QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

In spite of any indications there may be to the contrary, the editor would like to wish all members a Happy and a Prosperous New Year.

Shortages

Luckily, the threat of petrol rationing seems to have receded, but other things are becoming either expensive or in short supply, and the thing which is likely to affect the B. B. is the position of paper, which is both!

A normal 24 page B.B. takes 3 reams (1,500 sheets) of paper to produce.  Not long ago, we were paying 60p per ream, but the paper we have had to buy in order to produce this one (and it is the wrong sort of paper as well) has cost us £1.35 per ream.  A move has already been made to economise by combining pages 1 and 2 of the normal layout, and the only other compromise is between wasting paper and giving members fair value for their subscriptions.  In the past 2 years, the size of the B.B. has been kept constant every month.  What we are suggesting now is that it might be more sensible to see what has come in each month and make the size of the B.B. correspond.  Thus, this B.B. might well turn out smaller, but future B.B.'s might not.

Incidentally, if any member can lay his or her hands on a cheap supply of A4 paper suitable for litho printing, we would be extremely grateful.

Ratification Time

As usual, at this time of the year, the committee have been ratifying the last quota of members and, equally as usual, have been asking themselves questions about the whole subject. On the one hand, nobody wants to refuse permanent membership without good reason but on the other hand, the committee feel that ratification should not be a 'rubber stamp' procedure.

One aspect which they have been considering this year is that of groups of cavers who apply to join the B.E.C.  The club is against formal affiliation because it is felt that this is liable to produce 'cliques' so (in theory at any rate) every prospective member joins as an individual.

Obviously, in a case where he has joined at the same time as several of his friends, he is going to carry on caving with them - and the dividing line between a small group acting and thinking as a separate entity and one acting and thinking as part of the B.E.C. can never be sharply drawn.  The committee, however, would like to think that members who already form such groups will make a real effort to integrate themselves fully into the club.

That Motto

Having thought, in 1972, of a way to combine the letters B.B. with the figures 72; it was with some relief that it was found possible to do this with the figures 73 as well. However, 74 has proved beyond the skill of the editor to combine with the letters B.B., and so we have a new heading. For those who might possibly be interested, the Latin motto has been produced by the usual method of leaving out all the unnecessary words.  The Romans did this because they objected to having to carve more words on a piece of hard stone than they really needed to.  The motto is, of course, "Whatever is worth doing, we will do it to excess" - a motto which has been that of the B.E.C. for some years now and which might well be appropriate this year in particular.  The full sentence (with the missing words in brackets) is Quodcumque (res) faciendum (est); nimis (illud) faciemus and the translation again with the missing words in brackets is; Whatever (thing is) fit to be done; we will do (that thing) to excess - which is about as close as the Romans could have got towards the B.E.C. motto!

“Alfie”


 

Gour Rift Dig

An account of this dig in Cuthbert’s by Dave Irwin.

During the summer of 1972, through to the spring of 1973, the Sunday Morning Digging Team attacked the end of the Gour Rift in an abortive attempt to excavate a continuation of the Gour Rift.

For years, the end of the rift looked a tempting site for an attack.  In the early days of the exploration of St. Cuthbert’s, the end had been investigated and the Bank Grill entered, but this tight ascending passage gradually closed down.  In 1957, the sump was passed by Balcombe and Coase only to discover the further sump that was destined to become Sump 1 - the original sump being then known as the Duck. In 1966, John Cornwell made the first attempt that seriously attracted cavers to the end of the Gour Rift, but after a short series of digging sessions, the site was abandoned.  At about the same time the Taylor brothers made an attempt at the still un-entered hole at the top of the aven above the Great Gour in an attempt to see if there was a high level passage over the top of the Gour Rift.

