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Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481.BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele:  WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     R. Bennett
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; M.J. Palmer, N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. BAGSHAW, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. LARGE, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Assit. Cav. Sec. R. BENNETT, 8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trim, Bristol BRISTOL 627813
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 27 Quantock Rd, Windmill Hill, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
Hut Warden:      R. ORR.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. ORR (Acting for the time being)
Tacklemaster:    M.J. PALMER. 27 Roman Way, Paulton, BS18 5XB
B.B. Editor:       S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Publications:     D.J. IRWIN.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset

1973 Annual Dinner

No, it's not a misprint! We do mean 1973.  Other caving club dinners are noted for various activities (bun throwing etc.) but the B.E.C. dinner usually manages to provide something in the way of ENTERTAINMENT for members and their guests.

Working on the assumption that it's never too early to start planning, DAVE SEARLE has volunteered to collect ideas and volunteers for suitable jollity at next years dinner. Chris ("I'm the dreaded Fagin") Harvey has already signed up.  Bring and/or send yourselves and your bright ideas to Dave at Dolphin Cottage (just up the road from the Belfry).



Club Members

A feature of the November B.B. is the list of club members that is traditionally published at this time of the year.  Typing out these names is usually a sad task, when one realises how many of one's old friends are no longer among those present.  This year, however, any such thoughts are balanced by the fact that, for the first time that I can remember at any rate, the actual numbers top the two hundred mark.  (I am open to correction here, but counting wives listed, I make it 201 in fact.)

Even more encouraging is the fact that membership numbers, having just reached eight hundred; mean that a quarter of all the people who have ever been members of the B.E.C. are still, happily, with us.  When one considers that the B.E.C. is about thirty seven years old, and one makes due allowance for those who join the club, only to disappear almost at once, the remaining figure causes some optimism.

Although, inevitably, times change and cavers with them, and to this extent the club is bound to change too, one likes to think that the club we have today is still recognisably the B.E.C. and such that members who are no longer as active as they once were still like to keep in touch.

No Trumpets for 300?

I have been asked why no mention was made in these pages of the fact that the B. B. reached its 300th issue.  Alas - the sad truth - as stated recently in no less a publication that the Wessex Journal - is that no editor of any Mendip caving publication can count.  Owing to a typical series of arithmetical boobs, the B.B. has not yet reached its three hundredth edition in spite of what the serial numbers might say.  When this actually happens, I will let people know.

Tuesday Evening Caving

Owing to the run down of the Tuesday night digging team in Cuthbert’s, I propose to organise a programme of caving trips on Tuesday evenings, providing there is sufficient demand. Why not drop me a line, or see me at the Belfry most weekends if you are interested?

Tim Large

Shock Treatment

A snippet sent in by Jock Orr.

When Dr. Henry Oakley was studying medicine, he used to augment his frugal income from his student's allowance by serving part time as a butcher's assistant by day and as a hospital porter by night.

Shortly after arriving on duty, the hospital night staff were electrified to see a newly admitted plump limbed and matronly woman of some prestige in the district running down the exit corridor, clad only in a flapping stretcher blanket, screaming at the top of her voice "What's that +?~: ?&Qi butcher doing in here?" - with a wheeled stretcher piloted by Henry Oakley in hot pursuit of his daytime customer!


Odd bits of information - humorous or informative - are always very useful to fill up odd spaces in the B.B. and to prevent any waste of paper!  The editor is always glad to receive anything suitable.


The Editor apologises for the delay in producing this B.B. which have been mainly because he has had a lot of work on of one sort and another.


Caves and Caving

A seasonal review the caving picture TIM LARGE, caving secretary.

As usual, at this time of the year, I am in the process of arranging a caving programme for the coming year.  Up to now I have only been able to organise meets for two to three months in advance because there is a shortage of members who are prepared to lead club trips. Those that have done so in the past have been approached by me in person.

Recently, however, a member suggested and offered to lead a series of club trips during the winter months. This offer was, needless to say, very welcome.  The trips were advertised in the B. B., but when the date of the first trip arrived, nobody except the leader turned up!

Now, if I don't organise club trips, members complain - and when I do nobody seems interested.  This has happened on a number of occasions recently and some of the trips that have taken place have been very poorly attended.

Perhaps now that members appreciate more fully the problems involved, the solution becomes obvious. If members want club trips (not only on Mendip) but further a field as well) please would they let me know what they are interested in doing.  I would also like to hear from any one who is willing to lead any particular trips. After all, this IS your club, and I think it would be a much more united organisation if everyone took a more active interest in club events.

Because of the various access arrangements for a large number of caves nowadays, it is essential for me to have plenty of notice for trips.  Below, I have listed the access arrangements for the more popular caves:-

LONGWOOD  Keys held by Dave Irwin and Tim Large.

RHINO RIFT  Key held by Tim Large.

G.B. CAVERN  At least ONE MONTH’S notice required to book key with U.B.S.S.

Charterhouse Caving Committee Permits are necessary for all the above holes.  I have the application forms, so make sure that you get a permit before descending any of the above.


Trips can be arranged, but the party is limited to FIVE.


Trips can be arranged with Gough's Caves during the winter months (November to February).  At least ONE MONTH’S notice is required.


I can obtain the key at short notice.


At least THREE TO FOUR WEEK’S notice is required, together with names and addresses of everyone in the party.


The club has its own leaders for O.F.D.1.  They are Roy Bennett; Mike Palmer; Tony Meadon and Dave Irwin.


Leaders are not required, but a few weeks notice of the trip to S.W.C.C. is desirable.  Several of the above leaders are familiar with these parts of the cave.


Leaders are required.  The club has its own leaders who are: - Andy MacGregor, Colin Priddle and Phil Kingston.


Some of the caves are controlled by the N.C.C.C. e.g. Easegill Caverns, Lost John's System, Penyghent Pot, Hut Pot & Lancaster Hole.  These need as much notice as possible - maybe as much as six months because of their popularity.  Also some caves are closed during the grouse breeding season. (April to June approx.)

I have a copy of the Northern Cave Handbook which gives full details of access to all Yorkshire Caves.


Some caves are controlled by the D.C.A. so plenty of notice is required to complete the necessary arrangements


Smitham Chimney

From time to time, articles on the lead mining industry on Mendip have appeared in the B.B.  We thought that members might therefore be interested in the state of the only remaining example of a lead smelting chimney and print a letter recently received from the Mendip Society.

I thought you might like to know of the efforts we are making on behalf of Smitham Chimney.  I am sure you will know the public concern expressed about the condition and fate of this scheduled building from the publicity it has been given on television and in the newspapers.

Smitham chimney is the sole surviving example on Mendip of the once flourishing lead mining and smelting industry.  It is a notable local landmark, visible against the Forestry Commission’s trees in Frances Plantation, as one approaches from the Castle of Comfort to Compton Martin.  It was renovated in 1919 because it was valued at that time as an important local feature.  However, since then its condition has gradually deteriorated, particularly with regard to the upper third of the brickwork.  For your interest, I enclose a report on the chimney by Dr. Buchan of Bath University.  This report formed part of our submission to the Ministry of the Environment when the Society applied for the chimney to be scheduled as a building of architectural and historic importance.  This was subsequently passed.  At that time, an attempt was made to raise funds for its renovation and although some progress was made, this was not sufficient and it was then our intention to use funds from the Mendip '71 exhibition which took place last autumn. However, the exhibition only covered its costs and the Society hoped that monies would be available from the publiation of its book ‘Man and the Mendips’.  Sales are progressing but it will probably be a year or two before enough books have been sold.

Following a recent fall of brick, the Parish Council called a meeting of all interested parties. Concern was expressed by everyone of the danger not only of the chimney being destroyed but of there being a danger to anyone who might be passing by when another fall occurs.  A public footpath passes along the foot of the chimney which is also the sole access to a farm.  It is therefore a matter of urgency that this problem is resolved within the next month.  It was agreed at the meeting at East Harptree that an extensive fund raising effort should be made.  A quotation was obtained from a local firm, J. Dawson & Sons of Clutton, Chimney Builders, who estimated that a sum in the region of £1,400 would be necessary to renovate the whole of the structure.

The building obviously cannot be allowed to remain as it in this unsafe condition, and funds are urgently needed.

The Mendip Society intends inserting an inscribed plaque into the base of the chimney describing its history and significance, together with the names of those who have been kind enough to contribute.  Donations have already been promised from the trustees, the Mendip Society, M.A.C. Builders Merchants Ltd. and the Mendip Trust, a body formed from the National Trust and the Mendip Nature Conservancy - and many separate individuals.

I feel reluctant to approach another organisation so like our own, but it may be that the B.E.C. or any of its members might wish to make a contribution to this, and really any amount would be welcome.  If so, I wonder if cheques could be sent to me (Dr. N.P. Blakeney-Edwards, Cyder Cottage, Kent Street, Cheddar, Somerset.) and made payable to the Mendip Society. I will keep you fully informed of the state of events.

Editor's Note:     embers may like to know that the Mendip Society was started by the B.E.C. Alan Thomas called an inaugural meeting, largely attended by B.E.C. members and the Mendip Preservation Society - as it was first known was formed as a result.  It is interesting to note how many things have been pioneered by the B.E.C.!


A New Climb at Black Rock Quarry - Weston-In-Gordano

A guide to some climbs near Bristol, by ALAN TRINGHAM

Black Rock Quarry is reached by a lane which leads off the main Portishead to Clevedon road.  The entrance to the lane is opposite a row of dark grey council houses about two miles from Portishead.

This cliff was first visited by myself and Tony Dingle in December 1971.  We saw that the main feature of the quarry is a slab about a hundred feet high set at quite a high angle.  To the left of this slab is a large corner with a dangerous looking block wall on one side and an impressive sheer red wall on the other.

On this occasion, we climbed a ridge to the right of the slab.  We returned in February of this year with Pete Sutton to climb the main challenge of the quarry, which is the slab itself.  We managed this by climbing a slight groove on the left side of the slab, giving a very fine sustained climb.  Since then, the quarry has been visited by Nigel, Gerry, Derek and others.

The following is a guide to the climbs so far done, from left to right:-

Phantom Grober - V.S. and A.2.  Climbs on overhanging flake on the red wall and then the groove above. Climbed by Nigel and Gerry.

Slab, Left hand Route - V.S. Climbs a slight groove to a ledge, then the slab direct to the top.  Climbed by Alan and Pete.

Slab, Central Route - Mild V.S. Straight up the centre of the slab to a small tree on the right, or on to the top.  Climbed by Nigel and Gerry.

Slab, Right Hand Route - Severe.  Up a crack and then tunnel to a small tree belay.

Slab, Right Hand Ridge Route - V. Diff.  Up the stepped ridge.  At forty feet, either move left on to the slab and up some flakes, or move right and climb a loose corner.  Climbed by Alan and Tony.

About forty feet to the right of the slab is another stepped ridge.  This gives a variable route to the top. About V. Diff. if you keep to the right, but harder if tackled direct.  Climbed by Alan and Pete.

To the right of this, in the corner, is a thirty foot diff. route which can be used for descent.


Drunkard’s Hole Survey

The survey was undertaken as one stage in the effort to produce a complete survey record of the caves in the area of Burrington.  The field work occupied a three hour trip and was undertaken by G.O. Williams and D.L. Stuckey on Sunday, September 10th.

A reproduction of the survey desorbed in these notes will be found on the next page of this B.B.

An ex-W.D. prismatic compass and an Abney level of Japan¬ese manufacture were used and these, plus two spirit levels were mounted on a dural plate to form a surveying head.  This surveying head was hand held and the instruments read to the nearest 0.5°.  Lengths were measured by means of a 10 metre Fibron tape which was read to the nearest centimetre.  Passage details were taken at stations and mid-station points, and roof heights estimated where measurement proved impossible.

A permanent survey station, marked with a cold chisel on a boulder in the floor of the bottom rift was made and taken as the datum origin of the survey, with co-ordinates Eastings 0.; Northings 0.; O.D. 157.6 m.

The compass calibration was carried out by the method established for the East Twin survey (1) and the co-ordinate calculations processed by an I.B.M. 360/50 computer. The line co-ordinates were plotted on metric graph paper with the passage outlines plotted by direct measurement. The final layout was then drawn on ‘Permatrace’ film.


Details of the surface survey carried out to establish the height of the entrance above O.D. will appear in a future B.B.  A C.R.G. Grade 5D is claimed for this survey (2).


Total surveyed passage length    44m
Total depth                                    19.5m
Entrance height above O.D.        175m


Report of a Rescue Practice in Stoke Lane Slocker

This is an account of a rescue practice on 29th Feb. this year by KEN GREGORY, Secretary of the West London Cave Club.

Having our H.Q. on the doorstep of Stoke Lane Slocker has given us a particular interest in that cave. Over the years, the subject of rescue through the passages of Stoke I has often been a debating point, and we therefore decided to try a practice rescue.

To make our problems as difficult as we thought practical, we selected as our victim a stout gentleman weighing about twelve stone with caving kit.  The victim wore ordinary caving clothes with a goon suit on top.

The intention had been to start the rescue from the sump, but owing to the girth of the victim, he could not get beyond the Nutmeg Grater, so the carry was started from there. The rescue team consisted of two bods moving ahead smoothing out obstructions, such as boulders in the streambed; another two on the drag rope; two more with the victim and another two bringing up the rear and carrying any other tackle.  All these positions were held by the same persons throughout the rescue.

The rescue was started with the victim lying just upstream of the Nutmeg Grater and facing downstream. Immediately before the Nutmeg Grater is a small chamber, and the victim was lifted back to this and then put into the carrying sheet.  There would have been sufficient room here for some first aid to have been administered, although there was not enough room to turn the victim round.  Because of this, progress through the next few feet of narrow passage was made with the victim travelling feet first.

At the first widening of the passage, just downstream of the Corkscrew, the patient was turned round without too much trouble.  Progress through the Corkscrew was slow, but by no means impossible - the main impediment being the bulk of the victim and the carrying sheet catching as it was dragged along.

Once through the Corkscrew, progress became much easier.  Fairly long drags could be achieved, with the victim riding toboggan fashion.  The frequent low sections caused little bother as they were each short.  The only problem between the Corkscrew and the Duck was the portion of the passage where a large boulder blocks all but a very narrow portion of streamway.  Here, it was necessary to lift the victim across the obstacle.

It was decided to try the Duck, which itself was no problem under fairly low water conditions.  One person could float the victim through. On exit at the other side it is possible to turn right at water level and follow a rift which comes out at the wider passage before the duck.  From this point, it becomes necessary to lift and pass the patient through the squeeze in the boulders which leads back to the main stream.  For this operation, one person needed to be underneath the victim, supporting him with his back until the victim was in the squeeze, where at least three others are needed to pull him through and back down to stream level. The remainder of the route through the streamway was straightforward - simple dragging being practical.

The entrance, as we had anticipated, caused us our great¬est problem.  Prior to going underground, we had diverted the stream down the rear water entrance, but this proved to have been quite useless as the water issued into the entrance tube anyway.  To get the victim up into the entrance tube, one person laid down to form a ramp over which the victim was then dragged.  As the majority of the water flows around the boulders at the right angle in the entrance passage, it was no problem to pull the patient round into the tube.  The final eight feet of passage caused many problems.  Once in the tube, it was only possible to pull the victim.  Due to the irregular floor, a straight pull was ineffective and, on pulling the victim two feet forward, his bulk dropped into a depression in the floor.  The patient's position was quite intolerable, with water running very close to his breath¬ing orifice.  The only thing to be done was to drag the patient back and release him from the drag sheet in order to get him out of a rather damp situation.

On any further rescue through the entrance tube, the floor will have to be made as even as possible with, we suggest, an infill of stones or sandbags.  It may even be practical to install a plank to drag the patient on to. Also, it might be necessary to dam the stream further upstream when the victim is in the vicinity of the entrance.

The whole operation took about three hours.


Bristol Exploration Club - Membership List 1972


D.B. Avis

Southington, Stapleford, Nr. Salisbury, Wilts


J.H.S. Abbott

28 St. Pauls Road, Manningham, Bradford, Yorks.


J.M. Bacon

The Old Post Office, Kinnerton, Nr. Chester


Bob Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol, Avon


Mike Baker

22 Riverside Gardens, Midsomer Norton, Bath, Avon


R. Bater

4 Butterfield Close, westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


Mrs Bater

4 Butterfield Close, westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


Joan Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol


Roy Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol


Martin Bishop

Islay, 98 Winsley Hill, Limpley Stoke, Bath, Somerset


E. Bishop

Islay, 98 Winsley Hill, Limpley Stoke, Bath, Somerset


Sybil Bowden-Lyle

PO Box 15, Iganga, Busoga, Uganda


P. Blogg

5 Tyrolean Court, Cheviot Close, Avenue Road, Banstead, Surrey


Alan Bonner

Crags Farm Close, Little Broughton, Cokermouth, Cumberland


T.A. Brookes

87 Wyatt Road, London, SW2


R. Brown

33 Green Court, Leagrove, Luton, Beds.


Viv Brown

3 Cross Street, Kingswood, Bristol


Tessa Burt

66 Roundwood Lane, Harpendon, Herts.


D.A. Byers

301 Cressex Road, High Wycombe, Bucks


Ian Calder

Plas Pencelli, Pencelli, Brecon


Penelope Calder

Plas Pencelli, Pencelli, Brecon


R. Chandler

6 Blackcap Close, Southgate, Crawley, West Sussex


P.A. Christie

9 Prory Way, Tetbury, Glos.


Colin Clark

186 Cranbrook Road, Redland, Bristol


M. Clark

41 Mawney Road, Romford, Essex


Alan Coase

6 Meadow Mead, Rectory Road, Frampton Cotterell, Bristol


Clare Coase

5 Mandalay Flats, 10 Elsiemer Street, Long Jetty, N.S.W. 2262, Australia


J. Coleman

Orchard House, Bunwell, Norfolk


Alfie Collins

Lavendar Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr Bristol, Somerset


D. Cooke-Yarborough

Lot 11 McKay Crescent, Orange, New South Wales, Australia


W. Cooper

259 Wick Road, Bristol


Tony Corrigan

48a Talbot Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


Bob Cross

122 Pearson lane, Bradford 9


I.M. Daniels

Handsworth, Pilgrims way, Chilham, Canterbury, Kent


Frank Darbon

2106 14th StreetPO Box 325, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada


Mrs Davies

Camp V, Neighbourne, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset


Len Dawes

223 Southwark Park, Bermondsey, London SE10


Colin Dooley

497A City Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham 17


Ken Dobbs

85 Fox Rd., Beacon Heath, Exeter, Devon


Jim Durston

7 Estuary Park, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset


P. Eckford

80 Wilton Gardens, Shirley, Southampton


Bryan Ellis

7 School Lane, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset


C. Falshaw

23 Hallam Grange Crescent, Sheffield


P.G. Faulkner

65 Broomfield Crescent, Middleton, Manchester


Tom Fletcher

11 Cow Lane, Bramcote, Nottingham.


D. Foxwell

870 Kebourne Road, Brentry, Bristol


Albert Francis

22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset


Joyce Franklin

12 Avon Way, Portishead, Bristol


Pete Franklin

12 Avon Way, Portishead, Bristol


Keith Franklin

6 Kings Street, Avonmouth, Bristol


R.T. Gage

15 Chandag Road, Keynsham, Nr. Bristol


R.C. Gander

2 Rock Street, Croscombe, Wells, Somerset


Keith Gladman

29 Shenfield Road, Brentwood, Essex


S.J. Gazzard

8 Woodbridge Road, Knowle, Bristol


E.M. Glanville

Jocelyn House Mews, Chard, Somerset


K.R. Glossop

DO8205, No.4 Petty Officer’s Mess, HMS Lynx, BFPO Ships, London


Dave Glover

24 Burnham Road, Tadley, Nr. Basingstoke, Hants.


Jane Glover

24 Burnham Road, Tadley, Nr. Basingstoke, Hants


Martin Grass

14 Westlea Road, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts


Steve Grime

Letterewe, Wester Ross, Scotland


Chris Hall

65 Valley View Road, Paulton, Bristol


Nigel Hallet

73 Queensdown Gardens, Brislington, Bristol 4


P. Hamm

11 Queens Road, Keynsham, Nr. Bristol


Mrs Hamm

11 Queens Road, Keynsham, Nr. Bristol


Mervyn Hannam

Lowlands, Orchard Close, East Hendred, Berks.


