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Thanks are due to Tony Johnson for the cover of the Xmas number; A very fine effort, Tony.


Thursday Meeting are now being held at St. Mary Redcliffe Community Centre, Guinea Street, Redcliffe Hill, in room 2.  Thus we have returned to our old meeting place.


The A.G.M. will be held in Old Market as previously announced, and NOT at Redcliffe.

Dinner tickets will be available until 22nd. Jan., and if you have any resolutions for the A.G.M. you may hand them in at any time before the start of the meeting.


Les Peters has written in and requested that a page be reserved for ‘Home’ snippets of news.  This is an excellent idea, Les, and I wish that I could have such a page each month, but the snag is that there would be precious little to go on it.  There seems to be an almost complete absence of ‘Local’ news, due, no doubt, to the fact that very little DOES happen, and those things that may be of interest are very seldom reported to me.  I am quite willing to have a bash, so come on you ‘Locals! and let me know your news items!!

Building a Belfry

by  Tony Johnson

Part 4.

The following weekend it was the mixture as before, but lo, there is a difference.  A 350cc Triumph leans against the hut and its owner is to be seen prowling around the ruins.  Mush wrangling finally evolves a way of getting the roof on by hand.  The ends of opposing sections are laid on the top of the walls with the centres held up to the correct height on poles.  People on oil drums are detailed to swipe in nails as each section passes to its correct position.  This causes great good fun with squashed fingers lying about the place as thick as sprats.  All goes well – much too well – until the last sections are all that remains - then- Calamity.  First they slide out over the walls and then when they have been fished back there seems to be a gap all round.  Who said this lot of bits made a complete hut??  However, there is a genius abroad, Angus Innes du Triumph has just passed his Lower national and is raring to go.  Before you can sing ‘The Barley Mow’ all the precious lifeline is roped into service and threaded loops the length and breath of the hut.  Crowbars are put into loops and to the strains of such as ‘Avast ye lubbers’, they are twirled until the hut is tourniqueted in a manner that wouldn’t disgrace a District Nurse.  In no time the hut pulls itself together, the windows more so, and nails are hammered home.

At this, an impromptu war dance is executed in the wide open spaces until a plaintive cry disclosed Angus still holding on to the crowbars.  Let go, Angus, and join in!  What a silly remark!!  Crash Bash! Smash! - - - - Splash!!  One is through the window, and, oh well, we were going to have a chimney there anyway, but ‘tis a pity about the bar, useful pranging iron that.

(The concluding part of this saga will be in next month’s issue.  Ed.)

It would be nice to be able to print some caving reports, but, alas, those strong, silent types who venture underground, cloak their doings in secrecy, and only vague stories reach me.


The Black Mountains

By John (Menace) Morris

In front of my cottage stretch the long ridges of the Black Mountains, without a doubt, the best ‘Hill-walking’ region in .

I intend to give you some ides of what they have to offer.  First, I will deal with the Eastern Group, of which the highest, Waun Fach (2660ft.) lies directly opposite a few miles from where I live.  This group is bounded on one side by the Usk Valley and on the other by the Wye.  At one end is the Hereford plain and the other is bounded by the sharp and shapely peak of Mynydd Troed (2010ft.) and the Brecon Valley.

There is no real rock climbing on these mountains, but one side is a scarp and extremely steep, with some immense gullies splitting it.  The rock in these gullies is not reliable, being sandstone, but under snow conditions, they can give the mountaineer something to think about.  The high tops are an immense windswept area giving wonderful views, and it is easier than one would think to get lost.

The Western Range is usually known as the Brecon Beacons and Fforest Fawr.  The highest and most sensational section contains Pen-y-Fan (2906ft.) Corn Du (2868ft.) and the very striking Cribyn (2612ft.).  The walk to there from Brecon is rather tedious, but from the Youth Hostel at Storey Arms, on the Brecon – Merthyr road is quite short and easy.

The view from the top of Pen-y-Fan is wonderful, from Bristol on one side and Cader Idris on the other.  The most fascinating part of these mountains is the great Cwm below Pen-y-Fan and the Cribyn with its great N.E. face, and the black lake of Llyb Cwm Llwch at the base of it.

The whole face is extremely steep and seamed with gullies.  There is a lot of climbing of a very high and delicate standard on this face, and under snow and ice conditions it demands rather advanced technique with ice pitons etc.  Belays in the 900ft. of climbing are conspicuous by their absence.

I would like to arrange, early this year – with the help of some of the ‘old team’, some courses for beginners in ice and snow-craft.  The best time for weather conditions is usually in Feb. and March.

One of the best recommendations that the Black Mountains can have is that they are the nearest real mountains to Bristol.  That they are real mountains there is no doubt, and they give one the impression of being twice their height.  I only hope that some of you that read this will find yourselves able to come and try these mountains and judge them for what they are worth.



DON’T FORGET to send in your Ballot forms so that they arrive by post not later than Jan. 30th or BRING them with you to the A.G.M.


Notice from the Committee

After the January Committee Meeting the 1952  Committee will be dissolved and they will only meet again in the event of an emergency.


There is, in the Amateur Photographer No. 3541, dated 19th. Nov. 1952 on page 512 et seq. a very interesting article on Cave Photography.  We too, have one up our sleeves for the next month (I hope).


Ruthless Rhymes for Callous Cavers.


Down a pitch poor Willie Stocks
Got pulverised by falling rocks.
Cavers looking down said, “Blimey,
That’ll make the rock face slimy”.

In a rift poor Bertie Bright
Got himself stuck good and tight.
One day we must go and shift
Bertie – ‘cos he blocks the rift.

Little Albert had his lot
Falling off a laddered pot.
Nothing makes us cavers madder
‘Cos we’ve got to mend the ladder.

