QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM :  NIMIS FACIEMUS

Dates

Feb 22/23          Climbing in North Wales

Feb 22/23          Giants – Oxlow, P8 etc.

SATURDAY MARCH 1st – 7.30 p.m.  AT THE BELFRY “Climbing in the Pyrenees” – an illustrated talk by ‘Kangy’

MARCH 29        Sleets Gill

MARCH 29        Pippikin

MARCH 30        Lancaster – Easegill

 


 

So you think you are safe on a Lifeline?

Some interesting experiments with a technique that perhaps we take too much for granted!

by Ian Wilton-Jones

My brother Graham and myself recently conducted some tests with various types of waist harness - tying them either tightly or loosely round different parts of the torso.  The results, while not comprehensive, were rather surprising and should affect the way many people apply lifelines to themselves - as well as prodding more people into making further tests.

We started these tests after my wealthy brother had shown off his Whillans Harness, and I had shown him how you could finish up hanging upside-down in it.  I then tied a 1" nylon waist loop around me to see how my body would hang in it.  Instead of determining the position, I found myself struggling for breath and in considerable pain, and we both concluded that - had I fallen a few feet the shock of breath being pushed out plus the severe pain might well have precluded any efforts at regaining hand and footholds.  To pretend to go caving in my dining room rather than work on the car in the pouring rain seemed a good idea.

We used three different waist loops.  1. A nylon tied loop, 2. A length of rope tied in a bowline and 3. A rather comfy (too good for caving) Karrimor waist belt of 2" padded nylon with a rope looped through it.  We are both very slightly built (skinny) and were both wearing a couple of pullovers round the areas we were tying the loops round.  The guinea pig lay between two chairs and was lifted off the ground by the other person standing astride him on the chairs.

Graham's old caving book explained that a loose loop should be tied round the upper torso (not the neck!) so we tried this first with a 1" nylon loop.  On hanging in it, it was found that it was very painful on the skin under the armpits; dug deeply into the ribs; less deeply into the shoulder blades, and caused considerable difficulty in breathing in and out. "Let's tie it tightly" we then thought.  This was even worse, with the pain getting worse all round, especially round the front of the body.  Breathing was even more difficult.

We now decided to try the more often used waist position, tying it quite tightly, the way one straps in a novice and, incidentally, the way I have always tied mine.  Hanging in agony, we concluded that this wasn't a good position - there was pain all round, especially in the kidneys, sides and diaphragm and the body's fight against that pain led to the diaphragm being almost un-useable for breathing.

We then tied it loosely around the waist (with about 7 inches of loose rope) and found the pain was now much less severe, and the much decreased strain on the diaphragm made it possible to breathe without too much discomfort.  This position was the only one which was, in our opinion, comfortable enough for us to test any shock loading.  Even so, we did not try proper shock leading, but one of us snatch pulled the other into the air, from slack, as quickly as possible.  This was found to be within the limits of pain, and we would have been able to regain a ladder in this case.  We didn't feel very enthusiastic about trying shock loading on the other three positions!

We then tried the four positions again, using a waist rope.  In both of the tight cases it was so painful that I refused to be lifted right off the ground.  The loose waist position was only just bearable for me, where as Graham found it a bit more comfortable - possibly due to his thicker pullovers.

With the Karrimor, the pain was much less in all cases, being rather comfortable in the loose waist position.  Once again, this was the only position we dared try shock loading.

Needless to say, we conclude that a loose waist harness should be fitted round the waist with about 7" of slack rope in the loop.  This figure is only approximate, but it must be borne in mind that the tighter it is, the more it hurts.  There is no worry for people of my shape, because my chest can't slip though the extra size (it may be no coincidence that my chest just happens to be 7" larger in circumference than my waist.)

The reason why the tight waist harness is so painful is because it rides up and, being tight, it digs into the diaphragm.  If the ride up could be prevented by a form of sit harness (a loop for each thigh, attached to the sides of the front of the harness) or a Whillans Harness if you want to spend good money damaging good equipment during general caving.  A twelve to thirteen foot length of tape can be knotted onto a suitable sit harness for lifelining and therefore you can increase your safety for under £1.

You may say that these tests are a waste of time because, in your experience, when you slip you only partly use the lifeline to regain your grip, so the real pain never comes.  But suppose the bolt falls out? or a water fall knocks you off the ladder?  Can you cope with the panic due to pain and the inability to breathe AS WELL AS your suspended troubles?  Don't pretend to be so hard try it, and let's see how hard you really are!  I think you'll find it quite a bit more painful than you realise.

Lastly, I must emphasise that we both have no surplus fat to cushion ourselves, and we would be interested to see what difference body size makes to the discomfort.

Editor's Note:     I haven't had the time to look up the article I have in mind, but it struck me that perhaps Tim Reynolds's prussicking harness, which was made of a single loop of rope (accurately made to measure) and fastened, if I remember rightly, with a single 'crab' might be worth trying here, and would not be too costly to make up.  I have been right off a ladder once (Hunters Hole) with the late Tan Dear lifelining with a loose loop round the upper chest and didn't find the pain all that great - but then I was ruddy fat in those days!

 



North Wales Weekend

A contribution from Our Climbing Secretary, Gerry Oaten.

I awoke to the shrill sound of the alarm clock at 7 a.m. "God!" I thought, "another Monday!"  Then I thought again "Hang on, though.  What happened to Saturday and Sunday? - and why am I in my sleeping bag?"

Then my sleep-numbed brain began to work.  Of course it was only Saturday, and I was sleeping in my tent in Llanberis pass. Mary stirred beside me and, as she had promised to get breakfast, I relieved my usual morning misery by helping her on her way with an elbow in the ribs a few times.  As I lay snug in my bag, I watched her make breakfast though half open eyes and it never ceases to amaze me how she manages to make it without getting out of her bag.

After eating my porridge, made the Scottish way with salt instead of sugar (which I complained about loudly and Mary ended up by calling me a Sassenach) we woke up ever - a pal of mine.

