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1 BELFRY BULLETIN Volume 35 No. 9 Numbers 401 September 1981 MONTHLY JOURNAL OF THE BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Wells, Somerset . Telephone: Wells (0749) 72126. Editor: G. Wilton-Jones, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Telephone: Aylesbury (0296) xxxxx. CONTENTS:

Reef diving in Florida Providence Pot to Dow Cave The World's Deepest Caves Letters from America Letter from Nigeria Eating Contest "Biffo" More on Manor Farm Sea Caves at Redend Point Quotes of the Month Walsall Limestone Mines Book Reviews BU 56 Monthly Notes Twin Titties

p2 p4 p5 p5 p7 p8 p9 p9 p 10 p 10 p 12 p 12 p 13 p 14 p 15

* * * * * CONGRATULATIONS to Fiona on her 21st birthday * * * * * Any of the articles which I promised would be in this B.B. last month will definitely be in the October issue, if I receive them from their authors. I also hope to make a start on Wig's enormous tome on Early Cave Photographers and their Work. He did give it to me back near the beginning of the year. Just because Mr. 'N' has apologised for his low article production this year does not mean he can do the same in the next Club year. Weren't you going to do something on East Mendip Mines, Nigel, and do you remember I asked you to write something on Explosives Underground. Tuska, where is thy article on Iceland, and by now you could add something about the Longwood Valley dig. In the offing are R.N. diver’s courses by Ross, something more from Batswine, B.C.R.A. Conference review by someone, a long-awaited, multi-edited, word perfect, highly detailed account of I can't remember what by Greg, plus a host of other articles promised over the last year! Happy Club year. Bassett. *

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CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Jim Watson, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA. Jim will probably be in the States another couple of years. He visited Church Cave in Sequoia National Park about 2 months ago. Perhaps an article‌.


2 REEF DIVING IN FLORIDA

by Trevor Hughes.

Having helped pay off my last ship (HMS Bulwark) and seen her, sadly on her way to the breakers, I'm now back at sea again serving in HMS Bristol a one-off guided missile destroyer. Within a week of joining her we sailed from Pompey dockyard, heading for the Florida sun. Our second port of call was Fort Lauderdale on the south eastern coast, 20 miles north of Miami. We arrived on Wednesday August 5th for a week of superb weather, 35oC every day. On the day after our arrival the ship's diving team spent a day out on the local offshore reefs using one of the ship's 13m workboats. There are three Fort Lauderdale reefs, roughly running parallel to the shore. The Inner Reef is 30 100 m from the beach and the depth varies between 3 and 7 m. The visibility is usually only about 12m due to the effects of wind and swell. A good variety of tropical fish can be seen but the larger species are rare. Further out, ž - 1 mile off-shore, lies the second reef, with a water depth of 12 – I5m. The diving conditions are better here, as is the variety of marine life. Approximately one mile offshore lies the third reef, with depths varying between 15 and 25 m. This reef provides the best diving. Many species of fish were to be seen, including the larger reef fish such as goatfish, yellowtails, gruntfish (yes, they really do!) and spadefish. The occasional barracuda was to be seen, keeping a beady eye on the diver. The problem with this site was the strong northerly current. Using the local diving guide book and a large scale chart it was a fairly simple task to locate our first dive site - the outer reef, called Osborne Reef in the area we were interested in. I was one of the first pair of divers in the water and we anchored ready to dive. The water was so warm I only used a 3mm vest, more for comfort than warmth. We descended quickly but the boat had dragged its anchor and we had a hard up-current swim to cross the flat sand and reach the reef. To augment the flatter sections of the reef, the local authorities have dumped huge lumps of concrete, wired up tyres and various bits of wreckage. This policy has worked well and the area is covered with soft corals, sponges and a healthy scattering of developing hard coral. A wide selection of smaller, multi-coloured reef fish are to be found. The top of the natural reef was at 15m depth and corresponds to an old beach level. The visibility was around 25m and we spent an enjoyable dive drifting over the reef. The boat was still having problems holding its anchor and as a result we had another long swim back. The other divers fared better and all had a good dive. We moved inshore to the inner reef where the current was almost unnoticeable and, after a meal break, we got ready for a second dive. The best features of this inner reef are the small, but well developed, coral heads: elkhorn, brain and chalice corals abounded. Many were covered with tube-worms which, until disturbed, display their feeding feathers with radiant beauty. The most amusing incident on my hour long dive was playing with a spiny puffer fish; when fully inflated they are totally unable to swim. We finished the day by touring the extensive marinas of Fort Lauderdale there are more millionaires here per square kilometre than anywhere else in the world. My diving appetite fully whetted the next plan was to dive in the Florida Keys. The Keys are a 180 mile long string of 200 islands connected together by a single main road. They run from Jewfish Creek in the north to Key West in the south-west. The islands separate the shallow flats of the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Reef that lies on the edge of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic. The reef, which lies parallel to the edge of the Keys, is the only living coral reef on the North American continent. On the Friday another ship's diver and I hired a car and drove down to the Keys, a two hour, 80 mile drive to reach Key Largo.


