The Wessex Cave Club were reckoned to be a bit wimpish, unable to hold their drink or cave with any proficiency. Obviously written by a BEC member or a cynical Wessex one! The "forty" is the forty foot pot in Swildons Hole which is no longer there after the great flood of 1968 when wedged boulders forming the original pitch were swept away leaving only a 10 foot drop so that Wessex members could then venture further underground!
The same hymn tune was then used for several more verses about other clubs. The Cerberus were responsible for much of the exploration in Fairy Cave Quarry and controlled access. The caves discovered were for the most part, very short but beautifully decorated with calcite formations. The caves were all found by the process of quarrying and many were destroyed by the same process.
The Shepton were very choosy about who they would accept as members and for a time, many were related. They were once led by a Cornishman who used to recite a very rude monologue about a boatswain. Their attraction to sheep was well known but only the pretty ones! South East Inlet is a passage above Shatter Pot in Swildons.
The Elsan cave club were purely ficticious, dedicated to the science and applied techniques of Coprophilia. They also blew up other peoples bogs!
The Cotham (aka the Tony Oldham fan club) competed with the BEC in their speciality of Speleoalchohology. Tony Oldham tells me that the Clockwork Cave Club are the South Wales Caving Club. They got this name for the early use of an electric winch which they built for exploring shafts. The most famous was the Belinka Pit in former Yugoslavia.
Alfie Collins recorded even more verses. The UBSS (University of Bristol Speleogical Society) verses sung to the same hymn tune I can never remember singing, perhaps it was all the Latin so it never caught on. Alfie notes that 'celeriter ad plumen' refers to the Plume of Feathers pub at Rickford and 'per ardua sub muro' the find of charcoal under the wall of Little Selsbury Hill Fort. The Cotham verses are obviously cribbed from UBSS. The Axbridge verse and the Elsan are almost identical so it would seem that it was the Axbridge who went round blowing up bogs?
We are the Wessex Cave Club no bloody use are we,
We have a half of cider and then we have to pee,
And when we're down in Swildons, and haven't got a light,
We stand above the forty, beside ourselves with fright.
The B.E.C they help us through every pitch and squeeze,
We like the way they do it with such consumate ease,
And when we are much better, at caving, we agree,
It is our one ambition to join the B.E.C.
CEREBUS SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY HYMN:
We are the Cerebos Cave Club, we are not worth our salt,
Max Unwin was oour leader, but that was not our fault,
He lectured us on caving, his wisdom was profound,
He told us that all caves were located underground.
Caves are discovered for us, from digging we all shirk,
And when it gets too dicey, other clubs can do the work,
For they can draw the surveys and they can make the maps,
'Cos when it comes to caving, we really are the chaps.
We hold committee meetings, we talk but never cave,
We pass firm resolutions, to show that we are brave,
We very often argue but on one thing we agree,
If only they would have us, we'd join the B.E.C.
SHEPTON MALLET CAVING CLUB HYMN:
We are the Shepton Cave Club, the family clique are we,
Ken Dawes he was our leader, 'arr clever bugger 'ee,
He led us over fields and stiles, down potholes vast and deep,
Because we followed meekly, we're called the Shepton Sheep.
We've dug down South East Inlet, we've dug on Priddy Green,
And in between the digging, we're often quite obscene,
We tell prospective members, with regularity,
To do just as the song says, and join the B.E.C.
ELSAN CAVE CLUB HYMN:
We are the Elsan Cave Club, we know we are so good,
We blow up every Elsan, just as we know we should,
But as we go to blow it, in the middle of the night,
Then when the turds go skywards, we run like f-----g shite.
COTHAM CAVE CLUB HYMN:
We are the Cotham Cave Club, but not as we may seem,
You show us a cave entrance, and we will start to scream,
For we do not like caving, but give it all the snub,
The nearest we touch caving, is in a Mendip pub.
We do not like cave divers, they are a f-----g bore,
They burn up piles of bat shit, and sleep outside the door,
And when there's talk of diving, we shout with all our might,
'Per arduas objectua', f--k you Jack, we're alright.
CLOCKWORK CAVE CLUB HYMN:
We are the Clockwork Cave Club, and South Wales is our home,
And from our native valleys, we do not like to roam,
And when we go a'caving, it is a certain bet,
We'll take along right with us, a giant Meccano set.
I am a lazy speleo, and a bloody fine thing to be,
My weekends spent on Mendip in the height of luxury,
When someone mentions caving, I shout with all my might,
'Celeriter ad plumen, blast you Jack, I'm alright.
We never go out digging, it is too bloody cold,
And unless Tratty finds it, it's never really old,
But when we find some charcoal, we shout with all our might,
'Per ardua sub muro', blast you Jack, I'm alright.
We never help cave divers, they are a bloody bore,
We set fire to the bat shit and sleep otside the door,
And as the smoke rolls outward, we cough with all our might,
'per igne via asbestos', blast you Jack, I'm alright.
We never go out sumping, it is too bloody wet,
And when we go black-holing, you know how far we get,
So, when you see a sumper, we shout with all our might,
'per ardua sub aqua, blast you Jack I'm alright.
AXBRIDGE CAVE CLUB HYMN:
We are the Axbridge Cave Club, we know we are so good,
We'll blow up every Elsan, and yes, I think we should,
And when we go to blow it, (for nothing, if you like),
The turds will all go skywards, and we will run like shite.