Number 37 January 1995


Club Rules & Constitution, Membership List and related matters are incorporated in the Craven Pothole Club Handbook published biannually.

Published by the Craven Pothole Club, Ivy Cottage, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire. Copyright - Craven Pothole Club. No part of this Record may be reproduced without permission from the Committee of the Craven Pothole Club.

Contributions to this publication are welcome in any form and can be accepted on MSDOS disk (ASCII or Word preferred).

Dr. R.A. Halliwell, Academic Office, The University, HULL, HU6 7RX
Tel. No: 01482 465948(W) 876544(H) 466441(FAX)


Most of the newspapers and magazines are printing retrospectives on the past year but for a review of the past CPC year I think that all I need to do is to repeat the Chairman's Address at the AGM "It's been a good year". It started with a successful Club expedition to Mulu; the training and commitment which went in to making the Berger Meet an enormous success; the help from those members who had not gone to the Berger and who do not normally attend GG but who turned out to ensure that Gaping Gill ran well inspite of the unavailability of some of the regular stalwarts; our participation in the making of a TV documentary about Martel; and it culminated in the magnificent 40+ turnout for the President's Meet. On a more personal note one of our members, Stephen Craven, was awarded the annual award of the American Spelean History Association for his outstanding work in the field of caving history. It is only the third time that the award has been given to a non-American. I am sure that we would all wish to congratulate him on his achievement.

The only thing that spoiled the past year has been the lack of new discoveries in the Dales by members. The nearest we have been is the involvement of Andy Roberts with the NCC top entrance into Dale Barn. This is turning into a major discovery with one group having been flooded in already, but turning the event to their advantage by locating several interesting flood inlets. Another Dales discovery on which work is underway is downstream Hagg Gill where the sump has been passed to a the pitch. Just in case there is someone out there who hasn't heard the biggest discovery of last year is in South Wales where the well decorated Ogof Draenen has already been surveyed at over 15km long since the long-term dig went in early October.

CNCC are still stressing the conservation message that I have stressed, we must look after our caves or others will take over control of them. English Nature already have a conservation plan for Knock Fell Caverns which includes controls on access and are seeking cavers interested in helping in develop plans for other caves. The recent clean up in Lancaster/Easegill resulted in the removal of over 100kg of rubbish from the system. All of this rubbish must have been taken into the cave by cavers. Instead of just commenting on the rubbish in your favourite cave why not bring some of it out on your next trip. We all say that "it isn't our rubbish" so let's do our bit by bringing out someone else's. This also applies to parking areas which are regularly frequented by cavers, here we can tidy up with even less effort than bringing the rubbish out of the cave and the improvement in relations with landowners will be even more noticable.

For many years now the access control on Mongo Gill has been operated by members of this Club on behalf of CNCC. However work is now needed on the top of North Shaft to make it safer and the landowner is pressing for this work to be finished soon. If you think you might be able to help in this bit of land owner relations work then please contact me.

The deadline for the next Record is Monday 27 March but if you can get any articles to me earlier then so much the better. A new copy of the Handbook and the Gouffre Berger publication should be available before that date. May I wish a happy New Year with safe and successful caving to all of you.

Meets Reports

Mongo Gill Hole (15 October 1994)

Group Shockle: Dave Kaye, Simon Parker, John Christie, Emma Porter(G), Stephen Lent(P), Neil Kernot, Julia Kernot(G), Dave Edwards, Pete Barling(P), Emma Faid.

Group South: Geoff Workman, Tom Thompson, Gemma Connolly, Craig Coates(G), Emma van der Gucht(G).

Group North: Martin Hauan, Andrew Brooks(P), Joanne Lynch, Kevin Gannon(G), Mike Ashmore(P), R Scott(Leader)

Group Tardy: John Webb.

Within 20 minutes of the appointed time, we set off from the roadside for Shockle Shaft. Tip on finding Shockle Shaft; it's further to the right than you think. The shaft was rigged and with Dave K and Simon sworn in as deputies, we wet off for North Shaft. North Shaft was easy to find, Tom's group were milling round its top. They had gone to South Entrance but had found it blocked by an earthslip, so decided to go down North Shaft instead. By the time that the last man was down North Shaft, Tom's group had gone to do South Entrance from the inside out.

We headed off to the start of Freezeland, which MH, KG & JL went into. Upon their return, we carefully worked our way through the Forest. At East Hade, we were caught up by Tom's group and decided that the way on was the hole in the floor with an inviting low crawl through a pool. We soon encountered the Shockle group who let us pass. Onward past many fine formations to Ladder Cavern where we had a "breather!" before climbing Shockle Shaft.

At the top of Shockle Shaft, we were met by John Webb. He had decided that this being a standard CPC meet and it would not get underground until after 12, he would arrive late to take his photographs; unfortunately too late. With no shafts laddered, John went off to have a look at South Entrance. He got through the newly cleared bit but got jammed a little further in. However, John being John, he didn't waste an opportunity, he set his gear up and took a photograph of himself wedged between two boulders.

A few of us went to the Stump Cross cafe for refreshments, where we saw a survey of where we had been. Most enlightening.

