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Editor’s Note

We must start this month by apologising for the standard of duplication of some of the pages of last month’s B.B.  As we explained last month, our great need at the moment is paper, and we were given some last month.  Unfortunately that paper had a slight glaze on the surface, leading to the rather mucky result which some of you had to put up with in the April number.  We now have found a source of cheap but suitable stuff which should help in the future, but gifts of paper still will be very useful.  It must be the “blotting paper” type – otherwise it cannot be used.

This month we again have eight pages and we hope that this will prove to be the future minimum size!  The articles this month are mainly a continuation of last month’s topics.  The article of desilverisation of lead has cause some comment outside the club, and we have received a gift of some money as a result to help the B.B..

We are hoping to inaugurate further improvements to the Belfry Bulletin next month.


April Committee Meeting

Arrangements concerning the Belfry site were again discussed.  It was agreed to proceed with the redecoration of the women’s room.  Rawlbolts have been laid in the Wire Rift and at the top of the Maypole Pitch in Cuthbert’s.

Report of the Lamb Leer Trip

by Don Coase.

A good response was had to the announcement in the March B.B. of a visit to Lamb Leer; 12 members and 3 visitors going underground for an easy trip.  In actual fact, some of the party found the climb back up the 65’ pitch from the main chamber rather a sweat.  (Rather an alcoholic sweat from the previous night’s celebration of Mike Jones’ forthcoming wedding).  It was felt that some of the party might still be in the cave, but for the strong arms of the lifeline party.  Jack Waddon’s wife, Dorothy represented the fair sex, it being her first cave pitch and afterwards she was heard to remark that it was easier than a 20’ mineshaft Jack had taken her down the previous day for practice.

Roger Stenner provided the remark of the day.  He didn’t like the pitch.  “The opposite wall was too far away”.  A word of warning for any future trip – the timber floor at the head of the pitch is getting rotten, so mind your step!

Most of the party visited the ‘Cave of Falling Waters’ and found the inscription ‘T.W. – 1864’ was still carved in the stalagmite bank.  Incidentally, how many people know that the inscription was not carved by Thomas Wilcox, but by H.E. Balch in 1895.

Back in daylight once more, several of the more mud plastered members were greeted by a most emphatic ‘UGH – DIRTY!’ from Coase junior.

Climbing News

We have no news from the Climbing Section this month, but climbing types will find a fair amount of climbing type writing elsewhere in the B.B. – Editor.

Notices & Reminders

New Members.

We should like to welcome Dick Yarborough and John Barnes to our ranks.  Addresses will follow later.

Grim and Dreadful Warning!

The Hon. Sec. wishes to remind members of Rule No. 18.  “The membership of any individual who fails to pay his or her subscription by the 30th of April shall be deemed to have ceased.”  Or, in the words of the poet: -

“Annual subs must all be in
Ere the month of May begin
Any bloke who fails to pay
Doesn’t get B.B. in May”

Redcliffe Hall.

Many members are going straight to the ‘Waggon’ on Thursdays and it is becoming difficult to keep Redcliffe Hall going.  In view of this, the committee have authorised the Hon. Sec. collect money from members at the ‘Waggon’ on a voluntary basis.


To remind members that the collection of books now kept at Redcliffe Hall and are available for borrowing any Thursday, also lamp spares and caving reports.

Desilverisation Again

Further Comments - by Keith Gardner.

The method of desilverisation of lead by cuplellation must have come to this country somewhere near the beginning of the Christian Era.  Caesar, in ‘De Bello Gallico’ makes no comment of silver when referring to the economic values of Britain, and indeed Cicero, when writing to a friend says, “It is well known that there is not a pennyweight of silver in the whole of the island.”  Nevertheless, according to Strabo, silver was one of the main exports of Britain by the time of Augustus.

On Mendip, lead was mined for its own value in early Iron Age times, and it was common enough for it to be used as fishing net sinkers in Glastonbury Lake Village.  This was not desilverised.  I believe that Dr. H. Taylor found a small amount of lead in a Bronze Age barrow outside the U.B.S.S. hut, but it took the Roman brain to organise the Mendip mines into a really large concern.  These were under imperial control within a few years of the Claudian invasion of 43 A.D.

Whether the practice of extracting silver was a common or widespread one in Roman times is not yet known, much smelting having been carried out in villas and other sites.  Gaff and I are hoping to carry out a survey of dateable lead samples from such sites in order to get a clearer picture of the situation.  Lead occurs in the Feilena – Clevedon ridge and it is hoped to reveal whether there was a minor industry there too.

For the ‘iggerunt:            Cicero – Roman orator. 106 – 43 B.C.
                                    Strabo – Greek Geographer b.63 B.C.
                                    Augustus – 27 B.B. –

G.B. Trip.

The G.B. guest day trip during May, as announced in B.B. No. 110 is being organised by Alfie to whom names should be given at least one week in advance.  A form will be sent to the U.B.S.S. in plenty of time and last minute names will probably be acceptable up to the day of the trip.  Members are advised to give their names to Alfie in case the total gets too big, as it will have to become “first come – first served.”

Jehu’s  Welsh  Journey

..the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimishi: for he driveth furiously.

                                                                                                II Kings 9, 20.

Sooner or later in every aspiring mountaineer’s life – if his home is in the West Country – comes the ordeal by hired brake.  Beside this fearful initiation rite, even “brain-washing” recedes into insignificance for savage efficiency in breaking a strong man’s nerves.

A hired brake is a four wheeled vehicle.  It has an engine and van type body.  That is all.  Such refinements as brakes, steering and lights exist in token form only.  To nurse such a vehicle along deserted roads in broad daylight at 20mph for short distances, would give sporting odds of reaching one’s destination without mishap.  On a climbing weekend, however, something like four hundred miles has to be covered at an average speed of over 30mph if one hopes to have time for climbing at all, and all this by night.  Furthermore, to make the proposition an economic one, the more bodies carried the better, up to a maximum of eight.  (Breathe it not on Lawrence Hill!).  In short, an eight berth coffin, piloted by some Jehu or other, hurtles through the night towards Wales.

On this particular occasion, we were running light:  there were only six occupants together with sleeping bags and other gear.  For a short while the driver takes the measure of his vehicle, getting the feel of her; how many turns of the wheel before the slack is taken up; is it better to drive with the lights dipped or not, and so on.  The sparring is over; the driver gets down to the job in hand.  Gingerly speed is increased.  With the jubilant exultation of completely reckless maniac, he attempts to overtake a large lorry.  He makes it, with thumping heart, and the passengers begin to sing; in hope or in desperation the diver muses.

Some hours, some miles, some pints later, and the brake is really motoring.  The passengers doze off – all nervous energy spent, and the harsh grinding of an engine worn out some fifty thousand miles to go produces a strange soporific numbness.  In such a state we roared on towards the “First in England”, the hairpin bridge over the river Ceirriog, Wales………and destruction!

The “First in England” flashed by on the left, unseen by anyone including the driver.  A split second later and we were round the hairpin and on the bridge.  Then, for some unknown reason instead of straightening out, we carried on turning to the right in an ever decreasing circle, with the same disastrous result as a similar manoeuvre executed by the notorious bird.  Dozers awoke with a jerk as we slid broadside on along the bridge – tyres screaming.  The offside wheels lifted oh so s-l-o-w-l-y while crew and equipment floated gently off the floor into midair.  There was a horrible grind and a shower of sparks, and we were there – completely over onto the roof, nose facing back towards Bristol and on the wrong side of the road.

Deadly silence followed for a short time, then we begun to stir.  One of the occupants only was hurt – temporarily stunned by a blow on the forehead.  Unfortunately nothing was known of this, so that when the door was opened he fell out and hit the back of his head on the road.  He was then deposited on a heap of gravel, revived, and left while salvage operations were carried out.  During these operations, he must have lost consciousness again, for he found on recovering that he had a mouthful of gravel.

