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Belfry Bulletin BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB Vol. 3 No. 19

January 1949

A very Happy New Year and Good Caving to all our members over the World. GRAND AUCTION The club is auctioning an almost new pair of Tyrolean Shorts, complete with the usual natty braces. These shorts of leather have been given to Henry Shelton, and will fit a tall man. Bids are to be sent to the Hon. Sec. by the end of Feb. *************************** The following ‘poem’ arrived in the Hon. Sec.’s door by mysterious means and is unsigned. Members of the Club will however recognise without difficulty its author. (with many apologies to Shakespeare). When motorbikes stand by the hut, And Don and Diver cleans his plug. And Sett screws up a loosened nut, And beer comes frozen in a Jug, When roads be white and slippery, Then nightly sings the B.E.C. “Woo woo! Alas Poor little Angeline”, While Greasy George the plates doth clean.

When Macbeth doth refuse to go, And caving clothes hang by the door, And G.B. lies beneath the snow, And Half-Pint’s nose is red and raw, When stew’s been cooked, and beer runs free, Then nightly sings the B.E.C. “Woo woo! Alas Poor little Angeline”, While Greasy George the plates doth clean

. *************************** STUPENDOUS DISCOVERY ON MENDIP!!!! The following is an extract from a newspaper cutting recently sent to the Hon. Sec.:The spirit of adventure and exploration was high in the mind of all who went out on a Club Run last week with the --------------. Traversing over rough cart tracks and muddy lanes of barren, almost deserted Mendip Hills, white over with the frost of the night before, against a biting wind, they continued to their destination – Goatchurch Caves – going via Banwell, Shipham and Charterhouse. Descending into caves, which go down many miles having a great many turnings which must be chosen and remembered with care for the return journey, armed with ropes and candles, a depth of approximately 2 miles was reached. The more adventurous of the explorers succeeded in reaching a grotto through a tunnel known to cavers as the ‘Drainpipe’, this being 1’6” in diameter and 20 foot long, here turning round and reaching the top again, muddy but pleased with their achievement, just as dusk was falling. The afternoon run was met for tea at the Stirrup Cup Café, which is situated at the top of Burrington Combe. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Someone has been holding out on us. Two miles. It puts Stoke Lane in the shade. Will anyone with information please send it in to the Hon. Editor at once!!!! THE MENACE AGAIN!! Climbing Nevis Peak, British West Indies. Nevis is a small island which really consists of an extinct volcano sticking 3,000ft. out of the ocean. This mountain is covered in dense jungle right to the top, as are all mountains in B.W.I.


