Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 27 Jan 2014

Expedition details (GPF2014a-001)

Expedition Name (& Club): Matienzo 2014 (Various incl MUSS, Eldon, DCC)
Destination country: Spain
Region: Cantabria
Lat: 43.3265 Long: -3.5870 Elevation: m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Mr Philip Papard
Total cavers: 27
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 2
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 5
UK/nonUK cavers: 26/1
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 0
Expedition dates: 7th Apr 2014 - 26th Apr 2014
Duration (days): 20
Man-days in field: 800 Man-days travelling: 130
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

Note I could not fill in the split date details for Matienzo 2014 – i.e. for both Easter and summer – total days reflect this i.e. dates above plus July 27 to August 24.
To continue the exploration, surveying and documentation of caves in this important area in Northern Spain that the British Expedition has worked on for over 40 years involving hundreds of UK cavers. In 2013 8km of new cave were found and recorded with open leads left, plus a number of new dry and dive sites identified. For 2014 our primary objectives are to continue the exploration of new passages in the North Vega system (this is summer expedition work); continue exploration of Torca la Vaca-Wild Mare (systems linked in 2013) by opening up a new entrance that was found in 2013 and which will bypass an awkward entrance series and duck/sump; and look for and identify sites that may link the South System with Cueva Vallina and a 100km system in an adjacent in liaison with its Spanish/Belgium team.
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

Please explain the aspects of the trip which make it eligible for Ghar Parau funding.

The benefit of a GPF grant is twofold. Firstly, it will help the expedition to replace or purchase equipment including rope and surveying equipment and also update our rescue equipment including cave radios (we have put our name down for 3 Nicola II ends) both for Location and Rescue. The Cantabrian government have not contracted what was the local rescue team and now use the Guardia Civil team from the Picos, some hours away – so we need to be self-sufficient in the early stages of any incident, also the Spanish team do not have cave radios. Secondly, support of Matienzo allows us to help young cavers with limited experience to learn good surveying, recording and photography techniques as well as safe exploration methods for virgin caves. This experience is then likely to be applied to other expeditions in the future.
Detailed description of objectives:

Give a more detailed account of the purpose of the trip, including any particular known caves you intend to visit, specific areas where you will explore for new cave, and scientific experiments you will attempt.

The main expedition will take place in between 7 to 25 April and from 27 July to 24 August, but small groups will be looking and making initial exploration of new sites (above and below ground) at other times in preparation for these main activities.

The primary objectives in 2014 are shown below, the first four are the highest priority for 2014. The number may seem large, the expedition will split into a number of teams over the two expedition periods, and some of the surface prospecting and lead identification work fits in well for cavers who need an easier days work.
• To continue the re-survey and extension of the Four Valleys system (much of the survey from 1970’s used old methods that have been improved by modern digital methods, and we are bringing this important system’s survey up to date) aim is to try and push possible leads to link this 56km system to the North Vega system (22km). There are a number of intervening caves between these sites, the nearest being only a few 10s of meters away, this area has a lot of potential with a total system extending well beyond 100km (over 90km have already been explored in caves that are currently and historically hydraulically connected).
• Continue the exploration of Torca la Vaca, including the linking of a new entrance that will bypass a flooded area and allow easier and safer access, many open leads in the more remote parts of this 16km system remain to be explored. This cave was found and explored over the last 6 years in an area with few known caves and none previously of any length. Exploration trips to the known end were long (14 hrs ) and arduous. In wet weather the awkward duck floods to a significant sumps making exploration problematic on occasions, the new entrance that was identified using “mole phones” will both bypass the duck, but also a number of pitches thus cutting up to 4hrs off the trip.
• Diving at various sites in the northern part of the area including an applied for extension in Solórzano where two dive sites were identified in 2013, these may link into a system in the north of our area where we have only explored fragments (about a km). In addition to these dive sites, others are likely to be looked at in the South Vega system and elsewhere – planning for these is ongoing and depends on the results of the dives in the north.
• Continued exploration of the North Vega system in Ruesga, where significant new passages were found in 2013 by a young team from MUSC using enlargement techniques with the help and advice from some expedition stalwarts - this young group will return in the summer to further push and document the large passages found, it is possible these could link to a very important archaeological ½ km cave (Cueva de Rascavieja) that appears to have been part of a large system.
• Exploring and mapping caves in the Riotuerto and Entrambasaguas areas where we are attempting to get into the system that must exist beyond the present limits of Fuente Aquanaz a large resurgence (1m3/s ) supplying water to Santander and explored by the team for about 2.4km and through two sumps to a faulted area and choke.
• Continued digging and exploration of a number of sites in the South Vega area with the long term objective of both linking this system to Cueva Vallina and to extend the system to west (Alisas area) where a Spanish/Belgium team are working on the 100km Sistema de Tejuelo
• In addition to the above, to prospect for new sites and extend old sites in the Sierra de Mullir and Llueva valley area in Ruesga and Voto – this is an important areas as this large area has few caves of any length, the known ones being mainly vertical of up to 400m deep, but from geomorphology, resurgences (e.g. Peter Plummet dived to some 83 m deep) and some fragments of large cave there is good evidence that an extensive system must lay under this area.
Previous work in this area:

Give details of any previous work in this area by your own and other teams. Include references to reports and articles published on the area, and the names of any local cavers or academics with whom you have discussed the Expedition.