Then, in 1966, the Tuesday Evening Digging Team came into existence (Turner; Irwin; Craig; Woodward; Webster and several others) who bashed the Dining Room dig for nearly three years and excavated a passage over 150 feet long that has how been proved to be the upstream end of the Whitsun Series.  Then came the major breakthrough - almost by accident.  By chance, the terminal sump of St. Cuthbert’s was found to be empty of water in the autumn drought of 1969.  Secret digging sessions (up to five in a week!) were made by Bennett; Craig et. al. and were rewarded with the discovery of Cuthbert’s II.  A serious attempt to explore all the high level passages of two was made by Bennett et al. in the following few years, together with an attempt to pass Sump 2.  All prospects of continuing the cave in Two diminished.

During the same period as the Gour Rift Dig, then S.M.C.C. dug at a point just downstream of Sump 1 at a point where the water was known to soak away in dry weather.  They reached a depth of about fifteen feet before giving up.

At the same time, the S.M.D.T. attacked the end of Gour Rift.  The early digging sessions were limited to the left hand wall.  It was here that Cornwell had dug in under an overhang that gave the appearance of another passage running off the line of the rift by about fifteen degrees to the east.  The other point that was of interest was the extreme end of the rift, where the tops of two phreatic arches could be seen.  These had been modified by two chemical persuasion attempts a few years earlier (Irwin; Craig and Searle in 1968 and Turner and Bennett in 1970) in an attempt to see clearly up into the rift down which came the Bank Grill water.  However, it became clear that a serious digging attempt had to be made and so the dig became a bail-and-dig session.  The whole floor was lowered and of course, the lower the floor became, the larger the pool of water that had to be bailed the following week in order that digging could be resumed.  To prevent the water from flowing back through the Duck, a small concrete dam was constructed.  The construction of this dam eased the bailing operation considerably, as the pool now needed about an hour and a half to bail. As the fill began to be removed, large lumps of stal gouring were uncovered.  At first it was thought that these were the remains of a series of descending gours that continued on from the abrupt end of the series in the Gour Rift. However, this was not so and they were, in fact, isolated lumps which had been deposited in the infill.  At the end, the phreatic arches were dug into and it was found that they were merely the top of a four foot deep by foot wide phreatic hollow or pocket.  Undeterred, the diggers continued lower to a depth of about nine feet.  It was at this depth that the greatest blow occurred.  A rim of rock was uncovered which ran round the extreme end of the rift forming the top of a pothole.  This was probed with iron rods to a depth of between five and six feet by a series of probes that gradually increased the angle of attack so that an impression of the shape of the wall under the infill could be obtained. Hopes of any sign of undercutting of the wall soon faded when it was found that the walls were smooth and vertical. At this time, the digging sessions were becoming more of a bailing operation than a dig.  The bailing time went up to about two hours. and digging time was correspondingly reduced.

To assist the bailing, several ideas were submitted, but the most practical idea came from John Knops in the form of a water wheel.  However, in practice, difficulties arose in the form of binding bearings and other mechanical problems.  During this time, large quantities of wood were taken down the cave to shore up the right hand wall of infill to replace the galvanised sheeting that held back the wall until the diggers undercut it and the inevitable happened.  When the dig had been taken to its lowest point attention was transferred to the right hand side, under the breccia in which is formed the Bank Grill pothole.  The diggers dug in under the breccia, only to find that a floor existed that sloped downwards, but back towards the Duck.  Probing at the Duck itself revealed that the small arch which forms the Duck is, in fact, the top of a six foot wide arch, largely buried in the infill.

However, for all the problems, we have learned a little about the end of the rift that has attracted so much attention in the past before work on the Burrington Atlas and on other activities - not least the advent of winter combined to bring the dig to a grinding halt early in 1973.  Anyone wishing to continue where we left off is very welcome, but some form of pumping device is essential to probe further than the S.M.D.T. were able to do.  Perhaps after all the work that has been carried out at the end of St. Cuthbert’s, the real way on will be found at the bottom of the lake!

