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 •  SummerAutumnMeeting Outcomes 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 has 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;

• Link to January / February logbook

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.

   Despite little or no activity by, who might be called 'the usual core suspects', old and current Matienzo permit areas have been visited by Spanish caving groups and new sites discovered.
    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 be seen below by following the links in the Alisas and Trillos areas. New sites are coded 5070 - 5076.
   The Spanish Piezo group are investigating any possible link between Coverón (0002) and Torca CEZ (3603). A new overlay map has been produced which appears on each site description. Any connection is still elusive.
   The Catalan cavers from the Espeleo Club Tortosa, after coming to a cooperation agreement with the MCP, have firmed up plans for pushing on to the north and documenting finds in Cueva Vallina (0733). They have produced an ambitious 'plan of attack' for this coming summer.
   Peter Smith has resurveyed sites Cueva de las Charcas (0726) and cave 0354, both on El Naso.
   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 "Exped archive" section of the GPF site.)

The list below shows links to those 27 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 Parabolt Roñoso, Torca del; 2625 cave; 5071 shaft; 5072 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 2630 Bonita, Torca; 4077 shaft; 5070 shaft; 5073 shaft; 5074 Protector, Torca; 5075 Muro Oscuro, Torca del; 5076 Bolas, Torca;

• Link to Spring logbook

Juan Corrin 24/6/2021

Summer Expedition

   Due to the Covid-19 situation and it not being clear what the requirements would be for travel back from Spain to the UK, most people decided to postpone bookings until 2022. Some of those with houses to stay in - so did not have accommodation bookings to consider - did travel to Matienzo. As a result, there was only a small number of cavers in Matienzo resulting in limited cave exploration. A lot of the time was spent digging some key sites, where more work is still needed. In the event, Covid-19 cases in the Matienzo area were low, less than in the UK and it felt safe. The weather was cooler than usual for July and August but there was little rain making water levels very low.
    Let us hope next year will be back to normal and we will have good Easter and summer expeditions and plenty of cave passages will be found and surveyed.
   The main new finds were in Torca la Decepción (4732) which is the dug entrance to 0252; and two previously dug shafts on South Vega (2694 & 2593) which were opened up this year. In addition, passages known to exist were surveyed in Torca del Mostajo (0071), Torca de Corcada (0780) and Torca la Vaca (2889). These, along with a number of smaller finds, added up to nearly 900m of new surveyed passages. In addition, nearly half a kilometre of passage was resurveyed mainly in Cueva-Cubío de la Reñada (0048) and Torca de los Canes (100) where previously we only had old paper surveys from the 1970s. A further twenty-three new caves and sites were found and located.

Southern Sector
    At Cueva Vallina (0733), Rupert Scorupka resumed his work to push the main downstream sumps but was hindered by the theft of his SRT gear left at Double Dutch pitch and major issues with his rebreather electronics. The theft of caving gear from a site a long way into a cave is a great concern and must have been done by experienced cavers! It seems there have been other similar cases in the area and so all should be aware of the risk if gear is left in caves. It was fortunate that Rupert's diving gear and ropes were not affected.
    In the Spring we agreed to share our permit with Espeleo Club Tortosa who had the permit for this cave in the 1990s and collaborated with us exploring the system. They organised an expedition with young cavers drawn from their own and other Catalan clubs to push passages mainly in Vallina II. All the finds will be shared with us and will be uploaded to our website in the next month or so. It is hoped this agreement will open up the prospect of some joint working in future years assuming the Covid-19 issues have been sufficiently resolved to allow a more normal expedition to proceed. (Links to Catalan Facebook photos of the explorations in Cueva Vallina this summer can be found on the Matienzo Caves & Caving facebook page. )

South Vega
   In Cueva-Cubío de la Reñada (0048) the resurvey work that was led by Alasdair "Ali" Neil continued with the resurvey of Blood Alley from the ramp up from the duck area to the junction leading to Anastamosis Hall. The first part of this route to the drop down from Blood Alley has probably not been traversed since the original exploration in 1974! The passages linking Blood Alley area to Eagle Passage and Stuffed Monk area are still to be (re)surveyed.
    At Torca del Dron (4669) the traverse over the two adjacent pitches below the entrance pitch was completed. The passage seen previously was choked, and one seen above closed down with the onward passage needing bolting to enter - but it looks to be too small. (sketch) A passage off the main pitch was looked at with a good light; it seemed to be an alcove. Remaining prospects include the second parallel pitch and work near the bottom.
   A number of digs were worked on with various success.
   The dig at 2694 was opened to gain access to a 4m ladder pitch to a slope down to the top of a 24m pitch. At the bottom is a climb of 2m to a grotto. To the south a climb led to a small passage and two blind pitches of 5m and 7m. To the north a passage 4m above the bottom of the p24 pitch was entered by a pendulum but ended after 3m.
    The dig 4853 was opened up with capping but was found to drop into a further dig. With no draught, and the need to pull any spoil up to the surface, no further work was conducted. Whilst up at this site sites 2592 and 2593 were looked at: the former had too many brambles to see if there was any cave, but 2593 was opened up to a tight section to the top of a 28m pitch. This dropped into a hading rift (fault?) and chamber. A further 15m pitch reached a floor with a draughting dig that was capped and pushed for 4m but was then too small for at least 5m - no easy way on.
    At cave 2353 a slot halfway down the shakehole's north end was opened up for 2m to a 2x2m chamber that then closed down.
    Five new sites were found. Site 5084 is a 4m drop with no way on; 5089, a cave behind two planks that then goes over a small drop needing more work; 5090, a heavily vegetated depression, where more work is needed to gain a possible black hole; 5082, a 3.5m deep rift and, nearby, 5094 a 2m slope. Site 5091, situated to the right of Cueva Coquisera (0039) entrance, is a roomy hands-and-knees crawl for 5m to a constriction where a passage is seen continuing for at least 4m.
    High on Piluca two further sites were found, a sink hole (5092), 1m deep and 3m long and an undescended shaft about 4m deep (5093).
   Cueva del Gusano (5081), named after Andrew Jones aka "Worm" who died of a heart attack in June 2021, is a strongly draughting 17m long cave that dug on four occasions to reach a 4m drop to a continuing dig. Heavy rain then resulted in water laying in the entrance passages making the site very squalid (maybe James would be interested?) But it has a very good prospect and work will continue on this site.

