Covid Update, Feb 2022

Comments on recordings added by listeners

Listeners have the ability to add their own comments to the recordings. These are displayed at the bottom of the associated recording pages, but below are listed all the comments that have been added so far, with the most recent displayed first.

Recording:   Wessex Cave Club:  Wessex singing an unknown song
Contributor: Maurice Hewins Date added: 02 Oct 2023

There are now 2 videos of Mendip Caving Songs on th U-Tube Channel of the Mendip Cave Registry Archive

Recording:   Steve Pedrazzoli:  Unravelling the mysteries of Llangattock Mountain
Contributor: Ryan Date added: 27 Jan 2023

My Bamp showing passion for what he loves!

Recording:   Gillian Luccock:  Filming in Pippikin Pot
Contributor: Nick Mallory Date added: 01 Apr 2021

Gillain taught me as a young boy at Boston Spa Junior School. She was a wonderful young teacher, but never told us about her caving exploits. When we saw her caving documentary we were even more in awe of her. I've rediscovered the film on YouTube and it brought back many memories. I hope you had many more wonderful adventures, you made a great impression on us all.

Recording:   Andy Walsh:  The Three Counties System Celebrations (4)
Contributor: Jojo and Jen Date added: 23 Jan 2021

We really love listening to this. So enthusiastic and informative. Wish we could have seen this live.

Recording:   Bob Mackin:  The development of the "Molephone"
Contributor: Anonymous Date added: 14 Aug 2018

Feedback for Molephone Wonderful to hear the recordings of Bob Mackin describing the molephone. I was a researcher (on wave energy) at Lancaster just before these recordings were made and so knew him well from the control systems I built (sometimes with his help). Fantastic that this story has been saved for posterity - the interview is much better than a plain bit of text - his character comes over and reminds me of some of his many stories."

Recording:   Raymond Stoyles:  The Dales caving scene in the 1960s
Contributor: Henry Metcalfe Date added: 03 Jan 2017

I used to work at Bob Jarman's showcave together with Raymond, in the 60's. I was so sorry to learn of his passing.

Rest in Peace Raymond

Recording:   S.W.C.C.:  Balinka Pit Expedition, 1964
Contributor: MLADENKA Date added: 02 Nov 2016

Hi ,lovely to see your expedition and i remember this as a child and now after nearly 50 something years i could hear audio !
After you nobody ever try to reach the bottom of this cave on which bottom are bones of people pushed as a punishment in the second world war !!
At this moment at time i do not think so that would be even easy to fine the way to approach the cave because now there is like jungle !!
Thank you for your such a great work
Kind regards
Mladenka Opsenica born in that village now British citizen from Oxford

Recording:   Mike Boon:  Pioneer Cave Diver
Contributor: Stephen George Date added: 02 Aug 2016

I have nothing but the utmost respect for a very understated gentleman, explorer and lover of literature

Recording:   John Lovett:  Rescue in Penyghent Pot in 1951
Contributor: Bob Gillibrand Date added: 12 Nov 2015

Better late than never. The"small person" From Burnley that John mentions was the late Roy Swindlehurst. I vividly remember him telling how he went to raise the alarm, stopping at the bottom of the big pitch to get his breath and in the entrance hole, before running down to Bracken Bottom farm - in those days a working farm.

Recording:   Stuart Whitmey:  Gouffre Berger 1967 Expedition
Contributor: Jed Scott, Noel Booth, and Bob Gillibrand Date added: 07 Oct 2015

We are so pleased to endorse Stuart's interview. For far too long Ken's abilities have gone unreported.

Recording:   Sid Perou:   "Discovery" of Ingleborough Cave Inauguration Series
Contributor: John Gardner Date added: 04 Mar 2015

The time between Bob Leakey's actual discovery of Inauguration Caverns and Sid's "rediscovery" was actually a lot longer than Sid believed at the time. Sid's trip took place in 1959, and Bob Leakey pushed the Near Wallows to reach Inauguration Caverns on a solo trip in October 1953 (ref: Patchett, A.N. (1946), Bradford Pothole Club Journal No. 2, pp. 41-44).

Recording:   Jack Myers:  Yorkshire cave exploration after the war
Contributor: John Gardner Date added: 04 Mar 2015

Just to confirm Harry Long's comments above - Bob Leakey pushed the Near Wallows to reach Inauguration Caverns on a solo trip in October 1953 (ref: Patchett, A.N. (1946), Bradford Pothole Club Journal No. 2, pp. 41-44).

Recording:   Stuart Whitmey:  Gouffre Berger 1964 Expedition
Contributor: Michael Ainscough Date added: 19 Jan 2015

Great to hear another member's account of the 1964 trip.

Recording:   Jack Pickup:  The Far Country incident and Mike Wooding's "Great Escape"
Contributor: John Gardner Date added: 24 Oct 2014

Ian - Jack is referring to the Bar Pot 15 metre entrance pitch.

