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1 BELFRY BULLETIN Volume 37, No. 3 Number 419 May & June 1983 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, Wedmore, Somerset. BS 28 4 AX Telephone: Wedmore (0934) 712284 *

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CONTENTS: Kangy's Doggerel Irish Easter

pp 2 - 3

Bath Stone Mines

pp 4

Halloween Rift, Further Work

pp 5 - 6

Down the Turlough

pp 7 - 8

Guest Cartoon

pp 6

Bassett's Notes

pp 1, 3, 8, 9 *

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* * * BASSETT'S NOTES.

EASTWATER CAVERN. In 1951 John Ifold of the B.E.C. pushed through the boulder blocked bedding plane at the top end of Harris's Passage to discover a small network of unstable passages, lying almost below the entrance to the cave. It is now known as the Ifold Series. The survey shows two choked passages leading towards each other. At the end of May, Andy Lolly and Keith Gladman investigated the area and found one the chokes to be draughting strongly. After six hours of digging in two sessions they broke through into virgin cave, initially of typical Eastwater bedding planes and canyons, with plenty of wet, sandy fill and gravel, loose boulders and unusually sharp and friable rock. Some of the older stal suggests that the passages are among the oldest in Eastwater, though perhaps I am sticking my neck out here. An eighty foot high aven near the entrance seems to be under Mortonâ€&#x;s Pot, and could well be the key to dig there. At the end of nearly 300 feet of grovel some parallel pitches have been found. The head of has been banged to allow normal sized people to reach the narrow 25 foot rift, below which is a further 50 foot pitch into a deep canyon with an, intermittent streamway - probably flood overflow. A small tube 200 feet along this fault rift needs enlarging. It blows a constant, cool draught. After the opening nasty bits of the new series, the passages are unlike the rest of Eastwater, several being horizontal, albeit only occasionally. There is some good Stal in places, though much of it is very vulnerable. Several B.E.C. members have already visited the extension and new discoveries come thick and fast. A survey is underway, and it is already clear that West End Series is well to the west of anything else in the cave. Over 1000 feet of new cave has been explored so far, taking the total length of Eastwater to well over a mile. The prospects for further extension look very good.


2 KANGY'S DOGGEREL IRISH EASTER. Beneath the Belfry table, lying there in state, With thoughts of Irish Guinness and the Doolin Cave in spate, O'Connor's Bar and Food Store, the day of "The Big Drink", And hazy days in County Clare, of forging deep the link, With Mendip men and Guinness, caves measureless to man, In one pot and another out (according to the plan!) This Easter we were organised and went in different cars, And stayed in different places but only used one bar. O'Connor's was the rendezvous down by the Doolin Strand, Amongst the pints of Guinness, the cavers fought to stand, And shout their cries of welcome and stirring stories tell, Of climbing out of Fisherstreet by way of Catherineâ€&#x;s Well. How the catchment karst is vast and the water exits few, And a feature of the landscape is turloughs in a queue. Down below it's slightly morbid, to think, stuck in a fix, How they hook the drownded caver out with sharp and pointed sticks

At McCarthyâ€&#x;s country cottage nine of the elite Suffered suffocation from a fire built of peat. The only consolation for a caver back from op's Was that peaty smoke annihilates the stink of vap'rous plops. We went to Kilfenora and and Bunratty Folk Park too. We went to Craggaunowen, saw the Crannog there on view. We saw dolmen, we saw ring forts, we found a Hook the drownded caver out with sharp and souterrain. pointed sticks We enjoyed the Burren Centre, a good shelter from the rain. At the Cave of the Wild Horses (look for Kilcorney One) We nearly found new passages but U.B.S.S. won.


3 Another nine, a wealthy lot, were bedded down in style. They lay in utter comfort in a warm and cosy pile. They caved most every morning, and drank every afternoon. They queued up for the evening, O'Conrior's shut too soon. We thought hard how to best them, to beat them in their home. We gave a glass of fizzy coke a head of Irish foam. We got a few refusals until someone, in their need, Gulped at it, then gagged at it, and spat it out at speed. There were four deep frozen campers and two lodgers in a van And, like them, all the rest of us developed Irish tan. We were muddy on the outside with our insides pickled brown, We gave a glass of fizzy coke a head of Irish foam. And hilarious on the last night when free drinks were handed round. So twenty four in all of us in the land of Guinness And that's my chance to make a rhyme for Mrs. Grass or Glenys Kangy April 1983 Illustrations by Philip King *

