  I soon learned!  The inlet noise was deafening, and was continuous for 700 miles.  Then it also rained all the way up there and the car leaked like a sieve, creating my very own, mobile flood in the back.  Various vehicles left the road in the treacherous weather - all up in Scotland.

Late in the evening I arrived at what I thought to be a pleasant camping spot half way between Inverness and Ullapool.  I still had something to learn about Scotland in July and August.  It's infested with midges - and that evening they all converged on my car and my tent.

The following morning the rain had stopped and the midges were gone, except those in the car.  There was a dull mist in the air, adding to the bleakness of the morning.  The stony moor land soon gave way to trees as I dropped toward the coast.  I breakfasted by the Falls of Measach spectacular in their deep, sharp shelved gorge - and then drove down to Ullapool.  Loch Broom lay quiet and still, brilliantly reflecting the little white houses of the town and the long line of massive white cumulus above.  The Minch and its islands lay beyond, peaceful in the morning.

Having stocked up with provisions, I continued on to Elphin where we were to stay, courtesy of G.S.S. The road is simply a switchback of metallising laid across open moor with no boundaries along most of its length. It is also fast, and I soon arrived at the G.S.S. headquarters - a rusty looking corrugated iron shed to find that the Shepton had already arrived.  Having travelled overnight, they were all kipping, so I set off up the rise behind the hut to admire the view.

In actual fact, the view from the hut door is truly magnificent and the only advantage in climbing is that you see a little further. Suilven is particularly prominent. Other mountains dominate other aspects of the view, which is otherwise a low, hummocky, lake-scattered bog.  From higher up, the sea is visible.

The village of Elphin lies on the line of the Moine thrust fault.  This line can be drawn from Loch Eiboll on the North coast through Ullapool to the Sound of Sleat which is the channel between the island of Skye and the mainland.  This line is an important geological divide.  To the West, the rocks are largely gneiss overlaid with hard Torridon Sandstone.  To the east lie the rocks which form most of North Scotland. All this dips to the South East. In past geological eras, various rocks including quartzite, grits and the Durness limestones were laid over much of the area.  From the West, these have been largely eroded away although the sandstone heights are capped with protective layers of quartzite.  Gneiss and schists have been thrust over the top of the Cambrian rocks from the East, burying them.  They now outcrop only as a narrow band along the line of the thrust faults, where they are squashed, contorted and faulted.  The main outcrop of limestones are on Skye, in Loch Kishorn, near Torridon, around Eljhin and at Durnes.

When the Shepton finally rose from their slumbers, we went off for permission to visit various sites. Basically, permission is from the Nature Reserve Warden and one of the local gamekeepers.  This covers most of the Elphin and Inchnadamph area.  Soon we were making our way up the Allt nam Hamh - the stream of the caves.  Apparently there had been no rain for some time and the water was lower than usual. To the North of the stream is a small spring with little flow at that time to the south, at the base of a crag, well above the valley appeared the Orne Caves, beautifully circular in section.  Near here, the stream appeared out of the ground and further upstream, to the East, the streambed was dry boulders and gravel.

We soon climbed out of the main valley southwards and into a shallow subsidiary valley.  At the head of this we came upon Hamh an Claomeite. The water in this cave actually sinks through the peat higher up on the moor.

The weather was holding, so the following day we drove out to Stoer via Loch Assynt.  The road is narrow, winding and hummocky, following faithfully the best course over this rough barren land which is typical of gneiss scenery.  The bare rock is a sombre grey.  There are few trees, but hundreds of streams and lakes full of water lilies.  The land beyond Stoer is sandstone, and is much smoother with fewer lakes.  In glorious sunshine we walked round the coast, along the boulder beach or above the cliffs while we watched seals, cormorants and oyster-catchers.  After some six miles, we came to the Old Man of Stoer.  This is an impressive stack of layered sandstone, standing just out from the cliff with deep, threshing water between.  It is about two hundred feet high, and it has been climbed.