3 Arranging the dive was simplicity itself, although it might be better to book in advance. The second dive shop that we tried had space available on its boat for the following day, not too bad going as it was by now 6.30 in the evening and the shop was officially shut, but nobody seemed to care. The girl in the shop, a real "buxom barmaid" blond, rang round the local motels for us and so there, very quickly, was the solution to our accommodation problem. A cheaper alternative would be to camp but I had left my tent with Jeni. Camping costs about £5 per night for two. Our sailing time the following day was 0830 so after yet another "Big Mac and French Fries" aided by a 6-pack of michelob we went to bed early: definitely not in the B.E.C. tradition - I must be slipping. An American breakfast at 0630 takes a lot of getting down but copious cups of strong coffee helped. We arrived on time, loaded our gear onto the "Sundiver" and set off just after 0830. The basic half day trip was two dives so we hired a second bottle each. Our first site, Molasses Reef, five miles off Key Largo, seemed fairly crowded, but once underwater there was plenty of space for all. Stated simply, the reef has to be seen to be believed. The reef top at 3m depth drops down to flat silver sand at 12m. The edge is a maze of gullies, sand pockets and small underwater caves. The visibility was staggering, at least 30m, probably more, and the water temperature was 29 C. Since the whole area is within the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park the marine environment is protected by law. The coral and marine life have flourished as a result. During our hour long dive we managed nearly everything, from feeding the fish with chopped up sea urchin to being stung by fire coral, an innocuous brown coral with a sting like a nettle. Believe me, if you want to find out what colour adrenal in is try a face-to-face meeting with a 2m green moray, poking its head from its cave deep in a narrow gully. Actually the moray was so used to seeing divers that he didn't react at all, nor did a small spotted moray seen later on in the dive. We picked up a couple of barracuda who trailed us for most of the dive; they kept their distance and are not dangerous unless threatened. The coral here is are extremely attractive and are covered in various sponges and tube worms, and surrounded by a multitude of different fish. Additional interest was provided by the remains of an old schooner, the 'Windless', sunk at the turn of the century. The second dive, on nearby Pickles Reef, provided my dive buddy with two lobsters and me with badly stung legs. Again an hour long dive in incredible visibility, the reef here was flatter but numerous coral caves provided sanctuary for the ever evasive lobster. While carefully trying to extract a reasonable sized 'lobbie' from its hole my attention as well as my prey was totally lost as a school of at least 20 barracuda flashed past, at high speed, only about 15m away. This reef has a wreck - an old barge that had carried barrels of cement, whose remains litter the area. The wreck was very broken up, but most interesting. We were back at the boat marina by 1330 after an excellent morning's diving. We finished the trip off with a huge pizza and more millchelob before driving back to Lauderdale. Any diver visiting the area should have no problem getting himself a dive. There are a multitude of dive shops/charter boats along the length of the Keys all of whom offer trips from half a day upwards. Some form of certification is required. My green R.N. diver's logbook was new to our charter dive master but readily accepted. The most pleasing factor of the trip was that you were not treated as a tourist or passenger: the boat's crew were chatty and helpful, and made every effort to use your first name from the onset. They were most interested in UK diving, especially our wrecks. As for costs, well, it’s not expensive. If you have already forked out for a Miami holiday then to spend a day diving, the extra cost is peanuts. Our hire car, a small Chevrolet, cost us under £25 for two days. The motel was the expensive item at £16 for the two of us but would not be needed for a day trip. The half day diving cost us £14.50, including hiring a second bottle. A complete 2 dive, ½ day package, including boat fees and all the gear, would cost about £28. All you would need to bring would be your log book. Most boats also cater for snorkellers as well. So if you're thinking of holidaying in the area then don't let Jaques Cousteau have it all on his own. Spend a days diving in the Keys. It's a lifetime's experience.


4 PROVIDENCE POT TO DOW CAVE by John Noble Providence Pot to Dow Cave is still a classic Yorkshire trip, so after a few pints in the Buck Inn, Chris and Ann, Al Keen, Pete Slater (all wee) and yours truly decided to give it a crack the next day. Sunday broke dull and muggy with masses of savage midges taking great chunks out of arms and legs. The local booze seemed to have taken great chunks out of Pete who remained steadfastly in his pit refusing to move for any sod. Fancy missing out on your tenth attempt, Pete. One hour later, or was it two, saw the four of us at Kettlewell changing into caving gear ready for the one mile walk to the Providence Pot entrance. Did I say one mile? It seemed more like two to me. Either the bloke who put up the signpost has a bent sense of humour or I'm even less fit than I think. In fact the only thing that kept me slogging relentlessly on was that we were being followed by a bunch of wide boys from the White Rose. Say no More. Providence Pot is a pretty unspectacular place that does not warrant much of a description. The entrance series consists of drops and crawls including the aqueous Blasted Crawl, before reaching a number of chambers' near the streamway. The Palace is the largest of these. Route finding throughout Providence is very simple - just follow the telephone cable. At Stalagmite Corner the main streamway is met – Dowber Gill Passage. Now this was more like it and we bombed off down a large passage through Skittle Chamber and on down a lengthy, boulder strewn rift passage until we reached a watery crawl which slowed us down. After the crawl a slit in the left hand wall was followed to a rift which led to a window on the right. We dropped through this and found ourselves in Bridge Cavern. I found this the most impressive part of the cave. It consisted of a huge rift with a floor of massive blocks. We got some particularly fine views of the rift by traversing high up above the chamber (not by intention - we were lost). Near the end of the cavern is the Bridge itself. This is an amazing arch of different shaped rocks, balanced against one another and spanning the rift. After dropping out of Bridge Cavern we became more involved with the water, a chest deep canal to be precise, although this quickly became shallower and we grunted along two or three hundred metres of grim rift passage. This ended at an oxbow which was followed to the so-called half way point of the cave, Eight Hundred Yards Chamber. This is a fairly large chamber, which also seemed to be the half way clump, the floor being littered with all kinds of junk left from speleo picnics. On reflection, the second half of the Cave was most definitely the bit with the teeth, especially as we chose to keep to the streamway than chance getting lost on the traverses high in the roof. Leaving Eight Hundred Yards Chamber is a rift into which Chris and I dived headlong attacking the route with brute force while Al somehow glided through telling us we were doing it all wrong. After beaching on a rock pile we jammed and chimneyed across Greg's Horror, a smooth, hold less section, and dropped once again to the streamway until we reached the boulder choke under Brew Chamber. Here, beloved reader, your author drops a clanger, namely ripping out his lamp cable half way through the choke. We tried everything to get the lid off in an effort to repair the damage. We tried belt buckles, fingernails, even the odd lump of rock, all to the accompaniment of Milne, who shouted about bad maintenance, incompetent cavers, etc. Trust the Wessex to get personal. Eventually I gave up and we carried on with me between Chris and Al while Ann stormed off in the lead. Actually the trip became very interesting from where I was, the highlighted passage silhouettes, the distant, misty light reflecting‌bloody hell, I sound like David Heap. Of course, the disadvantages of no light quickly became apparent: the odd misplaced boot in the face; the skulldenting rock face; the unforeseen deepening of the streamway. Glug. The streamway after Brew Chamber was becoming tighter until we hit chest deep water which lies under the Terrible Traverse. Perhaps we should have stuck to the traverses as the next section of the trip was a very demanding part consisting of tight to very tight crawls and squeezes in the stream,