The next step was to get the rake upright again: a step considerably accelerated when we saw our precious petrol dripping onto the road.  The five fit members of the party performed this feat, assisted by an airman believed to be hitchhiking.  When offered a lift in return for his services, he insisted that he lived a short distance up the road and vanished at the double!  One heave and she was back on her side, with a loud crash and a tinkling of broken glass.  Another heave, and she was upright again and pushed onto the verge.

The situation was now as follows: - The roof and one side of the brake were smashed in; all the windows were gone on this side and the door was solidly welded in.  The rear doors, having stubbornly refused to open till now, refused with equal stubbornness to close.  The windscreen was badly cracked and the nearside wheel badly buckled.  Much oil and water had been lost, but mercifully, very little petrol.  Last but not least, two bottles of beer loose within were still intact and were later consumed.

Peering over the parapet of the bridge, one saw a deep murky abyss, from which sounds of swiftly flowing water rose.  The parapet was quite low and the thought that we could have easily gone through or over it was a disturbing one.  A few yards up the road a sign read “Welcome to Wales”!

The weekend’s climbing came something of an anticlimax after this and the rest of our motoring proved draughty.  It could have been worse.  It might have rained!

The owner of the brake was very annoyed when it was returned despite the inside having been swept out in an attempt to mollify him.  Before any reader endeavours to hire out a brake for a climbing trip, there is one good firm not to approach!

Firms willing to hire brakes to climbers are rapidly becoming extinct, so get your excuses ready – sick aunts in Anglesey, ships to meet at Holyhead, bridge repairs at Menai, sign painting at Llanfair P.G. etc.

Ron Newman.


Small “snippets” to fill up spaces such as this one.  A brief verse, a limerick (providing it is printable!) or any witty type writing.  Send it to any member of the Board.

It’s Easy to Ski!
…Or “How to get an extra three week’s holiday.”

By Norman Brooks.

Having long felt that need to learn to ski, I at last got down to it during the final two weeks of February.  The result was one of the best holidays from some time – so enjoyable that I should like to recommend any other members of the club who can afford the time to have a go themselves.

Karl Fuchs, an ex-Olympic skier and expert instructor, has been running his “Austrian” ski school in the Cairngorms, based on his hotel in Carrbridge, Invernesshire, for a few years now; but this is the first time that the hotel proprietors at Carrbridge have got together to enlarge the scheme, together with the Scottish Council for Physical Recreation.  They have ambitious plans for the future, but at the moment all they have to offer is the snow, the skis and the instructor plus plenty of good company good food and good beer: and what more can any thinking person desire?

Physical dexterity not being my strong point, I did rather better when learning to ski that I expected; which leads me to suggest that if I can do it, anyone can though possibly the miles I have ridden on icy roads on a motorcycle with defective steering may not have been wasted.  Of course there were those who developed a technique of skiing based on a sort of untidy laying down posture early on and then found great difficulty in changing over to the more conventional stance, but I shouldn’t think that any B.E.C. member would do a thing like that!

The sun shone from a blue sky five days running the first week, though the weather was not quite so good the second week.  The effect was almost alpine and the active part of the holiday worked out very well, in spite of the fact that the snowfall was less than at any time for the last 25 years.

When we arrived at the hotel of our choice, Rowan Lea, the proprietor said, a little severely I thought in case we should disagree with him.  “We use Christian Names here, I’m Jimmy.”  And we were treated in many ways like friends of the proprietor.  Sometimes it was difficult to realise that there would be the need to pay the bill eventually.  As residents, you are not troubled by that blight of a pleasant evening, the call of “Time!”, so things used to go on and on, with one or other of the guests occasionally giving a little hand behind the bar.

There is a most fiendish and dangerous method used for loosening up after skiing, a sort of barbaric ritual known as Scottish Dancing.  It is encouraged of course, to enhance the bar takings, since it introduces a powerful thirst for beer, also a need for something stronger to steady the nerves.  Don’t think you can avoid it.  If you had seen my 13 stone being whirled round the floor by one of the girls, and seen the dazed amazed look of an innocent being passes around like a parcel in a party game by the experts, then you might think it better to stay out – but don’t; it’s better to come quietly!  Indeed, you may even get keen.  When my companion – a staunch member of the Bar Propper’s Union, whom I had never before seen enticed onto a dance floor, led a party of the local amazons into the bar to rout out more men for dancing; he delivered a shock to my system from which I have not yet recovered.

It may appear obvious to even the moist initiated novice that rocks do not make satisfactory skiing surface, but I am afraid that I underwent an enforced absence from work and Mendip as a result of trying to utilise such a surface!

Odds  &  Ends

Hot Rocking at High Rocks

It is reported that B.E.C. members were present when a large quantity of food and alcohol was consumed one Saturday evening at the High Rocks Hotel near Tunbridge Wells.

It is suspected that this accounted for the sounds of revelry issuing from this place until the early hours, and the unusual sight of frenzied figures clambering and swinging on the masses of ropes and ladders the following day.  Could this most enjoyable weekend have been the Westminster Speleological Group’s Annual Dinner?


From our Social Correspondent.

A goodly collection of B.E.C. members turned up to Horfield Parish Church to see Mike and Judy get married, and to add their high social tone to the excellent reception which followed.  Several members went down to Temple Meads to see the happy couple off to their honeymoon while others repaired to a local café and consumed black coffee.  Alfie had to be restrained from drinking his champagne immediately on receipt of the same, and at one stage the bridegroom was heard to remark, “I think the drinks must have run out – John’s hands are empty!”   ……a very enjoyable time was had by all.

Easter on Mendip

This Easter was a quiet one compared with the usual Easter weekend.  This was partly due to the fact that many members spent Easter on Exmoor, although when one member of the club was asked where he was going by one of the “stay at home” types outside the Hunter’s, he said, “Dartmoor!” – Well, it could be!  Saturday night was spent in the Hunter’s as usual, and afterwards most of the types repaired to the Shepton Hut where music and tea were provided by the inhabitants.  Among the skiffle tunes played was one which was thought to be the S.M.C.C. club song – it was called, “There’s a Crack in this old Building.”

A largish party went down August Hole, and others worked in Hunter’s and Alfie’s.  A certain amount of creosoting was done by club types and local lads to the outside of the Belfry.

A new innovation is the slab of concrete provided by Messrs Rich and Thomas on which it is possible to park one motorbike.  It is also the right size for laying out any members who happens to feel unwell and should prove very useful.

Caves of Mendip.

Nick Barrington’s new book is now out.  It is written on the same lines as “Britain Underground” but contains a much fuller and more up to date description of Mendip Caves.  It is hoped to be able to make a review of this book shortly, but meanwhile it is a good buy and a useful addition to the Caver’s bookshelf.

Useful Addresses.

R.J. Bagshaw,            Hon. Secretary and Treasurer.  56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
D.A. Coase,               Caving Secretary.  “Batsford”, Lower Failand, Nr. Bristol.
S.J. Collins,                Hut Warden and Editor, B.B.  I Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol 8.
R. King,                     Climbing Secretary.  1 Lynmouth Road, Bristol 2.
Mrs. Jones,                Ladies’ Representative, 389 Filton Ave, Horfield, Bristol 7.
N.J. Petty,                  Tackle Officer.  12, Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol 4.
R.J. Price,                  B.B. Editorial Board.  70 Somermead, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
C. Rees,                    B.B. Editorial Board.  2 Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.
A.J.E. Sandall,           Assistant secretary. And B.B. Editorial Board.  35 Beauchamp Rd., Bristol 7.
R.A. Setterington,       Chairman.  69, Kingston Road, Taunton, Somerset.

(C. Rees is also assistant Hut Warden and Belfry Engineer).


Editor’s Note

Since the publication of last month’s Belfry Bulletin, we have received a lot of articles, offers of assistance and help in obtaining materials and favourable comments from club members.  We would like to thank all concerned both for their help and for the encouragement that this has given us.

As a result of this, we have been able to increase the size of the B.B. and to provide a back cover.