For the record, the regular diggers at the Gour Rift were Doug Stuckey; Dave Irwin; Dave Turner; Chris Williams; John Rees; John Knops and many others including tourist trippers.

( A sketch of the dig will be found on the next page.)


 

Caving Trips

The Caving Secretary asks ALL club members and guest leaders to WRITE UP their trips in the appropriate log. Apart from this being required by the club rules and making a valuable record, IT IS IN MEMBER’S OWN INTEREST to write up trips, since money spent on caving gear is related to the amount of use it is THOUGHT to get the wrong impression is given without write-ups.

Route Finding in Wild Country

Although many of the practices described in this article... by Bob Cross…will seem obvious to some cavers and fell walkers, it will act as a reminder that dangers from exposure can easily be minimised by good route finding techniques.

There are times when the craft I shall outline will be of great value to both potholers and mountaineers. From my own experience, I can remember when club members were lost or went adrift on the fells.  For example, about three years ago a party of B.E.C. cavers planned to descend the then relatively unknown Black Shiver Pot, which is on the western flanks of Ingleborough.  They did not find it on their first trip and I believe it's true to say that only after three separate attempts did they finally find the hole. On another occasion, again on Ingleborough, where Bar Pot was the venue, the crew surfaced after dusk on a cold and rather misty night.  They were wildly uncertain of the direction back to the car park at Clapham and were very relieved when they got down to Clapdale Farm.  On yet another occasion, a party of club bog-trotters took the wrong turning during mist on a ridge walk in the Brecon Beacons, leaving their intended route and upsetting their plans.  The consequences or these happenings were frustrating and inconvenient rather than disastrous but, if we stop to consider a party of cavers emerging cold and wet into freezing conditions and darkness from a remote hole like Langcliffe Pot in Wharfedale or Pant Mawr in the little Neath Valley; dropping into the wrong valley; getting split up and becoming completely lost, they would be in real danger from exposure.  It could happen on any winter weekend away from Mendip and, although it may sound a little far-fetched, it is a very real possibility.  In climbing or walking, the chances of getting lost are much greater if skill is not acquired.  Great distances and remote places are often involved through terrain completely devoid of obvious landmarks and where extremes of weather such as thunder; blizzard; mist and white-outs can be expected.  It is thus vital to make yourself a competent navigator, and this is just as vital as being a good leader.

Wherever you go in the hills, you need a good map, a watch and a compass.  The need for a watch is obvious, it helps you to keep to your schedule and, more important, you know when the light will fade and you can make adjustments to suit.  As far as maps are concerned, the most detailed are the six inch Ordnance Survey maps, but the one inch covers more ground in a sheet and the two and a half inch series probably represents the best compromise.  If you are on the hills and you get lost, then any ground feature that can be recognised on the map will be useful and enable you to get a compass bearing back to your intended route.  There are a variety of features which we can use.  Stream junctions cairns, prominent boulders, trig. pillars, fences, stone walls etc. should all enable you to pinpoint where you are.  If you periodically glance at your map and keep a note of your position then, should the mist come down, you will already know approximately where you are and be able to walk out on bearings accordingly.

If there are no prominent features, then you'll have to be a little more crafty.  It is possible, if you have a keen eye, to make use of the contour lines mid the vegetation symbols.  This is where the two and a half inch map scores over the one inch series. If you look closely, you will see information of all sorts - walls, footpaths, boundary stones, bench marks, depressions, bog, heather, scree etc. all of which are as accurately positioned as the 'harder' detail.

Sometimes, even if you cannot see things, you can obtain hints on their existence, e.g., the sound of running water, the sound of traffic, chain saws working in a forestry plantation.  I've even heard tell that if you hear a raven caw-caw you’re very likely near a crag.