5 coupled with some awkward traverses just above it. Soon the tightness relented and, after clambering over some unseen obstacles, we came to the sump where we met up with Ann. At the mention of a sump Chris, our resident diver, turned misty eyed and clambered over all of us to dive through. Ann followed him and I went next, nearly losing my eye-balls on her fingernails. Al quickly joined us and we continued on down a fine section of passage in waist deep water until we reached the duck. This is situated under a large flowstone cascade which, apparently, can be climbed to a well decorated aven. The duck itself was easily passed - the water just touched our chests - and we proceeded up a beautiful minaret-shaped passage towards our goal. The cave was becoming quite misty by now and the odd whiff of carbide betrayed the nearness of the popular Dow Cave. It was in this section that we met a couple of parties going the other way around so it gave us a chance to brush up on the ancient rites of Ebah gumese. The slide up into Dow soon appeared and we climbed up into its well worn passages and the route to the entrance. We walked slowly through the large entrance chambers taking in the views and discussing the possibility of a larger system of passages extending beyond the present end of the Caseker Gill section of Dow. Soon daylight could be seen and, after clambering over a party of school kids ("Oh, look at the frogmen"), we emerged from the entrance of Dow, after an excellent four hour trip, to be met by mist and drizzle. Although not possessing large pitches or stonking great stream passages or even any wonderful decorations Dowbergill has plenty of problems to offer and of course, it's a through trip, and we all like those, don't we. * * * * * The World's Deepest Caves. The following list, based on those published in Caving International but including certain, more up-to-date information, contains all systems over l000m deep - thirteen in all. HockleckenGrosshohle is not included as its reported depth of 1022m, reached during a solo trip, has not been verified by other cavers. Jean Bernard BU 56 P.S.M. Snieznaja pieszcziera Sistema Huautla Gouffre Berger Pozo del Xitu Sistema Badalona Schneeloch Gouffre rUrolda Sima G.E.S.Malaga Lamprechtsofen Felix-Trombe-Henne Morte

France Spain France/Spain U.S.S,R. Mexico France Spain Spain Austria France Spain Austria France

1455m 1335m 1332m 1280m 1240m 1198m 1139m 1130m 110lm 1100m 1098m 1024m 1018m

How soon will this list be added to or out-dated? Bassett. * * * * * LETTERS FROM AMERICA Karen Jones Frisco, Rocky Mountains, Colorado 8.7.81 We are at present sitting in the most beautiful surroundings ~ the scenery is very like that in Austria with pine trees and very little undergrowth. It's been very hot - about 95째F for the past few days but has now cooled to 71째F so we've got our sweaters on! The atmosphere is much more pleasant and much less humid which makes life much pleasanter.


6 There are chipmunks here in the forest that are incredibly tame - one tried to eat Gary's shoelace! They're very pretty little creatures but the Warden told us they'll eat anything - that includes toilet rolls and travellers cheques (they have expensive tastes!) We found New York totally overwhelming~ very busy, dirty and smelly. The buildings made you feel like an ant crawling around and the view from the Empire State Building was incredible. We took a ferry across to Staten Island for 25c return (that's about 12p) and that took 20 mins each way and passed near to the Statue of Liberty en route. Although there wasn't much to see when we got there, it was worth going for the cooling breeze. From New York we crossed into Canada to see Niagara Falls which were very Spectacular but also very commercialised. The noise was fantastic and the spray rose about 50 feet above the top of the falls. We then travelled overnight, stopping during the day in a city which we found rather tedious and we felt that we weren't seeing the 'real' America. One difficulty about travelling on the buses is that they do only go to the towns and cities so you have to travel for a while to get into the country and find a campsite. We then arrived at Bowling Green Kentucky and stayed there to sorting ourselves out and planning our route. We visited a drag-race meeting which was quite fun but incredibly noisy. The Americans certainly camp in style, some even having fairy lights around the doors and everyone has a TV. We seem to be causing quite a lot of interest as we travel along; one day someone will run into a tree while they stare at us! From Bowling Green we got a bus out to Cave City and then hitched a lift out towards Mammoth Cave National Park, camping just outside it. We walked to Mammoth Cave, about 9 miles, and went on the half day tourist trip which took four and a half hours and covered four miles. It was supposed to be very strenuous but both of us found the walk to and from the cave more tiring. The cave consisted of large, phreatic passage and vadose trench. Most of the actual length of the cave (all 224 miles) is smaller passages leading off one large passage - this was on average about 40 to 60 feet wide and between 10 and 50 feet high. Most of the passage was on the same level and there was very little change in depth. You could easily do a trip that lasted several days without using any ladders or ropes. The few formations that are to be seen are either covered in soot or are under thick layers of sand and dust, which makes the part of the cave that we saw rather unattractive. At about half way through the cave there is a place called the Snowball Dining Room. This room has a seating capacity for approximately 200 people, a canteen, a gift shop and toilets. Our cave trip ended after a quick look at the only large formations that we saw in the cave: these were called the Frozen Niagara formations but they unfortunately looked rather red with dust. As for organising any trips with local clubs, the distances involved have prevented us so far. Karen and Gary. Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone 24.7.81 At present we're in Yellowstone National Park where we'll have spent two weeks, where we leave early next week. That may seem a long time, but as it's the size of Wales (!) there’s a lot to see and do. The country is really beautiful around here, very much like that in Austria but a lot more arid. Over 80% of the park is covered with lodge pole pines, the remainder being open meadowlands, rivers, lakes, etc. We visited Old Faithful and saw several other geysers erupt whilst we were there. They really are impressive, discharging hundreds, sometimes thousands of gallons each time they erupt, which can occur every few minutes or only once or twice a week depending on that particular geyser. The hot springs are also interesting, and algae add various colours to the water, which is sometimes as hot as 199°F. The colours vary, depending on the temperature of the water, the hottest allowing yellow and orange (the most simple in structure) to grow, going to green in cooler waters. We were lucky to go


