Belfry Bulletin THE BELFRY BULLETIN JOURNAL OF THE BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB Volume 10 No.106
In the last issue of BB a very interesting article entitled ‘Potholing in Yorkshire’ was submitted by A.J.Dunn. Apropos of this article I must mention the fact that its trip was organised by the W.C.C. and, in fact, it was through their courtesy that Mr. Dunn was invited to take part on this trip. I regret that a note to this effect was omitted from the article. o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o CUTHBERTS In the interests of safety no person will be allowed down Cuthbert’s unless at least two caves of comparable difficulty have been done previously. A new lock has been put on the cave and four keys have been cut. These are held by R. Bagshaw. A. Collins C. Rees M. Jones; being the four most available people. The following members are authorised to lead parties: N. Petty D. Coase R. Bennett J. Stafford G. Fowler B. Prewer C. Marriot C. Falshaw J. Waddon R. Wallis In addition to ensuring that no novices are present, leaders should see that consumable stores are replaced and no damage is done to formations or equipment. The list of leaders will be added to as more experienced people become available. ------------------------------------------G.B. Arrangements have been made by U.B.S.S. with Axbridge Rural District Council, who own the cave, which allows freer access to G.B. Each club has been allocated certain weekends for visiting the cave. Guests who are not members may take part and the club members may visit the cave as guests of any other club if they make arrangements with these clubs.
ALL NAMES MUST BE GIVEN TO THE CAVING SECRETATRY TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE TRIP. Arrangements can be made to obtain the key. A tackle fee of 1/- per head is payable to U.B.S.S. Dates are as follows. October 20/21 – B.E.C. October 27/28 – M.N.R.C. November 3/4 - Wessex November 10/11 – Westminster November 17/18 – Axbridge
November 24/25 – B.E.C. December 1/2 – M.N.R.C. December 8/9 - Wessex December 15/16 – Westminster
Note: - Members wishing to go on trips with the above clubs must contact the secretary of these clubs two weeks before the trip. NOTES FROM EAST AFRICA I would like to reassure members that despite the remarks of Miss Mudlark in the Feb/March issue of the B.B. companions are again in great demand for genuine caving and climbing trips. The harvest of 5000 grapefruit from my garden is over and all the game trophies preserved, the latter operation being the tedious process of making glass slides from colour transparencies. The rainy season has just finished so I am all ready for another round of caving and climbing and general exploration. The caves in the Tanga area have chambers up to 40ft. in height and system of reasonable length to complete a strenuous afternoon exploration. Unfortunately those caves with large entrances are frequented by thousands of bats, and guano to the depth of 2 or 3 feet occurs in some of the more frequented passages. This makes life a little tedious when the caves are wet, as a flat mat of guano can conceal a deep pool of water, and an immersion in this medium is not to be recommended. However in the dry season this difficulty disappears. On every occasion I have visited this area I have been able to break into new passages and the last time a completely new cave system was explored. The high temperature and humidity underground demand the minimum of clothing yet some protection is needed. This problem was particularly acute in exploring some coral caves in Zanzibar Island. On that particular visit while climbing a small gorge some 20ft. high at the entrance to one of these holes, a swarm of bees demonstrated their objection to intruders in no uncertain manner. Never have I climbed so fast or crashed through torn bush so regardless of injury in an attempt to shake off my black pursuers. It is said that the bees of East Africa are more ferocious than any of the game animals and so far I support this view most readily. Climbing grounds are at hand and a cliff of some 300 ft. high complete with overhang can be seen on the skyline from my home in the Usambara Mountains. The most successful expedition so far was a 3,000 mile round journey to the Ruwenzori or Mountains of the Moon on the Uganda-Belgian Congo border, when Jerry Smith of the Climbers Club flew out to join me. We celebrated Christmas Day by making the first ascent of the Great Tooth, 16,090ft. on Mt. Stanley, which was probably the highest unclimbed peak in Africa. The N.E. ridge of Albert lying in the Belgian Congo was also climbed for the first time. This is a fine almost perfect mountain lying between 15,750 and 16,730 ft. with the occasional severe rock or ice pitch. To complete the day we descended to our tent via the N.E. ridge of Margherita, a route that has only been climbed four times before. Two second and one third ascents of other major routes on Elizabeth, Margherita and Baker were also made. Nearer to my home, in the chain of mountains 250 miles long running inland from the coast up to Kilimanjaro, there are many wonderful rock faces that I am sure have never been explored by the mountaineer. While I have been to the top of Kilimanjaro, I have not climbed its subsidiary peak Mwenzi,
