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

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Cueva de Cotozozia

R.A. Hazelwood

During the third week of the expedition, a party decided to investigate the Beleo area, up the valley of the Rio Ponga. At Beleo we persuaded a local to show us a cave which he knew, up a side valley, about 2 miles by muletrack.

The cave entrance was a large opening in the steep side of a dry valley. It leads into a short but large passage with impressive but very muddy formations. However, progress was blocked by calcite flow-stones 15' high by 30' wide. Snail muddy passages to each side were explored to no effect. A snail hole from which a noticeable draught emerged was noticed at this point.

Investigation proved it to be too small for exploration, but another hole, blocked by an 8" column, looked possible. With some effort, it was displaced' by removing some flowstones5 however, the way ahead was blocked by another column- which proved to be unbreakable. At this point, a tremendous echo was produced from- the passage ahead, and we left the cave feeling very frustrated. Returning the next day, with a hammer, the last obstruction fell within five minutes of reaching it. An easy traverse led to a flowstone slope from whence another passage could be seen. Moving on in search of fresh delights, it was difficult to avoid breaking something - for the passage was full of the most spectacular and unspoilt formations.

But all good things come to an end, and this did not last long. Another flowstone slope at least 20' high and 15' wide blocked the way, and would not yield. The only hope there was wore three holes 15' up one wall. A third trip was confined to exploration and photography of one hole. On the fourth day the other two holes were reached by piton and ladder. Although several small chambers were found, nothing bypassed the choke and after surveying the place, we left. Two days later the survey provided the final irony. The final choke was only a few feet from daylight. The cave had doubled back towards the cliff face. It seems to be part of a very old drainage system, active well before the valley was formed.

See Survey.