Local Services

Search Our Site

Bristol Exploration Club Climbing Section HQ North

We are very pleased to announce that the club has a Hut in North Wales

c/o Mrs Jones, Blaenant Farm, Idwal, Nr, Bethesda, Carnarvonshire, North Wales.

The Hut is situated about half a mile off the main road from Idwal. Turn down a track passing the Idwal Cottage Youth Hostel, past a Chapel and carry on down the valley until you come to the first farm off the track almost a the bottom of the valley, Blaenant Farm. The hut, a stone building, is part of the outhouses belonging to the farm. A concrete floor has been laid and the place is very dry, snug and warm. The place is locked and the key must be obtained from the farm. One double bed and several bunks have been installed - a table chairs, cooking utensils, lighting, primus and climbing gear, etc. are kept in the hut.

Hut Rules

1                     All members arriving after 2100 hours must write to Mrs Jones and arrange for the key to be left out.

2                     A charge of l/6 a night per person is paid for the use of the Club N. Wales Hut.
( 1/- to the farmer, 6d/ to the Club).

3                     The Club hut is only large enough for six persons - any overflow can stay in the Farm itself or the barn. Any women staying at the farm must sleep in the farmhouse only.

4                     Members must be careful about noise after 2100 hours- (Farmers go to bed early).

5                     Club members must prove that they are members of the Bristol Exploration Club to enable them to gain admittance to the Hut. (n,b, This is to safeguard the members’ own interests).

6                     Club Members are asked to sign the Log Book and report on their climbing trips for record purposes.

7                     If members use club equipment, it must be left as it is found.

8                     It is essential that the hut is left clean It is not our property.

9                     Care must b e exercised with personal kit - i.e. ropes, slings, books etc. left in the hut.

10                 Any person requiring to use the Club N. Wales Hut must first contact the Hon. Sec. Climbing Section so that the arrangements can be made. This is important.

Climbing Section Reports

A Snow Ridge Climb,
Y-Gribbin; Glyder Fawr: Clogwyn Du; Devil’s Kitchen,
J.R, Crabtree, R.W.G. Cantle, Sunday 17th Dec 1950,

Leaving the Hut at 10:45 on Sunday, we tramped through the snow up past Idwal cottage and then up through Cwm Idwal. Scrambling across snow-covered boulders we arrived at Y Gribbin.

Looking across Llyn Idwal snow plumes were blowing off Y-Garn giving the whole scene a truly Alpine appearance, whilst the upper rocks gleams with Verglas and ice. We climbed Little Gully without much effort, clearing the holds with our only ice axe. We then trudged up across the ridge, steering a fairly wide course around many snow cornices which we met in our path. The view from here was magnificent and looking out across the whole of North Wales everywhere was snow. Tryfan looked awe inspiring in its mantle of ice and snow and the ridge looked externally sharp.

From Y-Gribbin we traversed round to Glyder Fawr where we encountered an extremely fierce blizzard.  Visibility was so bad that we almost passed unseen another party coming along the ridge in the opposite direction.  Courtesies were exchanged, and we carried on to the summit of Glyder Fawr.  We had a light snack, a few minutes breather and a pipe of tobacco.  With this necessary refreshment we pressed on round over Clogwyn Du and eventually glissading and sliding, we arrived at Twll Du (The Devil’s Kitchen) and in a cloud of snow-dust we roared down to Lyn Idwal, eventually arriving at the floor of the Gribbin.

Looking at our watches we observed that we had then only taken an hour from the summit of the Fawr.  We arrived back at the hut and after a hot meal and a steaming cup of coffee, the day was declared a great success, in fact, one of the finest ridge walks experienced, with the scenery unsurpassing in its beauty.

Christmas 1950 – Connistion – Lake District

A very enjoyable Christmas was spent in the Lakes, where a party of eight members stayed at Holly How Youth Hostel.  The weather, although extremely cold, was excellent, and activities were numerous.

Attending: - J.R. Crabtree; R.A. Setterington; L. Davies; G.T. Lucy; H. Perry; C.Ainsworth; D. Ainsworth; R.W.G. Cantle


Sunday 24th Dec. The whole party climbed on Dow Crag.  D. Ainsworth, L. Davies and R. Setterington climbed Easter Gully and Black Chimney, conditions were extremely fierce for rock-climbing as the whole of the upper cliff was verglassed and frozen over.  Although these climbs were only ‘diffs’, they were pushed to the extreme.

J.R. Crabtree, R Cantle & H. Perry climbed C Buttress.  This climb was turned after 250ft. with only two pitches to go.  An ice slab proving far too formidable as the party were without ice axes.  An honourable defeat and a tricky abseil and the party climbed off.

After these climbs the parties congregated at the cave at the bottom of the cliff for a meal, hot tea and wine.  Fun and games were then on hand on Goats Water which was frozen over.

Monday 25th. Christmas Day.  It was decided unanimously by all that the day should be spent ridge walking.  The whole party proceeded up past the old mines on to the Old Man of Conniston, (2,555ft.) and then round on to Dow Crag. Glissading and snow-scrambling was had by all and many photographs were taken.  D.  Ainsworth and R. Cantle climbed Easy Gully on Dow Crag, kicking steps all the way.  Another day well spent.