BB19/2 Having heard of some rock near the cloud clapped summit, George and I decide to climb it. We managed to get permission to start at 6.00am in the morning before it got too hot, and by 7.00 we had got to the base of a large gully. The bed of the gully was a vile mixture of mud, loose rock, ash and jungle, and the going was so loose that we had to take to the side of it. I can only describe the next part as climbing a mass of vertical matted vegetation. By then it had got really hot and clouds of steam were rising off everything, also clouds of mosquitoes, bugs and what have you. We soon became eaten alive, scratched to bits, and generally done up in big heaps. After about 1,000ft of this sort of thing we came into cloud level, and it became very cold, where there were a vicious brand on ants, and some horrible looking monkeys that reviled and screamed at us. After this the going was somewhat easier over mossy rock and ash, and we arrived at the top. The top was covered in stunted grey tress covered in streamers of grey moss, and with a visibility of about 5 yards it was very depressing and cold. In fact the only sign that we were at the top was the fact we couldn’t go any higher. After a cold and miserable meal we started off down another gully in fact, once we started we couldn’t stop and it was one long glissade to the bottom. However, there one or two rock pitches and George went flying over the first one, about 35ft. into a pot-hole full of water, without getting seriously damaged. I decided to be a lot more careful and lowered myself from a small tree which promptly came away, and I joined him, landing in a sitting position on a rock. I will leave the next part to your imagination, as it is not printable. After about two hours of this sort of thing, we got back to the ship, being the first ones to have climbed the mountain by that side for 25 years. J.V. Morris ************************** From the Hon. Sec.’s Post Bag. From Terry Reed, off Klein Bonaire, (Wherever that may be, Ed.)!! I would like to report that I believe some caves do exist at Point St. Marie, just north of Ballen Bay in Curacao. I must have passed within 200yds. of them. Also from Terry Reed, off San Luiz. (Ditto) Ed. Spent my time in Curacao in – you’ve guessed it – Caving!! I was unable to visit the Virgin’s Grotto, but I visited an old mine-working near Caracas Bay, which had broken into a big L shaped chamber. I didn’t even need overalls, which with other tackle I’d lugged from ------? Just walked in. Hope to collect some dried human heads this trip. From Tony Crawford. If anyone is interested, there is a place called Cromarty inside the Morray Firth. As we steamed through Cromarty Gap I saw that the right hand side was a cliff covered with sea caves which should be interesting to explore. I was very sorry that I was unable to go ashore and explore them. On the Isle of Arran, of S.W. coast of Scotland there is and island called Holy Island on the lighthouse end of which stands a cave which is easily seen from the path all round the island. The cave is really a split ion the rock which you would call a cleft. It looks like an interesting cave and is worth exploring. I crawled in as far as I could. It is not a sea cave at all, as fresh water trickles through it and showers through the roof. When the opening became too small I had to turn back as I had no spade to dig the earth in the bottom of the passage, where the floor was soft. The passage continued as I saw when I shone my torch in and saw a large chamber continuing. ****************************** REED’S CAVERN, BUCKFASTLEIGH, S. DEVON. By G.W. Ridyard. During a visit to Plymouth during the second week of December, I met E. Masson Phillips, a newcomer to caving, and a local archaeologist. The outcome of our meeting was that on Saturday morning I found myself on a bus bound for Buckfastleigh. Buckfastleigh is situated on the south-eastern fringe of Dartmoor and has a number of caves nearby in an outcrop of Devonian Limestone. The Devon Speleos have their headquarters at Buckfastleigh behind the general store of Mr. Reed, discoverer of Reed’s Cavern. Therefore we changed and set out, in pouring rain


BB19/3 for the disused quarry where the entrance to Reed’s Cavern is situated. The party consisted of four sixthform boys from Totnes Grammar School, one of who was ‘Jigger’ Reed who as a caver is following in his father’s footsteps, E.M. Phillips who is their science master, and myself. Arriving at the quarry I found that the entrance was in a large rock shelter formed by a natural cavity half quarried away in the past. We waited there for a while for Mr. Woodward of the Devon Speleos, who was to lead the party. After a while the lads and myself decided to look at Spider Hole, a small cave system about 50yds from our shelter. We were hoping to see some bats, but we had to be content with one rather sleepy Greater Horseshoe Bat, which swore softly when he was removed from his perch. This was one of the bats that had been ringed by the Devon Speleos. The Hoopers and the Reeds have done a lot of work of this type in the Buckfastleigh area. Sometimes as was the case with this particular bat, the rings are rendered illegible by the bats chewing them. Spider Hole lived up to its name, for in the semi-dark zone I saw some of the biggest spiders I have ever seen. Leaving our bat and the spiders we squelched back, through mud and rain, to Reed’s Cavern entrance where we found Mr. Woodward had arrived with the key of the door which had been fitted a short distance inside the entrance passage. The entrance was about 8ft. above ground level and after negotiating this by climbing over a wheel-less farm cart propped against the rock face, we found ourselves in a small chamber with a certain amount of discolouring drip formation. Pressing on we soon had to crawl along a low passage as far as the small door which cuts off the bulk of the cave from the general public. The door was in the side of the passage, and we made a right-angled turn as we entered it. A further crawl of some feet and a little squeeze brought us into the main chamber. We emerged between two ‘Shark’s fin’ curtains of stalactite, of an orangish shade, one of which had its point removed by someone who forgot to duck when he stood up. The main chamber I judged to be about 120ft. long, 20ft. wide, and up to 30ft. in height. The floor was very uneven with a number of large limestone blocks lying about and there was a small boulder ruckle at one point which leads, I believe, to a lower series. There was quite a lot of stalagmite on certain parts of the floor cementing boulders together. Around the sides of the main chamber were plenty of formations, and one or two stalagmite cascades, some rather dirty. We continued along a passage which brought us into a small rift chamber where we saw evidence of a former water level some 4ft. above the general floor level. Here, was a bristling fringe of dogtooth spar along one wall and on the side of a rock which must have projected at one time above the level of the pool. We traversed a number of rift and water-eaten passages until near the limit of our trip we saw the oddest helectite formation I have ever seen. This was in the form of a little stalacto-stalagmite column with two horizontally opposed arms sprouting out of it, each curving upwards. The impression is that of a little man, wearing a top hat and conducting a choir. The whole thing is in white crystal-like calcite which is similar to the calcite forming the numerous small helectites in this part of the series. I do not think that G.B. Cavern can equal this Devonshire cave for this peculiar type of formation. We retraced our steps to the main chamber and spent half an hour or so exploring a few side passages which were pretty tight and quite abortive. In one small cul-de-sac we saw a number of small mounds of needle like crystals which being brownish I colour looked exactly like a group of hedgehogs in hibernation. Finally we headed back to the entrance having abandoned the idea of trying the upper series as one of the lads was wearing gum boots and therefore was not equipped for any strenuous rock climbing. After walking back to Buckfastleigh in the rain we changed and cleaned up. Mrs. Reed very kindly provided us with a first rate tea which was dully dispatched and after bidding our fellow mud-wallowers goodbye, Phillips and I left for the Plymouth bus. To sum up I would say that Reed’s cavern is a very interesting cave and, although some of the formations leave much to be desired, so far as beauty is concerned, it is far superior to any of the Yorkshire caves I visited last summer. It is a good sporting cave and is moderately dry. The cave is well worth visiting if any B.E.C. members should be in the neighbourhood in the future, and I have no doubt that Mr. Reed and the Devon Speleos, in general would prove to be very helpful in any possible way.