C.W. Harris

The Diocesan Registry, Wells, Somerset


Chris Harvey

Byways, Hanham Lane, Paulton, Nr. Bristol


Dan Hassell

Hill House, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


M. Havan

24 Elberton Road, Westbuty-on-Trym, Bristol


Rodney Hobbs

Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol


Sid Hobbs

Hokerstone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


Sylvia Hobbs

Hokerstone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


J.G. Hodgson

72 Chesterfield Road, Bristol 6


Mrs Hodgson

72 Chesterfield Road, Bristol 6


Mike Hogg

32 Birchley Heath, Nuneaton, Warks


George Honey

Droppsta, 19044, Odensala, Sweden


B. Howe

48 Martins Road, Hanham, Bristol


C. Howell

131 Sandon Road, Edgebaston, Birmingham


P. Hudson

22 Glentawe Park Estate, Wind Road, Ystradgynlais, Wales


J. Ifold

5 Rushgrove Gardens, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol


P. Ifold

The Cedars, Blackford, Nr. Wedmore, Cheddar


Maurise Iles

Waterworks Cottage, Gurmney Slade, Bath


Dave Irwin

Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Somerset


N. Jago

27 Quantock Road, Windmill Hill, Bristol 3


A Johnson

Warren Cottage, Station Rd., Flax Bourton, Bristol


Frank Jones

8 York Gardens, Clifton, Bristol 8


Mrs. P. Jones

50 Louisville Avenue, Aberdeen


U. Jones

Marsh Farm, Askem in Furness, Lancs.


Alan Kennett

92 West Broadway, Henleaze, Bristol


Kangy King

21 Rue Lionel Terray, 31 Blangnas, France


Phil Kingston

21 Longfield Road, Bishopston, Bristol


R. Kitchen

Overcombe, Horrabridge, Yelverton, Devon


J.M. Knops

5 Kingsfield, Kingsway, Bath


Tim Large

39 Seymour Avenue, Bishopston, Bristol


P. Littlewood

22 Brockhurst Avenue, Burbage, Hankley, Leics.


Mrs Littlewood

22 Brockhurst Avenue, Burbage, Hankley, Leics


A.G. Leftley

9 Northumberland Street, Westley, Plymouth


Oliver Lloyd

Withey House, Withey Close West, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


George Lucy

Pike Croft, Long Lane, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks


Val Luckwill

8 Greenslade Road, Sedgeley hill, Dudley, Worcs.


R A MacGregor

12 Meadow Way, Theale, Reading, Berks


J. Manchip

c/o Mr Hutchinson, 1 Orwell Terrace, Edinburgh 11


Mrs K. Mansfield

Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath


I.K. Marshall

4 Kings Drive, Bishopston, Bristol


R. Marshall

Flat 47, Cromwell Road, Bristol 6


T. Marsden

50 The Deans, Downlands, Portishead, Bristol


E.J. Mason

11 Kendon Drive, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


Tony Meaden

Highcroft, Westbury, Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset


D. Metcalf

14 Rock Road, Peterborough. Northants.


P.J. Miller

60 Elm Tree Road, Locking, Weston-super-Mare


G. Moore

17 Elsmgrove, Redland, Bristol


T.E. Morland

1 Chantry Road, Wilton, Salisbury, Wilts.


J. Murray

Latymer House, Hill Close, Wincanton, Somerset


K. Murray

17 Harrington Gardens, London SW7


T.W. Neil

Woodville Lodge, Laigton Road, Worthing, Sussex


Mrs Neil

Woodville Lodge, Laigton Road, Worthing, Sussex


A. Nichols

121 Wyndhams Court, Commercial Road, Southampton


G.E. Oaten

32 St. Marks Road, Bristol 5


J. Orr

c/o The Belfry


D. Palmer

29 John Wesley Road, St. George, Bristol 3


Mike Palmer

27 Roman Way, Paulton, Nr. Bristol


A. Pardoe

Church Cottage, Church Road, North, Portishead, Nr. Bristol, Somerset


D. Parfitt

11 Johnson Close, Wells, Somerset


A.E. Pearce

22 Tiverton Drive, New Eltham London, SE9


J. Pearce

5 Colmer Road, Yeovil, Somerset


Les Peters

21 Melbury Rd., Knowle Park, Bristol Avon


Norman Petty

Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol


Tony Philpott

3 Kings Drive, Bishopston, Bristol, Avon


Graham Phippen

Rock Cottage, Rock Road, Wick, Bristol


Brian Prewer

East View, West Horrington, Wells, Somerset


Colin Priddle

40 Ralph Road, Horfield, Bristol 7


John Ransom

21 Bradley Rd., Patchway, Bristol, Avon


Pam Rees

c/o The Belfry


I. Rees

20 Broad Street, Presteigne, Radnorshire


A Rich

Box 126, Basham, Alberta Canada


N. Rich

Ballyochyle Estate, Sandbank, Dunoon, Argyll


J. Riley

12 Lawley Place, Deakin, Canberra, Australia


Mrs Riley

12 Lawley Place, Deakin, Canberra, Australia


G.G. Robinson

49 Elton Road, Bishopston, Bristol 6


I.P. Rogers

56 Charlton Lane, Brentry, Bristol



Sgts. Mess, RAF Coningsby. Lincoln


C. Sage

17 Westbourne Road, Downend, Bristol


Miss Salisbury

24 Belvoir Road, St. Andrews, Brsitol 6


Alan Sandall

43 Meadway Ave., Nailsea, Avon


Carol Sandall

43 Meadway Ave., Nailsea, Avon


D.R. Sanderson

23 Penzance Gardens, Harold Hill, Romford, Essex


B. Scott

Merrymead, Havestock Road, Winchester Hants


Dave Searle

Dolphin Cottage, The Beeches, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


Kathy Searle

Dolphin Cottage, The Beeches, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


Gordon Selby

2 Dodd Avenue, Wells, Somerset


R.A. Setterington

4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset


R. Setterington

4 Cavendish Road, Chiswick, London W4


N.K. Shaw

Queens Head Walk, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts


M.B. Slade

31 Hilburn Road, Bristol 5


Dave Smith

14 Severn Way, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks.


J.M. Stafford

Bryger, Bagworth, Somerset.


Harry Stanbury

31 Belvoir Road, St. Andrews, Bristol


Mrs I Stanbury

74 Redcatch, Knowle, Bristol


D. Statham

The Bungallow, North Barrow, Yeovil, Somerset


Roger Stenner

38 Paulton Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


Daphne Stenner

38 Paulton Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


P.A.E. Stewart

11 Fairhaven Road ,Redland, Bristol 6


D. Stuckey

34 Allington Road, Southville, Bristol 3


P. Sutton

75 Bredon, Yate, Bristol


Derek Targett

16 Phyllis Hill, Midsomer Norton


Nigel Taylor

c/o Langley, Moors farm, Berkeley, Frome, Somerset


Allan Thomas

Allens House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Somerset


D Thomas

Mantons, 2 St. Pauls Road, Tupsley, Hereford


N Thomas

Holly Lodge, Norwich Rd., Salhouse, Norwich, Norfolk.


M. Thomas

5 Woolcot St. Redland, Bristol 6


M. Tilbury

9 Easton Terrace, High Wycombe, Bucks.


Buckett Tilbury

256 Cressex Road, High Wycombe, Bucks


Anne Tilbury

256 Cressex Road, High Wycombe, Bucks


Gordon Tiley

Jable, Digby Road, Sherborne, Dorset


Roger Toms

22 Lancing Gardens, Edmonton, London N9


J.M. Postle Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


M.J. Dizzie Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


E. Towler

5 Boxbrove Gardens, Alwick, Bognor Regis, West Sussex


Phil Townsend

20 Lime Close, Prestbury. Cheltenham, Glos.


Jill Tuck

48 Wiston Path, Fairwater Way, Cwmbran, Gwent, Wales


Steve Tuck

3 Colles Close, Wells, Somerset


Tony Tucker

64 Calcott Road, Knowle, Bristol


Dave Turner

Moonrakers, Brewery Lane, Holcombe, Bath


P. Turner

11 Harper Court, Honnington, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire


S. Tuttlebury

28 Butts Road, Alton, Hants.


J. Upsall

82 Eastland Road, Yeovil, Somerset


Mrs Upsall

82 Eastland Road, Yeovil, Somerset


R. Voke

8 Pavey Road, Hartcliffe, Brsitol 3


Mrs D. Waddon

32 Laxton Close, Taunton, Somerset


R. Wallin

164 Bryant’s Hill, Bristol


G. Watts

100 Chesterfield Road, St. Andrews, Bristol 6


Eddie Welch

18 Station Road, Filton, Bristol


Bob White

The Old Bakery, Croscombe, Nr. Wells, Somerset


P. Wilkins

6 Effingham Road, St. Andrews, Bristol


Barry Wilton

Valley View, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol


Brenda Wilton

Valley View, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol


Graham Wilton-Jones

17 Monkham’s Drive, Watton, Thetford


Alan Williams

Hendrew Farm, Llanderaied, Newport, Mon.


G.C. Williams

90 Grenville Street, Southville, Bristol


R.F. Wing

Penzance Gardens, Harold Hill, Romford, Essex



Rules of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund

We print the rules as amended by the 1972 A.G.M., so that members may know how they now operate.

1.                  The fund shall be known as the Ian Dear Memorial Fund.

2.                  The bequest shall be used to set up a fund to assist certain members to visit caving or climbing areas abroad.  Further donations may be added to the fund.

3.                  The fund will be administered by an Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee.  This will consist of the Hon. Treasurer; the Caving and Climbing Secretaries and two other members who will be elected, annually at the same time and by the same procedures as the general Committee.  The previous year’s ordinary members would be automatically nominated and would carry on in office if no other nominations were received.  The aforesaid committee will report to the Annual General Meeting.

4.                  Any club member under the age of eighteen may apply.  Members over eighteen years of age may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

5.                  Applications should be received by any member of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee two months prior to the date of the proposed trip.  A report, suitable for publication in the B.B. must be received by the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee within one month of the completion of the trip.

6.                  The maximum amount of monies allocated in any one year shall be left to the discretion of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee.  The maximum amount allocated to any individual is unlikely to exceed £20 per trip.

7.                  The fund to be invested at the discretion of the club Treasurer, and the interest to be retained within the fund.

Note: At present, the two ordinary members of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee are M. Palmer and R.A. Setterington.

Built in Non–Obsolescence!

An interesting ‘snippet’ sent in by JOCK ORR

Chatting about the merits and deficiencies of various forms of lighting.  Alan Fincham mentioned that he still used the same NiFe cell for his caving in Jamaica that he had purchased whilst at Leeds University.  He still gets a regular 10 to 12 amp hours out of it.

When I asked him how long he had had the cell, he stopped and thought for a moment while he did some mental calculations.  With an expression of surprise he then exclaimed "Good Lord!  That was in 1956, sixteen years ago.  It would seem that NiFe cells are a good buy!


Every endeavour will be made to get the Christmas B.B. into the hands of members before Christmas. At present there is a small shortage of articles, and any last minute contributions will be very welcome.


Monthly Crossword – Number 28.


3. Found in nearby pub. (3)
5. Tire car in some caves? (7)
6. Describes cold water cave? (3)
8. Climbing aid. (6)
10. Companion to ensure safety? (6)
11. Lamb Leer insect. (3)
12. Bod rule found in most caves. (7)
14. Comes round once a year! (3)


1. Get a caving trip organised. (7)
2. Tin five hundred with the French for illumination. (6)
3. Here in France, they make bang. (1,1,1)
4. Any negative arrangement. (3)
7. Surveyed Lake Chamber, perhaps? (7)
9. Loos arrangements of 13 across. (6)
11. Mendip Swallet. (3)
12. Mendip gorge with alternative does not flow. (3)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword

Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481.BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele:  WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     D. Turner
Members:          R. Bagshaw; R. Hobbs; D.J. Irwin; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas;

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. Thomas, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. Large, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Assit. Cav. Sec. R. Bennett, 8 Radnor Road, Westbury-on-Trim, Bristol BRISTOL 627813
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 27 Quantock Rd, Windmill Hill, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
Hut Warden:      R. Orr.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. Orr (Acting for the time being)
Tacklemaster:    M. Palmer. 27 Roman Way, Paulton, BS18 5XB
B.B. Editor:       S.J. Collins, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Publications:     D.J. Irwin.  Address as aboveB.B.
Post:    Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.




As hinted in these pages last month, the A.G.M. turned out in the event to be both a lively and a lengthy affair.  In the opinion of the editor, the club - like Phidippedes (the original marathon runner for the higgerunt!) came out well from this gruelling run, for which all concerned should be congratulated.

Firstly, the degree of interest shown by our members in the running of the club is, I feel, quite outstanding and some thing in which we can take pride.  Not only was there a record total of 52 members present at the A.G.M. but, when the proceedings had to be adjourned to the next day at the Belfry for another three hours, a full quorum - although not strictly necessary - was soon obtained and held during the remainder of the meeting.

Secondly, and of equal if not greater importance, was the degree of patience, tolerance and good humour which enabled the meeting to surmount what could have proved deeply naive issues.  In the event, we were able to discuss subjects on which members held strong and often opposing views in a manner which at once made these views clear without precluding reasonable solutions.  I am sure that if the committee and club continue to respect other people's sincerely held views and to retain their sense of humour, we shall be able to look back at the 1972 A.G.M. as one of the landmarks in the successful development of our club.

The Ian Dear Show

Nowhere was this ability which the B.E.C. has to laugh at itself more noticeable than in the good humoured way the procedural tangle surrounding the Ian Dear Memorial Fund got sorted out.  In spite of the dangers, so clearly stated, of attempting to put words into Ian's mouth; I feel sure that he would have enjoyed this section of the meeting.


The subject of how much information on club business should be circulated to members via the B.B. was left, by resolution, to the discretion of the editor.  The formal minutes will be circulated later but in this B.B. will be found a very short summary of the proceedings, which I hope will be enough to be going on with.

Candidates Reviewed

Apart from one complaint (From our Hon. Treasurer, who claims that his wife was easily able to pick out which of the candidates shown in the sketch was supposed to be Bob Bagshaw) people seemed to be satisfied with the arrangements.  This might encourage us to do the same next year.



Committee Notes

BELFRY ENGINEER.  In accordance with a resolution at the recent A.G.M., the Committee give notice that the post of Belfry Engineer is, in their opinion, vacant - there being no member of the committee who feels able to undertake this post.  At present, the duties of Belfry Engineer are being undertaken by the Hut Warden, but the committee feel that a separate person is desirable.  Applicants should be willing to spend a fair amount of time at the Belfry; be prepared to encourage others to help and be prepared to keep in close touch with the Hut Warden, Caving Secretary and any others who might be affected.  Applications should be received by the Hon. Sec. in writing before the 1st of December, 1972.  The position of Belfry Engineer is a committee post which will involve co-option. The committee reserve the right to select or refuse any applicant.

ASSISTANT HON. TREASURER. Bob Bagshaw wishes to pass on the treasurer's job to a successor at the end of the club financial year.  The committee are therefore advertising for a member who would be prepared to act as his assistant and to take over from the end of the financial year (31st July 1973).  Applications in writing to the Hon. Secretary by April 1st 1973.

The committee wish to thank John Cornwell for his donation of photographs.  Any further donations will be gratefully received and will be used to form the basis of a club collection.

Bearing in mind the wishes of the A.G.M. for club members to be kept informed on club business and the factors involved by other resolutions about the A.G.M. and dinner dates and the need to look into the publication of Club Officer’s Reports, the committee wish to make known a formal resolution proposed by Dave Irwin and seconded by Roy Bennett “That Club Officer’s Reports should be submitted in future by the club officers to the August meeting of the committee and subsequently published in the August or September B.B. after approval by the committee.  Reports NOT received by the August meeting will NOT be published in the B.B., but read out to the A.G.M.”  The voting in favour of this resolution was unanimous.

The committee wish to give notice that a sub-committee is to be formed to look into all matters connected with voting.  It is hoped that Mike Palmer will chair this sub-committee.  All members interested in this subject should contact any member of the committee.  It is hoped that members having a variety of different views will come forward in order that this subject can be looked into as widely as possible.

The Hon. Librarian would be grateful to hear from any member about books of interest which might be added to the club library.


Three smaller Caves of Wharfedale

DEREK SANDERSON sent in this article, which he says is a description of one afternoon and evening's caving while in Yorkshire.  The trip could be classed as a potter, though strenuous at times. Goes to show that all trips in Yorkshire are not too hairy.!

These caves were visited by Roger Wing (B.E.C.) Derek Sanderson (B.E.C.) and Keith Sanderson (W.C.C.) in an afternoon when the original plans to visit Darnbrook Pot and Cheery tree Hole had to be abandoned - access to these caves being denied at present following an accident in Cherry Tree Hole.

ROBIN HOOD'S CAVE. S.D. 978 657 LENGTH 960' Grade V

We underestimated the severity of this cave, and only allowed ourselves one hour for the trip, which proved to be far too short a time.  The entrance consists of a three foot diameter pipe running under the B6160. The pipe leads to a step up of a few feet, through a horizontal squeeze and into a low bedding plane.  There is about two feet between the flat roof and the broken floor, and progress is by slow painful crawling.  The rock is pale brown and dry.

After about a hundred and twenty feet of slow progress, the floor level drops slightly and one enters a low, wide flooded chamber with the roof dipping to the right below which the water makes its escape.  The water is startlingly clear and about a foot deep.  A further forty feet of crawling on all fours leads to a duck round a flake of rock and on to Connection Duck.  This duck is twelve feet long and should be treated with respect, as there is only two inches of airspace for much of its length, and that only in a narrow groove (the Nose Groove).  There is a hand line.  We floated through feet first.  Whilst in the duck, even the slightest movement can cause a small wave to swamp the nose, necessitating a hasty retreat.  We found this out the hard way.  The duck is not really feasible as a free dive as it ends abruptly.

At the far side of the duck, the streamway turns to the left in a small chamber (one can actually stand up!) but passes under a boulder after a few feet.  This forms a wet squeeze and gives access to a narrow rift. We climbed the powdery rocks, but could find no way on at high level.  However, a short crawl through boulders above the stream gives access to a bigger parallel rift.  A fifteen foot climb and traverse over loose boulders leads to a high level chamber of comparatively roomy dimensions.  From here, the upper route to the further reaches of the cave leads off.  This was first explored by the Craven Pothole Club in 1971.  By now, our allotted time was up and we returned to the surface.

There is a Grade 4CX survey of Robin hood's Cave in the C.P.C. Journal for 1971.  The danger of flooding should be borne in mind.

ELBOLTON POT S.E. 007 615  Length 500'  Depth 135' Grade III

On the summit of Elbolton Hill, half a mile west of Thorpe.  According to Northern Caves, Volume 19 the entrance is "15 yards west of cairn".  We found it to be a hundred yards S.E. of the cairn - in the next field!

A deep slit leads straight on to the entrance pitch of 55’.  Te problem here is to find a suitable belay point.  A short wooden stemple has been placed low down in the entrance slit but this seemed unsafe, so we removed a railway sleeper from the top of a nearby rift (we replaced it afterwards!) and used it as a belay point from outside the cave.

There is no problem about the pitch itself, but it is still reasonably impressive as it drops from the narrow entrance into an average sized chamber below.  From here, several ways lead off.  To the west (uphill) a narrow passage leads past a short muddy canal on the right and rises towards the surface before it ends in a choke. This seems to be leading towards the rift from which we removed the railway sleeper.  Directly behind the ladder, a passage leads off but not entered.

