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THE BELFRY BULLETIN ____________________________________ Number 277

September 1970

(VOLUME 24 No.9) ____________________________________ CONTENTS Caving Monthly Notes N. 35 News from Austria

75 76

Walking The Alta Trail


Club Business A.G.M. and Dinner Notice Hut Warden’s Report Caving Sec’s Report Belfry Engineer’s Report Financial Statement Hon. Treasurer’s Report Miscellaneous

71 72 72 73 73 75

Monthly Crossword 78 ____________________________________ Hon. Sec. A.R. Thomas, Allens House, Priddy, Wells, Somerset Hon. Editor, S.J. Collins, Homeleigh, Bishop Sutton, Bristol

Editorial BLACK MARK In general, the reports from the club officers reflect the praiseworthy efforts of the many members who have given so freely of their time and money to help the club to recover from last year’s disaster. It thus seems a pity to read in the Hon. Treasure’s report that ‘there are far too many subscriptions outstanding’. Appeals to pay subscriptions appear regularly in the B.B. – Chairmen at the A.G.M. have pointed out in no uncertain terms that the days when it was ‘fashionable’ to delay paying subs are dead and gone. In this column, it has been said that the least that any member could do for his club, if he was not able to supply materials, time or donations, would be to pay his or her subscription promptly. For many months, the club has been literally balanced on a financial knife edge. Thanks to the generosity of some members and the hard work put in by others; this has now been overcome – no thanks to those who have ignored every appeal to their corporate spirit. It would not be surprising if the Committee next year decided on a ‘get tough’ policy towards those members who have done nothing to deserve the benefits which others have worked for on their behalf. A.G.M. Elsewhere in this B.B. will be found details of the A.G.M. and Dinner. Please make an effort to attend the meeting as well as the dinner. Your advice, comments, criticism or praise could have an important bearing on the way our club is run in future. “Alfie” _______________________________________________

1 9 7 0 A. G. M. The 1970 Annual general meeting will be held on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3RD at the SEVEN STARS and will commence at 2PM.

APPLICATION HAS BEEN MADE FOR A SPECIAL LICENCE TO COVER THE MEETING For the benefit of members not normally in Bristol, the Seven Stars is in THOMAS STREET which is just around the back of the Robinson Building. This building is the large, square tower block just by Bristol Bridge. The Seven Stars will, of course, be open from normal opening time on the Saturday, so that members who arrive early can obtain a drink while waiting for the meeting to begin. DON’T FORGET! – SEVEN STARS – THOMAS STREET, BRISTOL – OCTOBER 3rd. AT 2PM.


AND DINNER The 1970 Annual General Meeting will be followed by the Twenty First Annual Dinner of the Bristol Exploration Club, which will be held at WOOKEY HOLE CAVE RESTAURANT at 7.00 for 7.30pm. Attractions should include a free barrel of tartan and some sort of entertainment in the B.E.C. tradition. PRICE 25/- “The Dinners which starts off the Mendip Social Season.” Applications as soon as possible with money to Bob Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4. Note: Tickets are never issued for the B.E.C. Dinner. Bookings and money are taken by Bob Bagshaw and your name on his list gets you in. Don’t miss the dinner this year! Only 25/_______________________________________________________________________________________


The main thing that has influenced the job of Hut Warden this year is that for more than half of the time we have had no Belfry for anyone to be Hut Warden of, and in consequence, quite a few people who used to stay at the hut have got used to not staying. Now we have the hut more or less finished, the long and complicated job of luring the people back to stay at the hut for weekends has begun, and at last the bed night figures are beginning to improve.

In the sixteen weeks since the official opening on May the ninth, there have been 417 bed nights of which 91 were by guests; the total takings were nearly £80.0.0 This, in my opinion, is a good start considering the conditions under which we have operated up till now and represents a yearly bed nights total of 1,355. However, when you realise that over half this total has been made up by the guests and by two club members, it shows that we urgently need more members staying at the Belfry regularly if we are to present a good total which reflects steady use of our new building. The fixtures and fittings are being completed slowly, and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all the people, and in particular Prew and Doug, for all the work that has been and is being done. I would like to conclude by saying that the job of running the hut at this time is a fairly complex one and one which takes some time getting used to. Still, things are improving and the next year should see a great change in the fortunes of the Belfry and the B.E.C. Pete Franklin, Hut Warden _______________________________________________________________________________________