Mary, Tom and I drove to Ogwyn Valley and left the car at the Outdoor Pursuit Centre and started to walk up the Carnedds.  The ascent of the Carnedds via Pen-yr-OleuWen (3,211 ft) by way of the tea shack is straight up.  It is the steepest walk to over three thousand feet that I know. Unfortunately, a lot of the ascent is scree, which takes tree steps to achieve two.  As we reached the summit, the winds grew to fearsome force, tending to blow you over or bowl you along.  The view from the top of Pen-yr-Oleu-wen is quite breathtaking.  To the South West, Tryfan, the Glyders and Y Garn in all their glory and splendour.  Then, looking further to the West, the outline of Mynydd Perfedd.  The wind kept covering everything in mist - a spectacular view one minute and visibility down to a couple of hundred yards the next. We continued our walk via the ridge leading to Carnedd Daffydd (3,424ft).  The walk was now a gentle pace, following the cairns across a plateau.  Occasionally one of the many cairns turned out to be a rescue shelter made out of the scree.  It makes a rough but effective shelter from the powerful wind.  As we passed Carnedd Daffydd towards Craig Llugwy (3,185ft) the mist broke, revealing our objective - Carnedd Llywelyn (3,485ft).  To reach the base of Llywelyn one has to cross a ridge where the wind really was trying to push one over the lip of the ridge to the valley below, which would not have been nice.  Upon reaching the summit, visibility was down to nil.  We sought out a shelter and had our midday meal. After a short while we were joined by five men in orange cags, and a red setter dog.

"I wonder who they are?" said Tom.

"R.A.F.", I replied.  He regarded me with suitable amazement.

"How do you know?"

“One of them has it on his back in four inch letters!" I retorted.

As we prepared to move, we were joined by a chap who asked us whether we were going to Foel Fras. We replied "No," as it was out of our way.  He thought for a moment, then asked if he might join us because of the mist and the fact that he was by himself.  We agreed and set off for Penyrhelgidu (2,733ft) but, as nobody could agree on the right direction, out came the map and the compass.  Once we had our bearings we began to descend towards the ridge that leads to Penyrhelgidu.  Here, the mist broke once more and enabled us to scan the surrounding country for Roy and his party who were going to be half an hour behind us from the camp, but they were nowhere to be seen.  On reaching the summit, we had a short rest, as the walk up the last bit was quite steep. The next summit in the chain is pen Llithrig-y-wrach (2,122ft).  Still walking along a ridge, the pace was pleasant - we were out of the clouds and the sun was smiling upon us.  From the top, looking east, is the large Llyn Cowlyd reservoir, which looked very inviting from our lofty perch.  We set off towards the A5 road, which was a couple of miles in the distance.  There we said goodbye to our companion, and walked beside Llyn Ogwen back to the tea hut for a quick cup before we went back to the camp.

Saturday evening was spent quietly relaxing in the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, indulging in pints and whiskey chasers.  Here we heard what had happened to Roy and Co.  Upon reaching the summit of Pen-yr-Oleu-wen, they took the same route as we had but as they began the ascent of Carnedd Llywelyn, the mist came down and - with an inexperienced party - he decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and turned back.

After our early start (early for me, that is) on Saturday, we indulged in a bit of a lay in on Sunday. After a quick breakfast (too quick for my liking!) Mary, Tom and I walked to Nant Peris then took a path which led to Llyn y Cwrn.  Whether it was just the effect of too many chasers or whether I was just plain shattered, I just could not get into the rhythm of the walk, so by the time we reached the llyn I was not very happy with the world.  Mary kept striding ahead and I kept cursing her and promising to saw twelve inches (15½cms if you like - well, we are going metric!) off one leg. We continued our walk right up towards Y Garn (3,104ft).  Anyone who has walked this mountain will know that it is a long tedious slog.  After my first ascent of it, I promised myself never to do it again.  It is a slope of between 40 and 45 degrees and it just goes on and on - but here I was again – cursing!  Finally we reached the top where we had a snack and talked Mary (first with pleas then with threats) to go back down.  Anyway, the weather was getting worse (that's my excuse!).  On the way down, the mist cleared and once again we were confronted with a beautiful view of the train on the ridge leading to Snowdon.

Back at camp, we quickly packed our tents as the weather looked like breaking.  We were joined by Roy and Co. who had just walked around Llanberis.  As we drove out of the pass it started to rain, giving us our usual send off from North Wales.

The Climbing Section hope to hold several meets in North Wales this winter for snow climbing and walking, but as arrangements will be made at short notice, keep your ears open at the Hunters or the Seven Stars - or keep your eye open for anything on the Belfry notice board.

DON'T FORGET THAT WE MEET EVERY THURSDAY NIGHT AT THE SEVEN STARS.  SEE YOU THERE!!!

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

ANNUAL SUBS are due on the 31st of January.  This is a first reminder for 1975!


 

Caves in Greece

Another article which proves the old saying that the B.E.C. get every where!

By Colin Priddle.

Having spent six weeks on holiday in Greece this year it is inevitable that one comes across caves of one sort or another without really looking for them.

My wife Jan and I, being tourists, had a rucksack each and travelled by bus, train and boat living as cheaply as possible on local fruit, bread, cheese and fish.  We caught a boat from Dubrovnik in Jugoslavia to the island of Corfu, and from there a boat to Patras then we went down the west coast of the Peloponese by train staying for a night or two at a camping site or on a beach.

One afternoon, we caught a bus to a village called Otilon on the middle peninsula of the Peloponese (Akra Tenarch) arriving at 9.30 p.m.  Being late (for Greece) the conductor asked where we were staying. When we said we would go to the beach, he said it would be best to sleep on the bus, so after he and the bus driver bought us a meal we kipped down in the bus.

In the morning we found that we were in the tiniest of villages and saw the sea as a lovely bay about 600 feet below us.  Through the churchyard and down a steep donkey track we went and half an hour later we were by the sea.  After asking, we put up our tent in an olive grove about a hundred yards from the beach and went to the cluster of houses along the bay to buy some food. Unfortunately there were no good shops, so I was elected to climb back up the donkey path to the village we had left some two hours previously.  By this time, the day was hotter, so I stopped frequently to look around at the numerous cave entrances in the cliffs and slopes.  Reaching the village, I bought the usual food; but trying to buy candles where nobody spoke English proved impossible.  I’m sure they had some, but they were not on any of the shelves.

We stayed in the olive grove for two nights.  During the day it was too hot to climb to cave entrances, knowing that once there, a dozen matches would not take us in very far!  We had heard, however, of some show caves in the locality, so after our two nights we packed our tent and waited for the 7.30 bus.  It didn't arrive, so knowing that the next (and last!) bus was due at 12.30 p.m., we tried hitching and were lucky enough to get a lift directly to the show cave at Pirgos Dirou, which is some 15 miles from Oitilon.

