Page 1


Vol XXVI No.5

B 72 B


May 1972 No. 295


List of Club Officers

Page 51


Page 51

Letter to the Editor

Page 52

Member’s Addresses

Page 52

Geophysical Cave Prospecting .

Page 53

CLIMBING 1971 – 1972

Page 54

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, At the Belfry Page 57 Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269. Hon. Treasurer: R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, Some lesser Yorkshire Caves Page 58 Knowle, Bristol 4. Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626. Belfry Enquiry Page 60 Caving Sec: T.E. Large, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol. Monthly Crossword No.22 Page 62 Climbing Sec: N. Jago, 42 Mount Pleasant Terrace, Bedminster, Bristol 3. Any views expressed by any contributor to the Hut Warden: R. Orr. ‘The Belfry’, as above. Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the Hut Engineer: R. Hobbs, Rose Cottage, West End, club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the Nailsea, Bristol. Tele BRISTOL editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration 77368 Club, unless stated as being the view of the Tacklemaster: W. Cooper, 259 Wick Rd, Bristol committee or editor. BS4 4HE. Tel: BRISTOL 77368. B.B. Editor: S.J. Collins, Lavender Cottage, MENDIP RESCUE ORGANISATION Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol. Librarian: D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481. Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Publications: D.J. Irwin. Address as above B.B. Post: Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Dates for your Diary

Page 56

Editorial THE BELFRY In this B.B. you will find a few words written as a result of the recent Committee enquiry. Just how they strike you will depend on your personal attitude but, considering the relatively short time that the present Belfry has been in operation, the situation is no worse than might well have been expected and should give no cause for alarm. That the B.E.C. finds itself in a position where the Belfry cannot be its member’s own hut to the exclusion of all others; and that it must give priority over day and evening visitors to those who sleep there may strike some as a novel - even sinister - turn of events, but is this really so? It is certainly not novel. For

52 many years the club encouraged visiting cavers to stay at the Belfry and acquired many useful contacts as a result. Similarly, the 'regulars' evolved an image of life as it was then lived at the Belfry and took the view that if others did not like this, they could lump it. We both gained and lost people by this attitude. Whereas few people would like to see the B.E.C. turn into a dull; respectable; studious and narrow minded body, it must be admitted that attitudes change and that if the present one is towards more caving and away from singing and bottle walking, then that's how it is. Worse things could happen. UNSKILLED LABOUR As you will see, printing enables one to drop a greater variety of 'clangers' than does duplicating, and this B.B. could well serve as an example of what NOT to do. Have patience - we will get the hang of it! “Alfie” _______________________________________________________________________________________






Letterewe Wester Ross, Scotland 24.3.72

Dear Alfie The ripples and noises of dissention have spread even to our far-flung position in the B.E.C. empire and I would like to put the views of an exile if I may. My views on club politics are well known - but committees must be. That the B.E.C. committee through the years has been a successful one must be apparent from the history the club in the March B.B. I personally know about 70% of the present committee. I have stood before them for the odd bollocking and a thank you - the former well deserved and the latter gratefully received. Now these people have been elected time and time again - proving the club’s acceptance of their expertise. They may be getting a bit long in the tooth in the eyes of some of the younger and newer members but before one begins to criticise, look back at their record. I joined the B.E.C. in 1960 because the Belfry was a better place than Maine’s Barn. Over the years, my loyalty to and pride in the club have increased without my being really aware of it - and it would be a great pity if the club were to suffer from any form of dissention. My advice to dissenters is ‘Put up or shut up.’ Let them go into print (yes, print now in the B.B.) and let every one hear their point of view or, better still just shut up and leave it to the experts - for that is what our committee at present are. Yours Sincerely Steve Grime. _______________________________________________________________________________________

MEMBER’S ADDRESSES NEW MEMBERS 775/6 Mr & Mrs J. Upsall, 82 Eastlland Rd, Yeovil, Somerset. 777 J. Durston, Tolcarne, 90 Wells Rd, Glastonbury, Somerset 778/9 Mr & Mrs J. Calder, 14 Trinity St., Salisbury, Wilts. CHANGE OF ADDRESS T. Fletcher. 11 Cow Lane, Bradcote, Nottingham C.G. Howell, 131 Sandon Rd, Edgbaston, Birmingham. R. Toms, 22 Lancing gardens, Edmonton, London N9

PAID UP G.S. Watts, 100 Chesterfield Rd, St. Andrews, Bristol 6


Geophysical Cave Prospecting

A short account of the possibilities of various methods written for the B. B. by JOHN LETTEREN of M.N.R.C. & Wessex.

