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 la Huelga

A. C. Huntington

One mile east of Mieda, a village near Cangas de Onis, a stream flowing through an orchard enters a cave in the base of a cliff. The cave entrance is 15-20' wide and like the whole system contains a great deal of debris in the form of twigs and branches that must get washed in in times of heavy rainfall. The cave is not at a high altitude so it does not have any great potential depth. The upper part of the system had been entered by locals and many formations were damaged.

50' from daylight there is a choice of ways. On the left a 32' pitch drops one into a deep pool. Below the pool the passage is only 4-5' in diameter and piles of debris almost block the way. After about 200' the passage widens to a maximum of 15' and it now takes the form of a bedding plane. 400' from the pool two side passages enter; Gheorges Passage on the right ends after 75', and the left hand presage leads back to the head of the 32' pitch.

The bedding plane, Flood Stream Passage, continues below the junction for 275' before it narrows and starts to spiral downwards to the left. After 30' the gradient lessens and a further 50' brings one to the stream that has not been seen since the cave entrance. This disappears again immediately into a tight and impassable sump with a roof dipping down at about 45° . There is no way on and this was the deepest part of the cave reached.

The right hand passage from the head of the 32' pitch bears right for 30' to a short and round "bottle-neck". Soon after this a side passage goes off to the left. Forwards the passage soon comes to a stop after an upward turning. The main way on is to the left. Two sandy chambers lead to a mud choke, but between the chambers, just after a 3' drop, one can climb down among boulders to a lower passage.

A further 25' after the climb down there is a 10' pitch. Straight forward, traversing a 23' deep hole, a 100' of passage takes one back to the Flood Stream Passage, just opposite Gheorges Passage. At the foot of the 23' drop is a very promising dig in stiff mud. A stream can be heard below and only a shortage of time prevented us breaking into fresh ground. We dug here hopefully until the last day of the expedition, expecting to get through at any moment.

See Survey.