Fun and games was had each evening at the Hostel and at the Black Bull.  The food throughout the holiday was excellent, and all present voted for a return to the area.


We would very much like to print reports of caving trips as well, but none are ever sent in, the Editor hastens to assure those members that are in doubt, that B.E.C. members DO sometimes go underground.  We should be delighted to allocated a certain amount of space each month to current caving reports, so come on, you caving types (and there are plenty of you) what about it?

Archaeological Section.

Bulletin No.2. Belfry Site.

The proposed trial excavation which was to have been started at the Belfry Site on Dec. 9th. was postponed owing to the services of Ted Mason being required elsewhere on another project.

Due to the inclement weather, it may not be possible to start excavating now until some time in the New Year.

Members will be advised of the date set by Ted Mason as soon as I receive it from him.

K.S. Hawkins,
Archaeo. Corres. Sec.

For Sale,

Golden Retriever pups.  3 male, 5 female, age ten weeks at time of printing.  Price to Cavers £5 female, £7  male, to others, - £6 & £8.

1948 Royal Enfield 350cc W.D. Model but not W, D.  £55 - owner has purchased a new bike.

For further particulars on either of above apply:- John Ifold, Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol.

Caving in the Vercors No. 2. La Grotte de Favot,

By T.H. Stanbury.

Favot is becoming well known to the B.E.C.  The first club member to visit it was the writer in 1948, but in 1949, 13 members who went to the International Convention were taken there.

The is situated in the Dauphine region and in the Vercors area.  It stands 1,000ft. above the road from Pont-en-Royans to Villard de Lans about 9km. from Villard.

It was a blazing hot day in 1948 when I visited the cave, and the 1,000ft. climb up a 60 degree slope seemed endless.  Arriving at the entrance we changed and then sat and rested.  The entrance is about 10ft. high and about 40ft. wide and is rectangular.  We were all very hot and breathless and had no water with us, so the only way of relieving our thirsts was to find a comfortable position under one of the drips and catch it in our mouths.  The ration was one in the eye, one down the neck, and one in the mouth, but if one had patience the result was fine.

Having cooled down we lit our lamps and moved off into the cave.  After about 200ft. the roof dropped and the cave earth floor rose, and we had to crawl on all fours for about 25 feet when we saw daylight ahead and emerged on to a ledge on a vertical cliff face.  All around this second cave mouth grew pine trees, each one rooted precariously in the crevices in the face.

Behind us was the passage from which we had just emerged in front of the cloud flecked blue of the sky, whilst on our right was the entrance to the main system of Favot – and what an entrance – sloping down at an angle of 45 degrees was a gigantic tunnel with a smooth cave-earth floor.  I had the impression of a giant Aveline’s Hole diving down into the heart of the mountain.  Almost square in section, with a roof carved by the immense pressure of water of bygone ages, this passage, about 100 yards long and dead straight except for a sharp r.h. bend at its far end, took us into a large chamber.  I have one memory of this chamber, although its size was impressive, and that there was the dust – Dust!  It lay in profusion over quite a large part of the chamber.  The stalagmites rising in solemn majesty all around us told me that once the chamber had been alive and sparkled with wet, but now, alas, all that was left was a shadow of its former scintillating glory.

Steps had been cut in the side of the shoulder, and, climbing them we found ourselves standing on the shoulder itself, which was about 2 feet wide and fell steeply away on each side. 

The top of the large stalagmite was about 8 feet higher than where we were standing and we scrambled to its top.  Here the size of the chamber could be most fully appreciated – beyond us it extended into the darkness on the left.  Below us was the Pit, a black yawning opening effectively sealing off the further chambers except by the route we had taken, whilst to our right was the way by which we had come, and here the other party members could be seen as tiny spots of light winding their way across the boulder littered floor.

Climbing down from the big stalagmite was a far stickier proposition than getting to the top.   On all sides it fell away increasingly steeply and we had slide down its face, hoping that our feet would reach the narrow shoulder safely and not be diverted to cause us to travel at ever increasing speed and eventually land very much the worse for wear 60ft. below.  However, we all accomplished the ‘Glissade’ successfully, and climbing down the reverse side of the shoulder, reached the extension seen from the column’s top.  Here were pools of water and formations reminiscent of , this part of the cave system being very much alive.

The cave ended in a choke and we retraced our steps over the ‘hump’, using a different route on the far side.  As I have previously mentioned we originally climbed to the shoulder by means of steps cut into the stalagmite.  These steps were very congested on our return, so two or three of struck out along a ledge, and after climbing over and around a number of stalagmites we scrambled down a very fair rift, arriving back at floor level before the other who were using the more orthodox route.

Returning to the first chamber we split up into small groups, and I followed a tunnel very similar to Swildon’s Short Dry for a considerable distance, turning back before reaching the end, as time was getting short. 

I found that this passage was situated directly above another similar one into which I dropped through a convenient hole in the floor.  This lower passage had several side ones, some of which gave access to others, and some to small chambers – but over all this part of the system was the same dust and lack of water that was so noticeable in the first chamber – in the narrow tunnels my clothes collected it and it rose in clouds when I brushed myself down later in the day.

