Happy New Year

A belated greeting to all readers of the B.B., and good caving or climbing in 1977.

New Disguise

For the sixth time during its life, the B.B. has changed its shape.  We reckon that the bookshelves of older members must present a motley appearance by now as the B.B. has been Foolscap (13"x8") Quarto (10"x8") Sixmo (8"x5") back to Quarto again, A5 (8¼" x 5⅞") and now A4 (11¾" x 8¼").   What we lose in thickness we gain in page size, and we will do a few experiments during the year to see how best to take advantage of the new sized pages. For example, we are now saving some paper (whilst  going back to having covers) by printing the list of club officials on the inside of the front cover (not on this re-print) and the monthly crossword enlarged in size.


The B.B. team is making steady rather than spectacular progress.  Alan Kennett is now, conversant with the printing process; Barrie has the supplies well in hand; Mike continues to take some of the work of preparing masters, and Andy is twisting people's arms for articles.

We are not yet in the happy position of being able to print pages of the B.B. ahead of time, but, the signs continue to suggest that this time may not be far away.

Committee Problems

Two subjects which the committee must get sorted out as soon as possible are the dinner (and thanks should go to all those who sent back questionnaires) and the installation (if possible) of some form of central heating.  We shall do our best to keep members up to date on both these important subjects.

Where Did Last June Go?

Readers with long memories may still be wondering what happened to the B.B. which suffered when our printing machine broke down last June.  One entire side of each of the pieces of paper had been printed before the machine wrecked the master and caused work to stop, so all this paper cannot be used for anything else.  This being so, we are planning to retype the damaged master and finish the printing of this edition of the B.B.  It will be sent to you alongside one of this years B.B. postings.  We are doing this because it will not cost any more and will at least enable those who collect B.B.'s to complete their set for last year. If it's any consolation, when you finally get last June's B.B., it will have the distinction of being the most delayed edition there has ever been.

As the slow-motion drama of the proposed changes to N.C.A. goes on, we shall try to keep members in touch with events.  As some members probably know, the Working Party, which was formed at the suggestion of the Southern Council representative on the N.C.A., has now produced its findings and, again on our suggestion, it was then agreed to give people plenty of time to think about it before N.C.A. did anything about it. N.C.A. are to hold a special meeting on this subject some time in the spring.  Needless to say, the Southern Council's own working party (which started the whole matter off in the first place) have already met to consider what they will be recommending to the Southern Council at its next meeting in February.  The C.S.C.C. delegates to the special meeting of N.C.A. will then go to this meeting fully briefed as to what aspects the Southern Council are prepared to concede, to negotiate or to stand firm on.  Obviously, these last points will be made as few as possible, as the C.S.C.C. does not wish to place any unnecessary obstacles in the way towards a final agreement. One presumes, however, that if a deadlock is reached, then the meeting will either have to find some new delaying formula or face the consequences of a breakdown.  Once again, we must hope that commonsense will prevail, and in the months between now and then, we will be keeping readers up to date, both by articles and comment of this sort, on what is going on.

Monthly Crossword

The editor will be pleased to accept crosswords in line with the new format as in this B.B. Crosswords should be 11 x 11 squares in size; have a translational or rotational symmetry pattern and contain mainly words associated with caving or climbing activities generally.  If clues are sent as well, these should be of the cryptic variety, but un-clued crosswords will be accepted.



The Hut Warden would like to remind members that CROCKERY and CUTLERY will be taken out of circulation on the 31st January for an experimental period, to see if it contributes to the tidiness of the Belfry.  Please bring your own in future!

Barrie would like to remind members that CAR BADGES are still available.  Owing to rising costs, these may well go the way of club ties in future, so if you want a car badge, NOW is the time to get hold of one.  It may soon be too late!

There are still some outstanding HUT FEES owed by some members.  Please settle as soon as possible – and don’t forget that ANNUAL SUBS are due on the 31st of Jan!


Club Insurance

by Joan Bennett.

Editor’s Note:    Joan has taken a great interest in this subject, and is probably one of the best informed members in our club.  We feel that readers, who may still be a little unsure of what it all means, will find this article to be a great help.

