The Craven Pothole Club Record

Number 41, January 1996

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)

E-mail: R.A.Halliwell@UK.AC.Hull.Admin


A year ago the January Record was the smallest Record to be issued. I hope that the trend does not repeat itself this year because this is a bumper Record, the largest since I took over as Editor. The reason is mainly as our Chairman so succinctly put it at the AGM "It's been another good year".

This Record includes a number of articles reporting on the work in Sell Gill, or Club Pot as many of our members call it. After a considerable effort a small group of members has finally managed to pass the sump which was the known end of the cave to all of us. However research after the breakthrough revealed that the sump is relatively recent and the "new" passage had been first entered in 1937 and was surveyed by Eli Simpson in 1941 before being forgotten. At least it generated an interest both in researching the history of the early exploration and documenting the considerable volume of work which CPC members have done in Sell Gill.

The last Record included details of the Centenary Way extensions in GG and it was noted that we had blocked the entrance to conserve the extension. We have recently learned that at least two other groups have been in to the extensions but have taken the same attitude as we did and have reblocked the entry when they came out. I find this a heartening sign and hope that it heralds the awakening of a concern amongst northern cavers for conservation. It is a shame that at present we must hide the extension to preserve it, maybe attitudes are changing enough that in the not too distant future this will become unnecessary.

Several members have asked recently why don't we reactivate the dig in Notts Pot which has great potential for a dry link to Notts II. With the work which is actively taking place in Lost Johns to try and get a link from that end into Notts II this would seem a most timely idea. The only argument against restarting the dig is the exceptionally constricted squeeze leading to it, as one of the original diggers I have to admit that removal of this would make the prospect much more attractive. If anyone is interested please contact either myself or Paul Norman. A Lost John's/Notts exchange would be quite a challenge and we would be adding another CPC bit to Britain's longest cave system.

Although I have in the past been criticised by some people for including material by non-members I have included in this Record an article by an Italian caver describing the exploration of a new cave. You may ask what has this got to do with the CPC. My answer is, to my mind this is a classic description of exploration, a joy to read, and I just wish that we could find something that would inspire CPC members to write articles like this one.

The next Record is due to go to press on 1 April but because of the problems of Easter can I ask that all submissions reach me by 18 March or earlier.

Ric Halliwell

Meets Reports

Club 15 - 70

You've arrived at the Buttertubs, your bags are unpacked, and now all you need to do is find the entertainment. Where is it? Well, one thing you can be sure of when you cave with Club 15-70 is it's all action, all around you. But to make sure you don't miss out on a single rock, we've got a few ideas of our own to make sure you don't miss out.

What we're talking about are the famous Club 15-70 diversions, where we make sure you get the maximum entertainment for the best possible value for money. Of course, the diversions aren't the same from cave to cave, and below is just a taster of what may be on offer. For further details, make sure you get on down to the Welcome Meeting ("Are you the Craven?") when you arrive at the meet, where the Club Leader will give you the full low-down (on the crawly bits).

One Sunday of living life to the max... means hours and minutes packed full to bursting with caverns, boulders, crawls, streamways and sumps. From solo circuits around and about Shower Chamber, to aqueous hysteria in Fault Hall and the infamous beached whale parties in sandy oxbows, we'll make sure that when you need more from the day than catching dark rays, we can show you the best.

But when every Sunday's a Saturday night, Cliff Force Cave was the place to be.

Present on 8 October 1995 : Alec Bottomley, Tony Blick, Len Cook(70), Jeff Cowling, Pat O'Neill(Guest), Simon Parker, Reg Parker, Henry Rose(P), Keith Lee(G), Susan Lee(G), Martin Tomlinson, Roy Clunie, Pete Jones, Kevin Gannon(P), Dennis Webb, Elaine Hill(P), Donald Kelly(P), Richard Urwin(G), Chris Little, Jan Little(G), Barbara Jenkins, Steve Pickersgill, Robert Scott, Alex Scott(G and 15).

Robert Scott

Little Hull Pot (21 October 1995)

Present: M Hrynyk (Leader), Rob Dove, Martin Hauan, Dave Hoggarth, Bob Jenkins, Steve Kelley, Ted Wood, Peter Barnes, Tom Thompson, Kevin Gannon, Steve Pickersgill, Barbara Jenkins, Pat Halliwell, Patrick Warren.

Amid the usual chorus of farts, belches and hawking the happy bunch of cavers surfaced to a beautiful autumn morning to descent Little Hull.

Tackle assembled, & cavers getting changed at 9 o'clock (yes 1 hour early) Rob Dove & Martin Hauan set off, the advanced rigging team.

Great Oggship, Bob Jenks, Steve Kelley, Ted Wood, Pete Barnes & Fritz set off later to catch them up. Advanced team were met at bottom of 1st pitch. Fritz set off to rig biggy but found he'd only brought the bunch of maillons with no hangers, oh dear! The merry bunch of cavers were left & Fritz departed with many apologies, to get some kit that we could use. Returned to a happy bunch of cavers singing & blowing whistles.

Rigging the biggy, it was discovered that most of the hangers had lost their bolts, oh dear! Fortunately there was enough left to finish the trip.

One of the anchors on the top of the big pitch was knackered so an alternating rig was cobbled together with an interesting deviation at 30ft down to pass. At the bottom of the big pitch (dead nice!) a squalid tunnel was followed until a choice of routes was met, a low wet 'orrid way, for the roughy toughy (and porky) hard cavers or a squeezey dry way for the not so roughy toughy (but thin) softy cavers.

Oggy was met on t'other side, "It's bone dry" he says, and disappears down the tunnel muttering & cursing about softies.

Final pitch was rigged & Steve Kelley, Oggship & Fritz got to the bottom. "Where's this big sump pool", it's bloody Ric winding us up, so out we went cursing Ric's sense of humour (it turns out that the three cavers had taken the wrong turning, Oh Hum never mind).

Simon Parker was met in the traverse between 2nd & 3rd pitches, "Bloody Hell" he says, "They're the biggest 30ft pitches I've ever done!".

Pat Halliwell, Patrick Warren & two pitch Thompson were met at bottom of big pitch. "Does anyone have any gammon & chips" says Oggy, "No, but I've got some toffees" says Pat, so after a feast of toffee we set off & left Patrick, Pat & Simon to de-tackle.

Ted, Rob & Bob took some piccies then bogged off. Thanks to everyone who turned up & carried various bits up to the hole, & to the 3 who volunteered to de-rig. Happy Birthday Ted Old Lad.

Total number down, 14. Barbara and Steve came down just before the derigging team and were later seen snogging in a shakehole.

M (Fritz)Hrynyk

(This must rank as the most rapidly produced meet report ever. The leader had such confidence in his derigging team that the report was written and submitted to the Editor whilst the deriggers were still below ground!! - Ed)

Alum Pot Area (22 October 95)

Present: Terry Shipley (leader), Dave Kaye, John Webb, Fritz, Steve Lent, Barry Hunkin, Mary Hunkin, Elaine Hill, Donald Kelly, Reg Parker, Simon Parker, Sue Allonby, John Allonby & leader.

Fritz roped the 240' to the bottom so the sightseers could watch. Rest down Dolly Tubs & down to the bottom except for Mary and myself. Everybody did very well & thanks to all who helped with the Probationary Members. They were very impressive.

Terry Shipley

Marble Steps (4 November 1995).

Present: Tom Tompson, Ian Robinson(P), Elaine Shaw(P), James Schofield(P), Pete Barling, Richard Keys(P), Peter Barnes, Karen Lane(P), Roy Clunie, Martin Tomlinson, Simon Rowling(L).

The day was clear and frosty and as expected my car would not start, what a good start to the day!! After subsequent car manoeuvres we arrived at Mason Gill just before the allotted 10.00am. All changed and ready we trooped to the hole where Tom set about rigging the first pitch. At this point I remembered I had left the survey in the car but this was deemed not important as between us we knew the pitch lengths and in any case the length of lifeline for each pitch would say how many ladders were needed!! After ascertaining that everyone had climbed a ladder before, we started to descend.

After the first three were down I life lined the rest down while Tom, Peter and Co. carried on to rig the next pitches. Pete went about 15' down the ladder and said that his injured knee was twinging so reluctantly but wisely he decided to come back out and wait at the car for our return. We all met up again at the top of the 90' where Tom was just on his way down. We had a short wait here while everyone was safely life lined down. As I made it to the bottom of the 90' some people were already on their way out, which was good as this kept the flow of people up the pitches. To the sump and back again I caught up three people at the bottom of the 20' pitch. Having derriged this there was still four people waiting to climb the 90'. Two people did not have load bearing belts so we decided that it would be safer and more comfortable for them to wear a harness up the 90'.We made a fairly fast exit with people moving the whole time up the pitches, arriving to a beautiful moon lit fell with orange sodium lamps glistening in the distance.

My thanks to Tom and Peter who did all the rigging and plenty of life lining and to everyone else who came along and made the meet enjoyable, a grand team effort by all.

Simon Rowling

Christmas Pot/Grange Rigg (9 December 1995)

Attending Members/Guests: I Woods(Leader), Steve Kelley, Armin Majer(G), Heather Wilkinson(G), Mike Hale(G), Dave Kaye, Dennis Webb, Dominic Maddison, John Webb, Bill Hewitt(G), Chris Little, Pete ?, Neville Lucas, Ted Wood.

The morning was fine and cold and we gathered in Clapham prior to venturing up the snow covered fell to the two beckoning holes in the ground. It was decided that Steve would lead Christmas and I would take the other party down Grange Rigg, but as I had not been down either hole previously I asked Mike Hale (SLUG) whether he would guide us through and was relieved when he agreed to do so.

The walk up to Grange Rigg was soon completed and six of us swiftly descended to the head of the first pitch. This was executed with no problems and we continued to the second pitch where we were joined by two late starters. Unfortunately we were slowed down at the head of the second pitch due to my underestimating the size of my nether regions and becoming wedged until pushed from below by Heather & Mike and descending at a slightly wider point. From here on the cave proved to be enjoyable and sporting with awkward crawls and tight ladder pitches culminating with the excellent formations between the fourth and fifth pitches below the junction with Christmas Pot.

It was here that we met Steve and his party passing through to go out of Grange Rigg and we were joined by Dave & Pete who decided to exit the system by Christmas instead of going on. The long climb out was executed swiftly and we emerged onto a now dark and wet fell to start our walk back to Clapham for a change of clothes and a well deserved pint.

I would like to thank all concerned for making this meet so enjoyable and for the help and friendship extended to my guests.

I Woods

Heron Pot (10 December 95)

Present: Chris Serjeant, Keelan Serjeant(G), Alison Payne, Karen Lane(P), Sheila Phoenix, Kevin Hopwood(G), Elaine Hill, Donald Kelly(P), Simon Parker, Emma Faid, Edward Whittaker, Peter Whittaker(P), Phill Thomas(G), Ted Wood, John Allonby and Sue Allonby.

JA and TW set off in advance, to start rigging the first pitch. The rest of the party enjoyed the stroll up to the entrance over a cunningly deceptive dry moor. SA tried to write everyone's name on an official sheet, but the pen gave up the ghost when it had to write EW. She therefore resorted to a headcount, which came to 15 with the 2 already down the hole. By the time we'd reached the first pitch we were up to 16, because PT had arrived too. (Please note 1/4lb of Cadbury's eclairs doesn't contain enough to sustain a meet of this size while waiting to descend!)

The first pitch was slightly damp, but the second was extremely so. And cold. Especially down the back of your neck. The clever sods who wore wetsuits or had oversuit hoods really missed out on something here. JA, TW and E.W. kindly said they'd detackle, while everyone else was keen to go out of the bottom entrance. EH kept pointing out to the leader the plus points of being shorter, when in a wet crawl situation (ie your knickers stay dryer for longer). Anyhow, any ill feeling I may have harboured over such unfair advantages all came out in the wash. (I mean in the exit.)

CS advised people to "do it on their backs." Those who didn't,got a mouthful of water. SA was shocked to hear some expletives from surfacing members, but then bettered these with one choice phrase. It was a most enjoyable meet, especially after you'd got dry with a brew inside you!

Sue Allonby

Rumbling Hole (31 December 1995)

Present: John Helm(Leader), Henry Rose, Patrick Warren, Emma Porter and Shaun Howe(Prospective). We were also happy to have Clive Westlake along as a guest.

Due to the rather cold weather encountered on Leck Fell the previous day, the meet leader seemed less than keen to go onto the fell to do Rumbling so a plan B was formulated. A number of folks seemed enthusiastic to go underground, however nobody was an approved SRT leader so I suggested a Short Drop-Gavel Pot, trip on ladders. This seemed to suit most people and a rendezvous was made at the Cowan bridge car park at 11.00am.

After changing in the car-park before going up on to the fell, it was noted that the weather was in fact milder than the previous day (or was it just less windy?). Gavel Pot entrance pitch was laddered before going down Short Drop (although the pitch is quite an easy free-climb the thick encrusted ice would have made it sporting).

The trip down the relatively easy streamway went without any problems. Though I didn't mention the by-pass to the wet crawl until they were all through it! The first pitch was rigged out of the water then on down to the second and a cold shower as the pitch could not easily be rigged dry. So the group reached the bottom of Short Drop Cave.

People who know the cave will by now have noted that it isn't necessary to go down the last pitch to get out of the Gavel Pot entrance, a point initially missed by me. A climb above the second pitch led to the daylight and the entrance of Gavel Pot. Emma, Shaun and Clive exited by this entrance whilst Henry, Patrick and I went back out through Short Drop. The trip had taken about 3 hours and was a good way of working up a thirst for the evening.

John A Helm

Annual Subscriptions

The annual subscription remains the same as for last year at £15. Subscriptions are due on 1 January and the Treasurer will be delighted to receive your payments.

Report on the Craven Pothole Club 1995 Expedition to the

Pierre-Saint-Martin (PSM), France.

As the only member of the expedition living in France. I would be hard pressed to live further from the PyrènèesAtlantiques than here in the Alsace. The journey by autoroute took 15 hours, travelling on a "journèe noire" according to the "bison futè" (French autoroute information service which grades road traffic from green, yellow, red to black.). Along with an estimated 12 million french people on the move in one weekend going and returning from their summer holidays, not really to be described as fun. Having left Strasbourg at midnight Saturday I finally arrived at the Sainte-Engrâce camp-site at 3pm the following day. After almost 1400km, and 325FF (autoroute tolls).

On arrival at the camp-site I found that a large group of BPC (Bradford Pothole Club), and a smaller group of CPC (Craven Pothole Club) were encamped. CPC personnel including Ric and Pat Halliwell, Andy and Chris Hayter, Bob, Sarah and Jenny Jenkins. The meet leader and treasurer, Simon Ashby and Simon Rowling had just arrived and keen to get going were already visiting the EDF (Electricitè de France) tunnel entrance to the PSM. After a long chat and a meal needless to say, I slept well.

On the first Monday (31th July), it was decided to go entrance spotting/walking, and we thus drove up to the ArretePierre-Saint-Martin ski station. The cars were left and we wandered up towards Pic D'Anie. The group consisted of Chris, Andy, Pat, Ric, Simon R, Simon A, and me (John). The route was via Tête Sauvage entrance (easy to find as its all weather entrance resembles 3m high a wooden chimney in the summer), and on to SC3 (Beffroi) whose entrance should be easy to find if you follow directions in the guide book and don't get too excited and start charging across the karst moonscape of the lapiaz too soon (thank you Andy). The entrance of SC3 is a short (20 minute) walk from Tête Sauvage where a number of french cars were parked.

The group crossed the lapiaz to the main path up Pic d'Anie, and slogged up the hill. It was decided that the walk up Pic d'Anie had little going for it since it consisted almost entirely of bare (sharp) limestone and screes. However, it was later realised that the scree walking was good training for crossing the larger chambers in PSM!

Lunch was consumed on the summit under the hungry eyes of the soaring vultures. On descending I decided to make a detour and traversed around Soum Couy along a section of the GR10 track, whilst the others took the classic route down. At this point I bumped into an Australian girl and British lad who were intending to walk the entire GR10 (from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean), they were extremely heavily ladened and had already take 11 days to get to this point from the Atlantic (I think they had begun to realise that they probably were not up to going all the way to the Med.). On my return to the camp-site I thought I'd go and see the state of the nearest public swimming baths at Lanne (25km north). The pool was clean and open air but unfortunately too small and full of screaming kids.

A number of CPC members had also arrived "up top" and had rented an apartment in the ski station (Mick Thompson, John Green, Denis Bushell, Tony Whitehouse, Andy Roberts, and Cliff Poole.