Passing through a labyrinth of small tunnels I eventually regained the slope at the bottom of the entrance passage, and here I stopped speechless.  I could look at right angles into the end of this passage, and the whole of my field of vision was filled with golden light.  I suddenly realised it was the sunlight – the sun was very low in the sky and was shining straight down the passage, the light being reflected by the myriads of dust motes present as a result of our movements.  It was one of the most extraordinary things that I have ever seen in a cave.

A seemingly endless climb up the 45 degree slope brought me out on to the ledge, and, turning left I regained the entrance and changed back into shirt and shorts.  With another member of the party I started the descent to the road, and a few feet from the entrance we saw a scree slope.  Riding the scree all the way, bouncing off the larger trees and pushing smaller ones aside, we reached the road at a phenomenal rate, the slope extending to just above the road.  Things like bramble bushes we ploughed straight through – we had no option – as once we were on the move, gravity ensured that we couldn’t stop.  It was a good thing for us that we knew there were no cliffs between us and the road.


T.H. Stanbury,                   Hon. Sec. 74, Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
Miss D.S. Bowden-Lyle,     Hon. Assist. Sec., 31, Highworth Road, St. Annes Park, Bristol. 4.
W.J. Shorthose,                 Hon. Sec. London Section B.E.C. 26, Gateside Road, Upper Tooting, S.W. 17.
R. Cantle,                          Leader Climbing Section, 46, Cherrington Road, Henleaze, Bristol.
K.S. Hawkins,                    Sec. Archaeological Section, 9, Quarrington Road, Horfield, Bristol. 7.
H. Perry,                           Librarian, 20, Northfield Avenue, Hanham, Bristol.


We very much regret that this issue of the Belfry Bulletin has been seriously delayed by various changes that have taken place in the Club organisation. We hope that this issue will be followed by the April number shortly, and that things will return to normal with the May number.

Club Organisation

The Committee has to announce with the very deepest regret the resignation of Mr T.H. Stanbury from the position of Secretary which he has filled for so many years. Sybil Bowden-Lyle has also resigned as Assistant Secretary The Club offers these members a great debt of gratitude for the grand work they have done, much of it quite unknown to members outside the Committee.

A very considerable re-organisation of the Committee’s work has been called for by these resignations. The present set-up is as follows :-

General Secretary                       D.H. Hasell
Caving Secretary                         M. Hannam
Climbing Section Secretary          R.W.G. Cantle
Ladies Representative                  Miss J. Rollason
Hut Warden                                R.A. Setterington
Librarian                                     J.W. Ifold
Editor BB                                    W.J. Shorthose (London Section)
Publisher BB                               K. Dobbs
Tackle Officer                              G.T. Lucy

In addition to the above who constitute the Committee, R. Ifold is acting as Sales Secretary.

This list, with addressees, is reproduced on the back of the library list circulated with this Bulletin, and all members are asked to ensure as far as possible that they address their enquiries to the right official in the first instance.

Annual General Meeting

Owing to the re-organisation mentioned on the previous page, we regret that no report of the Annual General Meeting is available for this issue, but we hope that it will bo possible to include it next time.

The Growth of Stalagmites and Stalactites - Part II

by R M Wallis

In the first part of this article we showed that the change in pressure which a water drop undergoes on appearing on a cave roof must be considered an essential part in the forming of a stalactite. This feature can only occur once to each drop, so how is it that stalagmites are formed? We have seen that the calcium carbonate appears in the drop as very small particles which are drawn into a ring round the edge. This process of course takes time and if the rate of drip is relatively fast only a small amount of carbonate will be left on the roof. The rest will fall with the drop, which will then trickle over the stalagmite and the rest of the carbonate will be deposited. The relative sizes of the -mite and -tite are thus seen to depend on the rate of’ drip . A slow drip will give a large stalactite and a small stalagmite; a fast drip vice versa.

Flowstone and other deposits covering large areas occur in the same way as stalagmites, the water appearing in some crack in the wall and the carbonate being deposited as the water trickles down.

Helictites are fascinating objects and their formation is very much of a mystery. In the past people have tried to explain them by suggesting their growth as followed spiders’ webs or has been deflected by draughts and many unlikely explanations. One theory which has some evidence to support it is as follows:- down the centre of all stalactites is a fine tube through which water is delivered to the tip. If this tube is relatively large so that more water is delivered than can evaporate, a normal straight pendant is formed. But if the tube becomes blocked so that evaporation is more rapid than the delivery an erratic appears. This theory is based on laboratory experiments in which stalactites were grown using saturated solutions of various salts, but not, of course using calcium carbonate as the experiments would take too long. No account was taken of the drop in pressure effect and it is difficult to see how this would apply in this case. Saturated solutions were also used which do not necessarily occur in caves. This is, however the only theory which has anything to recommend it, and it may be that Helictites can only occur where evaporation can occur to a considerable extent.

Cave pearls are rather caver’s treasures.  They are formed by the deposition of successive layers of carbonate round a nucleus – often a grain of sand.  They occur under drip which must be within a closely defined degree of heaviness as it has to fulfil two functions; 1 to allow deposition to occur round the nucleus and 2 to rotate the pearl so that deposition occurs evenly.  The drip therefore must be fairly heavy but if it is too heavy deposition will not occur.  This also accounts for the well defined limit to which pearls will grow, as when they get too big they will not rotate and become cemented into a general mass of stalagmite and disappear.