Good co-ordination of eye and ear coupled with accurate compass work can get you out of nearly any fix. Compasses come in all shapes, prices and qualities.  The sort we want for moor land walking has a base protractor.  This is a Perspex rectangle fitted with an arrow etched into the plastic base that runs through the vertical axis of the compass needle. The SILVA range of compasses are this type.  They enable accurate bearings from one point to another to be taken from a map.  I will not go into their operation, as it is quite simple and will be explained in the instructions for use which come with almost any compass.  If you want to be really fastidious, then the silva RANGER is the one.  This has a sighting vane and, on the most expensive model, a clinometer.  A sighting vane can be useful on occasion, e.g. for determining an astral fix, but that is outside the realm of this article.  When you take bearings, add 80 west to allow for magnetic variation.  This matters little over short distances, but the effect of ignoring it will give an increasing error the further you go.  If for some reason, after walking for some distance on a bearing, you wish to retrace your steps, set your compass to a back or reverse bearing.  If the forward bearing is greater than 180, subtract 180 from it and if it is less than 180, add 180 to it.  When you're in mist or darkness and cannot see your target, you've got to set your compass to a bearing from the map and make sure that you walk in a straight line. To do this, send a man ahead until he just begins to disappear, stop him and get him to move right or left if necessary until he is dead in line with your bearing.  Now walk up to him and keep repeating the process.  If you are alone, then try to find some object in the line of the bearing - perhaps a boulder or a clump of grass and walk up to it.

If you are completely lost and are walking about in all directions looking for a landmark, it is important to know just how far you are walking.  Count your paces as you go.  The average pace is about one metre.  Down the side of the 2½ inch map are alternate black and white steps.  Each of these is 100 metres.

Note where the wind is striking you.  If it's in your back and it comes round into your face, you may be walking in a circle. However, if you have already taken precautions to avoid this, don't panic, as the wind often does strange things in the vicinity of crags and ridges.

In summing up, there are many ways of establishing your position and direction, and I hope that this article has been of some use, especially to those who have not had much experience of walking across the fells.  I should like to end it by recounting an experience that happened to me when I was walking in the north.  I took a pal in the Craven Pothole Club up a fell side in the Pennines known as Widdle Fell.  The purpose of the tramp was to examine a sink in the limestone that I had noted earlier in the year.  It was winter, and the snow lay think and the mist was down below 1,200 feet. The sink was easily found, being in the bed of a steep, fast-flowing stream, well marked on the map.

After inspecting the sink, we pushed on to the summit of Great Knoutberry Hill (2,203') just for the exercise.  We had no compass and no torch, only a one inch map.  Visibility was very poor and our only means of navigation was the map. We had about five hundred feet of very steep, rocky slope before we reached the summit plateau.  This proved tiring but we reached the top quite quickly. Here, our stream was shown as coming out of a tarn - indeed its name was Tarn Gill.  Crossing the stream's source was shown the North/West Riding county boundary, running in a south westerly direction straight to our goal and we hoped to find a feature that marked the boundary.  We soon found the tarn, and sure enough, crossing the stream was a broken down stone wall.  We followed this in a south westerly direction for some distance to its end, but we were not yet on our summit.  Closer inspection of the ground revealed a line of spaced hardwood posts - the boundary posts!  These were followed straight to the trig. pillar on the summit.  Here, we rested a while - reflecting on our faultless navigation - when suddenly a voice spoke.  “Na then, lads, bit chilly, ain't it?” and we turned in disbelief to see a shepherd, dressed in cloth cap, baggy cords and clogs and draped in an old stinking sack.  At his feet ran a scraggy border collie.  “Hast tha seen any sheep behind't walls?" said he.

Notice

Owing to pressure of work, Nigel Jago is no longer able to continue as Climbing Secretary and the Committee are therefore appealing for volunteers for consideration as climbing Secretary.

Another Notice

Owing to the attempt to save paper by combining the first two pages of each B.B. from now on, there is not normally any space for the usual reminder that the opinions given in the B.B. are not necessarily those of the club.  An attempt will be made to put a reminder in the B.B. to this effect from time to time where other space permits.

SUBS for 1974 are now due!