O’er a ledge young Frances Hope
Clambered with a ten foot rope.
His disappearance makes us sure
The drop is thirty feet or more.

Diving through unknown sump
Robert hit his head a bump.
Everyone his death regrets,
He had got the cigarettes.

Basil Billings bashed his head
On a curtain – stained it red.
You’d think he’d show consideration
For such a beautiful formation.


Change of Address

Mr. and Mrs. H. Shelton, 5, Sunny Side, Clutton Hill, Clutton, Somt.
Mr. (Postle) and Mrs. (Dizzie) Tompsett, 57, Rothman Ave., Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex.

Letters to the Editor


With reference to the article in the Xmas Issue of the BB regarding the dating of Archaeological specimens, may I draw your attention to the following articles: -

‘The Dating of Cave Deposits’, Archaeological News Letter Vol. 2, No.9 Feb. 1950 Page 141.

There are also references to palynology, Varve-Clay Layer counts and Tree-ring Counts.

‘The Measurement of Radioactivity in Solution’ by George K. Sclweitzer.  Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science, Viol XXIV No. 2.  dated April 1949.

Yours faithfully
            ‘Another Scientist’


To: -

The Problem Page, Belfry Bulletin.


Dear Auntie Prudence

                                    I wrote to you before, as I was very lonesome, and you invited me to join a Wholesome Youth Club.  I have joined an Exploration Club and I do hope you can help me as I am in rather a predicament, though please don’t think I have done anything I shouldn’t ---Yet.

At this club I met a man who I do not think my mother would quite approve of.  I know he is not all that could be desired, but I trust him and I think I can reform him.

He has asked me to go caving with him, and has offered to supply all the equipment we shall need.  Do you think I should take advantage of this offer?  I am rather dubious, because on several occasions he has mentioned that we shall not need lights.

Please reply quickly before he loses interest and I am eagerly awaiting your guidance.

Young and Innocent,

Auntie Prudence replies: -


My dear ‘Y & I’

                                    I am indeed gratified that you have followed my advice in the past and am only too pleased to help you once more.  If you will send me a stamped addressed envelope I will be only too pleased to explain the best course of action privately to you.  There are certain things that all intending lady cavers should know before venturing underground, such as the application of luminous paint etc., so just send along an s.a.e. and I will send you full instructions.  My love to you dear,

Aunt Prudence.


There is STILL room for YOUR article in the BB.


R.J. Bagshaw.  Hon. Sec.  56, Ponsford Road, Bristol. 4.
T.H.Stanbury.  Hon. Editort B.B.  74, Woodleigh Grds., Bristol. 4.

Your 1953 Committee will be as follows.

R. Setterington, R. Bagshaw, D. Coase, K. Dobbs, P. Ifold, C. Coase, A. Johnson, A. Celline.

Further details will be printed next months ‘BB’.

A report of the Annual Dinner and the A.G.M. will appear in the next issue, as both these events will happen after this issue has ‘gone to press’.


The Dewar Stone Climbs, South Devon.

By ‘A Climber on Skye’

The Dewar Stone climbs (map ref. 638539) on the rough granite outcrops of Dartmoor, are situated on the right bank of the R. Plym between that river and the R. Meavy, about 10 miles N.E. of Plymouth.  The nearest road approach is at the bridge just below the stream junction, and after crossing the Plym by stepping stones or trees, a walk and a scramble upstream for a mile brings you to the main cliff about 20 yards from the water.  The whole area is completely wooded and there is a good campsite at the base of the cliffs.

The climbs on the main cliff vary from easy to D.N.I., and average about 150ft. in length, so everyone is well catered for.  Two smaller outcrops standing back behind and above the main cliff offer further climbs to more wandering types.  Climbing is in boots or rubbers, but if you intend to roam around, rubbers, while better on the rock itself, are rather a menace due to the vegetation and wet leaf mould about the place.  For non-climbers the walks up the valley will provide a good deal of interest.

Looking at the main cliffs as you approach upstream, the first climbs are on the first pinnacle on your left.  The climbs on this pinnacle all start at the edge of a 15ft. wall which is climbed without assistance of nearby trees.  (I hope).  After scrambling up a rocky ledge, there are a number of routes up the steep slab to the top of the pinnacle, which is detached from the main face.  By sliding down the opposite side you can cross over to this face; alternatively you may execute the ‘Devil’s leap’ from the pinnacle top.

There are a number of short climbs in the chimney behind this pinnacle and its base.  A climb to the left is known as Holly Tree wall; this is a poor relation of its namesake, and, like the others is never more than a good ‘diff’.  However, it leads, by climbing to the right, to a high traverse across the whole face which becomes decidedly tricky in places.  To the right of the pinnacle is a gully, Mucky by name, which higher up is quite interesting if tackled from the pinnacle climbs.

Between this gully and the main gully to the right is a buttress which gives good climbs tackled from either gully.  After gaining and climbing the arête for 40ft. you reach a small ledge.  The way on is via Morris’s Crack (the Menace, of course) in front of you, or by the more severe Gray Crack to the left.  At the top either traverse left or keep straight on to the top.  There are one or two other routes on the buttress and the side of Main Gully, to which nail marks will provide ready clues.  The climbs on this buttress are in general slightly harder than on the pinnacle.  In the Gully proper there is only the scrambling route up through the natural tunnel at the top, which should interest the cavers, perhaps, although the high traverse described earlier does cross this region.

Next to this gully is the main face proper, which produces some of the most severe climbs yet pioneered on the Dewar Stone.  The first, Central Groove, starts up a wall to the right of some large boulders.  The climb continues up the back of a steep groove for 60ft, or so, when a traverse out to the right turns and overhangs at the top of the groove.  From here the way is easier and lies straight up via a small chimney to the top.  While this climb can be classed as severe, Whitackers variant, which climbs into the central groove from the left of the boulders and then branches back to the left across a slab to another chimney is probably slightly harder.