Crystal pools are among the most beautiful of cave formations.

The crystals are formed actually in the water.  A basin in the floor catches drips – generally a well concentrated solution and a slow drip will be needed.  Evaporation must occur from the surface of the pool, sufficient to maintain the water level more or less constant, so that a saturated solution builds up in the pool.  Carbonate is therefore deposited from the water and crystals grow around the sides and spread out over the surface.

There is still a great deal of work to be done in investigating the mechanism of dripstone formation, for facts on which to base arguments are lamentably few.  It is hoped that some time, some energetic people with plenty of time will get down to finding a few more, when present theories may be strengthened or new ones have to be produced.

1950 Photographic Competition

Those who were unable to attend the A.G.M. may be interested to hear that last year’s photographic competition was a great success.  The general standard of the prints submitted was quite encouraging, and the meeting voted unanimously in favour of running a similar competition for 1951.  So get busy, you budding Mortimers, and those of you with five-bob Brownies.  Further details in next issue.

The first prize went to Tim Kendrick for a photograph taken in Swildon’s Hole, for which he receives a year’s season ticket to the Belfry.  The second prize went to R.M. ‘Pongo’ Wallis for his picture of Tratman’s Grotto.  He won’t have to worry about his B.E.C. sub this year.  In the non-caving section, the only prize awarded, a Belfry season ticket went to R.A. ‘Sett’ Setterington.  The third prize, a week’s Belfry fees, went to G. ‘Tom’ Ratcliffe.  Congratulations to the four of them!  There was also a special prize of ten shillings worth of photographic supplies for Ken Dobbs who took the best photograph with a cheap camera.  To Ken we offer our sympathy.

The judges have made the following general comments on the entries, and they are reproduced here in the hope that they will prove helpful.

"There are a few criticisms that can be levelled against many of the prints submitted.  Firstly it is clear that many of the entrants who did their own printing should pay far more attention to matching up the grade of paper used with the negative.  This is clearly seen by reference to some of the better prints where the quality is excellent.  Much more care is also required in most cases in ‘spotting’.  In many cases no ‘spotting’ has been attempted, and where it has been carried out, with two notable exceptions, it is very clumsily done and the final result is probably worse than the original print.  The standard of mounting generally was extremely low.  Most of the mounted prints submitted would have been better left unmounted.

It docs not require any great skill or experience to trim a print so that the edges are straight and the corners square, and attention to this point would amply repay the trouble involved.  The drawing of lines round a print after it is mounted is very much to be recommended and helps to make a finished job, but here again, spacing is important.  Where prints are titled, this should be done neatly.  If this is beyond the capacity of the individual it is far better to put the name on the back”.


Court Circular

Hearty congratulations to Angus Innes and Margaret Pope on their recent marriage.  Our best wishes to both of them and some sympathy too!  We hear Angus did it while on embarkation leave.

Our best wishes also to Ron (Holler-in-the-night) Newman and Jean Treble who also recently got into double harness.  Some sort of editorial comment seems to be called for…. One “BB”, four members of the Club, two weddings….Is this a record?

Addresses of Club Officers

General Secretary.............................. Mr D.H. Hasell
1 Stoke Hill
Chew Stoke
Nr Bristol                                       Tel Blagdon 432

Caving Section Secretary................... Mr M.N. Hannam,
14 Vyvyan Terrace,
Bristol 8

Climbing Section Secretary................ Mr R.W.G. Cantle
46 Cherington Road
Bristol, 9

Sales Secretary................................. Mr Roy Ifold,
32 Coboury Road
Bristol 6                                        Tel Bristol 58545

Ladies Representative........................ Miss Jill Rollason,
137 Pen Park Road
Bristol 1

Librarian............................................ Mr J.W. Ifold
Leigh House
Chew Stoke
Nr Bristol                                       Tel Blagdon 432

Editor, Belfry Bulletin......................... Coarse and Shorthose
26 Gateside Road
Upper Tooting,
SW17                                           Tel Balham 7545

O/C Belfry Bulletin Circulation............. Mr K.Dobbs,
55, Broadfield Road,
Bristol, 4

Hut Warden....................................... Mr R.A. Setterington,
21, Priorswood Road,

London Section Secretary ................. Mr W.J. Shorthose (Address above)

Archaeological Section Secretary........ Mr K.S. Hawkins,
9, Quarrington Road,
Bristol, 7,

Climbing Section Committee :-

R.W.G. Cantle, (Hon. Sec.)
J.R. Crabtree, (Hut Warden.)
J.V. Morris
P. Ifold
R.A. Setterington.

Members may wish to remove this page from their copies of the Belfry Bulletin and keep it for reference when writing to Club Officers. The space below may be useful for noting any changes which appear in the Bulletin from time to time.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

All members are reminded that the Mendip Rescue Organisation may be put into operation with the least possible delay by telephoning Wells 2197.