Robert Scott

Simpson's-Swinsto Exchange (29 October 1994)

Simpson's: Rob Dove, Tony Jackson, Andy Hornung(G), Peter Barnes(P), Tony Walker(P), Gwyn Timson(P), Emma Parker(G), Steve Kelley(Leader), Nick Buckley(P), Pat Halliwell

Swinsto: Mike Askmore(P), Dom Maddison, Pete Hamilton, Simon Grayson(G), Andy Roberts, Tom Thompson(Leader), Gemma Connelly, Craig Coates(G), Emma van der Guch(G)

After a damp week it was with some relief that we agreed the surface water conditions did not seem so bad. After some negotiation the leader led his group up the hill towards the entrance. The lamps were sorted and a final check of the tackle and we were heading through the entrance series. The five steps were splashy and a fixed rope over the pit eased progress down to the duck. All enjoyed this obstacle judged by the screams of delight. The pitches down to Slit were passed without difficulty and as the ladders for the 80 foot were uncoiled strategies were discussed for passing "the crux" of the pitch. Backwards, forwards, sideways, on your head, at the top and in the bottom; but we all knew we would get through and enjoy the well watered descent. Rob was first down and had the problems of snagged rungs on the pitch wall but this was sorted on his descent and everyone followed down the very wet climb. Eventually we met up with the Swinsto Team and a discussion ensued on the feasibility of a complete exchange. Judging by the conditions in Swinsto it was deemed too difficult and so the Simpson's crew led out via KMC to the surface. On the surface it was planned to de-rig on Sunday and all agreed it had been an excellent trip.

Swinsto de-rig (30 October 1994)

Present: Rob Dove, Dennis Bushell, Alan ?, Peter Barnes(P), Mark ?(G),

Sunday morning 10am and the derigging team gathered and started to plan their strategy. The river had risen overnight and we all knew we were in for a soaking. The plan was to "ab" through on a travelling {private not Club- Ed} line and strip out the gear en route. Dennis was looking forward to practising his ladder rolling so off we went. Racks, Stops and Figures of 8 were all used for the descent. The canal was fine but the pitches were very wet. The water was spouting out from the pitch head so at least on the short pitches the climbs weren't too bad. The split 100 was totally different. Extremely wet, the lower half needs rebolting to give a dry hang. A jammed maillon held up the descent but all were reunited at the bottom of Slit Pot. The ladder had snagged but eventually was freed. We now had five bags and 18 rolls of ladder. The crawls were heavy going to the canal but some passing cavers helped with some of the ladders to the roof tunnel pitch - thanks lads. The main river was high but passable with care. Two lights were slowly failing but we hurried up the short pitch and dragged our burdens out to daylight after four hours below ground. We all relaxed by the cars and agreed what an excellent trip we had had, even under the high water conditions. Thanks to Barbara, Steve and Andy for washing and stowing the gear back at Bridge End.

The Simpson's leader would like to thank Harpic for brew-making facilities and all who de-rigged and sorted gear on the Sunday

Rob Dove

Top Sinks-Pippikin Exchange (19 November 1994)

Friday, like the previous five days, was wet. The idea was that, on the Friday night, Maple Leaf Junction pitch would be rigged to give a free run for those starting at Pippikin. In the event, after taking a look at Ease Gill Beck, plan B was implemented. This was to rig Lancaster Hole to Stake Pot to allow the through trip via a stroll across the fell between Lancaster Hole and Link Pot.

Friday night was extremely wet. And so the sixth day dawned; and Maggie said it was bad; and it was bad. With Brants Gill lapping at the water pipe, Top Sinks was off the agenda. The meet split in two with six members down Lancaster Hole and six members, one probationary member and one guest to ladder in and out of Pippikin.

The Lancaster team made perhaps the most egalitarian group ever to descend the hole with the leadership fleetingly passing to whoever recognised their current location. The Master Cave was visited at Stake Pot and found exceedingly high.

The Pippikin group found Ease Gill Beck flowing confirming the flooding of Wormways between Link Pot and Lancaster Hole. At the squeeze above the second pitch the team of eight became five as three remembered a dig that required their immediate attention (at least I know it will be dug big enough for me to get through).

The rest carried on with the usual disbelief, at the stemple climb, of those who have never been down before (how do you get down there if you've never been down before?). We had a fleeting visit to Red Wall Chamber and retreated from White Wall Chamber as it required a close encounter of the aqueous kind. Out to the usual Leck fell mist. Those present : Simon Ashby, Pete Barling (prospective) Tony Bennett, Andrew Brooks, Chris Brown, Pat Halliwell, Maggie Mcpherson, Alistair Morris (guest), Simon Rowling, Simon Shimbles, Patrick Warren, Alan Weight, Becky Weight and Martin Ford.

Special thanks to Mal Goodwin and Martin who sacrificed a night in the pub to carry gear across the fell on Friday night.

For the record :-

  1. The fixed ladders at Fall Pot and Stake Pot have been removed. Two ladders (50 foot) at Fall pot are exactly the right length to drop you to the bottom of the boulder. One ladder (25 foot) at Stake Pot is only just enough to get you to the rock bridge (it is about five foot short but OK if you are not tired on the return). There are new P-hangers at both pitch-heads [Sec].
  2. Despite my personal efforts the Pippikin team must be in line for an award for the youngest club trip this year.

Alan Weight

Map of Transylvania appears here in original journal

Underground in Transylvania

A Summer caving expedition to Romania 1994

After a nightmare two day coach journey care of National Express, passing through six other countries and a variety of border, passport and visa checks, our merry band of travellers finally arrived in Cluj-Napoca our destination in the heart of the Northern Carpathian Mountains in Romania. The final leg of our journey by train had taken us through over a third of the country through some enchanting scenery for the outstanding price of 80p.

