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BB

Editorial DILEMMA

QUODCUMQUE FACIENDUM : NIMIS FACIEMUS

Our esteemed Hon. Sec. puts his finger on a weakness in the system we use to determine who does what on the club committee. In his secretarial THE BELFRY BULLETIN column this month, he suggests that comments would be useful, so here is the editor's comment VOLUME XXX1 JULY which is not, repeat NOT the official view of the NUMBER 7 1977 committee but merely the editor's opinion as a club No 351 member. Since we have had no election for two years, and thus many of our current members have CONTENTS never voted, I feel that Mike's point is of importance Page 51 List of Club Officers this year. Page 51 Contents, Editorial Page 53 Growth of the B.E.C. At one time, when the club was much smaller, all the Page 54 Secretarial officers were elected by show of hands, one at a Page 55 Snow & Ice in North Wales time, at the A.G.M. Later, when we decided to allow Page 56 The 1977 Annual Dinner members to vote by post if they wished, it was Page 57 Fifth Column thought to be too complicated to elect each officer Page 58 Monthly Crossword No. 76 because of all the possible permutations ("I would like A to be Hut Warden, rather than B, but if B gets The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry elected, then I would like A to be Caving Sec. On Bulletin, including those of club officers, are not the other hand if C gets to be Caving Sec, then …" necessarily the views of the committee of the Bristol and so on.) So we adopted a system where we Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated. The elected nine blokes to run the club and left them to Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy of sort it all out. Even more recently, we have gone in information contained in the contributed matter, as it for a secret ballot amongst members of the newlycannot normally be checked in the time at his elected committee to avoid any embarrassment disposal. during the voting. All of this sounds fine BUT, as Mike points out, there are snags. CLUB HEADQUARTERS The Belfry, Wells Rd, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Telephone WELLS 72126 CLUB COMMITTEE Chairman Minutes Sec Members

S.J. Collins M. Wheadon C. Batstone, P. Christie, J. Dukes, R. Jenkins T. Large, Barry Wilton, G. Wilton-Jones.

OFFICERS OF THE CLUB Honorary Secretary Honorary Treasurer Caving Secretary Climbing Secretary Hut Warden Belfry Engineer Tacklemaster B.B. Editor Publications Editor B.B. Postal

M. WHEADON, 91 The Oval, Englishcoombe, Bath. Tel : BATH 713646 B. WILTON, ‘Valley View’, Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol. Tele : TEMPLE CLOUD 52072 TIM LARGE, 15 Kippax Avenue, Wells, Somerset R. JENKINS, 10 Amberley Close, Downend, Bristol. C. BATSTONE, 8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath. J. DUKES, 4 Springfield Crescent, Southampton. SO1 6LE Tele : (0703) 774649 G. WILTON-JONES, ‘Ilenea’, Stonefield Road. Nap Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks. Tele : (024) 024 3534 S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishops Sutton, Bristol. Tel : Chew Magna 2915 C. HOWELL, 131 Sandon Road, Edgebaston, Birmingham 17. Tele : (021) 429 5549 BRENDA WILTON Address as for Barry