Next, in order, come the two climbs pioneered in pre-war days by the Climbers’ Club; the Climbers’ Club Direct and Ordinary.  Since the war Johnny Morris, Pat Ifold and George Whitaker have concocted a ‘Climbers’ Club Super Direct’, which is a more horrific version of the Ordinary routes.  ‘Climbers’ Club Direct’, a severe climb, starts by a combined assault on a crack in the centre of the Main Face, which is later forsaken for a groove to the right, leading to a pitch.  After 10ft. cross to a further groove on your right, which is climbed until an overhang forces you out onto a ledge and into a crack on your left.  A little higher, a further move to the left is made across a vertical wall to climb a thin slab to the top.  The ‘Ordinary’ route, slightly less severe, starts right at the far end of the cliff up a gully where a left hand traverse brings you to the piton on the ‘Direct’ route, which is followed for 35ft. before an excursion is made to the left along a ledge returning right to an overhang.  This is turned by a chimney to the left, from where there are two routes to the top.

The ‘Super Direct Route’ (D.N.I.)   involves moving over a mantelshelf to the left from the piton and back again higher up to the ordinary route and on up the direct route.  A further excursion up a crack to the right enables you to make a delicate left hand traverse across the face of another mantelshelf on to a tottering block from which a groove and a chimney lead to the top.  This climb is definitely not to be tackled unless you are perfectly ready for it.

In conclusion, the Dewar Stone, although somewhat isolated, is in a beautiful part of the country and is a place well worth a visit, the climbs are many and varied, the rock good, though with some vegetation and the effect on climbing out above the trees as the climbs do, is a very satisfying one.

Building a Belfry

By Tony Johnson

Part 5.  (Conclusion).

People are now beginning to recognise the existence of the new edifice.  The approach of summer leads to a new felt roof.  Here, a warning; do not sweep it over the eaves as we did, as this gives the same effect as a hat with no rear brim does on a wet day, the nether regions get soaked from above.  The numerous accidents that occur at this time are solved by a flight of doorsteps a la Postle Tompsett, which defied our best intentions to break them.  All this merry tinkling and raucous Scotch shouts announce the fitting of the windows, which noise wakes our venerable Hut Warden who, struggling out from a pile of plans and designs, give vent to the puzzling statement that he has had it and that he knows what to do with all the other plans.  To drive this home he lays the first batten, and the inside of the hut changes, as in a transformation scene, to a series of cages.  Whilst this is being done Harry Stanbury is having great fun with coils of wire ‘Wring the Place’ – more like entwining it, I should say.  Anyway, the number of lining board nails put through the wires later on should give a strong job.  These lining boards are a bit of a problem, but, after much thought the B.E.C. devise a means of installing them on car roofs without the necessity of a pilot’s licence, and after a few months thrutch by the jigsaw puzzle experts, the thing is decently clothed.

But wait, the scientific horrors have not been asleep, quite.  Bunks and the welding kit provide fun and frolic, and the generator’s efficiency goes way over 10 p.c. by using it to drill holes as well as produce electricity and hot water.  Numerous brightly coloured tins are by this time appearing and Henry Shelton et femme blithely tell us we are going to paint the thing.  How, if you have never painted lining board, don’t!  Each piece has its own gremlin that washes off the paint as you put it on, and until they are sized up no colour remains.  Thus, after a very decent interval, boys and girls are installed in their own inviolate castles instead of on the floor to the discomfort of those nearest the floor.

Stagnation now sets in with a vengeance, and all the frenzied appeals of your Hon. Scribe pass unnoticed except for the odd half brick.  Anyway in desperation he decided to remove the Mendip Weather from the front door, and the porch so concocted was intended as an example to others.  Have you ever tried to set an example to the B.E.C.?  Don’t.  They just say ‘D--- good show’ and press on regardless.

A final last word, for are nearly at the present day (Thank goodness).  Major components having been donated by persons unknown, the kitchen has at last been evolved as an entity.  After a few weeks’ operation it appears ideal for two people to operate together but hopeless if a number of awkward bods insist in cooking their horrible grub at the same time.  Still, at present we are searching far and wide to start the whole process again by fitting extra sections to accommodate our expanding population.  The results of this will be expounded in a decade or so.

P.S. If anyone has a book on making concrete, please pass it on to our Hut Warden and Mervyn Hannan.  They tried to make a concrete stove base, and for reasons that are not quite plain, finished up with chippings that were finer than before they added the cement.

Tony Johnson

POEM or You’ve had your Wordsworth.

By Jill Rollason.

I wandered westwards, full of care,
Fearing a caving trip was due,
When all at once I was aware
Of swarms of mucky cavers, who
With scruffy hair, all dark with mould,
Were muttering curses in the cold.

As many as the crocks that stand
And stiffen in some iron-works,
They shuddered as their fervour waned,
And screwed their mouths in groans and smirks:
Full twenty I saw with one look,
Pushing each other in the brook.

They all were loud in wrath, but some
Outdid the loquacious mob in word
(A caver could not but be glum
To see himself caught in the herd).

I gazed and gazed – but little thought
What joy the scene to me had brought:
For oft when in my bunk I doze
And dream of caves that should be done,
I think of Jones, of Sett, and Coase,
(Who totter down them one by one),
And when my heart with praises fills
For those who graunch beneath the hills.


You Never Know


As civilisation slowly gropes its way into the more remote corners of the Belfry, it will probably be decided to issue a little booklet to new members to help them settle in.  Let us therefore peer into the future and take a look at some of the contents of: -


Available from any club official (price 3d) or from Mr. Bagshaw. (price 1/6).


