Vol XXVI No.3
B 72 B
March 1972 No. 293
BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB
List of Club Officers
Water Tracing in Cithbert’s
A SORT HISTORY OF THE B.E.C.
Recent Caving on Mendip
Just a Sec
Dates for your Diary
Ian Dear Memorial Committee
Monthly Crossword No.20
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.
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.
Editorial HISTORY Since this year marks the twenty fifth anniversary of both the Belfry and the B. B., we make no apology for printing as our main article this month; a further version of the history of the B.E.C. The last such article appeared twelve years ago in the B.B. for May, 1960 - number 147. In that year, we reached the twenty fifth anniversary of the founding of the club. A lot has happened during the last twelve year's and it seems to be a good point in time to record it. We hope that the article will remind older members and acquaint newer ones with some of the background to our present position as a club.
26 IN PRINT Given good luck, this should be the first ever B.B. to be printed rather than duplicated. We hope that all goes well, and that you approve of the result. Several people have already been kind enough to tell us that they approve of the new style B.B. The change to printing is one more step in the moves to improve the B.B. in all directions. HINT WEEKEND Arising from the paragraph headed ‘Hint Taken’ in these notes last month, John Manchip raises his voice in defence of the other point of view and writes:- ‘Dear Alfie, I am interested in the "wasted paper" in the Christmas B:-B. Keep up the good work’. It is difficult, if not impossible to please everybody at once.’ “Alfie” _______________________________________________________________________________________
Water Tracing Cuthberts 1971
Most readers will know of the work which has been carried out for some years now by ROGER STENNER on water tracing and analysis. This article describes some recent work. Two water tracing experiments were carried out, both of which were connected with earlier water tracing results. The first was concerned with the
Maypole Series sink, and the second with Plantation Swallet. In each case, about 5 gm of pyranine conc. was added to the streams indicated in the text, and activated charcoal detectors were used in the sites in the cave. Small portions of the charcoal were subsequently treated with 20 ml of a 10% solution of potassium hydroxide in methanol. The solutions were then examined under a ultra-violet lamp. The presence of strong characteristic green fluorescence showed a positive connection. In both tests, the positive results were all sufficiently strong to make a spectrophotometric check unnecessary. 1. THE MAYPOLE SINK The results of hardness measurements made in May 1965 quite unexpectedly located the source of the Maypole Series stream. It was a depression at the lower end of an over-flow channel from Plantation Stream into St. Cuthbert’s depression. This sink is now called the Maypole Sink. Since this result was published in the January 1967 B.B., there have been two developments. An article on the variability of limestone hydrology and a negative result of a water trace using pyranine conc. They will each need to be discussed at some length. An article in the March 1969 B. B. may be thought to cast doubts on the assumptions on which the Maypole Stream arguments were based. The essential data was this. Total hardness figures are in p.p.m. CaCO3 + or - 1 p.p.m. St. Cuthbert’s Pool Plantation Stream Maypole Series Stream
148 p.p.m. 114 p.p.m. 143 p.p.m.
Other streams in the cave coming from St. Cuthbert’s Stream showed an increase in hardness. Temperature measurements showed that the Maypole stream came from a surface stream. The stream sinking in the Maypole Sink (water from St. Cuthbert’s Stream mixed with overflow water from Plantation stream) was the only stream which met this criterion. The assumptions were that the hardness of St. Cuthbert’s Stream remained fairly constant throughout the sampling programme, and would not become supersaturated. The large area of marshy ground which is the source of St. Cuthbert’s stream acts in such a way as to damp effectively hardness fluctuations. The variance of its hardness is considerably lower than that of Plantation Stream. The bicarbonate content of St. Cuthbert’s stream is too low to enable photosynthesis by water plants to make the water strongly supersaturated, which happens for example
27 downstream of the Rodney Stoke risings. In November 1967, three sets of samples taken from St. Cuthbert’s Stream at four-hourly intervals had a maximum variation of 106 p.p.m. CaCO3. Confidence in the earlier conclusions was unshaken.