7 on a walk and see the geyser basins at night, lit by the moon. Due to the cooler atmosphere there was more steam and you also noticed the different smells (rather like. bad eggs from the sulphur) and the sounds of the various steam vents and geysers more. It was quite eerie and well worth staying up. The nights get pretty cold, the temperature sometimes dropping to 40 oF, but during the day it's pleasantly warm and sunny. The atmosphere is much less humid making activity more comfortable. We also visited the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, which was very impressive due both to the different colours in the rock and the unusual formations. We were lucky to be able to see an osprey sitting on her nest (this through a telescope), and two diving for fish. The waterfall is magnificent, falling over 300 feet. We've spent about five days hiking in the back-country and camping out overnight. It was very peaceful and quiet and we met few other people. We saw lots of wild-life, bison, elk, moose, mule deer, pelicans, chipmunks and many wild birds and insects. One night we were woken by a pack of coyote howling which was rather unnerving but also exciting, making you feel very close to nature. To camp in the back-country you have to get a permit and book your sites but this is all free. A normal campsite is £1.50 to £2.00 depending on amenities. At the moment we are spending about £42 per week which is pretty reasonable. Today we went to the Mammoth Hot Springs which really are beautiful. They are like gour pools and are formed in the same way, sometimes at the rate of 22" per year. They estimate that the water brings about two tons of dissolved limestone to the surface every day. These too are coloured by various algae. A really magnificent sight. I would love to stay here for longer, but as half of our holiday is already over we don't really have time, but it would certainly be well worth coming back. We've seen some slides of the area in winter and that, too, looks truly beautiful. From here we're heading to the West Coast and down to Yosemite and Sequoia National Park and then the Grand Canyon and across to Florida, via Carlsbad. Karen. * * * * * LETTER FROM NIGERIA (the B.E.C. African Section) gets everywhere! Chris Smart Owerri Omo State 7.7.81 As requested for just on a year now please find enclosed what attempt I have been able to make at a "Biffo" song. I should have liked to confer with Rob but I think New Year was the last time I saw him and on that occasion I think I was somewhat the worse for the demon brew. The demon brew is very much in evidence here also and there are between 6-8 types of local lager available. Unfortunately there is no bitter and no scrumpy. However, the local substitute more than makes up for it - this brew goes under the name of Palm Wine and has the colour of milk and the texture of a very thin porridge. It is straight sap that is tapped off the top of the raffia palms into plastic jerry cans that you see perched on top of the trees all through the bush. It is then left to ferment for a day or so, by which time a scum/froth/crud/crust has settled to the bottom. Finally the larger flies and insects are picked out and one gets it down one's neck….the final treat in store is that this stuff (if it's good and fresh) continues to ferment in your stomach which produces vast quantities of gas that even Quackers would be proud of! There is, as a footnote, another story to add. The palm wine is distilled to what is called "kie-kie" and has the subtle effect of a) making you fall over; b) making you forget where you are c) making you blind? (or just blind drunk.)