Walking downhill, one passes three drops on the right.  The first is a twenty foot pitch into the Grand Canyon.  This can be bypassed by descending either of the two remaining descents.  Both are climbable and lead into a horizontal rift-like passage which ends after about a hundred feet.  The last part seems to have been mined.  Some ten feet past the bottom of the third descent is a small tube on the right which leads directly into the Grand Canyon, at the lower end of which is the final pitch of twenty feet (belay to iron bar) into a terminal bedding chamber choked with mud.

The whole cave is muddy and similar in character to Hunters Hole.  The entrance pitch is the main at attraction.  Whilst sitting in the mud of the terminal chamber, a quiet voice was heard to say, "I hope nobody pulls the chain!"


FOSS GILL CAVE  S.D.  948 744   Length 899’ Grade  III

Major resurgence in the wood in the opposite side of the valley from Starbottom.  This is the most interesting and enjoyable of the three caves, being rich not in formations but in the variety of sculptured and scalloped rock.

There are two points of resurgence, a small lower cave on the left and the main cave above and on the right.  A low crawl in the water leads directly into the first of three fine short but deep canals, and instantly one is struck by the coldness of the water.  The first canal is about 70’ long and six feet deep at its upper end, though there are ledges three feet below the surface.  The canal is followed by a ‘T’ junction. Left leads towards the lower entrance while right leads upstream in a low crawl over smooth deep brown rock until a turn to the left leads to the second canal.

The second canal is shorter - about thirty feet - and not so deep and leads to a short length of stream passage with about five feet of headroom and containing raised ribs of rock just below the surface of the stream.  This breaks into a cross rift.   The way on is to the left, where a climb over boulders soon leads one into the third and the longest canal.

This third canal is about a hundred feet long, five feet deep and five feet wide and leads directly on to a low boulder pile beyond which is another 'T' junction.  Here, the stream can be clearly seen to bubble up from a hole in the floor.  To the right is a high rift whilst a tributary stream enters from the left. Following this stream, one enters a low, wide bedding plane (flat out crawling!) with mud banks either side of the small stream channel.  Fifty feet further on, the stream develops into a narrow rift containing a foot and a half of water.  Progress is made by wriggling on one's side.  An odd feature here is the redness of the rock and a sort of a rim stone ledge six inches above the water - formed by what appears to be mud coated with iron-rich calcite.

The rift widens slightly for a few feet, but narrows again, to a squeeze section about ten feet long which is immediately followed by an eight inch letterbox to the right.  Here, the nature of the cave changes to a horizontal bedding plane with gullies cut in the floor and with dark grey mud covering the surface.  After thirty feet of slithering, the way on appears to become too tight, but there is a strong draught.

It is worth while going out of one's way to pay a visit to Foss Gill Cave.  Whilst Northern Caves Volume I grades the cave as III, I agree with the author of the article on the, cave in the C.P.C. Journal for 1971 when he says, ‘I fully endorse the C.D.G.  Review comment that 'considerable exposure is involved in this cave which should be regarded as severe.’  After only a short time in the water, even with a good wet suit, one feels very cold.'

A Grade 4C survey can also be found in the C.P.C. Journal.


Have you been into any out-of-the-way caves lately?  Let us know about it if you have.  Guidebooks are all very well in their way, but you can't beat actual personal accounts of trips down lesser-known caves!


Open Letter To the Club

Member’s are encouraged to write to the B.B. on any topic connected with the club.  This letter raises a point which members may wish to develop further.

During the entertainment after the Annual Dinner, I was buttonholed by an attractive young lady in the Grotto Bar.  I was a disappointment to hear that she only wanted to talk politics.  Her complaint was twofold.  “Not only”, she said, "was the committee rather out of touch with the members of the club, but many members of the club were afraid to approach the committee with complaints or suggestions."

It is my belief that the committee are in touch and will do their best to right a wrong or take any other action PROVIDED THAT THEY KNOW ABOUT IT.  In my job as Quality Manager, I am probably better aware than many that in the hard world of business, a dissatisfied customer is a major problem which has to be corrected immediately.

If you feel that you have any complaint or constructive suggestion which could start an action leading to the advancement of the club, TELL THE COMMITTEE.  You can write or contact one of the members of the COMMITTEE or speak at a committee meeting.  If you are too shy (young, new, distant) to try any of these but are willing to talk to me I will discuss your suggestion with you and guarantee to support your case and put it to the committee.  I further guarantee that you will get action or a reasoned answer why not.

To sum up, it worries me that members could even think that the committee is unapproachable, and you can't really expect to get action to cure a fault until that fault is known.

If you have managed to read this so far, you may think "It's only that B. old fool Sett shouting his mouth off:!", but let me reassure you by saying that I have shown this letter to Dan Hassell, Nigel Taylor, Sue Gazzard, Dick Chandler and Sid Hobbs and they all agree with its sentiments and are prepared to act the same way as a sort of ombudsman if required.

R.A. Setterington (“Sett”)

Editor’s Note:    Well, there you are the.  It would seem difficult to imagine anyone who could still feel that his views are not getting over after this offer!

Dates for your Diary


Friday, November 3rd.

Friday Night Club.  Priddy Green Sink and clean up afterwards in Swildons.

Saturday, November 5th.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Gour Rift and completion of survey of Cuthbert’s II.  9 am at Belfry.

Saturday, November 11th.

Sunday Digging Team.  Foxes Hole, surveying.  Meet at Belfry 10 am.

Saturday, November 11th.

Club activity.  Log collection for winter fuel supply from forestry.

Saturday, November 11th.

Talk on home made wine making by Sett.  Theory plus brief question and answer session plus some wine tasting.  Winemakers pleas bring samples.  Everyone bring a glass.  7 pm at the Belfry.

Sunday November 12th.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Taping and transferring maypole to High Chamber.  Belfry at 9 am.

Saturday, November 18th.

Sunday Digging Team.  Burrington. Surveying small caves.  Belfry at 10 am.

Saturday, November 18th.

Friday Night Club.  South Wales. Meet 9.30 am at Penwyllt.

Sunday November 19th

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Gour Rift Dig.  Belfry at 9 am.

Sunday November 19th

CUTHBERT’S LEADER’S MEETING 2.30 pm at the Belfry.

Saturday, November 25th.

Cuthbert’s Practice Rescue.  10.30 am at the Belfry.

Sunday, November 26th.

Club Meet.  Coral Cave. Belfry at 10.30 am.

Sunday, November 26th 

Sunday Digging Team.  Coral Cave Surveying.  Belfry at 10 am.


Friday, December 1st.

Friday Night Club.  East Twin Valley with wet suits.

Sunday, December 3rd.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Gour Surveying in High Chamber.  Meet at Belfry 10 am.

Saturday, December 9th.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s Maypoling in September Chamber.    Meet at Belfry 10 am.

Sunday, December 10th.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  September Chamber or Gour Rift Dig.    Meet at Belfry 9 am.

Friday, December 15th.

Friday Night Club.   G.B. Permits essential.

Saturday December 16th.


Sunday, December 17th.

Sunday Digging Team.  St. Cuthbert’s.  Gour Rift Dig. Belfry 9 am.

Saturday, December 30th

Friday Night Club.  Singing River Mine.  3 pm.


Saturday, January 13th.

Club Trip.  Banwell Caves.  Meet at Belfry 10.30 am.  See Tim Large for further details.


Half a Minute

A brief account of the main features of the Annual General Meeting.

Opening bang on time with no question as to whether a quorum was present or not, the meeting got off to a good start.  "Sett" was elected chairman.

After a query on the validity of the ballot papers, the preliminaries were soon over, with tellers duly appointed; member’s resolutions collected, and last year's minutes taken as read.  After a short discussion, the meeting went on to the Hon. Sec’s report, and his verbal additions to the published text.  These, in fact, caused no comment and the meeting went on to discuss our boundary problems, which it finally referred to the new committee.

The Hon. Treasurer's report, together with the Hon. Auditor’s report followed.  This latter is to be part of the official agenda in future. It was agreed that the new committee look into club finances in detail and might have to put the sub. up if it cannot be kept at its present level by suitable economies.

The Caving Sec.'s report produced no comment, except for the public declaration by the Caving Sec. (when asked by, the Hon. Sec.) that he agreed that the B.E.C. was the best club on Mendip.  Is this the start of a series of oaths of loyalty which club officials will be required to swear?

The Climbing Sec's report went through even faster, with no comment at all by the meeting and even that guaranteed discussion raiser - the Tacklemaster's Report - produced little in the way of discussion.  A vote of thanks to Dave Turner was recorded for stepping into the breach at such short notice.

The Hut Warden's report produced a little discussion centred mainly around costs which, it was finally pointed out, were already subject to the findings of the new committee.  The Hon. Librarian's Report; Caving Publications Report; B.B. Editor's report and Hut Engineer's Report were all dealt with in what must surely be record tine.

With the main business safely over, the meeting went to the first of the resolutions - that by the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee to change its rules.  It was at this stage that the A.G.M. broke completely with tradition when Mike Palmer suggested an adjournment until the next day, owing to the very large amount of business still to be dealt with.  Encouraged by George Honey, the Chairman read out all the further business, which made the meeting realise that Mike P. certainly had a point.  In accordance with the general feeling, the Chairman adjourned the meeting.

At 2 pm. on the Sunday, the A.G.M. continued with a good starter.  A resolution to drop the word 'junior' from our description of younger members.  This was defeated, and the meeting went on to the I.D.M.F. rules.

A blow-by-blow account of the next two hours (all in rhyme!) will be found on the Belfry notice board. It is sufficient to say here that the meeting - with the best of intentions - found itself neatly trapped in a procedural difficulty of its own making.  The finally amended rules were eventually passed with three against.

A resolution that 'No provisional member shall be able to propose or second membership applications' was ruled by the chairman to be a constitutional change but that its acceptance by this A.G.M. should enable it to be put to next year's A.G.M. without any further discussion.

Various proposals affecting the voting methods were taken en bloc by the Chairman and eventually referred to the new committee.  The advice of the A.G.M. to this committee being that the ballot should be secret.

Another batch of resolutions affected the dates of the A.G.M. and dinner.  A discussion resulted in a proposal to hold the A.G.M. at 10.30 am at the Belfry to be followed by the Annual Dinner that evening.

A number of further resolutions followed.  It was agreed that, wherever possible, the committee should advertise any proposed co-opted positions.  The automatic retirement of all committee members after three years was defeated by a single vote.  A resolution tightening up the entrance qualifications was finally defeated after a discussion on the merits of the provisional scheme.  It was decided, by another resolution, to investigate forming a sub-aqua section.  The publication of Club Officer’s reports in the B.B. was referred to the committee and, finally, a proposal to phase out life memberships, was defeated with the proviso that if they do not keep in touch, they will be conveniently forgotten.

The dinner which followed was, although not the best by a long chalk, reasonably within the B.E.C. tradition. The actual meal was reasonable - and at least hot.  The later entertainment consisted of a punch and Judy show produced and directed by Oliver Lloyd, which was very well received followed later still by a typical piece of B.E.C. organisation - a film with a difference.  With the usual low cunning of the B.E.C., opportunity was taken to get the effect of two films from one.  On the first occasion, some new caving techniques were demonstrated in which cavers caved backwards while talking what appeared to be some central European dialect while all the time, a small group round the projector worked like beavers on their next project.  Eventually, by courtesy of people like 20th Century Palmer, Metro-Goldwyn, Prewer etc., we were able to see the same cavers moving forwards and speaking English - punctuated only by occasional growls, which seemed to occur when they found a prehistoric bone or two.

More seriously, our thanks, as usual to the organisers.  The B.E.C. dinner, after the debacle of 1971, seems to be getting back to form.  Let us hope that people will come forward in plenty of time who will be prepared to make next years dinner one of the really great club dinners.




An account by D.L. Stuckey of caving over the Summer Bank Holiday this year.

The vast midgy population of Crummock Dale Farm, already suffering from mild droughts had their peace shattered by the arrival of seven B.E.C. members on the evening of Friday, August 25th.  Roll call the next morning found Joan and Roy Bennett; Bob Cross; Ian Calder and Doug Stuckey alive and well, with Nigel Taylor and Ken James on the injured list.

A little later, all camp personnel negotiated the route to the Craven stronghold at Gaping Gill. After the entertainment of rousing the Craven from their slumbers, our party split.  Ken and Nigel walked down to Clapham for a guided tour of Ingleborough Cave, Joan soloed lngleborough and Simon Fell; adding her name to the injured list by twisting her ankle, while the other members of the party  turned their attention to Disappointment Pot.

The dry conditions had reduced the stream to a mere trickle giving the duck a six-inch airspaces but the well washed nature of the pot throughout its length showed that under wetter conditions it could prove a sporting entrance to Gaping Gill.  Each pitch was tackled parallel to the Craven ladders already installed.  The Pennine Underground description was adequate except that, on inspection, we found the entrance pitch 15 feet and the Fourth Pitch 20 feet to be easy free climbs.

Ignorance of the Bar Pot route from Disappointment inlet to Gaping Gill main chamber resulted in the party visiting Hensler's Master Cave and then spending sometime in Hensler's Old Passage before returning to the Disappointment Inlet.  Co-operation with a Craven party at the third pitch split our party, all gaining the surface after some five hours caving.

Bob's knees voted him on to the injured list, as they received a fair battering in the grips of Hensler's Crawl.  Sunday saw Bob, Nigel and Ken on a joy ride round the dales, while Joan; Roy; Ian and Doug, visited Kingsdale with the intention of abseiling through Simpson’s Pot to the master cave and out via the valley entrance.

Leaving Joan with the car keys and an estimated through time of three hours, Roy, Ian and Doug, started a direct descent of Simpson's.  Progress was stopped by the squeeze below the pit.  With Roy's assistance from above, Ian and Doug, climbed the pit and the party set off on the roundabout route.  Storm Pot (35 feet) caused a halt when the rope jammed on the belay and much energy was wasted before the pitch was prussicked.  The descent then continued with the use of a rope left on the pitch by another party.  The passage to Slit Pot - excellent for abseiling with large and smooth belays for all pitches.  The other party was met, and they gave us a large metal ring for use as a belay on Slit Pot.

For the descent of Slit Pot (83 feet) the two ropes of 96 and 106 feet were tied together to enable retrieval. Using the ring on a peg and sling belay, the knot ran over the lip easily, leaving the belay behind.  Roy made a quick exit through the master cave while Ian and Doug de-tackled Roof Tube Pitch, reaching the surface after five hours underground.

Ian departed, seeking his wife's company in Brecon.  Beckhead Rising not far from the campsite received a quick visit from Joan, Roy and Doug. Camp broke on the Monday morning. During its existence, Jim Abbott, Graham Wilton-Jones and others put in surprise visits.

A worthwhile weekend.


Library News

'Wig' says, “The latest additions to the collection include many missing items that have either been exchanged or donated.  I would like to say thank you."

Additions include UIS Bulletins (1971); London Univ. C.C. Journal No 13; Cerberus S.S. Newsletter No 18; B.S.A. Bulletin No 6; Axbridge Journal 1966; C.R.G. transactions Volume 14 No 3 Mendip Bibliography Part 2; Speleologist Yearbook 1965; B.E.C. Belfry Book 1963-4; Plymouth C.C. Newsletters 36-41; Leicester & Nottingham Univ. C. Assoc. Journal No 1; H.M.S.O. Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act 1972 Chap. 21; M.C.G. Newsletter No 95; W.C.C. Journal No 142 Aug. 1972 and Dorset Caving Group Journal Vol 1 No 4.

Items of interest: Dorset C.G. survey of Crocodile Canyon (Portland): W.C.C. Journal includes several items, but Graham Balcornbe’s account of early diving operations should be read.  Hutton Cave. Has this been rediscovered by Chris Richards?  Did you know that the divers have extended Swildons XII?  All in the W.C.C. Journals mentioned.  The M.C.G. have unearthed an interesting letter written by the Stride brothers to Mr. and Mrs. Young of Longwood Farm describing the exploration of Longwood and the involvement of the U.B.S.S. Greg Smith compares this letter to the 'account' in Johnson’s dubious book ‘The History of Mendip Caving.’

The report of the Southern C.C.C. on Conservation and Access as been published by many clubs, and those interested will find this in the Axbridge C.G. Newsletter for August 1972. Why don't we find, if not the complete, a potted report in the B.B.?  W.C.C. have published the M.R.O. Annual Repast in their Journal (No 142).

The Library Catalogue is now being compiled and will be published shortly.

STOP PRESS:  In addition to the items reported above, we have received from London Univ. C.C., Journals Nos 8-12 which, with many thanks, completes our set to date.  John Manchip has kindly sent a copy of Grampian S.G. Bulletin Vol.5 No 2.  The U.B.S.S. Proceedings Vol.13 No1 (July 1972) has arrived. Contents, though not of a startling nature, is well up to the usual standard and includes Rickford and Langford Resurgences - A problem in Limestone Hydrology; The Fergus River Cave, County Clare; Cloford Cave, Eastern Mendip; Priddy Long Barrow; Roman counterfeiter's den by George Brown of the Welsh National Museum - who uses the discoveries in Roman Mine as one of his main sources (B.E.C. Caving Report No 15 ROMAN MINE price 45p for a limited period) and says, "it is a considerable tribute to the care and enthusiasm which Mr. and Mrs. Tuck brought to their excavations" which goes to show that the B.E.C. do get out of pubs at times!  The October 1972 issue of Geographical included three interesting items: Pennine Pippikin, by Tony Waltham; Where Limestone Fashions Landscape (Ingle Smith) and a short item entitled Hypothermia on the Hills. Thanks to Chris Howell for donating these items.

Have you got your copy of 'Mendip's Vanishing Grottoes' yet? No doubt, like the caves the book illustrates, copies of this will one day vanish and become valuable collector's pieces. Why not invest in a copy while they are still available?  Only 50p from Dave Irwin.


We really HATE wasting any spaces like this one.  Have you looked round the new Club Library yet?  If not, you should and you will be surprised at what we have.  Why not borrow a book or two?


Tackle Master’s Report

Owing to his taking over the job at short notice, DAVE TURNER was unable to present his report before the A.G.M., but it is printed now for the information of club members.

This report is for the period August-September 1972, this  being the period covered by the present Tacklemaster.  All the club's tackle has been inspected in the last two months and a card index of all items created.


Seven of the ladders in use up to August were found to be in need of repair and have been withdrawn. The number of ladders in service at present is 25, making a total of 605 feet. The number of ladders under repair is 11, totalling 220 feet.  Most of these have been dismantled, and it is hoped to have these back in service in the near future..


The following are now in service: Nylon, 9 ropes totalling 894 feet; Ulstron, 2 ropes totalling 600 feet and Courlene, 1 rope of 100 feet.  This gives a total of 1,594 feet.


The club also possesses 2 Karabiners", 13 tethers, 2 nylon slings, 3 rawl and star drills and 6 rawlbolts.  A disturbing feature of the club is tackle is the rate at which it is diminishing. From the A.G.M. reports, it appears as follows:  Ladders, 1968 - 960 feet, 1969 - 940 feet, 1970 - 870 feet, 1972 - 825 feet including that under repair.  Perhaps the picture is not as gloomy as it appears, and if any member knows the whereabouts of any other tackle, would he let the Tacklemaster know?  Then, all members will be able to use it.

D. P. Turner, October 1972.


A Weekend in North Wales

We have just found room for another climbing article by G. E. Oaten.

After the tedious journey from Bristol to North Wales, we were greeted in Llanberis pass by a beautiful moonlit night which made our hopes rise for a fine weekend; but alas! our hopes were dashed to the ground on the Saturday morning by fine driving rain and low cloud.

Pete Sutton and a friend had been looking forward to climbing Cemetery Gates (200 feet X.S.) but this was now out.  So, more in hope than anger, they went to the climbing area known as Tremadoc.  It is rumoured that when it rains in the pass it is fine in Termadoc.  Once there, they set out to climb Vector (250 feet, X.S.) but this repelled their attacks, so they looked for easier game and found it on Striptease (160 feet V.S.) and Shadrach (180 feet V.S.)

