Oxford University Cave Club

British Speleological Expedition to the Cantabrian Mountains of Northern Spain, 1965

in conjunction with the "Espeleologos de Penalba", Leon

British Speleological Expedition 1965 Report

Other Expedition reports

OUCC Home Page

The Accomplishments and Conclusions

The first and main aim of the 1965 British Speleological Expedition to the Cantabrian Mountains was achieved: "to explore and survey the caves in the mountains to the west and south of the Picos de Europa, and do this in collaboration with the local speleologists and geologists from Leon."

At an early stage we had had hopes of finding caverns of great length and depth, even record breaking sizes, hut our hopes for depth did not materialise.We did, however, find many interesting and quite large systems during our extensive search of a hitherto unknown caving area.

We feel, in fact we know, that there are many more caves yet to be found in this part of Spain. Some may even be open to the surface but many more will not he entered unless some digging is undertaken.

The conclusions reached on studying the surrounding land features and the caves we found, do not suggest to us that there will be any likelihood of finding a potential record breaking cave in the area.

It is the opinion of the majority of our expedition members that a dip of the bedding not exceeding 45° is desirable if large deep cave systems are to be found. Where the dip is in excess of 45° , we found that surface streams rarely grew to any appreciable size before sinking below ground, and that while they were small they did not seem to have the force required to clear boulders and debris that all too often block cave passages. In this area most of the bedding was almost vertical. However, there are exceptions to most rules and caves do sometimes develop, as in the case of the Cueva de Valporquero, along the strike with streams running off adjacent impervious rocks.

The area is worthy of some further investigations, but perhaps by not such a large expedition.