Dirou caves are right on the coast and at sea level.  One cave was closed but the other consisted of two parts, the first by boat and the rest by walking.  We heard that the boat Journey was the best part so, as the total fees were over £1, we settled for the boat trip only, which halved the cost.  The cave was called Vylkhada and we boarded a punt-type boat in a well decorated chamber about a hundred yards from daylight.  The punt was propelled and guided by two men - one at the bow and one at the stern.  We moved through passages ten feet wide of varying height to regularly spaced chambers.  All was superbly decorated with straws and stalactites, the proliferation of which I had never seen before.  There was no part without some decoration - the beautiful orangy-pink stal seeming to dive straight into the crystal-clear water.  It really was a marvellous sight!

The lighting, both above and below water, was most effective.  The boat slid along with rocks sometimes inches below and sometimes out of sight in the green-blue depths.  The round trip took twenty minutes, so we reckoned that we went two kilometres or more, our only complaint being that we could have gone a lot slower and had more time to gaze at the fantastic sights.  I really would advise anyone who finds himself in the area to visit these lovely caves.  This part of Greece is relatively tourist-free, with only the Greeks; donkeys; goats and the barren limestone hills.

One very pleasant tip we discovered was to flavour the water with lemon juice, otherwise it is very brackish and sickly but nevertheless O.K. (at any rate, we were never ill drinking it.)  It mostly comes from shallow wells only a short distance from the beach, and this is general for most coastal areas of Greece.

Well, we carried on with our travels towards Athens travelling by bus over high, barren inland areas, through tiny villages, and towns like Sparti.  We did the usual tourist thing by visiting several ruins and amphitheatres (there is an excellent example of one at a place called Epidavros) and eventually, after a ten minute boat trip we arrived on the island of Spetre, one of the Saronic islands.  One of the problems of travelling in Greece is that you must always find a place to sleep costing as little as possible.  This is really pretty easy as the beach costs nothing and the local people don't mind if you sleep there with or without a tent.  Water is never a problem, but toilet facilities are - since they are usually completely lacking.

On Spetre we found that there was a good beach on the other side of the island and after a twenty minute bus ride we were there.  A church, restaurant and two houses were the only buildings at the back of a beautiful bay and beach.  Three or four others were sleeping at one end of this beach, and we pitched our tent alongside that of an Australian couple at one side of the bay, then we went swimming. The beach was occupied by a few holiday makers for about three or four hours each day, but for the rest of the time it was deserted.  However, there seemed to be quite a number of people using a track near us, and it was not long before I followed this track to its end - a hole in the rocks right on the sea shore.

Heaving myself down about six feet, I was amazed to find a concrete path that led away from daylight. Squatting by the entrance I could gradually make out a chamber filled with water with a beach and formations at one end and at the other a duck which led out to sea, through which light was filtering.  The next day we had to get to a town on the other side of the island for food and mosquito netting.  We bought food, netting and CANDLES and later that day went to the cave armed with our lights.

The cave was actually two chambers divided by the concrete path.  The right hand chamber was about twenty feet square and about six feet high with no formations.  The other chamber was about thirty feet square with a ten foot high roof.  It reminded me very much of Wookey 3.  It had a couple of sparkling stalagmite bosses which made it a pretty little cave.  The rock was conglomerate with some red sandstone, so how the stalagmites were formed is a mystery to me.

We left the beach after a few days and after visiting another island, we reached Athens.  This is a centre for young tourists.  There are cheap travel facilities (to England for £20, India for £45, Egypt for £17 etc.)  These facilities are supposed to be for students, but it was obvious that others could use them - like us!  Having booked our plane tickets for Nairobi, we left Athens for some further sightseeing amongst the Greek islands.

We went to Pares in the Cyclades, and visited the famous marble I caves I which produce marble (which was used to build many of the ancient Greek temples). We got on a bus and then wandered up a track to a marble quarry where a dozen or so men were shaping blocks from the beautiful white rock.  We found the 'caves' on the other side of the valley.  There were four entrances two were inclined shafts and two more like cave entrances.  Armed with candles, we explored the mines.  The main shafts went down at least 200 feet, with tunnels leading off to large chambers.  Everywhere glistened white, and walls of the white stone supported the roof.  We spent an hour or so exploring this mine.

A temple of Apollo was built on a hill near these mines and although only the foundations and a few other stones are still present, the main marble pillars can be seen built into an eighteenth century castle in the town and even the castle looks a bit odd with these and other features built into it.

The finale of our Greek holiday was a trip to the island of Delos, the ancient city of 20,000 inhabitants with temples; houses; courtyards; statues; villas and a stadium all now devoid of life except for thousands of lizards darting across the sun-drenched stones.


 

Annual Report Of The B.B.L.H.& S.R.G

This story is respectfully dedicated by the aged savants of the Belfry Bulletin Literary, Historical and Scientific Research Group (who endeavour to produce some seasonal nonsense every year for the Christmas edition of the B.B.) to Fred Davies.

He might, they hope, see some grotesque parallel between what follows here, and an incident concerning a meeting of the Council of Southern Caving Clubs, at which he was not present - having gone caving instead.  There might even be some sort of moral........ somewhere........

“A Tale of Two Caving Huts”

-------- I --------

It is midnight on Mendip, after an unusually hot summer weekend.  The last tints of colour have not long faded from the sky - and now the moon shines brightly down on dry stone wall and hawthorn tree alike.  All is still, apart from the soft tearing sound as here and there a cow still grazes.  From afar off, an owl hoots.

The vast army of squat little concrete huts which comprise the Mendip District Council's Caving Estate at Nordrach - which by day disfigures the face of Mendip almost as much as does the nearby University of Charterhouse, now looks slightly less revolting in the moonlight.  The horde of Hut Wardens; Tackle Officers; Caving Secretaries, members and guests who form the inhabitants of this dreadful place have all gone home.  The long lines of huts and the network of concrete paths now gleam more softly in the pale light of the moon and somehow contrive to look less like some enormous camp for displaced persons.

A solitary car, however, still stands in the car park; and the yellow gleam from the windows of Hut 213 single it out from the silvery ranks of its fellows.  Inside the hut, surrounded by a mass of paperwork, sits Sam Strangeways - the new secretary of the Haselbury Plunknett Speleological Society - taking his duties seriously, as indeed he must.  Before his predecessor cracked up from overwork, he had managed to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough by concluding an access agreement with a local farmer for Dribble Hole.  Although this cave is only fifteen feet long, Sam is weighing up how his club can use this agreement to their best advantage.  He is moderately certain that the Perronarworthel Pothole Club might be induced to back his application to the Council for holding on to the agreement, which, of course, would give them both a lever against the Kingston Bagpuize Caving Group.  The reaction of the Nunney Association for Speleological Regression would be less predictable.  It is quite a problem.