8 You can buy the spirit/rocket fuel for about 60p equivalent for a bottle the size of a normal lemonade bottle - as long as you provide the bottle. Alternatively it's 5p for a single shot or 10p for a double. If the cutting crews get wet and/or cold during the day they will con you to though to the nearest village and buy some. After it they will chop through the thickest jungle possible, and demolish even quite fair sized hardwood trees. It is not too wise at such times, or indeed at any time, to be in front of their machetes as they fly about. We have seven ex-pats here now and we are running four cutting crews (i.e. one white man with three or four local cutters). A good crew can do approx. l½km/day in total - that is clearing a trace about 2m wide; a fair to average crew will only manage about 1km a day. A lot, however, depends upon the thickness of the bush, and how much around the villages and houses it has been cultivated. We actually have 'carte blanche' from the State Govt. for whom the rural electrification is being conducted, to destroy any crops or vegetation we want, but it is a bit soul-destroying to plough through some poor guy's livelihood, so, wherever possible with crops particularly yams, we try to push them aside. To be honest, though, it is a futile exercise as about two weeks after we survey through the main cutters come through - there are about ten or twelve of these, with three or four chainsaws, and they will fell anything within 11m either side of our survey centre line. If they are lucky they fell them onto the crops. When they are unlucky they put them down right across the road. I measured a big one they had just managed to fell right across the main tarmac road - it was 60" across the diameter. I counted in excess of 100 rings. It took them 1½ days to clear the road and repair the 6" deep trench in the tarmac. After a couple of weeks here you find that things are just the same as on all overseas jobs from the Far East, to the Middle East, North to West Africa - one becomes blasé about everything and tends to 'go native'. For example, the twice weekly dead fly in the boiled cabbage, the nightly visit of cockroaches and lizards to your bathroom, the not so common, but still not unusual sight of a bare-breasted woman walking along some bush road - unfortunately these tend to be the 'old black mamas and they are about as exciting as a pair of kippers, which is what the breasts normally look like. One just accepts it along with the filth and general decay of the; country - you would complain in the UK if the electricity went off, but here it is a daily feature - the only question is for how long - the record so far is 8 hours (and 24 hrs. for the water) Herr Blitz. * * * * * EATING CONTEST Some of the older members (Jok Orr and Bob Cross) may remember the foul food eating contests held periodically at the Belfry. Well, now we have a new Champion in Jen Pogue, who performed against an itinerant Venture Scout from the Viking Unit. Below is a list of things eaten or a attempted. It must be noted that Jem ate everything offered, and did not puke once. Anyone care to Challenge him? Jem ate the following, on top of a Chinese meal. His opponent failed to eat and honked at * 1 pint of salted water with raw egg in it; the egg shells; large bowl of dry cornflakes; a raw sausage; * 1 tipped cigarette; 2 teaspoons cocoa powder; Chicken flavoured munchies (cat food); Catkins (fish-flavour); (Jem said that it was funny tasting caviar) 1 sprig of nettles, freshly peed on; 1/8 th lb of butter;

1 bottle of brown sauce; 3 live matches; 1marmited Black Shadow condom; (chewed only in accordance with rules) 1 chilli; * 1 bay leaf; 3 pieces chewing gum; cup of milk with tea leaves; 1 tea bag; * piece of cotton wool.


9 BIFFO

Inspired during a hilarious surface surveying trip along Barengasse, Dachstein, Austria. together by Herr Blitz.

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You could hear his black boots pound as he raced across the ground, And the knocking of his knees as they went round and round, And he motored up to the Belfry, chewing upon a rubber vest, His name was Biffo, and he did the hardest caving in the West. Now Biffo loved his caving and he adored his digging too. "Without it, chaps," he argued, "there's nothing much to do!" Some said it was too much for him. "It's dirty and hard," they'd say, But Biffo got his lagging on three times every day. Now Biffo had a rival, an evil locking man, Called Three Gibbs Rob from Upper Pitts with a Petzl in his hand. Poor Biffo said, "I like Cloggers, 'cos Cloggers climb ropes best," But Rob replied, "I'd be happier with a Gibbs upon your chest." In Austria they quarrelled hard, each night in the camp, And Rob went up to Biffo's gear and he didn't half kick his lamp Whose name was Premier, And it lit the hardest cave trips in the West. Rob taunted him about his prusik knots and his fancy rope work too, And when Biffo saw the size of his Petzls he didn't know what to do. He knew once he'd tasted a three point Gibbs he'd go no other way, It looks so much better than sit-stand systems, slogging up pitches all day. Now Biffo, he was pretty old - he'd been caving many a year, But now he's gone to Rocksport to purchase other gear, Where all the clients are weegies and electric lights are banned, And a hard man's life is full of fun in that hairy, fairy land. But a caver's needs are many and Rob, he gave up string, But strange things happened on his weegie trips that disconcerted him: Is that the carbide a-rattling, as down Goatchurch he slogs, Or Biffo's ghostly toe-caps a-catching on the clogs. * * * * * MORE ON MANOR FARM by "Quiet" John Watson The very thought of going digging down Manor Farm can strike terror in the hearts of the most hardened B.E.C. members, or so it seems when trying to recruit diggers. So the aim of this short article, apart from keeping G.W.-J. happy, is to enlighten you of the situation, if you do not yet know the merits of the dig. After an absence of several months a visit was made to the terminal rift which, although heavily choked, possessed an opening in which carefully lobbed stones rattled down for three or four seconds. Heavy rain had washed large quantities of silt down the cave indicating severe flooding. This was confirmed by Axel Knutson and I, (the remnants of a once fine digging team) when we reached the bottom the cave. Water had backed up from Blind Pot, where it was still in evidence, to a depth of four feet in the main passage. On reaching the dig we were surprised to find a very large boulder in the bottom and flood marks in the roof. The water, however, had almost completely drained despite a U-tube in the dig which again was almost dry, confirming the guess that we are merely in the top of a large rift, partially choked with stream debris. This was the state of affairs until the end of August, by which time I had managed to persuade Mark Brown to have a look at the dig, and he was suitably impressed. We have now cleared enough room to start descending the rift, which has a very refreshing draught. Due to the rift's length (50+ft) the two of us have been unable to, stack the spoil in a satisfactory place, making the dig even more restricted. A large scale assault is needed, so come on Wormhole, Bob Hill and Jem, and any other willing diggers. To keep our options open, we also have intentions of digging Florence's Bath Tub which, because of the dry conditions more recently, has lowered somewhat and looks very promising. Both digs could prove very rewarding.


