© Yorkshire Ramblers' Club. Reproduction of this article is not permitted.
However, short extracts from it may be used, for non-commercial purposes, provided their source is fully cited, acknowledged and referenced as:
YRC Committee. (1934) Chippings. Yorkshire Ramblers' Club Journal Volume 6 Number 21: pp248-251. Leeds: YRC.


BEN NEVIS HUT.—It is no longer necessary for parties using the hut to include a member of the S.M.C. Not more than four members from kindred clubs may apply through their secretary to the Hut Custodian, Mr. R. R. Elton, 43, Peel Street, Glasgow, W.I, but to allow of priority for the S.M.C., permission will not be given more than a week before the date. Applications to use the Hut for Meets should be made to the Hon. Secretary, Mr. Alex Harrison, 21, Rutland Street, Edinburgh, 1.

Charges :--- 4/- per head per night ; coal, 5/- per measure ; oil, 6d. per half pint ; firelighters or wood, 6d. per bundle ; meta, 1d. per stick.

SWITZERLAND.—If you want sunshine, go, but if you don’t want heavy expense, stay away. With the exchange at 16 to 17.50 francs the fact that Swiss prices have risen of late years, to equality with English prices at the old rate, converts a holiday on the move at present into one on which a pound a day is inexpensive.

Except that in 1933 railway travelling inSwitzerland was reduced 30 per cent., no yielding in Swiss prices is to be noticed, but there are rumours that if you walk boldly into a big mountain hotel and offer 9 francs a day you may compound for a surprisingly low figure. English people do not care, however, for this form of bargaining, particularly with hosts who are doing them very well, nor is it applicable to what are now very expensive items, tea, odd meals, and drinks.

The charges for registered luggage appear to have been raised and are simply exorbitant. The postal charges continue quite reasonable, a fixed charge of 2 francs (2s. 6d.) up to 33 lbs., but become heavy above that weight for long distances.

The plain fact is that unless a centre is used on cheap pension terms, a Swiss climbing holiday is too expensive for all but prosperous business men. It looks as if Austria is going to be the only possible country for a time.

CAVING IN FICTION.—Ever since John Buchan stayed at the Hill Inn in 1925, some of us have been expecting to find pot-holing introduced into a novel. Mountaineers have long been sufferers, but the flood of sensationalism is now upon us.

Our London friends were the first to be hit. In a crude sleuth story about dene-holes, TheGreenCheckJacket, the writer clearly makes use of Bonner in the days before he used Botterill ladders, and of Baker when he had a beard. Bonner, who is libelled by being said to have written a book to prove dene-holes were prehistoric flint-mines, his nephew, and Baker, buy a rope, proceed to a shallow shaft, and tie the rope to a fence post ! Baker goes down first, stabs Bonner as he lands, shoots the nephew, ascends, and to enable the sleuth to identify the hole, severs the rope with a handsaw he has brought along. Returning to town without using a clothes brush, he takes other steps to incriminate himself, and is duly arrested, etc.

Now comes a sensational story, quite a good yarn, TheSubterraneanClub, in which the author makes more skilful use of her or his material, and displays much more art in creating an illusion of reality. The scene is a combination of Angram, Tan Hill, Kingsdale, Hawes, and Chapel-le-Dale, and the club is clearly the Y.R.C. The writer has not much knowledge of the technique of pot-holing, for she or he makes us use rope ladders with hooks, and paraffin flares, and drag a winch and crane about the moors. The artist of the cover goes one better, for he depicts a nicely dressed fellow sliding gaily down a rope into Long Kin West, caring nothing about getting up, but sure to burn himself with the torch.

Fortunately the author has not used the personnel ot the Club as characters, for in the book we include a lovely lot of crooks, financial, gunman, etc. The President, a Secretary and the Treasurer do one another in, the final scenes taking place in Yordas. The sleuth party’s ability to dry soaking clothes at a fire, in a cave which a tremendous waterfall fills with spray, in something under an hour, is an art the average pot-holer will admire.

The internal evidence shows very clearly that the author is one of two visitors to the Hill Inn in 1925, who were first taken down the stream channel of Rowten Pot and then accompanied the party who made the first descent into Yordas Cave by the upper entrance. For one mercy we owe thanks, the Ramblers are not called speleologists !

FOOTPATHS.—The hiking movement would be of immense value if it did anything to arrest the decay of ancient trackways, but confined as it appears to be to certain popular routes near large towns it does not seem to get so far. One of the most striking instances of decay I have noticed is the old road between Settle and Otterburn. On a long stretch in the middle the route is barely traceable; over two large pastures only gates mark the line. I had not been on this road for ten years, and found it more difficult than ever in 1932. Another instance is the footpath over Flasby Fell, near Skipton.

As for most of the paths east and north of Leeds they will soon have disappeared completely, except those used for motor cycle trials. Some of the parish councils are refusing to enforce public rights, through the idiotic notion that walkers are a nuisance, so carefully fostered by the Press. It is not surprising that young people starting on a footpath and losing it after two fields finish across country; even an Ordnance map used with all the tricks of long experience is not always an adequate guide.

The closing of footpaths sometimes cuts both ways. One would like to know the secret history of the sudden appearance of a delightful Washburn Valley path, which no one suspected to exist, from where the paths strike uphill to Snowden and Timble to the Swinsty embankment, where however, it is camouflaged by passing through the garden of the embankment house.

SARTORIAL.—Motor cars are at present in an extreme phase of fashion, and climbing costumes abroad seemed in 1932 to have reached a similar phase. Once upon a time pot-holing rig and Alpine rig were at opposite poles, but as people sat and watched the procession into Zermatt, they could not help noticing a curious resemblance between the pot-holer ready for the fray and not yet muddied up, and the old clothes and singular array in which the climbing crowds of 1932 were got up.

The principal cause seemed to be the whole-hearted adoption of plus fours by the Continental climber with an equally whole-hearted and logical acceptance of the only way in which they can apparently be worn on the mountains, that is down to the ankles or as ski-ing trousers. The effect is ludicrous ; perhaps we shall all come to it. Anyhow the first Britisher who wears out his plus fours thus underground cannot be hailed as a pioneer.

“THE LIFE OF JOHN BUNCLE.”—Baker in Caving refers to this amazing collection of disquisitions on theology, science, mathematics, literature, etc. published in 1756, as containing early descriptions of cave-exploring. The Editor bought the work hoping to find some particulars of interest, even though it is a work of fiction. Amory clearly knew what he was talking about on pages 76, 89, 93, 145, 162, 180, and 316, but his rambling narrative can be in no sense autobiographical, and nothing can be localised. He gives quaint old particulars of Eldine Hole and Penpark Mine, three miles from Bristol.

When his hero enters a cave there is something in the details which shows that Amory had explored several caves and used a tape. Buncle is half an hour being lowered down a pot, goes through the mountain and stops away a week, but Amory does not, like the inexperienced of modern times, give two or three miles as the distance underground—no ,the cold dawn of science had touched him and he sets down 708 yards !

Despite an interesting account of Harrogate and neighbouring places in 1731, the book is now for sale at a sacrifice.

PLANS.—Hitherto plans of Caverns have been drawn and reproduced to no standard scale. .It has been decided that the scale 1/1000 should be used as far as possible. When unsuitable, it can be replaced by1/500 or 1/2000.