Meanwhile, this left Maggie Sutton, Ross and Roy Marshall, Nigel Riche and myself at the Pen-y-pass cafe where we decided to brave the weather and set out on our intended walks. Maggie and Ross were to walk to the top of Snowdon via the miners track and the zig zags, while Roy, Nigel and myself were to do the Snowdon Horseshoe.  This involve ascending the pyg track to Grib Goch (2,816’) traversing the Grib to the summit of Snowdon (3,5601’) then over to Lliwedd (2,947’) down on to the miners track and back to the Pen-y-Pass.

We arranged to meet the girls at the top of the zig zag, so we set off on our different ways.  As we ascended the pyg track, the weather began to clear, allowing us to shed our waterproofs and to gaze at the majestic beauty of Lliwedd and Snowdon far to the left.  As we gained height and crossed the Grib, the wind became stronger and the visibility came down to about twenty yards, allowing us to see fleeting glimpses of the scree slopes below.

Grib Goch is a very exposed knife ridge where many an experienced walker has lost his life in bad conditions, so we treated it with much respect.

At last we reached the zig zags, but there was no sign of the girls.  We decided that the weather must have decided them and that they had gone back down.  After much discussion as to whether we should go on or not, it was decided that Roy should go down the zig zags, while Nigel and I continued the Horseshoe.  As we followed the cairns that mark the path, unknown to us, Roy had met the girls and continued with them to the top of Snowdon, and then gone back down.

The walk progressed with greater ease than we had thought.  Then it slowly dawned on us.  We had taken the wrong path in the poor visibility.  It was discovered that we were on Bwlch Nain that leads to the Watkins path.  After about a five mile detour, we finally reached the Pen-y-Pass cafe, somewhat disgruntled at not finishing the horseshoe.

That evening, we accomplished the ritual of supping ale to excess, but Sunday found us on a path that leads up to the Devil’s kitchen - which lies in Cwm ldwal in the Ogwen Valley.  The Kitchen is a large amphitheatre of rock and scree, with a huge rift that runs a long way into the cliff.  The path goes past Llyn Idwal up to the Idwal Slabs where budding Joe Browns are taught the art of rock climbing by their Outward Bound instructors.

We left the girls at the bottom of the Kitchen, and continued our walk to the top.  Once there, we walked the length of the cliff, to descend to Llyn LawaI by a steep gully to rejoin the girls.  A short walk brought us back to the cars and then the journey home, feeling tired but content at having had at good weekend.


Owing to the length of the remainder of Alan Coase’s paper on Photographic Apparatus, which was started in last month’s B.B. and bearing in mind the need to print the complete list of club members in next month's B.B., we are printing the rest of the paper in the Christmas B. B. rather then break it up into small instalments.  We hope that Alan, and those members who are interested in photography will bear with us!  Editor.


Articles, letters, snippets of information etc.  are always welcome for inclusion in the B.B.  The post box in the Belfry has not been used much of late, but should be a convenient way of getting YOUR contribution to the Editor.  Next time you are at the Belfry, why not write smoothing and put it in the box ?


Did you like the dinner? Any complaints?  The committee have to fix up annual dinners ages in advance and they will be glad to hear from you on this subject.  Don’t save up any moans until it is too late!  Let us know NOW, so that we stand a chance of DOING something about it.


Monthly Crossword – Number 27.






















































































1 & 13. Cuthbert’s passage. (3,3)
3. See 9 down. (5)
6. My niche? (7)
7. A ladderer does to a pitch. (4)
8. Type of underground passage on Mendip and London. (4)
11. Cavers do sport down this hole! (4,3)
12. 4 down and this are alike when underground. (5)
13. See 1 across. (3)


2. Making line fast. (5)
3. Common to Chamber, Wood and Hole on Mendip. (4)
4. See 12 across. (4)
5. Highest place in Cuthbert’s? (7)
6. I run cat for cave formation. (7)
9. (with 3 across)  Pitch in Cuthbert’s. (5,5)
10. Is this passage mine? (3)
13. From Pillar to this perhaps? (4)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword



















































































Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481.BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele:  WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     D. Turner
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr; R. Hobbs.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. Thomas, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. Large, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 2 Broughton House, Somerset St., Redcliffe, Bristol 1.
Hut Warden:      R. Orr.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. Hobbs, Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol. Tele BRISTOL 77368
Tacklemaster:    D. Turner.  Address to follow.
B.B. Editor:       S.J. Collins, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Publications:     D.J. Irwin.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

This Year’s Dinner

As usual, the B.E.C. are not issuing tickets.  One books up for the dinner by getting in touch with the Hon. Treasurer - Bob Bagshaw and by paying him £1.10 (22/- in old money) per person.

PLEASE try to do this as soon as possible, as Bob has to tell the caterers how many people are coming, and he can only make a wild guess if you all wait until the last minute!





Now is the time for nominations for the 1972~73 Committee.  In past years, we used to print a form for this but it was generally agreed that it was a waste of paper to print some 300 forms when at best only a dozen or so would be actually used.  The system in the B.E.C., for the benefit of newer members, is delightfully simple.  Suppose you think that Bert Bodge would make a good committee member.  All you do is to ASK him whether he would be prepared to serve on the committee if he were elected.  If he says he would, you then WRITE on any suitable piece of paper “I wish to nominate Bert Bodge for the 1972-73 Committee and he has agreed to serve if elected.”  The exact wording is not important as long as you make sure that you say he will serve. SIGN it with your own name and club membership no., if you can remember it.  (This is only a quick check to make sure that you are paid up - otherwise your nomination is invalid) and GIVE or SEND it to ALAN THOMAS, to reach him AT LEAST THREE WEEKS BEFORE THE A.G.M. (i.e. by Saturday 16th September).  You may nominate as many people as you wish and you do not need a seconder.  Those nominated must a of course, be PAID UP club members.

Present members of the committee are deemed to be nominated automatically unless they wish to stand down. So far, no one has said they wish to stand down.  This procedure does not give present committee members any advantage, but was instituted so that, if no nominations are received, at least we still have a committee.  (This has actually happened on several occasions in the past).

In this B.B. and the next, you will find various reports.  They may - or may not - make dull reading, but they save a lot of time at the A.G.M.


After the article in which the double bowline and the bowline-on-a-bight were mentioned, several people have said that these are, in fact, two separate knots which should not be mixed up.  MAURICE ILES has sent in a piece of rope (it must be the oddest way for a contribution to the B.B. to be received) in which is tied a knot which he says is a Bowline-on-a-Bight.  It is reproduced opposite.


Perhaps more members who have skill in getting us knotted will care to join in!


The committee would like to record the thanks on behalf of club to Mary Ham, Colleen and Sue for their donations to the first aid box for the Belfry.

A New Club Section?

Nigel Jago says that if any club member is interested in building a fibre glass canoe, they should get in touch with him.  His address is at the beginning of this B.B.  Please note that it has changed since last month.


Minutes of the 1971 Annual General Meeting

Held at Oliver's Bar, Bristol on Saturday, 2nd October 1971.

There being some 40 members present, the meeting opened by the Hon. Secretary calling members to order at 2.30 pm.  The meeting then proceeded to elect a Chairman.  The names of D.J. Irwin; R.A. Setterington; S.J. Collins and Dr. O.C. Lloyd were proposed from the floor.  On a show of hands, Dr. O.C. Lloyd was elected as Chairman.

The Chairman then called for the collection of ballot papers and members resolutions.

The Chairman called for three volunteers to act as tellers.  Mrs. Wilton, Mrs. Franklin and Mrs. Meadon volunteered and were accepted by the meeting.  The Chairman then suggested that the minutes of the 1970 meeting should be taken as read, since they had been published in the B.B.  This was agreed.  Pete Franklin then proposed an amendment “That the name of' Phil Coles be deleted from the minutes” (His name was reported as being the only person voting a particular way at the previous A.G.M.)  The Chairman asked Alfie why this had been so reported, it being the usual practice to leave out names.  Alfie replied that Phil had specifically requested that his name be placed on record in this manner.  A vote was taken and the amendment carried 9 - 5 with the remainder abstaining.  It was agreed to record this amendment to R. A. Setterington then proposed that “All matters in minutes referring to Committee actions should be checked.”   A discussion arose and the Chairman accepted ‘Sett’s’ offer to read the minutes and to bring up such queries as might appropriate.  D.J. Irwin then proposed that the minutes be accepted.  This was seconded by Bob White and carried nem. Con.

The Chairman then moved on to the Hon. Secretary's report.  This too, had been previously published.  Alan Thomas said that he would like to add some remarks, which the Chairman accepted as an addendum to the report.  Alan said that the attitude of some members using the Belfry left a lot to be desired.  There had been incidents involving damage to the ceiling and when the Committee tried to hold an investigation, they were told a tissue of lies which led to the club falling out with another club from the North.  He suggested that the new Committee would have to look very seriously at Belfry Discipline.  The Chairman said that the meeting should note these remarks and adopt or discuss the report as a whole.  Mike Palmer then proposed the adoption of the report with the addendum.  This was seconded by Bob White and carried nem. con.

The Hon. Treasurer's Report followed.  This had been published, and the Chairman invited the Hon. Treasurer to add anything if he wished.  Bob Bagshaw said that the sum of £574 as published should read £547.  This was no doubt, an error on the part of the B.B. Editor. He pointed out that the outgoings for the Belfry included two years insurance.  There were some small items which the auditor wished to be cleared up before approving the accounts.  Bob said that we had some money in Club funds to be going on with.  He also said that he had received some subscriptions but by no means all.  The Chairman asked about the payment of income tax, and said that some other clubs seemed to be able to avoid paying it.  Bob replied that normally tax is chargeable on interest of investments but possibly some other clubs had obtained relief on this point and promised to look further into the matter.  Bob Cross then proposed the acceptance of the Hon. Treasurer's report.  This was seconded by Martin Webster and carried nem. con.

The Chairman then asked for the Caving Report, which the Caving Secretary read out.  There were no comments.  Dave Irwin proposed the adoption of the report.  This was seconded by Alan Thomas and carried unanimously.

The Chairman then asked for the Climbing Report.  Alfie said that no report had been received for publication.  The Climbing Secretary was not present at the meeting.  Dave Irwin suggested that this be deferred until later.  This was generally agreed by the meeting.

The Chairman then asked for the Tacklemaster's Report.  Bill Cooper pointed out that he had just taken on the job and would sort through the tackle and report to the Committee.  The Chairman said that in view of the situation, he would recommend this suggestion to the meeting, and asked if the were any points concerning tackle which members might wish to raise.  Mike Palmer reminded the meeting that the Committee had been asked to look into losses of tackle.  Alan Thomas replied that this had been done and the one ladder still missing had been written off.  He said that Tim Large was still putting adverts in 'Descent.'  Mike Palmer said that there were only two lengths of ladder in the Tackle store.  Dave Irwin replied that on the particular weekend to which Mike Palmer was referring, tackle had been taken to Yorkshire and to Wales.  Mike Palmer suggested that there should be an instruction to next year's committee that the Tacklemaster keeps a new record book and that trips off Mendip MUST be supplied with tackle from the Tacklernaster directly and NOT from the Belfry.  A discussion followed the Chairman summarised this.  There should be three lots of tackle.  One for Cuthbert’s; one for the rest of Mendip and the remainder held off Mendip by the Tacklemaster for trips away from Mendip.  A list of tackle should be prepared and published together with the procedure for obtaining it and returning it after use.  In view of the number of people whose suggestions were incorporated in this summary, the Chairman suggested that it be recorded that the new Committee should take into consideration all the views expressed. The Tacklemaster's report was then proposed to be accepted by Mike Palmer, seconded by Phil Coles and carried nem. con.

The Chairman then called for discussion of the Hut Warden's         report.   'Sett' asked whether day charges were still being collected.  Pete Franklin said that they were collected if people used the cooking facilities. In reply to a further question, Pete said that no fees payable are published.  Alan Thomas said that the showers appeared to be little use judging by the money collected.  A short discussion follow and it was felt that the time delay in heating the water was the cause of the showers relative unpopularity.  The Chairman suggested that the Committee should look into the operation of the showers.  A conscience box placed next to the water heater was also suggested.  It was also suggested that the committee look into Belfry charges in view of the changing pattern of caver’s habits.  Dave Irwin warned the meeting not to make rash judgments on this subject.  The report was proposed to be adopted by Alfie and seconded by Mike Palmer and carried without dissent.  A vote of thanks to the retiring Hut Warden was then proposed by Alfie seconded by Alan Thomas and carried with acclaim.

The Belfry Engineer’s Report was than discussed.  It was agreed during a short discussion that the Belfry Engineer obtained very little support from members.  Alan Thomas said that despite this, he had done a good job.  The report was adopted on a proposal from Frank Jones seconded by Bob White and carried nem. con.

The Chairman asked for the Hon. Librarian’s Report.  Alfie aid that no report had been received but that he had seen Dave Searles who sent his apologies for not being able to attend the meeting.  The Chairman said that he would note Afie’s remarks, and that the production of a proper report should be dealt with by the new Committee.

The Chairman then called for discussion on the B.B. Editor’s Report.  Alfie explained that his proposals for changing the publication interval of the B.B. were designed to stimulate discussion so that the feelings of the meeting could be asserted.  The Chairman said that properly this was matter for the editor and the Committee to decide.  The meetimg voted against the scheme by 16 – 22.  The Editor said that there was no intention of going against the wishes of the club, and as far as he was concerned, we should now continue with a monthly publication.  The adoption of the report was proposed by Bob Bagshaw, seconded by ‘Sett’ and carried without dissent.

The Chairman then announced the results of the ballot for the new Committee.  Voting was as follows: - Bob Bagshaw 69; Dave Irwin 66; Alan Thomas 63; Tim Large 54, Alfie 50; Pete Stobart 47, Dave Turner 38; Nigel Jago 37; Bill Cooper 38.  The Chairman announced that the above had been voted as the 1971-72 Committee.

There was no discussion on the Caving Publications Report.  The adoption of this report was proposed by Pete Franklin coupled with a vote of thanks to Dave Irwin for all the work he had put in.  This was seconded by Mike Palmer and carried unanimously.

The Chairman then moved on to Members Resolutions, the first of which was from ‘Sett’, seconded by Bob Bagshaw, “That the B.E.C. Annual General Meeting is not the proper time place to discuss the removal of fixed tackle from Cuthbert’s.”  With no discussion, the Chairman put the resolution to the vote (I mean since there was no discussion, I am not implying that the Chairman stifled discussion! - Ed.) and it was carried by 21 - 11.

The next resolution, proposed by Dave Irwin and seconded Roy Bennett was, “That this meeting extends the Guest Leader system to cover all clubs on a National basis with a similar arrangement to the existing scheme.”  Again, no discussion resulted, and the resolution was carried with one dissent.

The third resolution was proposed by Pete Franklin and seconded by Ron ("Kangy") King, "That the A.G.M. and Dinner be held on separate dates next year to be decided by the Committee on direction from this meeting.”  After a short discussion, it was put to the vote and was lost by 18-19.

There being no other business, and having some time in hand the Chairman asked for any other business. Bob Bagshaw proposed a vote of thanks to the tellers.  This was seconded by Graham Phippen and carried unanimously.  Graham then that there was a shortage of digging equipment and a lack direction for keen, younger members.  Various people replied that there was a lot of work to be done, apart from the obvious caving and. digging.  The Library was deficient.  A battery charger was needed.  The Chairman asked the committee to take note of all these points.

The matter of the Climbing Report was next taken up.  The new Climbing representative on the committee, Nigel Jago, that he would produce one.

The Chairman then asked ‘Sett’ to produce any matters from the previous minutes.  All the actions had, in fact, been cleared up.

A query was put to the I.D.M.F. Committee from the floor asking whether the present notice for intending trips was realistic.  The point was noted, and the I.D.M.F. Committee were instructed to look into this and other aspects of the operation of the fund.

There being no further business, the Chairman then declared the meeting closed.


Travels with a Test Tube

Part 1: Some Painted Caves in Spain and France

ROGER STENNER recently received a grant to study marine pollution by metals which enabled him to see quite a bit of Europe. Needless to say, he managed to fit in time to do some show caves en route.  This is the first description of caves he visited.

Three weeks in March and April, working in fantastic unbroken sunshine between Sagres and Cadiz had to come to an end some time and after a morning spent weegee-ing in Cordoba, a drive on good roads (a change after the Mini-wrecking minor roads I had had to use so much) took me to Northern Spain.   A drive through a huge limestone gorge to the North of Burgos led eventually down into the limestones where there are many caves which contain Palaeolithic paintings.  On my first afternoon there, I had a look at the Cavern del Castillo at Puente Viesgo, on the main road from Burgos to Santander.  The cave would be interesting enough without the paintings – smooth, gently dipping rock, with glorious solutional arches and well decorated. Then there are the paintings, the whole lot very well protected by the guides ("Up here, you padrone me servant: Down there, me boss!")  The cave walls look untouched, and the paintings as fresh as the day they were painted. The guide showed genuine enthusiasm for the caves there and he obviously still gets the same kick out of them as he did when he saw then for the first time.

Castillo was not mutilated when engineered for a show cave, and lighting was kept to a minimum. Paintings were illuminated by a hand torch.  The paintings make clever use of natural features in the rock, and perhaps the most famous is the elephant.  Not far from it, a rock movement has left the base of a big pillar suspended about a foot from the floor, looking like an elephant's front leg.  A coincidence?  In another passage is a sequence of solutional arches about two feet apart.  In each one, a half circle and two dots are enough to give an uncanny feeling that one is being watched.  I was able to make a series of air temperature and air CO2 measurements, but that’s another story.  The guide was helpful and friendly, adding to the pleasure of the trip.  We were there for three hours, and the guide did not seem to be upset by the fact that I was the only customer that afternoon.

Next morning, I drove to the famous cave of Altamira.  This cave is highly commercialised and extensively engineered, catering impersonally for huge parties.  It was most disappointing in spite of the incredible paintings in the gallery of the bulls.  It was annoying to be told that I didn't really want to see the famous paintings in the annexe, or to be spoken to sharply when I stopped walking for a moment to look at a delicate little bas-relief on a projection which the guide had ignored. It was just one round of the big chamber in double quick time, and into the gallery of the bulls where the paintings were dripping with condensation from the visitor’s breath.  Perhaps there are some people who like this kind trip - there are a lot of peculiar people about.  It just left a bad taste in my mouth, which I got rid of by driving back to Fuente Viesgo, where the friendly guide showed me around two other caves close to Castillo – the Cave of the Chimeneas and the Cave of Las monedas. There are other caves there; good ones too; but you need written permits from the Patronato de las Cuevas Prehistoricas de la  Provincia de Santander.  Both caves were delightful, with good paintings.  One centres round a small knob of rock, which forms the eye of a horse. After these trips, the guide threw in a free trip into Castillo to repeat the previous day’s measurements. Then he asked for a copy of the measurements, which we discussed over a bottle of fiery Spanish gin.

After Northern Spain, the next cave I saw was in the foothills of the Pyrenees.  The de-climatisation from South Spain was completed - by a snowstorm.  Clear signposts soon got me to the Grotte de Gargas, famous for a large number of mutilated hand outlines.  A recent theory is that the missing joints were amputated to relieve pain from a type of arthritis caused by exposure to cold during adolescence.  The paper proposing this theory is plausible, but I still wonder why the cave only features left hands.  It was sad to see a famous cave in a disgusting mess.  Graffiti on the walls which even covers some Palaeolithic paintings and litter is allowed to accumulate everywhere.  The guide was scattering sweet wrappers as we went - not exactly the way to set an example to parties.

North to Toulouse next, where I met Kangy and Anne King.  I was told I must see the Grotte de Niaux and I was soon driving south again. Behind the huge entrance high on the mountainside there is a good cave in hard limestone. The cave is long, with interesting passages and chambers, mostly completely natural and illuminated by carbide lamps that are provided.  The very famous groups of paintings are now protected by cage-like enclosures, apparently a necessary precaution in France.  The best paintings give a quite extraordinary feeling of vitality. Three bison paintings overlap to form a beheaded human head in profile which cannot be accidental.  Hearts and other vulnerable spots have been highlighted in red on the otherwise black paintings by later (still Palaeolithic) inhabitants.  The guide, a pretty black haired girl, pointed out marks representing a Palaeolithic cave survey on R.S.D. lines, and other squiggles which she said had a sexual significance.  I looked again - just squiggles.  Perhaps it is all in the eye of the beholder?