The Club runs regular Helicopter services from Wells and Bristol to the Belfry.  All enquiries should be addresses to the Chief Pilot (Mr. Johnson).   Members wishing to alight at intermediate stops should apply to the Parachute Officer (Mr. Rice).  Large parties should use the Bristol Bus routes which run from all major towns to the Belfry.


On arrival at the Belfry, all members should contact the Hut Warden (R.A. Setterington) whose office is in the administrative block.  To reach this from the entrance proceed down Eastwater Avenue past the Helicopter Park and the ornamental garden and take the first turning on the left after passing the statue of Dan Hasell.

Should the Hut Warden not be available, his secretary should be consulted.  If, as will usually be the case, she is also not available, the Assistant Hut Warden should be contacted.

Parties of 100 or more are asked to book in advance, as the sudden arrival of parties of this size throws an unfair burden on the domestic staff.


All requests and complaints should be addresses to the Chief Catering Officer (Mr. Jones).  Breakfast will be served in bed unless otherwise ordered.  Members are requested not to detain the maids bringing early morning tea, as others are waiting for this.

Members are advised to arrive promptly for dinner to avoid missing the floor show, after which there is dancing to the music of Alfie Collins and his Haphazard Harmony.


Members are reminded that care should be taken when bathing in Mineries Pool as the marble steps and surround become slippery when wet.

Members are requested not to use the lifts for journeys of less than four floors, as the lifts place a heavy load on the main generating station, causing the Chief Electrical Engineer (Mr. Lucy) much inconvenience.

Finally, members are asked not to throw their cigar butts on the carpets as this does damage the pile.


Further Additions to the Club Library

W.C.C. Journal No. 38, Feb. 1953.

C.R.G.  Publication No. 4.  A brief Glossary of Welsh Topographic Names for Walkers and Climbers, by Arthur Hill.

‘The Cave Book’, has been lent to the Library by C. Falshaw.

J. Ifold.

Query Corner???????

Who told the Hut Warden, before he went climbing, that it was wet in Tryo’s Crack, and that he would have to wear gum-boots?

Who told Jack Waddon that if he went number two to the Hut Warden he would have time to examine the rock?

Who told Sago that the most economical way to run a Cammy Velo is to have it towed behind Pat Brazier’s Bantam?

Note.  The Editor cannot be held responsible for any opinions expressed in articles other than those under his name, and any opinion expressed in the BB is not necessarily that of the Committee, but only of that member who submits it.

Climbing Section.

Will those interested in a trip to North Wales at Easter, please contact Pat Ifold as soon as possible.

Committee News.

M. Jones has been forced to resign from the Committee.  He says that this is due to ‘Homework’, but there seems to be some doubt amongst members as to what ‘form’ this homework takes.  Never mind, Mike, we wish you thee best of luck with her - sorry, It! Mike will, however, still continue with the sale of helmets, lights, etc.

R. Bennett has been co-opted to the committee in Mike’s place, and any binds regarding tackle or equipment should be directed at him.

The Hon. Sec. and Assist. Ditto have literally turned the first sod in the construction of the new end for the belfry.

News Flash.

It is understood from a usually reliable source that on March 1st. the Hon. Treasurer and his assistant were not levelling the site for the Belfry Extension, but digging for a half-penny, which, according to a rumour started by Tony J. had been dropped near the end of the Belfry.


Is it true that a certain club member is trying to grow a moustache, or is it that a pair of house martins have chosen an unusual prominence under which to build their nest?

 ‘Bird Watcher’.

How did Sago get mud inside his pants and gumboots?


Is it true that certain members intend to grow fresh vegetables on the site of the old detailer?


How to be a Good Member of the Club.

1.                   Do not come to the meetings.

2.                   But if you do, come late.

3.                   If the weather does not suit you, do not think of coming.

4.                   If you do attend a meeting, find fault with the work of the officers and the other members.

5.                   Never accept an office, as it is easier to criticise than to do thins.

6.                   Never the less, get sore if you are not appointed on a Committee, but if you are, don’t attend the Committee meetings.

7.                   If asked by the chairman to give your opinion regarding some important matter, tell him you have nothing to say.  After the meeting tell everyone how things ought to be done.

8.                   Do nothing more than is absolutely necessary, but when other members roll up their sleeves and willingly and unselfishly use their ability to help matters along, howl that the Club is being run by a clique.

9.                   Hold back your subs. as long as possible or do not pay at all.

10.               Do not bother about getting new members.  Let the Sec. do it.

11.               When a Dinner is given, tell everyone that money is being wasted on blowouts which make a big noise and accomplish nothing.

12.               When no Dinners are given, say the Club is dead and needs a tin can tied to it.

13.               If asked to sit at the Committee table, modestly refuse.

14.               If you are not asked: resign from the Club.

15.               Do not tell the Club how it can help you, but if it doesn’t, resign.


As Editor of the BB I should like to print some of the caving songs that are familiar to those of us that (a , cave; (b, used to cave; or (c, hope to cave.  There are quite a number of these, some of which are more or less familiar to ALL, whilst others are local and are only heard when visits are made to other areas.  I believe that Tony J. was once making a collection of such songs, and if he succeeded I shou1d be grateful if he would step into the breach and help me.  At all times source references etc. will be given and also, if possible details of the tune???? to which they should be sung.  I do NOT, repeat, NOT want anything of the type that has reached immortality in ‘Theo-Cons’.

Stanley Gee, Hon. Sec. of the Orpheus caving Club, Northern Group, has started the ball rolling with:-

If it’s Caving you’ll Go.

based on the Climbing Song ‘All for the want of a Nail’, and sung to the tune of "'Abdul, Abulbul Amir’.

Now if it’s Caving you’ll go
There’s a tale you should know
A tale that will turn you quite pale,
For ere to this night he remembers the fright
When his light was beginning to fail.