The second development was the tracing experiment carried out using pyranine conc. in November 1967. The dye was placed in the stream well upstream of the upper dam, and the result from the Maypole Series stream was negative. This also supported the earlier conclusion, since at the time of the test, the Maypole sink was dry. A further test was designed to find out more about the Drinking Fountain stream, confirming the earlier result at the same time. In January 1971, David Turner and Martin Webster placed detectors in the Maypole Series stream; Disappointment Passage Stream, and the Drinking Fountain Stream, Pyranine conc. was placed in the Maypole Sink, which was taking water from St. Cuthbert’s stream. All three detectors gave positive results. The three sites all gave negative results in 1967 when the Maypole Sink was dry. These results need further discussion, since the streams in the cave do not immediately dry up when the Maypole sink dries up. The Maypole Series Stream The St. Cuthbert’s stream overflows into the Maypole sink in wet weather, or whenever the top dam is left in place. In unusually wet weather this water supply is joined by water overflowing from Plantation Stream. The water flows fairly quickly through the Maypole Series, the temperatures being similar to those of the Main Stream while flowing from the surface to Traverse Chamber. I suggest that beneath the Maypole Sink is a large depression filled with rocks and a large quantity of mud. This mud acts as a reservoir, which is 'topped up' in wet weather and, when the sink dries up, drainage from this mud enables the Maypole Series Stream to flow for many days afterwards. A full hydrological study of the Maypole Series stream would check this suggestion and also allow the calculation of the effective volume of the reservoir, enabling an estimate to be made of the volume of mud that would have to be dug out to enter the Maypole Series from the surface. I also suggest that except in unusually wet weather, additions to the Maypole Series stream from other sources are negligible. The Disappointment Passage Stream In January 1971, the stream was moderate in size, but it is usually very small - a mere trickle. This would suggest a single effective source, the Maypole sink overflowing its normal course in high discharge conditions. This is a reasonable explanation for the rapid reduction in stream size compared with the more gradual reduction in that of the Maypole Series Stream with the same source. The upper end of Disappointment Passage is very close to Plantation ' Swallet. It is possible that small trickles here come from plantation stream, but this is pure speculation. The Drinking Fountain Stream This stream flows strongly when the Maypole series stream is almost dry. This suggests that the stream has more than one source. There is not enough evidence to permit speculation about the remaining part of the stream. 2. PLANTATION SWALLET The present state of knowledge dates from July and November 1961, with the results obtained by Bryan Ellis, using rhodimine B and treated cotton hank detectors. In November 1971, Plantation Stream was diverted into the depression, and no water was reaching Plantation Swallet itself. Dave Irwin placed detectors in the Main Stream upstream of Plantation Junction, and in Plantation Stream just upstream of the Junction. It was possible that Plantation Stream in the cave has a large source besides the surface plantation stream, and this occasion gave a very good chance to test this. The pyranine conc. was placed in the surface stream well upstream of the diversion. Both detectors gave positive results. This means that there is no evidence of a large additional stream. The conclusion to be drawn from temperature and hardness results is, in fact, that Plantation Stream in the cave does only have a single source, with additions from elsewhere being negligible.
28 I would like to thank Dave Turner, Dave Irwin and Roy Bennett for placing and retrieving the detectors in the cave, and Tim Atkinson for advice with the method for racing water with pyranine con.
A Short History of the Bristol Exploration Club …….based on an account by T.H. Stanbury and others. Since the early records of the club were lost in the blitz during the last war, and since there are very few members who are accessible and whose association with the club goes back to those days; accounts of the very early years of the club are bound to be a little hazy. The story of the founding of the club is an established part of Mendip folklore by now but, like most folklore, is probably greatly embellished. At any rate, a small group of fellow employees of our founder, "Harry" Stanbury formed themselves into a caving party in the summer of 1935 and visited Goatchurch. The trip was a success and, after acquainting themselves with the procedures of the existing societies, they decided to form a new club. Initial membership was about a dozen, and an inaugural meeting was called later in the year at which a set of rules was drawn up, and the bat adopted as the emblem of the new Bristol Exploration Club. The basic phraseology of the aims and objects of the club in our present constitution comes straight from these original rules, and it is flattering to think that at least one other club - the Westminster - has drawn heavily upon this wording of 1935 in formulating their own constitution over twenty years later. The few years between the founding of the club and the outbreak of war in 1939 found the infant club constructing tackle - rather differently from the methods we use today! - and running trips to most of the caves which existed on Mendip at the time. The membership remained small and steady, as the club made little or no attempt to persuade others to join them until they felt they had acquired enough experience to be able to offer new members a reasonable standard of caving knowledge. At the outbreak of war, club membership was 15 - a figure which the subsequent call-up soon began to reduce, until it was hardly possible to get a caving trip together. The Emplex Caving Club, composed of employees from the Bristol Employment Exchange, found themselves in a very similar position, and in 1940 the two clubs agreed to combine. The combined clubs agreed to retain the name of Bristol Exploration Club. Matters continued to get worse, even with the extra manpower provided by the merger, and by 1943, the club existed in little more than name. All its forces members were not available for caving, and the few left behind found it almost impossible to carry on. Just when it seemed that activities would have to be wound up and hopefully started up again when the war was over, one or two additional cavers contacted Harry Stanbury, and a meeting was held at which it was decided to renew caving activities. The club membership numbers date from this meeting, at which ‘Dan’ Hasell, who usually presides at our annual dinners, was present. His membership number is 4, Harry Stanbury's being 1. The end of the war in 1945 found the club shaky but still functioning. On most occasions, since nearly all the early members lived in the Knowle area of Bristol, trips were organised from the Stanburys' house in Redcatch Road; but on occasion, members would change at Maine's Barn at Priddy. It was these visits to 'The Barn' by some members of the B.E.C. which were mainly responsible for the dramatic growth of the club during the next two years from a handful of cavers to one of the major caving clubs of Mendip. Maine's Barn in 1945 was the home of a collection of cavers from a variety of sources. The only actual club represented was the Bridgwater Caving Club, who were in the main employees of the Puriton explosive factory. Don Coase was one of these. Another of the organised groups was a small band of ex-U.B.S.S. cavers who had found the Burrington hut too far from the caves of the Priddy area in those days of little, if any, personal transport. This group provided members like 'Sett', 'Postle' Tompsett, 'Pongo' Wallis and 'Alfie'.