Joan writes, "Having been associated with, and indulged in the 'hazardous sports' of caving, mountaineering and skiing for many years, I feel very sad to have written this article, but I am afraid that it is now an established fact that many persons are prepared to bring cases regarding accidents which result in personal injury, and the damages which are awarded are often very high.  If such a case is brought by a caver against another caver, then of course, the injured party must prove negligence.  The only defence which a caver has is that he was observing the accepted caving code, and any injury was due to the nature of the sport, and must therefore be taken as one of the hazards accepted by cavers.  It is essential, therefore, that cavers at all times strictly observe the caving code and do not indulge in practices of personal self-advertisement which could result in injury to others."

Following the article by the Editor of the B.B. earlier, and the information given at the recent A.G.M., there are some members who are still somewhat unclear what the issues are, and what insurance cover they now have as members of the club.  I will do my best to throw a little light upon this rather dark subject.

As stated previously, the purpose of a club Public Liability Insurance is to protect individual members of the club from the possibility of financial loss as a result of some legal action in which damages might be awarded.  It was also stated that a member of the club could find himself or herself liable in one of two ways – either because of his or her membership of the club, or as an individual.

The old policies (held for many years by the major Mendip clubs, who are all members of the C.S.C.C.) were similar; so much of the re-negotiation was done by on behalf of member clubs. The result of these negotiations was the premiums and cover as quoted at the A.G.M.

For members who did not attend the A.G.M., the six quoted premiums range from 30p per member per annum to £4 per member per annum.  The minimum cover, offered at 30p was for committee members and officers only against claims from non-cavers and landowners, up to £100,000.  The £4 premium covered all club members against claims from members, other cavers, non-cavers and landowners up to £100,000 – in other words, the cover which we enjoyed under the old policy.  The only snag about continuing to enjoy this extensive cover was that the total premium, which was £66 in the 1975/76 financial year, would be increased to something in the region of £720 for next year.  This was felt by practically everybody to be completely out of court, and was not really seriously considered.

The Committee therefore recommended that the club accept the policy which covered all club members and guests against claims from non-cavers and landowners up to a maximum of £250,000 - at a premium to the club of 61p per member per annum. Assuming a membership of 180, this means an annual premium of approximately £110, that is, a rise of £44 or 66%.

'This particular line was recommended by the committee as covering the members for claims which they could not reasonably be able to cover for themselves for their own personal public liability.  This would include any claim for negligence brought against a member either by another member or by another caver.  In other words, the negligence of a member against another caver is his own responsibility and the member will not be insured against such a claim by a club policy.

Editor’s Note:    I turning over a page of Joan’s manuscript, I think I have missed out a few vital words.  If so, my apologies to Joan and I will further emphasise that the CLUB policy is designed to provide the sort of cover it would be very hard for an individual member to obtain – i.e. against non-cavers and landowners.  It DOES NOT cover claims by other members or other cavers because to do so would be very expensive AND cavers can readily obtain such cover for themselves.

The new policy for the club insurance has not yet been received from the brokers but I imagine it will be based mainly on the relevant sections of the old policy.  If, however, there are any special points, they will be brought to the attention of members.

According to the brokers, the relevant definitions are:-

a)      NON-CAVERS – Persons not engaged in caving or similar activities, i.e. members of the general public.

b)      LANDOWNERS – People who own, or are tenants of land under which there are caves.  This cover also includes an indemnity to landowners against claims made against them arising out of caving activities of the insured club.  This indemnity only applies, however, where it is required by an access agreement, e.g. Charterhouse Caving Committee.

c)      GUESTS - Other cavers caving with members of the insured club on a particular trip.

(These definitions are from an article by Tim Reynolds in a C.S.C.C. Newsletter.)

There are two ways by which a member can obtain personal public liability cover.  (A) if he or she has a householder's policy covering the building and/or contents of his home, then most policies will have a public liability section included.  The premium for this is either free or a fairly nominal amount but it is advisable to read the small print of the policy as it may specifically exclude certain pastimes or sports.  If no mention is made of caving in the policy, then it will be in your own interest to obtain a written statement from either the insurance company or broker that it does in fact cover your caving activities.  (B) If a member does not have such a policy, then he may obtain a specific personal public liability insurance.  The best way to do this is to approach a good broker.  If your own broker is unable to obtain cover, Bob White will help in this matter,            as he has a great deal of experience in caving insurance and at least one member of the club has found that other brokers do not have this specialised knowledge and are not always willing to do the necessary research.