GB Restrictions

The Club has been informed by the U.B.S.S. that the Axbridge Urban District Council have imposed further restrictions on GB. Consequently no-one should visit this cave, take photographs there or publish information concerning it without U.B.S.S. permission. The UBSS has called a meeting of interested organisations to discuss these restrictions and future developments. For the present, however all arrangements to visit GB should be made through Mervyn Hannam.

Caving Section News

A good crowd stayed at the Belfry during Whitsun and trips to Stoke Lane, Eastwater, Swildons and GB were undertaken. There were also some digging activities.

Since the Whitsun week end a number of trips have been arranged, some of them organised by our junior members. Several small caves and shelters in the Avon Gorge were investigated but nothing of real caving interest was found, though one small rift was penetrated for about forty feet before ending in a choke.

Now that the summer has apparently arrived, there are signs of a considerable increase in underground activities. It is to be hoped that this increase will continue.


BATS by J.W Ifold.

As a part of the research into the habits of bats, a large number have been ringed in the Mendip caves. The bats are marked with a metal ring bearing letters and a number on one wing. Those most likely to be encountered on Mendip bear the letters U.B.S., having been affixed by the Bristol University. Anyone seeing a bat is asked to make a note of the following details:-

a)                   Letters and number on ring (if any)

b)                   Name of the cave and the part of the cave where found

c)                   Date and time of finding.

This information should be sent to Mervyn Hannam or John Ifold, who would also be glad to receive offers of help in this fascinating work. ON NO ACCOUNT SHOULD A. RING EVER BE REMOVED FROM A BAT. There are a number of books dealing with bats in the Club Library.

Club Library

John Ifold has asked us to publish the following note. . . There are still too many Club library books missing, so will members please have a good look in their attics and coal cellars, or in the case of lady members in their bottom drawers to see if they can find any of the missing books.

The Library needs a copy of Cave Hunting by Boyd Dawkins. Any member who knows where a copy is to be obtained should let the librarian know as soon as possible, giving details of the price asked and the book’s condition.

The library contains a number of Six-inch maps covering most of the Mendip area. These maps have been marked to show most of the known caves and possible digs. Members knowing of others, or finding new sites are asked to give full details to the librarian so that those maps can be kept up to date. The maps are of course available for inspection by members, as are a number of assorted maps of the British Isles.


Don Coase would be very glad to learn who has been digging at the top of the Bone Chamber In Stoke Lane. Any news?

Some Caves Near Bristol             by M. Hannan

Anyone wishing to spend an afternoon’s caving near Bristol can find several places of interest. There is one fairly big cave in the Avon Gorge. To get to it, follow the Postway towards Avonmouth until about one hundred yards before the tennis courts a notice board can be seen on the cliff top. By climbing the slabs for about fifty feet towards this notice a small ledge is reached. The cave starts from this lodge as a vertical ten-foot drop which leads to a very muddy squeeze. After this the passage becomes a fairly high rift blocked at one point by a large boulder which has to be passed by chimneylng up the rift. Just beyond this boulder is a small stalagmite covered chamber. The way on lies through a twelve-foot hole in the floor (a rope is advisable) from which the passage slopes steeply downwards to a boulder choke which marks the end of the cave.

The second interesting cave is one that lies in the quarry at the Sea Mills end of King’s Weston Downs. The entrance is a narrow ten foot deep hole at the very back of the quarry. The cave is not very large, and the writer is somewhat prejudiced against it since part of the roof fell down on his first visit.

As members will readily understand, there has been some delay in getting the new set up fully into top gear. We are therefore combining the April and May numbers of the Belfry Bulletin, and hope that members will bear with us in our difficulties, and look with a tolerant eye on our shortcomings. There is one other way in which members can help in the present circumstances. When this edition has been put to bed, there will be nothing at all awaiting publication. It follows therefore, that unless Club members get to work with their pens or pencils, the Belfry Bulletin is going to get very thin in the next month or two. . . ..The remedy is in your hands.

Warning “GB”

On Sunday, 23rd April 1951, a serious accident was narrowly averted in “G.B.”. The chain holding the ladder into the boulder chamber below the Devil’s Elbow was found to be rotten. All members visiting the cave should therefore exercise great care at this point.

London Section Meet

It appears that the next organised activity by the London Section will be the Annual Meet over the August Bank Holiday. At present, there has been no final decision whether this will be at the Belfry or in South Wales. Members of the Section are asked to let W.J. Shorthose know as soon as possible what preferences they have if any. It is hoped to give final details in the next issue.

Sack-cloth and Ashes Department

Sorry, we omitted to mention in the list that we published last time that the club Treasurer is now Mr. R. Bagshaw, 11 Hill Crest, Knowle, Bristol, 4. Please correct your list accordingly.

A Mr Caxton has also asked that we should express his regrets that somme off ye pagef of ye laste issue were pryntedewithe ye fronte side where ye backe did properly ought to have bin, and vice versa.

Motor Cycle Enthusiasts

There is a suggestion that a Motor-cycling Section should be formed. Those interested are invited to write to Tony Setterington, who is acting as Secretary of the proposed Section until it gets properly under way. At present there are three events in mind, as follows:-

1.       Don’s Derby, Sunday June 10th, a main road trial run by the Dulwich M.C.C.

2.       A.C.U. National Rally, Saturday-Sunday July 14th - 15th. This again is all main road work, and involves covering as many miles as possible, up to 702 between 9 am on Saturday and 11 am on Sunday. If the B.E.C. can enter a team, there is a chance of its winning a team award.