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Many people, for instance, hold the view that if a man is elected to the committee, he should be prepared to take any job he is offered. In practice, this is not so and Mike is by no means alone when he points out that he wishes to take on no other job than that of Hon. Sec. He suggests that Barrie feels the same about being Hon. Treasurer and I might add that I cannot nowadays see myself doing anything other than my present jobs. I should not be at all surprised if there are not other members of the present committee who hold similar views. Thus, in practice, voting for some people is mainly done on the understanding that they will do certain jobs when elected - whatever the club's system might imply. To my mind, even worse trouble occurs when somebody gets elected to the committee who, through no fault of his own, upsets what would otherwise be a natural choice of jobs for people. When this happens, other members of the committee are then left with no job to do. This is not just a theory, for I found myself in exactly this position after being elected to the committee in the election of October 1967, when I came third in the poll and finished up five minutes after the start of the first committee meeting with nothing whatever to do. As a result, I did not seek re-election in 1968. I am not, of course, claiming that this did the club any harm, but there could well be times when considerable harm might be done. For instance, a man could be doing a particular job pretty well, but the committee might elect another on the basis that they thought he could do the job even better. The first man (I ought to add that wherever I have written 'man' it implies 'person') might not feel able to take on anything else, and might resign or not bother to stand next year. The second man might not be able to stand again, and the result would be the loss of a good club officer. Thus, I feel that members, when voting, should consider who is likely to be asked to do each of the main jobs, and what will probably happen if there are two natural contenders for anyone job. The result might well be a committee having people in it who have come high up in the voting only to find themselves redundant. In this case, the committee may well be forced to co-opt straight away. If a person is so co-opted who has just lost out in the election, the committee might well feel that they have gone against the wishes of the club - yet what else can they do? As I see it voters must consider this point in particular, when they choose who is to be on the club committee. RAISING THE TONE Both readers who do the Monthly Crossword will be pleased to see that this month's crossword is much better than usual. Many thanks to Margaret Innes (Angus’s wife) for having sent in a crossword which not only fits the current series, but is much better composed than is my usual rubbish. ANNUAL DINNER A full-page advert for the dinner will be found in this B.B. It only remains to add that the A.G.M. will be held at the Belfry, starting at 10.30 (I presume, unless you hear to the contrary) and that as many members as possible are urged to attend. Mike tells me that this year it will be run strictly according to the book (which means that I don't have to write the minutes, thank God) and that he will be formally handing over the meeting to the Chairman when elected who, according to tradition, will later act as M.C. at the dinner.


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THE GROWTH OF THE B.E.C.

The third part of a series in which the membership figures for the B.E.C. over the years are examined to see if any conclusions can be drawn from them, and if it will be possible to see why the club has had periods of prosperity and periods - like the one in this article of relative decline. PART THREE – BAD PATCH……(1951 to 1957)

Our last article left the club with its membership way up above the predicted value. The impetus, it is true, was beginning to slow up, but there appeared to be nothing to worry about. This month's graph is, however, a sorry-looking object. In contrast with the expansion shown in last month's article, the club actually and steadily - DECREASED in size from 1951 to 1957. At the start of this bad patch, the club had 131 members, which put it at 12 above the predicted level, while at the end of the bad patch, it had sunk to 117 - or 27 members short of those predicted. Now, it is important to realise that the figures can show why this happened in terms of how many people joined the club, and how quickly or slowly they dropped away again. What the figures cannot do is to tell us WHY. That is something we have to make our own intelligent guesses about. During the expansions of 1946 and of 1948/9, it was not difficult to see the cause. The decline of the club from 1951 to 1957 is much more difficult to pinpoint to any cause. The figures show that we cannot blame the decline on the effect of the 1948 batch (which was disappearing rapidly) because this effect was near enough balanced by the 1946 group (which was hanging on despite everything) and these two effects cancel each other out. Equally, the decline cannot be blamed on the lack of new members (who were arriving in average quantity throughout the period of decline). The decrease in membership was simply due to the fact that greater than average losses occurred in nearly every batch. In other words, members suddenly began to leave the club earlier than one might expect, and this did not depend on how long they had been members. For some reason, the club had stopped keeping its members happy - old and young alike. In 1953, the club discovered a major Mendip cave right on its own doorstep AND negotiated an access agreement which, in those days, virtually meant that any caver 'who wanted to explore Cuthbert’s regularly had to be a member of B.E.C. One might reasonably expect that this would have given membership a boost, but IT HAD NOT THE SLIGHTEST EFFECT. Indeed, the year following the discovery of Cuthbert’s was the worst of the whole period. What happened in 1951, which suddenly caused members to be dissatisfied with the club? Why did this even more dramatically stop happening in 1957? External events nave been looked at, but nothing appears to fit these dates. At the end of this series, a theory will be advanced to explain all this, but in the mean time, readers may like to speculate - in the B.B. if they wish - on what factor or factors could have caused the bad patch, which ended so suddenly in 1957.