The committee has decided that Cuthbert’s leaders are especially vulnerable, as they are the designated the leader of the party and as such are actually in charge of the party in the cave.  All leaders, therefore, either from the B.E.C. or other clubs MUST have personal liability cover which must include caving and must go up to £250,000.  The Caving secretary has contacted all leaders on this matter.  The leaders will obviously appreciate that the club must cover itself by insisting on this insurance being held by all leaders, as any claim arising could very likely come back on the club and would be outside its insurance.

During the discussions on liability, a theory has been put forward causing a great deal of anxiety amongst Mendip cavers, that members of the club, by virtue of their membership, could be liable in the case of a claim for negligence against another member of the club not being met. We took this matter up personally with the Royal Insurance Group (our household insurers) and the company replied:

"The comments made by Mr. Bennett suggesting that the Bennetts could be held to be legally liable for damages resulting from the negligence of other members of the club would seem somewhat illogical, and we doubt whether any claim of this nature could ever be upheld unless one of the individuals was also personally negligent."  For the interest of 'caving wives', I would point out that our policy is held jointly, but that our particular policy does state that any member of the insured family permanently residing with him will be indemnified in the same terms as the insured, but again it is as well to read your own policy.

As the new schemes were hammered out by the C.S.C.C., the special position of the climbers in the B.E.C. was not mentioned.  This has been taken up by the club with the brokers, but at the time of writing nothing has been settled.  If we cannot receive any insurance cover at a reasonable premium, then we will take this matter up with the British Mountaineering Council, and we will attempt to obtain cover under their policy.  Members will be kept informed on this matter.

As the new premium will be due each year by the end of April, based on the up-to-date list of members, in future the rules of the club must be enforced and if subs are not paid by the end of April then membership ceases and you will have to re-apply.

To sum up, the club has insured members against claims brought by non-cavers and landowners, and the rest is up to you as an individual.  You must decide whether you are going to insure yourself against claims for your own negligence.  If, however, you are a Cuthbert’s Leader, then it is a condition of your leadership that a suitable insurance cover is held, and if you are a committee member it is very strongly recommended.

I have not covered any aspect of insurance other than public liability.  For other types of insurance that may be of interest to cavers, e.g. Holiday insurance (whilst caving abroad) Equipment insurance, Personal Accident etc., it is best to consult your broker.

I hope that this article has helped to clear the muddied waters, but if anyone requires any more general help, Dave Irwin or I will try to help and Bob White will give professional advice.

References:       B.B. No. 340 April/May 1976.
                        C.S.C.C. Newsletter, Summer 1976

Further Reading:N.C.A. Publication – Access to Caves, Summer 1976, Appendix G

Bob White, c/o R. White and Co., 1
4, Broad Street,
Wells, Somerset. BA5 2DN
Tel: Wells (0749) 75077.



Since the publication of the Annual Membership List, in the November BB, there are, as usual, a few amendments to Members addresses and we welcome: some new Members and the return of a few of the older ones who had overlooked their subs: -



Corrigan, A.

139 Stockwood Lane, Stockwood, Bristol.


Murray, K.

17 Harrington Gardens, London SW 7.


Wilton-Jones, I

Cwm Dwr, 110 Piers Avenue, Alton, Solihull, West Midlands


Wilton-Jones, A.

Cwm Dwr, 110 Piers Avenue, Alton, Solihull, West Midlands


Sandercott, J.

5 Eastcroft, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4PJ.


Shaw, c.

7 Queens Head, Walk, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts. EN10 6JS


Stafford, J.M.

Back Plaidy, By Turriff, Aberdeenshire.


Gage, C.

36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Somerset.


Gage, T.

36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Somerset 6JS


Stenner, R.

18 Stafford Place, Weston Super Mare.


Tuttlebury, S.A.

28 Beacon Close, Bounstone, Farnham, Surrey


Dibben, N.J.

97 Worth Clough, Poynton, Cheshire.


Dell, G.T.

A15 Printing, HQN1, BFPO 825.


Howell, C.

131 Sandon Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham 17


Ellis, B.M.

30 Main Road, Westonzoyland, Bridgwater.


New Members


Cavender, N.M.