29 As these cavers got to know each other, it became obvious that it would be a good thing if they all banded together into one club. The obvious choice was the B.C.C., but there were fears that this club would be disbanded as soon as the Puriton factory ran down on explosive manufacture. It was the few B.E.C. members who visited the barn - like, George Lucy - who provided an alternative club round which the inhabitants of the barn could rally and in the end, they all joined the B.E.C. This increase of membership was rapidly swollen by returning forces members, many of whom brought friends along with them. At about this time the Mendip Speleological Group were also absorbed into the B.E.C. and, by the end of 1946, membership had risen to 80 and the B.E.C. had become a major Mendip caving club. The need for a permanent Headquarters was now becoming of great importance and, accordingly, money was lent to the club by some members and a small wooden hut purchased. This was the original Belfry, which started life as a sports pavilion on Purdown in Bristol and was taken to pieces and erected by the club next to the small stone hut by the slag heap near the Shepton Headquarters. (This was, of course, long before the Shepton arrived on Mendip). On Saturday, 1st February 1947, Don Coase spent the first night under the club's own roof at the Belfry. Exact records have not been kept, but something approaching a total of 25,000 bed nights have been spent at Belfries by club members and guests since that date. January 1947, the first issue of the Belfry Bulletin was published - Edited by Dan Hasell. This number is 293, which seems to need no comment. With the possession of a hut, the club continued to attract more members. An active group from Nottingham University were amongst these. The club now began to play a part in the discovery of new caves on Mendip. In the summer of 1947 Stoke Lane Slocker was transformed into a large cave by the discovery of Browne's Passage by Pat Browne and the forcing of the sump by Don Coase, Pat Browne and 'Sett'. It is a sobering thought to realise that 'Sett' is the only living survivor of this trip. At about the same time, club members assisted the Browneâ€™s in digging out Browneâ€™s Hole and the nearby Withybrook Swallet was entered by the club. At about this time, the Bridgwater Caving Club was formally incorporated into the B.E.C. For many years after this, a B.C.C. membership card and key to Swildons used to hang in the old Belfry to commemorate this event. The significance of the Swildons key was that, in the days of Maine's Barn, the rest of us could only get down Swildons by courtesy of the B.C.C. who had an official key. By 1948, membership had risen to 98 and the club's activities grew in proportion. A survey of Stoke Lane was exhibited at a caving exhibition held in the Bristol Museum; the Clifton Caving Club were absorbed into the B.E.C.; a London Section of the B.E.C. was formed and a new loan amongst members resulted in a new and bigger hut being purchased. The old original Belfry was bodily moved; towed down the road and re-erected on the present site and the 'new' Belfry built nearby. This was the hut which was finally destroyed by fire. Meanwhile, the club's interests continued to expand an active Climbing Section spent most weekends in North Wales and elsewhere; the club supplied most of the Somerset Section of the Cave Diving Group, and club trips began to be organised to France and other European countries. By 1949, the membership had reached 120 and the meetings at Redcatch Road had begun to suffer from overcrowding. The idea of holding meetings on a Thursday was so that club members could organise the coming weekend's caving and climbing. A room was therefore hired at Redcliffe Church Hall, and remained for many years the focus of the club in Bristol. This year marked the end of the rapid post-war expansion of the club. From 1949 to 1961 membership remained virtually steady, dropping in most years by one or two until a low point of 110 members was reached in 1961. In 1950, the first annual dinner was held at the Hawthorns Hotel in Bristol. This year also saw a porch added to the 'new' Belfry by the Belfry Engineer Tony Johnson. In 1951, the club ran a stand in the 'Our Way of Life' exhibition in Bristol as part of the Festival of Britain arrangements. The stand aroused considerable interest. In this year, a number of changes were made in the way in which the club was run with the object of distributing the work of running the club amongst a greater number of people. The present system of club officers and the makeup of the club committee date from this time. In 1953, accommodation on Mendip was again improved by the addition of a six foot length to the Belfry.
