Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 28 Dec 2017


Expedition details (GPF2018a-001)

Expedition Name (& Club): Matienzo 2018 (Matienzo Cave Project) (Many and Various)
Country: Spain
Region: Cantabria
Leader: Mr Philip Papard
Lat: 43.3265 Long: -3.5868 Elevation: 156 m

MEF funding: none
Expedition dates: 1st Jan 2018 - 31st Dec 2018
Duration (days): 365
Man-days in field: 850 Man-days travelling: 140
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

Continued work to explore, survey and document the caves in this area with now well over 300km found by this expedition over the last 44 yrs. In 2018 the main objectives are: linking passaged found in 2017 in Cueva-Cubío del Llanío into the Four Valley's System bringing it to over 65km, and continue pushing with “Therion” resurvey of the system; explore and survey passages found in 2017 beyond upstream sumps in Cueva Vallina and pushing/diving towards Cueva Renada (100+ potential); pushing the western end of Cueva Renada via 2017 promising finds; pushing and survey extensive new passage going west in Fuente Aguanz; continue with hydrological mapping of area.
Note the 20+ personal listed in part 3 is not the full list, we are not yet sure of the exact numbers who will come in the Summer and I did not see the need to add another 20 plus people - if more information is needed I will supply.
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

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

Matienzo Caves Project is very important for the UK with its high quality on-line "open information" on this important caving area, an easy opportunity for UK cavers to experience oversea exploration with rigorous recording who can later use skills learnt in Matienzo to expeditions elsewhere and the good reputation it has developed in EU circles. Unlike many other expeditions travel and living costs are fully paid by the members, the grant allows us to provide caving equipment, materials to cap/stabilise cave entrances and purchase IT and surveying tools for this work to take place and critically it allows us to have a lower expedition fee for members under 25yrs old. In 2017 we spent an un-planned £450 on 850mm tubing to stabilise two entrances and make them environmentally acceptable. One was completed the second (Giant Panda) will be done in 2018 with more materials needed – the grant will help with these costs in addition to above.
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.

Three years ago, we started a hydrological mapping exercise and some very important links have been demonstrated (Vallina to Renada; Hoyon to Renada, Catchment of Fuente Aguanaz, etc.) - this work will continue depending on water conditions, a key area is the Fuente Aguanaz (1 m3/sec ave) catchment to the northwest of the area so as to delimitate its extent, in 2017 a major extension was found but only partly explored – work at Easter will continue to push this site to hopefully realise some of its potential. Another key test and pushing site is the North Vega system with a possible link to Fuente Aguanaz, last year we did not do this test due to major finds elsewhere take up resource, depending on water levels this will be a hydrological priority in 2018.

In 2017 among the 6+km found were three very promising finds that are key objectives in 2018:
• the major inlet in Fuente Aguanaz that was pushed and surveyed to just past a sump but not explored further, it needing some gear to remove a boulder blocking the way to a upper large area, and there was no time for a second trip

• over 2km of large passage found in Cueva-Cubío del Llanío reaching over the Four Valley System with very likely links and more extensive passage.

• a significant area of dry passages in Cueva Vallina past two upstream sumps was found. This is in a previously barren area, that has the potential to extend the system to the east and known caves such as TV Mast cave.

In 2018 additionally to above, work to achieve the link between Vallina and Renada will continue by way of both diving and pushing the passages found in 2016 that run above the flooded sections (work was stopped in 2017 in the upper dry passages as access through the streamway clouded the water for diving). This key area is fairly remote and requires trips in excess of 12hrs, at this stage in 2018 camping is not envisaged. As part of the work on this system the survey of the South Vega systems is being updated with considerable re-survey being needed to update and improve the surveys done in the early 1970s, this work will continue so we have an accurate survey of the whole system up to modern detailed standards and available to all on-line.
Work will continue on the resurvey of the Four Valley System using modern techniques and drawing up using Theiron for this complex system. The work will involve pushing key areas and in particular the far reaches in the Triton area.

Last year we carried out a major excavation and installation of an entrance to Cueva-Cubío del Llanío found by radio location. This work (80+ man days) meant the two very important objectives to make the entrances to "Giant Panda" entrance to the Four Valleys System (a key entry point that by-passes slow and awkward flood prone passages), and "BigMat Calf Hole" that again by-passes a long duck and flood prone section and is the best and key entry to Cueva Vaca secure was not done, other than blocking the former due to its dangerous instability and know sporting trips seen on Youtube. In 2018 this will be a very high priority to make these sites open and safe, it is likely to take a significant amount of manhours.

