Matienzo Caves Project 2021

News and cave exploration around Matienzo during 2021.
A map with area names can be found here.

Section links   • Late Spring •   Summer • Autumn • Christmas / New Year

January / February / Early Spring

    The Matienzo Caves Project has an exploration permit for 2021. A map shows groups' permit areas for all of Cantabria. A larger jpeg shows the MCP permit boundary along with municipal boundaries and major cave passage. One area - a triangular section of Ribamontán al Monte - bounded on the NW side by the motorway and including Monte Llusa and Villanueva - is being shared with a Spanish group, Club Montaña y Espeleología La Cambera. These cavers have been busy documenting holes to the SW of Monte Llusa (the Cierrolinos area) and are in the process of surveying the larger finds. The mainly small sites have links below in the Cierrolinos and Garzón areas. One find, site 5067, Torca Cópica Escarlata, "looks great, this is a good one", has been surveyed for over 500m and is still going, though tight.
    The group publishes a blog which and been "dissected" and is now part of the Matienzo log book. (At the time of writing La Cambera had published 13 entries from January 15th to April 11th. See A jpg map of the finds can be seen here. We look forward to surveys and photographs and the time when we can properly share explorations. This will include pushing on in the Villanueva resurgence, site 5023.
    La Asociación Deportiva Espeleo y Montaña Colindres (ADEMCO) have published a journal detailing their finds in the Voto area in 2020. A couple of sites overlap our "old" areas: site 999 is on the track rising up to the south from San Miguel de Aras and their "new" AD-85 is our 0305, first found in 1981, but now properly documented by the Spanish group.
    The new book, "Matienzo Caves Project 2010 - 2019" has been published and advertised on the main caving social media sites. Details can be found here.
   The threat of a wind farm between Matienzo and the Miera valley was raised, affecting Arredondo, Riotuerto and Miera. This page summarises the possible works, the risks to some cave sites and a section of links to other proposed parques eólicos. One site mentioned as under possible threat is in the Pistruellos area, Riotuerto: Cueva de la Colodra is an archaeological site which we spotted out-of-area in 2006 and has now been added to the MCP catalogue as site 5069.
     A section of links bringing together all the wind farms threats and info is found here. (The page with some info about the Quebraduras wind farm has now been superceded by the published plans.)
   Pete Smith is collating a Matienzo Speleothems and Speleogens page, highlighting some examples of the myriad types of these features found in the Matienzo caves. Photographic examples (new or from the website) should be sent to Pete at smith_peter2004[at]
   Peter has also surveyed 3 small sites in the depression: 1455, 1530 and 1910 and resurveyed site 0148 to obtain x, y and z data.
   In another initiative, Simon Cornhill has suggested that old surveys, where survey data is not available, can have a Survex centre line recreated. This process can be carried out using an extension to Inkscape that Patrick Warren has produced. Again, people are very welcome to contribute. While identifying such sites, it became clear that many others might require a resurvey. All the details can be found on the dedicated "Caves with Survey Issues" page.
   Jim Lister has pointed out, to remove any confusion, that Tilberthwaite Tarn in El Cubillón (2538) is also known as Stickle Tarn.
   In an act of mindless vandalism, the bear skeleton in Sima de los Hoyos (site 0072) has been destroyed and most of the calcited remains appear to have been removed. This came to light when Toño Cueto Gonzalo posted on Facebook. The Guardia Civil are now investigating this crime and another bear skeleton theft in Arredondo. The regional newspapers also publicised the theft and ongoing investigations.

   Peter Wynn et al have published a paper in Chemical Geology (Elsevier) based on water and stal collected and analysed from Cueva-Cubío del Llanío (3234). Titled "Contemporary systematics of vadose zone nitrate capture by speleothem carbonate", the paper concludes that nitrate trapped in stal forms a good historical and on-going record of levels of nitrate above and below ground. The potential for measuring changing nitrate pollution in karst areas is obvious. A link to the paper should be available until 22nd May 2021 and the abstract and conclusions are documented in the 2021 section of the Reports, Papers and Presentations page

    There was no Easter Expedition, as there could be no holiday travel from the UK. We hope the summer expedition will be possible - we should know more by April / May / June?

 Another proposed wind farm, again feeding into the Fuenta las Varas substation, is Las Quebraduras, outlined here.
The list below shows links to those 30 sites which were extended or newly discovered over January and February, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned using a GPS.

Alisas 189 shaft;
Caburrao 999 cave (AD-60);
Cierrolinos 5056 dig (LC182); 5057 Gallardón, Torca (LC183); 5058 cave (LC184); 5059 cave (LC185); 5060 Basura, Torca de la (LC186); 5061 Hornazo, Torca del (LC187); 5062 dig (LC188); 5063 Pinar, Torca del (LC189); 5064 shaft? (LC190); 5065 Agujero curioso (LC191);
Cubija 72 Hoyos, Sima de los; 1455 cave;
Garzón 5066 Michelín, Torca (LC192); 5067 Cópica Escarlata, Torca (LC193); 5068 Gafas, Torca de las (LC194);
La Secada 148 cave;
Llueva 305 shaft;
Moncobe 2538 Cubillón, El; 5069 Colodra, Cueva de la;
Mullir 29 Subterránea, Cueva;
Ogarrio 4 Mar, Cueva del;
Riva 1 Burro, Sima del;
S Vega 1530 cave; 1910 cave;
Seldesuto 780 Corcada, Torca de; 1000 depression; 2102 shaft; 4521 dig;
Villanueva 5023 Villanueva, Fuente de;

Juan Corrin & Phil Papard 18/2; 25/2; 22/4/2021
Late Spring

   It came as a shock to us all that Worm (Andrew Jones) died suddenly on June 18th. Always the life and soul of any party (especially with a bonfire!), Worm was a main man of the Bolton Speleo Club "Alcotours" to Matienzo during the 70's / 80's. His caving exploits included the first exploration of Cueva Llueva ('Biggo') in 1976 and, a few days later, early explorations in Torca del Rayo de Sol at Secadura. More recently, he enjoyed the February trips to Matienzo, mainly surface prospecting.
   Our thoughts and condolences are with Carol, Saraid and Sam.
    RIP Worm.

   The Cambera group is exploring holes at Alisas and towards Garma de los Trillos. There is some overlap with sites previously explored and documented by the MCP. The details can (eventually) be followed below by following the links in the Allisas and Trillos areas.
   The Spanish Piezo group are investigating any possible link between Coverón (0002) and Torca CEZ (3603). A new overlay map has been produced which will appear online in due course. Any connection is still elusive.
   The Catalan cavers from the Espeleo Club Tortosa have firmed up plans for pushing on to the north and documenting finds in Cueva Vallina (0733) for this coming summer and have produced an ambitious 'plan of attack'.
   Peter Smith has resurveyed sites Cueva de las Charcas 0726 and cave 0354, both on El Naso. (Updates to appear soon).
   The final proposals for the Quebraduras wind farm on the east side of the Solórzano valley have now been published, including an Environment Impact document. Juan Corrin has written a ten-page document providing extra information and clarifications for the Federación Cántabra de Espeleología so that they can coordinate and present denouncements based more on local facts rather than some of the generalities and vague pronouncements that appear in the Environmental Impact document. Of particular note was the lack of local hydrological knowledge and no mention of Cueva de las Palomas (4004), an archaeological site and a well-known bat roost close to one of the proposed generators.
   Phil Papard's application to the Ghar Parau Foundation resulted in a £1000 award - so, Covid-19 with variants permitting, an expedition is required! (The application and objectives can be viewed on the GPF site.)

Sites updated up to and including 0002
The list below shows links to those 26 sites which were extended or newly discovered over late Spring, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned using a GPS.

Alisas 637 Torete, Torca del; 1073 shaft; 1677 shaft; 2623 shaft; 2625 cave; 2630 Bonita, Torca; 5070 shaft; 5071 shaft; 5072 shaft; 5073 shaft;
Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva;
Caburrao 999 cave (AD-60); 2693 shaft;
El Naso 354 cave; 726 Charcas, Cueva de las;
Fresnedo 2519 Huerto Rey, Cueva de;
Hazas de Cesto (east) 4927 Colapso, Cueva;
Moncobe 5069 Colodra, Cueva de la;
Riolastras 4004 Palomas, Cueva de las; 4924 shaft;
Riva 2 Coverón, Cueva del; 3603 CEZ, Torca;
Solórzano 4000 Embalse, Cueva del;
Trillos 4077 hole; 5074 shaft; 5075 hole;

Juan Corrin 19/6/2021