30 This was used to enlarge the kitchen and the Women’s' Room. This year also saw the most important discovery which the club has yet made. By permission of Mr. T.C. Cunane, excavation was started in the depression near the Belfry and after a few months continuous work, a cave system was entered in the October of that year. St. Cuthbert’s is too well known to need any further description or comment. In 1953 and 1954, the club surveyed Redcliffe Caves in Bristol, presenting a copy of the survey to the city engineer. The work on this survey was written up and published as the first of the B.E.C. series of Caving Reports. Caving work of the time also included the opening of Hunters' Hole in 1954. During 1955, the land on which the Belfries stood came onto the market and was purchased by the club in 1956. The future of the Belfries had been worrying members ever since the Town & Country Planning Act had come into force but now that the land belonged to the club, all was well and the renovation of the 'new' Belfry was put in hand. Thus, during 1957, the Ladies' Room and the Men’s' Room were decorated and mains electricity connected to the Belfry. This year also marked the final demolition of the original Belfry, which had served the club so well, to make room for permanent stone building - the first permanent building to be erected by a caving club on Mendip. In this year, the B.B. first came out with a printed cover and the size was increased from four pages to six. On the caving front, the club assisted in the re-opening of Pen Park Hole in Bristol doing, in fact, about three quarters of the digging required to get in. After running one tourist trip, the club had to abandon its co-operation with the other societies involved owing to a disagreement with “the management”. This, however, was offset by the new discoveries in Cuthbert’s of The Maypole Series and the Rabbit Warren Extension. January 31st, 1958, Don Coase died after an operation. A simple plaque in Cuthbert’s was erected by the club as a permanent reminder of his work. On the Whit Monday of the same year, 'Herby' Balch died. He was an honorary member of the club and the father of caving on Mendip. Much work continued to be carried out in Cuthbert’s and on the Belfry. The new stone hut gradually grew and work was done Tankard hole and other smaller caves. Apart from this, 1960 saw no new activity of note - except possibly the claim that the Belfry was the only Mendip hut which never closed which accommodated more people than all the other caving huts combined - a state of affairs which will probably never occur again. Club ties and car badges were introduced at about this time. By 1961 the stone Belfry had been completed externally. The internal fitting out scheme involved the construction of a shower, but this never came to pass. The next few years, from 1962 to 1965, were marked by steady if unspectacular progress. Membership, for some inexplicable reason, rose steadily over this period from 110 in 1962 to 185 in 1965, at which value it again stayed steady. In 1963, a record number of bed-nights was reached at the Belfry - an impressive total of 1,861. It is very doubtful whether this will ever again be reached and if so, not by such a relatively small band of ‘regulars’. During this period of time, much work was put into the Belfry and this was balanced by a steady amount of new discovery in Cuthbert’s - a good example being that of the Coral Series. Members of the club took leading parts in inter-club activities in communications and surveying. A new entrance was made to Cuthbert’s to avoid past snags due to flooding of the entrance. Sad events of the time were the untimely deaths of Jack Waddon on a practise dive in Mineries and Ian Dear, who left a sum of money in his will for the use of younger members caving or climbing abroad. A feature of the B.B. over this period was the regular contributions by 'Stalagmite' whose identity became a favourite guessing game amongst members and the B.B's best kept secret. In 1966, Belfry charges, which had remained constant ever since the Belfry first opened in 1947 at 1/- per night and had done so in spite of inflation because of the sheer number of people staying there, were at last raised to 1/6. Some discussion as to where to site the proposed new toilets led to a few members suggesting that a long term plan for the Belfry site would be a good idea. A semi-official team of three men was set up and at the 1966 A.G.M. This body was enlarged and made official. Also in 1966 the club bought the barn which it later sold to the Shepton who have made it into their new permanent headquarters. A new survey of Cuthbert’s was started at this time.