On, then, to the Point of Stoer, where cliff edge feats were performed to photograph a fluffy young fulmar nestling.  We returned to base via the Northern road.  On the way back, we stopped by a loch to look at an interesting but midge-infested waterfall.  The loch is perched on a low plateau and its outlet is into a narrow gorge.  At one end there are numerous perched rocks, often with good waterfalls in this part of the world.

Our evenings, and sometimes mid-days, were spent at Inchnadamph.  This is a hotel, though a farm, school and chapel warrant it a name on the map.  Behind Inchnadamph lies the Traligill River which gathers on the slopes of Ben Mor Assynt. A mile or so upstream, the river emerges from a large dark cleft in the bottom of a deep, steep sided gorge.  The cleft is like a bedding plane, but is in fact a thrust fault plane.  Most of the horizontal planes seen in the Durness Limestone are associated with faulting. Further up valley, the river is being swallowed by a large inviting hole.

On up the valley and on to a spur between the river and a tributary, we found our objective, Caoc Nam Uamh, which Bob started to survey.  There are three entrances to the system, Uamh an Uisge is a fault plane bedding at thirty degrees with an impressive cascade of water covering the whole width of the floor - up to fifty feet - and disappearing into darkness. An open pothole gives direct access to Uamh an Uisge.  The third entrance is Uamh an Tartair, which we used.  Once inside we met the stream which we crossed.  Crawling and climbing through a couple of small decorated chambers and over a broken floor above the stream, we soon came to the upstream sump - a deep pool rising in a large chamber.  Crange noted that the water was rising quite rapidly, but we were assured that all was well.  So while Bob began to survey each pebble and lump of mud, we set off to explore the rest of the system thoroughly.  At the extreme Eastern end is a static sump dammed by a peaty deposit.  At the other end of the cave - downstream - the waters swirl along a series of sumps and ducks under rock bridges.  By-passing one sump I reached a narrow rift which dropped down again to the stream, now deep and swift flowing.  This led straight into Uamh na Uisge.  The water had by now risen considerably and I instantly cast aside any thoughts of descending this torrential cascade.

Leaving Bob to his surveying, we went off along the valley as two hours underground seemed sufficient for the day.  After another two hours, having looked at every hole; marsh; stream; bog and waterfall, we arrived back at the cave.  Five minutes inside, I found Bob still surveying and muttering that he'd need another six trips to do the whole lot.  We left him and returned to the hut for nosh hours later, in the evening, we met him at the pub, now muttering about a further twelve trips.

On the Tuesday, we drove Northwards across Ferry and up to Durness.  The road runs close to the coast in places, though often the sea is hidden by scattered hummocks.  It is typical gneiss scenery with a myriad of lakes.  The weather deteriorated to clammy mist and drizzle as we approached the North coast.  Here, the relief changes as the road runs into sandstone, and then the Cambrian outcrops.  Durness lies on the limestone and there is to be found the most northerly cave in the British Isles - Smoo Cave, which we had come to see.  There are good descriptions of Smoo in various books. It lies at the end of a long, narrow chasm-like bay and a stream runs over the sandy floor and out into the bay. Above the cave are three potholes and the water of the river Smoo drops down one of these.  The cave is large, but neither long nor spectacular.  Having looked into every possible nook and cranny without getting wet, we wandered down the bay.  The stream wanders from side to side of the bay until it eventually meets the sea about half a mile out.  There are numerous small holes in awkward places, but the increasingly heavy rain drove us back to shelter.  We returned via ultra narrow roads over some desolate empty country and thence to base. For those interested in history, there are various brochs to be seen on this inland route.  These are early Iron Age circular stone forts.  We saw only one, but passed several according to the maps.

Next day we walked up Allt nam Uamh, putting in bags of activated charcoal at various strategic points. The river had risen considerably and there were fountains and springs in all sorts of obvious and unexpected places.  We put dye into the stream in Uamh an Claonaite, which has a loose ruckle entrance. The markers were picked up a couple of days later, but all proved negative as the peat had blotted out all traces of the dye. 