We how have a goodly stock of articles for future use, but although we must keep a few back as reserve, we will try to print each article as soon as possible.  We think that authors would prefer this and that it may lead to authors writing more often.  The limitation to the size of the B.B. at the moment is governed by the supply of paper and gifts of this will be uncommonly useful.


March Committee Meeting

The 1957 committee held their second meeting at the Belfry on Sunday, March 3rd.

Business dealt with included the new hut (Town and Country Planning permission has now been granted) electricity, water, and the provisioning of trees from the Forestry Commission.

A formal resolution was proposed by R.A. Setterington to amend the names required for signature on the club Post Office account.  The new list consists of: - R.J. Bagshaw, A. Collins, D. Coase and N. Petty.  This resolution was seconded by R. King and carried.


The Caving secretary reports the discovery of a new series in Cuthbert’s.  This is called the Maypole Series, and is entered from Upper Traverse Chamber by means of a maypole.  The series is an upstream one and contains three pitches.  The first Maypole Pitch is 20’, the second Maypole Pitch is 15’ and the third Maypole Pitch is also 15’.  These pitches now bring the total of pitches in Cuthbert’s up to 18.  There is some very nice stal. of various colours in the series which is well worth seeing.  The series has been penetrated for 300’ to date and the prospects of further penetration are good.  It is hoped to persuade  the committee to provide fixed steel ladders for this series.


There is not much news from the Climbing Section this month, but the following letter has been received from the Climbing Secretary: -

To the Editor, B.B.

Dear Sir,

In the March issue of B.B., I see that you have added a comment to my notice on transport to North Wales.  While it is perfectly true that we do tend to overturn shooting brakes, I feel I should make it clear that the cost of this exhilarating experience is comparatively slight, and those who have participated in it agree it is good value for eight shillings a head.

I wonder if I might describe a typical crash?  On our last trip our cruising speed was rising steadily from an existing thirty five to a dicey forty when we skidded, toppled sideways and ended the slide upside down facing the way we had come.  From the rear came a cry of “What did the King say?”  We lay there for a moment quietly enjoying the experience before we crawled out.  We had been packed so tightly that no personal damage was done while individual reactions to the event were quite varied and unprintable!   Once out, we heaved the thing back onto its wheels, stuck on odd bits and finally drove off to Wales with only a few dents and new draughts to remind us of what had happened.

Afterwards, when the reckoning came, the driver was reluctant to fork out his crash fee because he claims he missed all the fun - he was asleep at the time!

Notices & Reminders

New Members.

We welcome the following new members to the club: -

J.J. Jacobs (374)            126 Bridge Lane, Golders Green, London N.W.2.
Peter Graham (375)        6, Lawrence Mansions, Chelsea, London S.W.1.
F.M. Piper (376) 2, Hanbury Road, Clifton, Bristol 8.

Change of Address.

From May 1st, Alan Thomas’s address will be: -

Sandall Park Special Residential School,
Bishop’s Lydeard,
Nr. Taunton,

Scandinavian Trip.

Tom Fletcher is going to Lyngen in Norway this June/July for several weeks, returning via Sweden.  There will be climbing and the lion’s share of the expenses will be paid by Tom.

Anyone interested should write to Tom by Air Mail to: -

T. Fletcher,
East African Malarial Institute,
Nr. Tanga,

From Tom & Rusty

Herewith the latest report from two members in “Furren Parts”.

Firstly, tour of the States is off.  The reason being my lack of enthusiasm about serving a two year stretch in the Yankee army.  Three of my friends who left Avro for the States are now in uniform! and on enquiry to the U.S. Consulate informed me that in my case call up was very likely!  Imagine the ‘Michael’ that would be extracted if I got posted to Limey Land and walked into the Hunter’s clad in Yankee khaki!  Not for me.

It was a terrible disappointment as you can well imagine, literally the opportunity of a lifetime wasted.  However, as a consolation Rusty and I trotted down to Toronto and booked our passage home.  We sail on the ‘Tresnia’ from Montreal on July 26th so we should be down at the club some time in August.  If all goes well of course.

I hope the National Geographic mags have started arriving.  The thought of being swindled on this side of the Atlantic is more than English blood can stand!  (Tom has taken out a subscription as a present to the club – Ed.)

The roads over here are pretty nearly impossible.  The Toronto area is not so bad, but out where we are living the snow is really deep.  I know what it feels like to have to walk four miles in over two feet of snow.  I got the car stuck last week and had to call out the tractor from the local garage.  God, what a country!  I used to love the snow in England but since being over here I hope never see another snowflake as long as I live.

                                                            See you soon.
                                                                        Tom and Rusty.

I’m sure that Tom and Rusty will have some wonderful yarns to tell us when we see them……….Editor.

Caves Of Malaya

by Brian Prewer.

Towards the end of July last year, I found myself, rather unexpectedly, flying over the Syrian Desert on my way to Malaya – the land of rubber plantations, tin mines, coconut palms and dense jungle.  One might add to this list ‘Land of the Caves’ for Malaya is a caver’s paradise.  To the north of Kuala Lumpur exceptionally large caves abound, while between Ipoh and the Siamese border – a distance of over 250 miles – limestone outcrops stretch continuously.

It was to a range of limestone hills, on the border with Siam that I paid a visit during February.  This trip was more or less a search for any caves that might be worth a visit in the near future.  A journey of 130 miles by car through rubber plantations and jungle, brought me to a small village called Kaki Bukit which is surrounded by limestone hills over 2,000 feet high.

Most of the caves in this area are unexplored except for one or two which have been explored by a group of Europeans who call themselves the ‘Selanger Speleological association’.  A short search along the base of one hill revealed openings of various sizes all showing promise of fairly large passages beyond.  One such opening – a large resurgence – was over twenty five feet high at the entrance and had an extremely large stream flowing from it.  Lack of equipment on this occasion prevented any exploration.

A further search brought to light a sheer rock face with several small openings at various heights.  The angle of the bedding was about 45 degreees.  After a long climb up a thickly wooded hill, I found numerous openings most of which swallowed small streams.

About 50 miles south of Kaku Bukit lies the small town of Jintra.  The town is surrounded by many strange limestone outcrops.  The land surrounding these outcrops is absolutely flat and yet they rise up to a height of well over two hundred and fifty feet.  The sides – either sheer or extremely steep.

Caves in these outcrops are many, most of them being true pot holes as the bedding here is horizontal.  Exploration of these is out of the question without a fair amount of tackle.  With this in mind, my attention will now be focused on the caves in the north and also those near Kuala Lumpur.

On the geology of Malaya, I know little except for some information obtained from a small book on the country.

The formation of limestone in Malaya seems a little unusual.  About two hundred million years ago, Malaya was beneath the sea and during that time the usual process of the formation of limestone took place.  At some later period, great earth movements took place and the limestone was pushed up to form the present mountain chains.  These mountains apparently had a core of granite.  Today, erosion has proceeded very far and the mountains are little more than residual stumps with their cores of granite widely exposed, but on their flanks here and there are preserved relics of the old limestone – discontinuous on account of the crumbling and fracturing that it suffered when the mountains rose.

“Prew” has also sent the following note: -

If any further information comes my way regarding the caves of, or speleology in Malaya, I’ll let you know.  In the next month or so we hope to explore some of the caves mentioned above.  We are obviously limited by tackle, but we will do as much as we can.

Desilverisation of Mendip Lead

by “Gaff” Fowler.

In a field south west of fair Lady Well, the plough has turned up many fragments of Samian Ware, and several lumps of a heavy, pink, crystalline material together with a few pieces of weathered lead and Galena.

X-ray diffraction showed this pink substance to be mainly composed of crystalline litharge.  (Lead Monoxide – PbO.)