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SECRETARIAL It is to be hoped that we are now over our BB production troubles and it will be possible to produce a regular secretarial feature carrying current information. News on the membership front includes: The return of Bob Cross (680) both to renewal of membership and to Mendip Area. His address is, once again, 42 Bayham Road, Knowle, Bristol BS4 2DR. Then there is the Palmers - Mike moved his address some time ago and each time I remembered that I’d not published it, it was too late for inclusion anyway, you can find him at Laurel Farm Yarley Hill, Yarley, Wells - tele Wells 74693. New Members - Some of these new members now seem like old members so I might have included their names and addresses previously. If I have, here they are again and if not -then my apologies for the delay. 912 J.E.K. Turner Orchard Cottage, 92 Church Lane, Backwell, Avon BS19 3JW 913 K.S. Baker 36 Northumberland Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 7BD. 914 B.J. Workman Moreland, 11 Bath New Road, Radstock, Avon. 915 C.M. Smart 15 Timor Close, Popley Islands, Basingstoke. 916 J. Wilson 6 Sparrow Farm Road, Stoneleigh, Epsom, Surrey KT17 2JL. 917 B. Hervin 75A Murhill, Limpley Stoke, Nr Bath. 918 R.H. Round 131 Middleton Road, Banbury, Oxon. 919 T.L. Temple 2 Larch Close, Lee-on-Solent, Hants. 920 N. Holstead 75A Murhill, Limpley Stoke, Nr Bath 921 P. Rose 2 The Beacon Ilminster. (tel 2612). The AGM will be upon us in a few months and I would like to take this opportunity to remind all members (just in case the BB should drift again) that nominations for candidates for the committee are needed to be received by at least the end of August. The club constitution rules that unless they specify otherwise, the present committee members are automatically nominated. The Club held no election last year, the vacancies in the committee being filled by the only nominations received by the closing date. It is time we had an election. I have not yet canvassed the committee to see if all are willing to seek re-election but it is hoped that I shall be able to broadcast this news soon. I after much consideration I decided that I will seek re-election and it has presented me with something of a dilemma. Some time ago Mike Palmer devised and introduced a system where the newly elected committee held their own ‘mini election’ to allocate posts. This system must be adhered to until or unless the A.G.M. allows any departure from it - hence my dilemma – for with my decision to seek re-election goes the decision that I wish no other post than that of Secretary (Barrie I think feels the same about the Treasurer's job) and there are several posts on the committee for which I would have no competence e.g., Hut Warden. This statement, were it followed by my election, would imply that the club membership was satisfied with my performance of the task and would therefore over-ride the 'mini election' - perhaps the AGM should consider this and comments in the BB would be welcomed. Incidentally, if anyone else is interested in the Secretary post, it at present includes the Minute Secretary duties and Membership Secretary in addition to General Club Correspondence. I see that I’ve now left an embarrassingly small space for our Editor to fill so I’ll save him the trouble. Pete and Joyce Franklin are busy on a Magnum Opus for Dinner Entertainment. Any budding thespians wishing to audition for parts should ring Bristol 683084. Chris Batstone is fed up with washing up hence the removal of most of the general utensils about the Belfry. Kettle, Teapot, Mugs will remain and he will try to keep one of everything else available. Hut Fees are rising and from August 1st the rate will be 30p Members 45p for Guests. Trip leaders are requested to see that Shower fees are collected.


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Snow and Ice in North Wales

A short article sent in by our Climbing Sec. Russ Jenkins, which shows that the B.E.C. still goes climbing - at least, it did last February