But, thinks Sam, as he sits and ponders over the delicate balance between the five hundred clubs on the estate, it is a typical problem of present-day caving.  He sighs as he realises that next weekend will be just like all the others.  It is hardly likely that his club will be able to find the time to look for another cave as big as Dribble Hole.  Instead, Saturday morning will be spent in a hectic round of visits to other caving huts on the estate, sounding out opinions and listening to any rumours, and rushing back at intervals to Hut 213 to keep the others informed on the latest shifts of policy, so that they can deal with the other secretaries, who will be rushing round with equal determination.  After this, there might be time for a quick bite to eat before going to the Great Hall of the University of Charterhouse for the weekly meeting of the Southern Council.  After this, there will be the usual session of drinks at the student’s bar; where the give-and-take will be less official but equally hard.  Finally, they will get back to Hut 213 and stagger into their bunks - worn out by the days caving activity.  Sunday morning will be spent in planning the next week’s campaign and holding a post-mortem on the last Council meeting.  No wonder, thinks Sam, that the last Secretary of his club had cracked up.

With a sigh, Sam wrenches his mind away from these morbid thoughts and begins to stack his papers into his bulging briefcase.  With a final glance round the hut, he turns off the lights and makes his way thoughtfully to his waiting car and, one presumes, to Haselbury Plunknett.

-------- II --------

It is now Saturday, on the following weekend. The weather, as if ashamed of its temporary lapse, has now reverted to its normal summer behaviour.  A heavy, damp mist hangs over Mendip, turning everything to a uniform dull grey and finding its way through the many chinks resulting from the over-hasty construction of the University of Charterhouse.  Sam is in his car, and about to set off for the meeting.  His head is full of complex policy decisions.  The matter of the Dribble Hole agreement is fraught with danger and knife-edge diplomatic moves.  He starts off and drives mechanically through the mist.

Suddenly, Sam realises that he is on the wrong road.  He stops the car and peers into the thickening mist.  None of the terrain looks familiar.  Panic-stricken, he realises that he will be late for the meeting. Without his vote and speech, the Kingston Bagpuize might even side with the Perranarworthel!

All around him, Mendip lies still and silent, much as it did all through the centuries before cavers appeared on the scene.  As Sam scans the dim outlines of old walls lining the road, a strange peace begins to settle over him and the University of Charterhouse begins to feel as insubstantial as its already corroding bits of flashy aluminium really are.  With a sudden, decisive movement, Sam winds down the window and flings his briefcase out.  A great load seems suddenly to be lifted from his mind.  With a faint smile on his lips, he lets in the clutch and drives off slowly into the unknown.  It is a big moment for Sam.

-------- III --------

It is later the same afternoon.  Sam has now left the car and is walking across a mist-covered field in which the vague shapes of cows can be dimly discerned.  Soon, he finds himself going steeply downhill.  He has arrived at a swallet.  At the bottom, there is a locked cave entrance.  Sam gazes at it with longing; recalling half-forgotten experiences.  He is startled to hear the sounds of approaching people, sounding muffled in the mist.  Looking in the direction of these sounds, he can soon distinguish several scruffily dressed individuals who are carrying caving gear.  Their leader, a large powerfully-built man, gives Sam a long, hard, appraising glance.

"Want to go down, lad?"

"Yes, please," Sam replies, suddenly realising that this is what he does want to do more than anything else.

"Get the lad some spare clothes and a helmet, Fred while I pick this ruddy lock!" the large man roars at a wiry-looking individual, who promptly disappears into the mist on this errand of mercy.

-------- IV --------

The great Hall of the University Of Charterhouse is packed, stressing some of it’s badly designed and poorly assembled girders close to breaking point.  The General Secretary is calling the roll of constituent clubs: -

‘ Glastonbury Spelaeos.’

‘Present.’

‘Goblin Coombe Caving Club.’

‘Present.’

‘Gordano Exploration Group.’

‘Present.’

‘Haselbury Plunknett Spelaeos.’

There is a silence, as four hundred and ninety nine delegates look at each other, wondering what could have happened.  They think variously in terms of falling asleep at the wheel; collapse due to overwork and so on. Not a single delegate imagines anything as wildly improbable as the truth.  The secretary of the Haselbury Plunknett Spelaeological Society has gone caving!

-------- V --------

It is now very much later on that same fateful day.  Sam is now lying in a bunk within a caving hut whose very existence he has never even suspected.  It is not on the Nordrach Estate.  It is, in fact, the Belfry.

As he relaxes, in a pleasant half-sloshed condition, he is recalling the events of the day.  A day which has given him more pleasure than he had thought possible.  There was the joy of once more being underground with friendly and experienced companions - the feel of rock and rung and water.  Then there was the coming out, tired but happy followed by the stew; the beer; the jokes; the songs; the journey back to the hut and the final cup of coffee.

Sam's only regret is that to-morrow he must return to Hut 213 and face harsh reality once more.  He is sure that these friendly, carefree cavers he has just met must represent some sort of unofficial set-up which, sooner or later, would find itself caught up in the complex machinery of real caving. With their complete ignorance of the cut and thrust of caving politics, they would never survive a moment.  He must warn them before it is too late for them to learn!  They obviously have no idea of what is happening in the real world outside.  He is still thinking along these lines when he falls into a deep and refreshing sleep.

-------- VI --------

It is now Sunday morning. Sam has just woken up and been handed a steaming mug of coffee by Fred Ferrett, who has already got up to perform this humane task.  The others are all stirring.  In one corner, Ron Runnit, the Hut Warden, is sitting up drinking his coffee.  In another, the bulk of Pete Pushem stirs under a pile of assorted cast-off blankets and finally heaves into view. He stretches out a great hand for his mug of coffee and focuses his eyes on Sam.

"Morning, lad. How's the ruddy head?"

Sam, after a quick inspection, is able to assure Pete that his head is in working order, his information is well received.

"That's the ruddy stuff, lad!  You’ll never be a member of this ruddy club if you can’t hold your ruddy beer!"

At the words, 'member of this ruddy club', Sam remembers his mission to acquaint these folk with the facts of caving life.  He looks around at the cheerful disorder of the hut - mentally comparing it with the antiseptic cleanliness of Hut 213, cleaned once a week by the council - and realises the enormous gap he must somehow try to bridge.  His face falls.

"What is the rouble, lad? " booms the voice of Pete Pushem once more, "Ruddy gut?"

With much misgiving, Sam falteringly tries to explain.  A sound like an earthquake interrupts his efforts as Pete's bunk rocks with his great roars of laughter.  It is just as well that Pete's bunk is not in the great hall of the University of Charterhouse.  Pete finally becomes coherent.