Now brave boy I knew
Did like most cavers do;
He ventured below in a gale,
But your future ain’t bright
When you look on your light
And find it's beginning to fail.

There was scarcely a grip
For his small finger tip,
And the limestone was wet under nail;
Just a pumping machine
Where his heart should have been
And a light that’s beginning to fail.

He went mad and then madder
On twisting rope ladder
With a 100 foot drop for a sail;
He called it a swine
When he swung on lifeline
And his light was beginning to fail.

At a thousand feet down
Old Satan looked round,
‘There’ll soon be a helmet for sale’,
With just ten feet to go
To the rock bed below
But a light’s beginning to fail.

Then he took to the ground
And he took a look round,
And the thought of it made him go pale.
A thousand feet down
Solid rock all round
And a light that’s beginning to fail.

But this brave boy pulled through
Like all cavers do,
And this is the end of his tale,
But ere to this night
He remembers his fright
When his light was beginning to fail.

As a result of this epic Mike Jones can expect to be inundated with requests for help for lamps, lights, candles, carbide, torches, batteries and glow-worms.


Are you tired of the beautiful caves of mendip?


Holes to let within easy reach of bus route, garage and local hostelry.

Terms: - 1/- per hour per hole.  With tools 2/-.


We have only a limited number at present, but a further supply is expected very soon.





T.H. STANBURY, 48, Novers Park Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


The BB is in urgent need of short articles.  There are a number very fine long articles ‘on the shelf’, but those essential short ones are in short supply.  Caving or climbing reports; news of members; poems; short scientific jottings; lists of caving trips; ditto, climbing, are all very acceptable.

I regret that once again I have had to postpone the insertion of Pongo’s article on Colour Photography, but hope to include it next month.  I also regret that I was not able to include the A.G.M. Appendix last month.  As yet the report is still not to hand and I can only repeat my promise of last month: I will print it as soon as I receive it and will include it in the first available BB.

Do you like the BB?  Perhaps you don’t read it as you have found it dull or that your own particular interest isn’t catered for in the way you desire.  Not being a thought reader, I regret that it is impossible to help you UNLESS you write and tell me.  The BB is published for the Club members and they are entitled the maximum amount of interest.  Therefore write to me and tell me what you would like, and, providing I can induce someone to churn them out, you will have what you like, always remembering, too, that many other articles to be printed for lots more members.  Why not try your hand at writing?  There is always room for your article provided that it isn’t libellous, pornographic or otherwise objectionable.  Just jot down your experiences on a bit of paper and send ‘em in, I’ll be only too pleased to sort them out for publication.



I must thank ‘Terribly Frustrated’ for her sweet little letter and will reply to it soon.

Auntie Prudence.

(Ed.’s note; This Auntie Prudence Lark is going to lead to some ‘orrible complications ere long, but She is such a co-operative old lady that I haven’t the heart to chop her. Yet!!)


Is Archaeology dead as far as the B.E.C. is concerned?  Several persons have recently asked if there was any active archaeological work going forward; Well, Is there?  If not why not?  We have in our midst a very prominent archaeologist and a site literally on our doorstep.


Rumours of men with red sand in their hair are spreading.  The F.B.I. are interested in all things red.  Why not a story now that it is no longer a secret?


A.G.M. & Dinner 1953

If a report is received in time it will be included as an Appendix to this issue.  If not, it will be included with the April B.B.


The following books have recently been added to the Library: -

Wessex Cave Club Journal Dec. 1952.
Devon Speleeo Socy. Newsletter No. 30.
British Caver Vol. 23.

Ted Mason has presented the following: -

Archaeological Excavations at Ogof-yr-Esgyrn by B.J. & D. Mason.

Report on Human Remains and Material recovered from the River Axe in the Great Cave of Wookey Hole during Diving operations from October 1947 to January 1949.

Thanks very mush Ted! J.I.

About Bats

By J. Ifold.

Bats are flying mammals of the order Chiroptera.  There are twelve known different species of bats in this country, but less is known about them than any other of our wild mammals; there is a large field of discovery open to anyone who is interested in finding out more about these little creatures.

I am fortunate in having a colony of long-eared bats in the roof of my house; they are in my opinion, the prettiest of all the British bats.  They are greyish brown in colour, and have a wing span of about nine inches.  Their ears, as their name implies, are very long, almost as long as their body, with a small inner ear, called the Tragus, tucked inside.  Their food is mainly flies, moths and other insects, and (Cavers please note) they are the heaviest drinkers of all our bats.

With the help the help of another member of the club I have, since June 1951, marked 19 males, 17 females and 7 babies.  I have had 20 re-finds, making the total handled 63.  A point of interest concerning baby bats is that in 1951 I found a nursing colony on August 22nd.  In 1952 I again found a nursing colony, but this time over a month earlier, on July 20th.  I wonder if anyone else studying bats has found a similar difference in the breeding times in two years?

Anyone who would like to read more about bats, can find plenty of Literature on the subject.  Here are a few examples: -

‘British Bats’ by Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald.

Transactions of the Cave research Group Vol.2.  No. 1.

Cave Science No. 7.

The Devon Speleo. Newsletters often contain articles on bats by J. & W. Hooper.

J. Ifold.

Important Notice to intending Contributors

Articles for publication in the B.B. and all correspondence in connection with the editorial since of the newsletter should be sent to: -

T.H. Stanbury, Hon. Editor.  48, Novers Park Road, Bristol. 4.

I have now moved from 74, Woodleigh Gardens, Whitchurch, and any mail sent to that address may be subject to considerable delay.

Radiocarbon (C14) Dating.

By Yet Another Scientist.