INTRODUCTION It has long been the dream of many cavers to construct a little black box to detect and locate caves. The great majority of known caves on Mendip occur on the Black Rock/Lower Limestone Shales boundary, and have been discovered by digging active or extinct swallet type entrances. A few large solutional cave systems, notably Lamb Leer and Pen Park have absolutely no surface features and were discovered (by mining operations) quite by chance. The discovery of Pen Park in the early days was, in fact, facilitated by a natural opening in the roof of the main chamber, but there are probably a considerable number which, like Lamb Leer, retain their secrecy. Other examples are Manor Farm Swallet whose roof collapsed in 1968; the larger caves of Fairy Cave quarry, which were broken into by quarrying and - if you believe in fairies - the gulf at Sandford Hill and Palmer's Chamber off Lamb Leer. DOWSING Until the physical principles of this method are understood it must be regarded as a black art. No significant caves have been discovered by this method. RESISTIVITY Various workers, notably the late Prof. Palmer, have measured earth resistance in an attempt to delineate caves. The method is extremely slow and tedious, as it is necessary to traverse the area not once but many times with different probe spacings to work to different depths. One worker in the U.S.S.R. has taken 20,000 readings in one area alone. Even then, there is a chance of detecting faults as the method is only capable of detecting surfaces, not volumes. Although various people have claimed success; few, if any large caves have been discovered (i.e. entered) using this method. SEISMOLOGY I spent three years working on explosion seismology. I received echoes from the region where Palmer’s Chamber should be, also from G.B. and some others. This method is even more prone to detecting surfaces and was deliberately shelved by myself for that reason in favour of gravitational methods. MICROWAVE THERMOMETRY As the earth loses heat at night, cavities near the surface act as insulators and prevent the earth's heat from reaching the surface thus giving rise to cool areas. However, the temperature differences are so small that a microwave thermometer is needed to measure the wavelength of the infra-red radiation. The Americans fly such instruments at night to detect old mine workings under highways etc. and they claim to detect not only the tunnels but even the pit props! Unless one of these is hi - jacked, it would appear to be beyond the Scope of a club project. GRAVIMETRY The earths force (or acceleration, if you insist) of gravity diminishes slightly over a cavity. The figure obtained from theory over Lamb Leer main chamber is a quarter of a part per million, or 0.25 milligal – a milligal being approximately a micro-g. One can purchase an instrument having an accuracy of 0.01 milligal, but before putting this to your committee, I should mention that such instruments cost about £3,500. Various types of gravimeter have been proposed. The one referred to above is the Worden. Others use variations of the Cavendish balance or clever overbalancing mass-spring systems (such as the von Thyssen). Bristol University and others have realised that electronic timers are now fast and accurate enough to time a falling mass to one part in ten million at least, but there are problems in determining the start and finish times to the required accuracy. I am myself working on a home made gravimeter but as it is just possible that the idea might be worth a patent, I won't discuss it here.

54 OTHER METHODS There are several other cave finding methods about, but I won't attempt to describe any more here. Ideas like putting down boreholes all over the place and lowering down miniature T.V. cameras I will leave for you to exploit if you so wish. ETHICS Is there a case for NOT using these methods? Are they, like poisoning foxes, basically unsporting? I do not think so. Any method, however effective, will only detect caves in certain environments and even then, the problem of breaking into the detected cave arises. The Palmer's Chamber dig has been going on steadily for generations, and had still a long way to go. However, a really effective instrument could reward its designer by finding at least one new, big, shining, unspoilt cave and - a part from Rhino - it is a long time since anyone has done so on Mendip. Editor's Note: This is a subject which does not get heard of for long intervals in the B.B., and it is interesting to learn that workers are still busy in this field of enquiry. Any comments from readers on either the scientific or ethical sides of this subject? _______________________________________________________________________________________

Climbing 1971 - 1972

Anan account of climbs and trips carried out by club members during the past twelve months by GERALD OATEN.