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BASSETT'S NOTES AUSTRIA 1983. The advance guard is currently up on the Dachstein plateau (mid June), in the form of Rob Harper, Rachel Clarke and Trev 'Biffo' Hughes, together an enormous load of tackle. They are staying at the Wiesberghaus for two weeks and intend to re-bolt and tackle Bartngassewindschacht for those who come out in July. Hopefully we shall soon know the exact depth of the huge 'Ben Dors Scacht', thought to be around 200 metres, and learn what happens at the bottom. Since the Wiesberghaus is now on the 'phone they will be able to let us know almost instantly! WOOKEY. Rob Harper continues his high level exploration here. Following up where Bob Cork and Dany Bradsaw left off in Wookey 24, he has reached the head of a bell shaped pitch 60' deep, somewhere off Sting Corner. Dany has threatened to put a ladder down it while Rob is in Austria - just to keep the poor lad biting his fingernails. OGOF CARREG LEM. Sam (S.W.C.C. & U.B.S.S.) & Co. have now extended this cave to 1500 feet. EDITORSHIP. A new editor will be required for the B.B. as from October, as I shall be resigning from the post at the A.G.M. Over the three years I have been Editor I have managed to reduce the work-load considerably, so it is no longer such an onerous task as it once was. If you think you fancy the post, have a word with me sometime and I'll let you know what this entails.


4 BATH STONE MINES

Brown's Folly Mine/Swan Mine Access Visitors to brown‟s folly Mine should note that the entrances to this mine have been locked with agreement with the landowner and CSCC. The keys are available from the Belfry or from other CSCC shareholding clubs i.e. Wessex, Shepton MCG etc. In order to avoid a long disappointing journey don‟t forget to pick up a key as these readily available locally. The new entrance to Brown‟s Folly has temporarily been bolted up as some inconsiderate person smashed the lock off in January. It is hoped a new lock will be fitted soon as possible but, in the meantime, a adjustable wrench will be handy for a through trip.

Box Mines A climb-proof fence has now been erected around the Kingston Minerals, Hazelbury Opencast Quarry, thus cutting off access to the quarry entrance. This is probably to avoid the company being clobbered by an insurance claim if some idiot falls over the edge and hurts themselves. Bear in mind that if you exit via the quarry entrance you may have problems getting off the site. The quarry is intermittently being used to tip waste stone from Kingston‟s other workings and consequently the entrance may soon be blocked anyway. On the subject of blocked entrances, tipping still continues in Box Woods, thus endangering those few remaining entrances. Perhaps it is drawing near the time to get a few interested parties together to try to protect access to these mines!

The Backdoor Entrance This is on private land and it is diplomatic to ask permission of the landowner before crashing around in the undergrowth. The owner is a Mr. Price who lives at the large posh house with the tennis court – “Tanglewood”. He is usually quite agreeable if approached in the right way. That is, politely. A.O. route has suffered a major collapse at its start just inside and to the right as you enter through the Backdoor. It is advisable to use the “O” route and work your way round via Cathedral and link to A.O. A word of warning! Fresh roof falls have occurred recently in many parts of Box. If in doubt, avoid the suspect area. Large blocks of stone can suddenly and silently fall if disturbed so don't muck around with the supporting walls or timbers, however much they seem to be doing no supporting job, as you might end up under several tons of Bath stone. Cranes should not be tampered with as the bearing blocks are often rotten. This could result in the crane falling over and crushing someone. Leave them alone for others to see and please don't write all over the walls. Chris Batstone