I was very pleased to see in the December and January editions of the B.B. that there are at least two people in the B.E.C. who have interest in matters other than motor-bikes and holes-in-the-ground.  I refer of course to ‘Scientist’s’ article on laboratory dating of radio-active organic archaeological remains, and to ‘Another Scientist’s’ informative bibliography.  It is in order to smooth out a few of the bumps left by S. and A.S., and also to instil interest into other BECites that the following notes have been compiled.

Incidentally, S omitted to mention that the usual way of determining the amount of C14 left in a sample is by measuring the radiation in a delicate counting instrument, and the longer the sample remains under the counter, the more accurate the result will be.

It may well be asked, if we have such a method of dating, why so little is apparently known about dating the Prehistoric Britain.  Apart from the fact that is still virtually an American ‘weapon’, the chief reason would appear to be the difficulty in obtaining suitable samples and conveying them in an uncontaminated state to the laboratory.  The sites in this country where organic material survives, other than bone (which is very liable to contamination when in an unburnt state) and charcoal, are very rare, and when such material is discovered it is obviously of prime importance to preserve it in its physical state.  The preservative (e.g. Poly-vinyl Acetate in Toluol) naturally falsifies any reading taken.  Again, supposing the relic has been packed in cotton-wool or wood-shavings, microscopic particles of these materials may adhere to it and again give a false reading due to their own radio-active discharges.

It should also be quite obvious that this method of dating is more useful in assigning approximate dates to early cultures than giving accurate ones to our later periods which in many cases overlap each other.  Actually, precise dates are not of great importance in Archaeology, the first questions to be answered on my site are: - Period and Culture.  For example - one of the greatest mysteries of British Prehistory, Silbury Hill in Wilts, yielded only organic remains, and measurement of their C14 decay would have given us its date within a few years, but we still would have been no wiser than we are today.  On the other hand, had but one piece of Beaker pottery been discovered in the centre, we could say with certainty that it was contemporaneous with the adjacent temple of Avebury itself.

In conclusion I should like to add the following to A.S.’s bibliography: -

1.                   ‘Dating the Past’ Prof. Zenner.

2.                   ‘American Antiquity’ Vol. 17 No. Pt.2.

3.                   ‘Antiquity’ No. 99 (Sept. ’51) P.145.

4.                   ‘Archaeological dating by Radio-active Carbon’ Prof. Zeuner (Science Progress April ’51 p. 225138).

Yet Another Scientist.


by P.A.E. Stewart.

I have been told about a cave or caves near Luton, presumably in chalk at the village of Totternhoe on O.S. 1” Pop. No. 147.  Grid Ref.  E498 N 222.

They were broken into prior to the 1914-1918 war and were considered very fine.  During the war (1st.) it was thought that spies would hide in them so they were blocked up and the entrance was lost.  However I am enquiring about them to see what can be done.


There is also a story that these caves come out of Dunstable Priory (about 3 miles away) but that, I think is the usual twaddle.  I am expecting to come across the old chestnut about a dog being lost down there and either appearing in the Tigers! den at Whipsnade, or under the counter of some of the local tobacco shops!!

There is also a story about a cave under Church at West Wycombe.  You are charged a nominal sum and are given a candle.  It used to be the haunt of Satanists and has been done up as they used it – or something like that.  I haven’t checked it yet.  All the folks hereabouts have their eyes on the stars.  It’s a bit difficult to get them interested in anything earthy like spelunkering.  The nearest approach is a bod who has a chunk of obsidian his desk.  It looks like a profile of Tryfan without ‘Adam and Eve’.  He gets his desk light to cast odd shadows and blows smoke around it.  Ah me, these mad mountaineers.  I just get a piece of red plasticine and think of the graunches in Lamb Leer.

If anyone has any information on these caves – Totternhoe and West Wycombe, or any other caves in the Chilterns, I would be very pleased to hear from them!


                        (And so would I! Ed.)

The Immortal Statement

By K.C. Dobbs.

Now I’ve heard it said in many places
Where Cavers pause to air their graces.
In pots; in slots; on diving ops;
In caves; near graves; on endless drops;
On bikes; in cars; on mountain hikes;
On rafts (by Jones); on three wheeled trikes#.
In sumps and squeezes, on manual pumps,
And many other lousy dumps.
On dangling ropes; on ladder pitches,
Or by Hon. Treas. who holds our riches.
Go where the Belfry Binder’s© Cooked,
By detailer, where no one looks,
Go in any, every place
Wherein a caver shows his face,
And there and the you’ll hear it said


# For further information see Dan Hasell.

© For the new and uninitiated: -

‘Binder’ ---- a form of stew, eaten during the ‘Olden Days’.  Meat (including at least one dead mouse or frog spawn, according to season.  Ed.) 15 p.c.; Soap 4 p.c., unidentified substance approx. 9 p.c.; Washing up water  to 100 p.c.


Owing to lack of space the article on Cave photography in Colour is held over to next month.


Here is an extract from a letter recently received from Johnny (Menace) Morris: -

 ‘We will always be glad to see any members of the Club when they are in , (but not ‘en masse’).  If there are only two at a time they are welcome to spend the night (we haven’t room for any more).  We have also a very fine pub in the village, by the way’.

Johnny’s address, by the way, is: -

J.V. Morris, The Green, Three Cocks, Brecon.


The Editor would like once more to thank all those who have contributed so nobly to the B.B. in the past.  He is building up a small balance of excellent articles for future issues, but all the same still urgently needs more.  News of caving trips, climbing ditto, anything that interests you interests the club, and unless it is literally unprintable it will arrive in the BB at the appropriate time.





When it doesn’t arrive don’t bind about the organisation, but make sure that (a. we have your current address, and (b.  your sub., is paid).