Recording:   Jack Pickup:  The Far Country incident and Mike Wooding's "Great Escape"
Contributor: Ian Ball Date added: 24 Oct 2014

Is this the pitch into Bridge Hall or the Big Pitch and Mike Wooding climbed up the Wildcat Rift?

Recording:   Jochen Hasenmayer:  The story of a cave diving legend
Contributor: Tony Oldham Date added: 23 Jan 2014

It would be interesting to compare Jochen Hassenmayer's rebreather with Bill Stone's rebreather. I wonder what Jochen forth and secret gas is?

Recording:   Jack Pickup:  The Mossdale Tragedy
Contributor: Mick Melvin Date added: 13 Jan 2014

I knew your Dad quite well and I have some photos of him that you might not have seen; please email me if you are interested in these,
Mick Melvin

Recording:   Jack Pickup:  The Mossdale Tragedy
Contributor: rachel taylor Date added: 14 Dec 2013

Dear Jim.

Have you any information on Colin Vickers, who died down Mossdale caverns
I am his daughter, I was only 18 months old when the tragedy happened.

I would be grateful of any information.


Rachel Taylor

Recording:   Mike Wooding:  The Gaping Gill film (1)
Contributor: Rachel Hart Date added: 29 May 2013

very interesting, years after.

Recording:   Brian Price:  The discovery and naming of Agen Allwedd
Contributor: Tony Brooks Date added: 14 Aug 2012

Amazing to hear Brian's voice.
I first met him when I started potholing as a schoolboy in 1961. I spent later spent a week in 1962 in the Old Daren Sunday School with a couple of friends from the Chelsea S Soc whist Brian was repairing the roof.
Remarkable man!

Recording:   Dave Parker:  Breakthrough at Otter Hole
Contributor: John Dryden Date added: 19 Mar 2012

Brilliant, it has taken me exactly 30 years to hear this fabulous recording by my old friend 'Sparky'because I have only just found this site courtesy of Joe Duxbury - Thanks Joe.

Recording:   Clive Westlake:  The creation of the Grand Circle in Agen Allwedd
Contributor: David Ellis Date added: 22 Dec 2011

Excellent tale told in the typical inimatable Clive Westlake way. With the attention to detail I expected.

Recording:   Bill Gascoine:  Determining the hydrology of the limestones of South Wales
Contributor: John Wilcock Date added: 02 Dec 2011

Bill is of course well known for his pioneering work dyetracing for South Wales Water in 1976, the results of which was published in Limestones and Caves of Wales and inspired me to do much work on the Llangattwg, Llangynidr and Eastern Valley areas in particular. Working with Bill near Tumble and Blorenge in 1990 led to a dowsing trace for the Eastern Valley Phreas, and a dowsing reaction near Pwll Du (published in 1990 in Caves & Caving), later identified in 1994 as Ogof Draenen.

Recording:   Paul Hartwright:  The discovery of Summertime in Agen Allwedd
Contributor: Linda Ng Date added: 26 Oct 2011

Nice to see your photo and hear your voice and especially glad to hear you are not caving naked!!!

Recording:   Jack Pickup:  Memories of Reg Hainsworth
Contributor: Shirley Hainsworth Date added: 26 Sep 2010

How lovely, to hear you talking about Dad, Jack. Have you asked Robin whether he still has a copy of 'Rescue'. I think there were only two originally but Robin probably has one of them.

Recording:   Mike Wooding:  His early caving on Mendip and in Yorkshire
Contributor: Collette Date added: 13 Sep 2010

What an exceptional bloke Mike was.. focused, charming, intelligent, determined, and caring... a sad loss - but he died doing what he loved.

Recording:   Wessex Cave Club:  Wessex singing an unknown song
Contributor: Maurice Date added: 10 Apr 2010

This was a typical Hunters Lodge Back Room song. New verses appeared at regular intervals. They were true folk songs. Fortunatly many words to such caving songs were published in "They Words, They 'orrible Words" by Nick Cornwell-Smith, but it is difficult to learn to sing songs just from a book. It would be great if those who still remember any vintage caving songs could put them on tape before it is too late. Then it would be easier for younger cavers to sing them.

Recording:   Wessex Cave Club:  Wessex singing 'Boulder Have a Crunch'
Contributor: Maurice Date added: 10 Apr 2010

The singer is Mike Holland. The verses relate to prominent Wessex cavers of the day. Frank Frost was the Club Secretary (who had a rather uncomplimentary song about him) George Pointing did indeed rescue an unfortunate trout? from Long Churn, and Jim Giles (who was a very strong caver had an aversion for sumps.)

Recording:   Wessex Cave Club:  Wessex singing 'Aint a gonna dig this cave no longer'
Contributor: Maurice Date added: 10 Apr 2010

The song is the Tankards Hole Song The singer, Bob Lawder, wrote the song, though he can't remember the words here!

Recording:   Wessex Cave Club:  Wessex singing an unknown song
Contributor: Les Williams Date added: 18 Nov 2009

The song is "The Wessex Hymn"

Recording:   Ken Pearce:  Gouffre Berger 1963 Expedition
Contributor: Ron Ferguson Date added: 24 Jul 2009

Missing from the list of Ken's colleagues are Bob Gillibrand and Alan Clegg.