5 HALLOWEEN RIFT – FURTHER WORK By Trev Hughes After a layoff over Christmas, work in and around Halloween Rift has recommenced with greater enthusiasm than before, with more club members getting involved and seeing the first non-BEC members down the cave. Here is a summary of events to date (end of February). It is hoped that more discoveries will be made before this article appears in print. The surface work has involved erecting a barbed wire fence around the entrance and a compass and inclinometer traverse of the area to establish the exact location and altitude of the entrance. I started the traverse at the 9:2 top entrance of Wookey Hole Cave. My closed loop took in the 22 Radio Location Point the Halloween Rift survey datum and so back to the 9:2 entrance via the lower field. By taking fore and back sights, keeping my leg lengths as long as possible and using the two short ranging rods as survey stations quite good results were achieved, despite the windy conditions. The traverse length was just over 814m. My vertical mis-closure was 1.20m and the (magnetic) x and y mis-closures both less than 3m. If the opportunity arises I will repeat this exercise using a theodolite and ranging staff which will give far better results. Halloween Rift has a map reference of ST53534809 and given that the ground level at the 9:2 entrance is 108.09m OD the survey datum at the rift top is at 133.81m OD (approx. 439ft). The work underground has proceeded well. I reached a particularly solid section of calcite blocking progress in the dig on 28 Nov 82, the trench being about 1.5m long (see BB No. 416 p20). The offending calcite was broken up by Tim Large on 7 Jan using only 150gm of „wonder hammer' and on my next two (solo) trips in mid January about 1.3m of progress was made. The bang, although not displacing the rock, had set up a large number of readily useable cracks. A hammer, chisel and crowbar were all that were needed to remove the rock. On the latter of these trips I installed a 25l drum, cut in half, as a spoil hauling sledge for the entrance crawl. A large BEC team comprising 'Quiet' John Watson, Blitz, Rachel Clarke, Rob Harper and myself carried out a major spoil removing exercise on 22 Jan. Rob aid Blitz, despite coming out with some sickeningly weak jokes also enlarged the end of the trench considerably. The next trip was nearly a month later on Sat 19th February when J-Rat fresh from his Latin American exploits, returned to the fray. On this trip we were joined by Andy Satfford – the Grampian Wonder Boy and Phil „Tour de France‟ Romford. To the Grampian Wonder Boy went the dubious honour of being the first non-BEC member down the cave. Progress was slow and tiring as a large slab of calcite blocked the way on, but by clearing away the mud cover, the open section of passage, first fleetingly noticed on Nov 7 „82, could be clearly seen. The GWB was despatched to find the Moody Sisters (WCC) and suitable quantities of boulder laxative for the metre square calcite block. A hearty „crump‟ ended the day‟s events all was set for the morrow and my thanks to Pete and Alison for turning out at such short notice. J-Rat, Mac, the GWB and myself returned the next day. Pete's bang had totally demolished the block and the debris was quickly removed from cave. Mac had a look round while Tony and I started chiselling away at the hard strata originally under the calcite slab. This sloped up and away from the trench bottom to leave a 0.2m high slot approximately 0.5m away. This low section continued for about 0.5m and then opened up slightly. I worked on after the others had left until my light gave out. I had opened the squeeze somewhat but it was still too small to pass. About 4m of low passage could be seen. Not wishing to leave longer than possible I returned in the week and spent a further 3 hours working away at the squeeze. Luckily the calcite gave way before my aching arm muscles and I was able to pass the squeeze into the low bedding passage beyond. By shoving stones, mud and a section of shattered calcite floor aside I was able to progress for 5m in an elliptical passage some 2m wide. I built a small cairn to mark my progress and returned to the entrance end of the trench to pick up the club‟s Sunto compass and a tape. I surveyed the trench and extension at the end of a tiring afternoon.


6 I returned the next afternoon with only a limited time to spare and dug my way along an additional 3m of passage visible from the day before in less than 2 hours. The end is still open and is a low arch floored with jumbled rocks and is draughting healthily out of the dig. The limited stacking space will mean that spoil will have to be removed back past the squeeze. The dig also has a slight downhill gradient - Blitz to take note! Although only 8m of new passage has been entered it is of a passage form very similar to the Cam Valley Crawl recently discovered by Rob and myself connecting 22 to 23. My surface survey work and recently acquired large scale plans of Wookey Hole Cave show that the present end of Halloween Rift is, with a generous error margin of ±2m, only 81m from the nearest point of Wookey 22. Rob and myself are working on a dry connection between Wookey 23 and 24, we have already bypassed the first of the 23 sumps and are confident of eventual success. I need say no more. Postscript Since writing the above article Rob and I have spent another couple of hours working at the dig. We have added another 0.7 metres of passage, dragged back a considerable quantity of spoil, enlarged the entrance squeeze and can now look along 3m more of low passage, the dig is still draughting. A further solo trip on the 1st March gained another 0.3 m and a clearer view of the continuing passage which widens out after the narrow section marking the dig face at the moment. The draught on this trip seemed the strongest ever. oooooOooooo

Mark – Bristol Poly. NEW AND REJOINED MEMBERS. Ian Jepson,, Beechen Cliff, Bath. Jok Orr, Sturton by Stow, Linceln, LN1 Rich Stevenson, Wookey, Wells, Somerset.