31 In 1967 the idea of a definitive report on Cuthbert’s was conceived by Dave Irwin and planned as the most ambitious documentation of a Mendip cave ever attempted. Work on this report began as a 15 part publication A fund was started for a new permanent Belfry, and the Long Term Plan was passed by the 1967 A.G.M. This was started in 1968 by the cutting and opening of a new track for the local farmer. The early part of 1967 was marked by an outbreak of foot and mouth disease which led to the closure of most of the caves on Mendip. This lack of caving was made up for later in the year by the passing of the sump in Cuthbert’s and the opening of Cuthbert’s II. Publication of the Cuthbert’s report started this year and, at the A.G.M., it was announced that the fund for the building of a new Belfry now stood at £751. On the evening of Monday, 15th September 1969, some visitors who were staying at the Belfry returned from a visit to the Hunters to find the building in flames. The Belfry was a write-off, although the main shell remained intact. Within days, a special committee had sorted out the necessary admin and got an insurance claim filed with the insurance company. They also prepared a report for the A.G.M. which, luckily, was only a few weeks away. Meanwhile, other club members had tidied up the site and organised the Stone Belfry into a temporary headquarters complete with sleeping and cooking arrangements - thus gallantly maintaining the tradition of a Belfry which never closed. At the A.G.M., the fact that there was already in existence a cut-and-dried plan for rebuilding which had already been passed by all the relevant authorities enabled the club to swing straight into action without any delay. After the A.G.M. and dinner, a party was held in the ruins of the Belfry. On the 9th of May 1970 - two hundred and thirty six days after the fire - the present Belfry was ceremonially opened and the whole of the £3,000 or so which the building had cost was paid by the club without any from of help from any outside body whatsoever. Almost inevitably, after an effort of this magnitude a period of relative quiet followed in 1971, which brings us to the present day. This point in time, as your present club historian sees it, is likely to prove one of the more difficult in the club's history. We have got to learn how to and use our new headquarters properly: we have got to learn how to adapt to these times of rapid change; we may well have to adopt a more professional approach as befits our status as property owners. At the same time, we must somehow manage to preserve all that is best in our club - which, is in many ways unique. Luckily, there are signs that many club members - both on and off the present committee - are becoming aware of the situation and the need to find a formula which will enable the club to preserve its reputation for good fellowship and informality while at the same time running as an efficient organisation. Given the usual mixture of good luck and judgment which has brought us all the way from that small band of cavers who went down Goatchurch in 1935 to a body nearly two hundred strong whose assets run into thousands of pounds, we should be able to find our way once more round any snags which may arise - as we have done so often in the past. In this account, a few people's names have been mention from time to time. This should not be taken to mean that only those so listed have played exceptional parts in the formation and building up of the club. To list all those members who, through their hard work and enthusiasm have produced the club we have to-day would be an impossible task. Many more, who have played no direct part in the building and running of the club have nonetheless made equally important contributions in fostering the friendly atmosphere which has been so typical of the B.E.C. and which represents an asset as important if not more so than mere property or cash. All these people's names should, by rights, be included but to do so would involve a list of most of the 700 odd members and past members of the club. If we are to have a spokesman to represent this great crowd of friendly and likeable characters, I will let George Weston speak for them in the words which he wrote to win our first song competition and with which he so unerringly laid a finger on the pulse of the club. We are the B.E.C. And this we must confess Whatever is worth doing, we Will do it to excess. Providing that we continue to recognise what things are worth doing and to pursue them with the enthusiasm which more timid souls might regard as excess, we shall not go far wrong. _______________________________________________________________________________________
32 If any members have EMBASSY COUPONS or GREEN SHIELD STAMPS which they would be prepared to donate to the Belfry, they will be used to obtain CHARGERS for nife and oldham cells. Please give or send coupons and or stamps to the HUT WARDEN - JOCK ORR - at the Belfry.
Recent Caving on Mendip
…An up to date review of caving activities by Tim Large.
DISCOVERIES IN STOKE LANE SLOCKER During November 1971, the Avon Caving Group dug into a tight, aqueous series of passages leading from the stream inlet near Sand Chamber in Stoke II. The entrance was effected through a series of awkward ducks and followed along a narrow rift passage with more stream inlets and meanders in the typical Stoke Lane style. This passage is joined via a mud tube to another inlet running in a parallel direction. These passages are named Ward's Way and Bailey's Way after members of the digging team. The end of Bailey's Way is very near to the stony Crawl in Stoke I, and an oral connection has been proved. It is unlikely that it will ever be a bypass to sump I due to its tightness and the awkward ducks at the Stoke II end, which would probably make it worse than sump I. This, of course, would depend on the water level in the cave, but would in any case be undesirable from a preservation point of view.
