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Editorial

Yer Actual

When the B.B. which was numbered 300 came out, we said that, owing to the fact that editors cannot count, it was not the 300th B.B. and that when this actually did occur, we would let readers know.

The B.B. you now hold is the 300th issue to have been published since number 1 came out in January 1947.  At the risk of being contradicted, we make the claim that no other British caving magazine or journal has reached this lofty total and the B.E.C. is, naturally, first in this matter.

This impressive total has not been achieved solely by the efforts of its editors.  (In order of first appearance; Dan Hasell, Harry Stanbury, Ken Dobbs, Don Coase and John Shorthose, Alfie Collins and Dave Irwin). A succession of willing printers, distributors and - above all - authors, have all been indispensable to our having reached this landmark and our hearty thanks, as club members, should go to all.

Since the City and County of Bristol are currently celebrating their 600th anniversary of being granted a Royal charter making them a separate county for ever ¬which celebration seems to me to be a bit like the condemned man eating a hearty meal before his pending execution - we thought that a more modest celebration of our own in these pages might be excused by readers on the occasion of our 300th issue.  This will be found under the title of 'B.B. 300' - for which the editor begs your pardon in advance.

“Alfie”

Rhino Rift

….the easy way!

Here, at last, is an account of a trip in this cave - the first to be published in the B.B. since John Corn¬well discovered it!  Thanks to John Hunt, who wrote this account.

Many weekends of abseiling and prussicking at Split Rock Quarry, Wells, culminated on Easter Saturday evening, when Pete Palfrey and myself went to Rhino Rift for a quick look round. 

Although we had taken enough rope, we intended to get the cave in perspective and return the next day and bottom it.

The first problem we encountered was the difficulty in dragging the quantity of rope through the entrance wriggles.  On arrival at the First Pitch, we started the time-consuming job of untangling the rope and - after listening warily to the time lapse in sound of a stone thrown down - descended the First Pitch.

This proved to be awe-inspiring, especially as the second half is practically free and gives one the impression of being inside a huge cylinder.

We then promptly set up the second rope of fifty feet and abseiled down to the head of the Seventy Foot Pitch.  At this point we decided to call it a day and return later, as we had by now obtained a good idea of the cave.  We promptly made our way out and dashed to the pub.

Here, we discussed more suitable methods and decided to place all the ropes in a large kitbag in the order that they would be used.  The next day, we returned to the cave but due to a heavy rainstorm we decided that it was not even worth getting out of the car and so we returned to a good fester instead.

Monday morning was brighter, so once again we set off.  As soon as we had entered the cave, the ease with which the ropes could now be carried became evident, and we quickly arrived at the First Pitch.  After some initial searching, we found a place nearer to the edge where the rope could be attached.  We soon reached the top of the Seventy and attached the rope to a rather insecure-looking rawlbolt by means of a krab and abseiled to the loose boulders at the bottom.  Here we sat eating chocolate before I set off down a thrutchy passage to the head of a stalled up pitch of eighteen feet.  Having climbed half way down and looked around, I returned to the Seventy Foot Pitch and followed Pete out.  We rolled up the ropes, climbed around the fixed rope at the top and had a look at the so-called 'Satanic Walk' and one or two pretties at the head of the First Pitch before returning to the surface in a total time of two hours.

We both used very similar equipment - mine being a home made sit harness and Peter’s a Whillars harness with the added luxury of a closed foam back.  We both used clog figure-of-eight descendeurs and clog prussicking aids.

The ropes used were; for the first pitch 100 feet of braided number 3, for the second pitch 50 feet of hawser laid nylon number 4 and for the third pitch 120 feet of hawser laid nylon number 4.  The first rope was terylene incidentally.  Although terylene braided rope would have been far preferable on the fifty foot second pitch, as it is free for thirty feet and is very difficult to stop spinning on.