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The

Belfry

Bulletin

THE JOURNAL OF THE BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB Volume 6 No.55

March 1952

It is with great regret that we have to announce the loss of one Editor (and typewriter). Unfortunately John Shorthose (Shorty) has been posted to the wilds of Scotland, and he will not be able to continue the work he has done so well for the past year. We are sure the Club will wish him the best of luck with his work in the wilderness. ______________________________________ The ghastly appearance of this issue only goes to prove the necessity for a new Editor, as time goes on and issues roll out, it will become more obvious that a permanent editor is needed; working on the assumption that one volunteer is worth ten pressed men. Will volunteers please step smartly forward. ______________________________________ CAVE RESEARCH GROUP A GENERAL Meeting will be held at Skipton, Yorkshire, on 26th April, 3rd May, or 10th May, for the presentation of a Speleological Paper. This will be followed by a Caving Expedition on the Sunday. Details will be announced later. On Saturday 1st June, Mr. P.L.W. Harvey will present a paper on Cave Photography in the lecture room of the Wells Museum at 5.00pm. The following day there will be an Expedition to G.B. arranged by the U.B.S.S. ______________________________________ MENDIP RESCUE ORGANISATION We have been asked by the M.R.O., to outline the procedure in the event of an accident. 1) Person having knowledge of accident will go to the nearest call-box, or telephone, and ring the Police. (Wells Police, Tele: Wells 2197). 2) The Police will require the following information:Name and address of caller. Number and situation of call-box or telephone. Nature of accident. Name of Cave. Position of accident in cave (if known). Number of people in party. Whether experienced cavers. 3) The informant will remain at phone for further instruction. A list of the Wardens and further details of this scheme will be posted at the Belfry. This list will also available at Thursday Night Club Meetings, or on application to the Honorary Secretary. _______________________________________ BATS : The first in a series of Thursday Night talks was given by Mr. Peter Bird on 13th March. We had an audience of about 30 people, nearly all Club Members. His address on bats was well received, and if the talks continue to be as interesting, we have no doubt they will become a popular monthly feature of our Thursday Night meetings.


BB55/2 IF YOU ARE GOING TO FRANCE by Pongo. This £25 racket is a nuisance, of course, but the average caver can’t afford more, if as much on his holiday, so that won’t worry you. You will want your own transport, probably a motor-cycle (see Setterington’s article in BB) as this is much cheaper and convenient than railways. There are a lot of caving areas in France and in a fortnight or so you will not be able to inspect one closely, let alone the whole lot; but you will able to have a general look around, see a lot of caves, fine country and generally have a grand time. DORDOGNE DISTRICT. This lies east of Bordeaux and is a lovely area of heavily wooded limestone hills. It was one of the haunts of primitive man, and archaeologically the area is very rich. The famous Lascaux cave is in this region and so is the less well known but equally worth visiting Grotte Roch Merie. Padirac is extremely commercialised, with a lift down the entrance shaft but is also not to be missed. Only 10 miles from Padirac is the little town of Rocamadour, built on the side of a cliff, one of the few places which is more spectacular than the photographs of it. PYRENEES: There must be literally thousands of caves in the Pyrenees, but many are very large and will need well organised parties to explore them. But there are sufficient tourist caves to keep you happy for the best part of a week. Many of the proprietors are also very co-operative, and if given prior warning, will arrange a trip around the non-tourist sections. I repeat, if given prior warning, and if you put up a good story. Labouiche (2½ kms. underground in a boat, otherwise not very exciting). Mas d’Azil (with a Mammoth skull and a large number of cave bears). Gargas (of the 200 mutilated-hand prints). Grottes de Medous (with good formations and a boat ride for good measure) and other are all freely open for 150 to 200 Frs. Le Portel and Niaux can also be visited by private arrangement and the latter is especially worth while as it contains some of the finest cave drawings known. While in the Pyrenees region, do not miss seeing Carcasonne which is a walled town still in being. AVEYRON-LOZERE REGION: North and east of the Pyrenees contains the famous Gorges du Tarn. These are Cheddar on a large scale, about 30 miles long and a thousand feet high, though not as narrow and vertical as Cheddar. Close to the top of the Gorges is Aven Armand, one of the famous show caves of France, and not far off are Dargilan and Bramibiau. This last is (or was) only very slightly commercialised. There is a Guide, if he happens to be about, but there is no lighting and its not possible to penetrate very far easily. A little further on is Grotte Demoiselles, which is entered via a funicular railway running up into the mountain from a ledge facing full south; it is hence a tropical garden. On the way from Dargilan to Demoiselles it is possible to free-wheel for 12 miles. Somewhat north again is the world-famous Aven Orgnac with the most remarkable formations. This whole region of the Causse and Cavennes is riddled with caves but again the major proportion require large parties or else are apparently not very interesting. THE VERCOUS. Just south of Grenoble is a paradise of caves and vertical gorges of incredible depth and steepness. If you do not like driving on the brink of a precipice keep away. To cave here you need a good party as there are few tourist caves, but it is grand country to see. THE CHARTREUSE. Which is the home of a remarkably potent liquor is very steep and the caves are off the beaten track. The ‘Subterranean Climber’ gives the low-down on this district and I offer 5/- if someone can find the Guiers Mort, I could not, and got soaked into the bargain. By the time you have been to all these places you will be sick of caves and be wondering why we bother with our Mendip Binders, but you will have a grand holiday. Judicious enquiries before you go will greatly assist in finding some of the more out-of-the-way caves, and I or anyone else who has been before will, I am sure, be only too glad to give you any help we can. ________________________________


BB55/3 FURTHER CONGRATULATIONS: We extend our heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Roger Cantle and Judy Puplett, who have recently announced their engagement. A little bat whispered in our ear that Gordon and Jean Fenn are now the proud possessors of a B ouncing B aby B oy. Congratulations better late than never, to Stan and Mo Herman, on their wedding which took place a few months ago; they are now living in a Caravan, aptly named the Swallet, at Whitchurch. THE IMPOSSIBLE HAS HAPPENED: We have it on the best authority that the Honorary Secretary and his assistant have at last torn themselves away from their arm-chairs in an endeavour to conquer the depths of Swildons hole. Having visited the Belfry at the unheard of hour of 9.00am on Sunday morning and finding most of the inmates still asleep, they forged on undaunted. Fortunately they found that Mother Nature had taken a hand (God Bless Her) and the water was pouring over the entrance grating in a mighty torrent of 4�. Photographic evidence is available! However the Hero of the expedition, Ken Dobbs, fought his way to the top of the waterfall (this action was probably due to the fact that his foot slipped in removing the grating). He returned to report that further progress was impossible, and the Honorary Secretary gratefully believed him. The party then returned from their first Caving expedition in many moons. R.B. K.C.D. Memo to Johnny Ifold. Have they given you an official report yet? MORE MATERIAL PLEASE: We are now virtually out of material for the next B.B. The next issue is entirely in your hand, you write it, we print it. Until further arrangements are made, will contributors, budding authors etc., please send their articles, efforts etc., to the Honorary Secretary.


Belfry Bulletin Number 055