Early one morning we visited Kuachan Cliff, just down the road from the pub.  This is rather interesting as all the rocks of the locality, except the gneiss and sandstone can be seen outcropping in the cliff. There is also a nature trail up the cliff, where numerous unusual flowers grow, especially alpine species. On the loch opposite the cliff, there were divers (birds) whose mournful cries echoes around, somehow adding to the wildness of the view.  On a clear day, this view takes in many hundreds of square miles of Scottish scenery.

Suilvan, whose peak is protected from more rapid erosion by a granite intrusion, and Stac Pollaidh, are both visible from the cliff on a clear day.  They are both WNW-ESE ridges of sheer sided sandstone cliffs. Suilven, four miles as the crow flies from the nearest road, is a magnificent sight from the hut.  It stands 1,500 feet above the general level of the rest of the land and a stream of cloud flows frequently from its summit. As weather became less settles during our stay, Suilven disappeared.  Thus, when it re-appeared beneath the cloud one day, Crange and I persuaded everyone else that they wanted to climb it.

We decided to take a longer route, involving some nine ten miles, to the summit.  The main difficulty lies in avoiding all the lakes and rivers.  After half an hour after we had set out, the cloud lowered, it began to rain and Suilven vanished once more.  The ground became boggy and soon filled with little streams and pools.  We came upon a herd of about two hundred deer, and within minutes of their spotting us they were miles away.  Finally we reached the slopes of Suilven and climbed into the cloud. This we discovered to be dangerously thick and so retired defeated.

I stayed on after the Shepton had returned to Somerset the weather at once cleared.  I went up Stac Pollaidh which is much more accessible than Suilven, being only mile from the road.  Being alone, I did not climb the final sections - a ten foot overhang above a sheer drop of more than a hundred feet followed by a steep slope of eight hundred feet or so.  However, this ascent lessened the disappointment of failing to climb Suilven. From this windy peak, the view was over thousands of square miles of land and sea.  Below the peak, large sandstone pebble have been polished shiny smooth by desert winds of millions of years ago.

On the hill behind the Grampian hut there is supposed to by Crystal Cave. We had spent fruitless hours searching for it.  I was up there looking for it, when a golden eagle flew low above my head.  Later, I saw him again being mobbed by a Kestrel. Within the same hour, a harrier chasing rabbits nearly flew into me.  There are many birds of prey here, no doubt finding plentiful food amongst the rabbits and small rodents.  I never found Crystal Cave, although I found several other holes. The peat in this area has in it many preserved organic remains, especially silver birch and bracken.  In one peat patch, I came across a preserved fox's paw.

For me, one of the most successfully expeditions of the holiday was a walk out to the highest waterfall in the country.  This is six hundred and fifty two feet high and is about four miles from the road at the head of Loch Glancoul.  It was a brilliant hot day, with no one on the moors but me and in less than half an hour from the road I could see one of the falls.  There are two waterfalls on opposite sides of a classic U-shaped glaciated valley.  For a photograph of the other and higher one, I climbed down the cliff beside it from which vantage point it is awe inspiring sight although from the valley floor one has a better impression of the height of the fall.  Here I cooled off in a delicious plunge of yet another waterfall.

The walk out to the falls is not difficult, involving only a little clambering.  The cliff climb is not essential.  There are several streams and placid pools and green hawks nest in the moors higher up, their piping call ringing from the surrounding rocks.

I intend to go to Sutherland again this year, and I hope that this and Mike's article will persuade others that they must see this beautiful part of our islands (I need some company to go and attempt Suilven again!).  Do think seriously about it.  Bristol to Elphin is 600 miles and this can easily be covered overnight using motorways and empty Scottish roads if you are not interested in seeing any scenery on the way.  The roads can take it out of a car though!  I had to spend £50 on tyres and suspension afterwards and Crange mashed up the front of his car on a deer.  Make certain that your transport is in trouble-free condition first.  Garages are rare up there, but don't be put off!