10 SOME SMALL SEA CAVES AT REDEND POINT, STUDLAND BAY, DORSET by John Noble Redland Point is situated at the southern end of Studland Bay, 200m south of Studland Middle Beach, at G.R. 038828. One cave is situated on the point itself while the others are to be found in the cliffs to the north. The cliffs are formed in the current bedded Bagshot Beds of the Tertia Era, laid down some 50 million years ago. They consist of sandstones and ironstones at the base, followed by a thick band of lignite which is overlain by layers of sands and clays. Iron staining is evident on the cliffs and pipelike ironstone concretions can also be seen. These hard deposits are also scattered along the wave cut platform which fronts the cliffs. All the caves are formed in the sandstone/ironstone bed and are developed along joints which have been opened up by a combination of hydraulic and corrasional processes. These processes may have been assisted by chemical reactions between seawater, surface runoff and the ferrous condition of the rock. As the caves are found on small headlands and the bay between them contains only small joint cavities, it would seem that the caves must lie in more resistant sandstone. The leas resistant sandstone, which now forms the bay, yielded to marine erosion along its joint and collapsed leaving the undulating platform now seen before the cliff. Cave No.1. Situated 100m south of the path to Studland Middle Beach at the beginning of a small headland. Basically a smooth, arch-shaped cave, 2½m in length with a maximum height of just under 1m. There are a few ironstone protuberances forming a small ridge on the left hand side of the roof. The floor is entirely covered in sand and slopes upwards from the front. An interesting feature of the cave can be found under the entrance lip. It consists of a wide, 20cm high crack ascending to a ledge formed at the junction of the sandstone/lignite beds. Seepage water was noticed trickling down this Cave No.2. Situated 10m south of cave No.1 on the same small headland. This cave has a length of 4½m and a general width of 2m until it narrows at an impassable archway. The cave has a height of almost 2m just inside the entrance but lowers to under 40cm at the archway. The floor is grooved and potholed and filled in part with sand and pebbles. The walls are smooth and undercut. Ironstone deposits protrude from the roof and small ironstone pipes are noticeable around the archway, no doubt influencing its formation. Cave No. 3. Situated on the extreme end of Redend Point. This cave is the largest of the three. It extends 6m into the cliff and has an overall width of some 3m. The height at the entrance is 1.6m and rises to 2.5m inside before sloping down to the end. The walls are smooth and undercut and the floor displays grooves and potholes partly filled with sand and pebbles. In the roof can be seen the joint along which the cave developed. References: Coastal Studies in Purbeck. Canning and Maxted. The Geology of the Country around Weymouth, Swanage, Corfe and Lulworth. Arkell., W.J. * * * * * QUOTES OF THE MONTH: From our latest addition to the Cuthbert’s Leaders' Ian "Wormhole" Caldwell: "Where’s the ladder for the entrance rift?" "We're not using one." "Can it be free-climbed then?" and on seeing the Cuthbert’s Two dam…."How long has this been here!


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12 WALSALL GETS THAT SINKING FEELING from New Scientist 9th July, 1981, sent in by Ken James. Three Black Country towns may be on the verge of collapse. A few disintegrating pillars left behind from old limestone excavations beneath Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley could be all that is supporting large sections of the towns. A government research programme starts this month to find out just how serious the problem is. Engineers will spend eighteen months mapping the old workings - which began 300 years ago and ended only as recently as the 1920's – and deciding what action should be taken, Meanwhile, West Midlands County Council has postponed plans to build major roads in the Walsal1 area. The county's engineers fear much more subsidence of the kind that recently turned a sports field in Dudley into a shapeless mass of earth and grass. The chances of a disaster are worst in Walsall's town centre where there are caverns up to 14 metres high less than 70m below the surface. The miners extracted up to 95% of the limestone, leaving cavern roofs held up by pillars as much as 20m apart. Now acidic water flooding into some of the caverns is eating away the pillars, which are collapsing under the strain. Consulting engineers Ove, Arup and Partners will use teams of divers and remote TV cameras to explore the state of the workings because few records were ever kept of the limestone extractions. Some, near Dudley where the seams outcrop, have been explored. “You could fit a pair of semidetached houses into many of the caverns,” says Tony Evans, Dudley Council's engineer. “We've injected sand into some of them to stop catastrophic collapse, but other caverns we simply don't know about. They could cave in at any time,” he warned. *

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Book Reviews Caving and Potholing. David Judson & Arthur Champion Published by Granada, in paperback. 192pp £1.95 This is another "how to do it and what you need" book, aimed mainly at the newcomer to the sport. Unfortunately the authors have also included chapters on Surveying, Organising Expeditions and Caving Clubs & Politics. This last chapter is full of political waffle about C.N.C.C., C.S.C.C. and N.C.A~ as well as giving a political structure showing how we all report to the N.C.A.!! This type of information is not required by somebody taking up the sport. Inaccuracies in the text are high: in one chapter it states that Derbyshire caving did not really start until the formation of the Cerberus Spelaeological Society! The chapter on caving areas of the British Isles could have been a good introduction to novices, and a way of them saving pounds on area guides, but instead, all it does is list the major systems with no proper descriptions. The maps, like all the drawings in the book are of poor quality. On the good side, the photographs are excellent and it is refreshing to see shots that are new and have not been constantly reproduced in other books or magazines. Overall this is a very poor production and not the sort of material we would have expected from two experienced and respected cavers. I get the feeling that it was written in the hope that it would become a standard reference book on caving, being cheap and easily available. If this happens and libraries and schools adopt it as a standard work it will give novices a very bad impression of the sport. A caving Manual. Jim Lovelock. Published by Batsford, in hardback. 144pp, 98 b&w photos. £7.95 The best way of totally depressing oneself for at least a month is to read the previous book followed by this one. James Lovelock's writings on caving are well known from his other books: “Life and Death Underground” and “Caving”, both of which have been used to get the Belfry stove going! I fear this one will not even burn. Firstly, when compared with other recent publications like "The Darkness Beckons", by Martyn Farr, the price extortionate. The book is a general book on caving and is written in James Lovelock's normal, sensationalised style (he is a free lance journalist and this sticks out a mile). The eleven chapters consist of the usual "how to do it and where" plus one on cave diving and another on caves of the world. In the chapter on vertical technique a considerable amount of space has been dedicated to "Spider", the Clam products system for using abseiling and


13 prusiking on a single wire - totally useless and using to beginners in the sport. A substantial number of the photographs have been taken by Sheena Stoddard who, it says in the acknowledgements "is probably Britain's Best Woman cave photographer". Having seen the ones in this book I would say she must be the only one, as they are of poor quality and, in many cases, show bad technique. Dare I suggest she gives up photography and takes up cooking! The chapters on British caves and caves of the world are most interesting but are not detailed enough for my liking. One rather amusing part, in the section on Cave Diving, shows two photographs. One is entitled "Cave Diver Ken Pearce at Keld Head" and the other "Dr. Ken Pearce diving at Keld Head attached to a lifeline". The first shows a head sticking out of the pool at Keld (the entrance cannot even be seen!) plus a lot of water. The second shows a body in the resurgence pool, with an air tank on its back attached by a thick lump of rope to a man in waterproof trousers waist deep in water! Two good shots of a cave diver! Another good shot is showing the "Latest rope for S.R.T. which appears to be 30 feet of hawser laid nylon or polypropylene. To sum up, this is another poor book at an expensive price and I cannot see it getting beyond the sports section in the odd public library. Martin Grass. *

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A GIRONDIN IN THE QUEST FOR THE WORLD DEPTH RECORD - G.W.-J. being a translation of an article in a French Newspaper "Le Journal du sent to Rocksport in midAugust and borrowed there from. The massif of the Pierre Saint Martin could well attract renewed attention from the general public in the next few days. A team of cavers has come as a result of their discovery of a new underground river perhaps the deepest ever explored. At the P.S.M. an important expedition is now exploring the heart mountain. The object of this excursion - the pothole BU 56, so called because it opens in Spain on the flanks of Budoguia; a pothole which, many years, has interested the specialists.* Last week their efforts were partially rewarded by the discovery, at -1335m., of a sump which, if it is passed, opens the door for a world first. A Promising River. The number -1335m., is significant of a great success, the fact that BU 56, now the second deepest cave in the world, has thus pushed the famous P.S.M. into third place. The limestone massif of the P.S.M., famous for its karst scenery, at an altitude unique in Europe*, actually contains several subterranean rivers. The best known opens not far from the frontier col. It is the one in which Marcel Loubens died at the beginning of the fifties. Lower down, towards Soule, some pitches give access to the Lonne Peyret River. The BU 56 system is developed, over 12 km, parallel to the P.S.M. river and having no junction with it. It is debated that it is the course of the St. Georges River, for which cavers from all over the world have searched for thirty years. The autonomy of this new river course and its length permits the supposition that one can go straight on, sooner or later, to reach a new world depth record, via one and the same route. The Sump of Uncertainty. The expedition is led by Jean-Francois Pernette, who already commands serious respect among international specialists. This 26 year old Girondin who has lived for some time in Escoussans, not far from Cadillac, is the Director of the big expeditions of the Federation francaise de speleologie.


14 His experience will make him go cautiously over the next few days of the course of this operation. As soon as the waters of the river St. Georges are lower it will be verified whether the sump which thwarted previous continuation can be passed. This task lies with Fred Vergier, one of the best French divers, who will shortly set to work. This reconnaissance in the glacial waters (3°C) will be the deepest dive made to date. Afterwards, assuming that the difficulties have been surmounted, the descent into the unknown can continue. Will it produce a record? Jean-Francois Pernette does not discount this possibility, and such a record would be of the BU 56 pothole alone, and not an imaginary one obtained by joining up sections of other, known systems. * I'm not quite sure what this bit means! *

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Access to Ogof Rhyd Sych. Due to problems with the tenant farmer who controls access to Ogof y Ci, presently closed, you are advised to proceed to Rhyd Sych via the east side of the gorge. Mr Williams, Pen rhiw Galis Farm, is very helpful and will allow cavers to use his farmyard for parking although there is only room for two cars. Please contact Mr. Williams before proceeding to the cave. You should avoid any confrontation with the tenant farmer on the west side of the gorge or use the remains of the barn to change until the issue over Ogof y Ci is settled. *

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MONTHLY NOTES ….. a couple of days' worth, anyway! Round Britain Cave Marathon: We did it! In 17 hours 57 mins., all the caves were in flood, and Martin is going to write something about it for next month’s B.B. The Rumour: Is it Reservoir? Is it Waterwheel? Or is it, just rumour? Red Hoss - Old Ing: These two caves in the Birkwith system below Penyghent have been joined in a dive by John Cordingley. The sump at the end of the Red Hoss main streamway had been dived years 2 ago by John Parker and was reckoned to be at least 400 feet. However the link up, to the airbell half-way through the Old Ing free-divable sump, was made after a dive of only 215 feet. Yorkshire Weekend. A date for your diary - October 23rd to 26th. We hope to be doing Ingleborough Cave, beyond the show cave section, and there should be the opportunity for a dive in Hurtle Pot. It's also the weekend of Martin Grass's birthday, so ....... Austria 1981-82. A number of teams are already being put together for an assault upon Barengassewindschacht, to see what goes beyond the 200m Ben Dol's Schacht. The hut opens on Boxing Day, and it is my intention that we should be out there and ready for then. This means leaving Britain around December 22nd as it may take a day or two to transport equipment up to the site. All, of course, depends upon whether or not the site of Barengasse is accessible in the winter. Nobody knows for sure, but I believe that, because of the location of the entrance high in a cliff, it will be relatively snow-free. Who's coming? You'll need X-C skis. Bassett.