Around midnight on Friday, the 11th of February, we arrived at Helyg, the climbers hut in the Ogwen Valley. The three of us, Kangy; his friend Mark James who is headmaster of Brockworth Comprehensive School near Gloucester, and the prospective liberal candidate for the Cabot Ward of Bristol, together with your Climbing Sec. had estimated that the second week in February was usually O.K. for snow and ice in Wales. After breakfast the usual low cloud had drifted away and snow could be seen above the Heather Terrace in Tryfan. Mark and I were both giving new boots a first outing and we set off for Tryfan, the base of which is about a mile and a half from Helyg, past William's Farm. After a steady ascent to Heather Terrace (for the combined ages of the three of us amounted to well over a hundred years!) we could feel the cold from the snowdrifts. We were on the shady North Face and so decided on North Buttress - a route of 750 feet to the summit ridge. This was first climbed at Easter in 1899 by the famous O.G. Jones Abraham Pulterill. The first patches were interesting as they were running with water, but eventually we were forced off the rock and had to kick steps up a sixty degree slope towards the summit. It then began to snow, and the exit ramp to Adam and Eve was like a skating rink. A pause in the lee of the two rock boulders for raisins and biscuits, and then we were off down. We lost height rapidly by glissading a derriere using our cagoules as toboggans. Down past the snow line we tramped, down Cwm Tryfan, past Williams Farm and back to Helyg and later to the pub. After breakfast on Sunday morning, we crossed the A5 in the opposite direction and made for the Carneddau. Shunning the new tarmac strip up to the reservoir, we used the conventional route and we were soon up once again to the snow line. After the now familiar and much sought after raisins, we began to slog up to the summit ridge between Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn. The weather closed in and the clouds descended and it began to snow. We were soon kicking steps again, except that where my four stone lighter companions were only sinking down a foot with each step, I was going in about two foot six on occasions. The weather improved after we got to the summit and the view made it all worthwhile. There was a cornice on the ridge and the views of Pen-yr-Oleu-Wen and Tryfan were superb. We scrambled off from the ridge and skirted the lake on its other side and then back down the hillside to the hut to complete a round trip of about six miles. My feet were sure glad of a rest! Helyg is a male only hut and the rate is 50p a night. The hut is well appointed, with a drying cupboard powered by a fan heater and the resident Hut Warden lives in a small room - or large cupboard - suspended (!) over the kitchen. _______________________________________________________________________________________

Committee News Applications for membership were accepted from Anthony Jarratt, Trevor Hughes and William Collis. It was agreed to continue the removal of utensils from the Belfry. Work on the bunkroom is to go ahead, and it was hoped that it would be in a reasonable state before the International Speleological Conference. It is planned to fit out the bunks gradually with police type mattresses. These are very expensive but are almost indestructible. There is to be some modification to the shower arrangements, but the matter of the central heating is now at a standstill, since no scheme within the financial capability of the club had so far been proposed. Since the meeting, Barrie has managed to find a source of cheap paper for the B.B., which has finally overcome the problem we have had this year of having to buy paper at full retail prices. Graham reported that all the new ladders which were planned had now been made and that Mike Palmer had supplied us with 'C' links. It was agreed that the fee for anyone using the Belfry for protracted periods of time will be ÂŁ8.00 per week. The committee were to point out to the local council that the signpost to Priddy Pool was incorrect - and suggest that they refer to the O. S. map for the location of Priddy Pool.


