Site list (GPS fixes)
Walks (GPS tracks)
Making SMT boards
Spain 1973, 1974,
1975, 1976, 1977,
1979, 1982, 1983,
1985, 1986, 1987,
1988, 1989, 2000,
2001, 2002, 2003,
2004, 2005, 2006,
2007, 2008, 2009,
2010, 2011, 2012,
2013, 2014, 2015,
2016, 2017, 2018,
2019, 2020, 2021,
The Battle of
Expedition log, March and June 2022
Speleogroup made two expeditions to Spain in 2022.
Click on (or tap) any image thumbnail for
a full-size version, or on a video clip to play at a larger size.
||Both leave home around 06:00 and by 15:10 we were heading north from Madrid in sunshine. Later rain slowed the driving, but we arrived in Llanes at 21:00, just as restaurants were opening. We dined at Taberna Mezcolanza (El Galeón); bocartes and secreto Iberico, followed by a plate of picón cheese, all washed down with La Planta.
||Unlike two years ago, the hotel was full and so its restaurant was open for breakfasts – continental for Mike and an impressively full breakfast for Bill. In due course (via Posada and Puente Nuevo) to El Mazuco to book a table for lunch later. That secured, on to Alto de la Tornería for two very pleasant walks with hazy views but in sunshine and 15°C.
Lunch at El Roxin was superb; criollo, patatas ali-oli, and
costillas de cerdo – the latter being ‘best ever’. Must order
half-portions next time, however...
costillas at El Mazuco
Back down to Llanes for a gentle stroll along the Paseo de San Pedro
watching the waves preceding the forecast storm in pleasant sunshine,
followed by prospecting restaurants near the hotel (Sablón) in anticipation
of a very wet evening. Happily the rain held off and we had salty
gambas at Amistad, making it back to the hotel just as the rain
started. Much rain overnight.
||A sunny morning with a clear view of the Sierra de Cuera.
Headed west after breakfast beyond Garaña and the Playa de Guadamía
to view the bufones as the sea was predicted to be rough. And it
was! Some excellent views of spray coming out of multiple fissures
in the rocks above the cliffs accompanied by the roar of air compressed
by the waves. The spray also produced local rainbows. Total walking
about 2 km.
Bufones de Pría, with arco iris
We then drove east to Casa Poli in Vidiago, arriving just in time
for lunch at 13:30. There was already a queue of customers waiting
outside as it is not possible to reserve a table and demand is high.
Bill had his favourite magret de pato (duck) and Mike had merluza
a la Romana (hake, somewhat undercooked).
On the return we stopped off at Sidrería El Chispero in Pendueles
and were served some good Ribera del Duero as we sat next to a warm
wood-pellet stove. Dinner at Uría in Llanes (paella and lomo).
||A couple of coffees in a very quiet and rather cold Monday-morning town, then west to search again for the Llamigo resurgence. We forgot to read the 2019 log but recognised a precarious tree-trunk bridge – but the ford nearby was impassable because of the depth of the water due to the storm 36 hours earlier. A pleasant 2 km walk in any case.
Then up to the Collado del Torno (where we took 360° photos last
year), after spotting ‘La Cuevona de la Caleya’ on Google maps about
900m west of the pass. Another pleasant 2 km walk with fine views
of the snow-topped Picos, but the small depression where the ‘Cuevona’
was marked was not at all promising, and indeed it turned out be
a false marker on the map as the Cuevona is much closer to Cangas.
Bill near Collado del Torno
Back down to Nueva for a somewhat average lunch at Sidería Muros,
then back to Llanes via Poo.
||An overcast but warm-ish day and off towards the lakes (Lagos Enol & Ercina) via Cangas de Onis where Mike bought himself a gilet as he had been feeling cold. The road from Covadonga to Lago Ercina is open to traffic at this off-season time of year; on the way up we noticed the Gueyu Reinazo (Trumbio resurgence), conspicuous by its lack of vegetation. Our objective was another intermediate entrance to Trumbio found by Spanish cavers a few years ago. We estimated that this could be approached from the Orandi track and then cutting down the valley through meadow and woods.
We found Mike’s ‘entrance shaft’ of 2019 and after thrashing through
brambles another possible entrance 📌
was found in a depression. Not very promising as the passage closed
down after 3 m and there were no footprints; our conclusion was that
the Trumbio survey had not been corrected to allow for the known
position of the lower entrance.