The burning of the Belfry had a severe effect on the club’s caving activities, which is only just beginning to be balanced by the completion of the new Belfry. A mixture of lack of accommodation and cold weather apathy resulted in a very small nucleus of regular cavers during the winter months, and it was probably only the Cuthbert’s digging and the discovery of Cuthbert’s II that kept us recognisable as a caving club. However, that small nucleus of regular cavers during the winter months, in partnership with S.M.C.C. members, has been very active throughout the yea,r both

73 on Mendip and in other areas. The by now traditional ‘Tuesday night Digging Team’s’ trips to Yorkshire have been regular and successful. General club meets, however have not flourished. Most people who wanted to go northern caving went ‘off on their own bat’ and when a Derbyshire trip was organised by myself, no one wanted to go. We have therefore not had a complete success in terms of organised club meets, and to have not bothered to organise others, but in the event of members wanting them and being prepared to attend, the next Caving Secretary may be inclined to do so. We have not so far had a practice in St. Cuthbert’s, but I hope to rectify this in September. A very necessary activity in view of the caving ability of a minority of the people who go on tourist trips in spite of the ‘no novices’ rule. R. Wickens, Hon. Caving Secretary _______________________________________________________________________________________


The Committee decided soon after the last A.G.M. that the club had sufficient funds to contemplate building the new Belfry without the help of a government grant, and building was commenced by Fred Owen without delay. Meanwhile, a few stalwart members roughed it in the old stone hut, and regular midweek caving took place from the Shepton Hut. We are indebted to Pat Ifold for his help and advice during the construction of the new building, which was more or less completed by the end of March. Walt’s new track was in operation when the building started, and a cattle grid was put in at the Belfry entrance.

With the new building handed over, work really started and Alfie fixed up temporary lights so that work could continue during midweek evenings. Wednesday was set up as a working night and all the old bunks salvaged from the fire reclaimed and installed. All the walls and ceilings were painted with emulsion paint and the floor treated with sealer. Prew Albert and Doug agreed to take charge of the plumbing and wiring, and the work is now well under way with all the showers installed and working, but not supplied with hot water as yet until the electrical system is completed. The showers will be operated from separate coin boxes. Petty Precision Products installed a marvellous working top along two walls and this has two sinks included in it. Jok Orr constructed a beautiful indestructible Belfry table which has been admired by all. A great deal of time and effort has been out in during the past year, and the club is indebted to many other than those mentioned above, who turned up faithfully on Wednesday evenings, particularly in the yearly part of the year. There is still plenty to be done, but in twelve months we have a fine new hut which is undoubtedly the finest on Mendip. John Riley, Hon. Belfry Engineer. _______________________________________________________________________________________ FINANCIAL STATEMENT FOR THE YEAR TO THE THIRTY FIRST OF JULY 1970 Subscriptions Seven Stars Levy Sales:

Post Office Savings Bank Interest Annual Dinner: Refund of cost of Swildons Door Stop the Watch: Claims on insurance: New Belfry Fund

£ 236.17.6 £ 28.12.0 Carbide Car Badges Ties

£ 2. 4.6 £ 2.12.6 £ 3.12.0

Receipts Less Costs

£ 179. 1.0 £ 177.19.0

Receipts Less Costs Building Contents Donations

£ 113. 6.8 £ 47.18.7 £1,149 £ 183.12.3

£ 8. 9. 0 £ 14.10.11 £ £

1. 2. 0 6. 0. 2


68. 8. 1

£1,332.12.3 £ 635.16.7

74 £ 100 £ 35. 3.2 £ 120 £2,584.11.8 £ 670. 2. 2 £3,254.13.10

Loan Interest on Deposit account Sale of Barn DEFICIT FOR THE YEAR



Building Plumbing Electrics Expenses

Less sales

£ 40 £ 41.15.9 £ 127.19.6 £ 209.15.3 £ 170.11.0 £ 3.12.0 £ 46. 6.7 £ 54.16.11 £ 33.11.11 £ 88. 8.10 £ 43.15. 9

Expenditure Less fees

£ £

Less Receipts Costs Less Receipts

Other publications, stationery etc. B.B. Postage

General postages and stationery Tackle: Public liability insurance Income Tax British Mountaineering Council Library Sundries

8.15.9 7. 3. 6

(two years)