"You're all right, Sam!" he says at last. "You'll do. Trying to warn us about all the trouble at ruddy Nordrach and Charterhouse?  Telling us that if we didn't ruddy watch it, we’d be organised out of existence?  Is that what you were going to ruddy say? "

Sam merely nods his head. He cannot find words to express his amazement.

"You didn't think, lad", Pete says as to a young child, "that all the ruddy trouble between ruddy caving clubs happens ruddy naturally?  It takes ruddy organisation, that does!"  There is a note of simple pride in his voice as he goes on.

"You see, lad, with so many ruddy clubs about, it was getting damn nigh impossible to get down ruddy caves, so we did a bit of thinking.  We reckoned that we'd never stop them coming to ruddy Mendip, so we decided to give 'em something else to do when they ruddy got here."

Sam's brain is rapidly getting into gear.  He will make a B.E.C. member yet.  He is still, however, a trifle confused.

"But how," he asks Pete, "do you do it all?  You'd need an army of spies to start with."

"Bugging."

It is Ron Runnit who speaks. "My old man got the contract to build the Nordrach Estate.  We hid mikes in all the huts.  We run the tapes back every Wednesday in the pub.  Gives us a couple of days to drop a hint here; spread a rumour there; do a bit of stirring somewhere else and bingo!  They're all at each other's throats again with no time left for caving. We've got it to a fine art, although I say it as shouldn't."

Sam's brain is now shifting from third to top.  He sees both sides of this shrewd scheme and is not altogether happy with the result.

"It's a bit unfair." he says slowly, not wishing to give offence.  Those poor beggars don't stand a chance!"

"Yes they ruddy do!" roars Pete."  Look lad, proper cavers are ruddy individuals.  They'd never stand for it.  All we're doing is looking after the blokes with no minds of their own. Anybody else doesn't have to play. Look at yourself, Sam!"

Before Sam can do more than think about what Pete is saying, a more practical note is struck by Ron, who points out that if they don't soon get up; have breakfast; muck the hut out and get moving, the pubs will be open.  Ever conscious of the more serious aspects of life, the B.E.C. take this sound hint.

-------- VII --------

It is late on Sunday evening.  The Nordrach Estate is once again deserted, as it was when this tale started.  Its exhausted inhabitants have all gone home to recover.  The girders beneath the Great Hall at Charterhouse are slowly creeping back to something approaching the shape hopefully envisaged by their designer.  Meanwhile, in a cosy Mendip pub, the B.E.C. are having the last drinks of the weekend.  They are relaxed and cheerful.  Sam has just adroitly manoeuvred Fred into buying the next round, but has been astute enough not to try that particular ploy on Pete, a fact which impresses Pete not a little.  In Pete's opinion, Sam will prove a credit to the club.  Pete is listening to what Sam is saying.

"The only thing that worries me is that - what ever is worth doing, you tend to - how shall I put it? do it, perhaps, to excess.  You're driving them a bit too hard.  There have been several nervous breakdowns this year already.  What we need is a bloke on the spot who can keep his ears open and use his loaf.  We can then see how hard we're driving them, and adjust the pressure to keep them at full stretch without crippling them."

Pete thinks this is interesting, but continues to listen while Ron takes up the debate on a serious note.

"But that means that you would have to be the bloke on the spot, Sam, and we can't expect you to go back to that ghastly estate and those terrible meetings.  Besides, my uncle put up the girders under the great hall at the university, and I personally wouldn't risk sitting in it for five minutes all by myself, let alone with five hundred other blokes for several hours."

Pete Pushem is still thinking.  He can already see great possibilities in having a bloke on the spot.  Much better control.  Of course, Sam couldn't actually be a delegate any more.  He'd need every Saturday for caving.  He ought to be somewhere where he could keep an eye open without wasting too much time.  A part time job in the estate office?  Ron's brother-in-law was on the district council.  Yes, it could all be arranged.

Pete grins. He has reached an important decision.  With a single gulp, he swallows the remains of his beer.  He turns to Sam.

"Drink up, lad!" he roars, "The next ruddy round's on me!'

Several pairs of startled eyes swivel rapidly in Pete's direction.  There is a moment of stunned silence - until the members present realise that, as always, Pete never does anything without a good reason.  Then, as one man, they bang their pots down on the bar. Pete is actually still grinning as he pays up.

The B.E.C. is about to improve its technique still further.

By way of an encore this year, the B.B. Literary, Historic and Scientific Research Group have also sent in this footnote about the work of that old club member, Charley Dickens.

After listening to the introduction to the play at the last club dinner, several astute members have pointed out that the entertainment given a few years ago - that tale about Oliver Lloyd, which, was performed under the title of ‘Oliver’ - was also written by Charley Dickens.

Rapid researches into the subject show that Charley wrote a number of pieces about the club besides the two already mentioned before he went up to London and turned professional.  There was, for instance, GREAT EXPECTORATIONS a tale about the more revolting aspects of Mendip life at the time.  Then there was HARD CLIMBS which speaks for itself. Perhaps his greatest effort was THE THICKWIG PAPERS - a tale about the publications department and the Cuthbert’s report and survey - but then again, perhaps not.

Altogether, Charley wrote rather a lot of stuff - rather like the B.B.L.H.& S.R.G., who would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.


 

Christmas Crossword

In order to give the poor old compiler a rest, there is no 'Monthly Crossword' in the B.B. this month. Instead, we have a crossword compiled by Andy Nichols, who says "The answer is shown TWICE in each clue  - once for novices and once for hard men.  Clues marked * will be easier for members who can remember when they last went down Swildons.

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

6

 

7

 

8

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

15

 

16

 

 

 

 

 

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19

20

 

21

 

 

 

 

 

 

22

 

 

 

23

 

 

 

 

 

24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACROSS:

3. Abstainer about secretary - have a go! (7)
9. Children wi'out one pointless looper. (5) *
10. Series near entrance a cut above others. (5) *
11. Bun-heaters association - all of us together. (3,4)
12. Sort of slack gathered in Mayday passage? (5)
13. Queen and commie strayed like lost sheep. (5)
14. Suffered by divers in sinuous sumps. (5)
17. Not off-peak, but punctual. (2,4)
18. 22/7 sensationalised crime in Shatter. (6) *
19. Sweet, sticky and calamitous for him. (5) *
22. Dim, uh; or just wet? (5)
24. Endless 28 or confused 4. (5)
25. Synthetic rope in foul, strong drink. (7)
26. Foreigners may need them for Cuthbert’s. (5)
27. What does Archer do at church? Tango? (5)
28. Belays for her test. (7)