HUNTING LODGE SLOCKER This shaft, in the Stoke Lane area, has been dug for the last two years by the West London Caving Club. When work began, the Shaft was only forty feet deep, the floor consisting of boulders and farmyard debris including horse and cow remains. The W.L.C.C. set about removing all the debris to the surface - some very large boulders caused numerous problems at times. The present depth is about sixty feet where the shaft is gradually narrowing. The two side rifts, Fusilier Rift and the one in the wall opposite, are now left high and dry as digging work continues - still downwards and over the whole shaft area. Not far away from this dig is East End Sink which flows to St. Dunstan's Well. Also the Upstream Series in Browne’s Hole - a foul place - (This was spelt 'fowl' in the MS, presumably no place to chicken out of - Ed.) leads in the direction of Hunting Lodge, being about four hundred feet away. Hopes are still high of a discovery and work continues. Editor's Note: Members may be interested to note that Browne’s' Hole was largely dug out with B.E.C. labour, under the direction of Les Browne. His son Pat, who was the discoverer of Browne’s Passage in Stoke Lane, was a B.E.C. member and he also discovered the Upstream Series in Browne’s' Hole up to the first chamber. After Pat's death, two B.E.C. members - John Bindon and Alfie - pushed the second drainpipe
34 and discovered the Condemned Cell. The idea by then was to establish the connection between Browne’s Hole and Hunting Lodge Swallet. They enlarged the second drainpipe and carried on beyond the Condemned Cell before retiring from the dig. Work was then carried on by Dave Mitchell - a member of the B.E.C. at the time who broke through into the further portion of the Upstream Series (Fred's Passage, The Parade, etc.) Later, as a member of the East Somerset Caving Group, they attacked the problem from the Hunting Lodge end. At that time, Hunting Lodge Swallet was full of rubbish almost to the top. They removed some forty feet of rubbish. The present team are therefore following a long tradition - and the best of luck to them. THE TUESDAY NIGHT DIGGING TEAM AND CUTHBERT’S II Since Sump I was safely opened with a good airspace during the winter of 1970/1971, work could begin on exploration projects in Cuthbert’s II. To begin with, Sump II was seriously attacked. To aid this, another two dams (would you believe - courtesy of 'Crange' ?) were built just upstream of Sump II. These are to facilitate bailing of the sump, which was accomplished several times, enabling the sump passage to be entered for about twenty to twenty five feet to a murky pool with a steeply dipping underwater passage partially blocked with boulders, gravel etc. This area was greatly enlarged, not without causing many and sometimes very hazardous problems. All went well during the drier months, but bailing became impossible during the winter and so work has been temporarily stopped. At one stage the team witnessed a strange happening. With the sump nearly bailed and no water running into it, the water level rose on one occasion nearly trapping Roy Bennett who was working at the end of the sump. Martin Webster has attempted to dive the underwater passage but found the entrance too tight due to boulders in the stream bed. Meantime, the height of the dams is being raised, which now means that a squeeze has to be negotiated over the top of the Gour Rift dam because it was built underneath a large jammed boulder - purposely, I might add. In the summer, another attack will be launched. One line of attack could be to drain the sump as far as possible, remove the boulders, and attempt another dive. Until work on the sump is resumed, the team has started another maypoling and climbing programme; systematically working upstream from just below the ten foot pot. So far three holes have been investigated, but did not yield anything. The system of working used is to climb where possible, or maypole to the roof level at selected sites and then traverse along the passage inspecting every possibility. At roof level, large quantities of mud have· been encountered, ranging from dry powder to thick glutinous accumulations which have made conditions difficult. Lumps of charcoal have been observed on the surface of mud banks at roof level up to sixty feet above the streambed. There are plenty of holes in the roof all along the II streamway and it is intended to work over its whole length. We are also improving maypoling techniques to enable us to rise to even greater heights! Anyone interested in joining us on Tuesday evenings is very welcome. The Cuthbert’s II streamway is well worth a visit. We meet at the Belfry at about 7 pm.
The book reviewed here is new addition to our library and may prove contentious. It is hoped that a further, review may be received for the B.B. stating the case somewhat differently
"QUARRYING IN SOMERSET” Somerset County Council (1971). Published by Somerset County Council. Price £5 plus post and packing from County Planning Department, Taunton. 349 pp. 66 plates. 28 maps. 23 figs. Some idea of the scope of this report may be gauged by the fact that the report is on A4 size paper and well over one inch thick. At the price quoted and bearing in mind that the edition is a limited one, it is doubtful whether more than a handful of copies will find their way into the personal libraries of cavers. As a library book, which will shortly become available to all members, it certainly deserves careful reading. The report is divided into seven main parts which are followed by a number of appendices which provide
35 more in the way of background to the main report. Together, they cover almost every aspect of the quarrying industry - its background; history; future prospects; geological importance; relationship to the rest of Southern England and relationship and conflict with other land uses. The final part of the report proper consists of the findings of the survey. Apart from the relationship between quarrying and caving, there is much of general interest in this report, whose text is liberally embellished with tables of statistics, diagrams, and maps. These range from the distribution of wind velocity and direction with season over Mendip to flow diagrams of a modern stone crushing plant. However, it is the relationship between quarrying and caving which will, no doubt, be of greatest interest to cavers, and it is in this respect that the views of individual cavers are likely to differ in their reactions to and interpretation of this report. The first thing which strikes one is that quarrying on Mendip is a large industry of national rather than regional importance and, as such, cannot be airily dismissed with a wave of the hand. On the other hand, caving