Further examination spectroscopically showed that it contained fairly high percentage of other substances – notably Manganese, Aluminium, Iron, Calcium and traces of a variety of other metals (see note 1)

Crystalline Litharge can only be formed by the cooling of a Litharge melt (melting point 879oC) and this temperature is greater than is usual in the smelting of galena.  Silver was conspicuous by its complete absence (see note 2.).  These two points, plus the fact that the material contained no sulphate or sulphide (see note 3.)  indicated that the material was not a normal slag from the smelting of galena.  In any case, it would have been a very inefficient process to leave a third of the lead behind the stage.

CUPELLATION. – The early method of desilverisation lead (see note 5.) was to allow the molten metal – which contained all the silver from the ore – to cool slowly.  The first crystals to appear were pure lead and these were removed, usually with a perforated iron ladle.  This process was repeated until about seven eighths of the lead had been removed.  This alloy – rich in silver – was then melted on a flat “cupel” or hearth, usually made of limestone clay or a Barytes/clay mixture (see note 6.) in a blast of air.  As the temperature obtained was greater than 900oC, the litharge formed, flowed away, and took with it some of the Calcium, Manganese, Aluminium and other metals present in the hearth, as impurities.  On cooling, it crystallised in pink hexagon crystals.  The remaining litharge was absorbed by the porous cupel, leaving a globule of metallic silver about 99.9% pure.

The analysis of the material found shows that it is probably the residue from a desilverisation process and considering that it was found on a roman site, near to a known roman lead works, it is probable that it is of roman origin.

Lead from Galena found there also (see note 2,) would contain about 0.0006%.  Thus the sample found was a lump of DESILVERISED LEAD.

G. Fowler
15.1 57.

Note 1.

Analysis: - Specific gravity          6.4 – 6.9
                 Chemical Analysis    mainly PbO
                 Spectrographic Analysis:
                        Fe……..5 – 10%
                        Mn..…..2 – 5%
                        Ca….....2 – 5%
 Cu, Ni, Si……..0.1%
       Sb, Ti……..0.01%

The following elements were not detected within the limits of the analysis indicated:

AS, Zn, U         less than 0.1%
Cr, W, Bi, Sn, Cc           less than 0.01%
Ag, Tl, V, Mo    less than 0.001%

Note 2.

The silver content of a lump of galena found on the site was 0.0005%

Note 3.

The smelting of Galena is carried out by oxidation at a low temperature, when the mineral is partially oxidised to sulphate and oxide: -

                        PbS + 2O2 – PbSO
                        2PbS + 3O2 – PbO4 + 2SO2

A little lime is added and the temperature is raised, when the remaining Galena reacts with the partially oxidised products to give lead:

                        PbSO4 + PbS – 2Pb + 2SO2
                        2PbO + PbS – 3Pb + SO2

The slag from this process contains about 10% Pb present as oxide, sulphate and sulphide.  In modern process the lead is recovered from the slag in a blast furnace.

Note 4.

A “Pig” of lead found near Greenore bore the inscription ‘EX ARG.VERB.’ which could be translated as either ‘From the silver mines’ or ‘Desilverised lead’.

Note 5.

Cupellation was mentioned by PLINY.  The process was ‘Rediscovered’ in 1833 by Patterson.

Note 6.

Samples of barites containing Fe, Al, &c as impurities were also found on the site.

Editor’s note on the above.

I know that this is all rather heavy going for the ordinary, or non-chemical member of which I am definitely one myself!  I am told that this work by Gaff is definitely an original contribution to the story of Mendip lead and that more will be heard about it in the learned circles which Gaff frequents.

A series of three articles on lead mining on Mendip will shortly be published in the Belfry Bulletin.  These are being prepared by another of out tame chemists – Merv. Hannam, but will be of a less technical nature than the article above.


As most of our Bristol members will know, Mike Jones and Judy Osborn will be getting married on the 30th of March.  By the time that this issue comes out they will be married, but there will not be time to include a note on the wedding.  The club have been given them a wedding present of some cutlery and we have received the following letter from Judy: -

Dear B.E.C. Members,

            On behalf of my husband and myself I should like to thank you all for the present you gave us on the occasion of our wedding.  Also for all your good wishes for our future happiness.

            Yours sincerely
                        Judith M. Jones

Two more candidates for the matrimonial stakes are Alan Sandall and Carol Venn, who are getting married on the 3rd of April.  We should like to offer them our bets wishes for their future happiness.


The Hut Warden would like to thank Ian Dear for his gift of four new mattresses for the Belfry.  They will come in very useful over Easter.


It haz bene pointed owt too me that i kan’t spel thee naim ov thee mountanes between France and Spain inn last month’s B.B.

I amm sorry fore this and I wil try to improve my speling inn thee futyour.



All contributions for the B.B. may be given or sent to any members of the Editorial Board.  These are Spike Rees, Alan Sandall, Bob Price and Alfie.  Material for the B.B. may also be included in letters to the Secretary.

Secretary.             R.J. Bagshaw, 56 Pensford Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
Editor.                   S.J. Collins, I Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol 8.


Just Like Old Times

By John (Menace) Morris

The other afternoon we received a surprise visit from Ron & Jean Newman, complete with their “Private Army”.  Our “Private Army” having been introduced to theirs we settled down to tea & Ron and I talked of Old Times of Caving & Climbing (Punctuated by much horrid laughter).

Ron then mentioned Haytor which is only about two miles from “Morris Towers” & there & then we decided to go & look at it, leaving the Private Armies engaged in battle, with our ever loving wives acting as umpires we pushed off over the murky moor.

In arriving at the foot of the hill we couldn’t see a thing for fog, so up to the rocks we pounded, at this point I should mention that Ron was attired in very natty gabardine trousers & sweater complete with highly polished leather soled shoes & myself in not so natty trousers & sweater & crepe soled sandals.

We battled up the rock via the easy way (severe in our rig) amid much sliding & the appropriate horrid language, to be nearly blown off the top by the gale, although the mist was as thick as ever.

Haytor I may add has several dozen routes from 15’ to 60’ & from easy to V.S. Standard.

Having scrambled down again I tool Ron off through the murk to see another cliff about 200ft. high consisting of overhanging boiler plates.  We worked out an improbable route (for suicidal maniacs) which was an ascending girdle traverse under all the overhangs.  Needless to say we didn’t attempt this, but left it for other B.E.C. lunatics well supplied with pitons.

We reached the top by the easiest route, just in time for some typical August weather.  Rain & hail lashed down & after deciding which way to run into the mist we tore off back to the car, to arrive drenched to the skin.

On arriving back at home we had a slight dispute with our ever loving wives as to whether we had been gone about half an hour which we said, or over two hours, which they said (Someone must have been wrong).

However after a long spell away from anything to do with caving or climbing I thought it was definitely quite like old times.



It isn’t very often that we can see two articles about the same trip.  Here is Ron Newman’s account.

A Climb on Dartmoor

By Ron Newman

In order to enhance the festive spirit during the Regatta, the pubs in Dartmoor remain open until 11.30pm.

For this reason, the returning traveller must be excused if he feels, to say the least, slightly jaded and ready to welcome any opportunity to break the long journey.  Add to this the desire to look up an old friend, and it is not surprising that the Newman ménage (without an ‘rie on the end) jolted to a halt outside Johnny Morris’ house (the use of the word ‘jolt’ is no reflection on my car – the road is still unmade).

Talk inevitable shifted to climbing and cars.  Regarding the former, it seems that the Menace still keeps his hand on Hay Tor, a few minutes drive away, and has discovered a new face on which no climbs yet exist.  With regard to the latter, we were soon in his new car and roaring off down narrow Derbyshire lanes.

Seemingly of its won volition, the car took us to the road at the foot of Hay Tor.  There was a really thick mist and the threat of rain, and in open-neck shirts and slacks we were obviously not dresses for excursions on the moor.  In view of the Menace’s estimation of the distance at about two hundred yards, we were soon out of the car and swallowed up in the mist.

One or two more cars were parked in the same spot, and their occupants’ hearts must have beat a little faster as they perceived what must have seemed to them two desperate convicts continuing their flight on foot.