DOWN:

1. Sailor an' fellow are optimistic.  Give up? (7,4) *
2. Ted's head and rodent’s head; he worshipped here (5,6) *
3. Swine’s at home, a bit hasty. (1,1)
4. - Where?  In the other eye! (5)
5. Doctor came first when Ratty's friend dug. (5)
6. A non-U place underground. (4) *
7. Getting closer but leaving the stream. (11) *
8. Scented subterranean scene worried drip-dry gene (6, 5) *
14. We're all for 11, initially. (1,1,1)
15. Wimple-wearer gives international body a point. (3)
16. Job for my little eye when odds start year. (3)
20. City stripper's object in present position. (5)
21. Sapper upset with spadework and funeral song. (5)
23. Dry earth in Hindustani. (4)
24. Old penny in three-cornered fight runs out. (4)

 ( Solution next month )

And for those who like a "crossword" that’s a bit different, we have been sent the following: -

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Clue

This was compiled by Alan Thomas

Across:

1. Most conveniently situated cave on Mendip?
12. North in caving H.Q.; Royal Cipher and footwear with learner in it!
13. Thor shun eel piel

Down:

1. Examples of a bone found in meat.
2. Female sheep.
3. Cockney fowls?
4. Sold by cafes.
5. Relaxation.
6. Ours, perhaps?
7. Messes with a thousand missing.
8. Often dropped by Cockneys.
9. Flexible London pipe?
10. Old measures of cloth.
11. This puzzle may be completed with this.

Cave Notes

The club’s new occasional multi-subject caving report series has now its first number on sale at 30p. Also recently published is Caving Report No. 14 – again at 30p.


 

Buttermere Fells

Another tale of the North by the only club member who can sign his name with a X and get away with it, Bob Cross.

In the August of this year, I spent a couple of days camping in the Lake District at a small place on the banks of Buttermere called Gatesgarth. This is a tiny hamlet on the western side of the Honister Pass.  It is centred around a hill farm famous for its breed of sheep.  There is also a very pleasant camp site and a mountain rescue post.

This place is quieter than Borrowdale and has more subtle charms.  The valley contains two lakes, Buttermere and Crummock Water.  They are separated by a moraine dam.  Overlooking the valley in the South West is the great rampart of High Crag; High Stile and Red Pike.  Further west, overlooking Crummock Water is the lone hill Mellbreak. To the East and South East are the lovely Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike and to the North the larger masses of Grassmoor and Robinson.  All the mountains mentioned, except Haystacks and Mellbreak, exceed 2,000 feet above sea level.

From Gatesgarth, High Crag and High Stile take pride of place - thrusting in a steep mass of bracken, scree and crags into the sky.  I was determined to climb these, whatever the weather during the two days. The first morning, I was lucky. The sky was slightly overcast and the heights were in the mist, but here and there, particles of blue peeped through.

I gulped down my breakfast, donned my boots and rucksack and set out alone in the direction of High Stile, full of expectations.  The initial part of the climb lay over the water meadows in Warmscale Bottom to the lakeside footpath.  This morning, the lake was like a duck pond, reflecting the surrounding hills in its cool waters.  A forest of lush bracken clad the South shore of the lake, and the track meanders through this to the mouth of Birkness Gill.  This stream cascades over a jumble of rocks and pebbles from the recess of Birkness Coombe, a cool secluded corrie formed by the spurs of high Gap, High Stile and the ridge that joins them.

I paused here to swill my sweating brow, and then set off in bottom gear up the steep path made slippery by previous storms.  My boots had long since seen their best days and badly needed resoling, though there was still a bit of rubber left!

Climbing hills is a frustrating business, especially if you keep looking up to note your progress - best keep your eyes down and switch off your brain!

I got hot! Soon I could see the western end of Crummock Water, and with the sweat pouring out of my portly carcass, I wished somehow that I was in it.  I'd had a fair drop of chernic the previous night and was suffering from an affliction one might amusingly entitle "Wheeltappers Head".

Second wind always comes as the gradient eases off.  No chance here~ Birkness Gill rises in a steep scree filled gully and maintains a fierce gradient from source to mouth.  This coombe was a quiet place - not sombre or sinister more charitable with juicy bilberries and fat daft sheep.

I was at ease and smiled and muttered at the podgy sheep in half-witted abandon, a luxury that only solo tramping affords me - unless of course my companion is also a nutcase!  I carried on pounding up the hill till I stumbled on to the foot of a scree.

The last four hundred feet to the ridge was an unbroken scree in a gully.  I nearly fell over backwards twice and was dizzy with vertigo by the time I crawled out on to the top.  I sat on a flat slab while my heart beat returned to normal, and ate some bread and butter.

I was roughly on the same level as the hill across the valley but about three hundred feet lower than another hill due North.  These were Robinson (2,417ft) and Grassmoor (2,791ft) respectively.  Behind me I could see Pillar Kirk Fell and Great Gable.

After this rest, I walked over to the top of High Stile, North of this summit, a steep-sided spur overlooks Buttermere, and from the top of this spur you can see the valley below in detail spread out like an aerial picture.  Here, in a mossy hollow, I dined and took an hours nap.  From my little pulpit I could see the Solway Firth and the hills of Dumfries.

Half asleep, and suffering from acute indigestion caused by boiled eggs, I staggered off towards Red Pike, the Western end of the ridge.  Then I turned south and walked towards Steeple.  Far below I could see a mass of Sitca Spruce - Emmerdale Forest, and above this, that classic Lakeland crag, Pillar Rock - hanging there in space - over two thousand feet above the lovely river Liza.

By now it was past midday, and the mists had long since left the peaks.  What a pity I had run out of ridge and would have to return to the valley.

I have a liking for scree running that emerged on the isle of Skye some time ago, so I was delighted when, after a short easy walk down a grassy slope, I was peeing down a slope of scree of some eight hundred feet straight into Emmerdale Forest.  I leaped energetically down this, leaning well back, and digging in with my heels, no doubt doing my poor boots a world of good.  I stopped occasionally to empty the grit from my socks, and to pick some of the biggest bilberries I had ever seen, that grew in clumps amongst the debris. I was well-nigh knackered when I got down into the wood and glad of the shade and the springy forest floor underfoot.

Eventually I got to the river Liza where I washed my hot sticky trotters.  The air here was heavy with the scent of pinewood and alive with insects - including the bloody midge.

With cool feet, and a couple more midge bites, I set off along the dirt road to Black Sail Youth Hostel. After two miles of pleasant walking I reached the hostel, a timber building obviously copied from the old Belfry.