Yes, we know that nothing will happen to any member until the end of April.  We know that some members reckon that the next A.G.M. is the proper time to pay.  We know that this is a tradition not to bother too much about when you pay – BUT if you don’t pay now, how do we know that you will – or might – later on?  The committee has to budget now and if it doesn’t know how much is going to come in, how can it decided how much it can spend? Point taken?

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

Members are advised NOT TO LEND OUT THEIR BELFRY KEYS.  There have been instances of non-members borrowing keys; taking out club tackle and NOT RETURNING IT.  If YOU want YOUR tackle kept safety – please help.


 

Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany  by Wig.

  1. Wednesday evening diggers.  Digging at Hunters Hole has been switched to Manor Farm.  Anyone interested should first phone Roy Bennett for times etc.  Tel No Bristol 627813.
  2. Chelms Coombe Quarry.  Rumour has it that Nigel Taylor is involved in another cave discovery near box cave – further details next month.
  3. August/Longwood.  In November, the P.C.G. pushed the end of Reynolds Passage.  The end of this passage is fairly vague, as it depends on your size - and the more of a midget you are the better.  About 15 years or so ago Tony Knibbs of M.C.G. pushed well beyond the limits of the passage as shown on the Rennie survey, to the head of a twenty foot rift shaft.  At this time, some bang wire was seen hanging down the pitch.  At about mid 1973, Fred Davies ended at the same point.  In November 1973, Brian Lewarne of the P.C.G. pushed to this pitch and oozed himself through the squeeze at its top to reach the bottom where a stream entered.  From the bottom, he pushed on again for a short distance to reach the head of yet another shaft into which, at some point down it, the main Longwood stream was seen to be entering.  The depth of this shaft was estimated to be about 50 feet, but the head was blocked by a boulder.  Due to the very constricted nature, it would seem that bang will have to be used.
  4. Porth-yr-Ogof.  During mid 1973, a boy soldier lost his life in Porth-yr-Ogof and at the request of the coroner, the police and various interested bodies met on September 30th, 1973.  The results of this meeting were published by Frank Baguley in the C.C.C. news sheet, No 3 for 1973, as follows…..”The whole subject was dealt with in great detail, from the precipitating cause of the accidents; the cave itself, the conduct of the party and the preventative points of view.  It was agreed that the police issue a statement giving the recommendations of the meeting (to be vetted by Oliver Lloyd) which would be circulated to all L.E.A.'s; armed forces; caving organisations; Youth organisations, etc.  The caving organisations themselves were already dealing with the matter, and would be making their own detailed recommendations in due course after consultations.  The main points of the Brecon meeting are:-

1.                    It is impracticable to close the cave.

2.                    The Forestry will put up further detailed notices.

3.                    Prevention and education are the main themes.

Should another rescue (recovery) be required there, then there will be a one way traffic system involved.

It is still not possible to state why the cave resurgence pool is so dangerous, as it does not appear to be so, but with a history of five deaths, one cannot ignore the warnings.  It is up to everyone - organisations and individual cavers alike - to help in preventing further loss of life in this or any other cave.  Nobody can legislate for the actions of the foolhardy.”

  1. Coolites again.  I've not actually used one, but for 44p it seems a good buy.  Possibly a better buy ('cause it's British - the Coolite is a Yankee product) is what is called the Chemi-lite.  This method comes as a small flat pack about 3" x it" x 1/32 thick.  To use it, all one does is to tear off the top strip - and cor blimey, it's alight:  This light lasts for about an hour, but does have the advantage that it can be stuffed into the crown of the helmet or, better still, stitched into the inside of a wetsuit and ripped off when required.  This item is being marketed by Rock Products, 30 Drake Rd, Wells, Somerset at about 50p - wait for the ad. in Descent.  Early trials in Swildons have proved its usefulness.  A party came out from sump 1 on this light and stayed talking to another party at the bottom of the Forty.  The light was on its last legs when they reached the entrance.  More details later, together with the answers to questions such as; Are they completely safe? Are they toxic? Are the burnt-out remains dangerous to animals? etc.
  2. Manor Farm.  The survey of the main passage is now complete (see number 16).
  3. Limestone and Caves of North West England.  A copy of this book has been received by the writer, who has not yet had time to read it from cover to cover.  However, a scan through selected chapters enables him to present this tentative review.  This will be followed by a full review in the February 'Round and About'.