Romania is one of the least visited of the 'eastern bloc' countries, especially by cavers from the west. This is a shame since Romania contains some of eastern Europe's most spectacular karst scenery along with some spectacular caves. Topographically, Romania resembles a huge amphitheatre. The lofty peaks of the Carpathian Mountains rise to more than 8,240 feet, composed of broken massifs often covered with thick forests, surrounding the Transylvania plateau, which averages 2,640 feet above sea level. The valleys contain several small villages, each a cluster of a dozen or so wooden frame buildings along an unpaved road. Romania is only about half the size of France, however over 11,000 caves have been documented.

Our group of six students from Hull University including CPC members and others loosely associated with the CPC, had made the trip under the invitation of Professor Iosif Viehmann of the Emil Racovita Institutul de Speologie, and Professor Costel Sarbu of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, through academic contacts made by the writer last year. We were also put into contact with students from the University caving club who were to be our hosts for our three week stay.

Our contacts (by now pen-friends really) met us from the train, and had arranged everything, so the whole trip went smoothly. I cannot stress enough how helpless we would have been without the local cavers to guide us, not only to handle most of the logistics and show us the best caves (which are sometimes gated), but to also avoid the possibility of stepping on someone else's toes by caving in their territory. They also showed us great hospitality, and for such a poor country, such generosity.

So, after a few days acclimatising in Cluj-Napoca we spent two weeks camping, walking and caving in Transylvania. Of course we were to see many bats, but no vampire ones! The area was a hill walker's dream, and the caves we visited were amongst the best we had ever seen, most well decorated with stalactites and other rarer formations. Many were closely guarded secrets of our host club, and we were the first British to see them. During our visit we also had the opportunity to explore a new cave, we predictably named 'Hull Cave', in an area where the potential for the discovery of new caves on the wooded slopes is enormous.

One of our first trips took us to Crystal Cave, one such secret cave. Accessed by climbing into a small hole in the roof of a hydroelectric concrete outflow pipe 15 feet high, this small cave contained a plethora of beautiful crystal, stalactite and helictite formations, in a variety of colours. Only ten Romanians have had the privilege to visit this cave, and until such times as access and conservation plans can be drawn up the cave is to be sealed up in November for preservation.

A couple of the caves were in old and some still active bauxite mines. This necessitated caving at night, generally starting our trips at midnight or there abouts. In one particular cave, Pestera Lythophagus (Stone Eater Cave), we were refused access to the main entrance by the local miners, and so returned at night scaling a hillside to an alternative once gated entrance to find another way in. This was unfortunately located above the area's explosives dump, guarded by armed men with dogs and powerful torches. Very quietly and in the pitch dark we located the entrance to the mine and gained entry, where upon after a kilometre of so of stomping down large passage we found the cave. The cave gets its name from the huge rubble slope where the miners have dumped the spoil from mining activities, forming a 35 metre high scree slope to run down with some speed! Some tricky climbing, a little SRT and a tight squeeze led us to our goal, what is possibly the worlds largest single crystal stalactite, confirmed by local geologists. 1 metre and 5 millimetres high, it is slightly orange and perfectly triangular in cross section from the base to the top, a very rare formation indeed.

Moving from the Iad (or Hell) Valley into the Bihor Mountains, we visited Pestera Spinare (Spine Cave), a 60 metre deep surface shaft for a little SRT practice and original exploration, and Varfuras cave, an active cave containing many flow stone formations, and a stream passage of purest white covered from top to bottom with calcite.

Another move took us to the high Padis Plateau. Very popular with walkers, with marked trails for hiking in the surrounding mountains. We followed one of these trails to Cetatile Ponorului (Ponor's Castle Cave). It descended through a forest to a huge doline. When the trees suddenly ended we were at the base of a limestone cliff with an obvious cave entrance over 70 metres high, which is the largest entrance in Romania. Climbing down to the stream which entered the cave, we followed the stream passage in the cave where the ceiling remains at an incredible height, passing under two other karst skylights. The climb back out of the cave and doline was exhausting, yet well worth it for the impressive view from the top edge of the depression.

During our move to the Scarisoara Valley, where we were to tackle another three caves, we chanced upon a worried local farmer, and went to investigate. His problem was the loss of two cows now in a fairly gruesome and macabre state, having been subject to an overnight bear attack. Yes there are wild brown bears in these mountains, and obviously fairly near to our camp. Hence after taking advantage of the obvious photo opportunity, we made haste our departure from the area, leaving the farmers to arrange for the local lads to return that evening with guns to wait for the possible return of the bear.

It was on the plateau above this valley we were to visit our first ice cave. Ghetarul de la Scarisoara is Romania's largest ice cavern at an altitude of 3,609 feet. Its entrance is a steep doline which has walls 54 metres high. The cornices are covered with vegetation made up of flowering plants and moss, and at this time of year the lower section of the vertical opening is filled with cold air, whilst the upper part has a temperature resembling the surface warm climate. Hence this phenomenon creates a vertical zonation of plants at different levels, and it is possible to follow the various periods of blooming whilst descending into the entrance. A block of ice 22 metres thick lies in the bottom of the vertical entrance leading to the great hall 51 metres in diameter and 20 metres high. In the south end of this chamber a slope leads down to an enormous vaulted chamber sustained by a group of tall ice columns and ice stalactites. They were all very clear and transparent, and extremely slippery and sharp. The walls of the cavern display folds and waves of ice resembling frozen waterfalls. The low temperature, just below zero degrees centigrade, necessitates a short visit, but not before many photographs were taken.