Trumbio possible entrance
We drove up to lake Ercina but, predictably, restaurante/bar María
Rosa was closed. There was no view of the mountains in the strange
hazy mist (colima) so we descended the road again then, at the
bottom of the valley, we turned east and stopped at Casa María for
a plate of Gamonéu cheese. This must have been quite filling as
we left a quarter of it. Dinner at Restaurante Uría where the 13€ Menu
offered soup + escalopines al Cabrales for Mike and fabada + salmon
for Bill. Excellent value.
||We rose to see dark and foreboding pink skies (due to unusually heavy Saharan dust blowing from the south – probably also the cause of the haze the day before). Our grey car had a newly brown roof. Plan A was to fly the drone above Suarías, but early rain scuppered that and Plan B (drone Pozo de Infierno) too.
Onward to La Hermida for Riojas and picón and some planning,
followed by heading east to try a new restaurant: Casa Cofiño, Caviedes
(SE of San Vicente). Good food (a ‘taster’ portion of cocido de
montañes for Mike and huevos con jamón for Bill), and an extensive
wine list that omitted all the ‘usual suspects’; we enjoyed a Pétalos
huevos con jamón
We then checked out another ‘new’ restaurant recommended by our hotel
(Sidrería Casa El Rubiu, Vidiago) which looked promising for another
By now the rain was quite heavy so we returned to Llanes. Mike braved
the rain for a while, including visiting Bar Pinín to get warm –
it is small but has two large radiators. The landlady (since about
2001) recognised him despite the mascarilla.
||After a full breakfast at the hotel, we drove east to Purón and then up the steep and narrow mountain track to view the El Cuevón de la Pruneda resurgence. The road was wet and the wheels kicked up considerable amounts of goat excrement, presumably deposited by the herd meandering slowly up the track before us – making the car even more brown.
The resurgence water was cascading on the other side of the valley
so we sent the new drone over to investigate; the alternative was
to effect a through trip of the cave (as we had done in 1985 and
1986) but lack of ropes, tackle, and wetsuits (not to mention lack
of youth) gave the drone the advantage.
Regular readers of this site will know that it took some 90 minutes
just to descend from the cave resurgence to Purón village over the
very steep and rough terrain in the 1980s. In contrast it took the
drone just three minutes to get within 50m of the resurgence, where
we took photos (the water can be seen cascading down from the resurgence
in the attached photo) and a spherical panorama [360°]. Despite the reduced undergrowth at this time of year
a clear view of the downstream entrances was not really possible.
We drove carefully back down the hill – admiring the tree-climbing
We had hoped to find some refreshment in Pendueles, but the bar was
closed. Further east in San Vicente de la Barquera many restaurants
were closed so we opted to try Comillas where we had an excellent
lunch at Las Filipinas (black rice for Bill, chuletillas for
||A chilly but dry start. Since the forecast was cloudy (with chance of showers) we decided this was the day for a spot of caving, in
Cueva Cobijeru. |
We duly arrived at the cave, despite deep mud on the path, for a
pleasant trip through the cave to the sea-cave entrances with huge
waves crashing against the cliffs outside. Mike was a little surprised
how out-of-practice he was at balancing across the rough terrain.
The tide was incoming so as the waves washed further into the cave
we explored more of the cave away from the sea.
Cobijeru upper entrance
Caving and photos done, we retired to the Pendueles bar with the
warm wood-pellet stove until it was time for another lunch at Casa
Poli: magret de pato and gambas. Back to Llanes via Poo.
It being Friday, the choice of restaurants was almost as normal;
‘all the usual suspects’ (twenty or more) compared to just two or
three earlier in the week. A light below-average supper at Almacén.
||A bright morning so off east to Unquera for (relatively) cheap fuel, then south to Suarías and up the track to the depressions above. It was soon clear that it was much too windy at this altitude to fly the drone safely – we had planned to photograph Cueva El Arco. Disappointed, we drove down to Panes and then west to Trescares to reconnoitre the restaurant Monte Río.
It was too early for lunch; however, another recommended restaurant
was La Sidrería Casa Niembro at Asiegu, with views of the ‘Naranja
de Bulnes’ peak on the way. But, even though we were early, all
the tables had been booked. So we returned to Arenas de Cabrales
and had an excellent Menú at Rte. Santelmo. Embutidos followed
by egg, chorizo and chips for Bill, while Mike had escalopines
– without batter, but with (unsurprisingly) superior Cabrales sauce.