After a most remarkable gastronomic experience at a restaurant La Camille, on the main road from Niaux to Faix, it was time to continue northwards once more.  In the Dordogne I stopped long enough to see the Grotte de Font de Gaume.  As at Niaux, the French were doing their best to stop any more vandalism.  The cave is a solutional feature in very soft limestone - perhaps it is so soft that it should be called a chalk.  Most of the formations are inactive.  The paintings, often outlined by engraving in the soft rock, are in black and ochre and the style appeared to be the same as the Altamira ones - the most distant of the caves I saw.  There were a few mutilated hands unlike the Puente Viesgo hands which were intact.  The guide, another girl, pointed, embarrassed to some squiggles of an obvious sexual nature – most indelicate and blushing, hurried on to the next painting.  I looked again.  Just squiggles.  I must be missing something.  There are so many good caves around here, but I had to catch the spring tides in the Seine estuary.  One day, I’ll have more time to spare but of the caves I had seen, it is the Puente Viesgo caves I want to revisit some day.  For the time being, it was time to get down to the job of analysing the car¬-full specimens I had collected, and plan the fine details of trip to Norway.  Now that photo from a show cave at Mo-i-Rhana ¬looks interesting.


Members Addresses Changes

Jim Durston, 7 Estuary Park, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset.
Nigel Taylor, c/o 'Langley', Moors Farm, Berkley, Frome, Som.
Stuart Tuttlebury, 28 Butts Road, Alton, Hampshire.
Jim Abbott, 28 St. Pauls Rd, Manninghan, Bradford, Yorks.
Colin Clark, 186 Cranbrook Rd, Bristol BS 6 7DQ.
Alan Coase, 6 Meadow Mead, Frampton Cotterrel, Bristol BS1 2BQ

Caving Report

Congratulations to our Caving Secretary - TIM LARGE - for being the first Club Officer to send in his annual report!  As follows: -

The year started off rather slowly - perhaps everyone was still recovering from the dinner; but activity increased towards the middle of the year, remaining fairly constant from then on.  As usual, most of the Mendip caves were visited, with Swildons and, of course, Cuthbert’s being the most popular.

Our active cavers consist mostly of new members - who stay regularly at the Belfry, but they come and go more frequently nowadays, thus never forming a really close-knit nucleus as was the case in the past.  The old phrase of the "two year caver" appears to have become the "one year caver".

During the year there were about ten club trips - mostly on Mendip.  Response to these trips remains at a low ebb.  On one trip, the leader resorted to writing to everyone personally and even then the attendance was not as good as one might have expected. There seems to be a general apathy towards caving from members these days.

Cuthbert’s received its due attention with about thirty tourist trips by visiting clubs.  More work has been done on the survey, which is now very nearly completed.  The Tuesday night digging team has been regularly attacking the pointed end of the cave, supplemented by the Sunday morning digging team who are digging at the end of Gaur Rift.  More water tracing tests have been carried out to help solve the mysteries of Cuthbert’s.

Two digs have been officially designated as Club Digs.  These being Bucket Bole at East Harptree and the terminal choke dig in Nine Barrows. There have been a few other digs going on throughout the year but they have not yielded their secrets yet. These are at Nettle Hole, Garrowpipe and Rookery Farm Swallet.

A rescue practice was held in Cuthbert’s on January 15th, this time the route from September Chamber through the ruckle and out into High Chamber was tried.  With many willing hands, all went well except for one very constricted section at the Catgut end of the ruckle, but this was over¬come with various unusual contortions.

Well, there’s always room for improvement, and perhaps if more members took an active interest in the genuine pursuits of the club, then, maybe, one day we could truly say that we were the best club on Mendip.

Tim Large, Hon. Caving Sec.


Editor’s Report

The second of the club Officers' report s for the year - by the Editor.

A number of changes have been made to the B. B. this year in an attempt to start it on its second quarter-century in a better manner.  Firstly, and most importantly, we have at last managed to take the step I had been hoping for - that of changing from a duplicated to an offset printed magazine.

After some initial snags, the improvement in clarity should by now be noticeable.  Although the printing process takes longer than the old duplicating did, I feel that the result more than justifies the extra time spent

Secondly, we have gone metric.  A B.B. which keeps on changing its size is a nuisance to librarians and to others who make a collection of them, but in this case the change was necessary - since it will become more and more difficult to get hold of the old British quarto size paper. We chose the smaller of the two metric sizes which were sensible to have - that of the A5 size.  The other alternative was A4 which has been adopted by the Wessex Journal.  Members may like to compare the two.  I feel that our choice was the right one.

Lastly, we have a new stiff cover.  For this, we are indebted to Barry Wilton, who produced a number of designs from which we could choose.  The cover chosen was by an almost unanimous choice of those involved.

After some slight controversy about how many pages of the new paper size represented a fair deal for members, I settled on a basic number of 24 pages per issue (12 pages on this re-issue).  I am pleased to say that this has not only been kept up so far this year, but has twice been exceeded.  This is, of course, due to the good response by club members in writing for the B.B. and I should like to record my thanks to all those who have made my Job so much easier by writing for the B.B. without prompting.

I hope to incorporate some smaller improvements next year, but I feel that we shall have to wait for some time before the next major improvement can take place that of having a decent typeface.  This move, when it comes, will be expensive and it is unlikely that the club will be able to afford it for some time yet.

I hope that we shall hear from new authors next year in addition to those faithful stalwarts whose efforts largely keep the B.B. going.

I should like to conclude by thanking Kay Mansfield for the work she does in folding, collating, stapling and distributing the B.B.; Barry Wilton, who has helped me considerably with printing and cover design and Tony Corrigan, whose knowledge of the offset litho process and willingness to help and to provide essential supplies has been quite invaluable.

S.J. Collins, Hon. Editor, B.B.


Ian Dear Memorial Fund


At a meeting of the Ian Dear Memorial Committee (which was reported in this volume of the B.B. in January) a number of things were decided.  Present at the meeting, which was held at the Belfry on December 12th of last year, were R.A. Setterington (Chairman), M.A. Palmer (minutes Secretary), N. Jago, R. Bagshaw and A. Thomas.  As members will know, the late Ian Dear, an active and popular club member, left a sum of £300 to the club for the purpose of assisting young members to visit the continent for caving, climbing etc.

The Ian Dear Memorial Committee felt that insufficient use was being made of this sum.  This, they felt, could be partly overcome by better publicity and by the fostering of trip to places abroad, but this in itself was not likely to be enough.  They therefore propose that the rules governing the allocation of monies from this fund be altered, to allow more flexibility in the arrangements.  Since this is a formal notice to club members of a resolution to be put before the Annual General Meeting, the present set of rules, and the proposed changes will be set out in full.  There are seven of these rules.

1.                  The fund shall be known as the Ian Dear Memorial Fund.  No change is proposed to this rule.

2.                  The bequest shall be used to set up a fund to assist junior members to visit caving or climbing areas of the continent.  Further donations may be added to the fund.

It is resolved that this rule read as follows:-

2.                  The bequest shall be used to set up a fund to assist CERTAIN members to visit caving or climbing areas ABROAD.  Further donations may be added to the fund.

The changed words have been written in capitals.  The intention here is to broaden both the age limit and the places it is permitted to assist in visiting.

3.                  The fund will be administered by a sub-committee of five club members, of whom one must be the Hon. Treasurer of the club.  The remainder to be nominated annually by the General Committee.  The Sub-Committee to report to the Annual General Meeting.

It is resolved to amend this rule as follows: -

3.                  The fund will be administered by a Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee of five club members which will include the Hon. Treasurer, the Caving and Climbing Secretaries and two members to serve in perpetuity until considered necessary of replacement.

This rule has been considerably modified.  In line with past practice, the Caving and Climbing secretaries now form part of the committee – this happened in fact even though the old rules did not expressly state this inclusion.  The other two members will give continuity to the committee.

4.                  Any club member under the age of eighteen may apply.  Members over eighteen and under twenty one years of age may be considered in exceptional circumstances.  The age qualification will apply on the first day of July of the year of the proposed trip.

It is resolved to amend this rule as follow:-

4.                  Any club member under the age of eighteen may apply.  Members over eighteen years of age may be considered in exceptional circumstances.  e.g. members studying full time.

This change is mainly to get rid of the date qualification.  The upper age qualification is also removed.

5.                  Applications must be received by the first day of March of the year of the proposed trip. The applicant must furnish brief details of itinery and cost at the time of application.

It is resolved to amend this rule as follows:-

5.                  Applications should be received by any member of the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee two months prior to the date of the proposed trip.  A report, suitable for publication in the B.B., must be received by the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee within one month of the completion of the trip.

These proposed changes allow more flexibility with regard to dates and make the obligations of the recipient more specific.

6.                  The maximum amount to be allocated in anyone year shall be limited to fifty pounds. The maximum amount allocated to each individual shall be limited to ten pounds.

It is resolved to amend this rule as follows:-

6.                  The maximum amount to be allocated in anyone year shall be limited to fifty pounds. The maximum amount allocated to each individual is unlikely to exceed twenty pounds each trip.

Without altering the amount given as a maximum per year, the amendment allows greater flexibility to the Ian Dear Memorial Committee.

7.                  The fund to be invested in National Development Bonds or a similar scheme.

No Change is proposed to this rule.

The above resolutions were submitted by the Ian Dear Memorial Committee as it at present stands, to the Club Committee who have endorsed the proposals and recommend them as resolutions to be put before the club in General Meeting.




Climbing in Cornwall

by G.E. Oaten.

The majority of the climbing group took their summer vacation on the Cornish coast this year at Sennen.  This little village is situated two miles from Land is End on the North coast. From our camp site at Trevedra Farm we were within easy reach of the major climbs in Penwith.

The sea mist on our first day was so thick and damp that we went to St. Ives and played at being tourists. However, awoke on the Sunday to bright sunshine, so we decided to climb at Chair Ladder.  To reach this cliff, you drive along typical Cornish narrow lanes with high hedgerows speckled with flowers of reds yellows and blues, whereupon you drop down into Porthwarra, which is a beautiful cove with a few sleepy fishing cottages nestling on the hill side overlooking the deep blue of the Atlantic. From the car park, a five minute walk brings you to the top of the cliff.  Descending the aptly named gully Ash Cans you immediately see the true beauty of Cornish granite.  This is yellowy-brown in colour and in places near the top, covered with a green lichen.

Peter Sutton and Alan Tringham decided upon nearby 110ft Hard Severe.  This is a fine line on the central buttress - a steep and strenuous crag climb.  David and myself climbed Corporal's Route, a 110 ft severe on the Wolf Buttress, a nice little climb with a move through a rift that reminded me of caving.  As we finished this quickly, we climbed the second pitch of the Buccaneer - 60 ft hard severe.

The next day we paid a visit to Tater-Du, which lies South West of Lamorna Cove.  Here, the rock is not granite but Greenstone.  This is an impressive black coloured face, steep and exposed.  Alan and Pete started by climbing Marine Parade - 90 ft hard v. diff while we did Crow's Nest ordinary route – 160 ft mild severe, a pleasant route that has a nice exposed last pitch.  The others returned and climbed Crow’s Nest Direct - 125 ft mild severe.  We all enjoyed the climbing here and hope to return on our next visit to Cornwall.

The next day we went to Land’s End.  We all wanted to do Cormorant’s Slab (80 ft - Mild Severe).  Derek and I thought that four was too many for this route, so we went for Johnstone Route (90 ft - Hard V. Diff.)  The first pitch was very good, steep but with good holds.  The second was desperate for an H.V.D. - up a corner on friable rock - followed by a mantelshelf - then up a short steep crack to the top.  Here, we were met by the others, but Alan had to leave us then.  We next decided to try Zawn Face Route (75 ft - Mild V.S.)  Pete took the lead.  The first ten feet was a tight belly traverse followed by an awkward move to stand up, and then he was out of sight.  After a little while the rope was taken in.  As I was in the middle of the rope it was now my turn.  I managed the traverse, but when it came to the standing up bit, I looked down into the deep zawn, then up at the greasy rock. I thought ‘No thank you!’ - and beat a hasty retreat to safety, leaving Derek and Pete to do it.

That evening, we were joined by Hoy and Ros Marshall.  After a few beers in the pub that night, we decided to climb at Bosigran, which is a cliff on the road Between St. Just and St. Ives.  Derek and I decided upon Doug (155 ft Severe) which turned out to be of little merit, save for a mantelshelf on the last pitch.  However, the others thought they would do Suicide Wall (210 ft - Hard V.S.) but on reaching the bottom of the climb in the bright sober light of morning, they decided against it and ended up doing a Hard V. Diff instead.

Next day found Pete, Derek and I at the bottom of Chair Ladder again.  The first climb was Flannel Avenue (155 ft Severe).  As nobody else fancied leading the first pitch, and as I had led it before, I was put on the sharp end.  This pitch is a. chimney that has to be backed up, and then you step off on to a rib on the left.  After several attempts, I could not manage the step off, so Derek had to lead it. The third pitch is truly magnificent, climbing on juggy holds on a steep face some hundred and fifty feet up.  As you climb, if you look between your legs, the rock suddenly drops away leaving a view of a deep, clear rock pool at the bottom aptly named Suicide Pool.  Next we climbed Pendulum Chimney (150 ft Severe) a pleasant climb, though smelling somewhat of birdlime.

As we had been climbing every day, we thought we would have a day on the beach next, which made a pleasant change.

After our day of rest, we tackled Fox Promontory.  This is a lump of rock that is detached from the cliff by a rift.  Pete and Alan set off to do Vixen's Embrace (390 ft - Mild V.S.) This is a girdle traverse of the whole promontory.  Alas! They had to retreat after four pitches. Roy and Mike Thomas, who had joined us on Friday, climbed Folly Corber (100 ft - V.Diff.) while we did Reveille (90 ft Severe) which was a worthwhile route with a delicate traverse which I found quite hard.

Nigel Jago joined us on the Saturday, so on the Sunday Nigel and Derek went to climb Bishop's Rib (190 ft Extremely Severe.)  This was Nigel’s third attempt at the route and this time he made it with a fine lead.

On the Sunday evening, with a few pints inside me, I was persuaded to second Nigel next day up Zawn Face against my better judgment, so next morning found us at Land’s End, where I was dragged and threatened up the route to be greeted by two cormorants and the repulsive smell of birdlime.  Meanwhile, Derek and Pete succeeded in climbing Vixen’s Embrace which took five and a half hours.

Our last climbing trip was to Bosigran, where Pete and Mike led Doorway Climb (190 ft Severe) while we did Red Slab (100 ft Hard V.Diff.)  We spent the rest of the holiday on the beaches and in the sea looking for crabs, and just taking it easy after our two weeks of enjoyable climbing.


Film Show

Saturday 9th September - at the Belfry - after the Hunters.


Don't miss this interesting opportunity to see this film!

Report Of Talk At The Belfry

Those who attended the talk by "Sett" on Saturday the 12th August on 'Maps and their uses' found much to interest them.

The talk itself was prepared by Sheila Paul, who is a Map Research Officer by profession and a founder member of the British Cartographical Society.  Her paper and Sett's lecturing style proved a happy combination.

The period after the talk itself was spent looking at a fantastic variety of maps which Sett had assembled and which ranged from simple classroom maps of Europe to close up pictures of the surface of the moon.  In particular, the aerial photographic map of the island of Tonga caught the imagination of those present.

After a talk as interesting as this was, the motto seems to be that it pays to keep ones eyes and ears open and to turn up to these functions which are held at the Belfry - usually at half past seven on a Saturday evening!




Monthly Crossword – Number 25.




















































































3. 5p for the Hon. Treasurer! (3)
6. Paler sort of cave formation. (5)
7. Ladder, for example. (3)
8. State of affairs after successful cave dig. (2)
9. Climb. (5)
12. Essential caving aid. (3)
13. A passage might do this in Ogof Fynnon Ddu. (2)
16. Portion of a circle found in Cheddar caves. (3)
17. Let down. (5)
18. Tint. (3)


1. Taken out of new cave, but don’t do this to it! (5)
2. Caving Club badge. (3)
3. Swildons has one – or is one with no lights. (5,4)
4. Empties sump? (5)
5. Increase middle part of ladder? (3)
10. Drop? (5)
11. Gee!  They belong to us – these cave formations! (5)
14. Cuthbert’s Run.  (3)
15. Past sump I? (3)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword



















































































Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481.BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele:  WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     D. Turner
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr; R. Hobbs.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. Thomas, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. Large, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 2 Broughton House, Somerset St., Redcliffe, Bristol 1.
Hut Warden:      R. Orr.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. Hobbs, Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol. Tele BRISTOL 77368
Tacklemaster:    D. Turner.  Address to follow.
B.B. Editor:       S.J. Collins, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Publications:     D.J. Irwin.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

A.G.M. and DINNER!

Seven stars opens at 10.30 a.m.  A.G.M. at 2.30 pm.  Dinner at the Cave Man Restaurant, Cheddar 7 for 7.30 pm. Price £1.10 (22/-) EACH. Send your money to BOB BAGSHAW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  SOME FREE BEER at the dinner.  O.C.L.’s UNIQUE PUNCH & JUDY SHOW.  CAVING EXHIBITION FILM, ETC. ETC.





The Voting Season

Whatever other clubs mayor may not do, our club is run by the simple expedient of electing a number of people who we then collectively charge with the responsibility of running it on our behalf for the next year.  The Annual Reports of many of the officers they elect are in this B.B.  In addition some space has been devoted to a description of the candidates for the 1972-1973 Committee.  This is perhaps of more importance than usual owing to the large number who are putting themselves forward for election this year.

There may be some members who might feel inclined to moan at the amount of space taken up in the B.B. by this form of club business at this time of the year, but it must be remembered that many of our members who cannot visit Mendip regularly will need all this information in order to make up their minds on how the various people have done and who might be considered as possible alternatives.

A.G.M. and Dinner

Readers will find reminders liberally spread all over the pages of this B.B. It should be unnecessary to remind any member of the importance of attending the A.G.M. if at all possible - to some extent, the same applies to the dinner as it is our main social 'get-together' of the year.  All the information you need will be found in this B. B.


Many members might regard the Club Officers' Reports as being sub-judice until the A.G.M. has had a chance to discuss them - and by this token, any form of editorial comment might be regarded as a form of partisanship.  It is thus necessary to tread very warily and to reserve any form of opionated comment for next month's B.B.  What would appear to be fair comment, however, is to note that on the face of things at least, two of our most pressing problems appear to be well on the way to acceptable solutions.  The club library is at last housed in the Belfry, where it was always intended that it should be housed.  It has been catalogued and valued (we understand that its value is in the region of £600 - a fact which should make members sit up and take notice!) all the periodicals have been bound and efforts are being made to replace all missing issues.  As, perhaps, a natural result of its availability and all the effort which has been put into it, borrowings are up and it looks as if we now have a library in full going order.

As many people know, much time has been spent this year by the committee on looking into the Belfry generally.  The issue here may be slightly more contentious, but at any rate the financial position looks sound, with the bed nights only some 13% away from the all-time record.  The state of the Belfry recently has been the subject of much favourable comment and perhaps the depth and scope of the committee enquiry did, in fact, produce some results.

As against this, the Hon. Secretary's Report opens on a less optimistic note, which he promises to enlarge upon at the A.G.M. itself.  As stated earlier, we must not attempt to speculate on what these remarks will be, but merely note that this A.G.M. could be one of lively interest, and urge as many members as possible to attend.

Lucky Thirteen

In these days, when so many people complain that nobody seems to take any interest in running things like our club, we are in a fortunate position in having so many members willing to serve on the committee if elected.  We hope that all members will appreciate their public spirit.



The editor would like to thank those who have sent in articles or which there has been no room this month owing to the space taken up by club business at this time of the year.


Equipment for Cave Photography

This article, by ALAN COASE, is from a paper delivered by him to the C.R.G. We are particularly pleased to be allowed to reprint this in the B.B., since it follows the tradition set by his brother Don on cave photography.