Our final cave in the Padurea Craiului (Kings Forest) Mountains, was to Pestera Vintului (Wind Cave), Romania's longest cave (currently in excess of 32 km). Living up to its name, the entrance beneath an elaborately gated manhole cover drafted to the extent that carbide lamps were extinguished and leaves, twigs and forest floor matter rose up out from the cave entrance when disturbed, necessitating the little used caving call "ABOVE" to warn other descending cavers. The cave has an active level and three fossil levels, all interconnecting with some fine formations and other rare speleothemes of aragonite and gypsum.

Following the first week's exhausting caving, we had our strangest experience when visiting a spa health resort. We arrived at around 11 p.m., and after bribing the security man with 1000 lei (about 40 p) each, we got in and he filled a spa pool for us. The water rises from the ground at about 45 to 50 oC, and we spent the next hours relaxing and bathing in really warm water, under the stars at midnight supping the local vodka. (Romanians run on vodka by the way, and at only 40 p a litre, who can blame them.) As you can see this was much more of a holiday than an expedition.

The Romanian's SRT technique left something to be desired. With no caving equipment readily available (only climbing gear at a price), all SRT gear, jammers and stop descenders were home made. With no bolts available, only natural belays are used, and we devised a system of grading the caves by the number of rub points they produced, usually 1 to 6 or so. They would also climb two at a time! We gave them presents of a bolting kit and bolts, and two jammers for which they were extremely grateful, since each individual jammer is worth a months wages! The few ladders available were made from chopped up bicycle wheel rim sections, strung together with what can only be described as string.

After our fortnight caving we spent a week sightseeing around the major cities of Transylvania. This of course included the Dracula sights, including his birthplace in Sighisoara, now a gothic restaurant where we had rather nice meal, and Castle Bran from Bram Stokers novel.

Everyone we met in Romania was very friendly and hospitable. The country as a whole is virtually untouched by the tourist industry. For example we only found 6 decent postcards, and on our first visit to the main post office, we bought it out of stamps!! As such the country is hence ill equipt for the independent traveller, and accommodation when sightseeing was occasionally hard to come by. The cost of living and especially transport is very cheap (Beer as little as 18 p for half a litre), and the notorious food shortages are now a thing of the past. However we didn't observe too much variety in the food available.

Cavers visiting Romania are strongly advised to contact the Emil Racovita Speleological Institute with premises in either Cluj or Bucharest, who can put you in touch with local caving clubs, and allow access to the best caves. I can supply further information on request, and a copy of our expedition report will be donated to the CPC library shortly. Plans are also afoot to return next summer.

Andrew Knight.

Réseau de la Pierre Saint Martin

Those members present at the AGM will know that we have been given permission by ARSIP to explore the PSM. This cave is located in the Pyrenees towards the western end of the French Spanish border. It is the second deepest cave in France at -1342m and has an almost mythical fame due to several factors; the 320m Lepineux shaft used for the original exploration, the much publicised death of Marcel Loubens in 1952 and the recovery of his body in 1954, the fact that it was the deepest cave in the world for many years, the enormous passages and the huge Salle Verna (the third largest chamber in the world (270m by 230m by 180m). The cave has a current length of over 52km and six entrances including the EDF Tunnel. A fuller description of the cave will be in the next Record but the cave includes boulder chokes where people have been lost for long periods.

Our permit allows us to explore from the SC3(Belfry) entrance to the Verna(EDF Tunnel). Unfortunately the permit only runs from 5 August to 11 August inclusive and it is likely that much of this time will be taken up with trying to learn our way in a cave which few of our members have visited. It will be essential for all participants to be in the area before 5 August to both ensure that they are acclimatised and to be ready to go immediately on the fifth. There are several other significant caves in the area with unrestricted access and this would seem an ideal way to acclimatise. There is a limit of 40 on the number of people permitted by the permit and preference will be given to CPC Members.

As with the Berger trip you will need to be very competant at SRT and there will be a charge of [[sterling]]50 towards the costs of ropes, dinghies, etc and cheques payable to "CPC PSM Expedition" should be sent to Simon Ashby from whom further details can be obtained. His address is Flat 3, 626 Beverley Road, Hull, HU6 7LL; Telephone 01482 493526. Other similarities are that all persons will be required to have BCRA or similar caving insurance cover and the camp-site is very like La Moliere but smaller, or so I am told. The major difference is that those who thought the Berger was difficult may be interested to know that Fred Davies, who bottomed the Berger with Dave Hoggarth and myself back in 1988, considers that the traverse of the PSM is a much harder trip! It is also a considerably harder walk in to either entrance.

Ric Halliwell

Map of PSM appears here in original journal

Rigging in Lancaster Hole

During September the fixed ladders on Fall Pot and Stake Pot were removed. This was done for two reasons. Firstly the ladders had been in place since 1948 and were second hand signal ladders of dubious vintage when installed. Secondly they were heavily used, especially by large parties doing a through trip from Lancaster Hole to one of the Easegill Entrances. It is hoped that the removal of the ladders will lead to a reduction in the number of parties doing the through trip and thus help conserve and reduce erosion of the cave, especially in the high level fossil series. The pitches have been re-rigged with resin bonded Eco-hangers for use either with SRT or ladder and lifeline. Two alternative rigs of Fall Pot are possible. A route near the old ladder route requires a rebelay. An alternative and better (SRT) route is on the opposite wall to the old ladder location, via a traverse along a wide ledge to a straight 14m hang.