NOTE I could not put this info anywhere else! : I have listed 27 members on next page, but in addtion there will be a number more (23 or so) but details of these are not yet finalised. These will include a team in the summer of 10 travelling with Lloyd Cawthorn from MUSC (students and ex-students all under 30 some with little expedition experience); 6 colleagues with John Southworth (including Harry Long), and Paul Dold will be accompanied by some from his West Sussex scout group - again young inexperienced cavers

Publications etc:
We're the major explorers. Some references: Cuadernos II, VIII, IX-X; Matienzo 74; Matienzo 75; MUSS Journals 8, 9, 10; Articles in Caves & Caving 8 11 14 18 22 26 32 35 41 44 49 55 58 63 66 70 75 79 83 87 89; Speleology 2, 3 & 5. Trans 8.1 and article in 10.3; articles about the explorations and archaeology in Spanish journals by Peter Smith. Most recent major overview in Spanish is in Actas del V Congresso Español de Espeleología (1990), pp345 - 355 (Federación Española de Espeleología). Annual summaries published with Federación Cántabra de Espeleología.
A major work is Ruiz Cobo Jesús and Smith Peter et al, 2001. The Archaeology of the Matienzo Depression, North Spain. In BAR International Series 975, 224 pages.
La Cueva de Cofresnedo en el Valle de Matienzo, a 198 page colour book summarising a 6 year archaeological project by the same authors, was published 3 years ago by the Cantabrian Government. Expedition reports for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 have appeared in recent Speleology issues. The 2011 and 2012 reports are out for publication very soon by Erin Lynch, the 2013 report is in final editorial stages but all information on the finds etc are on the website together with "complete" history & cave descriptions, at
The full colour, dual language book "Matienzo: 50 Years of Speleology" (ISBN: 978-0-9566045-0-7) was published in August 2010. This book details 50 years of Spanish and foreign explorations in over 3400 caves."
• 320 pages • 310 photographs • Cave surveys • DVD with extra photos and movie files - Power Point presentations - Google Maps presentation • Geological map of the area around Matienzo

Expedition Finances


Travel plans:
Complex due to the nature of the Matienzo Expedition as some cavers come with partners etc, so here I have estimated just the cost relevant to the caver.
People will travel by own transport using the Ferry to Santander or Bilbao, or fly form various airports (mainly Easyjet and Ryan air). The rest will take channel crossing and drive through France

# from UK: 62 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £15,380 16 cavers by Ferry at Easter both ways in 5 vehicles £3,000
20 cavers by Ferry in Summer both ways in 6 vehiciles £5,000
Other costs such as fuel, tolls, etc - £3,000
About 8 flights to either Bilbao or Santander rtn at £160 each = £1,280
Parking, Care hire (x3) and millage of 400ml each car on travel to Mateinzo and while in Spain = £1400
Via ferry and drive via France - 18 cavers - 5 vehicles equ with ml of 2600ml each plus tolls and ferry costs = £1,700

# from outside UK: 8 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from outside UK: £1,200 Danish team - two vehicles at 4600 km at 20p per Km plus some 200 Km in Matienzo
Peter Smith and Ian Chandler - live in Matienzo - down as zero costs.
Santi Urrutia member of ADES and lives in Gernika, N.Spain - 240km round trip say 300 incl in Matienzo at 20p per km - £60

Travel total: £16,580 Travel p.p. from UK: £248
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £150


Total: £13,800 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £197 Cavers provide own meals either cooking, local Bar or resturatnt - at local Bar Set meals are 12€ (£10 say £12 with Breakfast - About 900 days on site or travelling = about £10,800
Camping and other accommodation - £3000 (note several members have accommodation in area and these are at nil cost to expedition)


Total: £2,830 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £40 A lot of equipment to be used is from previous years or on loan form members so does not appear in the costs - below is new and replacement gear only.
Hangers and bolts (incl for Climbing) - £600
Rope 300m at 1.2 £/m - £360
2 x laser distance units (Bocsh) - £100
1x Laptop - £400
Sundres for surveying - paper, waterproof case pads etc - £100
Snappers etc to remove rock - £300
Equpment to cap new shaft to vaca - £50
Bags for tackle at £22 each x5 - £110
Cave Radios - estimate of £800

Special 1

Total: £500 Comments:
Special 1 p.p.: £7 Fees paid to Bar to use an area for office re surveying drawing, record keeping etc etc - £500

Special 2

Total: £60 Comments:
Special 2 p.p.: £1 Room hire in UK for planning meetings etc
Exped Total: £33,770 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £493
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £395
Mean Exped cost per person: £482

Other Funding

Total: £0 Comments:
NOTE: the majority of costs are born by the expedition members - this is complicated as some travel with partners etc. so splitting the cost is problematic the above is a best "guesstimate" - also above does not take account of cost of trips at other times to look in the area for leads etc. Note also that the period is split and I have separated these in the costings as travel in the summer is more expensive - so the 70 people above included a number of people counted for both the Easter an
Total shortfall: £33,770 Mean shortfall per person: £482

Referees and Report

Please give the names, addresses and phone numbers of two suitably qualified people whom the Committee can contact. You should ensure that they are aware of the objectives of your trip, and that you have their permission for the Committee to contact them.

Referee 1: Mr Nick Williams
Affiliation: BCRA, MD Conformance Ltd

Reason: Nick knows me and other key players of the Expedition including some of the Derbyshire members. I work with Nick in the EUG and he know the experience that the more senior (KOS) of the team can give to younger members. He is also fully aware of the p

Permission obtained?: Yes
Referee 2: Mr David Checkley
Affiliation: BCRA

Reason: David lives locally to both myself and Juan Corrin so knows both of us well. Also over the many years that the Matienzo expeditions have been run he has had good knowledge of its work and is familiar with the general area of Northern Spain, having been a key member of the Lancaster University's work at Tresviso in the Picos. He is thus able to give an impartial opinion on the expedition and its work.

Permission obtained?: Yes

Expedition report author: Mr Philip Papard