By Tim Webber

2010 saw 6 Suss ites going for the soft option and travelling to Matienzo in Northern Spain for their summer break.

When we arrived at the campsite we found two OUCC members and an UBSS member who had ended up in Matienzo, without transport, cooking facilities or much cash, after the OUCC trip to the Picos mountains had to be abandoned due to lack of permit.

They seemed to think this wasn’t a real expedition as there were toilets and running water.

For those of you who have been here before and met Sena, the bar’s guard dog, you’ll be pleased to know that she’s less interested in chasing feet now. She’s had puppies and is much more interested in sticks and just getting away from the kids.

Sena 

Tiva

The first day saw a trip into Tiva to make sure we remembered how to cave and to continue the resurvey of the system that SUSS started last year. Various side passages were looked at until Tim dissapeared into a small tube above an even smaller meandering vadose trench. This was pushed past some formations until it got smaller. Luckily it then go bigger again and just as the trench and the floor came up to meet the roof tube, the passage intersected something larger. Leaving a trail of kit to remind him which way he’d gone, lead to a quick exploration of 100m+ of walking passage and features named “Carabiner Junction” and “glove junction”. Lots of side passages and oxbows and passages he just didn’t bother going down before turning back to tell everyone else.  Four more days of caving saw this new series surveyed, pushed (some leads still open) and linked into the main Tiva passage and the Tinto Series.

Liz and stals 

Although this Series does link in to Tinto, it is very different in character. Rosé is in a brown limestone, with fossils, smooth walls, phreatic and vadose. Tinto is a sharper grey rock and feels more fault controlled.

Survey to come

The link from Tvia to Risca was investigated from both sides but found to be blocked. The entrance to Risca has historically been used as a rubbish tip and it seems the dry connection has been blocked by rubbish being washed through. From underneath it appears to be a fridge.

Peña Encaramada

This cave, close to Cow pot and Cave of the Wild Mares, was found at Easter. Various trips we done, some in conjuction with the OUCC/UBSS guys and a large amount of lead pushing and surveying was done.

Shaft Bashing

a couple of days were spent on the hill.

Dave entered a shaft that he claimed excitedly must be 40m deep. Sadly his rope was only 20m long.

Coventosa

A “day off” down Coventosa was planned. Unfortunately we forgot how far it was to the lakes and taking photos lead to a 4 hr caving trip which wasn’t much of a rest

Coventosa entrance pitch

Hole in the Road.

Last year’s  extensions in “Hole in the Road”/”Bollon” were explored to see if any way on could be found.  Water levels were higher than last year resulting in the awkward climb down at the beginning of the often sumped boulder choke, being thigh deep.

Several draughting holes in the boulder choke in ‘Vindication series’ were investigated until a climb down directly below one of the large stalagmites lead down to the water level. Some progress was made through the boulders, but the routes mostly led down stream back towards the old cave. Upstream progress was not possible even though the whole choke is draughting.

Chisel Cave
After Dave and Clare left, Brendan, Jenny and Tim had the plan of an easy day of caving just checking some entrances that had been found but not pushed. The first of these – site 1673 – is a small resurgence in a steep stream bed.

It was described as “passage (3m) that requires pushing at a sharp right hand bend”. So Brendan entered and soon passed the first right hand bend. This was immediately followed by an awkward left hand bend and then an intersection with a slightly larger (hand and knees) passage. Tim went in armed with the survey kit and joined Dr Sloan exploring to a small chamber with a cross rift and a soft choked continuation. Another trip back to the surface through the awkward bends to retrieve the only digging tools we had with us, a hammer and chisel.

The choke was soon cleared and the trio surveyed and photographed 50m of passage ending in a dig. This has airspace over the top of mud/ rock fill,  that would require a crowbar and a small shovel like the one we left in the tackle store at the beginning of the day.

All in all – an excellent trip in which SUSS members entered and surveyed about 1km. More to do next year.