Based on information in CNCC Newsletter 5

The NCA Rope Testing Programme

The primary function of the NCA Rope Testing Programme is to advise cavers on whether their used ropes have reached the end of their useful life, or if they are still good, and if so to advise on when they should be re-tested. In general the results have shown that caving ropes deteriorate through use, and that age alone does not seriously reduce the strength of a rope. This is not surprising since the aging of climbing ropes which gives a maximum suggested life of 5 years is caused by sunlight, something that caving ropes rarely experience.

The tests are designed to produce failure in all but the very best ropes and use an 80kg weight dropped at Fall Factors of 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, 1.8 and 1.8 again on a nominally one metre long rope having figure of 8 knots at each end. In practice there is considerable tightening of knots during testing and the length changes from about 800mm between the knots supporting the weight before the first test, to 1100mm or over at the end of the test. This length is measured after each drop to calculate the correct excess height of the weight for the next test. In addition measurements are taken of the amount of permanent stretch in the unknotted single rope, permanent extensions of around 6% being produced by the full series of 5 tests. All new ropes tested have withstood the full series of tests whether 10mm or 11mm. No new 9mm has been tested but some 10 year old 9mm only failed at the last test.

It is intended to test more samples of the ropes currently on the market, so that the safety margin for use can be determined. Current manufacturer's tests are frequently 80kg at Fall Factor 1, and even the proposed new European standard for low stretch rope only tests at 100kg Fall Factor 1. This is equivalent to the 80kg Fall Factor 1.25, which is the indicator of the rope being safe for continued use for a short time in the NCA tests. The NCA tests are aimed to give a figure for the safety margin still remaining in the rope, which is expressed in years to the next test at the preceding level of use.

Very few ropes have failed the tests, and most of these had already been relegated to handline duties, as had several that were still usable. Future plans include the incorporation of a peak load indicator, in order to increase the information gained in testing, in the expectation of giving more information on rope performance, and of indicting if there is any change in the testing conditions when used at caving gatherings.

Summary of results so far

In the results below the "Failure at" column indicates at which point in the series of tests the rope actually broke, thus 2 by 1.8 means the second Fall Factor 1.8 test. None means that the rope survived all tests. Only 20 results are tabulated above out of a total of 56 ropes tested at the time of writing. The other results are not tabulated since important details were not available at the time of testing or the ropes were dynamic.

New unused ropes.

3 samples of 11mm, 1 of 10.5mm and 2 10mm ropes were tested and no failure occurred with any of these new ropes.

Ropes with little usage

        Diameter (mm)     Age (years)       Failure at
         3 by 7            31                 1.5
         11                12                 None
         11                11                 2 by 1.8
         11                10                 None
         11                 8                 1.8
         11                 7                 1.5
         10.5               8                 1.8

Ropes with medium usage

        Diameter (mm)     Age (years)       Failure at
         10.5              15                 2 by 1.8
         10                 6                 1.8
         10                 5                 1.8
         10                 3                 1.8
          9                 6                 1.25

Ropes with heavy usage

        Diameter (mm)     Age (years)       Failure at
         11                3                  2 by 1.8
         10                6                  1.8

The improvement in performance of Beal ropes with the change of construction since 1988 is seen in the performance of the new 10mm Beal rope surviving the total range of tests. To date there have not been enough tests to permit clear statistical analysis. What is obvious is that several ropes have been more than adequate after 10 years in storage with occasional use. This is probably because caving ropes rarely see any sunshine. The point is that it is not necessary to set a caving rope aside solely because of age. Send it for an NCA drop test now which will establish whether and how much useful life is left. Testing can now be carried out at Abersychan as well as at cavers gatherings around the country. The aim is to test on a monthly basis if at least four ropes have been sent to Owen Clarke.

Owen Clarke's article concludes by pointing out that lamps can damage your health {as I already know from a NiFe cell leak nearly 20 years ago - Ed}. Owen has had several ropes sent to him with mysterious damage which appears to have been caused by acid. The owners all said they didn't believe that their lamps leaked but the evidence is there. Always keep ropes and lamps well separated.

Please note that no one is allowed to use wet cells on CPC SRT rope. The CPC SRT store now contains a large number of NCA Rope Test Forms. You are asked to complete the rope details section of the form as fully as you can and send it together with a 2.5m length of the rope to be tested, to Owen Clarke at the address on the form.

Most of the above article first appeared in NCA Speleoscene 14 November/December 1994

Minutes of the 1994 AGM

(subject to the approval of the 1995 AGM)

1994 Annual General Meeting, 26 November 1994

Held in the Watermill Inn, Pateley Bridge at 2.45pm


D Allanach, S Ashby, H Beck, A Bottomley, H Bottomley, D Brindle, D Bushell, R Callaghan, K Chappel, LB Cook, A Davey, K Davey, R Dove, D Eccles, L Elton, R Espiner, E Faid, M Fredrickson, A Glenn, MC Goodwin, P Gray, PC Halliwell, RA Halliwell, AC Hardy, M Hauan, CM Hayter, DW Hoggarth, JD Hoggarth, M Holloway, MP Jackson, BJ Jenkins, R Jenkins, C Karley, S Kelley, A Knight, N Lucas, D Martin, M McPherson, DC Mellor, DL Milner, G Moore, R Myers, J Normington, J Nurse, S Parker, A Pedlar, I Peretti, SE Pickersgill, BE Prewer, R Pringle, JA Roberts, R Roome, S Rowling, RW Scott, M Scratcher, J Taylor, M Taylor, R Taylor, L Todd, J Warren, PB Warren, J Webb, A Weight, R Weight, EE Whitaker, E Wood, I Woods, G Workman; 70 in total.