   The Active Route in Torca de Corcada (0780) was pushed and the survey completed (90m added). No good leads were left and this route was detackled. The Fossil Route now needs pushing at the end. This route goes away from the Active Route so is unlikely to just connect with it.
    Work in the boulder choke at the bottom of the very strongly draughting cave 1298 was pushed over three trips and a big boulder moved so that it was possible to move carefully over suspended rocks to see down a gap for about 2m. More work and stabilisation is needed.

   Five undescended shafts and sites were checked out: 5072 (found by the Cambera Club and given the code LC198) was descended 5m to a floor. To the east it was too small and a rift dropping down needs widening to make any progress. To the west is a 2m drop to 4m of passage ending in a boulder choke. Shaft 1078 needs tools to remove vegetation and brambles before a decent can be made. Shaft 3396 could not be found in GPS location and shaft 3397 has been descended but old spits need replacing if to be descended again. The Deaf Gerald's (4064) was looked at but needs capping gear to make any progress.

   In Torca del Mostajo (0071) the MUSS extension area was targeted first from the Golden Void but when when no connection could be found, the team switched to the Shunt Pitch route at the far end of the main gallery. The trip down the Golden Void surveyed passages missing off the survey, including some of which were new. But a link to the MUSS extensions could not be found but is very close. On the second trip via Shunt Pitch the possible leads noted by A Sharples were checked. Most were found to close down. One lead by station 1-8-2012 went through a squeeze to a rift and gully but was too loose and dangerous to proceed. A rift passage was found at the end of the trip to go into bigger stuff going east. On a further trip this lead called Travelling Donkey Series, was descended and the area pushed including a 3m wide stream passage that closed down. The series went under the main passage and then connected to it on the other side!

El Naso
   Cueva del Molino (Agua, 0059) was used by the local TV filming unit to interview objectors to the proposed wind turbines to be situated in the Cantabrian Karst. Three people were interviewed including Peter Smith and shots were taken in the cave entrance area and shown the following days on local and national television. (Interviews start at 8:33 in the Cantabrian News.)
    Up on El Naso, six sites were checked out for correct GPS and new entrance photographs taken (0587, 0588, 0589, 1633, 1890, 4200) and descriptions updated. Two new sites were noted: a small new cave (5077) at the base of a 2m cliff was found to be about 2m deep to a dig, and a dig (5086). Three sites were searched for but could not be found: at the GPS for shaft (0614) there was an overgrown depression with muddy floor and dead cow, but no cave or shaft; at the GPS for shaft 1318 there was a reservoir that had calcite growth catching water from the field; at the GPS for dig 1380 nothing was found! In 2017 it was noted a logging track had been dug across this area, so maybe it has covered / destroyed these sites? Better luck was had at Dingle View Cave (2575) where two small passages going off each side of the visible entrance hole were found. West hole is 5m long, east is 10m to where it gets too narrow but is seen to continue - sketch in the logbook, p34.

El Sedo
   Sima-Cueva del Risco (0025) a trip was made to push leads marked with a question mark at end of Tali Series (marked 3 on the survey). Both sites looked good, but the team could not descend the pitches to the bottom as the rope was too short. The first lead was dug and would be best descended with a ladder due to a tight crawl prior to pitch (sketches in logbook, p39). Water in Pinto Gallery was found to be heavily polluted with cow poo!

Muela / Mullir
   A number of drone flights to photograph and video the southeast of the area were made and, from both the flights and on foot, four new sites were found: shaft 5083 was found but was noted to be 30m outside our area; a shaft 5085 was found and the 12m pitch descended with no way on at the bottom; a rock shelter (5087) was spotted, and a cave 5088 was found to be 5m deep and 3m long but with no sign of any continuation. Cave 1949 was surveyed and pushed to end in a chamber with no way on.