QUOTE OF THE ISSUE

* * * * * * * From a member who has never written a single word for the Bulletin, on receiving his latest copy: “This is a bit thin, isn‟t it.”


7 Jill Tuck recently sent in the following to provoke our imaginations: Have you ever wondered (well, one does) how bats avoid showering themselves with their own excreta when they spend so much time hanging upside down? The New Scientist (9.6.85) found the solution when one of their staff, who had never even thought about the subject, had the answer hit him in the eye, or nearly. In London Zoo he saw a urinating bat clasp a ceiling support with the vestigial claws on its wings and swing down to face him, right side up. He said that the urination that followed was long and luxurious and he was only saved by a sheet of glass! The best description of the bat's expression while this was going on was, apparently, enigmatic. It left the man very impressed, but now his conjecture has moved on to bats' sex life! *

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MEETS LIST, JULY & AUGUST 1983 July 1st. July 15th. July 16th. July 30th. Aug. 12th. Aug. 26th.

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Aug 27th-29th

Longwood (Friday Niters) G.B. Ogof Ffynnon Ddu (Top Ent. To I) South Wales (F.N. – Saturday) Lamb Leer (Friday Niters) Charterhouse (Friday Niters 3 only) Alternative – Manor Farm North Wales. Caving and Walking

B. Prewer B. Prewer M. Grass B. Prewer B. Prewer B. Prewer M. Grass

Brian's number to telephone re Friday Nit trips is Wells 73757. Martin's number is currently Luton 33145, but this may change in the very near future. Contact me (Wedmore 712284) if there's any problem. *

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DOWN THE THURLOGH by Peter Glanvill It's not often one walks into 300m of new passage without some considerable effort - even in County Clare nowadays. Even less does one expect to do it in a well known and documented cave system as K1 or The Cave of the Wild Horses at Kilcorney. It becomes even more satisfying when one discovers that Jayrat has looked at the relevant passage five years previously – and left it alone! Now all can be told…. A group of UBSS/CDG/CSS/BEC/SWCC/DSS/BPC cavers were staying at Kilshanny over the Easter period. - I shall henceforth call them the Kilshanny Irregulars (K.I.‟s). Three of us visited the Cave of the Wild Horses on the first day because it was wet, the cave was dry (or supposed to be) Charlie Self hadn‟t been there and the Poly C.C. were digging in a depression. K1 lies at the base of a cliff in a corner of the large closed Kilcorney Depression. It is unique in being a cave associated with a turlough or vanishing lake and can act as both a sink and very rarely a rising. It has been known for several hundred years and has the legend of the wild horses attached to it - these are supposed to emerge when the cave floods – I didn‟t see any (but then the cave didn't flood). The turlough can flood to a considerable depth and can empty after a minor flood in twenty minutes. We were reliably informed that drilling in the depression revealed 400 feet of earth – quite a staggering fact and rather puzzling too. To cut a long story short the three of us descended the cave to the pitch where its awkwardness cut the