Here are some ‘Official’ addresses for you: -

R. J. Bagshaw, Hon. Sec. & Hon, Treas,
56, Ponsford Road, Bristol. 4.

K. C. Dobbs, Assist. Hon. Sec. B.B, Circulation and printing,
55. Broadfield Road, Bristol. 4.

D. Coase, Caving Sec., Batsford, Lower Failand, Bristol. 8.

A. Collins, Assist, Caving Sec,

27, Gordon Road, Clifton, Bristol.

P. Ifold, Climbing Sec, and Assistant Librarian,

5. Sydney Place Stapleton Road, Bristol. 5.

R. Setterington, Hut Warden,

21, Priorswood Road, Taunton, Somt,

A, Johnson, Belfry Engineer,

46, The Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol.

C. Coase, Lady Representative,

Address as D. Coase.

M, Jones is co-opted to Committee and will be Tackle Officer.

12, Milton Crescent, Horfield, Bristol.7.

J. Ifold, Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol.


You, the members of the B.E.C. have voted us, the Committee, in for this year.  But without your co-operation we cannot make this Club a real success.  If you have any suggestions or binds, get in touch with the appropriate committee member, or write to the Hon. Sec., so that the matter can be brought up at the next committee meeting.


Colour Photography in Caves

By R.M. (Pongo) Wallis.

Some time ago an article appeared in ‘B.B.’ on the subject of cave photography.  This was intended mainly for the beginner, and so dealt with ordinary black and white photography.  Colour photography is very much more difficult and it would be foolish to experiment with it until one can more or less guarantee a good result in black and white, but it is, to my mind, very much more worth while.  A good monochrome picture can be very good but a colour one is in a different street.

Unfortunately, is more expensive and it does not do to bang off a picture on the least provocation, which is probably a good thing.  There are quite a number of colour films on the market these days but none are cheap.  The least expensive size is of course the 35mm. Kodachrome and Ilford Colour processes are available for these’ miniature workers at 24/1 and 18/6 for 20 exposures respectively.  These are processed by the makers without extra charge directly into transparencies which can be viewed directly or projected.  In the same size there is also ‘Agfacolor’ and ‘Pakolor’ at about the same price, but these are processed (at an extra charge) to a colour negative from which a colour print can be made.  These are gain expensive and these two processes are not for those with shallow purses.  In larger sizes ‘Agfacolor’ and ‘Pakolor’ are again available and also ‘Kultichrome’ and ‘Dufaycolor’ which give transparencies, but not ‘Kodachrome’ or ‘Ilford Colour’ which are only available in the 35mm. size.  The most suitable film in the larger sizes is probably’ Ektachrome’ (which again gives transparencies) but is normally only available as a cut film.  I have used Dufacolor (though without much success) but my main experience has been with Kodachrome and Ilford Colour.  The former is available in a version suitable for artificial light, while the latter, at present, is not, and a correcting filter must be used with it which makes is very slow indeed.  My own experience indicates that Kodachrome is worth the extra money and in any case if all the 20 exposures are taken underground its extra speed will certainly save the 6/1 by using less flash.

The general principles involved as to viewpoints, etc., are just the same as in monochrome.  General views do not seem to be very effective and frequently appear to be lacking in colour.  Closer shots of formations etc. at distances from 3 to 20 feet usually result in a much more effective picture.  It is not necessary to look for colour and even scenes in which there seem very little the photograph often shows that there is in fact, a good deal.

The main trouble likely to be encountered is in estimating the exposure which needs to be very accurate to get the best results.  A variation of half a stop completely alters the result and a greater variation than this will give a worthless picture.  (In monochrome a variation of a whole stop either way will be barely detectable).  Guessing the exposure will very seldom be sufficiently good and even with the most experienced worker is sure to result in some wasted frames.  A set of exposure tables or a simple calculator must be considered essential.  These are simple to make once one knows some accurate figures to start from.  The figures that follow have been proved accurate by practical experience and ca be relied on.  If followed implicitly they will give exposures within the plus or minus half-stop range.  They cannot do better than this as the photographer’s judgement must still play a certain part.  Kodachrome 351 (for ARTIFICIAL LIGHT) AT 2 ALTHOUGH A RATING OF 3 OR 4 IS BETTER.  The exposures given are for Kodachrome; for Ilford Colour they should be increased 3 or 4 times.  In an average cave location with the subject at 12 feet from the flash, use an aperture of f5.6 with a flash of 40 grains of Johnson’s No. 2 powder.  In dark chambers use one stop larger and in very light ones, one stop smaller.  When the distance is doubled or halved use TWO stops larger or smaller.

From these figures a complete calculator or set of tables can be made covering any distance, size of flash etc. the only matter left to the photographer’s judgement is whether the situation is light, dark or average.  This is admittedly not always easy, but if in doubt say ‘average’ and you will be not far wrong.  One should, in fact, think twice before using ‘light’ as except in close-ups or very small well formationed chambers this seldom applies.  Similarly, ‘dark’ should be reserved for very large chamber and places where the walls are mainly unreflecting mud.

Colour film is ‘balanced’ for the type of lighting for which it is to be used.  Artificial light film is intended for ‘photoflood’ lamps by flashpowder gives very good results and the difference in colour rendering due to the flash is not usually noticeable.  Magnesium ribbon should not be used, however, as it usually imparts a blue tinge to everything.  Ordinary flash-bulbs are satisfactory though expensive, but for the best results the ‘yellow-dipped’ variety should be used.  I have not tried using uncorrected Day-light type film, but as the artificial light variety gives good results the former is unlikely to do so.