Outside were several scantily-clad females basking in the sun - an enjoyable and provocative sight. The last leg the journey now lay over Scarth Gap and so back into Warmscale Bottom.

I attacked this steep climb with gusto, remembering the saying; ‘The more it hurts; the more good it does you’.  Well, anyway, I was feeling a bit fitter than earlier in the day and I relished the thought of the Craven G. G. meet the following weekend.

Having walked over the top of Scarth Gap, I paused briefly, and then ran down into Warmscale Bottom where I took my boots and socks off and walked barefoot back to Gatesgarth and my tent.

After a meal, myself and two mates who had spent the day climbing near the Bodestone in Borrowdale all went to a pub called the Kirkstile Inn near Loweswater which, like everything else in this corner of Lakeland, was grand!

Editor's Note:

Bob sent with the above article a very fine biro sketch of the countryside described in the article. As it is two pages wide (and the centre pages of this B.B. were printed a very long time ago) and requires a photo plate to reproduce it, it has not been possible to include it in this B.B. However, we hope to include it in a B.B. early next year.


 

Dinner 1974

This being the festive season, this account of the 1974 club dinner by MIKE WHEADON might not come amiss:

Returning to Mendip this year after an absence of about eight years, I was somewhat surprised at the changes which had taken place.  I am not counting the fact that it is claimed that nobody goes caving or climbing any more - they never did!  (Yet the club's record in these fields is not so bad despite this fact). No!  I mean that the Saturday singing has ceased.  Even this massive change, I was told, was but nothing compared to the way that club dinners were now a complete dead loss.  Still, despite this warning, I paid my money and joined the other venturesome members and guests at the 1974 Club Dinner.

If you are wondering when the old windbag is going to tell you just how bad this dinner was - you are going to be disappointed.  The 1974 dinner was amongst the best I've ever been to since I joined the club way back. The venue this year was the Wells Blue School assembly hall and the proceedings were due to commence at the unusually early hour of 7.p.m.  From my point of view, this was a minor catastrophe, as I arrived with about two minutes to spare and made the shortest line possible to Roger's Mobile Hunters which was conveniently situated just inside the entrance and after a short eternity I managed to get a pint, but got in the state of having a cigarette in one hand; lighter in the other, and beer in the other. At this point, that girl with the alarming collection of holes instead of a skirt walked by and as I swung round I became a victim of thrown beer - my own.  When I had completed mopping up, there was only time for a quick glance round - noting several members of my own (and earlier) vintage - Blogg, to name but a few.  It was then time to obtain a bottle of vino at a very fair price before being called upon to dine.

The hall was laid out in an informal manner, being set with octagonal tables (seating eight ) placed in a random manner throughout the hall and after a bit of shuffling round and rearrangement, we were all seated and were then treated to an excellent meal.  I'm not sure that I ought to dwell on the menu - I can't have you slavering all over your B.B. - but it was very good, being hot where it should have been hot and cold where it should have been cold. If was 'cheffed' by Patti Palmer's brother Arthur, and his 'related' staff provided an excellent and efficient service, ensuring that extra helping went where they were needed.  Indeed, one member who I shall leave nameless (hint, if you like - D.H. has a moustache) managed to get all four selections of sweet simultaneously.

Towards the end of the dinner, the normal round of toasts were called for, with Bob Whatsisname almost proposing the health of the club and new secretary 'Wig' replying almost inaudibly.  Alan Thomas told his usual convoluted story in preparation for the toast of Absent Friends (personally I was sorry that my own list was so long) giving special mention to Sybil who is still, we hope, fit and well in Uganda.

This year brought a return to the B.E.C.'s own version of post prandial pleasures - a real 'first night' performance.  To an imaginary roll of drums, the stage curtains parted to reveal a freshly bearded and immaculately dressed Palmer, armed with an enormous scroll on which was inscribed a recently discovered play by a one time aspiring Mendip playwright Charley Dickens.  The title of this play was 'A Christmas Barrel' and some of our more unassuming members had offered to try their luck in the thespian role.  (By the way, this play later written as a novel has done rather well, I believe.)

At the risk of infringing copyright, I can tell you that the story centres round a grasping club treasurer, played superbly by Barrie, being faced with a plea from schoolboy Royston for a Christmas barrel.  When this request is churlishly refused, who should enter the scene but an ex-grasping club treasurer complete with chain and ball - which he handled with great dexterity - who is prepared to demonstrate the terrible possibilities for the future should the request still be withheld.

We see the spirit of Mendip Past - although one in the audience queried the first vowel - ably played by Pete Franklin, who showed us members drinking their beer, singing songs and knowing nearly all the words.  This was followed by Mendip Present, with members sipping half pints brought on to the stage by Roger Dors - no expense being spared on this production - and remembering that there was once a song called, now what was it?  A tongue twisting song by the Spirit of Mendip Present (Alfie in a long-haired wig) reminded us of the great number of clubs now on Mendip.  This scene was followed by Mendip to come, with Wig complete with slide rule and visually displayed computer caving from the laboratory supported only by lashings of fruit juice and a lab. assistant supported by a suitable harmonic dirge and presided over by the Spirit of Mendip to come in the person of Chris (I'm the dreaded Fagin!) Harvey. Need we say that when confronted by such a spectre, the treasurer at last coughs up!

Following the close of play (to thunderous applause and shouts of ‘author’) the remainder of the evening until midnight was spent in carousing, renewing old acquaintances and general merriment.  At the witching hour, the hall was closed so that the hard working staff could go home. I think that I can say without fear that a good time was had by all, and thanks are due to all those who organised the dinner and the entertainment.

I went up to the Belfry to sober up before going home, but unfortunately there were several barrels on and when they ran out, we fetched another - and what with singing and drinking, it was very early when I got home at last.


 

Otter Hole

A short article by ROY BENNETT on an interesting recent discovery in the Chepstow area

Background

The cave entrance was found by R.H.B. as a result of the surface survey work being done in the Chepstow area for the Cambrian Cave Registry.  As first seen, it had a strongly draughting bedding plane a little way inside the entrance, and deeper choked extensions.  The bedding plane had been pushed some way by removing some stal deposit, but there were no signs of any recent digging, and work was commenced by the Wednesday Night Digging Team (Phil. Kingston, Colin Clark and Roy Bennett) aided by frequent applications of bang over a period of about two months.