Barrio de Carrales
The survey for cave 1265 survey was completed and drawn up.

The North-East Sector and The Four Valleys System
La Secada
    Torca la Decepción (4732) - which is the dug entrance found from site 0252 - was a target for the expedition. In February 2020, the dig at the end went to a small extension and a tight rift where rocks dropped some significant distance. Last summer this rift was capped out and descended 7m to a ledge and a large diameter pitch that seemed to be at least 30m deep, with a strong draught coming up. This year the pitch was descended for 27m to a ledge and a further 6m to a rift passage that met a "T" junction with a very small stream in the dry summer. Downstream the team were excited as they were sure it would continue, only to find a few metres further that the passage closed down to a rift with a tight crawl in water at its bottom, this "disappointment" is the reason for the name given to the cave. Let's hope, like its namesake in the Dales, it will not live up to its name!
    This wet, draughting crawl was pushed for a few metres, but it needs a full wet suit and work to progress. It is likely the draught will also be coming out of the rift above. The rift is heavily calcited and it may be to be enlarge it to give a little easier access. Upstream at the bottom, a rising passage was explored to a chamber with a rock and mud choke occupying one wall. This is directly below the 0252 entrance chamber some 30m above and it seems likely to be related. At the far side of the 27m pitch top is a hole going off. It could not be seen if this is a passage or a link to a further pitch, so a traverse is needed to check this out. The tight crawl at the bottom is 60 - 70m above Shrimp Bone Inlet / Rocky Horror junction in Cueva Hoyuca (0107) and it is likely the draught is coming from there.
   The draughting dig (5045) above Pablo's barn was dug on a lot of occasions, but progress was slowed by the nature of the rock. The limestone here has been hydrothermally altered and has many small voids and soft areas with other parts quite hard. This makes capping problematic and not successful. Plugs and feathers were found to work but they only take off a small section of rock with no cracking that can be exploited further. Despite this, good progress was made to the point of getting to the top of a small rift, but the top needs more work to remove bedrock so we can see down and judge the prospect. Several options to make digging easier are being considered including the use of the large breaker and generator!
   Another good draughting dig on the west side of La Secada is Socks (1017), which was dug on two occasions to open up a slot below loose rock. The way on is down a small pea-whistle shaped hole to a drop of about 1.5m where a mud floor with stones can be seen. It now requires a spade to move fill and then more capping.
    Cueva Superfosfato (0200) is another strongly draughting dig. The site was checked out with a camera on a stick and more digging / capping was conducted. More work is required at this site that has good prospects.
    A cave (1289) just above the road into Matienzo has some interesting "mushroom" shaped stalagmites as well as a talus cone of "domestic waste" of archaeological significance. To get to the stalagmites is a tight squeeze that the explorers noted had got "smaller" from when they explored it 20 years before - but they were able to pass and take photographs.
    Cave 3536 was explored and found to be 3.5m long to small chamber with too small tubes leading off. (Sketch). A new shaft (5080) was descended 5m to a 3" rift with no other prospects. Shaft 0229 was looked for, but nothing found around the GPS location. The photogenic Cueva las Cosas (0084) was the site of two photographic trips.

San Miguel area
   Time was spent looking for Joe's Lost Cave (3280) after careful research of the logbooks and Joe and Peter's memory - but it is still lost! In the area, while looking for the cave, a shaft (xx01) was found, and its details handed over to the Colindres group who have the area. Cave 1591 and shaft 1592 were located, and new photographs taken.

   A trip into Cueva Fresnedo 2 (0841) to look at the Knotted Rope Series was diverted when it was found the old rope to gain access was in very poor condition and it needs bolting and the rope replacing. Instead, the team examined passages in the area on the survey with no passage detail. Some possible new passages were entered but the whole of this area now needs a resurvey.
    Near the road down from the Riaño junction to Solórzano, the cave 2014 was targeted, given its location over Cueva del Torno (2366) and reported sound of running water in wet weather. The team had to jungle bash to the cave only to find easy access by a logging track. The pitch was capped to make access easier and then worked on the inward draughting hole in the chamber below. No sound of water below was heard when the water was dammed up and released. Work continued to open up the strongly inward draughting crawl at the bottom - you cannot quite see round a bend. Site needs about two days more capping to gain access and see round the next corner.

   At the resurgence cave of Fuente de la Cuvia (0207), the small draughting tube at the upstream end was worked on over three trips. A lot more work is needed to pass this tube at this promising site.
    The path to SubPhone entrance (4536) was cleared of vegetation which seemed to have had a particularly good winter / spring growing season. Access should be easy now and until early spring, but more work will be needed before Easter to further remove vegetation, so the cave is accessible for the 2022 expedition.
    Torca de los Canes (0100) had not been looked at since the 1970s. A trip was made by a team on the way to the ferry to check out and put a centre line on the cave as the only survey was from 1976 with no digital data. All leads checked out and no significant prospect was found. The excellent fit of the line survey to the original drawing can be seen here.