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57 One of the brighter aspects of fancy dress parties is that we are sometimes treated to the response of the we-eg at the Hunters when odd members turn up in unusual attire and on the 2nd of July, on the way to a housewarming at Yarley, we were treated to some rare sights, such as Liz in a mattress cover and fangs with Martin in soda sacks and more hair than usual. Amazing! They must be saving up for a new car or something. Then there was Derek Targett, superbly realistic as a werewolf, whilst Tom Gage was a rather black skeleton and Colleen a very presentable ghost from BRI (chains and all - could be described as looking flushed!). Graham W-J turned up as some sort of extremely warm-blooded sea monster and John Dukes the usual corpse. Graham, of course, we expect to drape himself from head to foot at the drop of a beret, but it was quite warm and with top coats on all the others looked rather limp when they left. The actual party, by the way, was a success. The club has suffered recently from a lack of expeditionary spirit, but cheer up; things are improving. There seems to be a move afoot to infiltrate the Midlands. Jon-Jon and Richard were recently in Scratchingland, and only last weekend, Barrie and Brenda joined the trekkers. The Dooleys and Butch now hold the key to this territory and are prepared to issue passports for an appropriate fee in used notes of small denomination. Barrie treats the whole thing rather lightly by declaring that, although all pubs are on the way to the Hunters, this particular route is rather lengthy. Some things, never change, do they? One of our members passing through Sutton on the way to Hunters decided to call in at the Collins residence only to find him in a mildly inebriated state flat out on the kitchen floor with a young lady in his arms (shocking). Sett was asleep in another part of the cottage and the only survivors seemed to be Sally, Jan and Graham. I comment on this only because the visit was made in the evening - and it was at lunchtime that all the drinking had been done. Shame of it was that Sett was seen briefly at Hunters later that day getting carry-out lemonade. Talking about Hunters, one or two of our older members have been dropping in recently and Maurice Iles has been seen with either a recorder or a shillelagh stuffed into his hip pocket. Could it be that he is joining the M.C.G. Penny Whistle and Squeezebox Band? The same weekend saw Chris (Evening) Hall returning to wonder who everyone was, and Sid Hobbs rabbitting on about what we need are very extreme right wingers to resolve a certain industrial dispute. Another rare sight for Saturday night was a brief visit from Alan Thomas but it seemed O.K. for he was chaperoned by Bob Cork. The recent news of devaluation in Spain has sent a surge of blood running in the veins of a few of our more affluent members. Of course, Butch is going on an expedition with a neighbouring club, so really he can't be accused of profiteering, especially after his magnificent walk (sponsored) over half of Somerset to aid the trip. Martin and Liz are off to Costa Fortune where he is going to do some diving. What a year it will be for postcards! Finally, I must mention our Hon. Sec. - Mike W who is reported to be going to an Open University Summer School with Maureen (that‘ll cramp her style!) The subject is drama. Think what an asset his dramatic fits will be to future committee meetings! - enliven them no end! Having a page of this B.B. to produce in time to get the whole thing in print, it struck me that it has been some time since anyone broke into verse in the B. B. Reading in 'Fifth Column' that our Hon. Sec. has spent a week at Open University Summer School studying drama, one can perhaps imagine what we may well be in for at the A.G.M. when the report of the Hon. Secretary comes around.


58 According to the custom of the years I now must make report upon our club. Friends! Romans!, Countrymen!, lend me your ears! To sleep - perchance to dream - aye, there's the rub. If music be the food of love, play on. The quality of mercy is not strained It falleth as the gentle….. wait! tis gone! That lately in my mem'ry was contained. I have it - …as the gentle dew from heaven

But what comes now? I swear I lately knew. (These one week courses should last six or seven) What comes - no, 'cometh' after 'gentle dew'? Upon the earth beneath. It is twice bless'd. (I wonder why? I'm beggared if I care I reckon that I'll have to scrub the rest) So thus I end. What say you from the chair? You ask me why no news of club I bring? Like ruddy Shakespeare says - the play's the thing

(With suitable apologies to Mike Wheadon, Will Shakespeare and all readers) ------------------------------------------------------------MONTHLY CROSSWORD NUMBER 76 1

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1. (and 22). Milton’s Swildons? (8,8) 6. Grow dripping, perhaps, from ancient 10 down. (3) 7. (and 6 down). Overpopulated section of St. Cuthbert’s. (6,6) 9. Brother 7 across. (4) 11. Old unit? Sounds like golden oldie. (3) 13. When the pub has no beer, the outlook is…(Doctor needs hearing aid). (5) 14. Not to be confused with 8 down. (1-4) 15. Popular cave, lacking gravity and clergy, provides singular fare for horse. (3) 17. Prickly bit, caves name. (4) 19. Drives muddles men underwater. (6) 21. Eastwater-without-a-river is French! (3) 22. See 1.

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2. Hopefully rise this when sumping! (3) 3. Belfry Bulletin taken to heart by ancient priest. (4) 4. Priddy fair is here! Look for paddy’s. (5) 5. River crossing on Mendip. (8) 6. See 7 across. 8. Last passage in Read’s Cavern. (3,5) 10. Top gear for cavers. (6) 11. Initially men recovering others….. (3) 12. ……others use them initially to get….. (3) 16. Liquor and curtailed A.G.M. somehow inevitable over the years! (5) 18. Only seen on the Mendip hills after abominable night on the tiles. (4) 20. Start Sidcot taking two directions, understand! (3)


Belfry Bulletin Number 351