15 TWIN TITTY HOLE by Tony Jarratt Part 1 - The Reopening. The eventual arrival of the summer in July brought on the usual spate of enthusiasm for a nice, secluded, surface dig (hopefully with a cave tree in situ) at which to sunbathe with a clear conscience. Various sites in close proximity to the Belfry were looked at - none of exceptional promise and all with access difficulties of one sort or another. It was then that we remembered that Martin Bishop had been negotiating with Bert Boddy for permission to dig Twin T's - Bert, being very worried about the open shaft, was only too pleased to give this on the condition that a strong lid was built over the six foot square hole. The Belfryites thus joined Martin on his project and our ready-made suntrap (with cave tree!) was soon inundated with all the exotic paraphernalia of the Mendip dig. Hiistory. Ref~ W.C.C. Jnl. No.126, Vol. 10, Dec. 1969. Twin T's was dug by NHASA in 1968 - 9. The initial, dug, foot timbered shaft collapsed after having reached a draughting hole. An experimental shaft was then drilled and blasted by Luke Devenish to the same depth where it entered some 80 feet of natural cave on 12th October 1969. A well decorated passage was found ending in a hairy boulder choke. This, and a couple of other passages, were inconclusively dug by NHASA and S.M.C.C. men until other projects (and collapses at the shaft bottom) lured away the diggers to more promising sites. With the assistance of trundling local kids the cave was soon buried under some eight feet of boulders and debris and looked like becoming another of Mendip's "lost caves". The reopening. Work recommenced on July 12th when Martin Bishop and the writer assessed the amount of blockage in the shaft and the capping possibilities. On the 17th they cleared the site of nettles and prepared the shaft top for the construction of concrete lintels on two sides. The following day Bert Boddy used his tractor to tow across the field a six foot by nine foot steel compressor base which NHASA had intended as a lid. This is to be fixed over the lintels. Quackers, Batspiss, Val and Bev also arrived and much concrete was mixed and expertly laid by Martin. On the Sunday a large team erected the sheer legs and experimented with various haulage techniques. Several "lager kegs" of spoil, boulders and a variety of reptilia were removed from shaft bottom. On the 20th, 25th and 26th the concrete lintels were continued with until both fore and aft of the shaft top were made secure. A nearby rubbish tip proved indispensable in providing a perfectly fitting railway sleeper and an assortment of steelwork for this task. With this job completed it was now necessary to concentrate on digging at the obstruction before fitting the steel lid. After a pre-booze up "token gesture" on Wedding Day, a major clearing session on 1st August took us down several feet and revealed how desperately unstable was the wall between the old and the new shafts. The original NHASA digging kibble was found and, though deeply embedded, was soon pulled out with the aid or M.B.’s rigid winch, which was bolted to one of the new lintels. As man-hauling was bloody hard work a winding system using the writer's "Jap Jeep" was tried, with great success, and this method was used henceforward. Some timber shoring was installed in the shaft on 2nd August. On 15th August, after only five actual digging sessions and the removal of some eight feet of (mainly) boulders, several holes leading down into the cave were opened - all draughting strongly. Because of the unstable wall above these holes, half an oil drum was procured from the diggers "supply tip" and used as a shield in which to sit and excavate downwards until a passable squeeze into the cave was opened. Tim Large, Bob Hill, Phil Romford and the writer passed this into the superbly decorated first chamber and explored the rest of the cave, Phil being one of the original explorers.


16 The horrific state of the entrance squeeze area was then rectified by the use of three 1m x 1m concrete tubes which were obtained from C.S.C.C. who had them stored for just this purpose. If we had not undertaken the project the farmer had intended to infill the shaft, and without concrete pipe sections at this stage it would have almost certainly in-filled itself! These were delivered to site by Zot and Bob Cork and, using Land Rovers, Suzuki, rigid winch and much manpower, were eventually consigned to shaft bottom and consolidated with all the debris that we had removed which was thrown back down and packed around the pipes. This was topped off with spoil from the dig inside the cave. The job was completed on 23rd August and much of the site tidied, tripod removed, etc. All that remains is for the steel capping to be positioned over the shaft and an area of this removed for an "Al Mills Special" gate to be welded in place. The next article on the cave will hopefully give details of the current dig below the entrance squeeze and a description of the vast caverns encountered. Keep your fingers crossed, dear readers, and polish your ladders, repair your rubber dinghies and wait for the summons or even better, scrape the crap off your gardening tools, desert your honk-stained armchairs and join the merry throng. 25/8/81 A.R.J. The Team. Good support was received for the project. Apart from the usual string of welcome visitors, girlfriends and dogs, the team consisted of the following (in order of appearance): Martin Bishop, J-Rat, Quackers, Batspiss, Tim and Fiona, Val, Beverley, Rich Warman, Ross, Honk, Bernie and Debbie (visiting climbers), Phil Collett (S.M.C.C.), MacAnus, Bob Hill, Phil Romford, Zot, Jem "Football Hooligan and Famed Crevasse Diver" Pogue, Terry the Tattoo, Dave Aubrey, Quiet John and Bob Cork.

Belfry Bulletin Number 401  

* * * * * Any of the articles which I promised would be in this B.B. last month will definitely be in the October issue, if I receive them f...

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