Club Officers' Reports - 1973 - Hut Warden's Report.

This report covers the period from the 4th August 1972 the end of the club financial year at 29th July 1973.

In the same manner as last year, the Belfry Book has been laid out in analysis form from which current information may be extracted and conveyed via the report.  These analysis sheets are available for inspection and may be indexed back to any particular week in the Belfry Book which may require a detailed check.  The usefulness of the analysis sheets is demonstrated by the ease and facility with which a remote item buried in the Belfry Book may be identified.

The table below is based on extracts from the sheets, and if you have last year’s September B.B. you will be able to make a direct comparison.






Male Members





Female Members



£  13.95


Male Visitors





Female Visitors



£  22.25







The total bed-nights for this year show a gain of one over last years total.  DOWN go member’s bed-nights by 125 from 1,002 to 877.  UP go visitors by 126 from 596 to 722. Members are now down to 53.% of the bed-nights at a total contribution of 42.1% of fees received, whilst visitors are now up to 45% of usage and 57.9% of fees received.  The increase in fees received may be noted as being UP by £12.75 from £299.30 to £312.05.

Notes on Income and Expenditure.

In addition to the hut fees received (£312.05) the Belfry records the following information…..

Day fees & Conscience Box       £28.13

Camping                                   £21.36

Lighting spares & Carbide           £15.69

Tackle Fees                              £12.28

Publications                              £78.69

Ties & Badges                           £ 4.00

Keys                                         £ 5.45

……and it may be noted that although this amounts to a total of £165.60 and appears to be more than last year, the fact is that spares and carbide and ties and badges have gone down with a thump.

Tools cost the Belfry £17.32 of which £11.36 was the major item of two sets of push rods and plungers to free the long drain runs to the sceptic tank.

Paint, cement, and other materials cost £15.25.  Fittings to the Belfry cost £22.89 and this item includes £8.20 for new locks. Purchases of new keys amounted to - wait for it! - £22.72 of which there are 100 awaiting distribution to members at a reasonable deposit.  The cost of the keys is not of course included in the £22.89 mentioned for fittings.

Fuel cost for the Belfry stove amounted to £7 tractor hire and £3 for fuel sufficient to last through NEXT winter of 1973/74.  Well done, Assistant Hut Warden Nigel Taylor and his willing helpers!  The storage heaters completed the Belfry warm-up and hastened the disappearance of the fungus mould from the ceilings and walls.

To conclude this report, I think it is only fair to offer my thanks to those who have been conspicuous in assisting with the many routine jobs, maintenance and improvements.  The Belfry has been well looked after by members and visitors, despite one or two weekends of utter confusion when it has had the appearance of a shambles waiting to be cleared up.  I especially commend the Assistant Hut Warden Nigel Taylor for his work in general and the initiative he has displayed in fostering a good atmosphere at the Belfry.

Personal reasons make it impossible for me to stand for next year’s committee so may I close by wishing my successor the best of luck and enjoyment of what is, on the whole, the most interesting job on the Committee?

Jock Orr.

Club Officers’ Reports - 1973 - Hon. Secretary's Report.

It is interesting that the enormous number of enquiries for membership we have had over the past year have only produced the normal number of new members.  Nevertheless, membership of the B.E.C. now exceeds 200.

There has been an average amount of correspondence with other bodies, some of it initiated by the Priddy Parish Council and by the Maine family.  Relations with our immediate neighbours have been comparatively cordial and a policy of 'laissez faire' appears to have resolved the question of access.  The opinion of an independent solicitor was sought, on direction from last year's A.G.M.  and given on these and other matters, but it would not be, in the best interests of the club to express them in the B.B.  After long negotiation with the Inveresk Paper Group, they have reversed their decision to lease us more land.

We are losing this year several tried and true members of the committee, and I close with the hope that what the new committee lack in experience it will gain in enthusiasm.

Alan Thomas.