The passing of this Easter makes it a year since the B.E.C. climbers headed for 'Them thar hills' namely Glencoe, Scotland. (The account of this trip was published in a previous B.B.) On arrival. we had prepared for the worst, having aired our thick jumpers, over rousers and long johns. To our amazement, the sun beat down on us for six days. This made the gully climbs soft going, so the intrepid climbers made their way to Glen Etieve and the famous Trilleachan slabs. Nigel Jago and Derek Targett climbed Hammer, 500ft, and Spartan Slab - both V.S.'s. On returning, they said that it was some of the most enjoyable climbing they had done. On the last night of the stay, out luck changed. It rained and blew all night. Thus we beat a hasty retreat from Scotland. The next trip that members made was at Whitsun. This time, we migrated south to Cornwall. Early on the first morning Derek, Fred and Nigel descended Ash Can Gulley at Chair Ladder to climb Bishop's Rib (X.S. 190' ) while Peter Sutton and myself scrambled down the easier way and made our way at sea level to Central Route (V.S. 195'). On sighting the start of our climb some fifteen feet above us on a ledge, Pete made his way up the short vertical wall. Then it was my turn. I made the first two moves then it happened! my shoulder came out again. Pete's quick thinking saved me from falling into the 'Oggin. He made the rope fast and belayed me to it. Then off for help he went, leaving me alone. Although the tide was going out, the waves were sometimes crashing over me; making me wet and miserable. After what seemed an eternity, Pete returned with the boys and they decided to inform the coast guard at the top of the cliff. After about a quarter of an hour, the coastguard arrived - wearing a white shirt and tie and Wellingtons. (Presumably trousers as well? Ed.) He brought ropes and a rescue stretcher with him. The general idea was to haul me up the two hundred odd foot of cliff face on the stretcher. By this time we had quite an audience, plus a lot of help from nameless climbers. After a half-hearted attempt, they decided to abandon this method, making me think that they were going to leave me to the mercy of the sea. All of a sudden there was a mighty roar and a rush of hot down draught from a Royal Navy helicopter. The Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines had arrived! After some skilful manoeuvres by the pilot, I was winched up into the craft and whisked away to Penzance Hospital and those pretty Cornish nurses.