Good value at 24€ for both.
Naranja de Bulnes
Dinner at Mar&Más, a new restaurant in the “alley” in Llanes:
calamares en su tinto and rabas (calamares in batter).
Expensive and poor service.
||A beautiful sunny morning (it reached 19°C later). Headed east to Cobijeru (Buelna) to fly the drone to take pictures of the cliffs from the sea to see if we can spot the sea entrances to Cobijeru cave. Excellent flying conditions with very light winds; took five spherical panoramas (including this [360°]), a number of stills, and a couple of videos [all to be analysed in detail later].
Cobijeru and Buelna from over the sea
Then via Pendueles to Casa Poli for lunch (for the third time this
trip, making at least 20 visits since 2001!). As always, excellent
food; jamón serrano, followed by magret de pato and chuletillas.
Back to Llanes for a walk in the sun, packing, etc.
||Left Llanes at 07:00 for the long drive to Madrid; mostly dry but some rain. Sadly the stop we’d planned at Hostal LandHaus in El Molar (just 30 minutes north of the airport) for the tostada of cheese and jamón serrano we’d enjoyed on our arrival day was closed on Mondays...
Uneventful flights home, with a lot less paperwork than in 2021.
||Mike to Bilbao from Gatwick; journey as expected (slow on M25).
Now no extra paperwork other than to show vaccination pass on arrival
(which wasn’t checked). 10 hours travel in all. Bill’s travel from
Milan equally long and uneventful; we arrived in Ramales about 9pm
and dined later at the Restaurante Fuente La Vega, just north of
Breakfast at 9 in the hotel then drove west to Arredondo where we
stopped at Rte. Casanova (and decided to not book lunch there).
We then followed the Asón valley south, past the known resurgence,
then beyond the source of the Asón waterfall (which had hardly any
water) to the Nacimiento del Río Gándara. This had been turned
into a picnic area where tourists could admire the stream bubbling
out of an impenetrable spring from limestone boulders. From the
road above we had seen a potential dry entrance so there may possibly
be a cave system.
Nacimiento del Río Gándara
Retracing our steps to Arredondo we then drove to Matienzo, an area
well known to British cavers since the 70s (particularly Manchester
University Speleological Society). It was now time for lunch, back
on the Asón river, at the Anjara restaurant which is run by the children
of Casa Tomás in Ogarrio. We shared dishes of lamb (lechazo)
and suckling pig (cochinillo) which were quite good but we preferred
After lunch it was drizzling so that dampened our enthusiasm for
further explorations; hamburgers for dinner at the Taberna Nashville
close to the hotel.
Another overcast day so we made the 10 minute walk to Cueva Cullavera,
close to the centre of Ramales. Took photos of the impressive entrance.
Cueva Cullavera entrance
Then on to Los Tojos stopping briefly at Puentecilla. Excellent
lunch at Rte. La Bolera. Cabrito for Bill and lomo de cerdo
for Mike washed down with the same award winning Arzuaga Ribera 2018
that we appreciated last year.
After a brief walk around the nearby Bárcena Mayor (a well-preserved
and much-visited ‘mountain village’) we continued on to Llanes via
Pendueles, arriving in plenty of time for paella, etc., at Rte.
Canene. A damp evening, but nearly all the rain fell while we were
||We’d been studying the tide tables, so, given a good weather forecast
(cloud/sun and 0% chance of rain) this promised to be and proved
to be excellent conditions for a drone flight to capture panoramas
of the sea entrance to Cobierju at low tide.
We duly arrived at the cave top entrance at 10:10 (12 minutes before
low tide) and soon found a good spot, almost overlooking the sea
entrance, to launch the drone. Dual control worked well (Bill mostly
flying, Mike mostly worrying about photos, and both worrying about
drone position) successfully captured the limestone platform outside
the cave that’s only exposed at low tide.
The full-detail spherical panorama is here: [360°].
Cobijeru sea entrance view – terrace at centre of image
Not content with just one success for the day, we packed up the drone
and traversed around the La Silluca Cove and found the Cueva La Silluca
mentioned in The Spanish Coastal Systems (Morales 2019). Impressive
sounds as the sea crashed though the sea entrance of the cave.