Total Club Monies @ 31.7.69 Less I.D.M.F. accumulated income GENERAL ACCUMULATED

to 31.7.69 FUNDS @ 31.7.69

Less deficit for the year GENERAL ACCUMULATED I.D.M.F. accumulated income to

FUNDS @ 31.7.70 31.7.70

£3,074 £ 28.12.0

£ 39. 4. 3 £ 11.17.1

£ £

44.13.1 13. 2. 5

£ 1.12. 5 £ 26. 2. 0 £ 20. 2. 0 £ 5.10.0 £ 7. 7. 0 £ 10.13.9 £3,254.13.10 £1,265.18.11 £ 30. 8. 8 £1,235.10.3 £ 670. 2. 2 £ 565. 8. 1 £ 30.17.8 £ 596. 5. 9

Post Office Savings Bank Deposit Lloyds Bank Ltd Deposit Account Cash in hand

£ 174. 9.10 £ 366. 3. 4 £ 55.12 7 £ 596. 5. 9

NEW BELFRY FUND In hand @ 31.7.69 Donations: Loan Interest to 30.6.70 Half Annual Subscriptions Half Belfry Dues Insurance Claim Payments to builder on account BALANCE IN HAND IAN DEAR MEMORIAL FUND

£1,162. 0. 9 Banker’s Orders Others

£164 £471.16.7

£ 635.16.7 £ 100 £ 35. 3. 2 £ 118. 8. 9 £ 85. 5. 6 £1,149 £3,285.14.9 £3,074 £ 211.14.9

75 Accumulated income to 31.7.69 Interest on £310 5½% National

Development Bonds

Income tax Grant from Fund Accumulated Income @ 31.7.70


£ 30. 8. 8 £ 17. 1. 0 £ 47. 9. 8 £ 6.12.0 £ 10 £ 30.17.8 £ 47. 9. 8

As you will see from the Financial statement, the Ian Dear memorial Fund is now show separately from the general club funds. This was the only change which I considered necessary to show the New Belfry Fund as a separate item in future, but if the necessary information is forthcoming, grater detail might be show for publications.

As regards the New Belfry Fund, although there is a balance of £211-11-9 in hand, a further payment of £160 is due to the builder, and a loan of £100 should be repaid. The balance can, however, easily be taken from Pete Franklin’s “Stop the Watch” surplus. The amount received in subscriptions is inflated by three life memberships and one joint life membership. There are, however, still far too many outstanding subscriptions. Although one of the reasons for increasing the annual subscription form 22/6 to 25/- was to help raise money for the new Belfry, I do not think it appropriate to consider making a reduction at least until the club has a reasonable reserve. By that time, no doubt rising process will mean that the rate of 25/- will have to be maintained. I think, however, that the levy at the Seven Stars might be dropped. Its collection does give rise to criticism, even if most of it is habitually good natured. The generous donations to the New Belfry Fund included Swiss Francs; German DM and Canadian Dollars. I have already mentioned some of the outstanding payments since the date of the accounts; I have paid a further £25 towards the plumbing. There will be further expenses on finishing the interior of the building and also possibly for surfacing the car park. In addition, although we are insured, our brokers have not yet been paid. We have sufficient money to cover out foreseeable expenses, a position which I must regard as satisfactory after spending over £3,000 in the year. Thank you all for your support. R.J. Bagshaw, Hon. Treasurer _______________________________________________________________________________________


St. Cuthbert’s Sump II Over the last month or so, the B.E.C./S.M.C.C. digging team has been able to make some progress at this sump, which has been showing the same odd tendency to leak as Sump I. Cutting off the stream flow by, means of the Gour Hall dam causes the water level to drop slowly, permitting access to the first twenty feet or so of the sump. This was horizontal, ending in a small bell where the water filled part continues choked and steeply descending. John Palmer penetrated this latter section for an estimated further twenty feet, but

….by “Ben” found no way on during his original dive. Much, material has already been dug out, to give room to work at the end, but more recently the sump refused to drain. The team are now considering building g a concrete dam and resorting to bailing to enable the work to go on. Anyone who would like to come along would be welcome. Meet at the Belfry any Tuesday evening at 6 – 6.30pm. There are also weekend trips. B.E.C. Exhibition.