Member’s Addresses

New member’s addresses and changes of address of older members.

106. E. MASON 33 Broadleys Ave, Henleaze, Bristol.
276.      J:M. STAFFORD," Back Plaidy, King Edward, Nr. Turriff, Aberdeenshire.
329.      & 330. Mr. & Mrs. T. W. NEIL, Old Haybridge Inn, Haybridge, Wells, Somerset.
449.      G.T. DELL ,8 Portway, O1d Sarum Salisbury, Wilts.
553.      BOB WHITE, Kiebo, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.
704.      D. METCALF, 52 Northfield Rd, Peterborough, Northants.
759. & 765. Mr. & Mrs. R.T. GAGE, 24 Belvior Road, St. Andrews, Bristol.
791.      D. HERBERD, 33 Triangle East, Old field Park, Bath.
810.      Miss L. WILLIAMS, Whitesdown Farm, Cheddar Cross Rd, Compton Martin, Bristol BS18 6LD.
811.      D. KNOWLES, 35 North Road, Watley's End, Bristol BS17 1PT.
812.      E. WILTON-JONES. Address to follow.
813.      M. JARRETT, 12 Edgecombe Rd, Hall Green, Birmingham B28 8AY
814.      N.J. DIBBEN, 17 Neville Rd, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire
815.      P.G.ROGERS,56, Charlton Lane, Brentry, Bristol BS10 6SQ

Club Officers’s Reports - 1973 - Publications & Sales Report.

The last year has not seen the publication of any new reports though, as will be seen later, there is much in the pipeline.  Several reprints have been re-introduced into the collection of Caving Reports for sale at the Belfry.

Although no new publication have made its appearance this year, sales of existing material has continued - albeit at a lower rate than last year.  Vanishing Grottoes and Reflections are among the best sellers.

Sales figures to hand at the present for the club financial this year totalled about £90, which is approximately what it was for the previous year 1971-72.  The Treasurer’s report will give all the necessary figures. Three reports are in the immediate pipeline, some of which will have been published before the Annual General Meeting.  These will make 1973-74 a record year for sales.  Pre-orders for the Burrington Atlas show that three fifths of the total printing will be sold very soon after publication

Reprints of the older reports has accounted for much of the costs of publications this year.  £4 was spent on replacing the silk screen on the duplicator, and this has paid off handsomely when one compares the Headwear and Lighting Report with the Pyrenean publication.  Reports brought back into circulation are No 5 (Headwear and Lighting), No 3A (Lightweight Ladder Construction) and No 11 (Long Chamber and Coral area of St. Cuthbert’s).  A further reprint of No 1 (Redcliffe Caves Survey) will be available during the coming winter.  Stencils for numbers 3A, 6, 9 and 11 have been destroyed and so these reports will be phased out of the series.

New reports in the pipeline are No 14 (Balague 1970), No 17 (A Burrington Atlas) and No 13 part’s G, I and J.  Numbers being printed are 500 for No 17 (an increase from 350 due to orders) No 14, 100 and No 13, 250.  The cost of production of the new reports is approximately £100 for No 17 and £20 for No 14. No 13 has not yet been fully costed but is thought to be in the region of £60.

The help given us by Barry Wilton has helped to keep costs down enormously, but the full cost of production will be felt now that he is unable to continue helping in this way. The increased cost has already been felt in the Burrington Atlas.  The estimated cost (using metal plates) was £70 but the final cost has risen to just under £100.  Due to the enormous capital sums that are required for launching a new publication; authors, I hope, will not be too upset if some publications are printed by Gestetner and not by offset litho.  This is not a slur on their work but should the manuscript be such that only small numbers will be printed, this will be done on the Gestetner.

The policy of producing a popular 'best seller' is continuing.  Following the success of 'Vanishing Grottoes' we are following up with 'A Burrington Cave Atlas'.  This brings a quick return into the coffers and helps finance the less popular and more specialised publications that should be published.  Therefore, it is better when discussing publications with regard to cost that one takes them as a whole and not individually.  So long as the Publications Department as a whole is paying its way and producing enough money to finance further MSS, then all is well.