Visibility was down to about fifteen feet, if that, but Johnny led on unerringly and soon a large lump of granite loomed up out of the mist.  We gained the summit by one of the easier routes without ropes.  The fact that the rock was streaming and that we were wearing leather soled shoes and crepe soled sandals respectively, made the ascent rather amusing.  On arrival at the summit we met a gale that all but blew us off again so we descended, vanished in the mist again and soon stood before another granite face which Johnny located unerringly.  I might add that, after being able to lose a whole mountain in Wales for some hours in a mist, I have the most profound respect for the Menace’s navigation, twice admirably demonstrated not on whole mountains but comparatively insignificant outcrops.  This was the new face, as yet untried by climbers’ boot.  As far as I could make out in the mist, it is some 60’ high by 100’ long, though I may be sadly out.  It looks severe and above, the few existing holds being mainly in the wrong direction, so that progress will depend on leaning out on the arms on undercut holds with the feet supported by friction only – definitely for rubbers.  It might make a pleasant change from Wales and the local climbs, so I suggest anyone interested should contact Johnny Morris.

While pottering about on the lower part of this cliff such a rain and hailstorm began that even Wales would be hard put to equal it.  We fled, the Menace again finding the way back to the car with uncanny accuracy.

We returned rather sheepishly, absolutely soaked, to face the domestic storm.  We confessed to the crime of getting ourselves stupidly wet, then endeavoured to attend for our sin by pointing out that, although they had been left with four little girls – who were growing somewhat fractious by now – we had at least been away for a short time, certainly less than an hour.

“What,” they shrieked in unison, “You’ve been gone two and a half hours!”

R. Newman.

Future of the BB

In this, the first issue of 1957, I feel the time is appropriate to discuss the B.B. its past, its present & its future.  When the Belfry Bulletin was first published in Jan 1947, just 10 years ago – we set out to make it amongst the foremost club periodical in the country.  As our field of interest widened so did the B.B.’s, and I would refer you to the issues of 1950 to 1955, when both material & reproduction were good, some copies, naturally were not so good as others from both respects but in general although there was a singular lack of local caving news (a tradition of the B.E.C.!!!) there was something of interest in each issue.

Today the picture has radically changed – the amount of copy arriving is small & the reproduction standard has gone to hell.  In the past it was always possible to hold a “buffer” stock of variegated material from which a selection could be made to ensure that there was variety in each and every issue.  Now, as readers are aware, the situation is such that at times we have had to suspend issues altogether owing to a complete lack of material.

The fall in reproductive quality is very worrying – the Stencils are being cut in the same manner & on the same machine as in the past & so it can be assured that unless there is a variant in the Stencils themselves, they are the same as always.  This leaves two possible causes of trouble – the machine or the slaves that work it.  The machine, an Ellams Rotary Duplicator was purchased in 1947, but has actually done very little work (the B.B. is 99% of its job) compared with the use it would get commercially, but like a child it needs coaxing & looking after.

Alan who is the master slave, spent some considerable time with K. Dobbs on B.B. production before he left Bristol, so it again can be assured that the work he does is up to standard, especially as quite a percentage of the prints are excellent.  He has overhauled the machine & can find nothing wrong.  For some time he has been complaining about “Blue” on the Stencil & and this blue seems to be the root of the trouble – it started with the last batch of Stencils & it appears that the carbon supplied is of a softer nature than heretofore – leaving a thick deposit on the back of the Stencil.  This deposit is oily, would inhibit the passing of ink through the Stencil & could be the cause of the trouble we have been experiencing.  I have now scrapped all the blue Carbon Paper & we shall see what happens next.  If the matter is settled in this way all blue Carbon Paper will be avoided like the plague in future.

I recently had the opportunity of chatting with several members about the B.B. and found that in a number of cases it quickly found its way into the waste paper basket as being unreadable (literally) or uninteresting, or both, members feel that it is a waste of time sending articles to anyone that cannot be deciphered, or even if it can be reads is of very low literary standard.  I was told that in the past members went to a lot of trouble to ensure that their articles were of a high standard, but nowadays “anything” is printed.

What of the future?  The B.B. is the only link between many members & the club.  As it is at present it is a liability & not an asset – it consumes an amazing amount of the club income & as such should be worthy of us.  There are several solutions.  The easiest one, closing down, is the last one we should take.  We could have the B.B. duplicated commercially, but this would put up the cost a lot – we could have a printed cover like certain other clubs, again at a higher cost – BUT all these things will not put up our literary standards.  Only the members can do that.  The present method is a “snob” one – “My article is too good for the B.B.” – such an outlook is deplorable & indefensible.  How on earth can we improve if those capable of improving it won’t help? – once we can get a steady flow of good material coming in, I can afford to reject, as in the past, those that do not “measure up”.  If members will co-operate, I can promise an improvement in literary quality very quickly, although it must be appreciated that miracles cannot happen overnight.

I have already been noted for my plain speaking and if this article will lift the B.B. from its present all time low, the coals of fire that will be heaped on my head will burn quite painlessly.

Finally I would like to issue a special appeal for articles to start the process of rebirth – news items from Mendip – news of members – articles of a technical & non-technical nature & so on, & I would like to thank that very small band of writers whose efforts have helped us along in the past.  I would like too, to receive suggestions as to how we can progress, and also criticism.  If an issue is bloody tells us so – we shall know that you are reading it.

T.H. Stanbury    (Hon. Editor).

Why I’m Glad I’m Thin

By R.S. “Kangy” King

As the traffic in St. Cuthbert’s Swallet thickens, the likelihood of someone of portly dimensions, sticking in the entrance pitch increases.

Not to worry.  The following method of extraction was used at Whitsun.

  1. First wedge your victim.

  2. Fasten a lifeline under their armpits.
    This pitch is usually climbed without a lifeline because it is tight but in a case of exhaustion it is probably of help to safeguard the reluctant cork.  Climbing to the victim should be done, using the ladder as little as possible as possible to avoid overloading it.  While the line is being tied, advantage can be taken of one’s proximity to the cork to mutter encouraging words, such as Beer of Percentage Proof.  (Though these were found to engender frustration).

  3. The ladder can then be drawn up with the victim on it.

  4. We were amazed how easy it was.  Two could just manage to raise the ladder while three hauling brought it up like a lift.

The ideal number at the top of the pitch is four, one manipulating the lifeline and three hauling the ladder.

Someone in a fainting condition was extracted in this way while morale was boosted by shouting the seventeen stone bloke wot we pulled out last Micklemas.

The method could be extended to rescuing unconscious victims by tying them to the ladder; in this case guides in the pitch would probably be necessary.  This we haven’t tried.

R.S. “Kangy” King.


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


Editor’s Note

A most members will already know, it was decided at the last A.G.M. that the Belfry Bulletin should be run by an Editorial Board.  This board consists of “Spike” Rees, Alan Sandall and myself and since the A.G.M., we have been joined by Bob Price.

Having introduced ourselves, we should like to explain what we have done so far and what we hope to do in the future.  The printed cover will be standard from now on, and older readers may recognise the title styling.  This first appeared on B.B. number 3.  I believe that we have Don Coase to thank for the design.  The large print headings are designed to assist those who, through failing eyesight or insufficient practice, have difficulty in reading small print.

Failing some dire catastrophe occurring, we will have each month’s B.B. ready for stapling on the first Thursday of the month regularly.  (We’ve got to do this in any case, as we’ve had all the dates printed on the covers in advance!).  We shall not appeal for articles, but will amongst you with big sticks.

Seriously though – we have made a start, we hope in the right direction.  There is still a lot of improving to be done.  Any suggestions will be very welcome, including any offers of help, materials of work.


Report of the Annual General Meeting 

----- A personal account of the main items of interest – by Bob Bagshaw.

The A.G.M. started a little late and the attendance reached a total of 37.