76 This has been much delayed for various reasons, and certain items are still required. Will anyone with good quality black and white negatives of St. Cuthbert’s which they could lend, please contact Mike Palmer. Little Neath River Cave Because of the high risk of being flooded in this system, the U.B.S.S. have installed an emergency flood dump in Genesis Gallery. This is fifty feet from the far end of Pebble Crawl which leaves the Main Streamway at the top of the mound of debris three hundred feet downstream from Junction Chamber on the right bank. There is drinking water nearby. The following advice is offered: - Never descend in rain; when rain is forecast or if the river is high enough to flow under the bridge in any quantity. If caught by rising water inside; attempt to leave the cave if near the entrance (Tributary Passage; Canal; Mud Hall). If in the Main Stream passage, attempt to leave the cave via the Canal Bypass, and remain in Genesis Gallery if this is not possible. Do not remain in the main streamway below Bouncing Boulder Hall. Inform the U.B.S.S. if food has been used and take adequate supplies down in any case. Bats. According to ‘Descent’, rabies has been found in bats in Europe and could spread to Britain. Anyone bitten by a bat is advised to obtain immediate medical attention. _______________________________________________________________________________________ NEWS FROM AUSTRIA by Alan Thomas

Our friends in the Landesverein fur Hohlenbunde have discovered a new cave at Feichter which is approximately a kilometre north of the Raucher-bar system. It is situated at about 1600 metres altitude and is so far 100 metres long, and it terminates in a six metre pot. They are sure that this is not the end and many bones have been found in it. The Raucher-bar system’s surveyed length is now 16 kilometres, 200 metres incidentally!

This summer, a party of eight Austrians and twelve Poles have spent fourteen days in the Gruberhornhole near Saltzburg. Because of its extreme depth they are abseiling and prussiking. _______________________________________________________________________________________ We felt that the following extract from the ‘Last Ditch’ by David Lampe which was published in 1968 and dealt with the time when Britain faced the prospect of imminent invasion, would be of interest. The extract is from page 37 of that book…. ‘In December 1940, the Ministry of Works began to have second thoughts about the Aberystwyth hiding place. If the Germans occupied Eire, would they not land in Wales? With this in mind, a number of British Museum’s most treasured exhibits were transferred to uninhabited Skipton Castle in Yorkshire; two stately homes – Northwick Park, Gloucestershire and Haigh Hall, Lancashire and to a Tudor house in Warwickshire. At the same time, caves in a disused quarry near Bristol, which for some years had been used for the growing of mushrooms, were fitted with air conditioning units and shelves by the Ministry of Works so that they too could be used as a hiding place, primarily for treasures from then British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The precise location of the quarry, which provided altogether some 25,000 square feet of floor space, is still a secret because it could, officials say, be used again for the same purpose.’ This quarry was also used as a storage place by the following institutions: - Aberdeen University; The Society of Antiquaries; The Athenaeum; The British School at Athens; All Hallows Church, Barking; The Bodlean Library, Oxford; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; The Colonial Office; Corpus Christ College, Cambridge; The Egypt Exploration Society; Exeter Cathedral; The Free French Government; The Museum of National Antiquities; Glasgow University; Gloucester Museum; Hereford Cathedral; The Imperial War Museum; Lambeth Palace Library; Litchfield Cathedral; The Guildhall, London; Maidstone Public Library; The National Portrait Gallery; Rochester cathedral; The Royal Academy; Salisbury cathedral; Somerset House; Stonyhurst College; University College, London; The Welcome Medical museum; Westminster Abbey; Winchester cathedral. In addition, various objects owned by the Ministry or Works also went into the quarry. Many other museums, churches and art galleries had hidden places of their own which they still prefer not to disclose. _______________________________________________________________________________________




The Sequoia National Park in California is situated some two hundred miles north of Los Angeles. The Sequoia lies just south of the magnificent King’s Canyon that forms a large part of the Sierra Nevada, which ranges from the famous Yosemite (pronounced Yo-sem-it-e) National Park on the north and the Tehachapi Mountains on the south. The Sequoia National Park is the home of the famous Californian Redwood or big tree (Sequoia Gigantica). Having visited the parks during July and wondered at the enormous size of the redwoods – the largest, the ‘General Sherman’ has a base diameter of 36 feet and the tapering trunk rises to a height of over two hundred and thirty feet with the foliage mainly in its upper reaches. At a height of one hundred and forty feet, the trunk of the tree is still over fourteen feet in diameter! Being the true Weegee, yours truly bought a