New reports in the pipeline at preparation stage are 'Caves of Western Mendip' (Chris Howell), 'The Chepstow Caves (Roy Bennett) and 'Mendip Mining Sites'  The Cuthbert’s marathon still continues.

During the past year, Publications has added surveys its sales material.  So far, sales have proved the popularity of such a stock at the Belfry - so much so that the pattern of sales is not yet clear.  In one case Swildons - 10 copies were sold in 10 days.  Profits from the sales will be used to purchase new surveys for the club Library of caves both on and off Mendip.

Due to work on the cottage and other pressures such as caving (!) much of the donkey work on the actual production of the reports has been left to Doug Stuckey to carry out. Thus, typing the draft has been principally my responsibility plus the general layout; drawing of the diagrams and surveys has been split between Doug and myself, and liaison with the printers and use of the offset litho machine at Alfie's has been dealt with by Doug. Postal sales are being handled by Chris Howell in Birmingham. Material required through the post should requested from him.  The Belfry carries a full stock, as do I at home - though this is mainly an overflow stock for the Belfry.

Thought I've enjoyed being editor of the Caving Reports for the last five years, I feel it is time to give way to some new blood.  A frequent change in such a position will inject new ideas for subject matter and presentation and so I would like to offer my resignation as Editor of the Club Publications.

Lastly, but not least, I would like to thank all who helped and those that are still helping in the many problems in producing the publications (and a great number of man-hours are being spent on them - a fact no generally realised by those who pay so little for them, 10,000 man-hours on the Cuthbert’s survey alone!) - Bar Wilton, Doug Stuckey, and many others.

Dave Irwin.


Caving Trips

Saturday and Sunday, 1st and 2nd September

BIRK'S FELL - Leader D. Irwin.

Saturday, October 20th

DAN-YR-OGOF - Leader P. Kingston.

Sunday, November 11th

AGEN ALLWEDD - Leader D. Stuckey.

Friday, December 7th

RESERVOIR HOLE - Leader D. Irwin.

(Evening trip. Meet at 7.30 p.m. AT THE CAVE.)

Note:    If you wish to go on any of these trips, contact the Caving Secretary OR put your name up on the list at the Belfry.

Note:    Dave Irwin can obtain the key for Reservoir Hole at any time.  See him if you want to do this cave other than on the date shown above,

The Caving Secretary would be pleased to hear of any other suggestions for caving trips.  If you can lead a party down a particular cave; or if you have any special access arrangements to any cave that you think the club would be interested to visit, or if you merely want to do a particular cave if a suitable trip is laid on.




Any older members who are interested - and younger ones too, who may like the opportunity of meeting some of the cavers and climbers who helped to make the B.E.C. what it is to-day - should get in touch with "Sett".  His address is:- R.A. Setterington, 4, Galmington Lane, Taunton, Som.  If you are going to the A.G.M. or dinner, "Sett" will be there and willing to discuss any ideas you may have.


Monthly Crossword – Number 37.



















































































1. Swildons Way. (3)
3. Formations. (5)
6. Ran pole differently? (5)
8. Reverse of 2 down. (3)
9. Lower part of cave? (5)
11. Black part of well known Welsh cave? (3)
12. Warts information. (5)
14. Extracted from Mendip once. (5)
15. Hilliers Hall. (3)


1. Local City. (5)
2. Reverse of 8 across. (3)
4. Ledge Pitch, Mud Hall or Traverse Chamber? (5)
5. Rested perhaps on a caving trip. (3)
7. May describe water or some of 8 across in a cave. (5)
9. Nobody is to blame for this cave feature. (5)
10. Ledge Pitch, perhaps, but not really Mud Hall     or Traverse Chamber. (5)
11. Found constructed in Cuthbert’s. (3)
13. Reverse of 15 across run in Cuthbert’s. (3)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword