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1 BELFRY BULLETIN Volume 36 Nos. 4 & 5 Numbers 408 & 409 April and May 1982 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, Bucks. HP21 7RJ. Telephone: Aylesbury (0296) xxxx. CONTENTS:

St. George's Cave or The Hole In The Road Survey News and Notes from the Caving Secretary A Cartoon Dry Ni-cads Vicarage Passage dig The Old Stone Belfry Bi-monthly notes Geevor Tin Mine Of Spirits and Men M.R.O. RESCUES, 1980 - Jan. 1981 Letters to the Editor, etc. St Cuthbert’s III Hanging Chamber, Maypole Alpha & Jerusalem Survey Bolt Belays for S.R.T.

pp 2 & 43 p3 pp 4 & 5 p6 p7 pp 8 & 9 pp 10 & 11 pp 11, 14, 18 & 21 pp 12 &13 p 14 pp 15 - 18 pp 19 & 20 p 21 p 22 pp24 - 31

* * * * * * * * Having kipped in the car at Litton after a heavy session at the queens Arms, a female member of the Club got up in the very early hours to relieve herself. A local resident chose this same early hour to walk his dog. The incident became the talking point for a whole parish council meeting. Council investigations are under way. The cartoon on page 6 is the result. Bolt has many other cartoons in the pipeline. Explorations and surveying of Hanging Chamber, Jerusalem (the high level to oxbow Maypole) and Maypole Alpha are now complete. The survey appears on p. 22. The following is extracted from the Yorkshire Subterranean Society Newsletter: Would the people who complained about the state of the Belfry remember that we are a caving organisation and that we should not expect the Ritz when we visit other areas. I for one was glad of the friendly atmosphere we all had with the Mendipians. Garto Barstow. Just a few short lines to add to Garto's remark about the Ritz. There are none of us presume we are to be treated with waitress service. I for one complained bitterly about the condition of the Belfry. Caving organisation we might be; pigs living in hovels we are not! There was not one working/cooking area clean, let alone to be expected to prepare meals. God alone knows how we got away without foodpoisoning. To finalise, the bunk-room and the bunks stunk abominably of urine and other unmentionables. Many of the women complained, and equally as many men. Many thanks to Buckett for helping enormously with cutting stencils, for a whole weekend, and to Ann for plying us with numerous cups of coffee and delicious food. *

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2 ST. GEORGE'S CAVE / THE HOLE IN THE ROAD

by Brian Prewer.

Friday 23rd. April - Lunchtime. "Wells Police here! - We've got a council man down here who says one of his JCB's has nearly fallen through a hole in the Old Bristol Road". A few words with the council man revealed that indeed a large hole had appeared in the bottom of the trench being dug for British Telecom near Milton Lodge. An inspection during lunch hour proved that it was not a mineshaft or culvert but, in fact, natural cave with stalagmites and flowstone visible from the surface. Rather alarmingly it was noted that the highest part of the chamber was only two feet below the road surface! Without a ladder it was impossible to see the full extant of the chamber. The Irish lad who drilled into the hole was lowered down on the JCB boom for a quick look! At 7.00pm, Rich West and I met Ron Higgins, the council man, rigged a ladder from the car bumper and descended. The chamber had already been visited before us! On the floor were several footprints. Ron confirmed that no-one had entered the chamber that day other than us. A closer inspection of the quite distinct heel prints showed splash marks and pita, clearly indicating that the prints were quite old. (Wig has now found a report suggesting that Balch and his contemporaries entered a chamber in this area many years ago) (Not confirmed - A.J.) The chamber, in horizontally bedded 'dolomitic conglomerate', was roughly 40 feet long and 15 feet wide, with a small grotto at the most southerly end. At the opposite end a small hole could be seen beyond a mud and stal bank. No other passages of any significance were found. After thanking Ron for allowing us to have a look at his hole in the road he explained that he would be grateful if the cavers could make appropriate measurements and tell him where the cavern lay in relation to the surface. This we undertook to do and Ron departed saying that he would leave the cavern to the cavers for the weekend. Saturday 24th. A B.E.C. digging team removed the mud and stal bank at the northerly end of the chamber and pushed through it into a second chamber roughly 10' by 8' and 12' high. Some excellent mud formations were photographed by Phil Romford before they were damaged. The way on was down a muddy tube to the left. Feverish digging by Andy Sparrow and 'J-Rat' soon opened the tube to ferret size and allowed them to pass on to chamber 3. The remainder of the party were either too round shouldered, barrel-chested, too old, too large or too long for this muddy tube and left to get hammers, chisels, drills etc. Within an hour the ferret hole had become 'Hughes' size. Andy and J-Rat had, in fact, passed another two muddy squeezes to enter chambers 4 and 5, each one progressively smaller and muddier. Meanwhile 'Wig' had started the survey for our council friends so that they could establish how far up the road the cave went. The total length was estimated at about 100 feet of passage heading roughly off under the wall into Milton Coombe arboretum. After boardroom discussions held later that evening it was decided that Alison and Pete Moody (of the other club) should be invited to inspect the last chamber. Carbon dioxide was thought to be present near the end. Sunday 25th. The M.C.G. (the other other club) made an early descent before church and it is even rumoured that Simon was seen below at 9.00 a.m. (The cider farm opens at 10.00 a.m.) A Wessex party including Alison and Pete arrived at a more sensible hour and went through to chamber 5, where Alison pushed on into Chamber 6, 30' away. At this point a mud fill from the surface blocked the way. The survey will probably show that this point is very close to the valley side in Milton Coombe. The party retreated to make way for other cavers and the survey party in the afternoon. It is interesting to note that the afternoon survey party had to abandon their trip due to bad air - probably because of too many people and the disturbance of much glutinous mud. Also, during the afternoon, the press and T.V. arrived along with several local councillors and various other important looking gentlemen. Trips around the first chamber were conducted by various muddy cavers. A dig beneath the stal bank at the southerly end was commenced by the M.C.G. and continued by the B.E.C. Progress was rapid in the soft clay but more work needs to be done.


3 Monday 26th. The powers that be have decided that the hole 'belongs' to British Telecom and that they must decide how to fill or cap the hole. During Monday evening Wig completed the survey and it was handed over to British Telecom by Tuesday. Does this qualify for the Guinness Book of Records? By the end of Monday the JCB' s had moved away - they are going to have a try at the other end of the road! Better luck there - they might find the Cuthbert’s Master Cave. Tuesday 27th. British Telecom hinted that they would rather cap the hole in the road than try to fill it in. This would allow them to make inspections of the roof, etc.


4 NEWS AND NOTES FROM THE CAVING SECRETARY SOUTH WALES

Martin Grass

SOUTH WALES OGOF CARREG-LEM. This is a new find by the South Wales C.C. which has considerable potential. The cave is situated approximately half a mile south of Sink Y Gaidd, it is phreatic in origin, and has been explored for 1000 feet to a depth of 50 feet. Work continues with high hopes of 'Caverns measureless to man'. Also in the same area a shaft 100 feet deep has opened up half a mile up valley from Sink y Giedd. It is choked by boulders at the bottom and takes some of the Sink y 'Giedd water . OGOF CRAIG YFFYNNON. On Sunday 11th April someone removed the gate and padlock from this cave to gain access. The entrance has now been filled in, until a caver proof entrance can be fitted. The Ogof Craig y Ffynnon C.C. have a good idea who is responsible and are considering taking legal action. DAN YR OGOF. A B.E.C. team consisting of G.Wilton-Jones, Duckett Tilbury, Jane Clarke, Tim Large and Martin Grass have opened up a 40 foot pot in Dali's Delight, leading to a small stream and a static sump pool. The shaft was reached after two successful bangs, the first using a cone charge which Tim had perfected. The stream route is narrow and needs blasting. All members are welcome to help. Contact any of the above. Hopes are high of entering the Mazeways series and providing a dry by-pass to the 320 foot sump. This site has been made an official B.E.C. dig. PERMITS, etc. The South Wales C.C. have requested that any members (of B.E.C.) requiring permits/leaders to S.W.C.C. controlled caves should go through the Caving Secretary (Martin Grass, tel: 0582 35145). This will make their job much easier and stop non-club members using our name to gain access. (This has actually happened at Otter Hole). This also applies to the caves controlled by the Council of Northern Caving Clubs. Martin Grass NORTHERN CAVING C.N.G.C. See above request regarding access. NIDD HEADS. This resurgence for Goyden and New Goyden Pots: has been dived to a staggering 1300 feet (sump 2) without reaching air-space. This makes the sump the fourth longest in the country, and the largest known sump that has not been passed to dry passage. The "big four" are as follows: 1) West Kingsdale - Master Cave to Keld Head, Yorkshire. 6,000 feet 2) Boreham Cave (sump 9), Yorkshire. 1,500 feet 3) Peak Cavern; Far Sump, Derbyshire. 1,427feet 4) Nidd Heads (sump 2), Yorkshire. 1,300 feet (this is a 2,600 foot dive as no airspace is reached as in Boreham and Peak).


5 DERBYSHIRE PEAK CAVERN. Diving back into Far Sump to continue exploration Martyn Farr bolted up an aven in the extensions and found a very large chamber (the largest in the system and not much smaller than the entrance chamber). "T'Owd Man" had been here before but no mining had been carried out, and where he had entered the cavern could not be found, al though the roof is the most probable point. This was so high that Martyn's, light could not reach it. The only possible ways on now are by a lengthy bolting operation to a very high level passage or by diving the sumps found on early explorations" Access to Peak is now closed until the next season, so we will have to wait until then for further news. MENDIP STOKE LANE SLOCKER. On Saturday 7th November 1981 Ian Caldwell (D.E.C.) and Chris Milne and Pete Moody (both Wessex C.C.) placed a "bomb" (a few ounces of explosive on the end of a long stick so it would wedge against the roof) in the 6th sump of Stoke Lane Slacker. A few months later the site was visited again and Pete Eckford (B.E.C.) and Chris Milne were able to pass the tightest part of the sump and enter an air-bell. The bang had worked! On 6th March 1982 Ian and Chris returned and passed the sump proper to be the first people to enter Stoke Seven since 1965. They explored some large side chambers off the streamway and found one or two promising dig sites. On their next visit they hope to pass sump 7 and continue the unfinished exploration of Stoke Lane Eight. Ian says that Sump 6 is very tight for about two feet and is only just passable with a caving helmet on. A full report on the history of diving in Stoke Lane is being prepared by Wormhole (Ian) and should appear in the B.B. soon. As a sequel to this last trip, Ian returned to Stoke the following day to collect some kit he had left at Sump 2. On calling at the farm to collect the key he was bitten by the farm dog. After a visit to the Bristol Royal Infirmary and a few anti-tetanus jabs he was O.K. but they were a bit concerned that he had gone down Stoke with an open cut, plus, he had never had a tetanus jab before. WARNING FROM THE COMMITTTEE CAVING WITH WORMHOLE CAN DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH REMEMBER - MOST DOCTORS DON' T CAVE WITH HIM SLIDE SHOW A slide show by Paul Deakin will be held at the Belfry in the near future. Details of date and time will be published in the next B.B. and on the Belfry Notice Board. FALKLANDS Ross White has now safely returned from South Georgia after fighting the Argentineans. In true B.E.C. style he did everything to excess in being part of the group which shot down a helicopter and damaged a corvette. He also placed “B.E.C. get everywhere� stickers in various huts on the island as well as the ship he was kept on, and in a swimming pool which acted as a prison! The luxury hotel in Montevideo, Uruguay, to which he was transferred, is also liberally decorated with the famous bat. We can now truly say that the B.E.C. really do get everywhere!! Well done, Ross, and welcome home. Footnote: I hear from a reliable source that the intelligence services in Argentina fear the Brits are going to use some new, secret weapon using bats code-named" B.E.C." Will they carry heat seeking missiles or just give rabies to all the dagos in the Falklands.


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7 SOME THOUGHTS ON NICKEL CADMIUM CELLS

by Pete Eckford

Most of the Club are aware that some of us use "dry" nickel cadmium cells for caving lights. Some think we use the Rx -range, as bought in Argos, etc. To clear up this misapprehension I put pen to paper. The Rx range are O.K. for the kids toys but both the Rx 14 and the Rx 20 are expensive for what they are, i.e. both 1.2 amp hour, and the construction is such that they both soon become useless for caving. The type I feel is best suited to caving is the NCC range - NCC 400(U 2 size) 4 amp hour and NCC 200 (HP 11) 2 amp hour. The NCC 400's fit into PVC waste pipe with a blank at each end. The NCC 200's fit into standard Radio Spares die-cast boxes. I make clips for mine but there is no need because the cells can be obtained with solder tags. What sort of light do they give? Well, that depends on the bulb. I tend to use three cells with a 0.5 amp bulb. That gives 1.8 watts, about half a three cell nife, but by improving on the reflector in the headset very little difference is noticed. How long do they last? Well, again that depends, but the above with NCC 400's would last eight hours. Now, because of the many combinations I enclose a table to give an idea of the type of cell, expected duration and light output. How do you charge them? Well, you can charge them with a large resistor but I charge mine through a constant current charger. There are many circuits; all have advantages and disadvantages. As long as the charger is able to take caver abuse I don 't think it matters. The advantages of the cells? Well, they don't leak. They are light and small. If you treat them right they will last for years. NCC 400

4 hours

8 hours

12 hours

Approx. cost

NCC 200

2 hours

4 hours

6 hours

400

200

2 cells 2.4v bulb

1 amp 2.4 watt

0.5 amp 1.2 watt

0.3 amp 0.8 watt

£8.00

£6.00

3 cells 3.6v bulb

1 amp 3.6 watt

0.5 amp 1.8 watt

0.3 amp 1.2 watt

£12.00

£8.00

4 cells 4.8v bulb

1 amp 4.8 watt

0.5 amp 2.4 watt

0.3 amp 1.6 watt

£16.00

£12.00

5 cells 6v bulb

1 amp 6 watt

0.5 amp 3 watt

0.3 amp 2 watt

£20.00

£15.00


8 SWILDONs - VICARAGE PASSAGE

by Phil Romford

Introduction: I thought that it would be of some interest to publish this article on S.M.C.C. digging in Vicarage Passage. I wrote this piece in early 1969 to have it published in the S.M.C.C. journal, the S.M.C.C. being my club at the time. However, due to political upheavals around this time I decided to leave the club. Consequently I was left with my unpublished manuscript. Looking back on the dig now, it is a shame, I think, that we did not persevere. The Wessex, however, namely Ian Jepson, Glyn Bolt, et al; are now re-working it. I wish them luck. Vicarage Passage Dig, Swildons, up to 1968. This, one of our nowadays regular club digs, has been one of some dispute for several years now, with Willie Stanton prophesying its eventual passage to the Black Hole Series (1), Derek Ford disagreeing, of course, and everyone saying that it can't possible go. I must confess that the latter is the most probable when one considers how long this particular dig has been going. The original dig was started in 1962 after a breakthrough was made from the Troubles series to the Swildons 2 streamway. This was done as an inter-club effort with trips lasting of the order of 14 hours or so, which succeeded in breaking through, in fits and starts to Vicarage Pot. Then on to the "U" tube dig (1) which was worked almost solely by M.N.R.C. members, two of whom soon after joined the S.M.C.C. to carryon with Vicarage digging. The M.N.R.C. started the present dig about six years ago. About six months later it became a solely Shepton dig. I think it is generally considered to be one of the most remote and correspondingly filthy digs. However, a few of us insist on seeing the dig go if at all humanly possible. On most of the digging trips we have had in Vicarage over the past five years we (that is, your scribe and Bob Craig) have usually managed to cajole some unwitting caver into assisting us. I must admit that some of our members have been there more than once, though some have vowed, "Never again", (2) as have most outsiders. Nevertheless; it does make a good trip before digging. The present dig is situated at the farthest extremity of Vicarage Passage beyond, the "U", tube. The nature of the neighbouring passages is somewhat maze-like, with Hairy Passage being the most tortuous. After the "U" tube one comes to a ten foot drop which appears to be formed in a joint plane, and this is easily climbable. From here one proceeds up a 300 slope for about 30 feet which brings one to an inclined bedding passage which is going down at an angle of about 250. This passage leads directly into the dig, where it is still in the form of an inclined bedding passage, but somewhat smaller. The dig also appears to be taking the form of a "U" tube dig. All of the passages described have an almost totally phreatic origin with an almost negligible amount of vadose trenching. This seems to be typical of all the Vicarage Passage series. At first sight, upon arrival at the dig, the uninitiated would probably think that he had arrived at a sump pool, but this water was easily baled out through the eye-hole (fig. 1). After baling, the next problem comes with the slimy ooze of mud which is usually about a foot deep, and must be removed before one is able to dig solid clay and gravel. Although the dig had always filled, with water in the past, it used to take a number of days. By now it will fill almost to overflowing in a matter of a few hours, possibly only two. This change took place after the July 1968 floods, but it is not known whether the floods had any bearing on the dig, although it is known that the flood water reached at least as far as the "U" tube (2), or whether it is due to further lengthening of the dig, which brings us nearer to a pool on the other side. This latter seems the more likely. I think a pool must lie on the other side as the water which flows back always reaches the same level, that is, to within 4-5 inches of overflowing through the eye-hole. When the dig was first started the mud and gravel was fairly easy to remove, even if it was wet, as at the time the mud stayed fairly firm. However, recently, with the great amount of water and the greater length of passage, it has become increasingly difficult to use ordinary digging tools, so we decided that


9 we must resort to chemical means. This took the form of Polar Ammon Gelignite. This has been no inconsiderable help, as to date it has gained us about nine feet of passage. So far about 4¼lb of PAG has been used, 4 lb, of this actually detonating, the other ¼lb being found with a foot of Cordtex sticking out of it (3) This charge was laid as two separate ¼lbs about one foot apart, the Cordtex joining these two being bound in the recommended ICI manner. Needless to say, I shall not be using this technique again underground as this is not the first time this has happened in a cave (4). Fortunately the charge was wrapped in a watertight polythene bag, so had fared well as far as sweating was concerned. It was, therefore, safe to move and place another charge alongside it. Although the bang was not sweating, I must admit that I was, and quite profusely, at the time of moving it.

This is where my original script finished. The intention was to continue with a second article to describe our findings, but due to lack of helpers Crange and I decided to give it up. References: (1) M.N.R.C. (2) S.M.C.C. (3) S.M.C.C. (4) S.M.C.C.

Jnl., 1, (2), 28 An account of Vicarage digging. Hut Log Vol. 6 20. Vicarage. Hut Log Vol. 6 42. Vicarage. Hut Log Vol. 6 46. Lamb Leer.


10 BUILDING FOR THE BELFRY by Jill Tuck (for new members who wonder why we have such a gaunt looking tackle hut) In 1957 the wooden Belfry was bursting with people caving kit, useful Wellington boots and old socks. More space was essential. However, if you are in an area scheduled as one of Unusual Scenic Interest, you have the choice of building on the sly and swearing that it was there before the 1949 Act, or doing it the long, more certain way, via planning committees. The chances of getting away with anything were fairly small as it was known that planes were carrying out aerial surveys, so the B.E.C. had to decide to sink their principles and do things legally. Legally, of course, meant lengthily. Stage 1 was to have preliminary talks with the Council Planners to see what might be permitted. They really wanted to refuse all new buildings except farming, but also wanted to see the end of temporary wooden buildings on Mendip, and a return to traditional style. Mendip at the time certainly had architectural heritage of functional beauty and uniformity (i.e. corrugated asbestos roofs and materials taken from the nearest semi-derelict site). A century or two passed and the huge tonnage of stone already on site weathered gently and was almost permanently crowned by Neddy's motor-bike. Eventually Pat Ifold drew up plans of a practicable and attractive building of Mendip stone which had a ridged roof and a Dutch chimney at the visible end. Months passed, then the planners refused consent. Dutch chimneys were not allowed and the building had to have a 'traditional' tiled roof. A quick count around the locality showed that roofs were about 40% rusty corrugated iron, 40% corrugated asbestos and 20% in a plethora of materials and colours (plethoras were always popular on Mendip). The Planning Committee would not admit our argument. Stalemate. The stone pile developed moss and a pleasant patina from cowsh. The position was serious, not because of the tiles but because of the cost of the wooden frame to support them. This roof would have doubled or trebled costs, even if second-hand timber were used. Every week the members drank to the confusion of their enemies, while prayers were said by the club committee as they reexamined their assets and found them too small. The planning committee relented a little and ruled that the building could have an asbestos roof if nobody could see it. They themselves sketched out the traditional Mendip dwelling which they would like to see; bearing in mind the visual needs of the area, the impossibility of a tiled roof, and the size required. Thus was born the Mexican jail, for whose design the B.E.C. had no responsibility whatever. The Planning Committee also ruled that windows were to be traditionally oblong, but the rounded tops were defiantly put in by Alfie and myself who could not stand the look of the place as now proposed. After a few more centuries, the official plans were passed. At the end of 1958 a little gang of members assembled, on site with poles and string to mark out the quoins (corners). The gang stepped back to admire their work, until it was suggested that they measure the diagonals. This showed a difference of several feet - red faces all round. Things were at best on the way and the foundations went in. With the help of our professional adviser, Albert, stones were put in to get the verticals in at the corners or, as professional parlance had it, "the quoins were set up". We were using a Mendip mix of concrete using limestone dust, so Albert demonstrated the correct amount of water to add to get it 'daunch'. The stones had to be laid with the strata horizontal, as blocks put in vertically (termed butterflies) would crack off layer by layer in wet or frosty weather. (If you see a house with a wall looking like crazy paving, you know that the owners are going to need a replacement job in a few years time.) Having learned the vernacular, we were off. Eventually it was time to lay the floor, and ready-mix concrete was ordered. Alan Sandall had volunteered to meet and deal with the load, but there was no sign of the wagon at the expected time. It turned out that the driver had decided that he knew better than the person who gave him the route plan, and had not only got lost but also sprung a puncture. When at last it arrived, the delayed mix had outlasted its time and was only just jettisoned before it set. Alan lost much of the flesh from his hands but managed to get the concrete in place chunk by chunk.


11 The walls continued to rise but it took three years to get to the parapet. For one thing, work was limited to guaranteed frost-free week-ends. For another the mix was very liquid and Mendip Stone trapezoid or triangular, so we could never build more than about nine inches high at a session without the new part subsiding under the weight. The bulk of the building work was done by Alfie Collins who specialised in the block work inside and the technical stuff like the wooden moons for the window arches, and myself, who built most of the stone outer. The shed was called the Vestry, where members would be vesting themselves caving rig-out, but the name never caught on. Finally I sculpted the gargoyle of after-gin caver (from life), and the gutter to it and the roof were installed. Finally, did I say? It took years to stop water running uphill along the convenient gutter arrangement demanded by the council, and to keep the inside rooms dry. The building time taken and the limited working time available made it clear that any new Belfry would need to be put up by an outside firm. Still, the tackle shed did get finished and served as H.Q. and sleeping accommodation for a vital time after the wooden Belfry No. 2 made a funeral pyre of itself. For the record, and for people who would like to date Belfry photographs, he work timetable was as follows:

Tackle shed building progress. Work started late autumn 1958; Floor laid 3.9.60; Shower and washbasin, Easter 1961; Windows puttied, Easter 1961, internal doors fitted, Painted, May 1961; Walls and parapet finished, October 1962. * * * * * * * * BI-MONTHLY NOTES Reads Grotto. Pete and Alison Moody visited this site, near G.B. Cavern, recently and after a period of digging broke into over 1000 feet of cave reaching a depth of around 300 feet. There are loose boulders in the entrance passages - these are the reason Willie Stanton did not bang there. There is a Cuthbert’s type rift near the beginning, there are many good formations (which are unfortunately already being damaged despite the very few visits into the cave, mainly by experienced cavers) and a large chamber towards the end. This final chamber approaches G.B. Main Chamber in size, and the two are only 50 feet apart. The present end of the cave is a loose run in of boulders forming a choke. The system is already gated and access is very strictly controlled by Charterhouse Caving Committee. Charterhouse and Velvet Bottom Caves. Several of the caves in these two areas have been broken into recently or have had locks and/or gates damaged. Access restrictions are liable to increase if this vandalism continues. B. E.C. Caving Meets. Two of the best attended caving trips this year were the Wookey Hole (dry) trip and White Scar Cave. Perhaps some of the participants would care to write an article. The usual hordes turned up in South Wales at Easter, but failed to drink Chrickhowell dry. The White Ensign flew patriotically over the site, accompanied a new Bertie flag, courtesy of Trevor. B.E.C. members joined Speleo Nederland in Yorkshire for trips in Calf Holes - Browgill, Out Sleets Beck and Link - Pippikin. The social scene was constantly livened by Martin Scatliffe (Bradford F.C.), who does an excellent Rain-dance.


12 GEEVOR MINE

by Chris Batstone

During a not so sunny summer day Hike (Quackers) Duck and I paid a visit to Geevor Mine for a look at the tin concentrating plant. Geevor, since its formation from two small mines in 1911 (Wheal Stennack and North Levant) has become probably the major concern in tin mining in the county. During the past twenty years the workings have expanded to take in the old submarine workings at Levant Mine while considerable interest is shown at present in working the Crowns section of the old Botallack Mine. Although the values of tin from the ore are nothing like those that were worked during the heyday of Cornish mining the efficiency of the concentration process can win enough tin to make working payable. The concentration mill is situated near the shaft head at Victory Shaft. All the are from the mine reaches the surface via this shaft. From the shaft the ore is passed, over a Grizzley screen to separate the more manageable rocks from the larger, unmanageable ones. These large rocks pass through a jaw crusher where the rocks are squeezed and broken between two hard metal plates until they are of a manageable size for washing. Washing is carried out using water pumped out of the mine itself. The ultra-fine sand or slimes from this process are settled out to provide low grade tin concentrate, approx. 10% tin, which is generally sold off with no further treatment. The washed ore is then crushed down to the consistency of fine gravel and put through what is known as heavy media separation. The less dense waste rock will float to the surface of the heavy media pulp (such as ferrosilicon and water) whereas the more dense are bearing rock will sink and settle out. The ore is passed over fine vibrating screens to separate the fine slimes from the coarse sands which are passed through a Newell Dunford ball mill to further reduce the ore. The ball mill consists of a revolving steel cylinder loaded with steel balls, and a mesh screen to control the size of the particles in the discharge for the first concentration. The pulp is normally classified into size to supply a range of spigot discharges for the shaking tables; the table middlings are further re-ground by a Hardinge ball mill and re-tabled. The shaking table consists of a slightly inclined rectangular, or similar, surface of wood approx. 15 feet by 5' feet, covered with linoleum and small wood "riffles" and is given a shaking motion along its major axis by an eccentric drive. The riffles guide the pulp, which is fed onto part of the top edge of the table and tends to flow at right angles to the shaking motion. Clean water is also added from a perforated pipe, and this flows over the remaining edge at the top of the table. The jerking movements throw the more dense particles along the length of the table further than the less dense particles and the washing water carries the gangue material further down the table. The result is that the ore is separated and carried further along the table in the direction of motion, so coming off the discharge end of the table higher up than the waste, or tailings. Middlings and tailings can be cut out by the placement of takeoff troughs to catch the various products as they come over the edge of the table. The black tin or cassiterite is passed from the shaking tables through a froth flotation process: this removes impurities such as copper, arsenic, zinc and iron sulphide. The flotation process relies on making the surface of some minerals repel wetting by water, while allowing other minerals to be wetted. The minerals which repel wetting tend to concentrate from the pulp and attach themselves to an air-water interface, usually air bubbles blown in the pulp. These form as a froth on the surface and this is skimmed off. The collector chemical is frequently a zanthate (or dithiocarbonate) whilst pine oils or similar additives form the frothing agent. Unfortunately no method has yet been found for the flotation of tin and this process is used only to separate impurities. When no more material is floated the contents of the flotation cell are run off for final concentration and then passed through a magnetic separator. This separates the high grade tin concentrate from the medium grade concentrate which is approx. 20% pure and contains oxides of iron and other impurities. This is sold with no further, treatment. The high grade concentrate is dried and packed into 50kg bags ready for sale to the smelters. It is hoped the above article has given the reader some idea of the complexity of tin ore dressing. An average of some 200 tons of tin will be recovered from approx. 20,000 tons of ore. The Geevor Mine is well worth a visit. A small but comprehensive museum also been started on the site. Unfortunately the cost of visiting this is extra


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14 OF SPIRITS AND MEN

by "Honk".

Anybody familiar with the BEC will know that they are famous for two pastimes. Drinking and caving, the former being the most popular. It is also wall known that many Mendip cavers like to combine the two, resulting in the occasional Saturday night, drunken caving excursion into Swildons. It would seem that drunken caving is a fairly modern phenomenon, originally conceived by the BEC, who were the first Mendip "rowdy”cavers. However I have evidence to suggest that the first Caving piss artist, lived and died in the seventeenth century. Most, cavers know of Pen Park Hole. It is a small but interesting cave, located in the heart of a council estate in Southmead Bristol. This cave has many claims to fame; its strange location; its tidal lake; its rich history. I have, though, left one item from the list. Pen Park Hole was the birthplace of the whole caving and drinking concept, as I shall explain. Back in July 1669, a certain adventurer called Captain Sturmey, decided to explore the newly discovered Pen Park Hole. So on the second of July, with a miner hired for the purpose, Sturmey descended the cave. After three hours of candlelight caving, Sturmey came across a vast cavern, which he explored with great joy until his joy was presently turned to amazement and he was much astonished by the sight of an evil spirit, and for that reason did go thither no more. (A) This encounter with an evil spirit would suggest that Sturmey saw a ghost, but upon leaving the cave, Sturmey suffered from a malady known to all Belfryites as his own account suggests. "But for four days after my return I was troubled with violent headaches which I impate to my being in that vault". (A) Unfortunately Sturmeys condition worsened and he died within a fortnight of leaving the cave with "a high fever and a pallid countenance". At this stage I will point out that the words "spirit" and "headache” are synonymous with one another when associated with alcohol. It seems to me, that contrary to popular belief, Captain Sturmey died, not though encountering a supernatural creature, but from drinking too much. The symptoms he suffered after the trip certainly seam to indicate the common hangover! In that historic caving trip Sturmey made two "firsts". He was the first explorer of Pen Park Hole and Britain’s first drinking caver. So when you next sip beer in the Hunters, or sample the delights of a Belfry barrel, spare a thought for Captain Sturmey who discovered "Belfryitus" long before the Belfry existed. A. Both taken from Philosophical Transactions No 143 by Sir Robert Southwell, dated 1670. *

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Northern news. The exploration of Nidd Heads has continued beyond Martin’s latest bit of news, and the underwater passage is now the second longest explored in Britain. In Gaping Gill one member of a party abseiling the Main Shaft by way of the Rat Hole lost control and was killed. It appears that he had only practised in trees previously, and attempted the descent using only three bars of his rack. Another caver, already safely at the floor, held the rope in an attempt to control or slow the other’s fall, but to no avail. He was hit by the falling, caver and received serious injuries. In Diccan Pot a caver fell from a ladder and was found to be dead when lowered to the bottom. Mendip. Trevor Hughes has now received official permission to dive Rodney Stoke Rising (the little green door in the mountain) and first priority will be to pull out the boulder which has prevented previous access. Martin Bishop has once, again organised digging at Cheddar (First Feeder) Main Rising. At present, mid-May, this rising has almost dried up and any water that is emerging from among the boulders is actually flowing back towards the cliff!


15 Mendip Rescue Organization. Cave Rescues and Incidents for the Year ending 31st January 1981. Over the year we have had a wide variety of call outs. Apart from the now usual alerts and searches, we have persuaded a girl to dive back through sump 1 in Swildons, assisted two exhausted girls up pitches, helped two injured boys after they had fallen down pitches, unplugged a stuck caver in Longwood and attended another who suffered a fatal heart attack .in nearby G.B. Cavern. At the end of this more than busy year, a large contingent of Mendip cavers went on a works outing to help colleagues from South Wales at Agen Allwedd. From this variety, however, we must note that four incidents on Mendip have involved inexperienced teenagers, three of which were led by teachers or instructors rather than club cavers. Sunday 3rd February 1980.

Swildons Hole.

Dr. William Stanton was alerted by the Police from Frome at 1540 hrs. He contacted the informants who had correctly remained at the Priddy Green telephone box and learnt that 19 years old Joan Cooper from Bracknell, Berks, was exhausted and unable to climb up the short pitch at the foot of the old Forty Foot Pot. William then telephoned the Belfry and Chris Batstone took charge of the call out there. Dr. Don Thomson was told of the incident and he advised that the Reviva warm air breather should be used to prevent possible exposure problems. Mike Duck, Jim Watson, and Trefor Roberts were underground within twenty minutes of the callout and were followed by a five man party with the Reviva. Other parties were in the cave at the time and were able to give assistance. Brian Prewer established a radio link with cavers stood by at the Belfry from Priddy Green. Miss Cooper was helped out of the cave by 1630hrs and taken to the Belfry to change and warm up. Sunday 24th February 1980.

Swildons Hole.

Three climbers from Bristol were reported by local cavers to be doing a Long Round Trip earlier in the day. They had been seen underground using maps to find their way. When they had not surfaced by 2330hrs, cavers were stood by at Priddy and the police informed. The overdue trio surfaced shortly after midnight having underestimated the difficulty of the trip. One was particularly tired a he had not done much caving before. Friday 22nd February 1980.

Cuckoo Cleeves.

David Irwin was contacted by Frome police at 2000hrs with news that a 14yr old boy in a party from Dorchester school, Bournemouth had fallen and broken a leg. It appears that Nicholas Amor got ahead of another party of local scouts who were also doing the cave. On descending the entrance pitch and hurrying through the ruckle, he is thought to have tried jumping the 13ft pot! He sustained a bad fracture of the leg. Cavers at the Hunters Lodge Inn were alerted and Rod Harper quickly responded with a strong party and essential rescue equipment. Rod used his veterinary’s skills to good effect and Amor was soon hauled out to have his injuries inspected by Dr. Don Thomson. He was then taken by ambulance to hospital where he remained for several weeks owing to the severity of the fractures. Friday 11th April 1980.

Box Stone Mines, Wiltshire.

Devizes contacted Brian Prewer and asked him to telephone Chief Inspector Cooper at Corsham regarding a possible incident in Box Stone Mines. Two girls exercising horses near the mines had heard voices that might have been cries for help. A check had shown that no one was thought to have gone down the various entrances, but, a bunch of freshly picked primroses was found near the railway tunnel.


16 The Police wanted a search of the mines to eliminate the possibility of any Children being lost there. Brian alerted Bob Scammell, Keith Newbury and Chris Batstone in the area and asked them to conduct a search of the main routes. Tim Large raised a standby party and David Irwin was ' advised of the incident. He then collected equipment from the Belfry and made his way to Corsham keeping in radio contact with Eric Dinford. The search party spent from 1730 to 1915hrs looking around the main routes but found nothing. It was assumed that the children could have entered Box Tunnel and travelled through it so that the voices had been heard from one of the air shafts. The Police called off the search at this at this point. Monday 5th May 1980.

Brown’s Folly Mine, Wiltshire.

A call was received by Brian Prewer at 1945hrs from Devizes Police who, reported that the parents of four teenagers had informed them of a party missing in the mines. Brian immediately contacted Bob Scammell at Bathford who went straight to the site and got on with the search single handed. Chris Batstone and Martin Bishop stood by. Bob soon found the missing party of seven youths lightless at Clapham Junction. Apparently ten had entered the mines earlier after few had claimed to have been down them the previous week. Then for some inexplicable and irresponsible reason, the three with good torches left the remainder with failing lights and simply went off to a local public house. It was left to the parents to raise the alarm. All were out of the mines by 2100hrs having been underground in light clothing or about six hours. No one took kindly to the youths regarding the incident as a huge joke and they got a well deserved dressing down. Chief Superintendent S.J. Ashley subsequently wrote to thank MRO or helping and paid tribute to Bob Scammell in particular. Saturday 25th May. 1980.

Longwood Swallet.

At about 1415hrs Andy Williams went to the Hunters Lodge and reported that a large man was stuck in Longwood with Geoff Price and another caver on the wrong side of him to give assistance. He was John Hopton from Fishponds, Bristol. The Police and Bristol Water Works were advised of the situation and Alan Thomas went to the cave to assist, arriving at about 1430hrs. Meanwhile Brian Prewer and Bob Scammell went for hauling gear, whilst Stewart McManus and Tony Knibbs provided back up. Dr. Peter Glanvill as alerted and Tim Large and Nigel Taylor set up radio contact from the cave to the Belfry. Mr and Mrs Trim kindly allowed, access through the farm and were most helpful. The victim was soon moved by help from the right direction and out of the cave by 1600hrs none the worse for his experience. Saturday 7th June 1980.

Manor Farm Swallet:

Howard Barker aged 34 from Targarth, Powys, and Miss Josephine Laver, aged 25 years from Salisbury Whiltshire, went down the cave at 1430hrs. Both had been caving together for several years. A ladder was used on the Entrance Pitch and ropes were carried for September Rift and the pitch in Curtain Chamber. The trip went well until they turned to the pitches on the way out. When Josephine became exhausted and unable to climb up the awkward September Rift, Barker had to leave the cave for assistance. He reached the Belfry at 1900hrs and explained the situation to Nigel Taylor who raised a party of seven to form a hauling party. Brian Prewer was alerted and the police informed of the incident. The BEC party reached the cave with Nigel at 1920hrs and were soon underground. By using a sit harness, it was a straight forward matter to assist Josephine Laver up the rift and then out of the Cave. All had surfaced by 2000hrs and everyone stood down. Miss Laver was not hurt so she returned to the Townsend Campsite, Priddy, with Mr Barker.


17 Saturday 16th August 1980.

G.B. Cavern

Yeovil Police contacted Brian Prewer at 1753 hrs to report that a caver in G.B. was having trouble with his breathing. The informant had wrongly left the telephone and so further information was unobtainable. David Irwin was requested to go to the cave at 1755hrs for an on the spot assessment and after experiencing difficulty in making a telephone connection to the Belfry, Brian alerted Marilyn McManus to establish an alternative radio contact there. She also raised Wessex Cave Club members. Fred Davis was called at 1810hrs and a party with Chris Batstone and Dany Bradshaw left the belfry about same time. Meanwhile, Dave Irwin reported that 33 year old Ian Mille from Bristol had suffered a heart attack at the foot of one of the climbs in Mud Passage. Dr. Don Thomson was called at 1825hrs and asked to attend. Jim Hanwell was then contacted and all went to the cave. Fred Davies went underground at 1845 hrs and found BAR and ECM being applied by the earlier arrivals. He continued with this until Dr. Don Thomson reached the scene at 1900hrs to report that the patient had died. The deceased was hauled to the surface by 1950hrs and the cave cleared by 2015hrs. Another party below completely missed the entire incident which had lasted only 2â…“hrs. Apparently, Ian Miller had no previous caving experience but had requested joining a small well equipped group visiting the Ladder Dig Series. He appeared to be in some distress on the way out and then suddenly collapsed. At the Inquest, it was recorded that death had resulted from a heart attack probably brought about by unaccustomed exertion. Wednesday 1st October 1980.

Swildons Hole.

Brian Prewer was contacted by Yeovil Police at about 2230hrs concerning a 14 year old girl who was refusing to return through Sump I. Apparently, two teachers had taken ten girls from Merrywood School, Bristol down the cave at about 1700hrs. The party was well equipped with wet suits, boots and lamps to a standard beyond that expected for such a group on their third caving trip. Moreover it was planned to visit Swildons II via the streamway and sump. One teacher with nine of the girls was met on their way out at the Twenty Foot Pot by Greg Villis and Dave Gill. They learnt that the other teacher had remained on the far side of Sump I with Rebecca Lane who was refusing to dive back after experiencing some, difficulty in going through on the way in. Whilst Greg hurried to sump one to help, Dave left the cave ahead of the school party to call out MRO. Brian Prewer happened to be in the company of several MRO wardens and cavers on receiving the alert. He contacted David Irwin and Martin Bishop and the first rescue party was underground within 30 minutes of the callout. A substantial group followed with comforts, warm clothes the Little Dragon warm air resuscitator and a small breathing apparatus in case Rebecca would prefer it to dive back. A telephone line was established through the sump and Dr. Don Thomson was present. In the event Rebecca refused all encouragement to help herself. Eventually, with both parties on either side of the sump in telephone communication, she was carefully lowered into the pool and hauled through none the worse for the experience. After some hot food and warm air, all made a rapid exit to be clear of the cave by 0200hrs on the Thursday. It is vital to note that the telephone communication was essential to co-ordinate both parties when such a "pull through" technique is used. Saturday 8th November 1980.

Sludge Pit.

Anthony Dearling a Scout Leader mainly involved in introducing novices and those of medium experience on occasional caving weekends to Mendip since 1974, took a party of seven down the cave just before mid-day. Two sixteen year old beginners were present, one being Martin Jackson. All were members of the 2nd Syenham Scout Group. After about 2Âź hours underground, the party started its return with the leader moving directly ahead of the two novices in front to speed up the journey out. At this point, Robert Jackson at the rear of the trio missed his footing to fall about 6.5 meters down the rift in the main passage beneath the Upper


18 Series. He sustained facial injuries and was badly shaken. It appears that he may have fallen owing to the failure of his carbide lamp so that he was with out light when crossing the rift. The incident is thought to have occurred at about 14hrs. After assessing the extent of Roberts injuries, the leader sent out Susan March and Alan Jackson to raise the alarm. Brian Prewer was alerted by Yeovil Police at 1530hrs, but was unable to gain more details other that someone had fallen in the cave since the informants has left the telephone. Brian contacted David Irwin who went straight away to gather more information at the scene. He found Alan Keen, Adrian Vanderplank and Glyn Bolt from Upper Pits already on their way to help with hauling gear, ladders and a carrying sheet. They entered the cave less than 30 minutes after call-out. Meanwhile Brian stood a party of six and asked Dr. Don Thompson to attend. The injured boy was able to help himself quite well in the circumstances and was assisted out of the cave by 1650hrs. Dr. Don Thomson examined his injuries and then he was taken by ambulance to hospital in Bath to have deep cuts stitched and an Xray. Weekend 17 – 19th January 1981.

Agen Allwedd

Three dozen Mendip rescuers went to help South Wales who were bringing out a patient with a broken leg from Southern Stream Passage. Another two dozen stood by. The full report of this mammoth operation belongs to the South Wales Rescue Organisation of course. However, we may record that the controller, Brian Joplin, found out radios a great help and the little Dragon warm air breather proved invaluable. We are especially grateful to the Warden of Crickhowell Youth hostel for his hospitality to all from Mendip. J.D. Hanwell. Hon Secretary & Treasurer, Mendip Rescue Organization. IMPORTANT:

Informants must remain at their telephone until contacted by a Warden for full details of any incident. *

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BI-MONTHLY NOTES continued Fairy Cave Quarry. The current state of play on this issue at the C.S.C.C. meeting March 13th 1982 would appear to be as follows:The Cerberus, in conjunction with the Somerset Trust for Nature Conservation, have made a formal offer to Hobbs through agents. There appeared to be no other interested parties. The C.S.S. have stated that they will control the cavers but could not give any guarantee of access to the caves for C.S.C.C. members at the present time. C.S.C.C. may be prepared to support C.S.S. in their negotiations if the access to the Caves becomes clarified. Northern news from B.C.R.A. journal, Caves and Caving. N.C.C. seem to have found another streamway in Pipikin. Some areas in the cave are so confusing that they are intending to re-survey the system. After work by Red Rose and N .C.C., Lost Pot was briefly connected to Lost Johns, but one wall of the pot collapsed seriously injuring a caver. The pot has been sealed to allow the boulders to settle. In King Pot over 15,000 feet of passage have been explored. Dale Barn Cave is well over 9,000 feet long. Bassett


19 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, ETC. London, SW 7 4 JJ Dear Editor ANYTHING Concerning the B.E.C. Dinner - no disco, please. It is out of character with the occasion and would be a distraction where none is wanted. I go berserk at discos, while there are those who do not like them. A dinner to one's liking? Herewith a cautionary tale about habits picked up when abroad. A girl I was with in France persuaded me that the escargot or French snail is a succulent dish, as it proved to be. Each animal is taken from its shell, cleaned, cooked and put back with a delicious garlicky sauce. Given a pair of tongs to hold the shell and a winkling-out fork, off you go, not forgetting to mop up the sauce with soppets of the bread provided. One wet and cold November evening, I arrived in the Spanish city of Logrono. Finding a promising restaurant I sought a menu, and there it was - caracoles the Spanish snail. Just the job before a plate of roast lamb, Spanish style. A dish was put before me. It was full of a soupy stew in which the shells of the snails could be distinctly seen. No tongs winkling fork. What to do? Luckily a girl at the next table was served with the same dish, and I sat fascinated while she tackled the snails, chatting all the while with her companion. You pick out a shell between finger and thumb, and there is the stewed beast looking at you, horns and all. Applying your lips to the snail you suck it out of its shell, but of course it will only come so far. Holding the snail in your teeth, preferably with lips parted, you pull the shell smartly away from, you when - SPLAT, the far end of the snail detaches itself and literally smacks you between the teeth. One chews, savours and swallows unless the snail is a bad one which you can soon tell by the taste. Fortunately I was hungry, having started from hot and sunny Peniscola with a hangover first thing in the morning, hence only a couple of cups of coffee on the slow mountain road to Zaragosa. So, with a few glasses of wine and one eye on my fellow snail-eater the plateful soon disappeared. It is not an experiment I would care to try again, although it certainly won't stop me from sampling dishes as yet un-tasted. I can hear the voice of Mendip saying; "Serve the bugger right for mucking about with foreign food" (sorry - "crap"). But wait - my ears were pinned back this evening by an opinion on traditional English fare which sailed forth from the BBC "Grouse - the meat of that scented bird tastes like the flesh of an elderly courtesan marinated in a bidet" - well, yer pays yer money and - which reminds me, sub. Herewith. All best wishes for arrangements for the Dinner, which occasion I hope to disgrace with my presence if possible - meanwhile, as the Spanish say, 'Good appetite' Yours &c. DISGUSTING But of course, it must be

Keith Murray.

P .S. There seems no reason why impoverished non-members should not be able to subscribe to and receive the BB unless this happens to be the last straw which breaks the backs of printer, publisher and distributor. * * * * * * * * Edgbaston Birmingham B17 Dear Fiona Herewith my sub for 1982. Sorry about the delay in sending it, which has nothing do with lack of means, or interest in the club, but a lot to do with human lethargy! Why (and I've made this point several times before to various people) don't you consider the use of Banker's Orders. The 'non-active' member can hardly be blame for not living, eating and sleeping "BEC", and a brief note at the bottom of one page of a rather irregular BB is easily ignored or forgotten.


20 I'm sure the club loses many members each year because of this. I know that in these inflationary times Subs go up each year, but as you will have received at least the amount of the previous year's sub., I think the Club should be able to stand the cost of sending out a new Banker's Order and request for the balance to those who pay that way - or, to put it rather bluntly, if the Club can’t be bothered to make some effort to keep its old members, then it won’t have any grounds to gripe if they don’t renew their membership. If you feel you can’t raise this with the Committee or if it has already been considered and turned down, then I'd like to see this letter passed on to the Editor, with your, and/or the Committee’s views, for publication and discussion. Best wishes, Chris Howell NOTE FROM THE TREASURER Any individual is welcome to arrange payments to the Club through their own Bank to: LLOYDS BANK LIMITED 24, HIGH STREET, WELLS, SOMERSET, BA5 2SJ Branch No.. xx xx xx Account No.. xxxxxx. I would paint out, however, that as the subs change from time to time, it would be better to arrange to pay by Direct Debit rather than Banker's Order. Direct Debit enables the Club to take the amount of subs relevant each year without returning to the Club member each time far a new signature. The members will be informed of the change in subs in the BB before the subs are due, and if any memeber disagrees with the amount, the Direct Debit may be cancelled at any time. If Banker's Orders are used the member must be prepared to sign a new order every time the subs are changed. We will try to arrange far some Banker's Orders and, preferably, Direct Debit arms to be duplicated, and these can be distributed through the B.B. if the response merits it. Sue Dukes.