3.       A hill climb is proposed to be run somewhere on Mendip later in August, for standard motor cycles in standard trim. The course will be chosen so that it will not damage the machine in any way. Dan Hasell has already promised to act as chief timekeeper and handicapper.

In connection with Item 1 above, it is hoped to run a club trip to London for the festival exhibition, travelling up on Friday June 8th, and returning after the Derby on the Sunday. Those members entered for Don’s Derby will be provided with Sleeping accommodation by the Dulwich club, provided they carry fug-bags with them, and the first three others to write to the Hon Sec, London Section can be accommodated in Tooting. A Trip to Stone Farm Rocks or something similar might be arranged for, those not interested in motor cycle trials, if they wish.

The Club Library

The Club Librarian is very concerned that his set of Belfry Bulletins is far from complete. He appeals to those members who may have back numbers that they do not really need to send them to him to help complete the Club records. The missing numbers are as follows:-2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29 and 31.

He has asked also that we should reproduce the conditions on which books are loaned to mcmbers:-

1.       Books will be issued for a period of one month.

2.       Books may be obtained either by Registered post from Librarian, or personally on the first Thursday of each month at Club, provided that prior notice is given to the Librarian of the titles required.

3.       Books must be returned to the Librarian either by Registered post or by handing them in personally.

4.       The person to whom the book is issued will be personally responsible for it, and must not transfer it to any other person.

5.       The person to whom the book is issued must make good any loss or damage occurring before it is returned to the Librarian.

For the benefit of those who did not read the last “BB”, the Librarian is Johnny Ifold, and his address Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Nr Bristol, and Phone number, Blagdon 432.

A New System in Eastwater Cavern,    J.W IfoId

If Harris’s passage is followed up-stream, the canyon formation merges into a steeply inclined bedding plane, which is sectioned off by loose and dangerous boulder chokes. During Easter 1951, the author removed a small boulder choke and penetrated into further extensions. Whether these extensions are of the same bedding plane or not can only be settled by a survey. At present the system appears to penetrate for about four hundred feet, and there are possibilities that it may be further extended.

An interesting observation is the presence of two streams which seem to disappear in a North Westerly direction. Another feature unusual to Eastwater is the presence of large eroded stalagmite sheeting. This is eroded not only on its upper surface, but at many points is completely hollowed out from beneath. Its markings include scalloping and several concentric circles, which are possibly the remains of completely eroded stalagmites. This discovery led to a discussion of the complete absence of stalagmitic formations in Eastwater as compared with the abundance in nearby Swildon’s. An interesting point is the phreatic sponge-work, smaller that that in Ffynnon Ddu, but otherwise very similar.

One member of the party advanced the theory that at one time Eastwater had taken a very much larger proportion of the North Hill drainage than it now does, while near-by Swildons was left comparatively dry. This heavy flow might have caused very rapid and complete erosion, thus explaining the almost complete absence of formations in Eastwater, and these strangely eroded sheets.

The direction of the system leads to the belief that it is under the boulder maze, but it is possible that the two small streams at the end of the series may come from the 380 foot way.

This system may yield to further exploration.

Caving News

The new extension to Eastwater, described above was visited by four members of a party of twelve Club members and three visitors from Birmingham. After a routine trip to the end of the cave via Dolphin’s Pot, these members explored about four to five feet of passage and bedding plane…..

A number of caving trips have been undertaken during the last few weeks, including an expedition to Steep holm with members of the South Wales Cave Club and a number of archaeologists. Although nothing spectacular was discovered, a good time was had by all concerned. Meets were also held at Swildon’s Hole and Axbridge Ochre Cave. Two “digs” are in (active) progress near Bristol but at least two Mendip digs are mouldering. THERE IS PLENTY OF SCOPE FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN CAVE DIGGING. Will members willing to help please give their names to the caving section secretary.

Log Sheets

An attempt is being made to keep a log of caving activities. A number of log sheets is to be kept at the Belfry, John Ifold’s house and at Redcliffe. Trip leaders are asked to take one or more of the sheets and enter an account of the expedition , passing this to the caving secretary.

Caving Trip Card     June - August

June 2nd                      TOP of Swildon’s                  Leader J, Rollason, 3pm at Barn.

June 16th                    August Hole                         Leader J.Ifold

June 22nd..24th             Caving trip to Buckfast          details from M. Hannam

June 31st                    Long Wood                          Leader R.Bennett 3 p m at Lower Farm.

July 15th                     G.B.                                    Leader M. Hannam 2.30 p m at Barn

July 28th-August 6th      Caving meet in Yorkshire.

August 19th                 Eastwater                            Leader M. Hannam 1 2 noon at Belfry

August 26th                 Bath Stone Workings,

All members intending to join any of the above trips should notify the caving secretary. Numerous trips are arranged on an ad hoc basis on Thursdays.

We would like to apologise to members for the delay in the June issue. We are combining the July and August numbers to keep things moving. As mentioned before there is still a shortage of material for BB. Come on you scribes.... We would also apologise for the way we have had to split Pongos’ article on Festival Caving but we wont seeing that it is your own fault. We had no suitable half page article to finish the last BB.

Festival Caving continued

Having run the gauntlet safely, passing en-route four bestial sub human creatures (I refer to the Four Winds, not the attendants) we come to what must be termed the “Short Dull Way”. This is soon passed and some formations appear, together with a powerful spring, playing upwards in three jets. The lighting is most cunning. As any cave photographer knows, formations arc fluorescent, and we received a demonstration of this in the next section, by courtesy of G.E.C’s Ultra-Violet lamps. Apparently Cavernophilious fish are too, for we saw some of them as well. Similarly, visitors shirts take on new and unexpected hues.

The nature of this passage remains unchanged until the exit - in the words of the guide “Hurry along, Sir, its just the same all the way.”

The moral appears to be that “Schweppervescence lasts the whole cave through” Souvenirs are available at 3/- each.

N.B. Admission to the amusement Gardens is 2/-.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

Do you remember the Tel phone number you have to ring to contact MR0 ??? WELLS 2197 Don’t forget, you may need it in a hurry one day. Put it in your diary or address book now. 

MISSING from Belfry ono rubberised Brown fabric Ground-sheet. Would possessor return to the Hut Warden.


Most members of the club in and around Bristol will have visited the BEC stand at the “Our Way o f Life” Exhibition organised as part of Bristol’s’ Festival Celebrations. For those who were unable to attend, it can be fairly safely said that the Club stand was one of the most interesting, and attracted quite a lot of comments…….

“An elderly lady strolled in one evening, stared horrified at a case of human bones from Wookey Hole then rushed over to Mike Jones and demanded to know why they weren’t buried in consecrated ground. Mike told her that it wasn’t certain that they were Christians, but she kept on nattering away, and said that he would no doubt go to Hell.”………

“A breezy type walked in with his girl, looked at the mountaineer (a dressed up tailors dummy) then turned to the Divers (similar dummies). When his girl friend asked him what they were, he replied that it was apparatus for climbing in rarefied air“.....

“A lady came in with her husband, and told him that the people from whom the Wookey Hole bones had come, must have been Negroes as the bones were dark brown.” .....

“Another women came in with her small boy, who asked her what the breathing bags round the divers necks were for. Her answer was Water Wings”…... (Did she know G.T.Lucy cannot swim.?)

“Several people thought the model of GB (made by Stan Collins ) was the skeleton of some cave dwelling animal now extinct.“……(So did I, it certainly didn’t look like GB to me, still I haven’t been there as much as Alfie. DAC)

“After glancing at the divers and mountaineer many people said that the mountaineering rigout was a primitive diving suit”.

Congratulations to all those who helped to make the stand a success it undoubtable was, especially Tony Johnson, who did all the organisation, and to the younger members who stood guard and answered all the silly queries. And whilst on the subject….

Congratulations to

Jo and Henry Shelton, a daughter Jill Vivian.

Margaret and Pat Woodroffe, a daughter, Pamela June

Bobby Bagshawe, a wife ..... Dark Horse, what’s her name?)

Don Coase, a fiancee, Clare Ainsworth

It is also rumoured that Roy Ifold has sold or is selling his bike because of a female. Shame! Any more for the lists.


MISSING from the Belfry that well known book of songs and verse, Theo Cons. This has taken a number of years to compile, and we would be glad if the present possessor (after copying out the parts that Interest him, or her ) would return it to the H.W.   

Patrick Browne

It is with the Greatest regret that we have to announce the death of Pat Browne on Sat; Aug. 18th whilst climbing or Snowdon. He was leading over a slight overhang on a severe climb when he fell off, then the rope broke and he fell 60’. The Coroner, recording a verdict of accidental death said “The tragedy is that a man of his experience should have undertaken a difficult climb like this with such a poor rope”.

It will be for his caving activities that Pat will mainly remembered. In particular for his work, in conjunction with Don Coase in exploring Stoke Lane II. He spent a large amount of his time in the smaller caves of East Mendip, and with his parents, excavated Browne’s Hole and Withybrook Swallet. It was with sorrow that the caving section of the Club learnt that he had been bitten with the climbing bug, some two years ago, as people with his keenness and determination are few and far between.

We would like to offer his parents our deepest sympathy in their tragic loss.

Circulation List

The Club receives quite a number of newsletters etc. from CRG and other clubs. It is proposed to circulate those and other items of interest that turn up from time to time by post. Each person on the list would pay the postage to the next person, and to avoid delay, will be expected to keep the newsletters, etc. no longer than two days. Names please to Johnny Ifold.

C.R.G. Annual General Meeting

Will be held at the City Museum Bristol on Sat.17th November. The Club will be organising a trip on the Sunday, for the benefit of CRG members. If there is sufficient support, it is hoped to ladder Eastwater by both the old and now routes.

Swildon’s Hole

The CDG Somerset Section are going to have a crack at the 2nd. Trap (or Sump, if you prefer it) of Swildon’s on September 15th, (Saturday) The Club has agreed to help with this operation. We require 12 bods on Sunday 9th. September to help carry in some of the kit. Then 20 on Saturday 15th to carry in more kit, assist the divers, and probable carry out the divers and kit (lazy devils these divers). The following weekend more bods.

Note - The operation referred in the last item has now been post-until early spring,

London Section Annual Meet

The London Section held it’s annual meet during the week preceding the August Bank Holiday. The meet was centred on the head-quarters of the South Wales Caving Club, who very kindly provided facilities of a very high order. The first arrivals on Saturday, 20th July were Clare Ainsworth, Don Coase, Tom Ratcliffe and Pongo Wallis. These were the sole occupants of the cottage until the following Friday when Johnny Ifold and Mike Jones arrived. The Shorthose menage arrived around six am the following morning after invoking the aid of the local police and part of an honoured gear box. (Thanks, Ras!).

The Section as usual, got to work on, or in, the local caves without delay with Don leading the field. The first Sunday saw the three photographers in Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, confining their activities to the entrance series and thereby keeping their clothes dry for a minor LLethrid the following day. As Monday was a boiling hot day, the party required all its determination to leave the bathing on the Gower coast to go In search of the cave. While Clare stayed outside to watch the clothes, and incidentally to put in some useful target practice on the local cows, the three musketeers dug out a new entrance passed the boulder ruckle by yet another new route but then failed to find the way on. At this stage, one member of the trio sustained a cut finger, and owing to the lack of a pricker, the lighting position deteriorated still further, there seemed only one thing to do and it was done.., just in time for a pint before closing time. Then a wild dash back up the Swansea valley chased by a thunderstorm. The storm lost, fortunately.

The next day saw the start of the serious caving, with five hours spent in Ffynnon Ddu, mainly taking photographs in the RAWL series. That evening the party celebrated this achievement in true caving style at the “Gwyn”.

Wednesday was observed as a day of rest, but was followed by even greater exertions on Thursday. These were called for during a trip to Llygad Llwchwr (or words to that effect!). This trip started off as a practice run for the International Six Days Trial, apart from the unduly large amount of freight that was carried, Coase pioneered an entirely new route to the cave, which is thoroughly to be recommended, after they have got round to making the road there. It suffers from one grave disadvantage only one pub along it; and here, needless to say, a halt was made. It was noteworthy that even the beer was canned.. quite literally. National Grid ref. will be supplied in plain envelope on request, enclosing stamps to the value of 1/4½ to cover the cost of postage and a pint for D.A.C.

Again, five pleasant hours were spent in the cave chasing an elusive river. When the correct section was found, the entire party proceeded to have great fun with the rubber dinghy. More photographs were taken, some of them in glorious Technicolor.

The party retreated in good order, and having changed set off in search of refreshment and the way back to the cottage. Their enquires led them into the local hostelry at 9.56 pm, where three obliging natives explained three entirely different routes home at one and the same time. By taking the middle one the party found its way back without mishap. Friday was observed as a day of rest until Shorthose upset everything at about ten pm, by calling on the aid of Coase and Ratcliffe. Saturday, or what was left of it was observed as a day of rest except for the Bristol contingent, who had a look into OFD.

The Sabbath day was kept really holey by a mass attack on Dan-y -Ogof. This was a most interesting trip and a good time was had by all, including DAC, who celebrated his newly announced engagement by taking a swim in the first lake. His take-off was well assisted by staunch companions, but was not entirely voluntary. Most of the rest of the party were new to rubber dinghy caving, and were rather impressed by the size of the underground river. That evening, Pongo retired to the bath. Ifold and Ratcliffe attempted a major trip into OFD on Monday but owing to faulty staff work, found that there was an acute shortage of spare carbide, so left the cave and took up hiking instead. The party then adjourned to the “Gwyn”, there to be entertained with song and impersonation by the Hon Sec of the South Wales Cave Club. This proved a most acceptable finale to the meet.

Caving Report

There was plenty of caving activity during July and August. Johnny Ifold has led some more trips around his new Series while the Birmingham Crowd started the task of surveying Eastwater while on holiday at the Belfry.

Miss Jill Rollason and Alfie Collins have now succeeded in getting to the farthest point of “Ridyard’s Wriggle” in Stoke lane. Apart from a number of local trips to such places as Swildon’s, Eastwater, Stoke and Burrington, some members have wandered further afield. Two spent a week in Yorkshire and managed a couple of trips down Gaping Ghyll, thanks to the very helpful Craven Pothole Club. There was also the London Section visit to South Wales.

Seen in the British Medical Journal. . , “The patient suffered from breathlessness on exertion lasting more than a month”

……Can’t say were surprised.

Trip Card – October

October 6th        Burrington Caves, August Hole

                        Leader .. M. Jones, J. Ifold.

                        Meet… Burrington Café, 2:30om Lower Farm 2:30pm

October 14th.      Stoke Lane

Leader.. S. Collins, N.Petty, and M. Hannam

Meet 1pm at cave,

October 20th       Sandford Levy

Leader. R.Bennett

November 10th    Swildon’s Hole

Leader.- M. Hannam

Meet.,. Belfry, 2,3Opm.

All those intending to join any of these trips should notify the caving secretary several days before the trip is due take place.


This space has been reserved for Your contribution

Please along quickly.