The first ten chapters deal with the area as a whole, from geology; geomorphology of the caves; hydrology; biospelaeology and archaeology.  The attempt has been made to summarise the present state of the art since the publication of 'British Caving' in the 1950's. The remaining chapters take each caving area in turn, with surface topography; local geology, development of the caves and a general summary.  The larger chapters are, as one might expect, those dealing with the caves of Leck Fell, Casterton Fell, Kingsdale and Gaping Gill.  Fascinating reading is the general summing up of this book and having only read a limited number of chapters; it has already clarified the picture of those areas for me.  The immediate disappointment soon disappeared, but I had hoped that it would have used Tratman's 'Caves of Clare' as a model - but when one considers the size of the subject, then I'm only full of admiration and congratulate the many authors and the editor.  See No 9 Nov. 1973 for details.

  1. Library Additions (Yes, 27, due entirely to an editorial clang - Ed.)

Easier Climbs in the Avon Gorge, Bristol. G.Mason, 1964.
South East England, E.C. Pyatt(Climbing Guide,1963)
B.E.C. Caving Log 1973 (9.1.73 - 14.10.73)
R.N. Mountaineering Club Bulletin Nos 148, 150, 153, 156, 159.
Mountain Craft Nos 73 and 79
The Climber       Vol.5 Nos 1, 2, 3, 6, 7.
            Vol.6 Nos 7, 8, 9.
            Vol.9 Nos 4, 5, 6.
Severn Valley Caving Club Newsletter:
            Vol 3 Nos 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
            Volume 4 complete.
            Vol.5 Nos 1 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
            Vol 6 Feb, June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov.
            Vol.7 Jan, Feb, May, Jun, July/Aug, Sept/Oct.
            Vol 8 1, 2, 3, Jul, Aug/Sep, Oct/Nov.
            Vol.9. Dec/Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Sept.
            Vol10.Dec/Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Sep.
            Volume 11. Complete
            Vol. 12  No 1.
Plymouth Caving Group Newsletter No 53.
Mendip Caving Group News No 103.
EGONS Journal Nos 15, 16, 17.
Bristol Poly Caving Club Newsletter Vol.2 No 1.
A copy of Tony Waltham's book has been ordered for the library.  See No 9 Nov. 1973 for details.
National Speleo Soc. (U.S.A.) have agreed to exchange and have sent:-
N.S.S. News     Vol 30 Nos 6-12
            Vol 31 Nos 1 -1 0
SWETCCC Spelio Vol 12 No 1 with supplement.
Occasional Publication No 3 - Norway.

Our many thanks to Milch of the S.M.C.C. and to Keith (Sailor) Glossop for climbing publications and S.V.C.C. newsletters.

Anyone turning out their cupboards are welcome to throw any climbing or caving publications towards the club library. All will be gratefully received.


 

The Catacombs of Paris  

The article by Colin Sage as promised in the last B.B.  (The editor does occasional manage to find articles!)

Whilst I was in Paris in August, I decided to visit the catacombs. These are reached by taking the metro to Place Denfert Rochereau and walking around the corner from the metro station.  The catacombs are available for inspection every Saturday at 2 p.m. throughout the summer and every other Saturday during the rest of the year.

After paying two francs admission, one has the chance of purchasing a candle for 60 centimes - and if you don't have a torch, buy one, there are no lights at all in the catacombs!