The weather was poor on Tuesday morning and a heavy downpour lead to a late start. I wandered up to the EDF entrance situated at 1.5 hours walk up hill from the church of SainteEngrâce, taking the opportunity to visit the church on the way. This fine 11th century church which was an abbey on the pilgrimage route of St-Jacques, has some good Romanesque carvings .

At the entrance to the EDF tunnel I met up with a large group of BPC who had managed to get their 4-wheel drive to within 15 minutes walk of the entrance and were still complaining about the walk up! They considered that since this lower entrance was no longer locked it was possible to come and go as we pleased (they had the permit anyway). After a brief picnic lunch by the church I returned to the camp-site and along with Simon A and Simon R decided to visit the Holçartè gorges near Larrau. The gorges were impressive, leading to a 40m long suspension bridge over a 200m drop, first bottomed by Martel in 1936. The other tourists didn't seem to appreciate us swinging the bridge though! At the camp-site we found that Russel, Pauline and Ben Myers had arrived, and also Andy Elliot and family.

Simon A, Simon R and I decide to try to get Simon A's car as far as we could up the "4-wheel drive" track to the EDF entrance with the largest inflatable dinghy, and various bits of tackle in order to make a trip into the system the following day. The car made it up about half way leaving a final 45 minute heavy backpack to the entrance. Returning to camp just in time to cook tea (in darkness) and sleep.

The following day (Wednesday 2nd August) a major tackling trip in PSM via the EDF tunnel was organised with the aim of getting the two dinghies, and the first aid and brew kits to the "wind tunnel", which is about 4-5 hours into the cave. Needless to say the weather was glorious.

The group consisted of myself, Simon A, Simon R, Ric, Pat, Russel, Ben, Mike, John G, Tony, Cliff, Denis, Andy E, Andy R, and Bob Jenkins (Bob took Sarah, Jenny and Jasmine Elliot as far as the Verna). After arranging to meet up at the entrance at 8.30am the leader sprinted up the hill thinking that he would be last there only to find that everyone was in fact behind him!

A quick stomp through the mined EDF tunnel led to the edge of the Salle Verna, the largest underground chamber in Europe. It is so large that it is extremely difficult to comprehend its shear size, since no lights could penetrate very far across the blackness. The way on up to the left passes the plaque in memory of Marcel Loubens and the Ste-Engrâce flow meter in the streamway. From here on following "the well marked ARSIP route" ("if we don't see a marker in 30m we've lost the route") "up stream" through a series of enormous chambers: Chevalier, Adèlie, Queffèlec, then the Mètro passage, followed by the chambers: Loubens, Casteret, Lèpineux, Navarre, and finally the Wind Tunnel. These chambers would all take much time to navigate through were it not for the excellent markers and the huge piles of spent carbide along the route (cave conservation has certainly not caught on here). At Lèpineux Chamber the temporary resting place of Marcel Loubens was seen along with the boulder slope down which he fell. The three short "pitches" on the route were rigged and at the wind tunnel a brew was made whilst the dinghies and pull-back lines were installed. It was later pointed out that there was no need to sit in the cold draught next to the tunnel brewing up as there is a large dry chamber on the opposite side of the passage (Salle d'Aragonite). The cave was exited fairly quickly after about 9.5 hours underground. The trip was certainly interesting although few formations area seen it is the shear size of the passages and chambers which is impressive. A note was left in the Bradford's signing-in book at the entrance to thank them for the use of their permit!

The following day was poor weather and was gear sorting day for most folk, preparing for our planned tackling trip of SC3. I sneaked off to Pau, and was sampling the Jurançon wines by 9.30am, then on to the Boulevard des Pyrènèes, where the view was of thick cloud. I discovered an antiquarian bookshop and purchased a few Casteret and Tazieff (although left the Martel's for Ric later in the week). Visited Decathlon the sports hypermarket and decided all the bits I wanted could be bought more cheaply in the Casino Hypermarket next door! On my return to the camp-site having picnicked on the way back, shared around some of the Jurançon wine and promptly fell asleep. In the evening SA, SR and myself went "up top" and called in to the ARSIP hostel. We were pleased to meet Ruben Gommez (involved in a lot of the 60's and 70's exploration) and have a chat. He remembered Arthur Champion and passed on his best wishes, and ruefully admitted that it was he who had given the BEC lads the SC(Soum Couy) area to explore when they found the SC3 entrance. We bought a number of publication and surveys which were on sale there (there are also showers and bunks, plus a permanent warden), and tried unsuccessfully to find A Elliot and family who had just moved up to the Bracas camp-site. We then visited the luxury of the ski station and scrounged some wine whilst discussing rigging tactics (fortunately Denis offered to use his hire car to take gear up the track to the entrance of Tête Sauvage).

The following day (Friday 4th), almost the entire team met up at the ski station and by the use of the car most folk had a pleasant wander up to the Tête Sauvage entrance without gear. The following 20 minutes up the track to the entrance was soon done and Mike Thompson had the honour of been the first down the entrance of SC3. He was closely followed by John Green, then Tony Whitehouse and Cliff Poole. Meanwhile one group went to the top of Soum Couy, and Simon Ashby, Simon Rowling and I amused ourselves pitching a tent and collecting firewood (in case of a late exit). Then entered the cave having given the others a head start for tackling. The pitches were rigged fairly quickly and after 4 hours we were zooming down the fine Liberty Bell pitch. A quick look around and then decided to exit. Surfacing just as the sun was setting, and walking down to the ski station to the accompaniment of an impressive light display from a distant thunder storm. The return journey to the camp-site was fun as a result of 10m visibility on the road due to fog.

On Saturday we decide to visit Spain. Bob Jenkins had suggested a good "village" (Zuriza) for a picnic near Isaba south of the border. Thus myself, Simon A, Simon R, Bob, Jenny and Sarah set out in convoy. However the "village" turned out to be a camp-site and the countryside plagued by clouds of flies. Finally lunch was eaten on the road back to France (Port de Larrau), once again under the watchful eyes of the vultures. A little further up the road we met up with the Myers family and great fun was had with a pair of old wellies and a cattle grid (ask Ben Myers if you want that explained!). We decide to walk up the 2017m peak of Pic d'Orhy, which from the top of the pass was only a "good stretch of the legs". The walk turned into an ornithological trail, as a result of the number of species seen. The cold (cloudy) French air was been blown back by the warm upwelling Spanish air resulting in a large number of insects which in turn had attracted large numbers of swifts and swallows, and which had in turn attracted the falcons and vultures. On the return journey we (Simon A, Simon R, and me) bought some fresh trout from the trout farm at Licq-Athèrey, and cooked a barbecue for tea along with large volumes of cheap wine and beer. It was decided to celebrate the end of the expedition with a larger scale version of this barbecue.

Mike , Sue and Adam Burtenshaw arrived at the camp-site along with Pete Barnes and Sue, also Simon Parker and Emma had appeared "up top"'.

On the Sunday a group from "up top" were going down SC3 and since I had decided to do the through trip with the two Simons on Monday, we chose to visit the Kakouetta gorges. A large group from the camp-site managed (with the aid of the ARSIP letter) to persuade the woman at the entrance that we were all genuine english cavers so that we didn't have to pay to get in! This gorge walk has been extensively altered due to flooding in 1992 which closed the gorges for a year, although it is still very spectacular. On the return journey it was decided that following the path was too easy so a small group led by Ben Myers (I think!) walked/climbed/slide their way down the stream bed. After a number of pools which necessitated the removal of socks and boots we reached "the deep one", onward or back?, so off with the trousers and onward only to find that the next pool was swimming depth. No Norbert Casterets in this group so we turned back! Some of the "up top" team went down SC3 today and others entered from EDF to go up stream and out of SC3, with a sleep in Aragonite Hall on the way. Also a few of the Bradford folk who had remained after the end of their permit for Tête Sauvage-EDF had a trip down SC3 and reckoned that we had the better entrance and that it was very well rigged.

Monday the 7th was the "big day" for most people at the camp-site, and the official start of our permit, however all the tackle was already in place for through trips SC3-EDF entrance. It was decided that myself, Simon A, and Simon R, would go down first and would be followed 2 hours later by Russel, Mike B, Pete, and Simon P.

After what seemed to be sprint up to the entrance of SC3, an hour later saw the three of us at the bottom of Liberty Bell, and a few minutes further on we bumped into Cliff, Tony , Andy R, and the irrepressible Denis ("Best day of my life lads").

They had made a small bivi just away from the base of the pitch and were brewing up. The through trip was excellent with route finding rarely a problem, and only attempts to avoid the deep water in the Grand Canyon causing some fun. The Wind Tunnel was reached after 6 hours of sporting passage. The crossing of the "lakes" caused me some fun when the drag-back line for the spare dinghy first jammed and then started to sink along with crew (me) and all the personal tackle sacks. Fortunately Simon Ashby arrived in time with the excellent club dinghy (lifeboat). A brew stop of an hour was then made at the downstream end of the Wind Tunnel in Aragonite Hall, where an excellent display of Helictites can be seen in the roof of the chamber. Then a quick dash to the entrance bumping into a group of Spanish cavers on the way (they had even signed in to our book at the entrance). The entire through trip had taken about 11 hours at a comfortable pace, and was great fun. The car which had been left at the church was collected and a return made to the camp-site. The other team arrived after a couple of hours having also had a reasonable trip through.

After a slow start on Tuesday, in fine sunshine Simon A, Simon R, and myself drove up to the ski station and walked up to SC3 to collect gear (clothes) left at the entrance. I then had a drive east to Bedous, and Borge where I visited the "Bear museum" (they certainly seem to make quite a fuss over their 14 remaining wild bears). Drove on to the Col du Somport, and crossed over in to Spain although lack of Pesetas drove me back. I bought some more trout on the way back and had them poached with spuds (Truite au Bleu).

On Wednesday 9th it was the detackling trip into the EDF entrance as far as the Wind Tunnel. The "up top" team had already offered to detackle the SC3 pitches. First group in consisted of Simon A, Simon R, John, Pete, and Simon P. We had a fast trip to the Wind Tunnel, and the dinghies were quickly removed, along with ropes into Aragonite Hall. The deflation took a little longer, and a brew was made. I decided to remove the holed TSG dingy abandoned by them in the cave with the intention of fixing it (it is now repaired and my kids use it as a paddling pool!). At the last small pitch on the way out we met up with Russel, Ben and Sue B. and the journey out was quickly completed.

The following day was a gear washing day (useful having the river right next to the camp-site). Simon R and Ben started to build a pool to wash gear and "cool beer in" although it ended up nearly the size of a swimming pool! Once all the gear was washed everyone set to work, building a barbecue place, peeling spuds and once the 30 some trout had been bought from the trout farm, preparing them for eating. Everyone had their fill of fish, spuds and beer. The whole expedition took part in this end of expedition barbecue and by the time the last folk crept off to bed it was about 2.00am.

It had been suggested to go canyoning on the last day (Friday 11th) and the previous evening it had seemed an excellent idea. Once a nearby "beginners" gorge had been chosen. Russel, Ben, Simon R, Simon A, and me found our way to the Inkhazkubuko gorge, east of Sainte-Engrâce church. The pitches were all less than 20m, with anchors in place; diverting the stream on to the unfortunate person descending the pitch, and one plunge pool provided some fun. We decide that since the gorge descent was such good fun we would descend the main river down to the camp-site, entering it at a high bridge over a deep pool spotted earlier by Russel. Once we had plucked up courage to jump the 5m in to the ice cold water of the river the descent was good. However only Ben in his one-piece wetsuit was really well equipped for the ice cold water.

After a warm up in the sunshine I struck camp ready for my return journey to the Alsace. In the early evening there was a slide show organised by the tourist information centre at the ski station. Quite a few folks attended and although the slides were OK there was nothing very special. After returning down to the camp-site I packed up and left. I had just 4 hours of sleep in a service area near Carcassonne on the way home having made the 15 hour journey once again through the night.

The expedition was a success with everyone been able to do the trips through the PSM that they wanted. The organisation of the expedition to a region in which none of the expedition members had caved before was excellent and I think that everyone had a lot of fun. The organisers of the expedition are to be complemented on a job well done.

I must admit that it has wetted my appetite to visit some of the other deep caves in the Pyrènèes: Henne Morte, Gouffre Martel, Gouffre Heyle, Cigalère etc, anyone interested?

John A Helm

The PSM: first time nerves in Europe.

In a lifetime of on and off caving I have never managed to get to Europe, I don't know why; it just never happened. I had been climbing, that was easy; you just packed a bag, grabbed your rope and ice axe or rock boots and away off to the sun. Somehow caving abroad just seemed so complicated, I had seen the expeditions in places like the Picos de Europa in Spain, great sprawling collections of tents surrounded by empty beer cans and drying undersuits hanging everywhere. In truth I envied them; but in all that time I never envisioned doing it myself. Even in the clubs I joined where people did go to Europe it was all done in such a way that only the select few, the "great and the mighty" actually went. And then came the Craven and, although I hadn't been able to get to the Berger, there was the PSM ....

Again I thought it was not for me, the pitches were too big, the cave was too long, it was in a whole different category from the Dales or the Mendips. Anyway I had only been using SRT for a little over a year and it still scared me, I couldn't even imagine 400 metres of shaft. I looked at tall buildings and tried to visualise underground drops that would swallow them but I just couldn't see it. It was a casual conversation with the "two Simons" in the cottage that changed it all, a seemingly off hand remark, a casual invite and a just as casual acceptance and bingo; I was off to Europe. Even then I didn't quite believe it would really happen.

To cut an already over long story shorter my first trip into the PSM with Ric and Pat Halliwell invoked the same response as I think everyone felt. "Blimey (or words to that effect) it's big" and yes it was big, staggeringly, almost overwhelmingly big. Yet after just a very short time I was thinking "I can do this, it's okay, I don't know what all the fuss was about". The following day I went further into the cave on a sightseeing trip, this time with the "two Sues" (Towson and Bertenshaw) and felt quite at home, I was enjoying myself, this was no different from all the climbing trips I had done abroad; after a while you simply got used to it.

The came the through trip. I had pushed the shaft to the back of my mind and all of a sudden it was a reality. I wandered around the camp-site asking, in a seemingly off-hand manner (I hoped) people who had done the descent what the shaft was like. A bewildering range of replies from "its a piece of cake" to "its awkward" or even "it's not easy" left me feeling no better. Then to cap it all I ended up going down with Russell Myers and Mike Bertenshaw, help I thought, I didn't really know them and they seemed awfully casual. I was glad when Simon (Parker) joined our group, at least there was now someone I knew in the group. My nerves continued to build and on the drive up to the col I had to leap from the car and head for the back of the nearest bush, I started to wonder if I had made a big mistake, surely I was simply building the whole thing up in my mind. Wildly yapping farm dogs on the walk in did little to help and Sue Towson who had driven us up, gripping my hand, had to coax me on. Finally the shaft itself, Sue apologetically announced that she had used the last picture in the camera taking a photo of a tree so there would not be a record of the event. Somehow at the time it didn't seem to matter!

As soon as the descent started I knew what a fool I had been all along, the 400 metre single shaft that had kept me awake the night before didn't exist! It was a series of simple pitches, just like any Yorkshire pot, if anything they were some of the most simple drops I had ever done, there were simply more of them. Before I knew it I was asking Mike how many pitches were there to go, only to be told that this was the last one. I couldn't believe it, where were the awkward hanging rebelays, the wild pendulum, the mind blowing drops. Having said that the last pitch, the "Liberty Bell" was something else. Could there ever be a more aptly named pitch? Imagine a giant bell and you are sliding down the clapper and you get the idea.

After that the cave just got better and better. With just one awkward moment where I ended up on top of a mud coated, house sized, boulder and had to make an "interesting" retreat the twelve hour through trip went without a hitch. The navigation, well led by Russell, was reasonably straight forward and even Mike's filming didn't hold us up too much. The Tunnel du Vent was not especially windy and nowhere was the water too deep. In hindsight I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, and yes; there are pretty bits in the PSM they just take some finding in the vast blackness.

The de-rigging trip was probably the hardest part of the whole PSM experience. Summoning up the motivation to slog back up the hill yet again and then slogging through the chambers with the incredible dead weight of the boat dragging me down was hard work - pure and simple.

The same month as the PSM trip I had been over to Russia to climb Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe but the summer of 1995 will be remembered for my first (of many I hope) European caving trip. It gave me a high that lasted for a very long time. I need to thank the two Simons for not only their exemplary organisation but also for persuading me to go in the first place, even if they didn't realise that they had. Also Russell, Mike and Simon Parker for sharing the through trip with me, they probably never knew how wound up I was but they helped all the same and of course I musn't forget Sue who held my hand when it mattered. I only hope that when it is your turn to face some long held prejudice there will be someone there to help you over it; as there was for me.