Recording:   Ken Pearce:  Gouffre Berger 1963 Expedition
Contributor: Rich West Date added: 08 Jul 2009

Just for the record Ken Pearce's companions were:- Jeff Morgan, Ron Ferguson, Bob Wright, Nigel Harper, Jed Scott, Nobby Booth, Jeff Lees, Bobbie Toogood, Mike Boon and his fellow diver Steve Wynne-Roberts.
CDG Diving Review 1963 p27

Recording:   Bob Savage:  Tribute to Oliver Lloyd
Contributor: Rich West Date added: 08 Jul 2009

A great rememberance of Oliver. The neighbours at Withy Close were not so keen on Oliver's love of plants and his belief that "there is no such thing as weeds". He held to this philosophy by studiously avoiding any cutting or pruning. Consequently the front door was approached through a green tunnel and the top of the jungle reached to the roof! I must correct the date stated by Prof Savage re Oliver's last appearance on Mendip. He brought his film to the Hunter's Lodge on the first day of the British Cave Rescue Council Conference on Friday 17th May.

Recording:   Kenneth Mobbs:  Tribute to Oliver Lloyd
Contributor: Tony Oldham Date added: 06 Jun 2009

I knew that OCL went to Glyndebourne every year, but did not know of his depth of interest in music. But then he excelled in everything in which he took an interest including caving, cave diving, and his genuine Punch and Judy shows.

Recording:   Bob Leakey:  (1983) Break up of the BSA and extensions in Ingleborough Cave
Contributor: Jack Greenwood Date added: 11 May 2009

I was with Bob, Lewis Railton, Arthur Gemmell and Budge Burgess when Bob first got through the sump at Hull Pot (about 1940). Bob ducked down in the narrow passage and came up on the other side after what seemed forever. I remember an alarmed Railton saying " What the hell, Bob!" when Leakey failed to appear right away. I think he got some of his gear stuck! I was a skinny 16-year old kid - about 9 stone - and did not have to duck. I squirmed through in a horizontal way, head above water. Now I'm 85! Wouldn't do it today, you can be sure! If ever there was a survivor, in the hairiest positions, it was Bob Leakey!

Recording:   Mike Wooding:   Hallucination Aven, the real story
Contributor: John Gardner Date added: 26 Apr 2009

Just for the record, Mike actually missed Spiral Aven on his original trip. I spotted it when poking around whilst Mel Gascoyne and Dave Checkley were busy surveying, and got as far as the bad step across.

On the follow up trip, I remember that when I arrived at Bree Junction on my own, saying to myself "Eureka! Grange Rigg left, Ingleborough Cave right..."

Recording:   Bob Leakey:  (1983) Passing the sump in Disappointment Pot
Contributor: Jack Greenwood Date added: 26 Apr 2009

Good old Bob Leakey, a man of iron if ever there was one. I was with Bob and Budge Burgess in 1940 when we first 'discovered' the entrance to Simpson Pot. I got the job of holding the surveying line while Arthur Gemmell took his bearing with a compass and jotted down the distances by the number of knots in the line.

Later I went with Budge on a cold weekend (hitch-hiked up from Settle to Kingsdale) and held the light while Budge banged away with a hand drill to make the hole through which we finally blasted a way through the sump, then went all the way to Slit Pot and down into Swinsto.

Recording:   Jack Myers:  Yorkshire cave exploration after the war
Contributor: Harry Long Date added: 26 Mar 2009

The erroneous statement about Sid Perou being amongst the first group of people, after Bob Leakey, to explore Inauguration Caverns in Ingleborough Cave ought to be scotched once and for all. Bob Leakey, with other NSG members, made the discovery in 1954 and the trips that Sid was on were in 1959 (I was on them as well). Bob also made a few trips with members of the Bradford Pothole Club, including Alf Hurworth, shortly after his breakthrough and these were written up and published in a BPC Journal. This comment should also be appended to Sid's piece about the discovery of Inauguration Caverns and anywhere else it appears. It will be a pity if this archive isn't correct factually as there will be a very real danger of these records being taken as 'gospel' and used as a source by researchers of the future.

Recording:   Eric Hensler:  The discovery of Hensler's Crawl in Gaping Gill
Contributor: John Gardner Date added: 28 Feb 2009

I was very fortunate to have a trip into the Hensler's Series with Eric Hensler, in August 1968 during one of Dick Glover's Gaping Gill Field Meets. The intention was to visit the Far Country, discovered a few months earlier. Eric was unable to get through the Blowhole for some reason, so he waited for 45 minutes with his pipe whilst we went further. See Eric's log book entry of the trip.

At the time, I had been caving for under a year, and I distinctly remember realising what a privilege it was to be there with him. Eric was a gentleman - modest, quiet, and very correct, but when pushed he was very willing to share his memories with us. I found the few days spent in his company inspirational.