The catacombs are reached by descending a spiral staircase consisting of 91 steps and going down sixty feet.  This leads to a brick corridor underneath the South side of the Denfert Rocherou square. This corridor, and also those that follow on from it all lead to the ossuary.  The good condition of the roofing of these passages is necessary for the support of the buildings, public roads and subterranean works (especially the metro!)  By way of these passages, visitors find themselves under the Avenue Rene Coty, which is then followed in a Southerly direction the walls of the passages involved hold up the ancient aqueduct of Arcueil.

Further on, one descends by a slightly sloping tunnel into an area called 'l'etage inferieur'.  One then notices an impressive reproduction sculptured in the rock, of the fortress of Port Mahon - the principal town in Minorca.  This work was carried out by an old veteran in the army of Louis XV during his periods of leave.

A little later on, we pass by the side of a well, cut into the rock, the water of which is extremely limpid.  It is called 'Bain de Pied des Carriers'.

A reasonably steep slope leads back to 'l'etage superieur' and we arrive at the door of the ossuary. At the entrance one can read these lines from DeLille engraved in the rock; ‘Stop. Here is the empire of the dead’.

Once the doorway has been passed, we go down a lot of passages bordered on either side by millions of bones carefully stacked, all coming from the ancient disused cemeteries of Paris. There are regular horizontal lines of skulls, interrupted by those displayed in the shapes of the cross and other decorative motifs of a macabre quality.  The origin of the bones is pinpointed by plaques.  After wandering through different crypts, one comes across a sarcophagus, a stone altar, a spring called simply 'the fountain, of the Samaritan' and various inscriptions pondering philosophically over death and the fragility of human existence.

The ossuary collects together the bones of 5 or 6 million people.

On leaving the ossuary, an inspection passage is passed through, and one sees two immense domes which are natural and about thirty five feet high.  They are empty, but allow one to think of the danger represented by such features to overlying buildings and roads.  The exit staircase which leads to daylight on 36 Rue Remy-Dumoncel has 83 steps and is about fifty five feet in depth.

The origin of the catacombs in Paris does not go back, as do those of Rome, to the early Christian era., but only; to the end of the eighteenth century.  For nearly ten centuries there existed in the first section of Paris, a cemetery called 'Des Innocents' at a square which bore the same name.  This cemetery, which received the remains of many generations from some 20 parishes in the area, became one of the largest centres of infection and threatened public health.  Between 1725 and 1755, the inhabitants of the neighbouring areas brought violent complaints which, for a long time, were fruitless.  Finally, in 1780, most of the inhabitants - terrified by the accidents which occurred in the cellars of the Rue de la Lingerie, set up a committee towards the end of 1779, which became over 2,000 strong and petitioned the Lieutenant General Police by demonstrating the dangers to public healthy and safety represented by this 'centre of corruption', in which the number of bodies disposed had caused the ground level to become eight feet above the level of surrounding ground and roads.

The evacuation of the cemetery was finally decided upon in 1785, and to dispose of the bones, the ancient subterranean stone passages called 'La Tombe Issoire' were chosen. After having made these underground areas fit to receive the mortal remains and carried out the preliminary works, the catacombs of the Tombe Issoire were consecrated on the 7th of April 1786 and proclaimed the general ossuary of the cemeteries of Paris.  That same day, the transfer of bones was begun from the Cemetery des Innocents to the catacombs.

After the destruction of the church of Les Innocents, all the tombs, inscriptions and crosses which were not claimed by the families involved were also transferred to the Tombe Issoire.

The success of the operations prompted the administration to extend them to other cemeteries in Paris and, from 1787 to 1814, a number of Parisian cemeteries were closed and the bones sent to the ossuary, there to be arranged systematically according to their cemetery.

Many burials of victims of the revolution (1788 to 1792) were also made in the ossuary.  Since then, all human remains found in Parisian soil have been placed in the catacombs.


 

The Cyalume

Some further news on chemical lighting.

