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Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

By 'Wig'

111.     Priddy Green Sink.  Fred Davies and Ray Mansfield have almost reached their goal.  Cowsh Aven is now within twenty feet of the surface. A radio transmission located the spot in mid august and found it to be at the rear of the cowsheds (shibbins, if you are of West Country farming stock!)  As part of the agreement with the Maines, Fred has agreed to block off Priddy Green Sink. He’s laid a concrete block over the entrance and covered it with soil - so it's not lost for ever.

112.    East Twin Valley - Top Sink.  Wig is commencing a dig at this site.  Anyone interested in digging it will be very welcome. During the first week of September, Jim Durston and Wig visited the site one Thursday afternoon and found the water very high.  Digging was out, but inside the hole came a fine low rumbling noise of falling water. Maybe the Burrington master cave!

113.     Belfry fire repositioned.  Our grateful thanks to Bucket Tilbury for the magnificent job of removing the Belfry fire from its old position against the rear wall and replacing it in its new position just off centre of the room.  Apart from the chimney - now free of the double bend which was necessary to get it out through the rear wall, it allows people to sit round it and will throw more heat into the room.

114.    M.R.O. goes 999.  As from September 1st 1974, the callout procedure has been changed.  In future, all that is necessary is to dial 999 and ask the operator for: -


After the police have been contacted, STAY AT THE PHONE UNTIL CONTACTED BY AN M.R.O. WARDEN.  The M.R.O. signs outside caves have all been changed.  They were changed by Prew, Wig and Fred Davies together with helpers on August 31st, and the old signs were auctioned at the C.R.O. conference in September.

115.    New Caving Reports at the A.G.M.  Two new Caving Reports will be available.  Number 14, the long awaited PYRENEAN REPORT by Roy Bennett and the first of the journal type of CAVE NOTES 1974.  Both reports will cost 30p each.  Only 100 copies are available of each report. Also, a reprint of Caving Report number 1 Redcliffe Caves, Bristol, available at 25p - only 50 copies of this printing.  The whole range of other Caving Reports will be offered for sale as well.

116.    Combwich (Cannington) Quarry Cave.  Is threatened with possible quarrying.  The quarry owners have applied for an extension to their site - and the cave lies on this extension.  Prof. E.K. Tratman has submitted a report to the Ministry of the Environment.

117.     Roy Bennett at Chepstow Roy's latest site is the best to date.  After many years of walking the area and digging at several possible sites, he has at last located a small but extremely interesting cave.  Details and a survey of the cave will appear in Caving Report number 19 (due to appear later this year).  Anyone interested in digging with Roy on Wednesday evenings should first phone Roy at his home after 6 p.m. ( BRISTOL 627813 )

118.   Terry Baker's Dig.  Near the Mells Ironworks is proving very interesting according to Nig Taylor."  It lies on the edge of the river, in a similar position to Little Neath River Cave and if it goes it should prove very wet and interesting!  Talking of Nig Taylor, I wonder if he has given up the game of cops and robbers?  Anyway, N.R.A.S.A. are back together again digging somewhere (won't say where) but it appears to be an interesting dig.

119.   Rock Drills.  Several clubs have developed various types of rock drill to aid in persuading caves to move chemically.  Tim Large has spent quite a sum of money and time producing an improved rock drill based on an U.L.S.A. design.  It should prove interesting.  What about a paper for the journal type of Caving Report, Tim?

120.   Tights for Cavers!  Those who still depend on woollies for their caving exploits will breathe a sigh of relief that there are nylon tights on the market of interest to cavers.  Long Johns used to be the main stand by for the woolly wearers, but their price - about £2 to £3 nowadays - made one think twice about buying them.  Now nylon tights have been produced for football and athletic training - complete with zip if you require one - and are obtainable at Lewis's and Jones's at Bristol.  They are comfortable and warm.  (Editor's Note: Any truth in the rumour that ex W.D. carrying bags are to be replaced with a smart line in caver’s handbags?)

121.   Material for the B. B.  and for Caving Reports should be forthcoming from the various individuals who went on continental holidays this year - and who were lucky enough to avoid the collapsing travel agents.

