Caving Songs Index
|Here is a collection of Caving Songs which were regularly sung during the 1950's and 60's in the Hunters Lodge Inn near Priddy on the Mendip Hills of Somerset. Most of them are genuine folk songs which were composed wholly or partially by cavers about exploits by other cavers. Others are verses about caving or cavers added to bawdy songs which may have originated in Rugby clubs or the like. Many are very rude so be warned if you are of a delicate disposition!|
For the uninitiated I have also tried to explain where the different cave places are and where the different events took place together with an explanation of caving terms and who was who. In some cases I have identified the authors and trust I have not infringed any copyrights.
There have been various attempts by myself and others to record these songs for posterity as the singing in the Hunters has long since stopped. A Grampian Speleogical Group occasional publication in 1966, edited by myself, recorded most of the songs but did not include the scores. The pages below rectify this and I have also added a mp3 file of the score for those who do not read music which will play automatically if your sound is switched on.
The mp3 sound files have now been converted from the original midi files and will play on Internet Explorer but there is an issue with other browsers which will not accept player plugins. Midi files are tiny which is why I used them but are not supported on all players. For this reason I am now using mp3 files which are huge by comparison but widely accepted and, if your browser doesn't accept player plugins I am putting a link in to the file so you can play the mp3 file on whatever player you are using. All new songs will now be coded for this format.
The 1966 Grampian publication encouraged Alfie Collins of the Bristol Exploration Club to publish his own songbook with the scores which he laboriously wrote out by hand. It took him until 1984 and even then it was incomplete. I used to play the piano for the Hunters singers accompanied by Alfie, who has now passed away, as have other old singers, so recording these songs needed to be done before the knowledge was lost. If you are one of the singers and wish to add to this collection or indeed correct a mistake, then please send me a message.
This collection is largely complete in as far as these caving songs (as opposed to purely bawdy songs) are the only ones that I can remember being sung in the Hunters, however, there are others, some more recent and from other caving areas which I might add on request and you can find them here.
Finally I have put together a collection of bawdy songs which have nothing to do with caving but were regularly sung at the Hunters. If you want to see them then you will find a link to the pages by clicking on the link of "They Words" below. The pages are protected from young eyes if you have your browser set up to do that and search engines should not index them.
Two songs which was written before the singing started in the Hunters called 'The Diving Gang' and 'Pump, you buggers Pump' have been added to this collection.
Finally there are some songs which have been written since singing stopped at the Hunters and these are referenced on a separate index page. The link is the final one on this page entitled "New Caving Songs".