……………….by Dave Irwin small handbook of the area and found that only a very small portion of this national park was accessible by car and that ‘trails’ could be followed to the inner regions. The longest is the High Sierra combined with the John Muir trails which have a total length of a hundred and sixty miles and include the summit of Mount Witney the highest peak in the U.S.A. (How about the one in Alaska? – Ed.) For a one day excursion, this was obviously out, but the Alta Trail looked interesting. Now to find somebody to accompany me. As it happened, a Frenchman working in the Anglo-French Concorde team in California was a keen walker and so he agreed to join in. Thus, on Saturday the twenty second of August, we arrived late in the evening and bedded down in a small log cabin in the heart of the Sequoia forest. Awake at 6am and having breakfasted by 7.30am we set off for the Sherman Tree two miles down the road and on to the start of the trail. At 8.30, we reached the Alta Trail starting point. The path ran steeply uphill for the first three miles through the forest. Here and there were the massive sequoia trees, some singly and some in groups of six or more, their orange trunks contrasting with the general background greenery. As we climbed higher, the character of the forest changed. Fewer redwoods were to be seen and the Sugar Pine and Lodgepole Pine abounded. Clearings were passed with the brilliant greens dotted with yellow alpine flowers. Nearly at the top of the first ridge we were able to view the westerly range of the sierra and able also to look down on the giant forest some two thousand feet below us. The next mile of so was fairly easy going except that the dust trail never altered its character, causing a dust cloud behind each of us. After two hours and four miles from the forest, we reached Panther Gap and an impressive view of the Great Western Divide lay before us. Some five thousand feet below lay the Keaweah Valley winding its way westward into the plains of California. Having taken our fill of the view, we pressed on upwards and, leaving the forest, the trail winds up above Panther Creek basin for the next two or three miles until it plunges down into a red fir forest near Mehrten Meadow. Shortly after, that alpine meadow was reached at a height of ten thousand five hundred feet. The meadow – a sloping spread of grass and lupine (a purple flower of the lupin family) lay near the parting of the ways. The Alta Peak (eleven thousand, two hundred feet) was our goal – but could we find the junction? Could we h---! Distances being what they are, we had travelled another four miles and ended up in a very large meadow – the Altar Meadow, but it was worth it. Here, less than three miles from the Great Western Divide, a high granite massif rose up from the valley in a series of high glacier basins – the whole producing a ripple effect along the western face. Just above the near peaks could be seen the scraggy Mount Witney (fourteen thousand, four hundred and ninety five feet) bare of snow except for a few small ice fields.

78 Having missed the trail to the Alta Peak only seven hundred feet above the meadow, we began the long slog back to the forest. However, we were rewarded with a sight of five deer – two stage, two hinds and a spotty fawn. The antics of the little ground squirrels kept our humour up and the magnificent views were reward enough for our efforts. The only thing wrong with the day was the temperature – about ninety Fahrenheit in the shade! And no Hunters to take care of our thirst. However, seeing nobody during the twenty odd miles walk gave us heart that there were still un-commercialised places in the States and at 4.30pm we were back in the restaurant sinking numerous milk shakes. _______________________________________________________________________________________

FOR SALE: Climbing boots and crampons – virtually new and unused – size 9. Offers to Graham Watts, 100 Chesterfield Road, St. Andrews, Bristol 6.








6 7


9 11

10 12

Down: 2. Desired cave with muddled doctor (6) 3. 22/7 2240 climbing aid (5) 4. Reciprocal Spelaeodes (7) 5. Rag Lyle for something associated with the other partner. There are two in G.B. (7) 6. Thanks! (2) 8. Credit muddled caver’s shortest route (6) 9. Staid horizontal workings (5) 12. Little journal arranger (2)






1. Describes vertical or collapse of caver’s moral (5,2) 5. Chamber or rift in Longwood (5) 7. Little Virginia medicinal draught type of cave formation (6) 9. Diphthong in caving word (2) 10. Sounds like endless pub (2) 11. Up and down this in caves. Up this and down this beheaded in children’s game (6) 13. Reverse 12 and add three points colloquially thick (5) 14. The rats cave Mendip (7)





Stencils prepared 15.9.70


Belfry Bulletin Number 277