We retraced our steps to the car enjoying the views and pleasant
weather. The coastline here is possibly unsurpassed.
In due course, Casa Poli for lunch (where we are apparently now ‘regulars’),
then back to Llanes for a post-prandial walk along Paseo San Pedro.
Later, Rte. Salero for black rice etc., and after that we came across
Leopoldo and Mari-Carmen and caught up on events in Madrid.
A misty morning so we decided to try out Mike’s new NEO3 LED light
in Cueva Bolado to see how it performed and in general get back
into the caving habit. All went well, and a procedure for using
the light was established; it is certainly (and by far) the brightest
continuous light we’ve ever used in a cave: over 5,000 lux at 1 m,
which is more than 3 stops better than the Muse light we tried a
couple of years ago. This allowed exposure times of 1/100 s or faster
at low ISO, giving very sharp results.
Next followed a long search for lunch ... plans A though D all failed
(including two restaurants that Google claimed were open but were
not), mostly North and West of Nueva. Finally ended up in the Central
bar in Nueva for a pleasant lunch.
At some point during the day Mike mentioned that he hadn’t charged
the second drone controller because it wasn’t in the drone bag, and
eventually it dawned on us that it wasn’t to be found in the car
either. An evening search at the Cobijeru carpark where we suspected
it might have been dropped revealed nothing, and we resolved to fully
retrace our steps of the previous day after visiting Cobijeru cave
at low tide the next day.
Since we were so close, Casa Poli was the obvious place for dinner
and it was as good as ever, especially the Cabrales sauce.
After a cooked breakfast in the hotel bar (bacon & egg) we returned
to Cueva Cobijeru just before low tide, which allowed more extensive
exploration as a rogue incoming wave from the rough seas, after low
tide, could easily knock one off balance.
Cobijeru coloured rocks
While Mike was setting up his NEO3 lamp and taking photographs (note
that the colours shown in the photograph are as seen natural – Mike
didn’t use the NEO3’s colour effects!)
Bill edged around the now accessible terrace on the seaward side
to the west. From this vantage point more unexplored passages to
the east were also more visible. In the past these had appeared
wet and small but with the low tide a pretty walking “main passage”
could be followed for 50m. It’s quite likely that another through
trip could be possible as we later found a high entrance from above.
After exiting the cave we walked east towards Cueva Silluca hoping
to find the drone controller lost on Monday. It was hot, and there
was a strange sea mist which interfered with navigation somewhat
as well as making walking sticky. No luck finding the controller
at Silluca nor at the drone takeoff point.
After a much-appreciated beer at the “El Paso” bar (opposite El Horno
de Buelna) we lunched at a “recommended” restaurant, Casa El Rubiu,
in Vidiago. Lomo for Mike and scallops for Bill washed down
with some inexpensive but very good Ribera de la Casa.
The mist persisted until 5pm, but then the weather cleared for delightful
evening light and dinner in Llanes.
||Good weather was forecast – although warm (high 20s/low 30s) –
so we decided to head to the Lakes as access would be unlikely over
the weekend. Unfortunately the access road was closed so our planned
walk to find the lower entrance to Trumbio was impossible (perhaps
just as well in the rising heat that touched 33°C later).
Plan B was an exploratory drive to the west of the Sierra de Sueve
but we were able to drive slowly enough to be passing the Rte. La
Roca in Sevares (about 6km WSW of Arriondas) just as it opened for
lunch. ½ tabla de queso, criollo, etc., were enjoyed,
especially as their comedor was air-conditioned (rare!).
Back to Llanes in due course with a short walk to admire the tamarisk
trees on the Paseo San Pedro. In the evening, the edge of major
thunderstorms over the mountains dumped a few minutes of rain on
Llanes and cleared the air nicely, and after a stroll around the
town we ended up at the quite-new marinera restaurant in the port
for truly excellent fish – merluza (hake) and salmonetes
(red mullet) – washed down with a good Albariño.
San Pedro tamarisk tree
||Off to Ribadesella with the intention of visiting Cueva Tito Bustillo (we hadn’t been there since 1977). However
due to Covid restrictions the showcave was closed – possibly reopening
Back into the town we found that El Escondite, a small wine bar,
had reopened (after 12 years!) so we wasted some time there and walking
around to choose a restaurant for lunch. A single plate of arroz
con tinto de calamares had caught Bill’s eye but this turned out
to be unavailable at lunchtime. Mike had costillas (ribs) and
Bill ordered chorizo criollo. But the waitress could not provide
any chips or vegetables. Annoyingly, chips were seen on a neighbouring
table with a different dish. Not happy. So after lunch we shared
another plate of criollo with chips at Los Muros in Nueva.