The Hon. Secretary reported that the total membership had fallen slightly to 117.  The drop from 98 to 82 for the Annual Dinner was attributed to the petrol, situation.  It was hoped that the purchase of the Belfry site, the installation of mains electricity and water and the provision of a new Tackle Store would soon be completed.

The Hon. Treasurer reported that, in view of the proposed expenditure, the outstanding loans should not be repaid yet and he appealed for donations or more Life Memberships and also for the prompt payment or subs.

The Caving Secretary reported the continuance of work on most of the caves discovered by the club.  A very small cave had been entered during the year.  The participation by the club in the Pen Park Hole project had not gone smoothly.  He deplored the attitude taken by some members of the group set  up by Professor Palmer and suggested that club abandon its share in the work.  After some discussion, it was agreed not to do this.

The Climbing Secretary reported another successful year, which included several trips to the Pyrenees and Skye.  There have been several trips for novices to the nearby climbs as well as trips to the regular climbs throughout the county.

The Tackle Officer reported the loss of one 20’ ladder.  (This has subsequently been found with the Wessex tackle).  Three more 20’ ladders have been rebuilt during the year.  The new tackle store will ease the storage position and enable a better check to be kept on tackle.

The Hut Warden reported a total of 1,062 bed-nights in spite of the loss of some regulars to the Shepton Hut.  A Bank Holiday record of 115 bed nights was set up over Easter.  The redecoration of the Belfry was continuing.

The Hon. Librarian reported that there had been less borrowing of books in spite of the purchase of 16 new books.  The use of a cupboard at Redcliffe Hall has been offered and when books are there perhaps the borrowing, and also the attendance at the Hall may increase.

There were several resolutions regarding improvements to the B.B. and after some discussion, an Editorial Board was elected.  A vote of thanks to Harry Stanbury for his work was carried unanimously.

Following some argument, a resolution to delete the words “one of whom shall be a lady member” from clause 5 of the club Constitution was carried by 18 votes to 6.

The meeting closed at 5.45 after a vote of thanks to the chair.

February Committee Meeting.

The 1957 committee held their first meeting at the Belfry on February 3rd.  The following jobs were allocated: -

Hon. Secretary and Treasurer         R.J. Bagshaw
Chairman                                      R.A. Setterington
Caving Secretary                           D. Coase
Climbing Secretary                        R. King
Hut Warden                                   A. Collins
Tackle Warden                              N. Petty
Hut Engineer                                 C. Rees
Assistant Hon. Secretary               A. Sandall
Ladies Representative                    J. Osborn

Other business dealt with included the provision of a larger notice board and a chalk box (both of which have been promised) the production of certificates for Hon. Life members, the plans for the new hut (which are to be submitted to the Town and Country Planning) and the progress on obtaining mains water and electricity.

Notices & Reminders

New Members.

We welcome the following new members to the club: -

Peter Graham (375)  6, Lawrence Mansions, Chelsea, London S.W.1.
John Jenkins (374)  126 Bridge Lane, Golders Green, London N.W.2.

List of Members

To keep the recently published list of members up to date, the following should be added: -

74/80    Tompsett (Mr.  & Mrs.) 51 Rotham Ave, Gt. Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex.
245       Pembry, J.S.  Grove View, Hambrook, Nr. Bristol.
270       Brown, V.  79 Ingleside Rd., Kingswood, Bristol.
273       Hampton, Mrs. L.J.  Gesling Hill, Thorner, Nr. Leeds, Yorks.
372       Healy, M.J.  25 Water Lane, Bristlington, Bristol 4.
373       Hobbs, S.M.  135 Doncaster, Rd. Southmead, Bristol.

-----and the following amendments should be made: -

237       Scott, B.  should read 39, Colbrook Ave, Hayes, Middx.
348       Thomas, D.M.  should read 1 Ashburton Rd., Southmead, Bristol.

Caving Reports.

There are still some copies of the Cuthbert’s report left.  Price 2/6 or 3/- post free.  Apply to the Hon. Sec.

Library Books and Lamp Spares.

These are now available every Thursday night at Redcliffe Hall.

Annual Subs.

The Treasurer would like to remind those who have not yet paid their subs. for 1957.

Scrambles Swallet

Miss Jean Campbell, Geoff Fowler and Kangy King beg to announce the existence of a natural cavity which they have discovered on Sunday, January 27th, 1957.

The swallet, the presence of which had been known for some time, had defeated earlier attempts at digging by continually refilling any excavation with mud – so it had been abandoned.  However, a storm altered things.  It blew down a tree at the site, and the hole which appeared drained a small pond, thus removing the mud menace.  This was the situation when our heroic trio began their investigation.

The first stage in the dig was to remove a selection of large boulders which at once revealed a narrow sloping passage ending after about six feet.  Wriggling in we found one bat and a loose floor.  Wriggling out and then wriggling in head first, steady work was began on the loose large stones and fine-earth floor, which was banished form the immediate scene by ingeniously pushing it upwards and backwards between the legs.  This brought us to more boulders.  These were removed by much strenuous pulling upon a rope which was too short, and frantic pushing from below.  A particular bulky rock was pulled out and through the hole and to the left is was possible to see a large, indeterminate open space.  The hole was big enough to squeeze through.  We lit more lamps, and with considerable excitement squeezed through the hole, dropping into a passage the floor of which sloped steeply and was of loose stones and earth.  We moved easily on until the passage ended after about twenty five feet, in another choke.  This looked as it would take a longer time to clear, so we retreated.  Once outside, the discovery was named Scrambles Swallet and photographs were taken.  We are particularly pleased that the cavity is inhabited by no less than eight Lesser Horseshoe bats, all un-ringed.

For those interested in viewing the Swallet, it is situated (I digress here to ask the Editor to make sure he places the commas correctly) and please don’t knock down any more of the dry stone wall as you leave.  In accordance with current Bristol practice, Mr. Fowler insists that, before anyone is allowed to explore, the entrance shaft must be enlarged considerably and made safe for him to enter comfortably.  No photographs to be taken without his permission.  Miss Campbell insists that no-one is to enter until the botanists and geologists have had their fill.  Mr. King insists that he’s never seen such treacherous looking clay and would like some corporative shoring.

The possibility of extending the system seems good.  One is able to see a rift on the left of the entrance and the stream flows vigorously to the right.  We think that the bats used the steam course as their entrance and exit.

With due modesty, we suggest that this discovery might be classified as B.E.C.’s first for 1957.

Odd Items

A trip has been arranged down LAMB LEER for Sunday, March 24th, at 3pm.  Names should be given to the Caving Sec. (D.A. Coase) to reach him by or on Thursday, 21st March.

Poem to fill up an odd space.

At Hunter’s Lodge – a certain bloke
Occasionally gets slightly tight.
While showing all the lads a joke
He met his “match” the other night!

Climbing - Weekend in North Wales.

For some time now, it has been the practice of mountaineering members of the club to hire a brake for the purpose of travelling to North Wales.  With a certain amount of imagination it is possible to fit eight people plus gear into a brake.  We aim to leave Bristol, after picking up the excursionists at strategic points, at about 6.30pm on the Friday evening, arriving at a suitable farm after midnight.  Naturally, we do as little as possible while we are there, and with profound relief we start back late on Sunday afternoon.  Each person makes his own arrangements for food, entertainment and bed.  Bed is usually in a barn or a tent.

The total cost of the whole weekend (excluding beer money) seems to be of the order of twenty five shillings per head.  (Does this include the cost of overturning vehicles as well? – Ed.)  This cost was before petrol rationing, and the increased cost of petrol is expected to add five shillings per head to the bill.

If anyone would like to be given notice of such trips, I suggest they contact me.  I regret that it is not possible to give notice in the B.B., as they are usually arranged on the spur of the moment.

Ron King. – “Kangy.”
Climbing Sec.