The previous work had, in fact, been carried out by the Royal Forest of Dean Caving Club following a much in earlier discovery by Dave Parker (R.F.D.C.C. and G.S.S.) and they returned to dig more intensively in the deeper part just after the B.E.C. team started work.  The latter were blissfully ignorant of this activity, only finding out when they went into the lower cave to look for a missing bucket and found to their surprise that a big hole had been dug out and a breakthrough made (actually four days previously).  At this point, one of the diggers and party arrived and a rather heated discussion took place, to be continued later by telephone with the result that it was more or less accepted that the three B.E.C. diggers would take part in further exploration.

The Cave

So far, about fifteen hundred feet has been found with possibilities of further extensions.  The entrance series consists of a number of low bedding planes and rifts and is known to flood dangerously in at least one place on very high tides.  A party has already been caught near the entrance by a tide of over 46 feet which caused a very rapid water rise which almost sumped on the last person through.

Beyond this section, the passageway becomes sizeable with many fallen boulders, much mud and some nice but vulnerable stalagmite formations.  This section ends with a sump which rises and falls about 15 feet with the tide.  It will fall to an easily passed duck at low water and is being enlarged by the Forest Cavers.  At present this is a serious trap as the fall in level depends on the weather as well as the tide.  Thus, although several trips of a few hours to the far side have been made, after the very heavy rain in September it failed to open at all for about three weeks, rising to over ten feet above opening level even at low tide.  A probably by-pass is being currently worked on which should remove this risk except under very wet conditions.

Beyond the sump, a boulder ruckle leads to a mainly rift-like stream passage of impressive proportions and very well decorated in parts.  It ends in a large, loose boulder choke which has at present stopped further exploration.

For details of the R.F.D.C.C. digging and exploration etc, see the Royal Forest of Dean Caving Club Newsletter 54 November 1974.


 

Cuthberts Leaders Meeting

A description taken from the minutes of this meeting, which was held at the Belfry on the 17th November 1974.

The meeting was attended by R.Bennett, R.Craig, J. Durston, M.Jordan, R. King, T. Large, Dr. O. C. Lloyd, R. Mansfield, A. Meaden and M. Palmer.     Apologies were received from C. Clark, D. Irwin, G. Meyrick, B. Prewer and S. Tuck.     The minutes were taken by A. Nichols.

After the adoption of the minutes of the 1973 meeting, there was a general discussion on whether to remove all fixed tackle from the cave, but no agreement was reached.  In view of the mall attendance and the substantial majority at recent meetings in favour of keeping fixed tackle, the meeting decided not to make any recommendation to the B.E.C. Committee.

The removal of the tackle from the Maypole Series, as instructed by the 1973 meeting, was agreed to be satisfactory.  It was also decided not to recommend the replacement of the chain of ladder above Tin Mine, as the roof formations had now been damaged beyond repair.

There was a discussion on the desirability of having any tapes in the cave, but the majority at the meeting felt the need for some tapes, both to protect formations and to direct routes.  The meeting recommended the removal of the tapes in Pillar Chamber, with a direction to all leaders not to use the climb up on the left as a short cut to the normal route.  The meeting also recommended the removal of some of the tape in Boulder Chamber, but leaving enough to protect the Octopus formation and the false floor at the entrance to Curtain Chamber.  Finally, the meeting recommended the taping of the mud formations below the stal bank.

On the subject of digging sites, the meeting felt that there was too much mess from abandoned diggings in the cave and recommended that those responsible for the Gour Room dig should be asked to remove their equipment and that those responsible for the Mantrap dig should also be asked to remove their equipment.  They further recommended that the barrier a hundred feet down from the choke should be removed, that the Maypoles in High Chamber should be removed if they are no longer needed for surveying, that the equipment in Lake Chamber should be removed and that the Traverse Chamber dam should be removed.  They recommended that Tim Large's dig and all the other dams should be kept.

The meeting recommended that the tape measure and collecting bottles should be removed from the Railway Tunnel, as they no longer had any historic value.

The meeting approved the application of Gay Meyrick (S.M.C.C.) and recommended that her provisional Leadership should be confirmed.

The meeting felt that the present practice should continue, whereby people who have completed their form for leadership should be accepted as provisional leaders and given a key to the cave immediately but, because it may take up to a year before a provisional leader can be ratified as a full leader, leaders who sign off trips for prospective leaders must realise that they are not just confirming that the required route has been completed.

The meeting therefore recommended that on the form after the words 'other personal attributes will be judged by the leader on the trip and also the person's general attitude to caving and to cave preservation' there should be added ' the leader should only sign if these points are satisfactory'.

The meeting recommended that the lock on the cave entrance should be replaced by the B.E.C Caving Secretary with one of the spare locks.  It felt that the number of leaders was adequate and that there was no need to recruit more, but it recommended that the Caving Secretary should draw up and publish in the B.B. a complete list of those leaders still prepared to take trips, with their names and addresses.

The Caving Secretary reported that an increasing number of club members were not going about the procedure in a proper manner. The meeting recommended that the access rules for Cuthbert’s should be publicised in the B.B. and elsewhere.

M. Palmer, as the observing M.R.O. Warden, reported on the practise rescue from Long Chamber on the 26th of October and on the possibility of a fixed wire in the Wire Rift for use on rescues.  The wire would not be permanently in position.  The meeting recommended that the B.E.C. Committee should provide this tackle if there was enough money.

The poor attendance at this meeting was deplored.

Since this meeting, the recommendations have all been ratified by the Committee of the B.E.C.


 

Club Committee

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

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           Colin Dooley, John Dukes, Chris Howell, Dave Irwin, Tim Large, Andy Nicholls, Gerry Oaten, Barry Wilton

Officers of the Club

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

Honorary Treasurer             B. WILTON, ‘Valley View’, Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol.

Caving Secretary                A. NICHOLLS, c/o The Belfry

Assist Cav. Sec.                T. LARGE, 15 Kippax Avenue, Wells, Somerset

Climbing Secretary             G. OATEN, 32 St. Marks Road, Easton, Bristol. Tele : BRISTOL 551163

Tacklemaster                     G. WILTON-JONES, ‘Ilenea’, Stonefield Road. Nap Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks. Tele : HIGH WYCOMBE 3534

Hut Warden                       C. DOOLEY, 51 Ommaston Road., Harbourne, Birmingham 17. Tele : BIRMINGHAM 427 6122

Belfry Engineer                   J. DUKES, 4 Springfield Crscent, Southamton.  Tele : 0703 774649

B.B. Editor                         S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishops Sutton, Nr. Bristol. Tel : CHEW MAGNA 2915

Publications Editor             C. HOWELL, 131 Sandon Road, Edgebaston, Birmingham 17.  Tele : (021) 429 5549

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

Spares                              T. LARGE,  Address already given