* * * * * * * * The letter below has been received as a result of our sponsored cave trip. The trip raised the sum of £500 which was divided between the school below and the High Wycombe Mentally Handicapped Society. The Avalon School, Street, Somerset. Dear Mr Tilbury, I write to thank you for the generous donation of £250 for the children of this school. We are a day Special School for children with a wide range of learning difficulties including mental handicap. Your kindness will enable us to provide more effective help for the children in our care. Please convey my thanks and appreciation to members of the Bristol Exploration Club. Yours sincerely, C.G. Cann. Headmaster


21 ST. CUTHBERT’S SWALLET III

by Phil Romford

This year is to be the time for cracking the Cuthbert’s III problem. III? you say. Yes III. We must find it! Since 1968, the year of the Cuthbert’s 2 breakthrough, a varying amount of work has been done in numerous places in an attempt to extend the cave, namely at Sump 2, the Man Trap, the downstream end of Sump 1, to name but a few. The work up until the end of 1981 culminated with Dutch (S.M.C.C.) Tim Large and myself, plus various B.E.C. and S.M.C.C. members, preparing for the big push. Some blasting was done in the roof of sump 2, the idea being to remove about 500mm to allow access to the 3rd air-bell 5 metres in, to save baling. However, we only proceeded about 1.5 metres. On two occasions Tim and I baled Sump 2 into the last dam, in the first instance to look at the problem, and in the second instance to place bang in the roof. Tim and I feel that we should continue pushing Sump 2, as this currently takes all the combined stream water. It does, however, back up in, severe flood conditions - we have seen tide marks up to 2.5m above normal stream level. There are, we realize, some people who will disagree with our decision for various reasons. We will give it a go all the same. In order to achieve our goal we must make further preparations, namely, more dam building. Dutch, with other S.M.C.C. members, has started work upstream, of Gour Hall which is yet to be completed. I, with the help of Chris Batstone and Jem, have started new dams in the depression. These surface dams will control water from Mineries Pool, the Plantation Stream, and hopefully the Shower Bath and Maypole streams. Finally, to complete our control of cave water we will build one dam at Sump 2, close to the water/roof line, to reduce the quantity of water to be baled, and one dam downstream of the Eight foot Pot in II, to act as a catch-tank in case of any upstream dam failure. When these preparations are complete the work plan will most likely be to have organised working weekends on a shift rota. So, be warned, you active B.E.C. members. Your help may be called for! Soon, we hope. Since we have to bale sump 2 to dig the end, there will inevitably be a danger of being flooded. To try and alleviate this problem I propose that some small breathing apparatus be available for the endangered diggers. So, Biffo, Quackers, R'pic, et al., be prepared to loan kit, please. *

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BI-MONTHLY NOTES continued Northern news from B.C.R.A. journal. In Garsdale a find of over half, a mile is still being explored and surveyed. The entrance is loose, tight and flood prone. Craven P.C. have extended Cliff Force Cave by 1,500 feet of high level passage running from the chamber with the Gigantoproductus fossils poking out of the wall, to join the main passage further upstream. The fixed ladder has been removed from P 8. You now need to take two of your own. Northern Sump Index. This fascinating document is free to C.D.G. members, but is a must for any caver interested in northern caves, whether divers or not. When will there be similar productions covering Mendip, South Wales and Derbyshire.


22 After the Easter meet four of us went over to County Clare to do some of the more well known systems. In the extremely dry, sunny conditions we were able to, do Coolagh River Cave in perfect safety. We also visited St. Catherine’s - Doolin, Faunarouska, Cullaun 2 and 5, Pol an Ionain and, of course, O'Connor's Bar. Apparently Pat Cronin and Ken James were out there just before us, and discovered five new caves. How about something for the B.B. Ken? B.E.C. lapel badges. Pin on enamel lapel badges depicting a bat and the Club initials are now available, price £1.50. Get your order in now, as they are going fast. Contact Tim. You will notice that several of this B.B.' s pages are photo-copies (Not apparent on this re-print). Many thanks to Jeremy Henley for providing us with this facility at cost price. If you don't want the June/July D.B. to be empty please start writing now.


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24 BOLT BELAYS FOR SRT Taken from NCA Equipment Committee Information Report No. 80/3 by Paul Seddon. Introduction Over the past few years there has been a large increase in the number of expansion bolts that have appeared at the heads of pitches, a situation that in the interests of cave conservation is to be discouraged unless the bolts are absolutely necessary. Examination of the cause of this increase reveals that there are probably two main reasons. The first lies in the fact that Single Rope Techniques are becoming increasingly popular, and that what often constitutes a good position for a ladder belay (by tradition usually not a bolt) may not be suitable for S.R.T., because of the necessity for a free hang for the latter. However a bolt belay positioned to suit S.R.T. will usually be perfectly suitable for a ladder belay. The second reason is simply a lack of trust in bolts placed by other people, and judging by the state of some of them, they can hardly be blamed. It is not uncommon to see anchors sticking out from the rock by as much as 5mm, or to see loose anchors due to bad drilling, or even to see them placed in detached blocks or flakes - all of which are potentially lethal. Yet a properly placed anchor (which is well greased immediately after insertion) is not only very safe, but is also virtually maintenance free, and should be useable for many years even in the damp environment of the cave. What can be done to prevent the spread of unsightly Bolt Rash in our caves and at the same time increase the safety of bolt belays? Perhaps part of the answer is to make sure that when each of us needs to place a bolt, we do so correctly so that subsequent parties will be confident in them, thereby eliminating the necessity to place a bolt of their own. The Self Drilling Anchor At the present time the most popular method of bolting is to use the 8mm self drilling anchor. The anchor is made from hardened tubular steel, has cutting teeth at one end and is threaded inside the other. It is fixed in the hole by driving a conical wedge into the toothed end which expands the anchor and jams it against the sides of the hole. A hanger with two holes (one large enough to take a carabiner) is fixed to the anchor by means of an 8mm diameter set screw, otherwise known as a "bolt" which should be made of high tensile steel (Fig. 1). Safety Through Back-Up How safe is the self-drilling anchor? Whilst it cannot be denied that therre are inherent weaknesses in design, and although theoretically things could go wrong, experience has proved the self-drilling anchor system to be extremely safe, when properly placed together with a back-up bolt or natural belay. In a ladder system the lifeline should hold if the ladder fails but in SRT the Main Belay at the pitch head must not fail under any circumstances. The back-up anchor (Fig. 2) substantially reduces the chances of a serious accident if for some unknown reason the primary anchor, or one of its component parts


25 did happen to fail. A development of the back-up anchor is the shared anchor (Figs. 3 & 8) which is safer for reasons explained later, but sometimes impractical to rig. Although relatively new in the UK this system of linking two anchors to provide the main belay has been used very successfully for several years in other countries, where it is considered that the chance of failure of both anchors or their component parts in anyone incident is so low that any inherent design weakness is an acceptable risk.