The following has been extracted from a letter recently sent out by the U.B.S.S. concerning their new regulations about G.B. Cave: -

The “In” and “Out” notice board at the entrance to the cave has been altered as the former arrangement was unsatisfactory.  It is now an indicator board with date, club, and “In” and “Out” tabs, which should be used instead of writing on the board.  The board will only show the club down the cave and not the individual names of cavers.

This Society (the U.B.S.S.) acting agents for the owners wish to remind clubs, and through them, individual members, that it is still the policy of the owners to restrict entry to the cave, and that a “free-for-all” type of entry has never been envisaged or sanctioned.  Nevertheless, there is evidence from several difference sources that members of clubs are not observing the spirit of the rules, even if they manage to stick to the letter…..they have been granted considerable privileges by the owners and these should not be abused for if they are the owners are likely to withdraw them.

The guest rule is only intended to cover two groups of persons either members of a visiting club in another caving area, or a distinguished visitor of friend of a member.  Such persons should never exceed three in any one trip.

…….If a club party is large; there must be an adequate number of experienced cavers in it.  The total number of the party, including any guests, must not exceed 20.

…….Where more than one day is allocated at a weekend; the club may use either day but NOT both.

 (A special supply of application forms was sent with this letter.  These have now been given to the Caving Secretary to whom members should apply).

B.E.C. Dates for G.B. Trips.

March 30/31
May 11/12
June 29/30
August 3/5


Any articles of information may be given or sent to any member of the Editorial Board, or sent direct to the secretary.

Secretary.    R.J. Bagshaw, 56 Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.
Editor           S.J. Collins, 1 Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol 8.



A very Merry Xmas to all our members friends and readers all over the world.

Islands and Highlands

by  J.S. Pembry

Leaving Manchester on Sunday Oct. 7th Glencoe village was reached after roaring through the Glen in a gale at speeds above the ton – the wildest drive I can remember.  It always rains at Ballachulish and Monday was no exception!  Stores were taken on at Fort William and a visit made to the Handicrafts Exhibition (Harris Socks 4/6 a pair!).  Near Glen Nevis we became airborne at speed, my head hitting the roof.  Through the great Glen and glorious sunshine to Invergarry and left turn towards Kyle of Loch – fifty-three miles of single track mountain road, lochs and the wild glory of autumn colour.  On those roads a corner usually coincides with a hump, the nose of your car rises and you look up at the sky until she drops – and you see another hump a few feet away… Beware!!  Sixteen shillings return over the sea to Skye and forty miles on the island to the Cuillin, but never was money better spent.  Go to Mrs. Sutherland’s at Glenbrittle and all will be well for 3/6 per night and all round but the food, which you MUST take with you – No shops, no pub and the grocer calls once a week.

The first evening saw my dream of a sunset in the Isles come true – such beauty I never before could imagine existed in the British Isles.  The next day there were blue, blue mountains, blue sea, blue sky and blue islands, and the spirit was uplifted to ecstatic heights as was also the body – to the summit of Sgurr Doarg, and the view of the main ridge and such mountains as Skye alone can offer.

Day two was a little showery yet the top of Alistair was dead calm while a great gale thundered up the stone chute thick with hail and impossible without a suit of armour.  In a few minutes all was white with snow and thunder rolled.  We descended to the immense slabs below Coir ‘A’ Ghrunnda where the water of the stream was returned as spray to the mountain by the great force of wind.  Thursday was wet.

Friday was sunny and saw the longest trip of the vac.  We had quite an adventurous climax creeping along unknown narrow ledges in a snow storm to by-pass Bidein Druim Nan Ramh and so crossing the main ridge and climbing down the steep gullies to Glenbrittle.

Saturday saw the return to the mainland, the car garaged in an hotel and the boat for Stornoway taken on a glassy sea.  Two choirs entertained us with Gaelic songs and an accordion played for dancing on board.  The singing over the water is something I shall never forget.

Sunday was spent in Stornoway – no buses, shops, snack bars or cinemas – only the Kirk.  The singing was really inspiring and only a few seats were left in the church.  Never is such a thing seen South of the Border.

Monday came, and we took THE bus to Harris.  The bus is also Postman, grocer, milkman, newsagent and general carrier. From the top of Clisham was a sight I have waited for years to see – a sea of clouds with the peaks above in the sun. This was indeed worth the crossing of the Minch.  We left Stornoway by boat at 12.30 and after an evening visit to a big spinning mill, and by Tuesday evening I was alone in camp at Torrindon listening to the dismal roar of the stags in the throes of their armours.

Wednesday was cloudy but the highest mountain in Ross was climbed and the entire ridge of the Liathach traversed, again to the music of the deer. Thursday and away to Inverness passing through the sunlit wonders of the Highlands. After an excellent night at a Guest House at Dingwall, Friday found us on the summit of Cairngorm with one of the finest views in Scotland – but there was not an Eagle in sight although we did see Ptarmigan, which are quite rare.

Saturday was a day of rest at Inverness and on Sunday – the last and (dammit!) the finest day of the fortnight, the 410 miles to Manchester was covered in eight hours, the Blackpool traffic holding us up or the trip would have been faster still.  So ended a truly glorious vac. in some of the finest scenery in Europe.  Haste ye back again to Scotland.                                                                   J.S. Pembry

A Christmas Party

The Axbridge Caving Group & Archaeological Society are holding another Christmas Party at the Red Lion Hotel, Axbridge on the 22nd December at 7.30pm (Saturday).  There will be the usual games of darts, skittles & snooker etc.  Charge is 1/- per head to cover the cost of the room. B.E.C. members are cordially invited.

Additions to Club Library

British Caver



Wessex Cave Club

The News of N.S.S.

The News of N.S.S.

The News of N.S.S.

The News of N.S.S.

The News of N.S.S.

The News of N.S.S

Cave & Crag Club Newsletter

South Wales Cave Club – Newsletter

South Wales Cave Club – Newsletter

Devon Spelaeological Society Newsletter

Devon Spelaeological Society Newsletter

Devon Spelaeological Society Newsletter

Devon Spelaeological Society Newsletter

Devon Spelaeological Society Newsletter

Cave Science

The Speleologist

Walks and Climbs in Malta

Camertonia the Journal of the Camerton Excavation Club

C.R.G. Newsletter

Biological Supplement C.R.G.

B.C.C.C. Newsletter


Your Librarian is: -


Vol. 27 1956

Vol. 3  No. 1 and 2 1955

Vol. 3  No. 3 and 4 1955

No. 56  May 1956

Vol. 12  No. 12  Dec. 1954

Vol. 14  No. 4  April 1956

Vol. 14  No. 5  May 1956

Vol. 14  No. 6  June 1956

Vol. 14  No. 7  July 1956

Vol. 14  No. 8  Aug. 1956

Vol. 5  No. 2  March 1956

No. 15  May 1956

No. 16  July 1956

No. 44  April 1955

No. 45  July 1955

No. 46  Sept. 1955

No. 47  Feb. 1956

No. 48  Mar. 1956

No. 26  1956





July-Aug. 1956  No. 58 & 59


Vol. 5  No. 3  June 1956


John Ifold, Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke,


An Underwater Torch

The G.E.C. have now produced a watertight torch suitable for underwater use. In the past, various firms have produced torches labelled ‘Watertight’ but from practical experiences, have found the majority of these although suitable for use in rain are useless for Diving.

This G.E.C. Underwater Torch is however, specifically designed for Underwater use and is treated to resist the action of salt water and is guaranteed completely watertight in either Salt or Fresh water to a depth of 100ft.

The catalogue No. is BA6061 and the retail price is £2.1.9d plus 8.0d Purchase Tax. If you have any difficulty obtaining same locally send your order to me enclosing the necessary cash.

T.H. Stanbury.

List of Members 1956/7

If your name has been wrongly omitted from this list please accept my apologies and let me know.  This also applies to any incorrect of incomplete addresses.

R.J. Bagshaw Hon. Sec.


Andrew T.O.

135, Danson Road, Bexley, Kent.


Attwood J.

4, Bridge Road, Shortwood, Nr, Mangostfield, Bristol.