In addition to above, new and identified but not pushed sites in the permit area will be explored and smaller caves checked out for prospects (well over 4000 sites are now listed and recorded) - it is too extensive to go into all the possible objectives here, partly as some sites are weather dependent such as Washing Machine Hole. The key sites includes some just the west of the present end of Cueva Renada which should contain extensive passags (10's kmss) one draughts very strongly and was left with an unexplored 6m pitch needing a little work to access.
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.

I will no list al the previous work over the last 44yrs - the 385km found are extensively detailed on our website, of which the biggest sytems are the Four Valley System currently at nearly 60km, Cueva Renada and Cueva Vallina both at nearly 35km, North Vega System at 22km and Cueva Vaca at nearly 24km. I have not listed all the previous publications, some of the most important are listed below. The main way our work is made available is via our very extensive web-site where all our work is recorded with open access to our surveys, testing records and finds. This site is a model for ready and easy availability of information on all our work and finds and is available to all. In addition, the Expedition has given support to scientific work including on-going paleoclimate studies being undertaken by Lancaster university with a second PHD student currently well into her studies. Associated with this work a "cave monitoring" workshop is taking place in Matienzo just after Easter this year and although not directly linked to the expedition it will generate some cross-over effects. A number of the delegates have asked to join the expedition for a few days prior to this workshop.

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 extensive presentaion given at the RGS conference "A Golden Age of Cave Exploration" is linked in our 2017 report on our web page. 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.
The 2017 report in Spanish to the Federación Cántabra de Espeleología is available via our web-site as the English version that was sent to GPF.
Total UK cavers: 19
Total non UK cavers: 1
Total Cavers: 20
Alex Pitcher nominations: 0

Expedition Finances

Travel

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. Also, members will travel not only at Easter and Summer but at other times in the year.


# from UK: 50 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £20,120 Not all plans have been made (esp for the Summer and October trips) so below is an estimate
20 cavers by Ferry at Easter both ways in 7 vehicles £5,500
26 cavers by Ferry in Summer and October both ways in 9 vehicles £7,000
Other costs such as fuel, tolls, etc. - £3,000
About 14 flights to either Bilbao or Santander return at £180 each = £2520
Care hire (x5) and millage of 400ml each car on travel to Mateinzo and while in Spain = £1100. Via ferry and drive via France - 10 cavers - 3 vehicles equivalent to 2600ml each plus tolls and ferry costs = £1,000

# from outside UK: 3 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from outside UK: £500 One British from Hong Kong, airfare approx £500 others leaving from outside the UK are either two British who live in Matienzo so zero cost, or two Danish (I have not put in a cost as they are not eligible for funding)

Travel total: £20,620 Travel p.p. from UK: £402
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £166

Subsistence

Total: £14,500 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £274 Cavers provide own meals either cooking, local Bar or resturatnt - at local Bar Set meals are 14€ (£12 say £14 with Breakfast - About 800 man-days on site or travelling = about £12,000 Camping and other accommodation - £2500 (note several members have accommodation in area and these are at nil cost to expedition)

Gear

Total: £1,605 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £30 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.
Sundres for surveying - paper, waterproof cases, pads etc - £100
Snappers etc to remove rock - £280
Extra equpment to make safe two entrances (acro props, scaffolding, tube, concrete, and Stainless re-bar - £150
Bags for tackle at £35 each x5 - £175
Hangers and bolts (incl for Climbing) - £500
Rope 200m at 1.25 £/m - £250
Surveying gear replacemen

Special 1

Total: £600 Comments:
Special 1 p.p.: £11 Cave Radios (SubPhones) - estimate of £600 (£250 paid so far) so only the balance for the Expedition (did not purchase last year, but spent about same amount on tube and concrete for new SubPhone entrance work)

Special 2

Total: £500 Comments:
Special 2 p.p.: £9 Fees paid to Bar to use an area for office re surveying drawing, record keeping etc etc - £500
Exped Total: £37,825 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £726
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £490
Mean Exped cost per person: £713

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 all the trips at other times to look in the area for leads etc. Note also that the expedition period is split and I have separated these in the
costings as travel in the summer is more expensive and many cavers travel twice or more during the year.
Total shortfall: £37,825 Mean shortfall per person: £713

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

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 papers and reports the expedition had produced, but is not involved in the Expedition itself.

Permission obtained?: Yes
Referee 2: Mr Peter Hall
Affiliation: Redrose C&PC

Reason: Pete knows me and other key players of the Expedition. He also knows the experience that the more senior members of the team can give to younger members. He is also fully aware of the papers and reports the expedition had produced. Peter has been on the Matienzo experdition in the past (not in 2017 or in 2018), and knows the help it can give to younger cavers on other expedtions.

Permission obtained?: Yes

Expedition report author: Philip Papard