Peter Barnes

Northern Cave Diving News

Congratulations to the CPC on being the first to put the new Northern Sump index out of date! I refer of course to the removal of the downstream sump in Sell Gill Holes. This has been a tremendous effort and shows what can be achieved when a small but determined group of individuals decides to "make it happen". Incidentally this new index is available in limited numbers only; further details can be obtained by phoning the editor, Paul Monico, on 01132 755453. Be quick or be disappointed.

Not a great deal has been found this Autumn by divers elsewhere in The Dales. This is partly due to Northern Section CDG. members being distracted by expeditions to Florida and Spain, plus co-organising a successful sump rescue meeting on Mendip and some very deep cave diving in Derbyshire's Speedwell Cavern.

Scoff (BPC) has been searching the Jingle Junction area in Hurtle Pot without anything major being found and has also begun preparing The Mud River Series sumps in KMC for future pushes. Rupe Skorupka extended the other main upstream sump in KMC (ie Frakes Series) a bit further; the end is presently 730m of diving from base but may be off route.

Phil Howson has broken an impasse of some 20 years by finding what is hopefully the way on in the Posiedon Sump in Langcliffe Pot. He has also discovered another 100m or so of wet crawling in Dub Cote Cave ("The Blind Alley") together with pushing the Upstream Sump in Ibbeth Peril Cave (a joint dig with Phil Murphy). Not content with all this he dived the downstream Scoska Cave sump but found it choked (so the connection with Bown Scar remains elusive) and tried to inspect the sump in South Bank Pot (Stockdale) but the approach crawl was silted up.

That's about it for the time being. There are plans afoot for a big push to connect Downstream Notts with the (very deep) upstream sump in Gavel Pot and I'm told that CPC members have helped with pumping out Chapel Cave near Malham recently (maybe a separate article is being prepared for this issue of the Record?). Oh - and the Malham Cove Risings dig has of course been resumed for the winter. The only "progress" to date here has been the inadvertent destruction testing of a winch, so it's back to the drawing board for yours truly!

John Cordingley

Stephen Nunwick Memorial Lecture

This year's lecture will be given by Bill Gascoine and is entitled "Hidden Rivers of South Wales". Much of Bill's recent water tracing work has been associated with Ogof Draenan, now the third longest cave in Britain. The lecture is scheduled for 7pm on Friday 1 March in the Middleton Hall of the University of Hull. Admission is free and anyone wanting furher information should contact Ric or Pat Halliwell.

Early Explorations in Sell Gill

Throughout this article the spelling used in the original documents has been used. Thus several varients on the spelling of Sell Gill/Sel Gill/Sel Gil and Penyghent/Pen-y-ghent are used.

Possibly the first mention of the exploration of Sell Gill is in Howson (1850) who states:

"Near New Houses, one mile from Horton, are the chasms of Jackdaw Hole and Sel Gil; the former is broad, but of no great depth, and is easily explored; down the latter three successive descents have been made, altogether about 100 feet, but the bottom has not been reached"

This same exploration is also quoted in Banks (1860):

"Following the same line of scars (from Jackdaw Hole) for another half mile due south we come to the rocky Sell Gill where the water falls into a fissure by Sell Gill Barn and may be followed they say down a romantic cavern for 30/40 yards when a considerable drop occurs in the rock. In the surface of the ground 30 yards below is Sell Gill Pot, about 20 yards deep from the rock on each side, and 10 from the ravine, to the stones at the bottom of the part we can see. The beck mentioned in the last entrance flows far beneath this and the pot is dry. Mr Howson writes of three descents within the pot, in the whole a 100ft, but says the bottom was 'not' then reached"

These early explorations must have then been forgotten because Speight (1892) says:

"In about a mile the road crosses a depression caused by the Sell Gill burn, and which here bridges a narrow chasm descending to an unknown depth. It is protected by a wall on the left, and on the right, or upper side, the large size of the boulders in the bed of the stream offers some indication of the power and volume of water that sometimes pours with resistless fury into the cleft below."

Similarly in the Alpine Club Journal (1897) it states:

"Sel Gil Pot Hole, Penyghent, Yorkshire. - On September 18 and 19 Messrs E Calvert, F Ellet, Percy Lund, T Gray, WC Slingsby, and B Mason made, by means of rope ladders, the first descent of the three great pitches of which the above named pot principally consists, and explored numerous wet and dry passages and some enormous caverns, one of which was large enough to contain an ordinary parish church, and steeple too. During the exploration a weird subterranean waterfall, of about 100 ft in height, was seen both from above and below, and the falling water added a deep diapason tone, which was quite in keeping with the surroundings. Some passages were not explored for want of time"

Sell Gill obviously maintained its attraction for the YRC and was again descended in 1899 as part of the Seventh Annual Club Meet held in Horton in Ribblesdale on 30 September and 1 October.(YRC 1900)

"It had been hoped that a descent of Alum Pot would have been accomplished, but the swollen becks and bank-full river, and the flooded low-lying meadows of the valley, augured badly for its achievement. Preparations had been made, the necessary tackle sent to Horton, and some of the men went up by the morning train.

Arrived at Horton they were obliged to consider the situation, and wisely resolved to abandon the idea of attempting Alum Pot. A change of plan was accordingly necessary, and it was decided to send a cart with some of the tackle to Sell Gill Hole. This pothole was first descended on September 19th, 1897, by five members of the Club - Messrs Slingsby, E Calvert, Ellet, Gray and Lund.

Saturday afternoon was spent in visiting Sell Gill Hole, Hull Pot, Hunt Pot and Pen-y-ghent. Hull Pot looked its best with the brown and white spate water leaping into it in a beautiful waterfall. At Hunt Pot the party divided, some going on to Pen-y-ghent, the others returning to Sell Gill Hole to prepare for its descent on the morrow.

The following morning was bright and clear and a comparatively early start was made. The party again divided. The temptation to remain above ground was very strong, and some of the pot-holers gazed rather wistfully after the men who, at the parting of the ways, left them for Ingleborough, Whernside, and other pleasant things.

Sell Gill Hole is probably the finest local sight of its kind, and is reasonably dry and accessible. Its waterfall considerately falls clear of an explorer's track, and with equal thoughtfulness the descent is divided into three pitches whose heights are not excessive, and at the top of which there are rock platforms of sufficient size to admit of comfortable working. The cavern itself is a very noble one, and the view when one reaches the floor is exceedingly fine. Next to Gaping Ghyll Cavern it is the largest that has been discovered in Yorkshire. It is scarcely necessary to say more to prove the charms of Sell Gill Hole. For the pot-holer it is a most delightful place, and it proved singularly suitable for a Club Meet, which should first be pleasant and then serious. Amusing incidents and pot-holing are inseparable. The average man's old clothes and his methods of climbing rope-ladders are unfailing sources of joy, and as no one can escape the ordeal so there is no soreness, for everyone is in turn amused and amusing.

By two o'clock the party and the tackle were all on the top again, and with proverbial perversity the weather broke, and a violent storm of wind and rain wetted everyone more or less completely."

Further visits followed by the YRC in 1912 (YRC 1912) and several times between 1914 and 1919 (YRC 1921).

The next significant description is probably that of the Gritstone Club (1923):

"All the wealthy members and the big bugs of the club having gone to disturb the peaceful inhabitants and solitary hills of Skye, it was left to the less fortunate beings, Woodsen, Aspin, Elliot and Hollingshead to explore the depths of Sell Gill.

The party arrived at their various quarters during the weekend, Elliot being the only camper, as 'Peck' playing the role of family man had to behave himself. Whit Sunday morning saw the start of operations. Tackle had to go up to the pot by sheer 'graft' as a horse and cart had been refused on account of disturbing the population of Horton on the Sabbath.

The pothole is situated high up in a depression running NE from Newhouses and is best arrived at by following the road behind the Crown Hotel for about a mile, where the road passes over a beck by means of a natural bridge which divided the two entrances to the pot. The cave on the east side takes the water through a passage under the road for a distance of about 20 yards, then turned abruptly left; the water falls onto a ledge about 10ft below and then into the main chamber - an estimated distance of 140 ft. This passage is only possible in dry weather, but another entrance into the main chamber can be made by descending the hole on the west side of the road, though the use of a gas mask is recommended as the first pitch has suffered the degradation of being used as a refuse tip, and is also the last resting place of a young bullock which evidently was determined to get to the bottom of things.

By noon most of the tackle had been assembled for the descent by the 'tip' entrance and Elliot descended the first 40ft. Things were not well with 'Pussy' whose nasal organs aint what they used to be, so bidding farewell all round Hollingshead descended taking a packet of Gold Flake which helped to neutralise the aroma. The next move was down the scree slope running away in a northerly direction until the top of the second pitch was reached, where a small stream of water was encountered which falls 40ft in to a lofty chamber. Aspin & Wood lowered the second ladder then Wood decided to give a hand and a belay was found and the ladder put over. The water could not be avoided but never-the-less Elliot went over and arrived on the boulder strewn floor wet to the skin. Peculiar sounds issued from below - Pussy trying to give a rendering of Gilbert and Sullivans - so Hollingshead finding the strain too much, deciding to risk all in an attempt to stop the awful growling, descended with murderous intentions which however were somewhat dampened on reaching the floor.

Leaving P Wood at the top of the second ladder they commenced to 'crawl' around and over huge boulders in a chamber about 70ft high by 30ft wide at length finding a way down to the top of the third pitch - the final one. Having only one ladder and being short handed they decided to leave this for the following day so everything was left in readiness for the morrow. Pleased with the day's work they all made their way back to their various quarters and later in the evening learned that a terrible misfortune had befallen 'Pussy'. The farm dog had raided his tent and scoffed all his grub. Henceforth and forever the most hungry boy in the world will use nothing but air-tight containers bound with a steel hawser.

Monday saw further activities; extra ropes and ladders carried by Hollingshead and Elliot were taken along, and overnight Aspin and Wood had provoked the interest of two visitors who subsequently gave considerable assistance. A short time elapsed, then all was ready at the top of the third pitch. This final pitch, was found to descend in two stages, first onto a ledge 15ft below, where it was found that a 50ft ladder was just sufficiently long to reach a moderate stance from which it was possible to scramble 15ft to the floor of the second chamber. Elliot descended first. HH followed and PW remained on top to keep communication with the visitors above, while LA remained on the surface. Like the second pitch a good deal of water was encountered and the roar of the fall from the stream passage into the main chamber could be plainly heard. Investigations proved that the draught from the fall put out their candles, but with use of the electric torch they managed to pass round into the great hall which ranks second to GG in size amongst Yorkshire Pot-holes.

Having gone some way further without serious difficulty and satisfying their curiosity to a certain extent they retreated and PW seeing their condition wisely decided not to venture further. Without further incident all were soon out into the daylight again.

On the 3rd June, the beck was low, so NE, EAP, and HCW, explored the final exit of the water from the main chamber. This necessitating crawling in many places and later a number of small boulders had to be removed which obstructed progress. Continuing they found themselves in a narrow triangular passage about 3ft high, with several inches of water in the bottom. This appeared to go on for some distance but as there was some doubt about the weather a retreat was made, after having reached a total depth of 240ft.

At the bottom of the first pitch of Sell Gill, there is a side passage commencing with a low bedding cave about 30yds long, from whence the floor falls away a little and more comfortable progress can be made until a 16ft pitch is reached. This can be descended into a small chamber on one side of which is a beautiful stalagmite formation resembling a waterfall. Further there is another 20ft pitch in which the cave ends."

Other significant visitors to Sell Gill were the Northern Cavern & Fell Club who visited the pot-hole on September 21/22 of 1929 (M Jowett, 1929)

"Camp was pitched within a few yards of the pot, a very convenient arrangement that offered easy disposal of empty tins. By eight o'clock there was a good array of tents on either side of the track, and the party was judged too unwieldy for a single descent, so a midnight party was formed.

A stream pours into the hole on the east side of the road and drops 160ft in an unbroken waterfall into the great cavern. This is the shortest and most sporting way of descending the pot, but is only possible when the stream is dry, Thirty yards across the road is a narrow fissure, which is the key to the circuit of pots that leads to the foot of the big fall. Six of us dropped down the fissure on Saturday night and picked our way through a morass of rusty tins, old buckets

Northern Cavern & Fell Plan of Sellgill

down a scree to the edge of a fifty foot pot. This was laddered and a few yards more brought us to another hole of similar depth, then a last pitch of seventy feet was descended leading to a steep gully between boulders to the foot of the fall in the great cavern. It was a tremendous place, fully 250ft long and 200ft high, and it echoed and reverberated with the thunder of the fall that hurled in an unbroken leap from the gloom above. It is believed that this immense chamber in Sell Gill is second only in size to the great hall or main chamber in Gaping Ghyll.

The water was followed down the cavern and under a shelf into a cave system but it very soon disappeared into a repulsive looking drain. Jack King, who is specially reserved for such occasions was brought to the fore and thrust under. Whilst he was under the rest of us had a look round and discovered a hole in the wall some fifteen feet to the left of the drain. I was pushed up to the hole and a mud slope dropped down the other side, into a small chamber. Here I met King gurgling like a fish, he winked me into complicity and shouted Downham to follow him through the drain. Cliff came through puffing and rasping noisily, and when he saw me with Jack, he took several mouthfulls of water in, so we got well down the passage out of harms way.

The rest of the party came over the shelf and we made our way downstream where King took a flashlight photograph, and nearly blew us up with the powder. We were climbing out of the fissure at 4.30a.m. and the sleeping camp looked very weird and ghostly as we made our way cautiously and quietly between the tents. The silence was rudely shattered by some ass tripping over a pan, and there was surely nothing ghostly about the way the owner was politely told to go to sleep, this awakening process was transmitted through the camp, and after a bath in the beck we crawled into bed leaving them to squabble each other to sleep.

The second party was ready at 9a.m. and after a little advice and recommendations to crawl through the drain they parted thence.

Three hours later the last man was out the and ladders pulled up, most of the members then packed and left, the rest of us spent the afternoon on the moor at a very interesting chain of pots, which we believe had never been explored. They were very promising and we determined to do them at some later date."

The NC&F Club must have visited the cave on a number of occasions because they produced a sketch plan of the cave dated 1929. Their visit on 6/7 September 1930 (Downham) is of interest if only to exemplify the difficulties under which their explorations were taking place:

"Camp was pitched as on previous occasions near Sell Gill Hole, but owing to a misunderstanding no ladders were on the spot. Accordingly on the Sunday morning Jack King calmly suggested that he should run back to Wharfe on his motor cycle and bring three or four back. Naturally, everyone wanted to know how in the name of all that's wonderful he could manage three ladders on a motor cycle.

An hour later a chug-chug-chugging was heard and the camp turned out pell-mell to see the result. In sailed Jack with three ladders and half a dozen eighty foot ropes! Two were strapped pannier wise across the back wheel, one slung on the carrier, ropes on top of that and ropes on the handlebars.

However we soon renewed our acquaintance with the Sell Gill mud, all the pitches were laddered and we reached the far end. It was quite a merry party which eventually climbed into the open air, a bedraggled filthy sight. Mucked up to the eyes. Lord what fools these potholers are."

The CPC were also visiting Sell Gill Hole at this time and notes by Alan Butterfield in the CPC Library talk of this

"interesting hole, visited by the Club on August 24th 1930, April 17th 1931 and January 8th 1933. Up until the visit of the Club in 1933 all that was know was that the water disappeared between "wings of limestone and stalagmitic formations twelve inches or so in height....It was felt that although the disappearance of the stream through the wings of limestone precluded further exploration, that the hole had further reaches to conquer. One idea was to make a further visit after a spell of dry weather, and then burrow under the limestone wings in the bed of the stream to see what lay beyond. But the discovery of a small circular opening in the walls, 30 feet or so above the point where the stream disappears, about 6 feet to the left, opened our further possibilities."

Regrettably the CPC had only rediscovered the route taken by the NC&F party.

Eli Simpson's notes, held in the BCRA Library, include a letter from J Mitchell stating that there were some features of Sell Gill which had perplexed CPC members on their visit:

"We followed the main chamber to the sump, (their visit was under wet conditions and this is almost certainly not the recent sump but the first low point - Ed) and then a few of us climbed up to the top, passed through a hole on the left hand side and dropped down to the stream again. Following the stream for some distance, at first there was a crawl with any amount of water going through. The passage then heightened considerably and about 50ft or so from entering there was a passage bearing upwards on the left containing some very fine stalactites and very muddy. The main passage opened out into a spacious chamber very high. Here there was a dry course bearing off to the right over a big bank of sticky mud, and on a buttress was a very fine cluster of stalactites very dirty however. We kept on the main stream in a very wide spacious passage, but our way was barred by the stream going through a very narrow aperture similar to the point where it leaves the chamber."