BB106/3 16,780ft., with its virgin east face and maybe the odd unclimbed aiguille on the summit ridge. Mt. Kenya beckons but it is still closed to us for security reasons. So any B.E.C. members who can work a passage with a B.A.O.C. Britannia on a proving flight to East Africa will find a land rover waiting to take them off on plenty of caving and climbing. However with a difference – the first with a liberal dosage of bat guano, and the second often approached after cutting a path through the vegetation on the lower slopes in high humidity and a temperature generally greater than to which we are accustomed at home. Still it is great fun because the route is generally unexplored, and the views from the mountain tops of vast plains with mountains just popping up out of them forcibly demonstrate the vastness of Africa. Remember these three words will find me – Fletcher Amani, Tanganyika, until I return on leave in April 1957 when I want to have a look at long last at St. Cuthbert’s. Will Mudlark act as a guide then I wonder? Thomas E Fletcher. Post-script from Tanganyika (in answer to ‘Mudlarks’ comment in B.B. Feb/March 1956) I’ve now sold all surplus grapefruit – nearly 4,700 for £17.10.0d. Picking for the year is over except just a sprinkling of grapefruit always getting ripe throughout the year sufficient to keep the house going. So as I have now bagged all the big game and stiffed it – B.E.C. members may now tale full advantage of my previous offers to show them caves without the possibility of menial tasks. Admittedly 3 month ago stuffing a medium size elephant was quite a weekends hard work. o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o SNOWDON AT SUNRISE The time was 1.30am. I woke with start, switched on the torch to look at my watch, then prodded John awake. “Well, are we going?” I said. He gave me a low desperate sort of moan, and with a poor show of enthusiasm rolled over and put his head outside the tent. No excuse. The sky was without cloud, the air cool, soft and windless. The shadow of Tryfan hung like a dark pall across the paler grey mass of the Carnedds. The moon was high. There was no time to be lost. Yet it was 2.30am – an hour behind schedule – before mind could exert itself over matter and we staggered out of the tent, down to the road, with extra sweaters. Food, and cameras. Perhaps it had been a mistake to do seven climbs the day before. We clambered onto the bike and set off. The moon rolled out from behind the shoulder of Tryfan and looked at us speculatively. Round through Capel Curig, past Pen y Gwnyd we went, the cold air cutting at our faces, and the white mist wisping eerily over the black llyn like elfin fires. We left the bike at Pen y pass and started on the long slow grind up Crib Goch. Now we were in darkness again, the mountain thrown in jagged relief down in the moonlit Llanberis Pass, but already the sky was paling in the east. It was 3am. The air grew very close: we took off several layers of sweaters, and ate oranges. There was no water. We are on top of the grassy ridge, where grey sheep materialised out of the twilight and scattered from our path. We were hot, perspiring, and out of breath. “The trouble with romantic sort of expedition”, grumbled John, “Is that they always turn out to be such a fearful bind”. Now we had two shadows – from the waning moon of the left, and a slow imperceptible dawn of the right. Still fighting against shortage to breath (“so this is what it musty be like on Everest”) we surmounted the rock step, and after another nightmarish grind, came out onto the familiar crest. The sky over the Glyders was now deep purple, changing to orange and pale delicate blue. As we scrambled along the ridge the purple brightened into rose, then orange to yellow, and the blue became more intense. Now small dark clouds appeared, tinged red underneath, deep as autumn heather. On to Crib y Ddysgyl, and at last into the burning sky appeared the great arc of the sun, and rested like a flaming ruby on the top of Glyder Fawr, pouring its red rays across Snowdon. Behind us now, the old black edge of Crib Goch bit like a broken jaw into the glow. In front, the moon laid her tied yellow face on the grey shoulder of Lliwedd, and to the south and west stretched an endless sea of silver mist where peaks appeared like dim islands as far as the eye could see.
And that was how two dishevelled and dirty climbers came to be leaning against the survey point on top of Crib y Ddysgyl at 5am on a pure still summer morning wolfing bread and cheese and rum. We hadn’t made Snowdon before sunrise, but it felt that the present horrors of the summit were better missed anyway. The trouble with climbing Snowdon to watch the sunrise is that you are rendered useless for rock-work for the next twelve hours or so. The following day we had both revived sufficiently to lead V.S’s , but now that Everest is being climbed two days running, it seems presumptuous to boast of homely feats in Wales. Though milestones in one’s climbing career should perhaps be measured not by the stature but the state of their achieving. J.R.G. o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o An appeal from John Skinner of 12, Hurst Walk, Filwood Park, Bristol. 4. He says “I still have a few young bloods on hand. Could you publish an appeal for anyone interested in introducing them to Mountaineering and climbing (locally) and also Judo & self defence to contact me”. (John Skinner NOT T.H.S.) Well climbing section members – what about =giving a helping hand. o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o R.J. Bagshaw, Hon. Sec. & Hon. Treas. 56, Ponsford Road, Knowle, Bristol.4. T.H. Stanbury Hon. Editor B.B. 48 Novers Park Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.