55 Derek and Nigel made ascents of Diocese (V.S. 205') and Little Brown Jug (V.S. 200') on the following days while the rest of the group tried to get a suntan on Sennen beach. After returning from Cornwall, some of the active climbers set about climbing some of the harder routes on the Avon Gorge. The four climbers who took part in these climbs were Peter Sutton; Roy Marshall; Nigel Jago and Derek Targett. They climbed in pairs. Limbo (X.S. 230') was climbed by Derek and Nigel. This is a fine route on Suspension Bridge Buttress. It takes a line just right of the arête. From the first belay you climb on ‘S’, all rounded pockets on a slightly overhanging wall, breaking out from this left on a hand traverse. At the end of this is a difficult mantelshelf, which I was sure Nigel was not going to make as he thrashed over it. The route then follows Hell Gates to the top. Earl of Perth (H.V.S. 210') is another route on the buttress and this also was climbed by Nigel and Derek. This takes the same stance as Limbo, but starts off to the right over the black bulge on the same sort of pockets as Limbo. After the first couple of moves you use a peg, then follow the grooves that tend to go right, finishing on the final wall of Hell Gates. Pete and Roy joined Nigel and Derek for the ascent of How Hard (H.V.S. 250'). Our four musketeers next tackled Clan Union (X.S.380i). Nigel and Derek were the leading pair. The first pitch is the same as Hell Gates, where you belay in the cave. If you get a chance to do either of these routes, there is a writing book in the cave with some interesting comments in it. This was first put there by (How's the climb going? Ed.) Drummond. From the cave, traverse left across the diedre by a series of bridging and hand traverses. The belay for this pitch is in a hairy position in slings. The route then follows the fault line ascending to the left for some hundred feet. This involves some difficult hand traverses. By this time Pete and Roy were on the second pitch with Pete in the lead. Roy came across the diedre in spectacular form with a series of back ropes for protection and he ended up spread-eagled on the diedre. The last pitch is the same as for Limbo. After doing this route, Derek and Nigel decided to try Last Slip (X.S. 130'). The first pitch of this is made by fingery lay backs that prove to be very strenuous. In the following weekends they did this pitch so often that they could have done it blindfolded. The second pitch of the climb takes a clean cut groove with a bolt for protection nearly at the base. Nigel, who was leading, made it to the bolt and a little above, then he came to a halt. The moves to make are a series of bridging and backing up or that's what it says in the guidebook. Barrie and I were prussiking up the climb taking photographs and uttering words of encouragement. The reply we received was “Go follow the sun!” After several attempts at the climb, they gave it up as a bad Job. The last hard route done was Spinor (X.S.130'). It is a very strenuous climb on red overhanging wall in the Amphitheatre. If anybody would like to look at some black and white photos of these routes, contact the Climbing Secretary. One Monday afternoon in August saw ten members on a ferry in the middle of the English Channel on their way to the Alps. The transport we had was a twelve seater van that was very much overloaded with climbing and camping gear for eighteen days. With so many navigators in the van, we found ourselves somehow in the middle of the Paris fruit market but eventually we managed to get on the right auto route that took us deeper into France and the Alps. After eighteen hours driving and after many wrong turns and traffic jams, we arrived in Chamonix just as a heavy rainstorm started. We had arranged to meet Bob and Lyn White and also Bob Sell in the Bar National, where we all had a long awaited and well deserved beer. We managed to pitch camp on the same site as the others. With gear strewn all over our camp, we were the spectacle of the site, with the French walking past and muttering words that sounded like 'Mad Anglais.' Nigel and Fred set off to climb Mont Blanc (15,772 ft) by crossing the Bosson Glacier and staying at an alpine hut. At this height, they both suffered a bit and so decided not to go on. Barrie, Derek and Bob Sell did not know this, and they set off to cross the glacier at a narrower point to meet up with the other two. It must have been very funny to see these three slogging up the path with ice axes, crampons, heavy boots and pack and being overtaken by old women carrying handbags and wearing shoes. On reaching the edge of the glacier they were so tired that they decided to come back down.

56 After our stay at Chamonix, we moved on to Interlaken in Switzerland. This time the camp was quite good. It had an English style bog! From the site you could across and see the north face of the Eiger in the distance (13,026ft) and the Monch (13,449ft). To see the sun setting on these mountains was, I think, the most beautiful sight of the entire trip. Bob Sell was the only person in the group that did any climbing. He set off one day with a friend to reach the summit of the Eiger by its west flank. While he was doing this, the rest of us set about sightseeing and put in some strenuous drinking (it was a long way to go for a booze up!) Our trips included a drive to Trummelbach where there is a large waterfall which cascades from the middle of a cliff face. For a small fee you can go up in a lift and see the water crashing along its course. A lot of the time was spent on the grassy banks of one of the lakes sunbathing. On one occasion while the rest sunbathed, five of us went to a place called Kleine Scheidegg (6,762ft). There are a couple of hotels here at the base of the Jungfrau and from there, there are two ways up. Walking, or catching the mountain railway. We took the latter. On reaching Kleine Scheidegg we sat on the grass and ate a watermelon we had bought. After this, we walked 'the couple of miles to the famous town of Gundelwald and had a look around while waiting for our lift back. After the long journey outwards, we decided to make the return journey include an overnight stop. This turned, out to be in a little sleepy village just outside Dijon and here we spent a pleasant evening drinking in the bars with the locals. We made an early start in the morning, getting to Le Havre at about 7 pm and managing to get on the 10.30 ferry. On arriving at Southampton we nearly had to push the van off because it would not start. Since our return, the climbing section has not been very active but now, with the lighter nights coming, I am sure that our members will be climbing with renewed vigour after their long rest through the winter months. _______________________________________________________________________________________

DATES for your


The second B.E.C. Course Cave Surveying is being held on consecutive Saturday evenings at the Belfry from 7.30 to 8.30 pm


Dates and subjects as follows: General Introduction (Aims of a survey. What the surveyor should be asking himself, etc.) The Line Survey. (Including calibration etc.) Saturday, 10th June. Traverse Closures. Saturday, 17th June. Detail and Survey Presentation. Saturday, 24th June. Survey Drawing. Saturday, 1st July. SUNDAY 9TH JULY PRACTICAL SURVEYING IN THE FLUE TUNNELS. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Saturday, 3rd June.