However the real breakthrough came during the August Bank Holiday of 1937 (Caves & Caving). The exact exploration is detailed in a letter from PB Binns to E Simpson:

"By clearing away pebbles and boulders in the floor of the low portion where the stream finally disappears in the furthest reaches, Raymond Legg, P Longbottom and myself were able to get through into a new series of chambers beyond a pool. N Thornber and D Longbottom went part way along to the pool but did not reach it.

Sketches from 1937

Barbara Binns, B Burton and F Butterfield went down to the beginning of the above mentioned low crawl and Gemmell only went down the first and second pitches. The order of going through the pool was PB Binns, Longbottom and lastly Raymond Legg."

The Minute Book of the Leeds Cave Club for the date of 8 August 1937 records that Mr RM Biench, Mr C Ryder, Mr N Dixon, Mr A Stow, Mr R Stow, Mr S Waller, Mrs C Speight and Mrs S Waller were present at Sel Gill.

"The main object of this meet was to explore a new passage at the bottom of the pot. A new cave was discovered, the details of which are in possession of the Recorder. A very successful meet."

Further details of this trip, and a sketch survey are provided in a letter from A Stow to E Simpson:

"I enclose a very rough sketch section of the extent we covered about a month ago. As I was the one who went under the boulder choke into the third chamber I feel somewhat perturbed to hear it has been taken further and it truly amazes me. From what I remember of this third cavern it was filled up with sand, has two bays in it, yet the rock face on the further (or S(?)) side was perfectly solid and extended straight down into the sand."

Even further progress appears to have been made during the final weekend of the same month. (McGowen)

"Weekend August 28th & 29th 1937. Party. JE McGowen, FV Denton,BT Holmes, JW Haggas, R Clough Jr, GK Booth and 'C'.

The first pitch was entered about 3.20 pm Aug 28th and proved scarcely worthy of a rope ladder. The second and third pitches each of fifty feet were descended and the party pushed on. Through the main chamber noting the waterfall entrance, now a mere trickle, we continued until the passage narrowed and Trayton Holmes went into the lead. After 15 ft of crawling Holmes was disgusted to see the 'douche' ahead and after much wrangling he returned, his place was taken by 'C' who speedily forced his way through followed by the rest. Only Haggas declining the wallow. Passing the second and third chambers we came to the 'U' tube creep. McGowen penetrated this followed by 'C' and Booth. Climbing up the south end of the west bay of the fourth chamber McGowen removed a block of stone and forced a way into a fifth chamber roughly the same size, though different in shape to the third chamber. He and his partners Booth and 'C' thoroughly explored this new chamber and returned to the surface elated at about 7pm. Progress beyond the fifth chamber seems impossible.

I am aware that the fourth chamber has been entered by the 'U' creep amongst rather unsafe conglomerate, but I suspect that what I have called the fifth chamber has not until the 28th August been entered as I had to remove a rock to get through. The entrance through the roof of the fourth chamber is through similarly unsafe rocks. Further progress I think is definitely impossible."

Eli Simpson Section

Eli Simpson Plan

Eli Simpson (1941) must have visited the new chambers during the next four years because he produced a survey of the new discoveries, although matching this exactly to the five new chambers described above is difficult.

The 1948 edition of Yorkshire Caves and Potholes includes an extra sentence which is not present in the 1937 edition; "In 1937 the stream was followed and three further chambers explored." The 1947 edition of Pennine underground is however much less clear talking about a "Traverse over stream and then a crawl when water is low leads to three new chambers, one entered through a window". This could be interpreted as referring to the passing of the first low section which was indeed by means of a high window.

Thereafter all detailed knowledge of the chambers appears to have been forgotten although rumours of the "three chambers" were occasionally heard. The profile of the low crawl leading to the sump is very similar to the sump profile drawn by John Cordingley back in 1980 and the 'new' passages we recently gained access to are undoubtedly those entered in 1937 and forgotten. Quite when the sump came into existence is equally unclear although it is readily apparent from a comparison of the present passages with those on Eli Simpson's survey that there has been a collapse in the area of the extra chambers and this has been the cause of the sump. Possible causes for this collapse could have been the very major flood of the winter of 1941/42 or even the Skipton Earthquake. It is because of this collapse that it is unclear whether we are in the third, fourth or fifth chambers mentioned, but one thing is true, finding the way on may not be impossible as suggested by McGowen, but it is going to mean a lot more hard work.


Alpine Club Journal, Volume 138, pg 567, November 1897

Banks WS, Walks in Yorkshire, North-west and North-east; J Russell Smith, London, 1866

Binns PB, Letter to E Simpson dated 18 September 1937; held in BCRA Library

Butterfield A, Notes in the CPC Library on Sel Gil Hole (sic) Penyghent

Caves and Caving, Volume 1 Number 2, pg 43, October 1937

Downham C, Northern Cavern & Fell Club Log Book, 1930; transcript supplied from BCRA Library

Gritstone Club Journal, Volume 2 Number 1, 1923; transcript supplied from BCRA Library

Jowett M, Northern Cavern & Fell Club Log Book, 1929; transcript supplied from BCRA Library

Howson W, An illustrated guide to the curiosities of Craven; Whittaker & Co, London, 1850

Leeds Cave Club Minute Book for 1937, pg 227; copy held in CPC Library

McGowen JE, Report to E Simpson dated 31 August 1937; held in BCRA Library

Mitchell A, Yorkshire Caves and Potholes. Number 1 North Ribblesdale, Craven Herald, 1937 and 1948 editions

Mitchell,J Letter to E Simpson dated 8th, 1933(sic); held in BCRA Library

Simpson E, Survey dated 1941 supplied by BCRA Library

Speight H, The Craven and North-west Yorkshire Highlands; Elliot Stock, London, 1892

Stow A, Letter to E Simpson dated 3 September 1937; held in BCRA Library

Thornber N, Pennine Underground, Dalesman, 1947

Yorkshire Ramblers Club Journal, Volume 1 Number 2, pg 134-135, January 1900

Yorkshire Ramblers Club Journal, Volume 4 Number 12, pg 58, 1912

Yorkshire Ramblers Club Journal, Volume 4 Number 12, pg 275, 1921


Thanks are extended to Don Mellor for providing information and items from the CPC Library and to Roy Paulson for a very speedy response with items from the BCRA Library

Attempts to pass Sell Gill Sump

1. Attempts to pass the sump by diving

The CDG report an attempt to pass the sump in December 1978 by D Warren and AL Jeffries. Both divers entered feet first into a 10 to 12 inch bedding with awkward going over large cobbles which tended to wedge the diver. D Warren managed to get in a total of 30 feet. The same pair were back in February of 1979 and again had to clear boulders for a distance of 20 feet with D Warren managing to get a further 20 feet before the sump appeared to veer downwards and to the right with no apparent way on - "Not a pleasant prospect" (CDG News 51 pg19).

In June of the same year John Cordingley and Alan Weight made an attempt on the sump. John set off first and after some minutes of digging emerged in the previously spotted air space. "The way on appeared to be straight ahead but the diver returned as he had not seen his gauge for some time". Alan then dived and made some more progress "until the bottle was almost empty;...we were both suitably impressed with the potential of this site" (CDG News 53 pg13)

In May 1980 John returned alone and found the sump "remarkably free of shingle, and the limit of 16.6.79 was easily passed, to descend Dave Warren's undescended slope. The way on was comfortably large and the diver explored along a passage bearing 182 degrees, to a point 16.6m (measured) from the peg belay. There he decided it would be better base fed, as reeling in with a hand held bottle through the murk was a little awkward." John returned with Graham Proudlove on 26 May and found that he had to dig his way through the first 3m. "A point about 25m from base was reached, heading due south, where no further progress could be made (without a kamikaze mentality). There may be a slim chance of passing this obstruction, after a good flood has cleared it out, but at present the best prospects for extension would seem to be by blasting the choke at the north end of the Main Chamber." (CDG News 56 pg 21).

The next attempt to dive the sump was in July 1986 when Trevor Kemp crawled through to an airbell at 2.5m. After a further 15m he reached "a boulder obstruction. He managed to move a few of them before returning to base. The sump needs a good clean out, and a netting fence across the passage before the sump to keep out more boulders." (CDG News 81 pg15)

2. Attempts to get over the sump

In the Summer and Autumn of 1980 several attempts were made to dig the rift at the northern end of the Main Chamber as suggested by John Cordingley. Unfortunately these came to nothing.

However on 10 April 1986 Dave Hoggarth and Paul Norman used bolts and a scaling pole to get into the roof of the rift next to the sump.. The Cottage logbook records this as "ends in echoing rift choked with boulders which possibly draughts in. Rope left in belayed to two bolts. Probably the filthiest place we've ever been." This was visited on nearly a dozen occasions over the next five months, often inspiring the same thoughts; "an interesting prusik as the rope sprayed liquid mud at me as I went up", "Very nice echo and will be worth pushing but what a filthy hole". On 17 May Ric Halliwell and Paul were back and "dug forward for 5 feet or so before Paul got cobbled from the roof." On 31 August digging ladders were installed in place of the SRT rope which was by now looking a little worn. Then other digs came along until 20 May 1989 when the dig was finally inspected and, we decided to go directly for the sump instead and started on the second dam as detailed below.

3. Attempts to pass the sump by stopping the water

Inspired by the successes of the BEC in St Cuthbert's I wondered whether or not it would be possible to build a dam, or series of dams down Sell Gill so as to stop the water and allow the sump to be dug. The Cottage Logbook records that on 25 January 1981 Ric Halliwell, Andy Hayter and Paul Spence went down Sell Gill to look at the possibility of building a dam. The site chosen was the first low bit with the intention that we would totally block the passage and use the (very) high level by-pass for access. Paul Spence as the civil engineer went away to do his calculations.

On 9 May of the same year an attempt was made to build a dam but the project was abandoned because despite digging down nearly four feet it proved impossible to find any bed-rock. The group then tried just puddling the bed with clay but this too failed and the water just kept running under the dam. After eight hours of total failure the attempt was abandoned.

The logbook also records that on 26 September Ric and Andy Hayter tried a different approach by attempting to divert the water from the normal stream sink, through tubular polythene, and down the valley. However the main achievement was to make the first pitch of the dry route anything but dry and this idea was also abandoned.

On 31 December 1981 a trip was made down to the sump to build a large weir to stop boulders being washed into the sump in the hope that this would allow the divers to get through. Little else happened at the site until 9 March 1986 when Ric, Paul Norman and Hoggy went "down Club Pot again - measured up round the sump for locations for a genny in case we start off the project to remove the roof off the sump."

After a further long gap on 9 June 1989 Ric and Paul went down again and decided where to build the current dam. The intention at the time was to dam and pump the water back thus facilitating digging. The following day saw Ric, Paul, Gary Smith, Harpic, Neville Lucas, Andy Brennan and Terry Shipley digging out a four feet deep hole, which was pumped out to reveal semi bed-rock on to which Terry manoeuvred a very large flat rock. Friday night of the following weekend saw Ric and Paul taking 2cwt of cement and 5cwt of sand, plus shovels, buckets and pipes down all the pitches. On the Saturday we were joined by Gary Smith as we set about transferring all the kit to the dam site. Luckily we managed to persuade various visiting parties to help in transporting the 22 tacklebags of sand and cement from the pitch base to the dam. Gary and Paul built the main core of the dam whilst Ric built the "dry" stone support behind it. Eventually all the sand had been used and so the remaining cement was mixed with local gravel and poured over the "dry" stone walling. In all the transporting and building took just under 8 hours. However in the end work started on the roof of the sump (on 23 March 1990) before we had tried using the dam for real.

Ric Halliwell

Sell Gill Revisited - The 1993 report.

The first part of this article was written in May of 1993. It sat on my computer untouched until now and has just been dusted down for publication, essentially unchanged.

Sell Gill Holes has been so frequented by Craven members staying at Horton it became known to many as Club Pot. It has deservedly been the subject of our exploratory attentions for as long as I've been associated with the club. The definitive modern survey of the hole was drawn by Dave Allanach and published by the club in the mid seventies. We have been involved in at least six digs, none of which have been very successful.

The dry entrance was used until recently by the locals as a rubbish dump. I can remember seeing a cow's carcass down there in the seventies. Thankfully the only long lived rubbish today is the masses of ironmongery festooning the pitch heads in the name of SRT. From the base of the entrance pitch a low passage leads to Calcite Way, a fine vadose passage which sadly ends all too soon at a cross rift. Our earliest dig was straight ahead over mud, along a phreatic rift passage to a low tube on the right. This was "enlarged" so that a larger section could be entered. This proved to be in a boulder choke with severe hanging death above and no way on. Calcite Way was abandoned until some years later when, one dark night, I conned a friend from Ambleside to help carry my old back door up the hill and down Calcite Way to be used as shoring on the second dig, along the cross rift. This turned sharp right, under an arch to what is probably a continuation of the boulder choke seen in the earlier dig. That was back filled with spoil from the new dig. The small stream disappeared down a crack between boulders. We gave up and, if my reading of the situation is correct, just beyond the current end of Calcite Way is a highly disturbed area making the possibility of any progress here unlikely.

In 1978 Chris Baldwin masterminded a project which led to the discovery of the Guano Mine leading from the chamber at the bottom of the second pitch. An awkward climb up lead through a squeeze lined with sticky mud which could tear pockets off the Ladysmith Busywear oversuits worn at the time, to a short pitch and a chamber. In one corner an aural connection was made with the main chamber somewhere below. The extension terminated in sandy crawls. During a visit some years later we found the end greatly changed, someone had been digging. We later met the culprit during a Wednesday night digging trip, Gordon Batty of the NPC.

During that period we created an alternative route to the second and third pitches. Dave Elliot had sown up most of the pitch rigging (bolting) opportunities in the Dales during the Red Bolt Plague, the chance to bag a new route could not be passed up. An alternative would also mean we could leave the cave partially tackled and so make digging easier for the two man teams which were normal at the time. At the -10ft level an acrobatic manoeuvre around a corner gained a rift which contained flood debris following recent very bad weather! A short traverse and a 10ft drop ended on a jammed boulder bridge and pitch head directly above the last pitch of the normal route. The sixty foot pitch landed at the bottom of this. The route was abandoned after a dislodged boulder narrowly missed a caver on the last pitch. Luckily for me he was blissfully unaware of the Reaper's scythe whistling past his ear.

The wet way joins the dry route below the third pitch. The interesting Goblin Shaft alternative to the broken wet pitch was a CPC find as was the Crenobia Inlet at it's top.

The main chamber is formed on a large rift. To the south large amounts of high class mud and boulders block the way towards a hypothetical connection with Haytime Hole. The northern end is more interesting with boulders blocking the way towards another possible connection with Jackdaw Hole. Once, a rather large explosive charge was placed in these boulders by a member who shall remain nameless. When detonated the whole cave appeared to turn to jelly, greatly impressing the totally unprepared itinerant caver who happened to be half way up the last pitch.

A hole seen above the main chamber was scaled into by Dave Allanach and others but was found to close down. The Guano Mine is directly above this point and it may be the other side of the vocal connection mentioned earlier.

On down the cave a tight possibility noticed by the author on the left of the first low section was investigated by Graham Proudlove but turn out to be only an oxbow.

The sump terminating the cave lies in a miserable little tunnel that branches off the main cave which at it's junction is about forty feet high. The main development continues as a climb over mud covered calcite to a short pitch down into a rift to where the walls close in. The stream can be heard through a hole in the floor where a low crawl used to connect to the parallel active passage just upstream from the sump. The whole of the rift, called the Bone Rift by some, is covered with a filthy brown organic mud.

In an effort to find the way on we scaled the rift and started a dig in the roof. The new route down the cave and a judicious use of rock solvent enabled some ten or fifteen feet of progress in an indistinct roof development. Finally squalid conditions coupled with a near miss for the author and a general lack of enthusiasm precipitated a retreat. It may still be the way on but for the time being our attentions have moved to the far cleaner site ten feet through the left wall, the sump.

The sump has been dived by several people over the years including CPC members Alan Weight, Steve Pickersgill and John Cordingley who succeeded in getting furthest. The first section of about 10ft sometimes has airspace and is followed by a 10ft long airbell. Beyond this with the floor at a depth of about 3ft the sump continues 2ft high and 4ft wide to a silt bank which prevented further progress. The sump flows up dip which in this area is about 4 degrees which suggests that it should become shallower the further in it is. This is all very interesting but of limited use to us faint hearted hydrophobic souls.