Paradise House, Croscombe, Nr Wells, Somt.


Cavender, F.J.

Paradise House, Croscombe, Nr Wells, Somt


Knight, C.

54 Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey.


Hodgson, P.

11 Ockford Ridge, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 RNP


Ingleton, A.

Seymour Cottage, Hinton St Mary, Sturminster Newton Dorset.


It’s not so simple!

Some further thoughts on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet

by Wig

Since the discovery of Cuthbert’s II in 1969, the extension into Cuthbert’s III has defied all attempts - though some have been pretty weak tries - and odd thoughts about this have gone through my mind from time to time.  About 1968 I wrote an article in the B.B. listing all the known outlets from the Gour/ Lake Fault area in an attempt to encourage more interest to parties having a look for alternative routes.  If the leaders and their parties cared to travel at a more gentlemanly and more leisurely pace through the cave, they would be able to observe that there are many features that scream for an explanation and which might also give a clue to possible places for further extension.

Let me start at a point with which everyone is familiar - the main Streamway at Everest Junction. At this point, it is gravel floored and remains for the remainder of its route to Gour Hall.  Moving just upstream from Everest Junction, the stream bed is clearly seen, but as the gradient of the stream flattens to near horizontal, the gravel floor takes over.  This choking of the streamway continues as a gravel floor, to Stal Pitch.  Also clearly seen at Everest Junction is a pronounced tide mark at about fifteen feet above the stream level.

The lack of stalagmite in the streamway down to Stal Pitch is another clue that, in recent times, the passage has been choked, and this choking could have been caused by the existence of the banks of stalagmite at Stal Pitch.  Particular evidence of this is at the stooping section of he streamway upstream of the Dining Room entrance.  The source of the massive bank of stal at Stal Pitch is in the Rabbit Warren below the second stal bank and is not due to any inlet in the roof of the main streamway.  Furthermore, if one takes a look at the levels of the choking in both the main streamway and Cerberus Hall, they will be found to he almost identical.  In addition, they almost coincide with the levels of the lower parts of Everest Passage.

Ford has indicated that the cave has been choked up to the level of the top of the Wire Rift (false stal floors at upper entry point) though it is unlikely that the cave was completely choked, and there were probably large open sections such as the lower streamway from the bottom of Stal Pitch, extending down as far as the duck in Gour Rift.

This open and relatively dry section of the cave allowed stalagmitic deposits to form, particularly gours, which can be seen all along the streamway previously mentioned. Cerberus Series was probably choked at its lower levels (Rat Run, &c.) and the floor of Cerberus Hall was choked only a foot or two higher than its present level.  So if all of the floors were of a similar level (apart from secondary draining into the lower streamway beyond Stal Pitch) then the water would have done one of two things - (a) Flowed from Cerberus Hall, along the Gour Fault and out through the Pyrolusite Series (Ford) - or, (b) Disappeared through such known outlets across the fault as the Dining Room Dig or back up-cave in the Lake region, leaving the lower streamway free from running water for quite a long period of time.  Then changes took place, possibly as recently as 1926 when the large pool at the entrance area disappeared overnight or as a result of an opening at the surface (as occurred in 1936) which would let all hell loose in the Cerberus region of the cave - clearing the choke at Stal Pitch and allowing the water to pond and cause the watermark at the bottom of Everest Passage.

Subsequent undercutting at Stal Pitch would have opened the route currently in use today (to the Right of the Stal choke) and later allowed the stream to cut its way through the gravels to the current impassable route.  In achieving all this, the debris from the choke would be scattered throughout the cave to the Sump, covering the gours and only now being slowly revealed with the passage of cavers and the water flow disturbing the mud deposited there. Sewer passage, once a tremendous mud wallow is a very clean passageway now.

Returning then to my (a) above, we have looked, on several occasions for the connection between the Cerberus Hall and the Gour Hall areas.  If one looks under the gours in Gour Hall or climbs to the ledge above the Great Gour one will see solid rock, also if one climbs up the Cerberus Rift one sees that all the steps are stal covered but underneath, rock exposures can be found.  From the evidence of the survey of the cave, it appears that both Cerberus Rift and the Pyrolusite Series are quite separate inlets.