The Dorset Caving Group, after reading last month's description of the Coolite, kindly sent the editor of the B.B. one of their chemical lights for test and comment.  or which I should like to express our thanks in the B. B. (and also when I write to them more fully).

This light is made by the Cyanamid Corporation of U.S.A. under the trade name of CYALUME.  In spite of the fact that the one I was sent was labelled 'use before Jan '74' it performed extremely well.  For the first four hours, it gave a good light, of the sort that no real caver could possibly complain about in an emergency.  How many  light hours after ignition? it was still enough to grope out of a cave with, and it would have been possible (in a dim enough light) to have recognised it if used as a marker some 48 hours after starting.

Like Dave Irwin, I too am chasing up the answer to the questions involving toxicity etc., and I hope that an article will appear in a later B, B. this year, from one or other of the sources we now have in hand.  One theory which I have heard is that these devices are in actual fact artificial glow-worms, since it is suggested that they use the same method of illumination, which in the case of the glow-worm is known to involve the mixing of two chemicals (originally dubbed Luciferin and luciferase)

The Cyalume is, like the Coolite, a plastic tube which, on being bent, breaks a glass ampoule which float a in liquid 'A' and contains liquid 'B'.  The answer to using them would appear to be best met by two terry clips fixed to the helmet, between which the light can be clipped when in use. This modification to a helmet is cheap and simple to do.  It might just pay to keep the tube inside a piece of copper pipe with two corks to ensure that a nasty thrutch in a cave does not set it off - but this is a refinement.

As a preliminary finding, it would seem not too expensive to keep one of these as an emergency light, but until we know more about them, please be careful about disposal.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 42.

 

1

 

2

 

 

 

3

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

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9

 

 

 

 

 

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12

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

4. Cuthbert’s series you might expect to find under water. (5)
5. Cuthbert’s Hall. (3)
7. Part of the name of a Burrington cave. (3)
8. Not heavy but essential. (35
9. This clue should strike a caver. (3)
10. Type of rock. (5)
11. Mendip hill. (3)
13. The lot found in mud hall. (3)
14. Was in Swildons. (3)

Down

1. O flex shoe on Mendip (4,4)
2. Hilliers hall makes Cuthbert’s run (3)
3. B.C. Shutter on Mendip. (9)
6. Edge of a pot. (3)
8. 8 across is when in a cave. (3)
9. Swildons Ways. (3)
12. Mendip Swallet. (3)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

P

O

T

 

B

E

C

 

O

 

R

O

P

E

 

O

L

D

W

E

 

R

 

S

 

A

D

E

 

S

I

D

C

O

T

 

T

A

 

D

 

A

 

E

G

 

B

U

D

D

L

E

 

A

M

E

 

Y

 

E

 

U

P

A

D

D

 

S

S

S

S

 

P

 

O

N

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T

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N

The Belfry, Wells Rd, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Telephone WELLS 72126


 

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      To be appointed

Members           M. Bishop, D.J. Irwin, D. Stuckey,                       N. Jago, N. Taylor, A.R. Thomas, B. Wilton, G. Wilton-Jones

Officers of the Club

Honorary Secretary        A.R THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269

Honorary Treasurer         B. WILTON, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol.

Caving Secretary            D. STUCKEY, 34 Allington Road, Southville, Bristol 3.  Tele : BRISTOL 688621

Climbing Secretary         N. JAGO, 27 Quantock Road, Windmill Hill, Bristol 3

Hut Warden                   N. TAYLOR, Whiddons, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tele : WELLS 72338

Tacklemaster                 G. WILTON-JONES, 17 Monkham’s Drive, Watton, Thetford, Norfolk

B.B. Editor                    S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishops Sutton, Nr. Bristol.

                                    Tel : CHEW MAGNA 2915

Honorary Librarian          D.J IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells Som.  Tel : PRIDDY 369

Publications Editor         D.J IRWIN  As above

B.B. Postal                   B. WILTON  Address as above