Portability, reliability, versatility.  The cave photographer may argue at length about his specific requirements in equipment, but undoubtedly these qualities would be amongst the most important he would assess.  Clearly the object of is photography, his financial resources and the nature of the caves with which he is most concerned also playa major part.

The writer has increasingly found that his cave photography ends to divide into two distinct forms. On the one hand there are the comparatively casual photographs taken during the course of other caving activities whilst on the other there are those obtained as a direct result of an essentially photographic trip.  In discussing the range of equipment available for such diverse ends, it is hoped that the range of equipment reviewed may assist others in their selection.

As specialised fields (for example, close-up techniques) are being discussed by other speakers, little or no emphasis will be placed upon equipment solely relevant to them.  The paper will be principally concerned with the carriage and protection of equipment; cameras and lenses; camera supports; flash equipment; films, and miscellaneous aids.

Transport And Protection

The essential requirements for carrying equipment underground are that the cases should be reasonably lightweight and portable, strong and completely waterproof. Fortunately, various military authorities have had similar needs and in the form of surplus ammunition boxes, a nearly ideal case is available at a relatively low cost.  Such boxes come in two sizes and have a very simple and efficient rubber seal.

The two sizes fit well with the two categories of photo¬graphy outlined above; for the smaller one is easy to carry and will comfortably accept a small amount of first aid kit, food and lighting spares as well as a small camera and flashgun.  The larger case is sufficient for a more complex outfit including perhaps a single lens reflex, an alternative lens, one or more flashguns and bulbs and even a compact folding tripod.  The boxes can be lined with foam rubber or neoprene to cushion the equipment, or even full customised so that every item has its specific place.  The inside of the lid can also be utilised for a few technical details. viz.  Guide numbers for a particular flash/film combination.

Although other cases do exist on the market, few of them seem very suitable. One that does merit attention however is the Rollei Matal ever ready case.  This extremely ingenious, comparatively lightweight case has been design with fairly tough treatment in mind and, used in conjunction with an ammunition box for extreme conditions, might prove very effective. However, its new price is very high.

A number of underwater cases do exist for some popular cameras, but generally cost and bulk rule these out.  A number of do-it-yourself ideas for plastic underwater cases have been outlined recently in photographic and sub aqua journals.   These have primarily been designed for underwater work, but they could equally well be used for our purpose if flash synchronisation is maintained.

An easier and quite useful aid is the construction of a neoprene "wet suit" cum ever ready case for the camera.  The object is not; of course, complete waterproofing, but to provide a shock proof layer and to minimise damage from muddy hands.  The one-piece case is tailored to fit as tightly as possible with apertures left wherever necessary for viewfinder, speed dial etc.  A further modification is to fit the lens barrel focussing ring with a neoprene skin on which the focussing distances are clearly marked in paint.

Camera Supports

The main form of support is, of course, the tripod which is really essential for the more complex aspects of underground photography.  The chief problem is of reconciling the need for absolute rigidity with portability. Generally speaking the really compact tripods with brass spring catches and folding tubular legs are neither very stable nor very enduring.  At the other extreme the really rigid studio tripod is far too cumbersome for all but the easiest caves.  Fortunately it large number of tripods do lie between these extremes.  Some of them are nearly ideal for our purposes. Simplicity of construction is a major virtue especially in the locking mechanism on the legs. Some rely on a twist lock mechanism based on nylon threads, but cave grit soon reduces these to impotence.  Far better are the clamp or wheel locking devises which arc usually employed on U-section legs which are easily accessible for maintenance or cleaning. The Linhof range particularly fits the bill here and their Lightweight Professional is ideal for serious cave photography; being stable, tough and yet relatively light in weight.  Its stability is increased by the umbrella strut construction linking the legs to the centre column.  While expensive at list price, Linhofs do appear to be relatively common second hand.

Compact and ingenious camera clamps are readily available but the principal disadvantage with these is that one cannot always find suitable clamping positions in a cave.

Pistol grips and/or flash brackets have considerable virtues where they permit the flash to be used away from the camera and a built-in cable release further reduces the handling of the camera.  However, they seem best suited to 'trip' photography which by their very bulk they may complicate.

Flash Equipment

Discussion is effectively limited to the question of bulb and electronic equipment, there being no reference to flashpowder, magnesium ribbon or other lighting forms, although it is of course possible to obtain cave photographs by using candles, carbide lamps, portable gas lamps etc. as light sources.

The relative values of bulbs and electronic flash equipment are frequently discussed in the photographic press.  Often it is economics that determine the answer reached but in cave photography, where lighting techniques are of major importance, other factors such as light output, size, weight and safety also require consideration.

In terms of light output, flash outfits are generally far more powerful than electronic units.  To approach the same power output the latter are at present very large and bulky but time is an important factor here for, while miniaturisation is occurring with both groups, the greatest potential lies with the electronic units, which are far smaller than the corresponding units of a few years ago.

An increasing degree of 'automation' is also being developed in electronic units where 'sensors' are beginning to take some of the guesswork out of guide numbers.  Similar units are readily available in the form of 'slave guns' which instantaneously trigger off second bulb or electronic guns.  An ingenious bulb unit incorporating such a device is the "Bo-Flash", marketed by Bowens Ltd., at about ten guineas. The gun allows bulbs up to PF 100 in size to be fixed independently of an operator and may be attached to a second tripod or suitable rock by built-in clamp.

An equally interesting electronic unit is the German Unmat 6000 which, at about £30, combines the function of a normal electronic unit with a reasonable output, with that of a slave unit which can be fired off from another flashgun without connecting cords etc.

The economic factor is rather brought to the fore by these two guns, for the bulb unit costs only about one third of the electronic and, even with the smallest bulbs available is more powerful.  However, when running costs are considered the equation takes on a different form. The cheapest flash bulbs are about 4p each and of course can only be used once, whereas the electronic flash merely requires charging and maintenance, which with a reliable make should be minimal.  (For example, my Metz 163 has had fairly full use for over three years and has needed no replacement parts.   This may be in part attributable to the neoprene 'wet suit' in which it too is closeted for its underground visits.)  Thus, if only a few flash shots per year are envisaged, bulb flash scores all round, but if the number is larger then electronic outfits merit consideration.  In my own case, I find a combination of the two very worthwhile, though it may be as well to point out some of the other advantages of electronic units.

The duration of the flash is very short - thus freezing action, water etc. very effectively, even with a focal plane shutter where flash synchronisation speeds may be comparat¬ively slow.  The colour temperature is normally higher than that of a bulb, giving a more correct colour rendering.  Electronic guns almost always have an open flash button (comparatively rare on bulb flash) and this is invaluable if a chamber is to be 'painted' with several shots or where shots entirely off the camera are required.  With the exception of the really powerful guns like the Metz 502 and the Braun F7OO/8OO range, most units take up the space otherwise occupied by two or three packets of bulbs or one P.F.100!

A wide variety of bulb flashguns exist.  The most compact, apart from the specialised cube guns, have folding reflect¬ors and are usually limited to cap less bulbs in A.G.1B, P.F.1B and P.F.5B/6B sizes. These cover most needs, but where large chambers exist P.F.60's or P.F.100's might be regarded as essential. Comparatively few guns handle these apart from the Bo-Flash already mentioned.  The Leitz gun with a folding reflector is a particularly useful model that does accept all bulbs, but this lacks a built-in firing button, which is a disadvantage.  The Kobold B. C. guns do have this provision, plus the ability to link two or three supplementary guns but they suffer the disadvantage of having quite large fixed bowl reflectors.

Of the smaller bulb guns, I have found the folding Japanese guns made by National to be excellent value, though the most suitable model, the Hyper B2, with built-in test bulb and open flash button, which sold for under £2 has now been discontinued and its replacement has not got the self firing device.  However, a number of B2’s are still available and its replacement (the PB 3S) is otherwise an excellent gun.  Other guns do exist at a slightly higher price with this facility, which is invaluable for multi flash pictures.  However, by means of a two or three way adaptors several small guns can be synchronised.

The comparatively recent introduction of the flashcube is also of interest.  Many small cartridge cameras now have a built-in rotating cube socket and some guns can be obtained which rotate automatically and so set up the next bulb for virtually instant use.

To sum up effectively on this subject is difficult without being subjective, but basically it would seem that the casual photographer would be very effectively served by a small bulb flashgun; while the more involved demands of recording photography for publication etc. might be better met by a combination of bulb and electronic. Certainly if electronic guns are miniaturised still further, it may well be that future enthusiasts will turn to these.

Editor’s Note:

The remainder of this interesting paper deals with choice of film, cameras, lenses and miscellaneous equipment.  It will, we trust, be published in the next B.B.

Members may also be interested to note that Alan Coase has a number of filmstrips for sale on CAVING AND POTHOLING TECHNIQUES (DW-154), CAVES: ORIGINS, DEVELOPMENT AND FORMATION (DW-153) and LIMESTONE LANDFORMS (DW-152 and 152E).

The double frame version, suitable for mounting as individual slides are at X.  £2.50 each with notes from DIANA WYLLIE LTD., 3,PARK ROAD, BAKER STREET, LONDON N.W.


Meet the Candidates

This year, there are thirteen candidates for the nine places on the committee.  All candidates were invited to provide a fifty word summary on any aspect of their past work or future aspirations.  Some candidates took advantage of this offer, while others declined. The scheme which has therefore been adopted is to print the summaries – where they were received – in INVERTED COMMAS. In all other cases, a short record of past offices and major work on behalf of the club has been given instead. Posts held outside then club (e.g. M.R.O., Mendip Cave Registry etc.) have been ignored.

Candidates follow in alphabetical order:-


Hon. Secretary 1951-1967.  Hon. Treasurer 1951 to present day.


Tackle Officer 1953-1955.  Caving Secretary 1959.  Climbing Secretary 1964-1966. Caving Secretary 1966-1967.


Asst. Caving Secretary 1953-1955.  Caving secretary 1955-1957.  Hut warden 1955-1959.  Editor B.B. 1957-1968 and 1970 to present day.  Committee Chairman 1964-1967 and 1970 to present day.  Long Term Planning Sec. 1966-1968.  New Belfry Co-ordinator 1968-1969.


“I joined the B.E.C. in 1959 and always enjoyed the freedom and comradeship that it offered.  Because of pressure of work I gave up the job of Hut Warden that I occupied in 1970 and 1971, but I am now free to help and willing to serve in any capacity on the new committee if elected.”


Belfry Engineer 1972.


Caving Secretary 1965-1966.  Committee Chairman 1967-1969.  Editor B.B. 1968-1970.  Publications Editor 1968 to present day.  Hon. Librarian 1972.  Largely responsible for the Cuthbert’s Survey.


Climbing Secretary 1971-1972.


Caving Secretary 1970-present day.


“I wish to serve on the 1972-73 committee and continue as Hut Warden if elected because, although am impressed with the way the new Belfry is shaping up, I believe there is still room for improvement and I am interested in assisting with the administration of the club."


Asst.Caving Secretary 1963-1965.  Has been responsible for the B.E.C.'s side of the Caving Exhibition at the Bristol Museum.


“It’s about time young members took their share of club responsibility and if I were elected to the committee I believe I would pick up valuable experience by serving  as a club officer - particularly from the older members.  I would like to serve in the capacity of Assistant Hut Warden."


"What!  Only fifty words to tell you what an asset I am to the B.E.C.?  That's fifteen of them gone already. Oops, There I go again.  Well, never mind.  If they don't want me to continue as Hon. Sec. they will vote someone else."


Minutes Secretary 1970 - present day.  Tacklemaster 1972.

Well, that’s it - the rest is up to you!


Dates for your Diary

Club Trips

October 14TH

G.B.  Leader C. Howel.  Chris would like to limit the party to about SIX as he proposes to do some photography

Meet at the Belfry 10.30 am.

November 25TH

Coral Cave, Loxton Cave and the caves of Compton Bishop.

Leader. C. Howell.  Meet at Belfry 10.30 am.

Friday Night Trips

October 25th       Cuthbert's          7.30 pm

October 25th       South wales       Arrive at S.W.C.C. 9.30 pm.

November 25th    East twin            7.30 pm. with wet suit

November 25th    Priddy Green Sink & Swildons    7.30 pm.

December 25th   Singing River Mine Shipham        3 pm.

December 25th   . Velvet bottom.

These trips, which are also published in the Wessex Journal, have been sent in by Mike Palmer, who says that younger members are particularly welcome on them.  Prior notice is required for the South Wales trip in order to arrange transport, and the trip win not be suitable for novices.

Hon Treasurer’s Report

This report should be read in conjunction with the financial statement published on the next page.

Although the accounts show a surplus of over £70 for the year, there are several items of expenditure still out¬-standing.  These relate to the Belfry and to Publications, which are the two largest items in the club's financial activities.  No doubt Dave Irwin will give more information on publications, but I must stress that the accounts show cash received and paid and do not take into consideration any stocks held.

The apparent profit on the telephone was due to the £21-70 recoverable from the M.R.O. as mentioned in my last report.

The comparatively low price of this year's Annual Dinner is being subsidised by the surplus from last year, when we did not pay the full cost.

Although I have been able to convince the Inspector of Tax that our Belfry income is not liable to income tax, the interest on our bank accounts and the National Development Bonds is still liable for tax.  The Ian Dear Memorial Fund is therefore being switched to a building society account and the National Savings Bank account and the deposit account will probably be closed later this year.

Finally, I am giving the club one year's notice to find a new Treasurer, as I shall not be standing for the committee next year - even if I am elected this year.

R.J.Bagshaw, Hon. Treasurer.




Financial Statement for the Year to the thirty first of July 1972

















Less Expenditure



Less Sales



Less Expenditure

Deposit Account


Less Cost



Less Charges


£ 368.12

£ 298.85

£     0.87

£   38.80

£   31.46


£     8.88

£     6.00


£ 139.10

£ 126.00


£   65.22

£   54.24

£ 223.78



£  10.27


£    7.34

£    3.33


£    2.88

£    4.47


£  13.10

£  17.04


£   10.98




£ 363.09





Stationery & Printing

B.B. Postage


£  287.20

£   74.81

£  20.48



Less sales

£  362.01

£  168.66


£  193.35




£      7.35




Less Sales

£   14.48

£   11.00


£    3.48











(2 years)


(2 years)


£   30.00

£     9.83

£   10.00

£     3.00

£     3.00

£     8.50

£     1.67




£ 290.66

£   72.43




£ 363.09




FUNDS @  31.7.71



£ 232.25

£   72.43


I.D.M.F. accumulated income to

FUNDS @  31.7.72



£ 304.68

£   42.84




£ 347.52

National Savings Bank Account

Lloyds Bank Ltd Current Account

Lloyds Bank Ltd Deposit Account

Cash in hand




£   99.14

£ 155.81

£   63.45

£   29.12




£ 347.52



Accumulated income to15.1.71

Interest on £310 to 15.1.72




£   39.40

£   17.04

Accumulated Income @ 15.1.71



£   56.44

Less Income Tax (2 years)



£   13.60

Accumulated income to 15.1.72



£   42.84



Hut Engineer’s Report

Rodney Hobbs took over as Hut Engineer during 1972, and his report covers the period during which he has been Hut Engineer.

Since I became Hut Engineer there have been several improvements to the Belfry.  The Men’s room has been altered to allow more room for moving about; plans have been drawn up for altering the Women’s room - but these have not yet been put in hand.

A new water main was laid to the Belfry and toilets, the Belfry has been redecorated - thanks to the willing members with paint brushes and other jobs done have included a new door for the carbide store; repairs to the doors and roof of the toilets and the re-puttying of the Belfry windows.

Heating should be better this winter, as two storage heaters are in the process of being installed in the two dormitories.

There is still quite a lot of work to be done, will get done as soon as time and money allow. Let us all work together on the Belfry and try to make it the best club headquarters on Mendip.

Rodney Hobbs,
Hon. Hut Engineer.

Climbing Report

Another of the Annual Club Officers' Reports.  For 1971 - 1972.

After the ups and downs of the A.G.M. weekend, climbing got off the ground, so to speak, with some good routes done locally at Cheddar and the Avon Gorge which continued throughout the year.

At Portishead, a quarry has been given the B.E.C. approval, with six new routes of varying grades.

Holidays were spent on English soil in Cornwall, North Wales and the Lakes - where classic routes were climbed.  Members of this small group have also been camping on the odd occasion.

This summer, only a small number have been climbing in the evenings, but weekends have seen a lot of varying interests of which climbing has accounted for a lot of leisure time with good attendances.

This small section of the club has lost a few members, which is a shame.  I would like to see more new faces in the coming year - of any age. Perhaps we should promote our club in the area a lot more, because, after all, the more active and interested the members; the more active, interesting and solvent a good club can become.

I hope and look forward to a better year in 1972-73 that will put the B.E.C. up another rung in the ladder.

Nigel Jago.,
Hon. Climbing Secretary.

Change of Address.

R.CROSS, 11 St. Abbs Drive, Odsal,Bradford, Yorkshire.


Hut Warden’s Report

This report covers the period 6th August 1971 to the end of the club financial year 31st of July 1972. The table shown below reveals that bed-nights totalled 1,598.





Male Club Members

Female Club Members

Male Visitors

Female Visitors


















1,598  =  100%

£299.30 = 100%

Recalling the discussion about the Belfry being inundated with visitors on the one hand; and on the other hand that visitors were necessary to the good financial health of the club and should be made welcome.  It is interesting to note that club members contributed 62.7% of the Belfry usage and visitors 37.3%.  The table also reveals that the visitors contributed 49.8% of the total amount of fees received.  Not a bad return for an outlay of approximately one third of the Belfry usage. As for the 'inundation' theory, there have been four instances of overcrowding: -

Nov. 12/14

Nov. 19/21

Feb. 18/20

April 31/May 3

41 Visitor’s Bed-nights

53 Visitor’s Bed-nights

26 Visitor’s Bed-nights

40 Visitor’s Bed-nights

10 Member’s Bed-nights

  9 Member’s Bed-nights

34 Member’s Bed-nights

30 Member’s Bed-nights

The remaining weekends being well within comfortable limits.

Bed Nights League

There was a tradition in the old wooden Belfry that the Hut Warden awarded order of priority of choice of personal lockers according to member’s position on the Bed-night league. So there was keen competition to get in as many bed-nights as possible.  Since there is a scheme afoot to install lockers again, the following people of the 73 club members who in an appearance at the Belfry lead the field this year: -

Jock Orr 229;  Frank Jones 72; Tony Tucker 53; Graham Phippen 48; Sue Gazzard 41; Nigel Taylor 37; Dave Irwin, Bob Cross, Tim and Maggie Large 35.

Those wishing to check the bed-night figures will find them pinned up on the Belfry notice board.

Notes on Income and Expenditure

In addition to Hut Fees received; day fees, camping, tackle fees, the conscience box, publications, ties and badges, keys, spares and carbide brought in £147.48.

Publications sold at the Belfry accounted for a slice of £54.93 of that amount.  Tackle Fees were disappointing at £7.36.  Camping earned £13.18.  The turnover of spares and carbide was £39.93.  With spares and carbide still in stock, this line appears to be profitable.  (Editor's note: Camping fees should read £7.56 - my mistake above).

Money spent at the Belfry included £4.47 for tools and £38.5 on materials for maintenance and minor, improvements.  In respect of the heavy cost of coke last winter, further purchases of fuel up to the weekend of 5/7 amounted to £4.10.  Owing to the weather, fires were lit on the weekend of October 8/10 and continued through to May 19/21.  During this period 1,064 bed-nights were totted up.  No doubt the pending installation of storage heaters will substantially reduce the forthcoming winter fuel costs and alleviate the high incidence of bronchitis experienced last winter.

According to the records, the consumption of Glogas amounted to 15 cylinders and cost £23.13 or 1½ new pence per bed-night, which seems to me to be an astonishingly reasonable amount. (Editor's Note: Bryan Ellis, when Hut Warden of the Shepton, used to reckon on 100 bed-nights per gas cylinder for an efficiently run hut.  These figures are better than this.)