Another interesting possibility resulted from the reading of various reports published just before the war in 1937 describing the discovery of three new chambers beyond the then end of Sell Gill. A guide book published the same year describes the cave in detail as far as the low bit before the sump. It states the stream can be followed further, suggesting the author had been told this, but had not actually explored it himself. Three reports describe how a party of BSA members passed a wet section of cave to enter a fissured rift chamber terminating in a boulder choke. The following weekend members of the Leeds Cave Club entered the new section and managed to pass the boulder choke to enter two more chambers. Two interesting points emerge, there are no boulder chokes in this section of the known cave and neither are there any rifts that could be described as fissured. The apparent broken nature of the first chamber would be consistent with it lying below the end of Calcite Way which lies in highly disturbed ground. The author of a report in the YRC journal of the time describes the find as "The really dreadful bedding-plane at the end of the stream passage", a description not repeated in other reports but the tone of which suggest the author may have had personal knowledge of the site which conveniently corresponds with the description of the sump which is a 2ft high bedding plane about 10ft wide, the only one in the system!

Was it possible that the divers may have missed something? The only thing to do was to return and see what could be done.

For us two possibilities existed, to drain the sump or to remove it's top, so allowing access for all, not just our diving friends. The method chosen was a mixture of the two. Remove the roof as far as the air bell where a submersible pump could be used to empty the sump into a dam which was to be situated in the chamber just before the junction with the sump passage. One Friday night the author and Ric delivered a load of cement to Sell Gill. It was lowered part way down the cave so that unsuspecting tourist cavers could be conned into carrying it to the dam site the next day when it was built. The mining operation commenced but increased water levels and other more pressing commitments meant a suspension of operations.

The dig lay idle for the next 18 months. The author had a niggling doubt in his mind about the sump and whether it was active or merely a static oxbow. The water, which disappears beneath the right wall a few yards upstream of the sump, is not seen again, possibly taking a different route. It has been reported that the Porcellaneous band is visible at the level of the sump. This major geological horizon in the Dales is important in controlling the development of caves in that it is relatively impervious to water and so resistant to penetration. This has lead to many caves exhibiting horizontal development at this level. Most notable is the Hensler's Crawls in Gaping Gill. Was it possible that the water had flown into a choked bedding plane on it's way to the continuation of the parallel rift. A novel idea and one that could be tested. By digging a tunnel at 45 degrees to the sump the water flow should be intersected, eventually and a continuation of the other rift met. If the water was shown to enter the existing sump further on nothing would be lost as a route into the air bell would have been made prior to starting exploratory pumping operations.

So it was we returned this May with the appropriate technology. The short crawl just before the chamber proved to have silted up making the trip to the sump decidedly wet. The area behind the dam was dug out to make the unpleasantly wet low section bearable. Good progress has been made by Mal Goodwin and Ric Halliwell in particular in spite of being flooded out once.

The increase in enthusiasm of members for digging is encouraging. Let's hope it continues for long enough for a breakthrough to be made in a cave which has seen so much effort over the years,

So ended a description dated May 1993. Two and a half years were to elapse before the chapter would be over.

Sell Gill 1995

During the remainder of 1993 the roof of the sump was mined away creating a comfortable passage ending in the sump proper. The deads were stacked neatly in the approach passage to prevent them being washed into the sump and causing problems.

The sump proper was marked by a lowering of the roof and the floor. We found the battery powered drills being used were next to useless even with large battery packs as the rock at this point is extremely fine grained and hard. Again we retired and got on with our lives until 1995 when John again dived the sump again during a 1995 Sell Gill meet. He found the end much as before but he confirmed it still looked very promising.

A return with a battery powered drill confirmed our original opinions and I obtained a new drill and generator from an excellent stall at the Cumbria Steam Gathering. Together with Mal we installed a new power cable and intercom between the 1st pitch and the sump, ready for a push after Gaping Gill.

Our new technology was tested at Gaping Gill and resulted in the discovery of Centenary Extension. Following GG the big push started with a hard core of the author with Mal, Steve Pick and Barbara Jenkins. All sorts of problems which cannot be related here presented themselves but finally we broke through on October 28th.

A forty foot high rift ended disappointingly in a boulder choke festooned in old plastic bags and other such rubbish after about 60feet. Our first thought was the bags had been washed in from our old dig in Calcite Way so later, on the way out, Calcite Way was visited. Someone had been busy. The crawl we had used for stacking had been re-excavated and my old door was till in place. The spoil which we had left behind the upstream side of the door had either collapsed into something below or been moved to the downstream side, very strange. Later good sense prevailed and it became obvious the bags had been washed in by floods from the area of the original dig during the previous three years. The dig follows the line of the sump for all but the last foot where it moved right to take advantage of a rift. The water, sinking into the floor of the dig, resurged from under the left wall immediately inside the extension. John had been within inches of getting through when he last dived the sump.

There were three possible ways on, with the water, up through a dangerous looking boulder choke or by climbing the rift.

The boulders into which the water sank were obviously mobile as debris of recent origin could be seen buried a long way in. There was plenty of evidence for the water backing up with poly bags and other rubbish found 20 or 30 feet above. This is probably a major hydrological control feature.

Before the boulder choke and above the water sink a shower of water entered falling onto shattered remains of a calcite flow. This aven like feature had extensive calcite deposits which had been eroded to such an extent that plates of crumbly calcite about 5mm thick lay scattered around. One stal covered wall had a distinctly hollow ring.

The end of the rift was blocked by a stalagmite flow. At its base was access to the unstable boulder choke which went up behind. This eventually yielded to some careful proddling revealing an unstable slope up into a continuation of the rift. This showed the stal flow to be curtain, the fill over which it formed having collapsed leaving the void.

The end was now a rift terminated by a wall of fill made of angular limestone boulders embedded in mud. The fill which had once occupied this chamber must have slumped into something now unenterable below into which the water still flowed. There was little prospect of further extension without more work.

The next possibility was to climb an alcove which represented an inlet just before the water sink, but that would have to wait for another day. Once back at Horton the team celebrated with Champagne drunk from glasses borrowed from the Crown by a still muddy clad caver. Oh well who cares it's not every day a dig that has had as much effort as this one goes!

On Sunday we returned equipped for the climb. Whilst a small amount of fluorescene was added to the Calcite Way stream a 5m scaling pole was positioned below the climb. The three stage climb involving a "no guts-no glory" section gained access to a small vadose trench ending below roof level in an exceptionally tight section. Most who looked thought it was impassable, but not Mal who's drive for glory left him with a broken rib and an enforced layoff from both work and caving - well done Mal!

The fluorescene appeared in the main inlet water above the choke after about 1 hour and was later seen coming down the alcove proving a connection with Calcite Way. This suggested the possibility of an extension towards Calcite Way without the unpleasant prospect of scaling the wet climb above the choke so a return was planned.

A full team returned in damp conditions intending to extend the cables to enable the water sink to be attacked and push on at the top of the climb. It was soon clear that the water was rising so the big drill and equipment had to be ferried out at great cost to personal comfort for those who kept it dry (thanks). The author drilled holes with a battery drill at the constriction but was unable to do a complete job as Mal, not for the first time, was becoming paranoid about the water levels. An erosion event was initiated and a damp exit made to the others waiting at the base of the third pitch. Half an hour later, after a welcome cup of coffee and some of Barbara's unusually moist cake, a return was made. Now, though wetter still, a quick look was possible and it confirmed another visit would be required.

A mid week return with Neville Lucas resulted in two small events which opened the constriction far enough for the author to see this would be a good time for Neville to learn how to boldly go.... which he did, for two body lengths until stopped by an as yet unpassed boulder baring entry to an unwelcome looking tight crawl.

Following our discovery suspicions had been raised as the descriptions of Sell Gill found in earlier publications seemed to match what we had found. My own fears expressed in the earlier article proved true as a research effort by Ric and Don Mellor turned up the evidence that we had in fact re-entered a part of the cave described in 1937 - oh well, you can't win then all!

The future

There remain two aims, to connect to Calcite Way about 180ft above and get beyond the water sink


The contents of the final rift have slumped into something which probable exists under the right wall, towards the rising. The rift continues beyond the current end, full to the roof with fill containing little or no gritstone. It is not hard to imagine that 100 years ago the cave ended at a calcite flow deposited on a wall of solid fill. Below this the stream continued down, veering to the right, in open passage. At some point surface drainage changed increasing the flow down Calcite Way causing the fill beyond the end to become mobile and start to collapse into the main streamway. The original explorers indicated a significant inlet at our climb rather than the end.


We will return in 1996 as New Houses rising is still almost as far away and the tying up of the Calcite Way drainage confirms that the main stream is almost certainly the way on. Mal wants to push the tight bit.

Paul Norman

Cave Ha, Giggleswick (NGR SD789662)

At "Giggleswick Scar North" (as the climbers call it) is a huge rock shelter known as Cave Ha. In the centre of the roof is an obvious cave passage where, in 1972, Messrs. Gray and Champion used "dangle and whack" techniques to gain entry (CPC. Journal 4(6) pg 311). The ascending rift passage was blocked by a bird's nest so with no further prospects they abseiled off and went exploring elsewhere. This also happened to be the year that I became a CPC. member and I remember eagerly listening to Pete and Arthur, amazed that it was possible to get up such steep rock whilst looking for new passages.

Time, of course, moves on and in 1985 Ron Fawcett not only free climbed this pitch but also continued out of the cave entrance to the top of the crag to create a magnificent route called "The Hollywood Bowl" at E6 6b. Since then large numbers of bolts have appeared at Cave Ha and several "sport climbs" (whatever that means) have been put up. Recently some of us have been pottering in this area and it seemed that Pete and Arthur's find might be worth another look. On 29th December 1995 Russell Carter and I aid climbed up to the passage. A few of the existing bolts etc. were used but we placed a couple of pegs and a few 8mm anchors. This is a great pitch and took about 2 hours to climb.

The ascending rift passage was found to be decorated with many fine phreatic wall flakes (just like in some French sumps) and the remains of the bird's nest were passed to enter 3m of low crawl. This tiny passage was terminated by a mud choke and was inhabited by a colony of enormous spiders! Well, we enjoyed the route; it's strange how the current climbing in-crowd refer to those of us who enjoy a spot of honest aid climbing as "dinosaurs". Most of them seem to spend much longer hanging on the bolts than actually climbing. Funny old world eh?

John Cordingley

The Discovery and the exploration of the "Abyss of Mount Novegno"

This article first appeared on the cavers' digest (email) back in August and is reprinted here, with permission, because I believe it is a classic story of exploration and proof yet again that caves " be were you find 'em" - Ed

Texts are written by Leonardo Busellato and Cesare Raumer. I have to thank all my friends of the grotto club who helped me, especially Silvia Rossato and Anna Bertoldi for the translation.

A Brief History

November 1992, the telephone rings. A quiet, placid voice says:

"It's Franco Reghellin from Tretto and I would like to inform you that I think I've found a new cave on Mount Novegno...".

A moment of silence follows these words. A whirl of fast reflections: who is this man? Has he really found a cave on Novegno? What kind of cave will it be? Horizontal or vertical? Does he have an idea of what cave means? Will this cave turn out to be a World War I gallery?

I ask some questions, to get a clearer picture. Franco answers that there is a quite narrow and sloping passage that opens out into a deep pit. He does not want to give details about the location. The impulse of an explorer and scarcely hidden mistrust in giving information about "his" cave are evident. I suggest that he should attend the annual caving course organised by the Gruppo Grotte Schio CAI, that is to take place next year in spring. This would allow him to take an active part in the exploration.

Franco attends the caving course with great success, and some days after receiving his attendance certificate, he again proposes the exploration of the cave to the group. At the beginning of July 1993 he leads a small team of cavers to get to know "his" cave.

Faced with the first pit numerous comments are made, veiled with scepticism: the location is on a Triassic dolomite, an area in which karst phenomena can occur only under particular conditions. We are on a woody mountainside, sloping for about 500 metres down to the last houses of Bosco di Tretto; there is no sign of a karstic plateau. It is indeed true that on the top of Mount Novegno there is what is called "la Busa", an enormous dolina; but it is quite far away, and the inclination of the layers does not look favourable. There is also a dolina caused by collapse nearby, but that does not make sense either. Nevertheless the cave is there and is worth visiting.

Alessandro teaches the rigging techniques to Franco while the others talk in the open about nature, flowers, caving experiences and work, until the two riggers give the go-ahead signal for the descent. One after the other the 5 cavers let themselves down into the void below them; the pit starts off as a cylindrical tube, a couple of metres in diameter, roofed by a round dome. After some metres, the pit extends in every direction, especially at the two ends of a fracture that has visibly influenced the formation of the pit's shape. Then we descend into a wide chamber. Rock festoons break the verticality of the walls, and a copious stream of water runs out of a side niche, falling onto the explorer. At the back, a big, black crack seems to vanish into the void.

The bottom is reached 50 metres below. Franco is over the moon with joy, he hears his companions' astonished remarks and rejoices at realising that their theories on dolomite, layers and all the rest have been seriously impaired. But there is more, the streamlet of water falls into a large pool that serves as a base for a second, 7 metre deep, pit.

We descend this pit too, and immediately notice an interesting and practicable side meander, carved in the live rock, into which the small effluent of the pool flows. On the banks of what can be defined as a small lake we find the skeleton of a small carnivorous mammal. How did it work its way there?

The walls at the base of this second pit are somewhat hollowed by the splashing action of the waterfall that, during the thaw should reach a considerable flow. On entering the meander the fever of exploration seizes every member of the expedition: Franco first, followed by Beppe, Alessandro, Fabiola who, thanks to her slender build succeeds in walking on the bottom and Leonardo, who manages to convince the mountain to let him through by strokes of a hammer.

After a while, someone shouts: Abyss!!! Bring stones!!. An impressive abyss lies at the feet of the explorers. The stones fall whistling down, and the distant echo returns after five seconds. A quick calculation reveals a pit over 100 metres deep. After the congratulations with the discoverer of the cave, the comments full of praise and the promises of wine bottles to toast the pit, we decide to stop the exploration: there are 20 metres of rope left, and it is not worth spoiling the expectations. All theories have been completely demolished. And nobody can yet imagine how much.

A fighting-fit group of cavers, headed again by Franco, tackles the cave the following Saturday. 170 metres of rope are brought because "one never knows". The starting-point rigging is made, and Franco descends into the void with all the rope. The abyss is awesome. The pit is magnificent; a fantastic succession of pale layers of about one metre potency alternated with layers of greyish marl. The cross-section of the pit is elliptical, as it has clearly developed along a large fracture cut into the mountain.

Franco continues to descend into the void. The 100 metre long rope is finished. He adds the 70-metre rope and starts descending again. At -140 metres a small ledge can be seen: Franco decides to reach it and thinks about what to do. Below the ledge, the pit continues, black, vast, and still vertical. He throws the "prophetic" stone that gives the response: the rope is not long enough! Beppe, Alessandro, Fabiola and Cesare reach Franco on the "thrilling" ledge and from there more stones are thrown into the black abyss. The estimations are quite contradictory, but everybody is convinced that they are faced with an extraordinary natural phenomenon. Somebody compares the pit with the Mexican "Sotanos", others with the Venezuelan Tepuy quartzite shafts. On the ledge there is also Fabiola Escalante, a young Peruvian woman who had also attended the caving lessons that year. In her honour the pit is unanimously named "Machu Picchu", a wonder from the depth of the milleniums.

Giorgio, who had remained on the top of the pit owing to lack of room on the ledge, decides to get out, since he has the impression that the flow of the streamlet which falls into the large pool at the base of the second pit has increased. The five cavers on the ledge decide that they will return the following Saturday, and start to climb back up.

Once they arrive in the open air, they find an eerie atmosphere. In a black and ghostly night, heavy rain is pouring down over the mountain, and a blustery wind violently shakes the beeches and firs, stirring the patches of dense fog. Lightnings repeatedly strike the peaks with tremendous force. Stories of witchcraft and demons that are told on the nearby Buso di Vaccaresse come to everybody's minds. Maybe the demons themselves are letting loose their wrath on the men who dare to violate their realm.

Giorgio has disappeared, and so have Alessandro and Fabiola's rucksacks. Giorgio must have taken them and gone to the cars, as the car-keys are in Alessandro's rucksack. The explorers of the abyss climb the sheer mountain slope, completely surrounded by the storm. After a half-hour march, soaked to the skin with ice-cold water, they reach the cars.

Giorgio is not there. Franco, Beppe and Cesare decide to reach Malga Novegno to see if Giorgio has taken shelter there. Alessandro and Fabiola remain to keep guard on the place, running up and down the road in the pouring rain, to keep warm. Giorgio is not at Malga Novegno either, but there is another possibility: Malga Campedello, which they reach in the jeep belonging to Malga Novegno.

At last the missing member is found, refreshed and comforted by a chance group of the Good Samaritans. Unfortunately Giorgio does not have the rucksacks. Therefore, they have to go back immediately and collect Alessandro and Fabiola, who by this time are at the end of their tether. The whole group goes down to the valley leaving Alessandro's car, to be recovered later together with the rucksacks that had rolled down the mountain due to the blustery wind. All's well that ends well.