views are well represented - indeed, it has been said that on looking at the bibliography at the end of the report, too great an emphasis might have been given to caving views. Certainly this bibliography contains a large proportion of caving authors, but when this is compared with the sources of information given as acknowledgements at the front (pages 5 and 6), it will be realised that the bulk of the information has been acquired from commercial and public sources. As far as conflicting interests are concerned, I personally feel that the report is as objective and free from any kind of hysteria as one could expect. Items of special pleading (which include caving interests) have been properly confined to the appendices whose contents are briefly summarised in part 6 - that part which deals with conflicting interests. The findings of the survey - in part 7 are presented with commendable brevity when one considers that they cover the entire scope of 230 pages of report and take just over one page to do it. A précis ratio of over 200:1 is not the easiest thing in the world to achieve! As an example of this, it is probably worthwhile quoting the paragraph of most interest to cavers in its entirety, as follows: ‘The conflicting interests are many and will have to be evaluated and the merits of some are such as could affect the continued expansion or the opening of new units within the production areas. Of the conflicting interests, it would appear that the conservation of water sources will take precedence over the quarrying interests - at least for the foreseeable future. In the Central and West Mendip production areas, amenity; recreational and scientific interests could outweigh the regional and national claims of the extractive industry. In the East Mendip production area there are fewer conflicting land interests.’ One is left with the general impression that quarrying is seen as an important industry and that the intention is to cater for its requirements wherever possible. The report, says, in effect, that while doing so, attention must be paid to other interests - including our own - and that a balance between the exploitation and preservation of the region must be achieved. The big question must be that of asking oneself how much weight the arguments in favour; of preservation will have in practice when weighed against the growing national demand for stone. The report lays down no rules here.
A Brief Review of the main activities of the club committee.
The March meeting of the committee dealt mainly with routine matters. The detailed investigation of the Belfry is well under way, and it was agreed to deal with this at some length at the April meeting. Joan Bennett, as club auditor, pointed out that if any changes to the Belfry required a lot of money, then the committee should refer this to the A.G.M. It transpired that the committee has no legally defined limit of expenditure but the chairman assured her that any scheme involving large amounts of money would in any case be referred to an A. G. M. for their approval or otherwise. _______________________________________________________________________________________ ‘MENDIP’S VANISHING GROTTOES’ is now on sale. It is hoped to include a review of this book in the next B.B. Meanwhile, the price as announced in last month’s B.B. is in error. The FULL price is 50p, but members will be able to obtain copies for 40p up till the end of May. Get in touch with DAVE IRWIN and secure your copy without delay! _______________________________________________________________________________________
36 Have you any club library books - or club tackle - or any thing belonging to the club in your possession? There are a few items missing. Have a good hunt round your shed or attic and send anything you might find to any committee member of the relevant club officer. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Spares for NIFE lamps and CARBIDE lamps are now available. These spares, particularly for carbide lamps, tend to be more difficult to come by as time goes on. Why not dig out your carbide lamps and give them a birthday? Even if you only use them during power cuts, a few spares could make all the difference. Spares are kept at the Belfry. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Read any good books lately? Why not send us in a REVIEW of any interesting caving, climbing, fell walking etc. books that you may have read and think would interest club members? _______________________________________________________________________________________ Notes from our Hon. Sec. - ALAN THOMAS. As you will have read in last month's B.B., the committee are going to look into the Dinner business in view of the dissatisfaction over last year's dinner and the fact that the pattern of club dinners seems to be changing. As Hon. Secretary, I get invited to a number of dinners, and I am being forced to the conclusion that dinners just ain't what they used to be. This year, the season opened as usual with the B.E.C. dinner which I have already said was a poor meal. The dinner was nonetheless enjoyable, but this is because the B.E.C. have a great capacity for enjoying themselves despite adversity. The committee expressed our disappointment to the restaurant and we have finally settled for a sum less than we were charged. The difference will be sufficient to provide a drop of free beer at the next one. Make a note by the way of the 7th October 1972 at the Cave Man. The agreed price seems good value indeed. I attended the W.S.G. dinner (which was £2) and the U.B.S.S. dinner (in the star at Wells for £1-70) so perhaps we need to rethink the price we now pay. The W.S.G. dinner coincided with a rescue, so that we dined at 9 pm and there was a superb Punch and Judy show at the U.B.S.S. dinner by Oliver Lloyd which he has promised to repeat for our next. The most important piece of information to my mind that comes with the M.R.O. report this year is that the police have taken out an insurance policy through the county treasurer to cover civilian personnel used on cave rescue work. It is therefore imperative that all rescues are reported to the police if there is any possible risk to life and limb. The police have to pay £2 per day in respect of every rescuer below ground and £1 per day for everyone above ground. After a rescue, therefore, we must inform them immediately of the people involved. The policy provides £10,000 for death; £5,000 for loss of one eye or limb; £30 per week for temporary disablement and £1,000 p.a. for permanent disablement. If anyone wants further details, I can provide them. There is no cover for such things as mileage expenses, loss of earnings etc. Editor's Note: Alan Thomas has just become an M.R.O. Warden and Tim Large a team leader.