8 party down to Charlie and myself. We wandered through the lower series which seemed gloomy muddy and uninspiring until Gour Passage was found. This contains some rather nice mini gours and has a false floor of considerable thickness - it may be as much as 8m. A tiny inlet stream feeds the gours which terminate in a series of deep gour pools in a narrow rift. The description of the cave stated that these gour pools could be followed for 25m. Being the man with the wet suit and rather liking water I jumped into the first gour which rapidly became 2m deep - a sort of swim cum traverse led to a climb over a gour dam into the next and the next and the next... The displaced water splashed on in front of me in a very tantalising way, and, as the rift became constricted, I became aware of a strong inward draught. The passage ended soon after I had passed a couple of constrictions. It ended in a pitch which I was sure shouldn‟t have been there. Charlie took a quick look and we headed out. The next day two more K.I.‟s came with me, Tony Boycott hammered in a bolt and a fine 8m pitch down the side of the final gour was descended. The subsequent rift passage dropped steeply past some fine fluting on the left wall to what looked at a brief glance like a static gour pool sump. Two days later all 7 of the K.I.‟s returned apart from Angie Glanvill who didn‟t start speaking to me until the day after the trip. While Ted Popham, Charlie Self and myself climbed into another 30m of passage (4m x 10m – 3 leads – strong outward draught) in another part of the lower series, the diving contingent discovered the “sump” was a pool bypassed by a squeeze. All the K.I.‟s battered the squeeze until Tony and the two girls were able to pass it (hence its name – 36B Squeeze). The rest of us had to bludgeon away for a bit longer to see the Promised Land. Once through they entered a meandering 1.5m diameter tube (very like the canal in Aillwee Cave) which took several dry inlets and one small inlet stream. The tube continued to a collapsed area with a high cross rift above it. The stream flowed down a hole in a stal blockage. A crawl to the right of the stream led to some wallowy ducks in another tube and at last a junction with a much larger (3m x 5m) passage at a boulder pile. All were sworn to secrecy and it was not for a few days that another trip was made into the cave at the instigation of the original explorer who was getting impatient! The big passage was entered via a 2m drop (belay point detached itself from the mud on our second visit!) It was a pretty dismal place. One end led into the choke mentioned earlier whilst the opposite direction the passage continued as a rift lined with thick sticky mud banks and boulder obstructions until it ended in an evil looking “minimal airspace” duck. At the duck a large proportion of the party got very frightened for some reason and hurried out surveying as they went and vowing never to return. They encountered a BEC party at the top of the main pitch and successfully managed to transmit their anxieties to them before making their exit. A few days later Julian Walford, Ted Popham, Angie Glanvill and myself returned to take photos and chase up loose ends. None of us got “bad vibes” from the cave and I managed to pass the terminal duck. This led after a miserable 3 metres to a very definite (diveable if you are a masochist or mud freak) sump. There are still point to examine in the whole of K1 and one or two places in the extension. It‟s worth extra effort because there must be something quite big down there to create such a powerful draught. K1 occupies an interesting position to, on the presumed drainage route between the Western Burren and the Fergus River Cave complex. By the way the photographs came out – Julian in Sludge Creek in particular, look quite dramatic. Finally if anybody wants to know what Pollballiny is like – read the Cerberus Journal! *

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TACKLE MAKING. If you are one of the hundred or so members who did not get round to helping the tackle-master during the last session, why not give John a ring now on Shepton 4815. He has some new work needing doing. Remember, the tackle-master's job is to organise the construction and maintenance of tackle, not to make it and repair it all himself LIBRARY. Many thanks to old member P. Wilkins for ten year's worth of back-issues of the B.B. Any others will be most gratefully received (even new ones!) J-Rat . BELFRY IMPROVEMENTS. The E.G.M. was only just quorate, and then after we had waited for half an hour. A majority of those present voted against continuing with the existing plans, and a sub-committee is investigating a cheaper alternative


9 BASSETT'S NOTES GAPING GHYLL - INGLEBOROUGH LINK UP. These two caves are now most definitely one, a filmed through trip having been made during the Spring Bank Holiday. While 'Mendip' Jim Abbott (ex B.P.C.) and Julian Griffiths traversed from the lower end, Geoff Yeadon and Geoff Crossley entered G.G. accompanied by Sid Perou et al., including Bassett and Jane. Carrying movie cameras underground no longer appeals to me. An historic trip to have been involved in, but I certainly would not do it again. There cannot be many non-divers who have seen Radagast's Revenge. The stal is good and the chamber quite impressive, but most of us were too shattered to notice it. The section is dangerously unstable and will probably need to be dug out every time it is visited. Thank goodness for the B.P.C. winch. I think we would still be in G.G. otherwise. Thank you, Geoff, for the invitation to join you on an epic. CHARTERHOUSE CENTRE. Tom Elkin is retiring as warden of this Somerset Education Committee Centre. The new warden is to be one Terry Matthews, an ex-marine who is currently working at Taunton Tech. It is strongly rumoured that Tom is to be the first Countryside Warden for Mendip, and he will be based at Charterhouse. BELFRY BUNKS. Thanks due to Lil Romford and Brenda Prewer for supplying and fitting washable covers for many of the mattresses. Very professional they all look, too. *

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Grand Birthday P.U. - Sat. 9th July Come and celebrate the birthdays of Phil Romford, Brenda Wilton, Mary Gwyther, Jane Thomas and Annie West at 1 Vicarage Close, Coxley. Everyone welcome............. especially if you bring a bottle. *

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JULY/AUGUST B.B. I have one possible article for the next BB. Unless I receive further material very shortly, then the rest if the July/August issue will consists of transcripts of Club Log entries on the recent finds in Eastwater and Wookey. Thanks to Robin Gray for a piccy of me to head one of my pages. Perhaps if a You write enough You can have your own caricature to head the page! Bassett


Belfry Bulletin Number 419