The fact that colour fill requires accurate exposure means that it will not handle satisfactorily subject with a wide range of lighting contrast.  Accordingly the flash should normally be placed as near the camera as possible in order to avoid shadows.  In places where this is not possible and particularly where the subject matter is at a wide range of distances from the camera, extra flashes should be used to ‘fill in’ the less brightly lit areas.  This technique requires a fair amount of experience to be completely successful but at its best it will give far better pictures of complicated subjects than can be obtained with a single flash.  Note that all the flashes need not be fired simultaneously, but it is best not to include a figure in the picture as the person may find difficulty in staying quite still during the period between the firing of the flashes.  Back-lit subjects can be taken and sometimes are extremely effective but a small fill-in flash is almost always needed as well if a good picture is to result.  As a general rule, this type of lighting requires one stop larger than with plain frontal lighting.  Obviously, the actual flash itself must be hidden from the camera behind a rock or other suitable obstruction.

With regard to the type of camera to use, a box or other cheap one is definitely unsuitable as the lens is not intended for colour work.  The majority of present day cameras however, have colour corrected lenses and are an advantage, as the same result can be achieved with a reasonable quantity of flash.  100 grains need not be considered excessive in colour work and with this limit an f6.3 lens will cope with most subjects up to say 15 or 20 feet.  A much larger lens than this is really needed for the big chambers and a miniature explosion would be needed to get an exposure in the gloom.  There are plenty of cameras, however, between about £15 and $25 with lenses of about f3.5 which will be entirely satisfactory.

I do hope that you will have a shot at what I think is the most interesting part of caving.  If you do you will also become a member of what is a very exclusive band as there are very few who take underground pictures in colour.  If you feel that it is too expensive, bear in mind that once you have bought the film your only further expense is, normally, only the processing charge, and with Kodachrome and Ilford Colour this is included.  In the 35mm size at least the cost is about 1/- per exposure.  With black and white the pictures in the same size the negative is about 1½d. and the smallest enlargement, even if you make it yourself is 2d., while with larger ones or those made professionally the cost is much more, so that if you are often give prints to your friends you may even find that it is cheaper to turn to colour!


Archaeological Notice.

It has recently been suggested that a number of club trips be devoted to sites of great Archaeological interest such as Avebury (Wilts), Maiden Castle (Dorset) etc.  Will anyone interested please contact Keith. Gardner, 22 Wesley Hill, Kingswood, Bristol.  The Maiden Castle trip would be run in conjunction with a coach party from Clevedon Archaeological Society and seat will be reserved for those wishing to travel this way.

Also if anyone is interested in spending part of their holidays excavating, or if they would merely like to visit sites in their holiday area, the Mason-Gardner Archaeological Bureau will be glad to assist.

I hope that this will help to satisfy Archeaocurious but would add that if less noms-de-plume were used, we might get to know who really is interested in getting things going.


Mendip Rescue Organisation

The Annual Meeting of the Mendip Rescue Organisation was held at Bristol University on Sunday March 15th.  At this meeting concern was expressed about the availability of information re, digs in progress or new discoveries.  It was stressed that however efficient the organisation was, the difficulties of effecting a speedy rescue could be considerable due to possible lack of cooperation by cavers themselves.  All Clubs were asked to stress to members that it is essential that someone must know the whereabouts of persons underground, especially those engaged on ‘New’ work.  In the ordinary way, the usual message left at the Belfry or other HQ, or with those at home is of course sufficient, but work on a new series in a known cave or a dig ‘somewhere on Mendip’ would leave the Rescue Wardens with little or no information to work on.  It was suggested that members could co-operate by following one of the courses of action set out below, always remembering to those to whom it is divulged.

a.         Have someone that knows intimately the dig etc., on the surface so that in the event of trouble the Warden and his team could be led direct to the incident.

b.         Inform the Hon. Sec., of what is happening do that he can describe your probable whereabouts to the Warden.

c.         Deposit a sealed envelope (if you don’t trust your Sec.!) with your Hon. Sec., to be opened in an emergency, and. TELL someone that you have done so.

d.         Report to a Warden of your choice when you go underground and also when you return.

T.H. Stanbury
Warden, M.R.O.


In case any member is unfamiliar with the procedure to be followed to call out the M.R.O. it is set out below.


1.                   The person having knowledge of the accident will go to the nearest telephone and ring the Police (Wells Police Tel. is Wells 2197).

2.                   The Police will require the following information:-

a.       Name and address of caller.

b.       Number and situation of telephone.

c.       Nature of accident.

d.       Name of cave.

e.       Position of accident in cave.  (if known).

f.         Number of persons in party.

g.       Whether experienced cavers.

3.                   The informant will remain at the telephone for further instructions.


There are a number of back numbers of the BB available at a cost of 1½. Each from Caxton at 55 Broadfield Road.


I regret that owing to an oversight on my part, I did not include the Hon. Librarian on the list of official in BB67.  ‘Hon. Librarian’ of course, should have been placed after John Ifold’s name on page 4.


I have been told that a certain hole hear the Belfry is about to ‘go’.




The second circular relating to the International Congress in Paris has been received.  The first part on the Convention will take place in Paris from 7th to 11th Sept.  From 13th to 19th Sept. there is a tour to the Limestone areas of the Causses: from 20th to 26th Sept. there is a tour a. of the Pyrenees or b. of the French Alps.



The figures below are of course only provisional and are based on those given in the circular.


Return fare to Paris                                                         £10/ - /-
Accommodation, etc. in Paris                                          £  8/10/-
Membership fee                                                              £  5/ 5/-
Causses Excursion                             £22 to                   £27/ -/-
Alpine or Pyrenean ditto                      £16 to                   £22/ -/-

Total cost therefore will be between £59/ -/ - and £70/ -/ -

Would all those interested please get in touch with the Hon. Sec.  Permits for the extra Cash over and above the recently increased basic allowance should be made to the appropriate authority well in advance of Conference time.



T.H. Stanbury Hon. Editor, 48, Novers Park Road, Bristol. 4.