122.   Swildons Hole.  The Wessex Cave Club have done it again.  An 80 odd page booklet of photographic record of Swildons Hole, including 60 pages of photographs going as far as Swildons 12 (although the photograph does give the impression of being taken in any stream cave!)  The price is £12 leather bound and £9 rexine bound and the edition is limited to 300 copies.  Apparently Wessex members are 'falling over themselves' to buy a copy on the basis that the book will become rare and will be a worth while investment.  This is rather akin to the stamp collector’s first day covers, which are generally ignored by keen collectors as they are manufactured specifically for this purpose. One wonders whether W.C.C. members will adopt the same approach to this speculative issue of a publication which deserves wider circulation.  The book is dedicated to Albert Maine, who deserves the grateful thanks of all cavers.

123.   Well at Bathford.  The first of the new multi-subject Caving Reports contains a description of a well at Bathford which was examined by Alan Thomas, Dave Irwin and Tony Tucker on the 18th August at the invitation of the owner who was put in touch with Alan by Martin Cavender of Harris and Harris, the club solicitors.

124.   Caves of Derbyshire.  A copy of the new edition of this book has been donated to the club library by Tony Oldham.  As many will know, Tony deals in caving publications and is prepared to send any member his current list of available books free.  Write to A.D. Oldham, 17 Freemantle Rd, Eastville, Bristol.  Incidentally, Tony informs me that Northern Caves, Volume I is out of print though some shops may have stocks left.

125.   Social and Scandal.  Congratulations to Maggie and Tim Large on the birth of a son - it appears to live up to its father's name by being 8lb 12oz.  Doing it to excess again, Large!  Our congratulation too to Alfie and Sally who have another daughter, born a day after Tim and Maggie's son.  In the next bed to Sally at Paulton Hospital she was surprised to find Lyn, Mike Baker's wife who has also had a son. Phil and Yo Kingston will be on their way to New Zealand in October.

126.   Cuthbert’s Celebrations.  On the 4th September, a distinguished gathering met at the Belfry and, under the leadership of the venerable Bennett and with Kangy following some way behind carefully carrying two bottles of champers together with the glasses (actually plastic cream cartons).  It was gratifying to see many of the early leaders present even though two of them didn't actually make it to the cave entrance but sat it out in the solitude of the Hunters.  The main party descended via the Waterfall and Wet pitches to the Water Chute and on through the By-Pass to congregate in the Dining Room.  An argument developed as to the location of the concrete dining table.  However, this was located and the drinks set up in an orderly fashion.

Kangy, having poured the drinks out and passed round the remainder of the booze in the bottle, called on the venerable Bennett to propose the toast to St. Cuthbert.  Having duly taken our fill of the sparkling wine, the discussion moved on to talk of having a similar event to mark the 25th anniversary.

Those present included the two most important - they descended the rift first to the head of Arête Pitch - Viv Brown and Roy Bennett, followed by Kangy; Martin Mills; (straight from his three months tour of the U.S.A.); John Eatough; Colin Clarke; Mike Palmer; Mike Wheadon; another venerable - Chris Falshaw; Phil Kingston; Tony Meadon; the Golden Oldie of Cowsh fame - Fred Davies; Wig; Tim Large; Barry (Goldilocks) Lane; Steve Tuck; John Attwood; Martin Webster (again, straight from a U.S.A. trip) and last but not least, Dave (Twittering) Turner.

Following the leaders get together, all surfaced and joined Albert Francis; Norman Petty and Roger Stenner in the pub.

127.   Polypropylene rope.  Several lengths of No 4 rope have been purchased by Graham Wilton-Jones for use as lifelines.  These will be added to the club tackle in the next few weeks.  Nylon rope is also being obtained - details later.  An article by John Hunt on S.R.T. will be of interest to members and will be published in the second Cave Notes to be published later on this year.

This edition (Caving Report No 19) will also include extensions to O.F.D. with surveys by Bucket Tilbury and Graham Wilton-Jones; a surveying feature 'Leg Length as a function of station to station accuracy in Centreline Surveying' by Alfie; Rod's Pot - a new survey by Wig, and details of the Withyhill survey - also Fairy Cave Quarry complete with a simplified survey.