Upstream from the top of Cerberus Rift one can follow a heavily stal-ed passage for about 20ft until it becomes too tight.  This section, along the fault line, does not contain running water, the source of the stream in Cerberus Rift is from a chamber beyond the Mud Sump (on the Left at the landing by a false stal floor) and the stream emerges from the top of a steeply sloping up-dip passage which is blocked by heavy stal coating.  Holes through this stal indicate that there is a continuation of passage, as does the fairly strong draught which emerges.  The indications are that this is another inlet passage though it seems not to have any possible connection with any other known higher level passage in the cave - that is, of course, if it is a dip developed passage.

There are a couple of choked passages high above the streamway, just downstream of Plantation Junction, though whether or not these have anything to do with the Cerberus Rift extension is doubtful as they are at a much lower plane level.  On the other hand, the hole, choked with stal, above the Great Gour may well do so as this would be in the form of a lateral development along the Strike and not unknown where passages are developed along the Gour/Lake Fault.

It would, seem to be unlikely that these high level passages would breach the fault but there's no harm in looking and a search of the floor of the Cerberus area would appear to be a good bet for further extension across the fault.  What needs to be definitely proven is whether the water, ponded in the Lake Chamber area and which is flooding the entire area under Cerberus Hall and Mud Ball Chamber, has any outlet in the Lake area or does it seep through the fills and so join the stream further down the cave.

A Pryanine test was carried out a few years ago but the results were not conclusive in that the Charcoal Showed only very weak evidence of Pryanine being present in the water at Sump II and though the parties carrying the substance through the cave had been extremely careful, it is just possible that this trace (because of the weakness of the concentration) could have been caused by someone's contaminated hand or finger - and this would have been sufficient to show down at Sump II.

The bottom of the Lake is a boulder and gravel choke, is roughly at the level of the main streamway at the Dining Room and so does not rule out seepage into flowing into the level of the streamway at the bottom of Stal Pitch (Tim Large has reported seeing a seepage flowing into the passage just beyond the Gours but I had a careful look later and could not confirm this observation) as the point where the Lake flows out.

A further useful piece of information would be to determine if the Lake levels fluctuates with the weather conditions of the surface (with the time lag of a couple of weeks or so) or does it rise and fall relatively depending solely from inlet drips from the roof and the variation of the Coral Stream whichever, nowadays, seems to dry up. The fact of this stream's constancy could be due to the fact that the Drinking Pool stream at the Belfry now sinks permantly to the west of the building and the continuation of the fault (if surface depressions are any indication of such things) to continue across the fields to Nine Barrows Swallet..

It therefore seems reasonable that if the passage above Stal Pitch was choked and the current streams were flowing into the Cerberus area leaving the lower streamway free of active streams (thus allowing gour pool and stalagmite wall formations to occur on a large scale) there was probably open passage in the vicinity of the end of Gour Rift and Sump and the indications are that the stream routes we know today are elevated above the actual bedrock floor.

The 1972 digging activities at the end of Gour Rift probed, with great difficulty, about 15ft down and found well rounded sides of a pothole about 4-5ft in diameter and the impression formed at the time was that the water had run (and still does) into the Sump passage, but because of the build up of the gravel infill (from the choked streamway above Stal Pitch?) had reduced the passage to barely man sized at the Duck.  A few minutes probing to the Left of the Duck will reveal a very wide arch roof some 6 - 8ft wide.

Ford has suggested that the Bank Grille at the end of Gour Rift (he doesn't name it, merely implies a high level overflow) could well have been the way the water went. Descriptions of this passage state that it is a stal-ed inlet from which, nowadays a great stream issues in wet weather, but we need to know if the floor is completely stalagmited thereby giving a masking of the true slope of the bedrock       and creating a completely false impression of it.   It is also reported that there are minute holes in the floor and whilst no pronounced draught has been felt from these it, in this case, means very little.  The extent of the passage is said to be 150 ft (Bennett) and 200 ft (Jarrett) and any serious work on this passage will require the use of powerful hammers from the start.

The Sump appears to be top of a large stream passage but below the level of the gravel floor there are fragmented remains of gour flooring - so the gours continue.  It should be noted also that the gours by the Duck entrance in the Gour Rift, end abruptly, revealing the end section of a gravel infilling underneath, rather than the continuation of the stal flow downwards which one would have expected.  This implies that the gours once continued, roughly at the same level, beyond the point where they now end, the lower section  had been blocked off much earlier.