The following day a series of phone calls bring the caving group in on the new discoveries, arousing general enthusiasm. The need for materials to continue the exploration is pointed out. Unfortunately, the rope store is all immobilised in the "Abyss of Malga Fossetta", in the "Buso della Neve di Zingarella" and in some other caves still under exploration. New purchases are urgently required.

The best cavers of the CAI-Schio compete to be one of the party, as a painful selection is necessary to reduce the waiting time of the reascent. Franco Reghellin and Beppe Tomiello, inseparable friends during and after the course, are in the list, together with Alessandro Landi, Norberto Marzaro, Davide Marchioro, Franco Gramola and Luca Tollardo, another member of the course. The rope that had been left the time before is pulled out and the pit is re-rigged with 200 metres of brand-new rope.

The cavers descend the abyss one belay after the other. A split in the shaft is ignored, a large black hole is tested using a stone. It will wait. The new rope is not long enough. More rope is added, and finally the base of the pit is reached. It is large, with enormous boulders leaning against the wall that seem as though they want to hinder the explorers' way. The boulders are climbed, and the 170 metres of rope which had been pulled out from the top of the Machu Picchu are taken too.

A black hole, as scary as a dragon's throat, seems to swallow the stones that are thrown into another pit of impressive dimensions. Solid anchorages are made and once again the cavers descend into the void. 100 metres, 150 metres, 170 metres ... the rope is finished, the walls are far away and a palpable black darkness is below us. The man, this tiny spider, can only swallow his trail and go back up to meet his friends again. The abyss has got the better of us once again, another worrisome discovery.

And this is the fourth outing. This time Mirco Calgaro joins the group of the usual explorers. Once again we rig the second pit without belaying, as the distance of the walls does not allow it. Stones moved accidentally at the top of the pit graze the explorers like snarling bullets. The bottom is touched, more than 200 metres below. The descending draught that has accompanied the explorers here scorns the choke at the bottom and disappears into up-to-now unpracticable cracks.

Two pits over 200 metres deep, one after the other. The biggest verticals in the region of Veneto have been shattered. The first pit of the "Spaluga della Preta", the "Abisso lo dei Granari di Zingarella", the "Abisso dei tre ingressi di Campo Rossignolo", the first and second pits of the "Abisso di Lusiana", the "'Abisso bo di Zingarella"... all yesterday's myths will disappear into oblivion.

In three pits a 450 metres depth is overtaken. On the Novegno, in dolomite, on the external slope of the mountain. It's incredible! The first, true abyss in the town-boundaries of Schio. Now the other holes will have to be reached and explored and the split of the Machu Picchu will be descended. The fissures at the bottom will be pushed and the survey will have to be completed. And this is but the beginning, as the how and why such an abyss has formed will have to be analysed and understood. And will it be the only one? Franco has really made a fantastic discovery, and has deflated all hypotheses and everything of which we all were sure.

How to reach the Abyss

The "Abisso di Monte Novegno" is situated in the higher part of the mountain that could be called Schio's, since Schio lies at its foot. Schio is a town in Italy, in the Venetian region, in the province of Vicenza, 25 km north of this town.

Note: Given the difficulty in finding the entrance, it is advisable to contact someone who knows the way to be accompanied.

Geological Note

Mount Novegno is but one of the tops of the massif which contains the abyss. The top area therefore includes several peaks, the most important and distinct being Mount Novegno (1548m), Mount Rione (1691m), Mount Caliano (1622m), Further north are Mount Priafora' (1659m) and M. Giove (1595m). The whole massif is made up of dolomite rocks (main dolomia), with the exception of the peaks of the a.m. tops, where grey limestone outcrops, having thicknesses varying from some dozens metres to a maximum of 150 metres, are present. The layers of emerged limestone are solid and slightly sloping towards East; they are much stratified, reaching a one-metre potency (Mount Caliano, Mount Priafora'). Superficial karst phenomena are not generally much diffused, with the exception of some areas with some well defined limestone outcrops and some dolines. Very interesting and worth mentioning is the largest dolina, called "la Busa del Novegno", which generates a dell of 3-400 metres diameter, in which there is a Malga and vast fields for cattle grazing.

Deep karst phenomena were, before discovery of the abyss, almost completely unknown. Not more than 5 or 6 cavities - modest caves with pits not deeper than a dozen metres.- are registered. As a consequence of the discovery of the abyss, the massif has attracted the attention of the whole group, soon resulting in new findings. At the moment, we are working on half a dozen new cavities, some of which are very interesting.

Good results are therefore in sight: we hope that the future there will have more surprises in store, though it will be difficult to repeat the 1993 exploit.

Description of the Cavity

The description of the cave cannot be but brief. The only horizontal stretches are the small entrance passage, 3 metre long, and a short, 6 metre long meander; that's all! Not a lot for an abyss that almost reaches 500 meters depth. But this is its peculiarity.

The entrance is located, as already said, close to a steep mountainside at 1470 metres. The narrow entrance half-hidden among the grass is 40 cm in diameter and leads to a narrow gently sloping passage, whose walls seem to have been generated in the conglomerate. Actually the rock has been crumbled by the cryologic action in the course of severe winter seasons. The rock, in fact, consolidates (turns solid) straight away after only three metres.

At this point the conduit gives way to a sheer vertical pit 50 metres deep. The pit, which at first is not very large, enlarges considerably only seven metres below its mouth. The end of a small-sized meander, run through by a thin rivulet, can be seen on the opposite wall. After a 25 metre descent in the void which gets larger and larger you realise that the union of two big fusoid shafts accounts for the huge size of the pit (you realise that the pit has enlarged so much because it is the result of the union of two big bells).

We go down the further 25 metres close to the wall under a thin trickle of water. One metre from the vertical of the pit, the entrance of another small pit 7 metre deep departs. The bottom of the latter small drop is almost completely taken up by a pool of water fed by the rivulet built up at the bottom of the P50. It is interesting to note, two metres above the bottom of this pit, of a one metre layer of very solid grey marl which affects the whole circumference of the pit and which has been completely broken (and dissolved?) during the genesis of this section of the cave. Scanty traces of such marly rock protrude from the pool of water. The remainder must have been washed away by the rivulet which leaves the pool and threads its way at the bottom of a narrow and high meander heading south.

This section of horizontal cave six metres long ends in the darkness of a deep pit. It is the top of the big drop called "Machu Picchu" 220 metres deep. This large sheer vertical pit is of a remarkable size from the very beginning with an 8 metre cross-section which is almost perfectly circular. The section remains uniform and increases its dimensions all the way to -70 metres where there is a belay. At this point you come into contact with a wall of the pit level with an area affected by jagged rock. This peculiarity makes it tiresome during reclimbing since ones legs end up in the gaps, up to one metre deep, between one tooth and the other.

The cross-section increases its size further becoming roughly triangular with sides of approx. 15 metres. After a further 70 metre descent and having got over two more belays we reach the only small ledge in this drop (2x1.5 metres). Here we are at -140 from the top of the pit (pothole) and -200 from the entrance. At this point a thin rocky screen divides the pit into two sections. The section heading north, after a 15 metres drop, comes to an end showing a flat rubble-choked bottom.

Back again on the ledge to continue the descent we walk along the ridge of the rocky screen as far as the opposite wall making use of a rope handrail. The pit from now on presents smaller dimensions and is slightly inclined with a roughly triangular section. We reach the bottom after 80 metres vertical descent and after getting over four intermediate belays.

It is clear that the whole vertical is laid on a huge diaclase heading N-S. The bottom of the drop, slightly funnel-shaped, is covered with rubble on one side and with clay on the other. Bearing north, on the diaclase axis, after ascending five metre wall (unmovable rope, left on the spot) we reach the entrance of another huge drop, the Tempest, 203 metres deep.

Since the entrance is level with the anastomose of the two big fusoid shafts, it is rather narrow, approx. 40-50 cm. in width. Right after one metre and a half descent, the chamber reaches a considerable size; at this point the section becomes elliptical with axes of 10x5 metres. High up the huge fusoid shaft fades away into the darkness for about 50 metres at least. Fourteen metres from the starting point there is the first belay. Here part of the pit section shifts back beneath the bottom of the Machu Picchu, and you can actually see some boulders blocking the base of the previous drop.

In this part of the cave the rock is still made up of dolomite; however its consistency and fracturing make it very brittle so you must beware of rockfall. Three more belays, the last of which is much exposed, allow us to get close to a narrow rocky edge, slightly jutting out, which we call "ledge". We are exactly 50 metres from the starting point of the Tempesta (Storm). From this spot to the bottom the pit is still perfectly vertical for 153 more metres. To break up its verticality, but above all to make ascending easier, we were able to belay after 40 metres. We did not manage to belay the remaining drop since the rope falls right in the middle of the fusoid shaft.

The main feature of the Tempest is that it is a fantastic, perfectly sheer shaft, which keeps its elliptical section all the way to the bottom. However this section becomes quite peculiar half-way down, in fact, for a long fraction of 80 metres it takes up a shape similar to the nib of an old ink pen. Actually the major axis of the section splits into two parallel fractures, approx. 3 metres far away from each other, giving rise to a perfectly flat strip of wall. Towards the bottom such peculiarity disappears and the section becomes elliptical again. The dimensions of the base of the drop, seven metres by four are the smallest of the whole pit.

Among the boulders heaped up on the bottom, a narrow opening has been enlarged. It allowed us to go down the last three metres. Here we are exactly at - 478 metres from the entrance and about 10 metres from its vertical.


The abyss has been completely rigged using standard twin expanding sectors fixes. It would not be a bad idea to replace some intermediate belays (or to remove a few) particularly in the first 50 metres of the Tempest. The regime of the cave is practically absent but for the pool of water at the base of P7 and a few fractions where the trickle can become considerable especially during the thaw.

We advise cavers who may want to explore the abyss that there should not be more than 4-5 of them venturing in it at the same time. This for two reasons: first, to reduce the obvious waiting time at the bottom of the two drops during ascending; secondly, to limit the risk of rockfall in the Tempest (hence the name.....) since on its bottom there are no safe shelters.

Some holes looking on to the Machu Picchu were reached but the upshot turned out to be unfavourable: the huge pit has taken up everything! By the way, is it a single vertical or not? This is the situation: the Machu Picchu and the Tempest are two distinct fusoid shafts, whose axes are not on the same vertical even if they are surely laid on a single huge diaclase which generated them. Adding up the two verticals the outcome is a drop of 418 metres (sure and definite measurement). Whether it is a single drop or not is subjective and of little importance. The only sure thing is that reaching the bottom of the abyss of Mount Novegno is above all a memorable experience.

For any question contact

Alessandro Landi

Gruppo Grotte Schio - CAI

Via Rossi, 8

36015 Schio (Vi) - Italy

Telephone & Fax : 0445-525755

E-Mail:Compuserve 100525,555;


Mid-week Caving

Elaine Hill (01524 61506) would be interested in meeting any members who would like to cave mid-week during evenings or more rarely during the day. If anyone is interested please contact her on the above number.

Maps, map projections and coordinate systems, in France.

Many people now visit France whether for caving, walking or just general tourism. The use of French IGN (Institut Gèeographique National) maps causes problems when trying to read french "grid references" and attempting to find or define points on the map. This description relates to the main walking maps of the 1:25,000 Serie Bleue and new Top25 series. I.G.N maps at scales greater than this do not show a kilometre grid system (older 1:25,000 Carte Touristique also suffered from this omission).

This article first outlines a very brief theory of map projections with descriptions of two commonly used examples. This is followed by a description of their application in France by the IGN and finally a practical example of their use.

The transfer of a point or shape on a sphere onto a planar surface is a cartographic operation known as a projection. It should be noted that NO projection system is exact, and each system has its advantages and disadvantages.

Theoretical background

There are five main types of projection:

1) Cylindrical projection

e.g. Mercator projection

2) Conical tangential projection

e.g. Lambert projection

3) Conical secant projection


4) Stereographic projection (equatorial)

5) Orthographic projection (polar)

In France the projection system generally used by the Institut Geographique National (IGN) for local (1:25,000 maps) is the Lambert conformal conic projection (type 2 above). The features of this kind of projection are: that the spherical surface is projected on to a cone (see figure 1). It is conformal, that is to say that the relative dimensions are deformed but the angles between points are preserved (other projections can be Equivalent where angles are deformed but area kept the same).

This projection system is also known as the "projection de guerre" as it was used for artillery (hence the importance of maintaining the correct angles!)

The parallels ("horizontals") are unequally spaced arcs of concentric circles concave towards a pole. The meridians ("verticals") are equal radii of the same circle and thus cut the parallels at right angles. The scale is true along the standard parallel (or parallels). The pole in the same hemisphere as the standard parallel is a point, the other pole at infinity. Great circle paths are almost straight lines.

Another widely used projection system is the mercator projection and a commonly used example is the Universal Transverse Mercator projection (UTM) which is a cylindrical transverse projection (type 1 above). This transforms narrow regions (zones) of the globe onto a flat plane, and can only be used between 84degN and 80degS. Distortion increases away from the central meridian (where the cylinder is at a tangent). Parallels are complex curves towards the nearest pole, with the equator straight, and meridians are complex curves towards a straight central meridian which is a tangent to the globe.

It is worthwhile noting that the degrees and minutes grids, shown on some Michelin maps correspond to this projection system.

Both these projection system were first proposed by the Alsatian mathematician, Johanan Hunrich Lambert in 1772.

Application to France by the IGN

France is divided up in to 4 zones with standard parallels (see figure 2.): Nord, Centre, Sud, and Corse.

For each of these zones the central meridian (longitudinal) is defined as passing through Paris and the constants are given in grads from this point (360deg=400 grads). See table 1 for the constants for each zone.

No point in France is located more than 200km north or south of these defined parallels. In order to produce a grid system these zones are divided up into kilometre grids where all the values are positive constants X=600,000m and Y=200,000m are added to each point and also a scale factor Ko of 0.998774. These grids are Lambert(Nord/North) I; Lambert(Central) II; Lambert(Sud/South) III; and Lambert(Corse/Corsica) IV. The central zone is extended to form Lambert zone II(etendu) for presenting the whole of France. Euro Lambert also exists which is also based on the Lambert II (etendu) zone, see figure 2.

Practical application

Thus on a 1:25,000 IGN map the Lambert conic projection for one of the 4 zones is used to produce the map, and define the boundaries. However a glance at the edge of any 1:25,000 map shows a host of grid system (see figure 3 - note that the grid has been added by hand).

Ticks towards the interior are latitude and longitude in grads (longitude referred to the Paris International median). Kilometre grids are based on the relevant Lambert zone are drawn in BLACK e.g. Lambert zone I (Alsace), Lambert zone II (Vercors, French Alps), and Lambert zone III (Pyrenees). These coordinates are normally those given by local studies (surveys, guides, books, etc).

The other coordinates marked in BLUE towards the interior are those for Lambert zone II (etendu/extended) which is used to cover the whole of France (on maps of central France these are often the only grid shown as they have the same value.

Ticks towards the exterior are latitude and longitude in degrees relative to the Greenwich meridian referred to the unified european geodetic system and the kilometre grids are for the corresponding UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) zone eg zone 32 (Eastern France), zone 31 (Central France), and zone 30 (Western France). These zones are subdivided into kilometre grids. These grids are coloured either black or blue, and in some cases near to the division of two UTM zones (such as the Top25 Ossau 1:25,000 sheet) two grid systems are given for the two adjacent zones (zone 30 and zone 31)

The new TOP25 series maps and some Bleue series maps are now trying to help the use of Lambert grid references, by the addition of small black cross-hairs at the intersections of the relevant Lambert kilometer grids (see sheet Ossau 1547OT and Larrau 1447nord for examples).

Generally in caving guide books in France the entrance coordinates are given in the local Lambert X,Y,Z kilometre grid reference system (for extremely accurate surveys these values may be given in metres).

Thus the coordinates of the entrance of:

Gouffre Lepineux are:

X(east) Y(north) Z(altitude)

346,75 79,03 1717m

EDF tunnel/salle de la Verna are:

344,51 80,35 1050

(note the French use of a comma instead of a decimal point and that the thousand term of the Y coordinate is generally dropped) This defines a point with a grid reference correct to 100m (see figure 3.)

The use of this grid system is made more difficult by the fact that only on certain walking maps based on IGN 1:25,000 maps is the local Lambert kilometre grid drawn across the entire map. It is therefore necessary to do this by hand for the areas of interest from the relevant ticks on the edge of the map or from the cross-hairs on maps where it is present (see figure 3 where the grid has been added).

If carried out correctly this results in an accuracy of "grid reference" similar to that of the British Ordnance Survey maps.