Bagshaw R.J.

56, Ponsford Road, Knwole, Bristol. 4.


Balcombe D.J.

26, Bennett Gardens, Norbury, London, S.W.16.


Hall A.H.

29, Pearle Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire.


Barrington N.

7, Pickhurst Lane, Hayes, Bromley, Kent.


Bater R.

2, Upper Perry Hill, Southville, Bristol. 3.


Bennett R.H.

37, Queens Road, Ashley Down, Bristol. 7.


Beynon W.L.

Lower Lodge, Weston Park House, Weston Park, Bath.


Blogg. P.M.

66, Wessex Avenue, Horfield, Bristol. 7.


Borner A.

42, Air Balloon Road, St. George, Bristol. 5.


Bowden-Lyle S. Miss

120, Wilbury Road, Letchworth.


Brain R.G.

10, Weston Avenue, Cossham Road, St. George, Bristol. 5.


Brooks N.

392, Victoria Road, Ruislip, Middlesex.


Brown R.

5, Ormerod Road, Stoke Bishop, Bristol. 9.


Burt P.E.

3, Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts.


Burt Mrs.

3, Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts.


Busson B. Miss

37, Southcote Rise, Ruislip, Middlesex.


Buxton J.

c/o T. Barber Esq., Coppinton Farm, Wellesbourne, Nr. Warwick.


Buxton Mrs.

c/o T. Barber Esq., Coppinton Farm, Wellesbourne, Nr. Warwick.


Carter R.

19, Churchill Road, Wells, Somerset.


Cassell L.C.

50, Elmdale Road, Bedminster, Bristol. 3.


Chamberlain B.R.

102, Egerton Road Bishopston, Bristol. 7.


Coase D.A.

Batsford, Lower Failand, Nr. Bristol.


Collins S.J.

1, Kensington Place, Clifton, Bristol.


Copeley-Jones B.

The White House, Dolberrow, Churchill, Somerset.


Crawford A.J.

3, Hillside, Harefield, Nr, Uxbridge, Middlesex.


Dale M.B.

57, Kingsway Avenue, Kingswood, Bristol. 5.


Davies T.

154, Boston Manor Road, Brentford, Middlesex.


Dear I.A.

Sowter Lodge, North Quay, Weymouth, Dorset.


Dobbs F.C.

97, Heath Barton, Whipton, Exeter.


Dunn A.M.

70, The Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol.


Etough J.A.

116, Newbridge Road, St. Annes Park, Bristol. 4.


Ellis B.

24, Ludwick Way, Welwyn Garden City, Herts.


England D.

15, Springleaze, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


Fairman D. Miss

Cranmore View, Priddy, Nr. Wells.


Falshaw C.P.

50, Rockside Drive, Henleaze, Bristol.


Fielder R.J.

189, Divinity Road, Oxford.


Fincham A.

1, Leeds University Union, Leeds. 2.


Fletcher T.E.

The Old Mill House, Barnack, Nr. Stamford, Lincs.


Fowler G.A.

77, Kingshill Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


Gardner K.S.

22, Wesley Hill, Kingswood, Bristol.


Gee S.

40, Church Road, Heaton Noris, Stockport, Cheshire.


George A. Miss

“Beeches”, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset.


Gommo D.J.

46, Beckington Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


Griffiths G.H.

164, St. Johns Lane, Bedminster, Bristol. 3.


Groves N.K.

6, Woodchester Road, Henleaze, Bristol.


Gwinnel D.

78, Days Road, Bristol. 5.


Hannam M.

14B, Vyvyan Terrace, Clifton, Bristol. 8.


Harris C.W.

14, Market Place, Wells, Somerset.


Hasell D.H.

Hill House, Moorlynch, Nr. Bridgwater, Somerset.


Houghton E.

35, Mackie Avenie, Filton, Bristol.


Hunt D.G.

19, Spring Street, Cadoxton, Barry, Glamorgan.


Hurcombe S. Miss

M.S. Heron, R.N.A.S. Yeovilton, Yeovil, Somerset.


Ifold J.W.

Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Somerset.


Ifold P.

Sunnyside, Rectory Lane, Compton Martin.


Isles M.W.

33, Greenleaze, Knowle Park, Bristol. 4.


Jenkins R.L.

5, North Street, Downend, Bristol.


Jones M.

12, Melton Crescent, Horfield, Bristol. 7.


Jones U.

3, Durham Street, Elswich Road, Newcastle-on- Tyne.


Kemp D.

17, Becmead Avenue, Streatham, London, S.W.16.


King R.

1, Lynmouth Road, Bristol. 2.


Lacy D.J.

31, Devon Grove, Whitehall, Bristol.5.


Lamb J.

365, Filton Avenue, Bristol. 7.


Marriott C.A.

718, Muller Road, Eastville, Bristol. 5.


Mason E.J.

11, Kendon Drive, Wellington Hill West, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.


Mitchell D.

2, Selwood Road, From, Somerset.


Mossman T.G.

c/o Y.M.C.A. Colston Street, Bristol.


Murray K.H.

17, Harrington Gardens, South Kensington, London, S.W.7.


Newman R.

63, Sandling Avenue, Horfield, Bristol. 7.


Nichols C.

“Gen Fou”, Welwyn Heath, Welwyn, Herts.


Nicholson F.

60, Christchurch Street, East Frome, Somerset.


Osborn T.J. Miss

389, Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol. 7.


Pegram J.

4, Moffats Lane, Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Herts.


Peters L.

21, Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


Petty N.J.

12, Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol. 4.


Pink T.

53, Burnthwaite Road, Fulham, London, S.W.6.


Platten G.

Rotherfield, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, Hants.


Preston A.R.

43, West Town Lane, Brsilington, Bristol. 4.


Prewer B.E.

14, Egerton Road, Bath, Somerset.


Price R.J.

Somermead, Bedminster, Bristol.3.


Radmoer D.

22, St. Michaels Park, Bristol. 2.


Ratcliffe T.

31, Berkeley Square, Bristol. 8.


Rees C.

2, Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.


Rice A.L.C.

20, Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol. 7.


Rich A.

8, Trelawney Road, Brislington, Bristol. 4.


Rollason J. Miss

157, Pen Park Road, Southmead, Bristol.


Rowley J.

52, Granby Hill, Clifton, Bristol. 8.


Sandall A.J.E.

35, Beauchamp Road, Bristol. 7.


Scott B.

22, Bishop Road, Bishopston, Bristol. 7.


Setterington R.

86, Grand Drive, Raynes Park, London, S.W. 20.


Setterington R.A.

89, Kingston Road, Taunton, Somerset.


Setterington Mrs

89, Kingston Road, Taunton, Somerset.


Skinner J.

12, Hurst Walk, Filwood Park, Bristol. 4.


Smith R.M.

24, Marlborough Street, St. James, Bristol. 2.


Sneddon B.

9, Newfields, Welwyn Garden City, Herts.


Stafford J.M.

91, Hawthorne Street, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


Stanbury I.M. Mrs.

74, Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


Stanbury T.H.

48, Novers Park Road, Knowle. Bristol. 4.


Stenner R.

38, Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol. 3.


Stewart P.A.E.

131, St. Peters Rise, Bishopsworth, Bristol. 3.


Thomas A.R.

Kingdown Manor School, Kingsdown, Somerset.


Thomas D.M.

1, Ashburton Road, Shirehampton, Bristol.


Towler E.

11, St. Philips Road, London, E.8.


Tregoning A.

38, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol.


Venn C.F. Miss

108, Bishop Road, Bishopston, Bristol. 7.


Waddon J.

7, Haydon Road, Taunton, Somerset.


Wallis R.M.

“Swildons”, 343, Upton Lane, Widnes, Lancs.


Willis D.A.

25, Chamberlain Street, Wells Somerset.


Willis Mrs.

25, Chamberlain Street, Wells Somerset.


Woodford R.A.

80, Torrington Road, Ruislip, Middlesex.