Bred any good Rooks lately? - sorry, Read any good books? If so, and the book is of interest to cavers, climbers etc. Why not write a book review for the B.B.? Any length from a short paragraph will be useful! Have a go! Have you bought your copy of MENDIP’S VANISHING GROTTOES yet? Copies are running out fairly rapidly and - like the caves they so vividly illustrate - may soon disappear. Get your copy before this happens - at the Belfry or from Dave Irwin.


At the Belfry

A periodical review or the Belfry scene by the Hut Warden, JOCK ORR.

Let's start off with caving. Things are improving. Some of the names appearing in the Belfry hut fee book also appear in the caving logs. Early morning trips on Sundays are well supported with people getting up after a reasonable night's sleep; cooking their breakfasts and carrying on with the day's activities. Hung-over festerers emerging at 11 am snarling and snapping at the cooking fumes are no longer part of the accepted scene, but have become somewhat of a novelty and are regarded as social pests. Recent visiting clubs at the Belfry include the Bradford Pothole Club over Easter who, after an enjoyable Mendip weekend underground, interspersed with suitable periods for refreshment, eventually flaked out on Monday in Goatchurch. Representatives of several university, scout leaders clubs and polytechnics put in appearances prior to Easter and filled the place to capacity. And - a new development - Box Stone Mine has suddenly become a popular tourist attraction. What about digging? There are three probes going on at the moment and Cuthbert’s is due for another all-out shift system attack on sump II sometime in the summer. Our Caving Secretary is looking very happy as a result! Over the weekend of 7-9th April, Hut Engineer Rodney Hobbs sniffed out a ruptured 'T' junction in the main water feed pipe running underneath a corner of the Belfry foundation raft - after the Water Board had detected thousands of gallons of water disappearing somewhere between the road and the building. Directing operations with professional aplomb, Rod set his squad to digging trenches and expose the elusive pipe. A passing J.C.B. excavator was hired the spot and the new pipe was trenched; laid and reconnected by Messrs Gander and Prewer in the space of an afternoon whilst the committee was in session on the enquiry into the financing and running of the Belfry. I must say I am impressed by the general tidiness of the Belfry recently and the clearing up of various piles of rubbish around the site. Although there has been a slight decrease in the number of people staying, those who do are taking an obvious interest in operating the place as a caving headquarters with less accent on - to put it bluntly - a doss house for inebriated layabouts who have no intention of going anywhere further than the nearest pub. From what I have heard at Committee meetings, there is every indication that this is going to be a busy year. A particular club officer commented during the last meeting “Some club members think the committee is out of touch with the club requirements. In actual fact, some club members are not only out of touch with the committee but with the club itself!" I would agree. The individual who bleats and blahs about how he would run the club is way out on a limb - in the moonshine - by himself. Norman Petty is putting on a very interesting slide show on the second weekend in May. It is all about the old Belfry. Some of the slides are really historic. Saturday night after the pub. The club library is now operational, and you can now obtain lighting spares, club ties and badges and also publications at the Belfry. Dave Irwin and his crew are digging Gour Rift down Cuthbert’s sharp at 9.30 every Sunday morning, so come along and give a hand - or join the Tuesday Night Diggers if you can’t make it on a Sunday. If you're not caving, there are several maintenance jobs awaiting people with willing hands. Come and help us to take a pride in the Belfry and continue the good work and traditions of the club. ‘Jock’


Some lesser Yorkshire Caves

For those Mendip cavers who fear that all pots in Yorkshire consist of hairy great pitches, this article by DEREK SANDERSON should provide encouragement!