A Fredrickson, AC Gray, S Keedy, R Kelley, S Lent, N Peart, A Smith, W Spencer, M Tomlinson, J Whalley

The Chairman announced the deaths of members Bob Crunden and Hugh Holgate and the death of ex-member Dick Glover. The meeting stood in silence in their memory.

The Chairman also announced that Arthur Smith and Bill Spencer were both recovering from recent strokes and that both appeared to be making good recoveries.

Minutes of the previous meeting:

The minutes had been published in Record 33 and were taken as read on a proposal from R Myers, seconded by D Milner. The minutes were signed as a correct record on a proposal from D Allanach, seconded by MP Jackson.

Matters arising:

In response to a query regarding attendance at meets it was reported that on the 16 British underground meets reported in the Record since the last AGM a total of 147 members, 63 probationary members and guests had attended, an average of 13 per meet. If the Berger and GG were included in the total then the average was much higher.


In apologising for his absence from the AGM and Dinner, N Peart explained that the venue was too far from his home.

Chairman's Address:

"It's been a good year!"

The report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from RA Halliwell, seconded by D Allanach.

Secretary's Report:

The Secretary reported on the business of the Club during the past year including attendance at Kindred Clubs' dinners, the Gunong Api Connection Expedition in January, the Gouffre Berger Trip in August and also GG. The Club has a permit to visit the Pierre St Martin in 1995 and plans are also afoot to visit the Antro del Corchia in 1996.

The report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from J Taylor, seconded by R Espiner.

Treasurer's Report:

The report and balance sheet had been circulated previously. These were accepted unanimously on a proposal by J Hoggarth, seconded by DL Milner.

The Treasurer reported that although no reports had yet been received from the inspections of the GG equipment the GG sub-committee will be proposing recommendations for improvements to safety for consideration by the Committee.

A member asked what use would be made of Bob Crunden's legacy. The proposal to use the interest from the money for special projects was explained.

Tacklekeepers' Reports:

JA Roberts reported that tackle had been booked out on 100 occasions from Horton and on 5 occasions from Skipton. A number of items of tackle are still missing from the Swinsto/Simpsons meet and he requested all members who had been present to check their personal gear for Club equipment. He reported purchases of a compass and tape and the refurbishment of the clinometer and both Bosch drills. It has been agreed to replace the old Neil Robertson stretcher with a Mager stretcher and a resin gun has been purchased to speed up the re-bolting of Sell Gill with Eco-hangers. The Tacklekeeper, Chairman and Ben Myers had attended the Cavers' Fair at Austwick and had prepared a large quantity of ladder making parts. We currently have 850ft ladder and 3500ft lifeline.

A member queried the loss of a GG tent. R Myers explained that there had been a mix-up with canvas sent for repair.

A request for ladders which were shorter than 25ft to be marked with paint or any other obvious way. This is already being done.

D Hoggarth reported that the running costs of the SRT equipment for the year came to [[sterling]]10 because it had not yet been necessary to replace any rope. All ropes had been inspected and proved to be in very good condition considering that they had been used by 297 people on 43 different trips during the year.

The Tacklekeepers' reports were accepted unanimously on a proposal from MC Goodwin, seconded by PB Warren.

Cottage Warden's report:

A record 1459 member and 404 guest nights was recorded for Ivy Cottage, an increase on last year. Riverside usage was slightly down with 161 days used although 18 days booked were not used. The report of the Cottage sub-committee on the booking of Riverside were outlined (as previously published in the Record). Work done during the year included the drying room in Bridge End, and path/drain along the front of Bridge End and the path in front of Riverside. Work still to be done included renewing the gas distribution system in Ivy, decorating the bedrooms and renovating the path outside Ivy.

It was pointed out that the loss shown on the balance sheet for Ivy would have been a profit if all members had paid up on leaving Ivy. The list of debtors was read out and a few paid up.

The fees for the cottages will probably have to rise to cover the cost of running the drying room but the amount of the rise will only be known when the electricity bills come in. Members had again requested a pay-telephone be installed in Ivy. Although the costs appeared very high the Cottage Warden asked for an indication from the meeting on whether or not a phone should be installed. The show of hands showed 50% for and 50% against and it was agreed that the Committee should investigate the matter further.

The report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from RA Halliwell, seconded by AC Hayter.

A member requested that the Committee ensure that the safety precautions for use with the drop rig in Bridge End are sufficient.

Librarian's Report:

The Club's Library is now installed in a new room in Castle Chambers with a carpeted floor. It is on the first floor with access via an outside staircase but has internal access to toilet facilities. The furniture is now in position although shelving needs building for the tackle. The Librarian thanked the few who had been able to help during all the upheavals of the previous 6 months. The Librarian invited any member who wished to join him at Castle Chambers any Tuesday evening either to browse or to help with the re-organisation. A vote of thanks was proposed to all who have turned up on Tuesday evenings from those who live too far away to attend.

In response to a question about computer cataloguing, the Librarian confirmed that the production of a catalogue was on his list of priorities but it was unlikely to be a computerised list.

The report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from LB Cook, seconded by G Moore.

Editor's Report:

The Editor reported the issue of 4 Records during the year totalling about 150 pages. He reminded members that he could only publish what they wrote and encouraged them to keep sending articles in. He reported a number of articles submitted for the proposed Berger publication and confirmed that it would be of higher quality than the Record with a large number of photographs. Some members queried the placing of a copy of the Record on the World Wide Web by a member. It was agreed that the Committee should monitor the situation.

H Bottomley asked about the type-setting error rate. The Editor explained that often the proof-reading is not as rigourous as would be liked to keep to the deadlines for printing and posting. The use of a spell-checker only goes so far in picking up errors.

DC Mellor reminded the Editor that better quality printing should be used where photographs warrant it.

The report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from K Davey, seconded by M Holloway.

Membership Secretary's Report:


The Chairman wished to propose a vote of thanks to all Committee members who travel so far to Committee Meetings. This was seconded by D Allanach and passed unanimously.

Election of Officers:

The following were elected/re-elected unopposed:

President: G Workman, proposed by MP Jackson, seconded by A Smith
Senior Vice-President: J Mason, proposed by R Myers, seconded by DL Milner.
Junior Vice-President: R Espiner, proposed by RA Halliwell, seconded by DC Mellor.
Chairman: R Myers;
Secretary: PC Halliwell;
Treasurer: RW Scott;
Membership & Assistant Secretary: BJ Jenkins;
Editor: RA Halliwell;
Librarian: DC Mellor;
Cottage Warden: SE Pickersgill;
Tacklekeeper: JA Roberts;
Assistant Tacklekeeper: EE Whitaker;

There were two vacant committee places resulting from the resignations of JD Hoggarth and MC Thompson. These were filled by:

I Buchanan, proposed by RW Scott, seconded by E Wood
PB Warren, proposed by DW Hoggarth, seconded by EE Whitaker

In addition to Officers the Committee thus consists of: I Buchanan, MC Goodwin, DW Hoggarth, DL Milner, T Shipley, PB Warren, A Weight, E Wood.

Meets List 1995:

This had been published in Record 36 and remained the same with the addition of a few more leaders' names. It was agreed that meets which were SRT only should be so indicated on the Meets Card.

An extra meet was proposed to be added to the Meets Card: The Sell Gill Expedition. This would be held on 1 July and would involve two underground camps with cream teas at Camp II. The leader would be R Espiner. The charge for the meet would be [[sterling]]5 to cover the T-shirt and other special costs.

The details of the proposed during the Pierre St Martin meet would be published in the January issue of the Record.


1. Constitutional change:

In rule 6: change the final sentence to read: Any Member not having cleared their subscription arrears by 31 August shall be deemed to have resigned.

Proposed by DL Milner, seconded by DW Hoggarth.

The Treasurer explained the background to this proposal resulting from the cut-off date for calculating of BCRA insurance premiums being 30 September each year. This proposal would ensure that the Club was not paying premiums for members who had not paid their subscriptions. L Todd asked how many members lapsed each year. The number is approximately 11 each year. After some complex discussion D Allanach proposed that we move to the vote, seconded by DL Milner. This was passed with 3 against. The Rule change was passed by more than the required two-thirds majority required.

2. Proposal:

That the annual subscription should be increased to [[sterling]]15.00 per annum with effect from 1 February 1995.

Proposed by RW Scott, seconded by R Myers.

The Treasurer explained that this proposal had the unanimous support of the Committee and the Hon. Auditor and was to prevent the Club eating into its reserves to meet its everyday running costs.

The proposal was accepted unanimously.

Any other business:

A Davey asked whether the Club would celebrate the centenary of Martel's descent of GG. It was agreed that the Committee would consider the matter.

J Webb asked what progress there had been on the results of the German film crew at GG. It was confirmed that a copy of the film was expected in January.

K Davey asked what progress there had been on revising the photo competition rules. The Secretary confirmed that R Jenkins had put forward proposals (copies of which were available for consideration by any member) and that the matter would be considered by the Committee in the new year.

The President reminded members who had entered slides in the competition to collect them from him as soon as possible.

The Chairman asked for a show of hands for Ham & Eggs at the Foresters after the President's meet. The meeting closed at 4.55pm.

Annual Photographic & Literary Awards - 1994

Tom Pettit Cup for best article in Record: Simon Ashby for his article on a first visit to Mulu.

Best meets report: Howard Beck for his Crianlarich report.

President's Trophy and Climber's Trophy: Edward Whitaker

Down Valley Trophy: Peter Jones

Phillip Tyas and Men of Kent Trophy: Pete Gray

JR Neild Cup: Kim Davey

The Albert Mitchell Trophy and the Spirit of Gaping Gill Trophy were not awarded this year

Jottings from the Committee


It was noted that a new tackle tent had been purchased for use at Gaping Gill and that the ladder for the fire-escape in Riverside had been made. It was reported that a drainage path had been constructed outside Bridge End on the working weekend and that extra care was now required when turning into the car park from the Settle direction. The river bank wall had also been refurbished. A cupboard for rescue equipment had been built in Bridge End. The Cottage Warden was given permission to purchase a new bed for Riverside.


A member had requested that the Club write off for a Berger permit for sole use by himself and his friends. It was agreed that, in cases where access agreements placed no restrictions on the numbers of participants, then the Club was not willing to request permits in its name for restricted groups of members. It was further noted that any member club of BCRA could apply for a Berger permit and it was suggested to the member that he might consider this route. In response to a request from the Club for clarification of possible tax liabilities, the Inland Revenue had supplied a leaflet and suggested that we should contact them if we had any further queries. It was concluded that the advice in the leaflet indicated that we were not liable and therefore we need not contact them further. It was resolved that the Club should purchase a Mager stretcher, as used by the MRO, to replace the Neil Robinson Stretcher used at Gaping Gill. The purchase of a resin applicator for use in the CNCC re-bolting project was agreed.