Now, the stream flows through Sump I and on to Sump II via an impressive rift but there’s something missing - inlet passages (with the exception of Whitsun passage, which probably links with the Dining Room Dig, and the narrow rift on the Right, opposite the Whitsun passage entrance).  All of the high level passages in the roof have been maypoled by Ray Bennett et al during 1970/71 and none of these was found to be large enough to get into for more than a few feet.  One high level passage worthy of a dig, if it is possible, is about 100ft downstream of the 10ft Waterfall, on the right-hand side, though this has the possibility of going away from the cave, as it appears to be an inlet because of the plunge pool cut-back in the gravel, which is odd as the down dip is on the Right, though again, since it appears to be midway between the dip and the strike, it is not impossible for the horizontal development to have occurred above the rift roof.  Perhaps more important is the fact that the streambed is clearly defined in the II passage from the start to the 10ft Waterfall where the passage gradually changes in direction and becomes different in character.

Immediately downstream of Sump I is a huge gravel bank, cut down on the left hand side, probably by the current stream.  How did it get there? Was the II passage choked as well for a period only to be cleared by water flowing out of the two inlets just downstream, leaving this bank high and dry.  Or, perhaps, it was the surging force of water through Sump I which left this great heap of debris.  Is Cuthbert’s II streamway in fact Cuthbert’s 1½, a name I coined immediately after the Sump was passed due to the fact that it appears to be an Oxbow albeit a long one.

So what happened to the stream?  Mud layers there are showing signs that the water flowed slowly.  This plus the fact that the lines of weakness in the roof just upstream of Sump I crosses the passage near the Sump, lead to a belief that there is just evidence that even now there may be an extension back towards the Gour Rift (a 100ft away at this point) making a way into the real Cuthbert’s II

One final comment about Sump I is that when it was being dug, in 1967, Phil Kingston described the underwater digging attempt and he said that, “the excavated passage went in for about 6 ft and turned sharply to the left.  There was a small rift feature in the roof.  Ahead was a sand barrier and beyond this open cave diveable passage was going straight on.”  When this was dug in 1969 the entire Sump had been so disturbed by the floods of 1968 that the 'way on' was solidly choked with gravel.  I've no reason to doubt this as all the other descriptions tally exactly with what we now know.

To conclude, it appears that upstream of Stal Pitch, choked water - what there was - flowed into Cerberus Series, leaving the open section of the cave beyond Stal Pitch to become Stal covered.  The water from Cerberus could have followed Dining Room Dig to Whitsun passage or gone down the choked shaft near the beginning of Dining Room Dig. Alternatively it could have (and this seems the more likely) to have flowed out near the 'U' tube - a light rift is known in the floor against the fault wall at this point.  The questions remaining are, did the water flow down the II streamway before the 1968 floods and when did the II streamway become elevated?

Digging will probably provide the answers and I recommend: -

  • Investigation of Cerberus Series
  • Dig Sump I
  • Dig Sump II
  • Investigate the Bank Grille - extremely difficult and long term.




Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

Due to circumstances beyond the control of us birds, the first 'Fifth Column' appeared in the December B.B. and not (as planned) in the November issue so, to try to get up to date for the February B. B., we decided to content ourselves with just a skim through the events of November and December.

November saw a few arrivals and departures on Mendip.  Biddle appeared for a session of piano bashing and for three weeks out of four "they 'orrible words" were heard on Mendip.  Garth put in a brief appearance and amazed everyone by saying that he was quite happy to be in Belfast - it must be quite a little News of the World he's running there!  Our Mr. N. (always in the news) turned up a week too early for a committee meeting but, whatever your profession - persistence wins, and the following week he was back again to complain about the Belfry and the amount of overbooking to non-members.

In his complaints he was supported by Bob Cross, only recently back from a I mystical' North Wales walk.  Bob, for his pains, was awarded the job of assistant to Chris B., so we can now blame both Chris and Bob.  How nice! At the same time, Martin Bishop and Widley Wobbly agreed to help John Dukes out with the engineering.