It should be noted however that unlike the Ordnance Survey grid reference system in the UK which is widely used and understood, there is a poor understanding and much more limited usage of the Lambert grid reference system in France.

John Helm



The Activity Centres (Young Persons) Safety Act 1995

As a post-script to my article on party leadership in the spring "Record" the regulations for the above act have now passed through the consultation period and we will soon be hearing the final results. The proposed regulations, for which I helped as a consultant, specifically only cover commercial outdoor activity providers for young people. The act does not relate to voluntary organisations, clubs or societies, or people over eighteen. There is a proposed voluntary registration scheme which will run in parallel to the formal mandatory scheme. It should be noted however, that the act does assume an implied "duty of care" in all cases.

As far as caving goes, the regulations, if they are fully adopted will affect a great many of the instructors we see working in the Dales. All commercial providers for young people, which includes freelance instructors, will need to be licensed and hold the appropriate qualifications. In addition each provider will need to have a named technical expert, either on the staff or acting as a consultant. In the case of caving this expert will require a full Cave Instructors Certificate (CIC). As there will possibly also be a large requirement for licensing inspectors to have the CIC this means that in future this particular qualification is going to be tantamount to a license to print money!

If nothing else the proposed new regulations should mean the end of many of the "cowboys" which have not only harmed our cave environments but also provide a second rate experience for their clients. Unfortunately it will also see the end of a number of very good caving instructors who, for various reasons, may fall outside of the licensing requirements. The implementation date for the regulations is spring of 1996 although I suspect this is optimistic.

Peter Barnes

The proposed "Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations" referred to by Peter were discussed by the CPC Committee at its meeting in November. The proposals will affect the Club at Gaping Gill where, even though we will be able to argue that the main chamber is a tourist cave for the duration of the meet, it will now be essential that there are no organised trips outside the main chamber for under 18 year olds. It is not totally clear from the proposed legislation whether failure to comply with the strict interpretation of the voluntary scheme might be taken as inplying that the Club was failing in its "duty of care". If this is to be the interpretation then the legislation may mean that we will need to reconsider the possibility of raising the minimum age for membership. Although it was hoped that the overall effect on the Club would not be too great it was the Committee's opinion that we should make our views on the proposed legislation known. The letter from the Secretary to the Health and Safety Executive, receipt of which has been acknowledged, is reproduced overleaf. - Ed

Dear Sir,

Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 199-

At the last meeting of the Club Committee it was unanimously agreed that the Club is totally opposed to the inclusion of private caving clubs within the proposed voluntary licensing scheme.

Currently the minimum age for joining the Club is 16 years of age, although very few members join before their eighteenth birthday. If the Club was required to meet the requirements of the proposed voluntary scheme because of its involvement with this small number of 16-18 year olds, it is likely that the minimum age for joining would be increased to 18 years. The Craven Pothole Club is the third oldest, and probably has the largest membership, of any British Caving Club. It has an exemplary safety record and meets a number of the requirements of the proposed voluntary scheme on an informal basis. Nevertheless it is considered that to make these requirements formal, especially the requirement for certificated qualifications as opposed to experiential, would not be acceptable to our membership.

We have noted Annex 1: Draft Regulations 3.2, but are unsure as to whether this meets our reservations.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs. Pat Halliwell

Hon Secretary

Matters of interest from the latest CNCC Newsletter

All requests for CNCC permits should be directed through the CPC Secretary and not sent direct to the CNCC Access Controllers.

Members are reminded that any pollution in a cave is unacceptable. This reminder arises because someone defecated down the third pitch of Bull Pot in Kingsdale. This behaviour is not just unpleasant, it also presents a health hazard to all who descend the cave for a considerable time. Although less of a health hazard, the dumping of carbide in caves is equally unacceptable. It is very easy to take a dump bag such as an old car inner tube down a cave tucked inside your oversuit and to dispose of the spent carbide safely when back home or at Horton.

The latest updated pages for the CNCC. Handbook are now available from Bernies or Inglesport.

Thefts are still occurring from cars in the Yorkshire Dales. CNCC. would like to hear from anyone who has had their car broken into while in the Dales because they are collating information on all such incidents. Contact Les Sykes with details 01695 728673 (7am to 9.30pm).

New Caves? A plea for help

Following the recent recorded upsurge in interest in new caves I have a dilemma that someone in the Craven might (and I hope will - Ed) be able to help with.

Close to where I live in the Lake District there is a large area of limestone with no known caves. The area is, however, riddled with shake holes, several of which are both large and deep; there are also a number of dry valleys. The real interest came after recent heavy rain when the whole surface of the area was full of small rivulets. Many of these combined and flowed into side valleys which were previously dry. The majority of the streams then sunk away in the bottom of the largest dry valley, a couple however, flowed, with no sign of slowing down, into small holes either in the valley or nearby sink holes.

Chatting to a local estate worker led to stories of holes "sixty feet deep opening up and swallowing sheep by the dozen". I would say that these figures are a little suspect as he claims that whenever a hole opens it is simply filled with rubble! I haven't as yet approached the estate which controls the common land on which these holes appear. They will undoubtedly be concerned at the risks to livestock of any digging.

I have dug into one hole just with my hands and continued down for a few feet with no problem following the flow of the water. My dilemma is simple; I don't know what to do now!! If anyone fancies taking a look at the area please give me a ring on 01768-892449 and I will show you around (I am usually away from home during the week)

Peter Barnes

Minutes of the 1995 AGM

(subject to the approval of the 1996 AGM)

1995 Annual General Meeting, 25 November 1995

Held in the Watermill Inn, Pateley Bridge at 2.45pm


D Allanach, HM Beck, A Bottomley, H Bottomley, D Brindle, I Buchanan, R Callaghan, K Chappel, LB Cook, J Cowling, K Davey, A Davey, R Dove, D Eccles, R Espiner, E Faid, M Fredrickson, A Glenn, MC Goodwin, N Graham, PC Halliwell, RA Halliwell, AC Hardy, AC Hayter, C Hayter, DW Hoggarth, JD Hoggarth, M Holloway, BJ Jenkins, R Jenkins, C Karley, D Kaye, Y Kaye, K Lane, S Kelley, N Lucas, DC Mellor, PJ Mellor, DL Milner, R Myers, P Norman, J Normington, G North, J Nurse, S Parker, I Peretti, K Peretti, SE Pickersgill, BE Prewer, B Prewer, R Pringle, JA Roberts, P Rose, H Rose, S Rowling, RW Scott, MJ Scratcher, T Shipley, J Warren, PB Warren, JP Webb, EE Whitaker, A Whitehouse, E Wood, I Woods, G Workman; 66 in total.


B Andrew, S Ashby, A Blick, AD Bridge, D Bushell, JN Cordingley, L Crockart, A Fredrickson, A Gray, G Kaye, S Lent, E Porter, W Spencer, R Stevens, J Taylor, R Taylor, M Thompson, M Tomlinson, A Weight, R Weight, J Whalley.

The Chairman reported the death of Frank Parsons in March and the meeting stood in silence in his memory.

The Minutes of the previous meeting had been printed in Record 37 and were taken as read. The minutes were signed as a correct record on a proposal from R Myers, seconded by AC Hardy.

Matters Arising:

1) The proposed visit to the Antro del Corchia in 1996 has been postponed due to access problems in the area.

2) The sum of £500 has been transferred from general Club funds to the Legacy Fund.

3) The Mager stretcher has been purchased and is now installed in a purpose built carrying bag in the First Aid cupboard in Bridge End. The question was asked "does anyone know how to use it?". S Pickersgill pointed out that there was a rescue practice scheduled for January and all members were encouraged to attend and find out first hand.

4) The costs of installation and running a pay telephone in Ivy Cottage had been investigated by the Committee and it had been agreed not to install one.

5) Instructions have been posted on the use of the drop test rig in Bridge End.

6) With reference to the World Wide Web (WWW), the Committee agreed that information/publications from the Club could be placed on WWW as long as the members' address list did not appear.

7) The Sell Gill Expedition had taken place and had been a total success with cream teas served 50m down at Camp 1.

8) Martel Centenary - the Club had not arranged an event but the BPC had invited the Club to join them in their re-enactment of the descent which had been filmed by S Perou.

9) A copy of the German film about Martel has been deposited in the Club Library.

10) The Photographic Rules have been revised and were published in Record 38.

Correspondence: None.

Chairman's Address: It's been another very good year!

Secretary's Report:

The Secretary reported on the business of the Club during the past year including attendance at Kindred Clubs' dinners, the Belgium Meet at Whitsun, the PSM Meet in August, the discovery of Centenary Way in GG, and the re-discovery of the passage beyond the sump in Sell Gill. A successful GG Meet was totally due to the members who put so much effort in and a vote of thanks was proposed to all these people, without whom the Club would be much poorer. The Secretary announced her intention to retire at the 1996 AGM but was pleased to report that a member has volunteered to take over. The report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from R Espiner, seconded by D Allanach.

Treasurer's Report:

The Balance Sheet had been circulated previously and the Treasurer merely highlighted several important points.

1) Public Liability Insurance: The BCRA insurance increased last year to £1.00 per member and has increased again for 1995-6 to £1.25 per member.

2) Cottage income is much lower than last year, mainly due to the increase 1995 caused by the Berger training meets in .

3) Insurance of the Horton Properties: The current value insured is only £75K which is obviously far too low and a re-valuation for re-building will be carried out in the near future to allow a more realistic cover to be arranged.

4) GG: The major costs were a) the new rescue stretcher; b) a new electrical installation; c) re-building of the gantry base. It was pointed out that the surplus was very close to the overall surplus for 1995 - but we should all remember that GG is not just for fund raising it's also for fun raising.

5) The Treasurer reported a supply of Standing Order forms for any members wishing to pay their future subscriptions by this method.

6) A vote of thanks was proposed to SE Pickersgill for collecting money at the cottages and to AC Hardy for his patience in auditing the books.

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

Tacklekeepers' Reports:

JA Roberts apologised for his lack of attendance at Committee meetings and at the cottage which had been due to pressure of work. He hopes that the situation will improve in the New Year.

The Club has 900ft ladder and 2000ft lifeline rope (most purchased in the last two years -any which is older will be scrapped as soon as the problem (see below) with the current ropes has been resolved). The many short ladders are now marked with tape but more new ladders are needed to replace those shortened because of damage. A problem had been experienced with "shaggy bits" on the new lifeline ropes. Bridon (the manufacturers) are investigating but there have been problems of communicating with them to find out whether the problem is cosmetic or more serious.

There are 3 sets of survey equipment: 1 brand new set; 1 set which is usable and a third set which has suffered water ingress and probably needs replacing. There are 2 Bosch drills, 3 battery packs and 4 chargers. These will shortly be installed in a cupboard in Bridge End and any member using this equipment will be required to keep a log of its use and report this in the book provided. One of the battery packs is faulty and currently being mended; a second which was donated, is awaiting a suitable charger before it can be used.

This report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from N Graham, seconded by N Lucas.

P Norman requested that any lifelines which were scrapped be made available as digging ropes and the it was agreed that this would be arranged.

P Gray queried the problems with the battery packs. It was explained that they consist of of F-cells in series and the problem arises when one cell goes faulty and can affect other cells around it. The faulty pack is undergoing refurbishment at present.

D Hoggarth reported that the SRT ropes were in good condition. There had been a minor problem lately because the protective spray put on the hangers to stop them going rusty had affected the rubber O-rings, causing them to fall off the bolts. All defective O-rings have now been replaced along with the bolts which were lost. P Norman reminded members that the Club had started to eco-hang Sell Gill. The fact that this has not yet been completed gives other Clubs a very bad impression of the CPC and it is important to finish the job as soon as possible.

E Whitaker complimented members on the tidy state of the Horton tackle store.

Cottage Warden's Report:

A drop in bed nights was reported for 1995, but this had been expected after the inflated numbers for 1994 due to the Berger trip. Use of Riverside was much the same as 1994. The new booking procedures for Riverside appear to be working although there seems to have been some confusion about minor details.

The task of re-painting the outside of the cottages has been progressing very slowly and shortly there will be a need to re-decorate the inside of both Riverside and Ivy Cottages. Members were encouraged to have a day's caving and a day's work on the cottage when they come for a weekend and spread the workload more evenly.

During the year the electrical installations in all buildings have been brought up to current standards with respect to earthing and all now have RCD's fitted. The names of 16 members (and one ex-member) who owed between them a total of £43 in cottage fees (one debt going back to 1992!) were read out to the meeting.

The report was accepted on a proposal from RA Halliwell, seconded by BE Prewer, with one against.

I Woods suggested working weekends which could be advertised like Meets. It was pointed out that the only result from this in the past had been for people to make sure they were not in Horton on those weekends. B Prewer pointed out that some clubs ensured attendance by putting on a barrel for those who came to work. The Committee agreed to investigate this possibility. It was suggested that the weekend of 30/31 December should be used as a working weekend but it would be difficult to work outside unless the weather were very kind and the number of members in residence would make work inside problematical.

A Davey proposed a vote of thanks to S Pickersgill for all his work as Cottage Warden and this was strongly supported.

Librarian's Report:

The Library had been used by 19 members who had taken out a total of 183 items. 282 items of all types have been added to the Library since November 1994, largely by exchange and donation. There are a number of items outstanding for return, including two booked out to the Librarian! Reminder notes were being sent out and members were requested to search for any books which they had borrowed in the past. They were also reminded that the Library is usually open on Tuesday evenings and could be opened, by arrangement, at other times. The Librarian recorded his thanks to D Milner for his assistance with sorting, listing etc during the past year.

The report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from LB Cook, seconded by RA Halliwell.

Editor's Report:

The Editor reported on the production of almost 150 pages in 4 issues of the Record, a revised Handbook and the Berger Publication. The problems of reproducing photographs adequately were mentioned and, although he was not optimistic, a method for possible improvement will be investigated in the near future. Colour reproduction would be too expensive but few companies now have adequate facilities to ensure good black & qwhite reproduction. Members were encouraged to continue providing the Editor with articles for publication.

The report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from R Espiner, seconded by JD Hoggarth.

Conservation Officer's Report:

Members were thanked for their co-operation in improving the GG Meet from the conservation point of view. A vote of thanks to H Rose for his assistance in removing rubbish from the fell was offered. A Club Conservation Policy document is being prepared but it is obvious from the comments already received that this will involve many drafts before it is acceptable to the majority.

The report was accepted unanimously on a proposal from J Warren, seconded by JD Hoggarth.

P Gray asked whether H Beck was "Conservation Officer" before item 15 had been decided. It was pointed out that he had been co-opted with this title by the Committee in April although he currently did not have a vote on the Committee.

It was agreed to consider Business before the Election of Officers because the rule change might alter the composition of the Committee.


Changes to the Rules and Constitution of the Craven Pothole Club

1) Rule 9:

a) in line viii) replace Assistant by SRT

b) after line xi) add xii) Conservation Officer

Proposed by DL Milner, seconded by BJ Jenkins and supported by the Committee.

The reasons behind this proposed change were explained and after a short discussion a vote was taken on the two parts separately. The vote on a) was carried with one voting against. The vote on b) was carried unanimously.

2. Rule 4a:

Alter the first sentence to read: Application for Ordinary Membership shall be made by a Probationary Member who shall have taken part in at least four (4) underground meets of the Club and demonstrated a reasonable level of competence.

Proposed by BJ Jenkins, seconded by P Norman.

A prolonged discussion from the floor resulted in many points being made: that the Committee be more rigourous in their voting for membership; that proposers and seconders be more discerning in agreeing to sign proposal forms; that the proposed change would prevent an interested person who was not a caver joining the Club; that Leaders should make a more detailed report of the performance of Probationers on their meets.

D Mellor proposed an amendment which the Chairman declared to be out of order because it differed substantially from the original proposal. Eventually the proposer and seconder announced that they would withdraw the proposal and re-submit it in an amended form in 1996. The meeting agreed to this withdrawal with one voting against.

Election of Officers & Committee:

The following were elected/re-elected unopposed:

President: John Mason proposed by GH Workman, seconded by R Myers.

Senior Vice-President: Richard (Harpic) Espiner proposed by J Mason, seconded by R Myers.

Junior Vice-President: Ron Pringle proposed by R Myers, seconded by PC Halliwell

Chairman: R Myers

Secretary: PC Halliwell

Treasurer: RW Scott

Membership & Assistant Secretary: BJ Jenkins

Editor: RA Halliwell

Librarian: DC Mellor

Cottage Warden: SE Pickersgill

Tackle-Keeper: JA Roberts.

SRT Tacklekeeper: DW Hoggarth was elected unopposed, proposed by MC Goodwin, seconded by RA Halliwell.

Conservation Officer: HM Beck was elected unopposed, proposed by PC Halliwell, seconded by DL Milner.