John Davey of the BPC had sent details of the work he wishes to carry out at GG to improve the path down into the shakehole. It was agreed that we had no objection in principle to his proposals. The Secretary was asked to remind him that the steps he was proposing must not impede the carriage of the heavy GG equipment up and down the slope. A member had written seeking financial support to enable him to attend a expedition being organised by another club. After noting that he was already a member of the other club and thus would be participating in the expedition as a member of that Club rather than as a CPC member it was agreed that no financial support would be provided.

It was reported that despite numerous reminders from the Cottage Warden, Mrs C Evans was refusing to return a Riverside key and therefore the lock had been changed. The Committee also agreed unanimously that "In view of her refusal to pay outstanding cottage fees and return a key and her refusal to respond to approaches from the Cottage Warden on this matter, Cath Evans is banned from entering the Club Cottages and from attending Club activities.

It was noted that replacement long scaffolding poles for the GG Gantry are to be purchased. A number of laminated safety instruction cards are to be prepared and installed at appropriate positions during the GG meet. As requested by the AGM the question of the installation of a pay-phone at the Cottage was discussed and it was agreed unanimously that a pay-phone should not be installed.

Additions to the CPC Library, July 1993 to December 1994

Journals & Periodicals

Bristol Exploration Club Journal Belfry Bulletin Nos 467 to 474
BCRA Caves & Caving Nos 61 to 65
BCRA Cave Science Nos 20(1) to 20(3)
BCRA Cave & Karst Science No 21(1)
BCRA Hydrology Group Report - Swaledale 91
Bradford Pothole Club Bulletin No 6(9)
Cave Rescue Organisation - Rescue 93
Cave Diving Group Newsletters Nos 108 to 113
Cave Diving Group - Ten year Cumulative Index 1978-88
Cerberus Speleological Society Journal Nos 21(6), 22(1) to 22(6)
Chelsea Speleological Society Newsletters Nos 35(1), 35(4)
Descent Nos 112 to 120
Descent - Index to issues 101 - 110
Grampian Speleological Group Bulletin Nos 2(4),2(5),3(12)
International Caver Nos 7 to 11
Mendip Caving Group Newsletters Nos 228 to 236
NCA Speleoscene Nos 10 to 13
Northern Mines Research Society Nos 46(Grassington), 49(Wharfedale)
Pholeos Nos 13(2), 14(1/2)
Plymouth Caving Group Newsletter & Journal Nos 118 to 121
Plymouth Caving Group - Library List 1.2.93
Plymouth Caving Group - Index to publications 1 to 116
Red Rose Cave & Pothole Club Newsletters Nos 30(2), 30(3), 31(1), 31(2)
Shepton Mallet Caving Club Journal Nos 9(4) to 9(6)
South African Speleo Association Bulletin Nos 33 & 34
South Wales Caving Club Newsletter Nos 88, 112 to 114
Sydney Speleological Society Journal Nos 37( 1 to 12), 38( 1 to 8)
University of Bristol Spelaeological Society Proceedings No 19(3)
Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association - Recent Incidents 1991-93
Wessex Cave Club Journal Nos 22(238) to 22(242)
Westminster Speleological Group Bulletin No 9(3)
Westminster Speleological Group Newsletters Nos 13(5) to 13(9)
White Rose Pothole Club Newsletter Nos 13(5) to 13(9)
Yorkshire Subterranean Society Journal No 3

Books and one-off publications

Hull University Speleological Society Expedition Report, Catabria 1993
Mendip Underground A caver's Guide - DJ Irwin & A Jarratt
Moors, Crags, Caves of the High Peak & Neighbourhood - EA Baker
Radon in Yorkshire Caves - unpublished manuscript by Geoff Workman
The Netherworld of Mendip - EA Baker & E Balch
The Underground Atlas, a Gazeteer of the World's Caving Regions - J Middleton & Tony Waltham
They Words, They Words, They 'Orrible Words - an anthology of caving songs collected by Nick Cornwell-Smith
Underneath the Arches - caving around Ribblehead by SJ Charnock
Vercors Caves - Des Marshall

Other collections of publications

A number of other collections of books, journals, pamphlets, surveys, etc., relating to caving and mountaineering have also been donated by members


Cheap 4-drawer filing cabinets for use in the Club Library in Skipton. If anyone knows of a source will they please contact Don Mellor on 01535 635328(h)

The re-seeding around Bridge End has been very successful. Now we need a cheap hover mower for use at the Cottage. If we can keep the grass at a reasonable level then this should give a nice midge infested camp-site! If you can help please contact Steve Pickersgill on 01845 597300

Stephen Nunwick Memorial Lecture

This year's lecture will be given by Dick Willis and is entitled "From the Arctic to the Equator by Tube". The expedition group that Dick mainly works with have probably found more cave, across a wider geographical range, than any other group in the world. The lecture is scheduled for 7pm on Friday 3 March in the Middleton Hall of the University of Hull. Admission is free and anyone wanting further information should contact Ric or Pat Halliwell.

1995 Subscriptions

As reported in the AGM Minutes, the annual subscription, which is due on 1 January each year, has been increased from [[sterling]]12 to [[sterling]]15. This is to take effect on 1 February 1995, so any subscriptions received on or after that date must be for the new amount.

Those who pay by standing order will be sent an amended mandate for 1996 with the Record in April.

Robert Scott

About Members

We welcome the following as new members of the Club:

The following have been accepted as Probationary Members and will probably be attending meets during thre next few months:

The following has been around for a long time and has been willing to admit it to the Committee by having applied for, and been given, Life Membership:

Changes of address:

Addresses have been omitted from the on-line version of the Record.

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