Generally, the conduct of Club Members and visitors staying at, or dropping into the Belfry is both responsible and social.  But there is still a regrettable tendency to take it all for granted and to expect everything to be laid on without making any contribution in the way of work. This attitude is especially noticeable amongst the recently joined members, and is quite understandable when it is realised that perhaps their only fault is a sheer lack of information on what the club is all about.  Where are the copies of the Constitution and Club Rules that every new member is supposed to have?

The newcomer's view is that here is ten thousand pounds worth of club property apparently sprung up out of the ground for his benefit and all he has to do is to make him¬self known and pay his subscription to get in - and because the place looks fairly tidy, he jumps to the conclusion that it is all finished and complete.

There is no suggestion intended that past efforts and achievements have everlastingly to be drummed into the consciences of our more recently joined members, but the fact remains that the newer members and those in the future must be educated into an appreciation that the maintenance; repair and improvement of the club premises is as much up to them as to anybody else and that to stay at the club not only requires the contribution of a very nominal hut fee, but also a contribution of willingness to perform some voluntary or allotted task.

Just pause to think what sort of state the place would be in if it had not been for the attentive efforts of the few who take an interest in keeping the present tidy condition of the Belfry and see to the odd jobs.  I think that the more senior cub members who have pride in what has been achieved should be responsible in making it quite clear that they expect new cub members to continue this standard.

It would be unfair to emphasise that there is room for some improvement within the more junior segment of the club, when here is also an area of criticism affecting another aspect of club activity.  I refer to the members who use the Belfry during the week or the weekend on a day basis, or who pop in on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.  A cross section of this group ranges from new to long established members.  Some have contributed cash, time and effort over the past years and all, of course, are entitled to use the Belfry just as everybody else is - but at the risk of offending (which is not my intention) and to put it as tactfully as I can, a proportion of this group studiously avoids the conscience box, or chooses to forget payment of a day fee to club funds.

The latest example of this parsimony, for that's all it is, was at Keith Glossop' s barrel on the 26th August.  There was exactly 40 new pence in the box before the barrel and 44½ new pence afterwards.

Shame!  I have seen appreciative new members put cash in the box over and above their hut fees.  I have observed senior members drop a 50p coin into the box in passing by. But to watch the performance of members who drink their beer and leave with their hands in their pockets and a hearty word of farewell saying what a great evening it has been is positively embarrassing.  Come along now, gentlemen.  You don't need me to remind you that you can do better than that.  It's no disgrace to drop a two pence piece in the box.


The 1972 committee has sanctioned the installation of two storage heaters to keep heat in the building during the winter months.  This is a most acceptable improvement which will encourage more people to stay at the Belfry and thus lead to an increase in bed-nights and hut fees received by the club.  What I would like to point out is that the heater installation was initiated by a small group of club members getting together and thrashing out a practical proposition to put to the committee for consideration.

May I suggest that it is up to members who use the Belfry and are aware of the various shortcomings, to approach the committee with schemes for improvement?  For instance, there is the well-known problem of the down draughting chimney.  Or how about the new staircase to the attic?  The attic floor? The Tackle store roof?  The much talked about improvements to the Women’s Room?  Steps at the end door to the Belfry?  And so on.

To conclude this report, I think that the new Belfry is a great improvement on the old one, but the modus operandi of caving is undergoing a noticeable change and a fair number of local people with transport use the Belfry merely as a base for changing and then depart for home afterwards.  From the bed-night figures, the number of people staying at the Belfry may appear satisfactory, but the building could certainly accommodate an increase on those numbers at the weekend.

There are indications that the club is in the process of acquiring a new grade of caver who are investing the Belfry with their own traditions.  One of the unique hallmarks of this new breed is that you need not do your caving from a sum.  The Belfry is treated with far more respect and consideration than it ever had, and according to visitor’s comments; it is a credit to the B.E.C.

Every now and again, I hear from people who complain that this new Belfry lacks the "atmosphere" of the old wooden Belfry.  I prefer to believe that our new Belfry is beginning to develop character rather than "atmosphere".

Jock Orr
Hon. Hut Warden.


Hon Librarian’s Report

On the resignation of Dave Searle as club Librarian I took over the task of installing the library at the Belfry.  Up to March this year the library had, through the kind offices of Dave Searle, been kept at Dolphin Cottage.  To enable the library to be installed at the Belfry, ‘Jok’ Orr assembled a. number of cabinets in the library room in readiness for the transfer from Dolphin Cottage.  The books and periodicals were in a chaotic state when they arrived at the Belfry and no one person knew what was contained in the collection.

The first task was to sort and catalogue the entire collection before it could be used by members. Through the grateful help of Kay Mansfield the publications were sorted and bound.  The binding – tough not elegant - is certainly strong enough for normal handling and reference purposes.  Each item in the collection was then catalogued on cards and finally placed at the Belfry for member’s use.  Where complete volumes of periodicals existed, these were bound and the incomplete sets placed in temporary folders.  Members are requested not to remove these loose items from their folders.  When, in future, t¬he missing items are replaced or new issues make a complete volume, these will be permanently bound.  The books have been catalogued and grouped into subject matter.

In order to ensure that the rarer items in the collection are safeguarded I have, with the committee's approval, taken steps to prevent these from being taken from the library room. These books are easily identifiable as there are red crosses along the top of the catalogue card.

During sorting and cataloguing, several duplicate items were found and these, plus most of the B.B. duplicates, are being exchanged or sold to enable further purchases for the library to be made.  Any member having ideas for new items to be added to the collection should please contact me.  On this subject one should bear in mind a committee decision of some 8 years ago that general books on caving or climbing that are easily obtainable from public libraries will not be included in the collection - unless donated to the club!

To enable volumes of club publications to be completed, I have contacted each club library’s on the exchange list requesting all the missing copies and offering missing B.B.'s in return.  The result so far has been extremely encouraging.  Quite apart from new publications, some 70 to 80 new items have been added to the collection this way.  They include Red Rose; Chelsea S.S.; and various other clubs.  This policy will be continuing.  If members have publications that are not in the club library, perhaps they would consider giving them to the collection.  We are particularly weak on the following clubs:- C.D.G.; Cerberus S.S.; Cotham; U.L.S.A.; British Caver Nos 1-14; early U.B.S.S. Proceedings; Pengelly; Early W.C.C. ( Nos 1-40 ) and N.S.S.

It is easily within our grasp to expand the library in all directions.  Members are now oriented to other caving regions and foreign countries and to this end I am endeavouring to enlarge the number of exchanges to include clubs throughout all countries in Europe and general cover from all major regions throughout the world.  European overage includes publications from Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Austria. We want contacts in France, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Sweden etc.

Since the library has come into general use, members have been borrowing items at a good rate and borrowing in the last few months (March  - August) than here has been in the last five years.  I hope that this will be kept up.

Duing the next few months, there will be published in the B.B. a pull-out supplement containing a catalogue of the entire collection.  Finally, I would like to make a special mention of the work done by Kay Mansfield in binding the complete volumes and to Ray Mansfield for valuing the collection for insurance purposes.  The value is high enough to make members sit up and make sure the library collection is not abused.

D.J. Irwin,  Hon. Librarian.


Hon Sec’s Report

It is with regret that I must report that 1971-72 has not been a good year for the club.  Never has the task of the committee been a more thankless one, nor one more fraught with difficulty.

Never has our public image, as projected to other clubs, been worse. To begin at the beginning - there was such dissatisfaction among members over the catering arrangements of last year’s dinner that we were forced to enter into protracted correspondence, involving solicitors as well, with the management in order to get a reduction in the bill which the refund is to be ploughed back into this year’s dinner.

Our neighbour this year has been the cause of more trouble than usual.  I will give details at the A.G.M. if asked. I optimistically said at last year’s A.G.M. that it would not be beyond the capabilities of the new committee to settle our differences in this respect.  It has still not been done and I wish the 1972-73 Committee the best of luck – they need it!

The lease of land from the paper mill is still not completed though there is a little more hope in that direction recently.  Considerable changes are taking place in the paper trade and we must watch our interests most carefully.

Relations with other clubs have been good.  Our representation on M.R.O.; The Council of Southern Caving Clubs; the Council of Cambrian Caving Clubs; the National Council and the Charterhouse Caving Committee have all been satisfactory.

The long-awaited exhibition of Caves and Caving in the City Museum has come to fruition.  It is well worth a visit by every caver in the district. I do not feel that there is sufficient acknowledgment of the club’s initiative and work.  Grateful thanks are due to Mike Palmer and the Bennett’s who were responsible for the B.E.C.’s side of things.

I should like to express thanks publicly to Barry Wilton for all that he has done in the past year. His technical help on printing matters has been invaluable and helped very considerably to improve our club image.

Committee meetings have been well a tended and there have been few changes in the year.  Dave Irwin resigned as Hut Warden early in the year and became Hon. Librarian.  Jock Orr was co-opted as Hut Warden.  The hiatus created by the resignation of Norman Petty last year as Tacklemaster is still felt.  Dave Turner has very recently taken over and is doing his best to get things together again. We badly need another 'ladder maker extraordinary' but alas! they are born and not made.

The library has made tremendous strides.  Dave Irwin is to be congratulated, and I hope that present and future generations of the B.E.C. will always treat the library with the respect it deserves.

The Belfry has never been cleaner, tidier or more efficiently run than at present.  The Belfry Engineer and Hut Warden between them have faced up manfully to the considerable problems of maintaining our new B. B. in pristine condition.

Bob Bagshaw has given us a year's notice of his impending resignation as Hon. Treasurer.  He, like Norman, will be difficult to replace.

It may be felt that what has been reported so far is not in line with my opening remarks.  A detailed discussion of the factors which gave rise to them would, I feel, be more appropriate at the A.G.M. itself, rather than in this printed report and I will amplify such points on that occasion.

Alan Thomas.
Hon Secretary.


Monthly Crossword – Number 26.




















































































1. Small cave dweller. (3)
4. Pitch? Or hall in Hilliers? (3)
6. Common to Mud Hall and traverse Chamber. (5)
7. For any dog in South Wales. (3,2,4)
12. A timely clue in monthly series. (9)
17. Rope material. (5)
18. Found in pub or cave. (3)
19. This down for a drainpipe. (3)


1. Eastwater step? (4)
2. Operate winch? (4)
3. Dog tooth, perhaps. (4)
4. Short cave dweller. (4)
5. What distinguishes G.B. gorge from Cheddar Gorge (4)
8. End of passage? (3)
9. Found in any etreir (3)
10. Might cause resistance to lightning. (3)
11. This side of 12 down? (3)
13. From Pillar to this perhaps? (4)
14. Precedes water and twin. (4)
15. Three in Swildons and in more senses than one. (4)
16. Pore over this clue for underground aid. (4)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword



















































































Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Mendip Rescue Organisation

In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481.BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele:  WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     D. Turner
Members:          R. Bagshaw; W. Cooper; D.J. Irwin;
                        N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas;
                        R. Orr;  R. Hobbs.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. Thomas, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. Large, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 2 Broughton House, Somerset St., Redcliffe, Bristol 1.
Hut Warden:      R. Orr.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Hut Engineer:    R. Hobbs, Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol. Tele BRISTOL 77368
Tacklemaster:    W. Cooper, 259 Wick Rd, Bristol BS4 4HE.  Tel: BRISTOL 77368.
B.B. Editor:       S.J. Collins, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.
Publications:     D.J. Irwin.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

Caving Meet

Don't forget the YORKSHIRE MEET to be held from AUGUST 25th to AUGUST 28th!!!



TRANSPORT and TENTAGE are being arranged.  EVERYONE will be MOST WELCOME to attend this meet.

Get in touch as soon as possible with TIM LARGE (See address at front of this B.B.)          or BOB CROSS.



Coming Events

It will not be very long before we start all the usual preliminaries to the A.G.M.  The first of these, as most members know, is to ask for nominations for the 1973 committee.  This will happen in the next B.B., but in the meantime, there is no harm in beginning to think about the matter.

One aspect of our presentation of candidates which has come up for some criticism from time to time has been the fact that older members have no idea of what might be behind any names which are strange to them. Under Dave Irwin’s editorship, a brief description of each of the candidates was included in the B.B. some time before the actual election.  This was thought by many members to be good idea, but I must confess to not being brave enough to take on the job of doing a 'write-up' on prospective candidates myself.

What I am therefore suggesting is that every candidate for forthcoming committee election - whether he be a 'new boy' or an old hand - should be asked to provide a short summary OF NOT MORE THAN FIFTY WORDS dealing with anything he feels may be relevant. For example, what he would like to undertake in the way of club offices if he got the chance - or possibly what he has done in the past.  If I get enough takers on this one, I will present them in the September B.B. in time for reader's to see them before they vote.


This month marks the second anniversary of what has been one of the least publicised innovations to the B.B. of late years - the monthly Crossword.

What started this off was a remark made by a club member to the effect that it only took him five minutes to read the B.B.   Some method of spinning this out to ten or even fifteen minutes seemed to be called for without making the B.B. twice or three times as big - hence the monthly crossword.

It is known that a few people do the thing - it is also known that many others find it incomprehensible.  If any members have any views on it, they will be •welcome.  In the meantime it can at least be said that the B.B. is the only caving publication we know to carry a regular puzzle of this type.

The Dinner

Last year's dinner was generally admitted to have been one of the worst - if not the worst - that we have ever had.  As a result, the committee have been at some pains to make sure that we do not have a repetition of last year’s dinner this coming October.  The management of the Cave Man Restaurant have assured us that the quality and quantity of the meal itself will be adequate - we even offered to pay more~ but were told that it was not necessary!  There will be some entertainment for those who want it. There will be a quantity of free beer. Many members may have been put off by last year’s dinner - especially those unfortunate members whose first dinner it was.  We ask members to give it another go this year, and to help support the club's main social function of the year.

Bargain Time

There are a lot of things on sale at the Belfry nowadays.  Lamp spares; carbide; club badges and ties, publications; etc., many of them at prices lower than can be obtained elsewhere.  Why not enquire next time you are at the Belfry?


Now that the B.B. is being produced by the offset litho process, it is possible to include with ease any types of sketch or drawing illustrating an article.  Photographs are too expensive, but please feel free to indulge in any form of black and white illustration - please supply such matter FULL SIZE (i.e. the size it will actually appear)



The Picos De Europa

An account by MARTIN HAUAN of the expedition to the Picos in 1971.

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to take part in an expedition to the Picos de Europa.  Those on the trip included Don Thompson, Jim Hanwell, Fred Davies, Tim Reynolds, Brian and Janet Woodward and myself.  We were a small party but what we lacked in size we made up for in enthusiasm.

The are we were to be visiting was the high Picos - an area of barren limestone peaks about 7,000 feet high.  Base camp was at the base of a huge amphitheatre, some 3,000 feet high near a village called Espiamma.  From the base camp, we had a climb of a further 3,000 feet up a zigzag path to a col at 6,500 feet.  From this col one could see the Vega de Liourdes.  It was a huge grass-sloped bowl, flanked by the high peaks which were continually in cloud.  There, in the bottom of the grassy depression, was a stream meandering across the fertile pastures to enter a black, questioning hole.  This was the Vega Swallet at an altitude of about 6,500 feet, and was what we were here for.  What followed now would be all virgin exploration.

On Thursday, 18th August, seven of us carried up to the Vega.  In addition to tackle, we took up overnight camping kit for four.  On arrival at the Vega, after a two hour haul up the path, most of us collapsed. However, there across the Vega was the luring entrance of the Vega Swallet.  Tiredness overcome, we obeyed the beckoning of the entrance and set off on a death-or-glory attempt.  Wild cries of delight.  The entrance was not chocked with debris.  Out came our helmets and there all seven of us stood in the damp entrance, listening to the sound of water booming away.  Brian entered the lower passage, which soon turned out to be a low canal.  The higher passage was visited by Don, who explored it to the head of a pitch - a wet one and about twenty feet deep.  On the surface there was a hive of activity.  As it turned out, Tim and myself were the only ones with our wet suits up there, so, begrudgingly, we let the honour of first descent fall on us, together with a much agitated Fred, who insisted on coming.  With stinkies burning, and the two ropes flying in front of us, we descended at such a pace that we were moving faster than the stream! The head the first pitch was reached quickly and a rope slung down, followed by three bodies who tried to display the art of abseiling.  At the bottom, the passage doubled back on itself with a height of about three feet. This stooping passage brought us to the head of the second pitch, again wet and again about twenty feet deep.  At the bottom, there were two ways on~ a wet one and a dry one.  The dry one was (naturally? - Ed.) chosen and turned out to be bare tube, descending steeply to the head of the third pitch.  Up the shaft could be heard the sound of water.  Tim quickly descended to find out what lay ahead.  In a few minutes, he returned and reported another pitch which was wet and also about twenty feet deep.

On the next day, Friday the 19th August, Tim descended as far as the first pitch to put in a rawlbolt and to rig a ladder on it.  An hour later, Brian and myself doned wet suits and also descended, carrying about 200 feet of ladder.  We quickly passed the two wet pitches, and the dry third pitch was soon reached.  It was found to be about ninety feet deep. At the bottom, we crawled through a blasting draught, which threatened to put out your flame.  Once through the hole, we found ourselves up to our armpits in water at the top of the fourth pitch.  The water, which we had lost at the top of the third pitch, entered here via a passage in the roof, from which it fell and landed a large pool at the head of the fourth pitch.  A ladder was placed on the left of the water and the two of us descended to find ourselves in a gently sloping passage which descended in a series of pots to the head of the fifth pitch.  We lowered down some ladder and reckoned the pitch to be about thirty five feet deep and wet.  No possible belay point could be found to ladder it relatively dry, but we came out with high spirits.

Day three in our exploration was Saturday the 20th of August.  Fred arrived early and proceeded to gloat over us eating our very salty porridge.  After a while, the bolder ones amongst us began to change into our wet wetsuits. Brian went ahead to place a rawlbolt in at the head of the fifth pitch.  By the time we arrived at the head of the pitch, the rawlbolt was in and the pitch was rigged.  The four of us then descended - we being Tim, Fred Brain and myself, to a large ledge which led to another about six feet below it.  From this second ledge one an awe-inspiring view of the next pitch, which was a tube of massive bore disappearing into spray.  This pitch was a big one and also a wet one.  An anxious discussion took place as to what we should now follow.  It was during this that we found out how cold and draughty it was at the bottom of the fifth pitch.  The lack of sound of water hitting the bottom of the big pitch only confirmed our fears that it really was big.  Within a short time all available ladder was on the pitch.  It was then decided to come out of the swallet and get warmed up before having a go at the big pitch.  On the surface, the sun made it first appearance for days.  After an hour or so, the sun disappeared again, and it seemed a good moment to go back underground.  Abseiling most of the pitches, the big pitch was soon reached. A lifeline was sorted out, and a ‘jumar’ fixed in such a way that it would act as a selfliner.  The end of the rope was eagerly handed to the prospective ladder-climber – Brian.  Finishing his tying on, Brian began to descend the pitch.  From the lifeline stance,  it looked pretty good - a large bore tube~ twisting slight about halfway down. A while later, a single whistle blast echoed up the shaft.  There followed a lapse of ten minutes or so while the intrepid explorer disappeared down passages measureless to Wig' as the poet so nearly has it.  Returning, Brian reported-a square section passage in yellow limestone, descending in a series of pots, some of them ten to fifteen feet deep. A very eventful day.