BB19/4 Belfry Sub. Committee. At a recent Committee meeting it was decided that the Belfry sub-committee to deal with matters relating to the erection of the New Belfry and to expedite its completion and should be: - John Ifold; G.T. Lucy, Tony Johnson and Mrs. Thompsett, with Tony Setterington as chairman. Library. The library will be closed from Feb. 1st. until date to be announced later. All books MUST be rturned by this date without fail. The Library Fine System is suspended as from the publication of this Belfry Bulletin until an announcement be made to the contrary. T.H. Stanbury. Hon.Sec. *************************** Note by Hon. Festerer of B.B. The stencils seem to have slipped to the side during cutting. Apologies are offered. At the A.G.M. a question was asked about B.E.C. activities other than caving and the matter was discussed at the last Committee meeting. Walking and Climbing. Will all those interested in either walking or Rock Climbing please send in their names so that we may get something organised. Even if you think that a committee man knows your interests please let us know as your name may be the one forgotten. We have a leader in mind for the walking section, whose name will be announced when and if he accepts. Would any of the existing climbing types in the club like to suggest someone, not necessarily a club member who would give tuition to those interested. **************************** Another unsigned epic. A suggested Epitaph. Here lies Don, So sadly passed on.

He was well out of reach In the tum of a leech.

He went down Stoke Lane, When ‘twas pouring with rain.

So cavers take heed If you’re able to read.

Tho’ they pumped out the sump With a ruddy great pump.

Of the undignified end Of a very dear friend. D.A.C

R.I.P.

*************************** Cave Research Group. The C.R.G. is publishing in the immediate future ‘The Transactions of the Cave Research Group’. It consists of 29 pages of duplicate copy script, a printed cover and 16 line diagrams together with 4 half tone illustrations. The price is 4/-. Please forward all orders to the Hon. Sec. as soon as possible. He will forward to the C.R.G. *************************** PERSONAL Mr. F.J. Shorland has become engaged to Miss Joyce Norman, a Telephone Operator at Taunton. *************************** News Flash A mine shaft was recently found open in Warren Field.

Belfry Bulletin Number 019  

When Macbeth doth refuse to go, And caving clothes hang by the door, And G.B. lies beneath the snow, And Half-Pint’s nose is red and raw, Wh...

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