I Buchanan had resigned from the Committee during the year due to ill health. PB Warren did not wish to stand for re-election. DW Hoggarth was now the SRT Tacklekeeper and hence his Committee place was vacant.

There were three proposals for Committee:

JD Hoggarth, proposed by R Espiner, seconded by S Kelley;

J Warren, proposed by PB Warren, seconded by PC Halliwell;

EE Whitaker, proposed by SE Pickersgill, seconded by BJ Jenkins;

to fill 3 vacant spaces and hence all were elected unopposed.

The Committee thus consists of: MC Goodwin, JD Hoggarth, DL Milner, T Shipley, J Warren, A Weight, EE Whitaker, E Wood.

Meets List 1996:

A draft list had been published in Record 40 and the amended list was laid on the table. All leaders had agreed to lead their meets.

Any other business:

1. The CPC sweatshirts and T-shirts which had been ordered in August were available for collection after the meeting. The latest order was not large enough to be sent but members were invited to see K Davey after the meeting to make additional orders. Hopefully these would be available at New Year.

2. The problem of Leaders not turning up to lead meets nor arranging alternative leaders was brought up. No foolproof suggestion emerged from the discussion for encouraging leaders to take this responsibility seriously and it was accepted that on a number of occasions last minute work commitments had been the cause of the non-appearances. It was pointed out that the Committee did a lot to ensure that Leaders would appear but they would reconsider the matter in the light of the concern.

3. P Gray complained that there were no rules to guide any member considering applying for sponsorship from the Club for an expedition. It was suggested that the Committee should look into this matter.

The Chairman asked for a show of hands for Ham & Eggs at the Foresters after the President's Meet.

AC Hardy proposed, seconded by D Brindle, a vote of thanks to the Officers and Committee, to all who help at Gaping Gill and the Cottage.

Annual Photographic & Literary Awards - 1995

Albert Mitchell Trophy: Paul Norman for his article on the Centenary Way Extensions

Tom Pettit Cup: Mal Goodwin for his article on Mallorca. A second prize was awarded to Howard Beck for his articles on conservation

Best Meets Report: Alan Weight for his Belgium Report

President's Challenge Cup & Climber's Cup: Peter Jones

Men of Kent and Down Valley Trophies: John Webb

Philip Tyas Cup: Howard Beck

JR Nield Cup: Pat Halliwell

Spirit of Gaping Gill Trophy: Tracey Beasley

Leaders' Responsibilities

Although these notes are reproduced in the Handbook, the Committee suggested that in the light of the discussion on the responsibilities of Leaders at the AGM, these notes should be reproduced in the Record.

These notes were compiled and approved by the Committee of the Craven Pothole Club for the attention of all leaders of club and underground meets involving CPC members and tackle. They have been sent to all members from time to time and on this occasion they are again intended for guidance but will be revised if necessary in the light of current practices. The attention of all leaders is also drawn to the relevant Club Rules.

A: Tackle

The Leader is responsible for seeing that sufficient tackle to complete the system or intended route is taken underground, including specialist equipment such as bolts, hangers, etc., lifelines for every pitch of sufficient length to allow a belay for the lifeline man and, where necessary, a double lifeline; two whistles must be taken on every meet. Only "approved" tackle must be used and this must be returned in a clean and neat condition. Undue strain or breakages must be reported immediately to the tacklekeeper.

B: Party

The Leader should personally ascertain the fitness and experience of every member of the party and ensure that their activities do not exceed their capabilities. This particularly refers to a) non-members b) novice members and c) older members. Leaders must delegate responsibility to competent members of the Club in those groups not accompanied by the Leader. This particularly refers to a), b), and c) above and also to the tackling and detackling parties.

C: Weather

Wherever possible the Leader should have heard the latest regional weather report or have obtained local weather reports such as those provided by the National Parks Service. Where there is any possibility of heavy rain or rapid thaw causing flash floods it is the responsibility of the Leader to postpone or cancel the meet; or to divert the meet to a cave which will be safe under the likely conditions.

D: System

Leaders must acquaint themselves with as much data as possible about the system including an accurate assessment of tackle required, hydrological details of the system itself and the catchment area (drainage channels etc.), likely accident spots such as exposed traverses, loose boulders etc., and details of route-finding including a knowledge of the survey and contact with previous parties.

E: Accidents

If an accident occurs the Leader or competent member present (see Paragraph B above) should:

i) Remove the patient from danger (water, pitch, boulder fall etc.) if this can be achieved without unacceptable risk.

ii) Make sure the patient is breathing. If not apply mouth to mouth respiration after having made sure the airway is clear. (Respiration rate 12 - 15 times per minute). This should be continued until the patient is breathing normally, without assistance. (There have been cases of recovery after long sessions of artificial respiration and the first aider should never give up hope easily.)

iii) Stop serious bleeding by applying pad and improvised bandage on the wound itself. Do not apply a tourniquet. If the former is insufficient to stop bleeding apply a further pad and bandage on top of the first.

iv) Despatch at least two competent people, where possible, out of the cave to alert the appropriate rescue team. The latter should be given the fullest details of cave, location of accident in the cave, and nature of injuries. The informant should then stand by, either at the telephone or at the nearest point by road, as instructed by the rescue team.

v) It is absolutely essential that all patients are treated for shock by keeping them as warm, dry, comfortable and as cheerful as possible. The patient should be constantly and convincingly reassured and should never be left alone. The nature of patients' injuries should never be discussed with them.

F: Exposure and exhaustion

Where the patient is capable of moving without assistance and is not constantly complaining of exhaustion he or she should be encouraged to carry on slowly moving out. Where there is a likelihood of exposure, i.e. the patient is constantly complaining of exhaustion, or needs great assistance to move, or is in a state of collapse, or appears incapable of rational thought, he or she should be kept as warm, dry, comfortable and cheerful as possible. There should be no stimulation of blood circulation, e.g. massage, and the call-out procedure outlined in Para. E should be adopted.

Notes E and F are merely an outline of first aid. All members should acquaint themselves with modern first aid techniques in detail.

Leaders and the signing out of tackle

It was brought to the attention of the Committee that a member had signed out tackle for use by a trip leader who was not a member. Members are reminded that the Club Rules state that leaders of Club Meets, even private meets, must be current members of the Club. Failure to abide by these rules could mean that such trips would be outside the Club's insurance cover.

Illegal Substances

The attention of the Committee has been brought to the fact that a number of other Clubs, who have more guests staying at their huts than we do, have thought it necessary to display prominent notices prohibiting the use of illegal substances on their premises.

In view of the possible legal consequences of such activities the Committee believes that even though we have fewer guests, similar notices should be placed in the Horton Properties. It was also agreed that the Committee wished to make a formal statement that if any persons were found on Club Property or attending Club Meets whilst using or carrying illegal substances, then this matter would be viewed most seriously by the Committee.

Jottings from the Committee


It was noted that the buildings insurance policy on the Horton properties appeared to be low and it was agreed that we should obtain a revaluation. It was agreed that in future the November Committee meeting each year should consider the possibility of transferring a sum of money from the annual income to the Legacy Fund. It was noted that there were some difficulties with the table in Riverside. There was consideration of the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations and the Secretary was instructed to write to the HSC (letter reproduced earlier in this Record).


Reported that only 8 cells in the battery pack for the drill were damaged and it was agreed that the pack should be repaired. As a temporary measure pending an accurate revaluation it was agreed that buildings insurance on the Horton properties should be doubled in value. The problem with the table in Riverside was resolved. Two letteres had been received from Probationary Members praising the standards of training and the welcome provided to Probationary Members. Suggestions for a new style of Trophy for the Albert Mitchell Award were discussed and approved. Noted that Bridon had finally replied confirming that the loose threads in the lifeline rope were cosmetic and did not affect the integrity or strength of the rope. They apologised for the concern this fault had caused and offered us a 200m reel of lifeline rope as compensation.

As requested at the AGM there was discussion of the criteria for sponsoring members. It was agreed that any member wishing sponsorship from the Club should write giving full details of the project, including financial outlay and other funding, expected and received, and that the Committee would consider each request on its merits. Also in response to discussion at the AGM it was agreed that the Secretary should write to each Meet Leader at the appropriate time before their meeting inviting them to attend the Committee Meeting prior to their Meet should they wish to do so, and provide them with a list of current probationary members.

About Members

We welcome the following as new members of the Club:

Elaine Susan Hill, Barry Hunkin, Mary Hunkin, Karen Lane, Jon Woodhead.

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

Frank Johnston-Banks, Richard Thomas Keys, Ian Robinson, James Schofield, Elaine-Marie Shaw.

Changes of address:

Fred Austin, Peter Barling, Adrian Bridge, Alison Glenn, Mike Scratcher.

Correction of Telephone Number:

Please note that the telephone number given for John Mason in the recent Handbook is incorrect and the subscriber on that number is rather irate.

Potential new member:

Congratulations to Alan and Becky Weight on the arrival of their son, Gordan Benjamin. Alan tells me that he already has many of the endearing characteristics of Gordino! Congratulations are also due to Dave Edwards on the arrival of his daughter name as yet unknown.

Additions to the CPC Library January 1995 to December 1995

Journals & Periodicals

BCRA Speleological Abstracts 32 (literature of 1993)

BCRA Bibliographique Speleologique (Speleological Abstracts ) No.33 (1994)

BCRA Caves & Caving No.66 (Winter 1994), No 67 (Spring 1995), No.68 (Summer 1995), No.69 (Autumn 1995)

BCRA Cave Radio & Electronics Group Journal No.19 (March 1995)

BCRA Compass Points Nos 1-9 (September 1993-September 1995)

BCRA Transactions Cave and Karst Science Vol.21 No.2 (March 1995), No.3 (June 1995), Vol.22 No.1 (Aug.1995)

Bristol Exploration Club Journal Belfry Bulletin Vol.47 No.8 (No.475) (September 1994), Vol.48 No.1 (No.476) (December 1994), Vol.48 No.4 (No.479)

BSA Bulletin New Series No 9

Burnley Caving Club Review 94

Cave Diving Group Newsletter No.114 (January 1995), No.115 (April 1995), No.116 (July 1995), No.117 (October 1995)

Cerberus Spelaeological Society Journal Vol.23 No 1 (January 1995), No.2 (April 1995), No.3 (July 1995), No.4 (October 1995)

Chelsea Speleological Society Newsletters Vol.30 No.1 (October 1987), Vol.31 No.6 (March 1989), Vol.32 Nos.7,8,9 (May-July 1990), Vol.33 No.1 (Oct/Nov 1991), Vol.34 No.10 (December 1992), Vol 35. Nos 5,7,8,9,10 (May - December 1993), Vol 36 Nos 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (Jan - December 1994, Vol 37 Nos 1,2,3,4,5 (Jan - May 1995), No.6 (June 1995), No.7 (July 1995), No.8 (August 1995), No.9 (September 1995),No. 10 (October 1995), Nos.11 & 12 (November & December 1995)

Chelsea Speleological Society Newsletter Index Volumes 30-35 (1987-1993)

Descent 58 (May/June 1984), 77 (Aug/Sept 1987), 121 (December 1994/January 1995), 122 (February/March 1995), 123 (April/May 1995), No.124 (June/July 1995), No.125 (August/September 1995), No.126 (October/November 1995)

Grampian Speleological Group Bulletin 3rd Series. Vol.3 No.2. (October 1994),Vol.3 No.3 (March 1995), No.4 (October 1995)

Hull University Speleological Society Romania Expedition 1994

Independent Speleo. Group Newsletter (Nov. 1993)

International Caver No.12 (1994), No.13 (1995), No.14 (1995)

Irish Speleology Vol.4 No.2 - Cave Diving in Ireland - photocopy of text

Mendip Caving Group Newsletter Nos 237-245 (May 1994 - April 1995)

NCA "Speleoscene" No.14 (Nov/Dec 1994), No.15 Jan/Feb 1995), No.16 (Mar/Apr 1995), No.17 (May/June 1995), Nos 18 & 19 (July/Aug & Sept/Oct 1995), No.20 Nov/Dec 1995

Oxford University Cave Club Proceedings No.12 (1986)

Plymouth Caving Group Newsletter and Journal No.123 (June 1993)

Red Rose Cave & Pothole Club Newsletter Vol.32 No.1 (Dec 1994), No.2 (July 1995)

Shepton Mallet Caving Club Journal Series 9 No.7 (1994), No 8 (Spring 1995)

South African Spelaeological Association Bulletin Vol.35 (1994) The 1993 Chimanimani Expedition

South Wales Caving Club Newsletter No.115 (1995), No.116 (1995)

Speleological Union of Ireland and the Irish Cave Rescue Organisation Newsletter No.35 (July 1995)

Speleological Union of Ireland Journal Irish Speleology No.15 (Nov.1995)

Sydney Speleological Association Journal Vol.38 No.9 (September 1994), No.10 (October 1994), No.11 (November 1994), No.12 (December 1994), Vol.39 Nos 1-4 (January to April 1995), Nos 5,6,7 & 8 (May-August 1995)

Tasmanian Caverneering Club Newsletter Speleospiel - No.288 (June/July 1995), 289 (August 1995)

Tasmanian Caverneering Club Explorations Journal Vol.1 (1992)

University of Bristol Spelaeological Society Proceedings Vol.5 No.3 (1946), Vol.20 No 1 (Dec 1994),

Wessex Cave Club Journal Vol.22 No.243 (November 1994), Vol.23 No.244 (February 1995), No.245 (July 1995), No.246 (October 1995)

Westminster Speleo Group News sheet 11 (May 1995)

White Rose Pothole Club Newsletter Vol.14 No.2 (May 1995), No.3 (August 1995), No.4 (November 1995)

Wittenberg University Speleological Society Journal Pholeos Vol.15 No.1 (March 1995), No.2 (May 1995)

Yorkshire Ramblers Club Bulletin Issue 1 (Summer 1994), Issue 2 (Winter 1994), Issue 3 (Summer 1995), Issue 4 (Winter 1995).

Books and one-off publications

Ainsworth, William: An Account of the Caves of Ballybunion, County of Kerry (1834) - photocopy

Antro del Corchia Survey 1977

Belgian show caves - various flyers

BAPCO Journal Vol.1 Issue 4. (articles on underground radio and battery chargers)

BCRA Cave Studies Series No.6 A Dictionary of Karst and Caves compiled by David Lowe & Tony Waltham.

Brook et al Northern Caves 3 - The Three Counties System and the North West.

Cave Diving Group - Peak District Sump Index 1994

Cave Rescue Organisation Incidents Report Rescue '94

Croucher, Trevor: Boots and Books the work and writings of Arthur Raistrick

Delfandre, Guy Han sur Lesse et ses Grottes 1989

Gouffre Berger log books (CPC 1994)

Grampian Speleological Group Occasional Publication No.7 The Caves of Skye

Gua di Gunong Api (Caves of Fire Mountain) Expedition Report 1994

Hadingham, Euan Secrets of the Ice Age The World of the Cave Artists. 1980

Miller, Naomi: Heavenly Caves Reflections on the Garden Grotto - 1982

National Geographic Vol 188 No 3 (September 1995) (article Cave Quest WC Stone)

Speleo No.14 (Oct/Dec 1993)

Speleo Club Orobico Journal Ol Bus no 7 (1994)

Spelunca Supplement No.3 (July/Sept 1981) - Report of the French speleological expedition to Papua New Guinea.

Taylor, Geoff: The Dale Ale Trail Walk in the Yorkshire Dales 1992

Voyager (July/August 1995)

Watkinson et al Expedition 67 to the Gouffre Berger Report - (Pegasus Cave Club)

White Rose Pothole Club 40 Years Journal 1954-1994

Yorkshire from the Air Photographs by Aerofilms.

Yorkshire Life Nov.1995 (article on CPC Winch Meet 1995)

10 miles to 1 inch Limestone Outcrop Maps of Great Britain (2 sheets)


Gouffre Berger & Gaping Ghyll by I Peretti

Expedition in die Finsternis by Bernhard Kliebhan (also un-edited version - story of Martel's exploits {in french})

Extra loan copies of the following: Expedition in Die Finsternis, Gouffre Berger & GG 94, No Picnic at Sleets Gill, Pippikin Pot

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 D Allanach, H Beck, DA MacLeod and DC Mellor.

Stop Press

Scottish Meet in February

Due to problems with finding suitable accommodation across the proposed dates, this meet has been transferred to the northern Lakes. Telephone Bob Jenkins on 01900 816586 for further details

Lancaster/Easegill Meet

It is proposed that the trip be from New Cave (or possibly County Pot) to the Lancaster Sump and back out the same entrance. One way will be high level and the other way will be in the streamway, weather permitting. This will be a strenuous six hour trip. If there is sufficient demand it may be possible to run an easier trip into the system for less experienced members. For further details contact Tony Blick.