On Sunday, 21st August the same four of us awoke to a clear blue sky for once.  We festered for a while, and then descended the hole, ready for the bottoming.  The big pitch - about a hundred and fifty feet - was a beautifully aqueous pitch, at the bottom of which was a small boudoir with no draughts.  Spirits rose as we descended the large section passage; scrambling down on the yellow limestone was delightful.  Then, just like that, the passage diminished in size, and the floor became slippery black shale.  Spirits sank.  The passage appeared to sump.  At the end, at water level, there was a canal which struck off to the right, at the end of which was a dry by-pass to the stream.   After this, we found ourselves at the head of a small pitch, about ten feet deep.  At the bottom of this there was a tight dry passage which Fred and I pushed.  It proved to get tighter, but an interesting thing was the draught which blew out of it.  Getting back to the ninth pitch a ladder was placed and the four of us descended. The pitch was very wet.  It was immediately followed by another pitch of about thirty feet.  At the bottom of this pitch, we found ourselves in a large chamber, which was seemingly chocked.  However, a way on was found and again the black shale was encountered.  The passage was low and narrow and followed the line of black shale.  At the end of e passage, two alternatives presented themselves - a wet or a dry pitch. Ladder was removed from the tenth pitch and placed down the dry pitch.  At the bottom of the pitch found ourselves in a large chamber with the water coming in at one end and leaving at the other along a rift which had insufficient headroom for us to pursue the stream.  This was the end.  Admittedly, the passage would go, and with fantastic results no doubt.  The Vega Swallet is a compet¬itor for the world’s depth title, having a potential of around 4,000 feet plus.  Now followed the long hard job of getting the tackle out. A brief stop at the Boudoir for food and photos, and then up the big pitch.  All tackle used in the lower part of the pot was brought out as far as the bottom of the dry ninety-footer.

On Tuesday, 22nd of August, our final trip into the Vega took place.  This was to finish the survey and to bring out the remainder of the tackle.  While waiting for the survey party - consisting of Don, Jim and Tim - Fred, Brian and myself decided to have a look at the course of the water which left us at the top of the dry ninety.  We reached the head of a wet unknown pitch which Fred descended and disappeared. Meanwhile, the survey was completed and Fred was able to report a dry passage leading off which had a pitch at its end.  Tackle was lowered and the pitch desc¬ended, only to find a pool of water with a very low duck in it.  It was my misfortune to be the one to explore it.  Immersing myself, I stuck my nose in the little airspace and felt my way in. About ten feet in, the cold water struck - turning me into a shivering wretch who reversed a good deal faster than he had gone in.  This passage Fred had found was obviously an overflow passage for the spring melt water which must fill the whole cave.  The cave itself is very cold and there is a total lack of any type of formations.  Indeed, the cave is unique as far a we know, and any further exploration will be very serious and very hard work.

Summary of the pitches

1st Pitch

2nd Pitch

3rd Pitch

4th Pitch

5th Pitch

6th Pitch

7th Pitch

8th Pitch

9th Pitch

10th Pitch

11th Pitch

20 feet

20 feet

90 feet

20 feet

30 feet

150 feet

10 feet

10 feet

20 feet

30 feet

40 feet
























Editor’s Note:

A sketch from Jim Hanwell’s survey of this cave will be found below.



Exhibition And Film

MIKE PALMER, who has been organising the caving exhibition for the club, sends in this reminder.

The Caving Exhibition at Bristol Museum is now open.  In conjunction with this, a film is being prepared, and when it is ready for public showing, I will advise members of the place, date and time.  I suggest that it might be a good idea for an independent review of the exhibition to appear in the B.B. for the benefit of those who cannot get to Bristol to see it.  Perhaps one of the committee members might care to volunteer?

It is hoped to get a copy of the film to be shown on the evening of the dinner, after the ‘festivities.’

Members Addresses.


Tim Hodgson, Urb Montesol. Rincon Dela Victoria, Malaga, Spain.
M. Clarke, 41 Mawney Rd,Romford, Essex.
CJ. Priddle, 40 Ralph Rd, Horfield, Bristol 7.

New Member.

D. Foxwell, 870 Kebourne Rd., Brentry, Bristol, BS10 6QW.

Library Additions

More information about what can be found in the club library by DAVE IRWIN - our Hon. Librarian.

M.N.R.C. Newsletter No. 65

Mainly reports of club meets and digs, though I cannot agree with the remark that Shatter Cave is 'the nearest thing an average club caver will see to virgin cave.'  At the present rate of damage in that cave, I doubt whether it will last he next five years!

Axbridge Caving Group (June).

Main item of interest is the "Spar Pot Story" (Pt 2) together with the Grade 4 survey.  Spar Pot is the new Burrington Cave at the lower end of the East Twinbrook valley.

W.S.G. Bulletin Vol 7 Nos 8 and 9

Here are two really interesting publications.  There's too much to isolate but surveys included are Holloch ( Switzerland); Pant Mawr area, etc.  A must for reading!

The exchange list is being increased but at the moment we are receiving, amongst others, B.S.A. Bulletins; Chelsea S.S. Newsletter; W.S.G. Bulletin; W.C.C. Journal; W.C.C. Occasional Publications; British Caver; S.W.E.T.C.C.C. Journal; Axbridge Publications; M.C.G. Publications; C.R.G. Publications; Die Hohle; Sottoterra (Bologna S.S.); M.N.R.C.; Irish S.S.; University of Bristol Proceedings; Gloucester S.S.; S.M.C.C.

A library list is being published shortly.



Some thoughts for cave surveyors.

It is not often - thank God - that the editor writes an article.  We must hope that it will be some long time before he does it again.

There are - I hope - two good reasons for presenting this article at this time.  We are currently running a course on cave surveying at the Belfry, at which I gave a rather poor version of what follows (poor, because I was trying to it too general and ended up by making it damn nigh disappear altogether).  So I feel that I owe it to those who were kind enough to listen without actually throwing things at me to present them with what I ought to have said. The other reason is that, shortly, the C.R.G. are once again going into print on surveying - and perhaps now is the time to present rather a different view of the subject from that which I suspect they will be taking.

I have been flogging the message which follows with varying success for some time now.  I use the word varying because, on the one hands I got an almost unanimous agreement from the Leicester audience in favour of the cave maps I was advocating but on the other hand, nobody except Dave Irwin has actually taken up any of the ideas put forward there and elsewhere.  I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I have been too indefinite - hence the title of this article, which is intended to be definite and uncompromising.

A Little Potted History

In 1950, A.L. Butcher wrote a paper called 'Cave Survey' which was published by the C.R.G. as Publication No 3 and which laid down the system which has been followed by the C.R.G ever since.  In 1953, this was incorporated in 'British Caving' - the textbook on caving sponsored by the C.R.G.

In 1963, Dennis Warburton published his work 'On the Accuracy of Cave Surveys' in the Wessex Journal (Volo7, No 89, April ’63) but in spite of this, and additional doubts cast on the existing system by other workers on Mendip, Butcher's scheme was later re-published more or less as it originally stood.

Now, some 23 years after Butcher’s paper was first written, one hears that the latest recommendations are to be - once again - substantially the mixture as before.  It is my contention that this insistence on the continuing status of Butcher's system in defiance of later facts is presenting cave surveyors from getting down to many of the real problems and generally hampering the state of the art.  The sooner, in my opinion, that cave surveyors politely but firmly turn their backs on this system, the better.

Grading System In Brief

I am not suggesting for a moment that the system propounded in 1950 was in any way ill thought out or badly conceived given the state of the art as it then existed.  Butcher's work represented a great step forward at the time, for which all credit should go to its author.  What I am concerned about is the hanging on to this system long after it has been shown to have passed its useful and natural lifetime.

In brief, Butcher envisaged a state in which surveyors might have a variety of tools; time; opportunity, skill etc. at their disposals and suggested how they might regard their results in the light of these factors.  Obviously, a sketch actually done in the cave was liable to be a bit more accurate than one drawn from memory afterwards in the pub.  The use of a knotted string and a cheap compass should be a little better still; and a further improvement might well be expcted if the string were replaced by a proper measuring tape and the cheap compass by a prismatic one - and so ono.

This system gave a total of seven gradings, and the idea was that a surveyor - by stating his grading - could give by this simple means a good indication of the accuracy he had probably achieved.  The scheme seems both sensible and very practical - as indeed it was.  In fact, the main criticism levelled at this system in its early years; that it did not take the surveyor’s skill into account, was later shown not to be valid.  It is fair to say that the reasons which finally appeared for its abandonment could not possibly have emerged until a large number of surveys had been done it became possible to analyse them.

Warburton's Work

This brief description of Warburton’s work must only be an outline~ since his paper itself was longer than this one.  Any surveyors who are interested, or inclined to doubt the conclusions I have drawn from it, are earnestly advised to read the article for themselves in the Wessex Journal.  What Dermis did was to take all the instruments mentioned in the C.R.G. grades and to derive reading limits for each of them.  He then constructed graphs showing how the overall percentage error for the various grades would appear as a function of leg length, and went on to plot the accuracy for each grade when the average leg length and total length of traverse were known.  He then compared these graphs with 28 actual traverses taken by a number of different surveyors in a number of different caves whose grading was stated and known to have been correctly arrived at.  Some of his conclusions are quite startling: -

1.                  The accuracy is independent of the difficulty of the passage from the caving point of view.

2.                  The accuracy is almost independent of the surveyor.

3.                  A reproduction of the average survey on a quarto page is such that there is hardly any difference possible to measure between a grade 4 and a grade 7 survey.

4.                  Other factors not considered, such as technique, could easily make a grade 4 survey as accurate as a grade.7.

Dennis's argument would appear - at first sight to state that a surveyor, providing he knows what he is doing, will produce a survey which is likely to be as good as anyone else's whoever he is, whatever cave he is surveying and whatever instruments he uses. The only other possible alternative to this is a survey of a lower standard which is done without using instruments at all.

At this stage, one can imagine the cave surveyor wondering whether it is all worth while.  “If Dennis’s work is true”, one can imagine him saying to himself, “and a survey already exists of a hole I was thinking of surveying, then - unless the previous surveyor was incompetent - his survey, whatever grade he claimed for it, is likely to be good enough for all practical purposes.  In that case, I am wasting my time repeating this work.  Since all Mendip caves have been surveyed by someone or other in the past, there is really nothing left for me to do!”

Possibly at this stage, the tempter appears and whispers in our surveyor’s ear "Dennis was wrong! Ignore this work!  Stick to the old, well-tried system!  Then you can find some existing survey which is only to grade 5 or so and re-survey it to grade 7.  That way, you will have some useful work to do and everyone will be able to see that you've done it.  Your use of the higher magic number will convince even the hardest hearted.’

This type of argument is, happily, both wrong and unnecessary.  Far from being a played-out subject, there is probably more to do to-day than there has ever been.  The reason for the title of this article is not because the grades have been shown to be largely illusory.  If that was all, it would hardly matter whether grading stayed or went.  The reason why it must be firmly rejected by cave surveyors is that it is preventing surveyors from looking at areas in which the real problems of today are to be found.


In 1950, most surveyors imagined that increases of basic accuracy would be dictated by the instruments used and that future improvements would come about by refining those instruments. In fact, all the increases have come about by better techniques.  Two examples will show what I mean.  The 'Leapfrog' method of surveying has the enormous advantage of removing the error due to having to reposition every survey station.  This station error was ignored by early surveyors and yet came be shown to swamp instrument errors in many cases.  Before leapfrogging was invented, all survey stations we’re points effectively in mid air.  Now, they can be accurately positioned points on the cave wall.

The second example is the realisation that all errors must be consistent.,  When Don Coase started the first Cuthbert’s survey, we started at what was the sump and, under the impression that we would increase our accuracy, went all the way to the top of the Great Gour in a single measurement. Had we known it, we could have got a better answer by breaking up this long leg into smaller ones.  There are other ways of improving technique other than the two I have mentioned, but I will not take up space by describing them. The point is that there is still plenty of room for further improvements, and this is a field which might well attract the surveyor of the future.

But to what end? Hasn't Dennis already shown that surveys are mostly good enough as they stand?  Aren't we merely splitting hairs?


Before this can be answered, we must distinguish between surveying for its own sake and surveying aimed primarily at some user.  Until now, surveyors have always worked on the basis that they are doing a useful job for other cavers, but how true is this in some instances?  If a surveyor produces a slightly more accurate survey of, say, Swildons, does this really constitute a major breakthrough?  How many other cavers does this improvement really affect?

It should be admitted that there is nothing wrong or shameful in the idea of making improvements for their own sake, even if they have no immediate usefulness.  To the mathematically minded caver, such improvements could well be interesting in their own right.  Any theoretical work is bound to have practical applications sooner or later and, in the meantime, if it is published, it is ready for use when the time comes.

On the other hand, the surveyor who is more concerned with the usefulness of his work rather than with the work itself may well have to move away from the traditional surveying field and enter new and, I think, equally rewarding regions where he concentrates on presentation methods, information display and the like.  There is, of course, no reason why any individual should not take part in both types of work, but it would do no harm if the surveyor always made sure in his own mind what his real aims were.  Is his survey an exercise in better tools for the future, or better maps the present?

Survey Work In The Future

Now that we have all the cards on the table, let us see what could well be the profitable lines for future cave surveying work to take.  It might be as wells before doing so, to list the major points raised so far: -

1.                  Grading numbers mean damn-all.  As Dennis says, " We need an answer in feet, or degrees, or percentages - not in vague generalities," if we wish to specify the accuracy of a cave survey.

2.                  Surveys tend to be of high or low accuracy only.  The surveyor who sets out to do a reasonable survey usually gets there. Nobody really takes all the trouble to use knotted strings, cheap compasses and home made clinos when they could use better methods in less time.  The only real alternative to the use of sensible instruments and methods is to use none at all and to call the result a sketch.

3.                  Techniques are at least as important as instruments.  The implications of this are self evident.

4.                  Most surveys are as accurate as they need to be.  Remember that, unless a user actually takes a scale to a survey, he is in no position to quibble about the exact degree of accuracy achieved.

5.                  Surveying can be carried out as an end in itself or as a means to an end.  An one would thus expect the work of some surveyors to affect only other surveyors.

From these points, a list of useful work for the future can be drawn up.  What follows is merely my own. List, but no doubt it can be expanded considerably.  At any rate, I think that it shows considerable scope for the surveyors of the future, even if' there is nothing added to it.

A)                 Somebody wants to sort out and publish sensible methods so that, by using them, any surveyor can specify his accuracy, given the apparatus and the techniques used. Then, surveys can be rated in terms of actual estimated errors rather than in gradings.

B)                 Somebody wants to work out how much more accurate a survey could be, using all the latest methods, and then decide whether this represents a sufficient improvement over some existing surveys to warrant a re-survey to stated and increased accuracy.

C)                 Somebody wants to look into the technique of the low accuracy sketch (since this is the only other meaningful survey method) and to work out methods which would be of use to surveyors who are forced to use this method owing to the need for speed. (Foreign caves, where time is very limited; new caves where some sort of sketch is wanted at once, etc.)  These techniques could be proved by making such a sketch of a Mendip cave and comparing it with a survey.  Times could also be compared.  There could be quite a subject here.

D)                 Somebody wants to do a lot more work on techniques aimed not only at higher accuracy but at greater surveying speed; more complete coverage of the cave shape: etc. It might be possible to combine this with new instrument ideas (light projection on to target stations, etc.)

E)                 Within the scope of conventional surveys, somebody wants to decide whether re-surveying some caves might not be a good idea for other reasons beside accuracy. Better methods of layout etc., might wake a new survey more easy to follow.

F)                 Outside the scope of conventional surveys, somebody wants to produce maps aimed at telling the caver as much as possible about the cave.  When I travel abroad, I spend some time poring over the Cartes Michelin; which not only tell me how far it is and which direction to aim in, but also where there are obstacles to be avoided or overcome; where I might see interesting scenery; what sort of road I can expect, and a host of other details - all in an easy-to-read form.

To conclude, whether surveying gradually dies or blossoms out into exciting new channels depends very much attitude of cave surveyors since the caving public will probably accept, with varying degrees of reluctance, what, they are given in the way of surveys and maps.  It seems to me that the continuance of systems which are now long outdated by subsequent facts is hardly the best way to ensure the continuance of interest in cave surveying.


Insurance For Cave Rescuers

We extract the following from the recent report of the Hon. Sec and Treasurer of the M.R.O.

July 1971 the Horne Office recommended to the police authorities that they should insure those who, at the request of the police or by arrangement with them, take part in search or rescue operations.  In August, I wrote to the Chief Constable of Somerset about this and as a result of correspondence, the following arrangement shave emerged: -

Through the County Treasurer, the police have taken out an insurance policy for personal accident insurance whereby benefits are payable for injury or death up to a maximum of £10,000.  The cover is for rescue personnel either above or below ground during the rescue. There is NO cover for (a) mileage expenses, (b) having a car smash going to the rescue, (c) third party damages and (d) loss of earnings or (e) Cave rescue practices.  Car accidents should be covered by ordinary insurance policies. Regarding (c) I made the point that we were very keen for third party cover to be included as damages can be very expensive even though there is little likelihood of a claim being successfully pressed.  But the Chief Constable on the advice of the County Treasurer said that they could not go beyond the Horne Office recommendation.


At the Belfry

A review of what goes on at the Belfry by our Hut Warden, JOCK ORR.

Did you know that Luke Devenish's daughter Colleen did her first caving trip at the age of eighteen days in a rucksack down Swildons nineteen years ago?  Neither did I until Sybil Bowden-Lyle mentioned it whilst entertaining a spellbound audience in the sun outside the Belfry.  Surely she must be about the youngest caver ever (Not Sybil; Colleen!)

Which reminds me that Sybil is putting on a slide show at the Belfry on Saturday August 5th after the Hunters.  It is all about Uganda, Ethiopia and Eritrea (where there is a war going on).  She also has slides of the island of (Sorry, I can’t read the next word Jok! - Editor) where nobody is permitted to photograph a woman on pain of instant execution.

You may already know about it by the time you read this, but it is worth noting that Roger Stenner's second lecture on cave chemistry takes place at the Belfry on the 30th of July (and will, unfortunately have taken place by the time this B.B, is out - Editor.) His first lecture was attended to capacity, as was reported in a previous issue of the B.B.  This time, Roger hopes to pulverise rocks on the Belfry table and analyse the results in test tubes.

R.A. Setterington (‘Sett’ to most club members) will be lecturing on ‘Maps and their uses’ on Saturday 12th of August at 7.30 pm.  When you think about it, there’s more to maps than just finding your way around, and although I may not know what the R.A. stands for, I do know that ‘Sett’ will be giving an informative talk on what you can use maps for.

Highlight of the Barbecue:- Alan Thomas sat on a new club member - the lad who was carrying him across the bonfire.

The survey course finished on the 23rd of July with the trainee surveyors down Rod’s Pot.  I am sure that all the people who regularly attended the course will agree with me in expressing a vote of thanks to Dave Irwin for a most instructive and interesting series of lectures.

Tony Tucker, recently arrived new member and squatter's rights on Prattle Pot, has signed another five year stint in the army.

Six Swiss Beruer Hoblenforscher with two wives and two children stayed for a couple of nights at the Belfry.  The B.H. badge is a black bear with bat is wings - trademark a club which has a continental reputation for having a professional approach to caving.  Their equipment is immaculate by our standards, and they cave as a team.  B.E.C. Caving Secretary Tim Large took them down to Sump I in Swildons on a three and a half hour trip.  Although it was in the middle of the week, and nobody else was in the cave, it took ten matches to get a cigarette to glow on account of the mobile carbide furnaces carried by the B.H. having burned up all the available oxygen.

Martin Bishop and his diving companions have commenced a clearing operation in Mineries Pool.  They report a mass deposit of silt and assorted rubbish and have so far reaped about four hundredweight of weeds!

I don’t want to appear to be continuously on about WORK, will only mention that repairs to the carbide store are now completed and that re-puttying of the Belfry windows is under way. The interior of the Belfry has been paint and some fuel has been laid in for the winter.

Thank you - all concerned.





Monthly Crossword – Number 24.





















































































1. By-product of 2 down often seen, alas, as writing on the wall! (9)
6. Alternate spelling of last word of Mendip cave. (4)
7. Cavers go this caves. (4)
8. Hall in Hilliers. (3)
10. Last word in illuminant description?. (3)
11. Low water level? (3)
12. Last syllable of local caving county. (3)
14. Accessory necessary for Nife or Oldham lamp. (4)
15. Cave pearls, for example, (4)
16. Egg is tool; for student of rocks. (9)


2. Produces 1 across. (9)
3. If lifelines do this, one is heading for a fall. (4)
4. Alternative to 6 across. (4)
5. Scrub the ‘T’ for this well-known hole. (9)
9. Awkward moments underground may seem to take this. (3)
12. Might be followed by act or A.G.M.? (4)
13. Short cave dweller? (4)

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword