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

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The Cantabrian-Asturic Mountains cover an area- of approximately 200 miles by 60 miles and run along the northern coast of Spain west of Bilbao. The peaks rise to 8000 feet, the central group of which is called the "Picos de Europa".

The Picos de Europa has been the hunting ground of a number of earlier speleological expedition including the 1961 and 62 Oxford University Expeditions and the 1963 Oxford-Derbyshire Expedition. Although there expeditions explored numerous interesting systems nothing of any great depth was found.

The area to the east of the Picos was partly explored by the University of Nottingham Students Union Expedition 1964. This proved to have many caves in it but unfortunately they were mainly blocked at no great depth.

Little was known about the area to the south and west of the Picos, but we were able to contact a group of Spanish cavers. "Espeleologos de Penalba" told us of a number of active and large systems which they had not been able to explore fully.

It was with the object of fully exploring these caves and the surrounding area that we formed the 1965 British Speleological Expedition to the Cantabrian Mountains.

With the possibility of a number of deep pots it was necessary to make provision for manning an underground camp. It was also felt that surveys should be made, arid a photographic record kept of all the larger systems.

The expedition comprised 30 British Members from some 16 clubs, and 15 Spanish cavers from Espeleologos de Penalba, Leon. Holidays did not permit all of us to be active at any one time but the main body of the expedition was in Spain between July 26th and August 20th.