OUCC Proceedings 7 (1975)

North Spain 1974 - General

Martin Laverty

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Personnel 1974

M. Laverty Brasenose College Leader
N.I.Coghlan Queens College Secretary
B.Matthews Worcester College  
J.Kirby Wolfson College  
W.J.M.F.Collis Balliol College Treasurer
R.B.Willis Dept. of Astrophysics  
N.S.Boulton ex Queens College  
J.Forder ex Corpus Christi College  
J.G.Sheppard ex Magdalen College  

The 1974 Expedition

The first three above named members left Southampton via the San Sebastian ferry on 29th July, travelling in a rather overcrowded Fiat and taking advantage of the last day of low season fares. They arrived on 1st July and proceeded straightaway towards Infiesto, where they arrived the following day. A campsite was pointed out by the villagers of Las Cuevas in a flat field by a pleasant stream which resurged from various impenetrable springs about 50m away and this was used until 14th July while the area between Campo de Caso and Infiesto was investigated as well as possible in view of certain difficulties encountered with the car.

The fourth expedition member arrived by student flight to Bilbao followed by coach to Infiesto on 3rd July. Several trips were made to the area between Campo de Caso and Oviedo to follow up possible leads given us by a group of Spanish boys we met in a cave and who lived in La Felguera, a heavily polluted steel-working and coal-mining town,and there was a rest day when Leon was visited. Bill Collis arrived via the Santander ferry on a motorbike on 14th July and helped with the following day's change of campsite to the venue of the 1973 expedition - Rales. On 17th and 18th July the last four members of the expedition joined us here, John Forder and Jim Sheppard having crossed the channel ferry and driven through France while Neil Boulton and Robin Willis had come by the Santander ferry. Photographic, sporting and a few attempted pushing trips were made in the Rales Cave System and the cars were used to reach Cueva Orandi, which was to be pushed, and to visit the Picos via the Fuente De cable car, in the course of which trip we were told of some caves near Panes, which were investigated later but unfortunately led nowhere, despite the efforts of pyromaniac shepherds in removing vegetational obstructions to entrances.

Martin Laverty and Nick Coghlan left for an expedition to the Chourun des Aiguilles in France on 25th July while Brian Matthews and Jenny Kirby left for home by air on 28th July. The remaining five pushed Orandi, although the results were not as spectacular as those hoped for, and discovered Cueva Trumbio nearby. Little more was found during the rest of the expedition, which broke up when Robin Willis, Neil Boulton and Jim Sheppard came home on 10th August, the remaining two staying in Spain for some weeks more and making useful contacts with a Spanish caving group (ESIEC), exploring and surveying.