Northwest Sector
   A trip into Torca la Vaca (2889) via BigMat Calf Hole (3916) was made in order to survey the area in the lower streamway near Satterthwaite Tarn Chamber that had not been surveyed. Some new cross link passages were found during the survey.
    The Río Santa Juliana resurgence (3282), was dug for 4 hours to remove rocks from below water level. It now looks to be open to dive but will be tight.

La Gatuna
   A new cave (5079) was dug for 4m and now needs more digging with a team rather than one person.

Ribamontán al Monte area
   At Garzón, cave 5078 was found sloping down to a dig in a bedding cave. Also, Torca Cópica Escarlata (5067 LC193) was pushed and surveyed by the Cambera club, with which we have a joint agreement to explore the south of the Ribamontán al Monte area south of the A-8.
    At Cierrolinos, a number of shafts were examined. (These had seen prior to getting our permit extended into the west side of the Monte Llusa area.) All needed extensive clearing of vegetation, and all had extensive fences backed up by old dry gorse. The farmer is not happy about removing and replacing fencing and gorse to gain access due to the risk for his cows. We need to discuss with the farmer the best access approach so as not to disturb his barrier fencing.
    Shaft 5013 was rigged with two ladders but they were found not long enough. The drop was disto'd to 15.7m. Access to shaft 5014 was only partly cleared revealing a pitch of at least one ladder length. Shaft 5015 was descended on one ladder, enough to reach a choke with no further prospects. The pitch is in a rift 3m x 1m with stal at each side. Shaft 5016 was descended for two ladders on the 9.5m pitch to a choke and bones with no real prospect.

Summer Expedition account by Phil Papard

Post summer
Pete Smith has collated updates to the Teeth and Bones table: now 2018 - 2021, and updated the ongoing photographic collection of different speleothems and speleogens seen in the caves around Matienzo. (Both of these pages reside in the Science section, linked from the front page.)

Survey updates
0048 Reñada (resurvey) Blood Alley complete (PP)
0071 Mostajo (additions) in hand (PP)
0100 Canes (Basura) centre line complete (SCo & DAr)
0200 Superfosfatos complete (SCo & DAr)
0207 Fuente de la Cuvia centre line complete (SCo and DAr)
0252 See 4732  
0733 Vallina Catalanes (Vicente et al - see autumn survey list, below)
0780 Corcada French (Guy, Patrick et al)
Plan & Elevation Complete
Data for svx - in preparation
1265 cave complete (PeteS)
1949 cave centre line & drawing cl complete
drawing complete
(Sco & Dar)
2575 Dingle View cl complete
2593 cave centre line and drawing cl complete
drawing complete
(Sco & Dar)
2694 shaft complete (TR, JC)
2889 Vaca (21-01) complete (SCo, DAr, JC)
4669 Drone Pot text amend complete (JC)
4732/0252 Decepción complete (PP)
4853 dig cl complete & drawing (SCo, DAr)
5080 shaft complete (SCo, DAr)
5081 Gusano complete (PS)
5082 shaft cl complete & drawing SCo Dar

The list below shows links to those 104 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the summer, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned using a GPS.

Further major updates are expected to the Cueva Vallina (0733) description and information.

Alisas 3396 shaft; 3397 shaft; 5072 shaft;
Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva;
Barrio de Carrales 1265 cave;
Bosmartín 587 shaft; 588 shaft; 589 shaft; 1890 cave; 5077 cave;
Cierrolinos 5013 shaft; 5014 shaft; 5015 shaft; 5016 shaft; 5057 Gallardón, Torca (LC183);
Cubija 71 Mostajo, Torca del; 892 Regaton, Torca del; 1455 cave;
El Naso 59 Molino, Cueva del; 138 Coberruyo, Cueva de; 354 cave; 614 shaft; 726 Charcas, Cueva de las; 1633 shaft; 2575 Dingle View Cave; 3136 shaft; 4181 shaft; 4200 shaft; 5086 dig;
El Sedo 25 Risco, Sima-Cueva del;
El Somo 5082 shaft; 5094 shaft;
Fresnedo 841 Fresnedo 2, Cueva; 2414 cave;
Garzón 5078 cave / dig;
Hornedo 2889 Vaca, Torca La; 3282 Santa Juliana resurgence, Rio;
La Gatuna 5079 dig;
La Secada 84 Cosas, Cueva las; 200 Superfosfato, Cueva; 229 shaft; 252 Decepción, Torca la (top entrance); 533 shaft; 878 dig; 1017 Socks; 1289 cave; 1380 dig; 1381 dig; 1505 cave; 3536 cave; 4732 Decepción, Torca la (bottom entrance); 5045 dig; 5080 shaft;
Muela 1949 cave; 5083 shaft;
Mullir 771 Cueva, La; 5085 shaft; 5087 cave; 5088 shaft;
N Vega 4165 shaft; 5084 shaft;
Ogarrio 287 Campuvijo, Cueva de;
Piluca 5092 sink; 5093 shaft;
Riaño 100 Canes, Torca de los; 207 Cuvia, Fuente de la; 4536 Sub-phone entrance;
Riva 1760 Blas, Torca de;
S Vega 39 Coquisera, Cueva de; 40 Comellantes, Cueva del; 48 Reñada, Cueva-Cubío de la; 327 cave; 328 cave; 329 cave; 388 shaft; 391 cave; 392 shaft; 825 Coquisera II, Cueva de; 1186 dig; 1336 shaft; 1530 cave; 1910 cave; 1911 cave; 2353 cave; 2592 dig; 2593 shaft; 2694 dig; 3310 cave; 3542 shaft; 4669 Dron, Torca del; 4853 dig; 5081 Gusano, Cueva del; 5089 cave; 5090 depression; 5091 cave;
San Miguel 1591 cave; 1592 shaft; 3280 Joe's Lost Cave;
Seldesuto 780 Corcada, Torca de; 1298 dig; 1310 resurgence; 4520 Root Tube Cave;
Trillos 1078 shaft; 4064 Deaf Gerald's, The;

• Link to summer logbook

JSC 3/10/2021; 3/7/2022

Autumn visits

   Joint explorations with Spanish groups has proved difficult, if not impossible when Covid-19 and the rules and regulations across Europe have made travel more awkward. Collaboration has been through emails and reports, being somewhat one-sided as the Spanish groups can move around more-or-less freely.
   As outlined above, one group is the Club Montaña y Espeleología La Cambera. They have been exploring in the Monte Llusa / Cierrolinos area, west of Solórzano, sharing part of our permit area, and also in the Garma de los Trillos area, along the South Vega / Arredondo ridge. A comprehensive report has been published by the group (as a requirement for the Federación Cántabra de Espeleología) and the findings have been included below. Some of the sites have already been documented by the MCP (generally the codes lower than 5000) but all of them are shown below with an LC code as part of the name.
   The second Spanish group, a mixture of "the best" from a number of Catalan clubs brought together by the Espeleo Club Tortosa, carried out a programme of exploration in Cueva Vallina II in the summer and had a trip in October.
  Two small, overlapping groups spent a couple of weeks exploring and digging over a couple of weeks in September and October. Other individuals met up to explore around the area. In mid-October, a number of drone flights spotted some interesting holes, and significant explorations and surveying were carried out in Cueva Vallina (0733) and Cueva Llanío (3234). As usual, the logbook, scanned for online viewing, will show the people involved in these surface and underground explorations.

Southern Sector
   For the Vallina Project 2021, the Espeleo Club Tortosa (ECT) organised a number of cavers from various Catalan caving clubs (32 people in total) to push on at various places in Vallina II, mainly in the summer. They resurveyed north out of the New York Gallery up to the northern choke. Pushing through, they encountered a streamway that gained 30m altitude to meet another choke after 145m. (The resurvey drawing will be incorporated when survey descrepancies have been resolved - but it can be viewed from the master survey.) The streamway heading northwest was also pushed up a climb into the Galería Maña, 289m of high level passage including an 18m climb into the Sala Superior, at 350m altitude - about 30m above the stream. The length of Cueva Vallina is now 35462m. (The South Vega System is currently 34783m in length.)
   The Alisas, Trillos and Garma de los Trillos areas has have a number of visits by La Cambera. Most of the Alisas sites (see below) have been previously documented by the MCP. The Club found and explored some reasonable shafts in the Trillos / Garma de los Trillos areas - 12 out of the 15 documented. The holes first mentioned in the report (rather than in previous blogs) include 5117, a sink in a doline; Torca de la Empalizada, 5118, a p20 that closes down at -35m; Torca Diecinueve (5124), 15m deep and Torca del Becario (5134), a 9m deep shaft.
   There were a couple of trips into Cueva Vallina (0733) in October. A team pinned down (and re-surveyed) the passages in the Zona Blanca / Birdsworld area. It is hoped that a trip at Easter 2022 will finally complete the survey of this complex area, including an elusive route in from the north. Another team investigated a drop in the Galería Jesús Lecue (south of Swirl Chamber). About 25m of surveying were carried out at the base of the 20m pitch, but the high, narrow rift closed in, both up- and downstream. There are other nearby possibilities.
    More exciting was the news that local cavers had been exploring a new cave (Cueva de la Rasa, 5135) that appeared to currently end near to "a big roof gallery unentered" in TOC Gallery in Vallina, after dropping about 190m in 1200m of passages. A major cave with good potential! (The relationship between the two caves can be seen on the Google Earth resource.)
   Further drone "cave-spotting" flights were carried out between Cueva Coquisera and Cruz Usaño with resulting sites - 5106, 5107 and 5108 - investigated. A number of unexplored interesting black holes (not shadows) remain. On the north side of the entrance to Coquisera (0039), site 5091 was dug out to give a disappointing 9m of small passage. Other sites were documented on the Riva side of the hill: 5105, a short undescended drop and Sima de la Fuente la Pila (5110). The latter was explored by the AEC Lobetum many years ago. It is on the track where it is easy to inadvertently stand on the boulder cover to the 61m deep shaft.
   On La Colina, site 2286 was the site of a quick and efficient hunting dog rescue from the base of the 12m deep shaft.
   To correlate our explorations (back in 1976) with those of the subsequent Spanish groups, various holes at Ogarrio have been GPS'd and descriptions linked to our logbook along with a comprehensive catalogue of Ogarrio caves produced back in 1993 by the AEC Lobetum. Work continues to further extract information from this publication.

Northeast Sector including the 4 Valleys
   Two teams were in Cueva-Cubío del Llanío (3234) at Riaño, now part of the Four Valleys System. The first group explored a 4m pitch near the entrance to a small chamber then excavated a crawl to bypass the drop. The second had three trips into the South Passage area above Cueva de Riaño (0105). Some pushing above B Chamber was carried out on the first trip along with a quick view into a "very nice passage with great potential". The remaining two trips extended and enlarged the descending Canny Passage, currently ending (through a very tight section) at the top of a high streamway, Torno Inlet, in Cueva de Riaño. A second Llanío - Riaño connection was almost completed and a white mark has been left so that explorers in the water can confirm the connection by looking up. There is also a higher level dig which may repay some work as it is heading north. Canny Passage extended the Four Valleys System by 194m to 67420m.
   Some digging was carried out at site 4177, north of the entrance to Torcón de Riaño (0106). Also in Riaño, cave 5112 was extended to 5m+ in an inverted T-shape passage and, on the Riaño-La Gatuna ridge, site 5111 was excavated to reveal a 6m choked shaft.
   On the hill to the east of Hazas de Cesto, a short digging session was carried out in site 4919 but given up as hopeless.

Western Sector
   At Ideopuerta, site 4258 was found to have been completely filled in and trees planted. In shaft 5113, a slightly draughting narrow rift at the bottom of a p4 would need extensive capping to continue.
   Sites visited at Moncobe were 5001 where a digging prospect was written off and 3024 / 3033 which could not be definitely found despite extensive searching. Site 3755 was also not reached "after several hours of bushwacking in head height brambles and ferns".
   At Barrio la Mina, site 5096 was found as a non-starter, 5m deep with earth sides with a recent collapse (5104) nearby. Site 5097 was explored down a p4 to a small, choked chamber.
   At Barrio de Arriba, site 4265 was explored down a p6 to a rock blocking the way. There are no plans to remove the rock. Site 5099 is a sink taking a small stream in a shakehole. A couple of sites were identified from aerial photos: 5114 turned out to be a 12m deep, choked shaft and 5115 was another 12m deep drop into a high, fluted chamber but no draught.

Northern Sector - south of Monte Llusa
   In October, three shafts were encountered in trees just to the east of the end of the road skirting the west side of Cierrolinos: 5101, a roomy 6m shaft to a chamber and lots of goat skeletons; 5102, a 30 - 40m shaft, still to be explored and 5103, a 3m choked shaft. Down the west, site 5095, a 6m climbable shaft, was found while nearby shakeholes all choked. To the north of Cierrolinos, where the jungle bashing is "hard going", a small cave (site 5098, length 2m) was found as scant reward at the base of a large depression. Trying to reach a previously found cave (5029) was abandoned in the thick jungle.
    In the trees to the east of Cierrolinos, site 5116 was remembered from 2 years previously when it was explored with a length of 60m and depth 35m.
   At Villanueva, a draughting dig at the end of site 5036 was started, gaining about 2m.
   This area - Monte Llusa, Cierrolinos, Villanueva and Garzón - are shared with La Cambera and they have had the opportunity to carry out a number of significant explorations, as detailed in their report. The most significant is Torca Cópica Escarlata (5067, LC193) which they have surveyed to 550m length and 120m depth. A more recent find is Cueva de las Ilusiones (5132, LC215) reaching a depth of 22m in a length of 55m.

Survey updates
0200 Superfosfato drawing complete (SCo, DAr)
0207 Cuvía Combined 1980, 2021 surveys
Complete (SCo, DAr)
0733 Vallina • Birds' World & G. Jesús Lecue extension complete (JC)
• Catalanes (Vicente et al - complete JC)
1949 cave centre line & drawing cl complete
drawing complete
(SCo & DAr)
2593 cave centre line and drawing cl complete
drawing complete
(SCo & DAr)
3234 cave centre line and drawing complete (JC)
5067 survey drawing complete (La Cambera)
5091 cave centre line and drawing complete (JC)
5117 sketch complete (La Cambera)
5132 survey drawing complete (La Cambera)

The list below shows links to those 102 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the autumn months, 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 (LC204); 1073 shaft (LC199); 1677 Alto de Alisas, Torca (LC196); 2623 Parabolt Roñoso, Torca del (LC203); 2625 cave (LC211); 4450 hole; 5071 shaft (LC205); 5072 shaft (LC198);
Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva; 5135 Rasa, Cueva de la (Vallina);
Barrio de Arriba 4265 shaft; 5099 sink; 5114 shaft; 5115 shaft;
Barrio la Mina 5096 shaft; 5097 shaft; 5104 collapse;
Bustablado 5119 shaft (LC165);
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 shaft (LC188); 5063 Pinar, Torca del (LC189); 5064 shaft (LC190); 5065 Agujero curioso (LC191); 5101 shaft; 5102 shaft; 5103 shaft; 5125 New Zone, Torca (LC174); 5126 shaft (LC175); 5127 cave (LC176); 5128 Espinos-Compost, Cueva de (LC178); 5129 Parecía que sí, Cueva (LC179); 5130 Parecía que también, Cueva (LC180); 5131 Mandíbula Vacuna, Cueva de (LC181); 5132 Ilusiones, Cueva de las (LC215); 5133 shaft (LC216);
El Naso 726 Charcas, Cueva de las;
Garma de los Trillos 4364 Asiáticas, Torca de las (LC169); 5117 Arenisca, Cueva de la (LC161); 5118 Empalizada, Torca de la (LC162); 5120 Ranas, Torca de las (LC166); 5121 Poca, Cueva la (LC167); 5122 Campanilla, Torca de la (LC168); 5123 hole (LC170); 5124 Diecinueve, Torca (LC173); 5134 Becario, Torca del (LC217);
Garzón 5066 Michelín, Torca (LC192); 5067 Cópica Escarlata, Torca (LC193); 5068 Gafas, Torca de las (LC194);
Hazas de Cesto (east) 4919 cave;
Ideopuerta 4258 covered collapse; 5113 shaft;
La Colina 2286 shaft;
La Secada 200 Superfosfato, Cueva;
Moncobe 3024 cave; 3033 cave; 3755 shaft; 5001 cave;
Monte Llusa 5029 cave; 5095 shaft; 5098 cave; 5116 shaft;
Muela 1949 cave;
Navajeda 4490 shaft; 4495 cave; 5100 cave;
Ogarrio 284 caves; 285 cave; 286 Mazo 5, Cueva del; 287 Campuvijo, Cueva de; 5136 Mazo 2, Cueva del; 5137 Coverón, Surgencia del; 5138 Mazo 3, Cueva del; 5139 Mazo 4, Cueva del;
Riaño 105 Riaño, Cueva de; 107 Hoyuca, Cueva; 207 Cuvía, Fuente de la; 3234 Llanío, Cueva-Cubío del; 4177 dig; 5111 shaft; 5112 cave;
Riva 5105 shaft; 5110 Fuente la Pila, Sima de la;
S Vega 2593 shaft; 2696 shaft; 5091 cave; 5106 shaft; 5107 rift; 5108 rift; 5109 shaft;
Trillos 2630 Bonita, Torca (LC207); 4077 shaft (LC206); 5070 shaft (LC209); 5073 shaft (LC210); 5074 Protector, Torca (LC212); 5075 Muro Oscuro, Torca del (LC213); 5076 Bolas, Torca (LC208);
Villanueva 5036 Covachera, Cueva de;

• Link to Autumn logbook

JSC 19/11/2021
Agenda and attachment for the planning meeting, 4th December, 2021 can be found here - Agenda - attachment.

   The main points to come out of the meeting, after discussion of the agenda, were to try to attract younger cavers, e.g. students and to ask La Cambera group to leave any exploration of some holes and an area of hillside to members of the MCP. This is an unusual request by a small group of MCP cavers, but has been brought about by the lack of MCP feet-on-the-ground due to the Covid restrictions and regulations. The Cambera cavers have kindly agreed.
    In detail, the following sites have been set-aside for exploration by named members of the MCP: 5029, 5102, 5035 and 5031. In addition an area of hillside to the southwest of Monte Llusa has also been reserved for speleological prospecting by the same people. (See red lines on this aerial photo). These explorations should occur around Easter 2022.
   Any exploration in the Fuente de Villanueva (5023) is also on hold until La Cambera and the MCP can get together for joint exploration - again, probably around Easter 2022.
   Trying to attract more student groups and younger cavers, this A4 flyer has been produced and distributed around the clubs that are members of CHECC.

November / Christmas activities

   The Covid-19 situation, with added paper-work and unreliable transport meant that few foreigners travelled to Matienzo over this period. Club Montaña y Espeleología La Cambera continued exploring around Monte Llusa and the Catalan cavers from the Espeleo Club Tortosa had a "quick trip" to continue work in (and over?) Cueva Vallina. Over the Christmas / New Year period, with very good weather, Simon Cornhill and Diane Arthurs spent every day on speleological activities - rewarded with opening up of a new system between Cueva Coquisera and Torca de Cantones.
   As usual, the logbook, scanned for online viewing, will show the people involved in these surface and underground explorations.

Monte Llusa / Garzón
   La Cambera added more sites to their finds in this area, all labelled "LC..." and most, like many MCP finds, being either digs or draughting holes. Torca Glasgow (5149) was found in a tyre-strewn depression, another one to add to the 17 sites found over the years polluted in this way. Most work appears to have been put into Cueva del Gusnardo (5150) at Garzón where a descending rift with water currently ends at a draughting lead. One site, 5078 (LC225), was re-found by the group and a microwave in a tree noted at the rubbish-strewn site.

Southern Sector
   The December bridge gave the Espeleo Club Tortosa team a chance to work at the northern end of Cueva Vallina (0733). The survey work has discrepanices that are being addressed. Two areas were extended, one of which appears to rise 110m above Toc Gallery where there could be some link to Cueva de la Rasa, 5135. (See Autumn-Southern Sector, above).
   A major new cave was revealed by digging out site 2081. First documented in 1992 as a dig with a 30m drop below, the ongoing site was soon named Torca del Muérdago after the nearby display of mistletoe. Over 8 trips, the site was surveyed to 560m with a depth of 85m. The first deep leads were pushed to conclusions with the last trip needing boulders holding back to allow an exit. The current going lead is at the end of a higher level traverse where a pitch drops to an unexplored hole with water.
    Care is needed throughout the system as poor limestone in places has affected bolt placements, hand- and foot-holds and required extra care on pitches. The entrance has also been stabilised with scaffold poles after a partial collapse added extra excitement on the way out on an early trip.
    The entrance is situated between the Coquisera and Cantones systems, and heads south like both of those (map). This Survex 3d file shows the current surveyed centre lines of those 3 sites.
   On Piluca, small holes were documented - 4659 and new sites, 5142 and 5143. Close to the track past Torca de Azpilicueta, sites 4803 and 4804 were dropped a few metres to chokes and rotting carcasses.
   The tight route underground in the flood resurgence 1900 near to Cueva Arenal was capped open, but the ways on were found be blocked by stal or far too tight.

Hills to the North and Mountains to the East
   In the current hard-going below the Llueva road beyond Fuente las Varas, site 0995 was probably correctly located although it could be site 0885 (or they could be the same site!)
   Half-a-dozen sites were worked at or discovered around Mullir. Site 0810 has a feasible depth potential of 600m+. Capping work started, first to enlarge the top of the second pitch (p40) then, at the top of a third pitch (50m down), where it is believed a narrow slot will allow access after the next session. This hole could develop into another Not Too Bad Pot with most pitch tops requiring some enlarging.
   Investigating the overgrown walk up onto the tops from Cruz Usaño, site 0904 was found 90m away from its supposed position. A "fine 43m shaft" drops in a heavily calcited shaft to a choked floor with bones and an old dog collar.
   The highest known hole on Mullir (at 816m altitude) is site 2798. Exploration in December found that the drop from the entrance soon choked. Two new short caves (5140 and 5141) were explored and surveyed. The location of these sites allowed spectacular views over the southern Matienzo ridge. (photo: Simon Cornhill).

   At Cubija, site 2134 was capped at the dig, 25m down but the way on turned out to be drainpipe-sized. Sites 1572 and 2997 were surveyed for the centre line. At El Rincón, digging continued on 4 occasions at the wet weather resurgence, 4892.
New surveys
0353 shaft centre line & drawing (SCo, DAr)
0733 Vallina • Catalanes (Vicente et al - JC)
Galeria Blanca centre line 21-05
Galeria NY City centre line 21-06
See this survey
0810 shaft centre line & drawing (SCo & DAr)
0904 shaft centre line & drawing (SCo & DAr)
1572 cave 3d file complete (PS)
2081 Torca del Muérdago centre line and drawing (SCo & DAr)
2134 shaft centre line & drawing (SCo & DAr)
2798 shaft centre line & drawing (SCo & DAr)
2997 caves (2) 3d file complete (PS)
4659 cave centre line & drawing (SCo & DAr)
5140 cave centre line and drawing (SCo & DAr)
5141 cave centre line and drawing (SCo & DAr)
5142 shaft centre line and drawing (SCo & DAr)
5143 cave centre line and drawing (SCo & DAr)
5164 cave drawing (SCo & DAr)

The list below shows links to those 41 sites which were extended or newly discovered over the November / Christmas period, or which have had surveys, references or descriptions updated, photos or movie clips added, or entrances repositioned using a GPS.

Arredondo 733 Vallina, Cueva;
Cierrolinos 5147 shaft (LC222); 5148 3 Voltios y Medio (LC223);
Cubija 2134 shaft;
El Naso 726 Charcas, Cueva de las; 1572 cave; 2997 caves (2);
El Rincón 4892 resurgence;
Entrambasaguas 5145 hole (LC220); 5146 hole (LC221);
Fuente las Varas 895 cave;
Garzón 5068 Gafas, Torca de las (LC194); 50785014 Buena Ondo, Cueva de la (LC225); 5144 hole (LC219); 5149 Glasgow, Torca (LC224); 5150 Gusnardo, Cueva del (LC226);
La Secada 229 shaft; 250 shaft; 353 shaft; 995 cave; 4178 shaft;
Mullir 810 shaft; 904 shaft; 1449 shaft; 2798 shaft; 5140 cave; 5141 cave;
Piluca 4659 cave; 5142 shaft; 5143 cave;
S Vega 39 Coquisera, Cueva de; 40 Comellantes, Cueva del; 1686 cave; 2080 cave; 2081 Muérdago, Torca del; 2453 cave; 4802 hole; 4803 shaft; 4804 shaft;
Seldesuto 1897 cave; 1900 cave;

Link to Christmas / New Year logbook

JSC 17/1/2022 Updated July 2022