Most Somerset cavers, when they venture north tend, for one reason or another, to head for the deeper super-severe caves and pots. Yet this may not always be possible. A few weeks ago, three Mendip cavers found themselves in the Pennines in something of a predicament. Keith Sanderson (W.C.C.) and Derek Sanderson (B.E.C.) had sprained wrists, while Roger Wing (B.E.C.) was still suffering from the after effects of a broken leg. Thus, the more difficult pots were out. However, the following trips were made:SUNSET HOLE SD 742 759 Length 2180' + Depth 120' M.P. Situated on the NW slopes of Ingleborough-Simonds Fell, about a quarter of a mile NE from the slit entrance of Meregill Hole, where stream sinks in a shakehole. The stream passage is about two to three feet wide and formed as a rift. The rocks are brownish and well scalloped. There had been considerable rainfall during the previous days and the water level was high. In several places the current was too strong to walk in. The stream passage winds for about a quarter of a mile uninterrupted. There are a few formations, but they not impressive - except perhaps a stalagmite boss on the right which is stained dark red. After a quarter of a mile, the first pot is reached. This only eight feet and can be free-climbed by traversing over the pot to the left, chimneying down a rift covered by yellow flowstone and dropping the last few feet back into the streamway. A short distance and the stream drops over a few short steps and falls into the next pot of ten feet. Under normal conditions this pot would be free climbable, but as it was, the stream would have swept us off and barred our return. We used a 120’ handline belayed double to a calcite column high on the right about 25’ back from the lip. This made the descent invigorating but not dangerous. After about three hundred feet of narrow passage, the stream drops over the third pot of twenty feet. This is passed by traversing over it into a narrow rift with wedged boulders as a false floor. A squeeze through the boulders and a climb down a sharp flake of rock leads into a final chamber with a sixty foot drop into the final chamber. The stream drops to the right and emerges into the final chamber as a forty foot waterfall. We didn’t tackle the final pitch (I’m not doing sixty foot pitches without a lifeline for anybody!) We took an hour and a quarter, though some time was wasted retrieving a length of ladder which was swept away by the stream at the ten foot pot. There is a well-decorated extension to the cave, but we missed it - though a small passage does lead off to the right above the twenty foot pot. Perhaps this leads to it.

MID WASHFORD -.GREAT DOOK CAVE. Through trip. SD 764 747. 770. Length about ½ mile. M.C. There appears to be about three entrances at the Mid Washfold end, situated about half a mile NE of Sunset Hole around a sheepfold. The wet entrance is behind the sheepfold, but was impassable. A second wet entrance is seen where a stream sinks in the limestone pavement twenty yards to the south. We descended a dry entrance amongst the clints between the sheepfold and the footpath. :. A narrow passage leads in for a short distance until a low tunnel turns off to the right. A crawl over pebbles for about twenty yards leads to a flat out bedding plane crawl for a few feet until a hole downwards of three feet leads to flowing water. Descending the hole is awkward. Below is a second bedding plane about 1' 9" wide with, on this occasion, a foot of water in it. After crawling downstream for about thirty feet, a considerable volume of water enters from the right (wet entrance) and a further forty five feet leads to a junction with more water entering from the left. From this point, the roof rises and one is in the upper reaches of Great Douk Cave.

59 Great Douk is straightforward - walking practically the way. The passage varies from a typically northern crawl to a high rift passage. In some parts the water reaches waist deep, at one point it races crystal clear along a smooth-washed floor in a high, scalloped rift barely two feet wide. Eventually one passes under Little Douk Pot, a fifty foot shaft from the surface, and into a large passage which leads to the wide entrance of Great Douk Cave, where the stream flows over a ten foot waterfall.