Moving rapidly on to the start of December, we come to the Shepton Buffet - a good 'do', but somewhat anti-social, because they insisted on winning their own games trophy. Still, perhaps we can excuse the B.E.C. on the grounds that a great deal of beer was spilled in the winning, and we all know the club's reluctance on such matters.  At the Hunters, preparations were under way to celebrate the 19th of the month, which was Mr. & Mrs. Ben's Ruby Wedding.  Forty years is a long time, and to prove it, the Mendipers ran a collection and presented them with their congratulations and a clock. The approach of Christmas shifted events into top gear that is, all except the Hunters Shove Ha'penny team, who arrived without Captain Richard Stevenson, Jon-Jon and Barrie.  So few were there that both Mike W and Maureen had to play.  Needless to say, Hunters didn't win that round, but they have managed a few wins since.

The Christmas Holiday was a bit confused this year, and seemed to go on for ever.  Christmas Eve had quite a gathering at the pub and visits by a few of the older members, Keith Murray and Alfie (to name but one).  Christmas Day commenced with the gift of a drink (except for Barrie) by Roger and was followed by eating by various parties which were described by recent member Zot as splinter groups.  Sunday, which we were convinced should have been Boxing Day, saw us again in the pub in various degrees of sobriety (satiety?) and later in the evening, Barrie seen to be drinking orange squash and Guinness (not, thank heavens, both at once!)            After hours saw us at the Bishops' where, for a change, we had a drink and argued until early morn.  Allie Simpson had a birthday on the Monday complete with bagpiper at the Belfry, though it seems the incohol got into his chanter a bit. The strange noise must have upset the weather, because it snowed quite heavily and got rather cold.  We survived, but it must have been hard on any brass monkeys.

To bring us up to date, brief mention of New Year’s Eve and its appalling rainy weather.  Still it didn’t seem to deter anyone fro celebrating and one or two oldies turned up, including Carol and Alan Sandall.  (No sign of Norman, though).  Congratulations to Bob White on his new daughter and perhaps to Widley Wobbly for 'naming the sprite' for his nuptials (can we blame Chris B for this?)  We haven't seen him, but we hear that Phil Kingston has taken up competition winning and has returned briefly to the U.K. as his prize.  Our commiserations to another recently rejoined member, Jen Sandercott – who lost her office in the Bristol Explosion.  1977 can surely only get better for her.


Monthly Crossword Number 71


























































































































Across (Passages)

1. A green spot? (6)
4. Found in phreatic aven (or perhaps vice versa). (4)
7. Cake somehow with fifty after tea gives the equipment. (6)
8. Suitable lodging for young caver? (4)
10. My French in a small creature produces a fossil. (8)
13. Laments about some formation for another. (8)
16. Always removing set somehow for large Cuthbert’s boulder. (4)
17. 3T somehow can hold ladder. (6)
18. Decoration from 13. (4)
19. Caver may be found this in 1 down. (6)

Down (Pitches)

1. Resting place for miners? (4)
2. Proceed slowly and imperially. (4)
3. Leave out in hand out for cave bearing rock. (8)
5. Type of solution to produce 4? (6)
6. Mendip hole associated with spring. (6)
9. Doubles ‘R’ for this in most caves. (8)
11. American Indian on board ship found in mountain regions. (6)
12. DENizen of Mendip, once. (6)
14. Hardly caving footwear. (4)
15. Shoring associated with 1 down. (4)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword



















































































Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      M. Wheadon

Members           C. Batstone, P. Christie, J. Dukes, R. Jenkins T. Large, Barry Wilton, G. Wilton-Jones.

Officers Of The Club

Honorary Secretary             M. WHEADON, 91 The Oval, Englishcoombe, Bath. Tel : BATH 713646

Honorary Treasurer             B. WILTON, ‘Valley View’, Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol. Tele : TEMPLE CLOUD 52072

Caving Secretary                TIM LARGE, 15 Kippax Avenue, Wells, Somerset

Climbing Secretary             R. JENKINS, 10 Amberley Close, Downend, Bristol.

Hut Warden                        C. BATSTONE, 8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath..

Belfry Engineer                   J. DUKES, 4 Springfield Crescent, Southampton. SO1 6LE  Tele : (0703) 774649

Tacklemaster                     G. WILTON-JONES, ‘Ilenea’, Stonefield Road. Nap Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks. Tele : (024) 024 3534

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


The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be checked in the time at his disposal.