Dates for your Diary Box Stone Mines. Leader, Jock Orr. Meet at the Belfry at 9.30 a.m. (Sunday). (Easter Saturday) Little Neath River Cave. Party will leave the Belfry at 9. a.m. Leader, Dave Irwin. Stoke Lane Slocker. Meet at the Belfry at 11 a.m. Leader Tom Gage. (Saturday) 8th APRIL Reservoir Hole. Meet at the Belfry at 10 a.m. Leader Dave Irwin. (Sunday). N.B.THIS 30th APRIL PARTY IS LIMITED TO FIVE. Sutherland. Caving, Climbing, Walking etc. Contact Jim Abbott at 34, Kirkgate, Shipley, Aug - SEP Yorks for further details. _______________________________________________________________________________________ 26th MARCH 1st APRIL
IAN DEAR MEMORIAL FUND MEETING
This was held at the Belfry on the 12th of December 1971. It was chaired by R.A. Setterington and the minutes taken by M.A. Palmer. N. Jago, R. Bagshaw and A. Thomas
37 were also at the meeting, whose purpose was to discuss the existing rules of the I.D.M.F. and how they could best be publicised. The meeting was reminded that IAN DEAR had bequeathed a sum of £300 to the club for the purpose of assisting young members to visit the continent to cave, climb anal visit places of interest. It was generally agreed that greater use should be made of the I.D.M.F., since it was felt that IAN's original intention was that the money should and would be spent fairly rapidly. To this end, the meeting agreed on a three point plan as follows: 1. Improve Publicity. 2. ALTER THE RULES 3. Foster more trips abroad. The improvements in publicity were covered, the meeting felt, by the insertion of more notices in the B.B.; by including more information in any club advertising and by supplying information about the I.D.M.F. with application for membership. Changes in the rules were agreed by the meeting, but will need to be covered by the next A.G.M., since the committee (who had the new rule changes submitted to them by the Ian Dear Memorial Committee ) ruled that the I.D.M.F. committee was a special committee rather than a sub-committee and was therefore responsible to the A.G.M. The changes proposed to the rules will be published in full in a later B.B. and this will give all club members roper chance to study them well before the A. G. M. In general, the changes in the rules are designed to let the I.D.M.F. adopt a more flexible attitude by relaxing the annual 'deadline' by which applications have to be in by relaxing the age qualification, subject to certain provisions. The maximum amount to be paid in any one year remains unaltered, but the maximum individual amount may be increased under the new rules at the discretion of the I.D.M.F. Committee. The meeting considered probable that some older club members would be prepared to foster younger members when making trips abroad, and felt that this should be encouraged. Any intending trips abroad by members prepared to carry out fostering should be publicised in the B.B. for the benefit of younger members. As already stated, the minutes of the meeting were submitted to the general committee and it was agreed by them to give this subject publicity in the B.B. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Tim Reynolds says in the latest Wessex Journal. ‘Don’t tell your troubles to your beer mug or a passing stalactite. It's unlikely that they will be able to do much for you.’ It's much more likely that something will be done if you WRITE TO THE B.B. ABOUT IT (Tim didn't say, that bit - I did.) It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to write a short note and put it in the post or the B.B. post box in the Belfry. Get YOUR views over to the club! The B.B. is YOUR magazine after all, why not use it? MONTHLY CROSSWORD – Number 20. Across: 1
1. Twit Sue for comfort underground. (7) 6. Everyone in Mud Hall. (3) 7. Step in Eastwater. (4) 8. Hole with sailors added is unaltered. (6) 10. Remove 7 down manually. (6) 12. Sore old Mendip product. (4) 14. Night before. (3) 15. A camera tripod does. (7) Down:
2. Above ground again on the blackboard. (1,1,1) 3. New metric units, five hundred and small bed for a Mendip cave. (6) 4. Often triggered off by itself beheaded. (4) 5. Stops rope slipping off pulley. (7) 7. Many chambers have these large stones. (7) 9. Cave type five with medicinal draught. (6) 11. Diving or climbing at no cost? (4) 13. Appropriate word for this position? (3)
Solution To Last Monthâ€™s Crossword N D
N R A
Published on Jan 6, 2010
In Committee Page 35 CLUB HEADQUARTERS ‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele: WELLS 72126 Dates for your Diary Page 36 List...