CALF HOLES - BROWNHILL CAVE through trip. Birkwith area. SD 804 775 / 801 778 2,000' M.P. Three hundred and fifty yards NNE of Old Ing Farm, where a stream drops impressively into a thirty five foot shaft. Ladder the shaft through an eyehole on the left for a dry descent. The ladder pitch is straightforward. We didn't find this cave as impressive as David Heap would have one believe from 'Potholing beneath the Northern Pennines', though it is still worth a visit. An upstream passage leads for about 750' to a chamber which contains a thirty foot waterfall. This passage consists mostly of a bedding plane with a gully cut in to it on the right by the small stream. There are many interesting though small formations on the left of the stream. The final section of passage is a flat out crawl. Downstream from the Calf Holes entrance, the passage is large and for the first seven hundred feet reminiscent of the London underground (and almost as crowded!) Eventually, the stream sinks under the left hand wall and, a hundred feet on where the roof begins to get uncomfortably low, a small tube leads off to the left. This links Calf Holes to Browgill Cave, and is known as Hainsworth's Passage. It is the best part of the whole system. The rock is light grey and rubbed smooth and shiny. The tube deescends for a short distance and an awkward drop of three feet leads to a cramped chamber. From here, a delightfully smooth solutional passage leads back to the stream which flows in a surprisingly clean large tube-like passage. Soon, the stream drops over a twenty foot waterfall, but dry solutional tubes on the right lead to Staircase Bypass which drops down to a narrow rift. Left leads to the foot of the waterfall whilst right leads over boulders for a hundred feet until the streamway is regained and easy walking leads to the entrance at Browgill. We took an hour and a half over this one, but Roger was suffering a bit. DISMAL HILL CAVE. Birkwith area. SD 805 768 Length 450’ Depth 40’ V.D.C. Situated to the south of Dismal Hill, about a third of a mile due south of Old Ing Farm, in a small dry valley halfway between the wall and t he scar. The entrance consists of a horizontal letterbox in clean grey rock about eighteen inches high. A flat out crawl leads for twelve feet. From here, a chimney drops fifteen feet to a ledge. Three feet to the right, a second descent of twenty feet leads into a rift. The descents can be free climbed, but we used a handline belayed to an obvious flake of rock outside the cave. To the right, the rift is blocked at high level by pale yellow calcite on the right hand wall, but crawling underneath a pebble floor for about fifteen feet leads to an awkward twisting scramble over a sharp flake of rock to a wider part of the rift. Straight on is a small chamber containing rotted calcite on the floor. However, just after the flake of rock at floor level, a clean layer of grey rock leads under the left hand wall. This is the start of a tight bedding plane crawl of about seventy feet. At a number of places in the crawl the head has to be turned on its side owing to lack of space. One can easily become stuck if one fails to follow the slight winding groove which takes a trickle of water. Midway is a constriction in the form of an ‘S’ bend formed by blocks of false floor in the bedding plane. The whole crawl is difficult but challenging. From the crawl, one emerges into a stream passage running from left to right. It is dead straight at this point, three to four feet wide and p1easantly scalloped. The stream is swift flowing. I was the only one to pass the crawl and I didn't explore the streamway which felt somewhat remote. This cave is worth a visit.

60 OLD ING CAVE SD 806 768 Length 1350’ D.C. Situated in the same are as Dismal Hill cave~ on other side of a ruined sheepfold in a shakehole where a stream flows into a rift passage. There is nothing complicated about this cave. Its main attraction is the sculptured stream passage which winds for a considerable distance until a waist deep canal is reached which ends in a scummy sump. About halfway the stream flows through a series of circular rock ribs as if it were flowing through hoops about six feet in diameter set two to three feet apart with deep pools in between. At the first right hand bend a tributary passage enters on the left. A traverse at high level along this leads to the tributary stream which can be followed upstream to a canal five to six feet deep and three feet wide with a low duck at the end. This duck was first by passed by A. Gemmel ('Underground Adventures'). After the duck, the passage forks. To the right the passage looks dusty and uncomfortable. To the left the stream can be followed until a flooded cross rift halts progress. This rift is over six feet deep and must be near the surface of the moor. Old Ing Cave is a pleasant, friendly cave and barely deserves its 'difficult' grading. _______________________________________________________________________________________ The Belfry is the largest asset of our club and one towards which many have contributed to an extent far in excess of their normal subscriptions. The running, maintenance and use of the Belfry is thus a subject of great importance. The 1971-72 Committee have recognised this and, as a result of a suggestion from the chairman has recently conducted an enquiry on all aspects of Belfry running and use. The purpose of these notes is to give members some idea of what resulted.