26 Recommended Procedure. The safety of a bolt belay is dependent upon three main factors; a) The quality of the rock. b) The correct positioning of the anchors so that the load is transmitted in the correct plane by the hanger to the bolt and via the anchor to the rock. c) The correct insertion of the anchor. i.e. the drilling of the hole and fixing of the anchor. What then is the ideal position for a bolt far SRT? Of course it depends upon the nature of each pitch head, but in each case the basic requirements are as follows: a) The Rock. This should be sound. By visual inspection and by tapping with the hammer, check that you are not about to drill into a detached block which may become even more detached when a load is applied! Avoid places giving a dull hollow sound. Calcite (stal) is also best avoided where possible, it is not as strong as limestone, and in any case may just be resting on mud (and therefore insecure). Where an ideal placement is impossible, make sure that the back-up anchor is well placed in solid rock with no slack in the connecting rope. Each bolt produces an area of stressed rock for a distance equal to the anchor length on each side of the hole, so make sure the anchors are far enough apart not to' interfere with each other, or with a free edge of rock {Fig. 4}. b) Positioning the Main Belay. 1. The best arrangement is to use two anchors loaded equally (Fig. 8) to form the Main Belay (shared belay). The two anchors should be a safe distance apart and may even be located on opposing walls leaving the hang point in space. If equally loaded each anchor takes less than the full load, thus is less likely to fail and will not produce a shock load on the remaining one, even if one should fail. A more common but less satisfactory arrangement is two anchors one above the other (Fig. 2) (back-up belay). As long as these anchors are more or less vertically in line with each other the distance apart is not critical bearing in mind the comments in a). However ensure that the connecting rope has as little slack as possible (not always easy) and remember that the upper anchor will take a shock load if the lower anchor fails, so place both with equal care. Often this situation may be improved by a form of shared anchor, the theory, being that there is little point in having two anchors available and loading only one. (Fig. 3). 2. Try to position the rope so that it hangs free immediately it leaves the anchor carabiner (Fig. 5). Also ensure that the knot will not abrade against the rock (Fig. 6). If this is not possible use a rope protector, or extra carabiners or maillons (Fig. 7). 3. Do not forget that for S.R.T. a completely free hang for the whole pitch is best so position the anchor with that in mind. 4. Place the main anchor high enough to allow for easy access to the belay ledge (either from ladder or rope) on the return 1.5-2m above the ledge is about right. 5. Could the pitch be wet on your return? Try to position the anchor so that the rope or ladder will hang clear of the water. If the Main Belay with its two anchors has to be placed out over the pitch to satisfy some of the above requirements, a traverse rope is best placed high and diagonally in towards the belay ledge to aid movement back on to the belay ledge on the return trip (Fig. 8). (It is more difficult to get off the rope than to get on it). The traverse rope provides a back-up for the Main Belay and may be attached to a natural anchor. A single anchor is normally sufficient at intermediate belays (abrasion points) as the Main Belay provides back-up from above (Fig 8). c) Drilling 1. Screw the anchor on to the threaded portion of the Driver, making sure that the head of the anchor is tight up to the locking nut, so that stress is taken by the nut and not by the threads.


27

2. It is essential to drill at right angles to the rock (Fig. 9) otherwise the hanger will not sit correctly and may stress the bolt unnecessarily. Avoid drilling the hole so that it is pointing up into the rock, because then the holding power of the anchor relies solely on the wedge fixing. The anchor is designed to do this but the first way described is much safer as it relies more on the lever principle. 3. The first few millimetres of drilling are the most critical. Take care to keep the teeth of the anchor in exactly the same position at the early stages of drilling to ensure that a perfectly round hole of the correct diameter is formed. Later when the anchor is about 15mm into the rock this will be automatic. 4. Use a hammer with a head weightt of approximately .5-1 kg. A standard piton hammer is ideal. Drill the hole by hammering the head of the Driver, at the same time rotating it in a clockwise direction to prevent the anchor sticking in the hole being drilled. Rapid light to medium blows are best. Heavy blows tend to damage the anchor teeth. 5. Withdraw the anchor frequently and tap the end of the Driver (not the anchor) to free any spoil. The frequency is particularly important when the rock is wet as the spoil becomes a paste and can be difficult to remove. A small piece of strong wire is invaluable to poke out any that is obstinate. A length of plastic tubing is useful to blow any debris from the drilled hole - and avoids dust in the eyes. 6. Drill as described until the locking nut is flush with the rock surface. Now continue drilling until any weathered unstable surface rock is passed and the head of the anchor lies slightly below the surface of unweathered, sound rock. 7. Withdraw the anchor, blow out the hole to clear any spoil and tap all spoil clear from the anchor. 8. Visually inspect the anchor in the (unlikely) event of any hairline cracks replace it with a new one. 9. Insert the expansion wedge slightly but firmly into the drill end of the anchor. Take care not to cause any expansion of the anchor whilst doing this.


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10. Replace in the drilled, cleaned-out hole and this time without rotating the Driver, hammer the anchor home. DO NOT OVERHAMMER. When the anchor will go no deeper into the hole any extra hammering will only reduce holding power and may split the anchor or surrounding rock . 11. Check that the anchor is a good tight fit by applying a little backward .and forward pressure to the end o f the Driver.


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If the anchor is loose it is probably due to: a) Bad drilling causing the hole to be too large a diameter to set the anchor. or b) Fractured anchor (unlikely). or c) Wedge not driven home - could be soft rock or a weakness at the bottom of the drilled hole. Try setting it further into the hole by hammering the Driver (gently). If the anchor remains loose do not use it. Place another anchor and destroy the loose one by filling it with mud or by destroying the internal screw threads. Remove the Driver by unscrewing in an anticlockwise direction. 13. It is very important that the head of the anchor does not protrude from the hole. It should lie flush with or slightly beneath the surface of the sound rock. (Fig. 10). Again check the end of the anchor for any possible hairline cracks. If the anchor protrudes from the hole. (Fig. 11) or any cracks are visible do not use it. Place another anchor and destroy the protruding or cracked one. 14. Equally bad is a cone shaped hole caused by poor drilling (Fig. 12). Here the load is not transferred properly to he rock causing the anchor to be incorrectly stressed. Place mother anchor. 15. Offer up the Hanger, insert he high tensile bolt and tighten. Care should be taken to ensure he bolt is the correct length for the anchor. Those supplied with commercial kits currently available (Troll. Petzl) are correct. The Hanger should lie flat against solid rock so it may be necessary to cut away any protrusions or weathered rock. This can be achieved by using the anchor (attached to the Driver) as a chisel, but a piton with a chisel end is better.


30 16. Do not over-tighten the bolt. Finger tight plus half a turn with a spanner is sufficient. A bolt breaks when the total force applied (load applied plus tightening force) exceeds the breaking load. By over tightening the load which can be supported is reduced. Over tightening can also have the effect of beginning to extract the anchor from the hole. 17. The Hanger should be positioned so that the carabiner hole is in line with the direction of pull. 18. To protect inserted bolts from corrosion and therefore increase their safe working life, a liberal coating of thick grease should be applied to the inside of the anchor AFTER insertion (but NEVER before). Also smear the bolt head if the hanger is to be left in place. 19. There are several arguments as to whether bolts and hangers should or should not be left in place. One argument in favour is that it is easier to see a hanger than the end of an anchor, and therefore there is less likelihood of it being missed and another anchor being placed unnecessarily. Also the bolt will keep grit, mud and water from the inside of the anchor and delay corrosion.


31 On the other hand, if the hanger and bolt are not in place it is easy to check the anchor and one will not be put in a position where one is tempted to rely on an unsafe anchor, a bolt that may be too short, or a hanger that may be over-worn. (Remember that hangers. particularly alloy ones, wear rapidly with continuous use). On balance it must be safer to supply one's own bolt and hanger because then presumably the quality of the various parts is already known or automatically checked before use. Some type of plastic plug that could be left pushed into the anchor would solve the problem of keeping out mud, etc., and if this was brightly coloured, spotting it would be made easy.

Fig. 13 Some knots used in SRT

Further reading: Techniques de la Speleologie Alpine by Georges Marbach and Jean-LouIs Recourt. Probably the best book on the subject. Unfortunately it is only available in French, however in most cases the many excellent drawings speak for themselves. Vertical Caving by Mike Meredith. Single Rope Techniques by Nell R. Montgomery

World Depth Record. The Gouffre Jean Bernard has been pushed to a depth of -1494m. The Groupe Speleo Vulcain took five Gays in February to dive through the 1981 (-1455) endpoint. They reached a 4th sump at the new record depth which they reckon is un-divable.

Belfry Bulletin Number 408_409  

The following is extracted from the Yorkshire Subterranean Society Newsletter: Would the people who complained about the state of the Belfry...

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