Belfry Enquiry


The first thing to emerge was that the new Belfry costs a lot more to run than the old one did. Insurance and rates are very much higher. It costs more to heat. This latter might well be made more efficient but even so, the building is bigger and inadequate heating is going to cost the club money in repairing damage due to damp. An estimate of running costs suggests a figure of £210 p.a. or about £4 per week. It is possible to nitpick a little about this total~ but not much. Still, a high running cost is not the end of the world if it is matched by revenue. Well, is it? The committee found that in the first full year of operation the revenue was £278 and the estimate for this year is £234. Obviously it is paying, but is the drop in revenue any cause for alarm? If it were to fall much further, the Belfry would no longer pay. Luckily, the position is brighter. Dave Irwin's very detailed analysis showed that the drop is due to members - guests stay at a constant level - and that the drop in members is only a seasonal one; falling over the summer months. This can be explained by the fact that fewer members are spending parts of their summer holidays at the Belfry. Thus, provided we do nothing to make the present situation any worse, the Belfry looks as if it will continue to pay for itself. Not entirely, however. So far, only running costs have been considered. It was generally agreed that something like £50 per year should be allowed against small maintenance costs (and fifty pounds doesn't go very far to-day!) On this basis, the Belfry is losing money. Even this does not take into account any money which ought to be set aside for later and bigger repairs or for capital improvements - so we can put away any flags which we might have thought of waving. Thus, unless things alter, the committee will have to dip into general club monies for anything the Belfry might need. But general club monies already have a lot to do. More Belfry expenditure could well mean less tackle or less B.B. for instance. What about publications? In the last B.B. it was stated that these now handle more money than does the Belfry. Maybe, but they don’t make a large profit. The committee have now to examine ALL club spending. It is, however, very unlikely that a continual drain on general club funds could be permitted as a method of financing the Belfry. Even so, there is no need yet for alarm and the committee sees no need for any special measures to be taken. It is merely a situation which needs careful watching. It is still early days, and it is possible that a natural balance may yet arrive. As a first step towards helping such a balance to occur, the committee

61 considered the amenities of the Belfry and have asked for schemes to be prepared for improving the size and accommodation for the Ladies Room; improving the heating arrangements; and improving the showers and toilets. If these can be done at reasonable cost, they will be put in hand. They then went on to discuss the use of the Belfry, and here the subject becomes more contentious. Even so, the facts tend to act as clear signposts. For instance, some felt that the proportion of guests was too high – but the fact remains that if there were no guests, then every single club member would have to pay an additional pound a year (including all life members!) merely to keep the Belfry afloat. So the Belfry, at present, cannot cater exclusively for club members. Neither can it afford to cater for club members who do not contribute directly to its funds, if any such catering means a reduction in those who do. It must be a case of 'He who pays the piper calls the tune'. Of course, many members have paid a considerable personal sum towards building the new Belfry, and these people ought to be able to enjoys its use. Social events, slide shows and lectures bring a variety of club members together and where else but at the club headquarters? This is obviously true, but it must be remembered that if any such events dissuade people from staying at the Belfry it become very difficult to justify them. To provide a financial voice which would demand a hearing, evening or day use of the Belfry would have to bring in about £10 a month, and no scheme so far gets anywhere near this. It goes without saying that the committee will welcome and examine very carefully any suggestions from members on this subject. The committee, on the other hand, cannot gamble with club finances and schemes which say in effect “Spend out THIS much - or take the risk of losing THAT amount of revenue and you MIGHT make an overall improvement EVENTUALLY” must be looked at with extreme caution. Editor's Note: The Editor would welcome any comments on the subject of running; improving; maintaining; costing or any other aspect of Belfry affairs. _______________________________________________________________________________________

Solution To Last Month’s Crossword S











































62 MONTHLY CROSSWORD – Number 22. Across: 1




5 6



1. Rock is this the caver underground. (5) 5. Can describe water or cave floor. (4) 6. Iron this makes ruddy stal! (5) 9. Climbing aid in pot? (5) 11. Backward skin blemishes can embellish cave. (5) 12. Blinded warriors home this on Mendip. (4) 13. Mendip Hole. (5) Down:

9 10 11

12 13

2. Cave dweller stab in back? (4) 3. Large type of this in Cuthbert’s and small in Goatchurch? (5) 4. Mendip Hill in Ordnance Survey provides new cave. ,5) 7. Stone used differently in survey work. (5) 8. Stream goes loud, deep and south. (5) 9. Sailing boat going backwards for cave waters. (5) 10. Evacuate. Halve and reverse underground. (4)

Belfry Bulletin Number 295  

Belfry Enquiry Page 60 CLUB HEADQUARTERS ‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tele: WELLS 72126 Dates for your Diary Page 56 Me...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you