That hit the spot! We also discovered that the traditional sauce
served with criollo is Mojo picón de Asturias.
Los Muros criollo
Back to the hotel at 16:15 to write up the log, etc. Again mid-30s
temperatures, so a light supper of nice fish soup at Rte. Salero
The weather forecast had foretold a very hot day so off to Tresviso
at 907m in the eastern massif of the Picos de Europa amid spectacular
limestone scenery. It wasn’t much cooler than the coast (we noted
34°C), but we found the new restaurant, El Redondal, for lunch:
cheese and embutidos plus chips in Picón sauce. Fortunately we could
eat in the shade on the terrace, but a very brief rain storm forced
us to move table. Excellent friendly service – better than La Taberna
in the same village.
Scenery en route to Tresviso
Back at the coast the temperature dropped to a cool 23°C and
we arrived back in Llanes after the long drive around 6 pm. Dinner
at Casa Poli with Bill having his usual Magret de pato (duck)
and Mike having chuletillas (lamb chops).
||Back to more normal temperatures – 19°C instead of 27°C at
breakfast – so, with the possibility of morning showers (which mostly
didn’t materialise), we headed South with several objectives for
After missing the parking space for Pozu del Infierno we pondered
the next step over a huge ración (perhaps ½ kilo) of Picón
in La Hermida (Posada La Cuadrona). Then up to Bejes to take a new
‘PanGazer starter image’ with the new drone. In all, despite the
attention of curious dogs, we took four spherical panoramas, all
of which looked promising in the lo-res in-drone stitch. The best,
full-detail spherical panorama, is here: [360°].
Picón at La Hermida
Next on to Potes for a snack lunch (no room for a ‘proper’ lunch
after the cheese!) and to ask about hotel rates for a future trip;
they seem higher than before but still lower than at the coast.
Potes remains an attractive town; almost as picturesque as Bárcena
Mayor but with dozens more restaurants and bars.
Returning down the La Hermida gorge we decided to have another go
at flying the drone up to Pozo del Infierno. After a rocky start
due to no GPS signal the drone stabilized and we were able to fly
it up to a suitable height and capture two sphericals. This was
followed by a rapid descent to the takeoff point (because the battery
was low) and a rocky landing after the GPS signal was lost. Fortunately
no harm done.
Back to Llanes via Pendueles.
||A damp day, so a late start to reconnoitre the environs of Cuevas del
Mar (on the coast, North of Nueva). First checked out the minor
road branching NW from the ‘main’ road shortly before the beach (at
K.25). Interesting undercutting of the limestone by the (currrently
dry) river, but it was raining hard so did not investigate.
Then East of the road, to Picones (with various side-trips), to get
a feel for the limestone above the caves, but not very promising
(and still raining). An approach from below might be useful. Next
to Llames (with an M) for refreshment and later to Sidrería Muros
in Nueva for lunch. Back to Llanes via Pendueles for an afternoon
in the hotel avoiding the heavy downpours; these stopped in time
for a light dinner at Salero.
||After breakfast, fearing yet another wet day, we drove east where the
forecast promised a dryer afternoon.
First stop was a ~1.2 km walk in sunny 20°C weather to the Bufones
de Ballota. Some of them had developed into substantial sea caves
but the tide was low so there was little spray. However, examining
one cave entrance (bufone), there was a powerful upwards blast of
air caused by the waves crashing into the lower entrance. Mike’s
hat was blown off by the blast and landed several metres away; a
very odd experience and an unusual caving hazard!
Blasting Ballota bufone
We also admired an unusual case of a stream draining into the upper
entrance of a quite vertical sea cave 📌.
Stream [dry in June] sinking into sea cave
Continuing east to Cantabria we had lunch at Casa Cofiño in Caviedes,
a restaurant we had first found in the spring. Many of the dishes
were based on egg and chips but they were well cooked and presented.
Mike had good lomo and Bill had foie with caramelized onions,
both washed down with an unusual Spanish Petit Verdot 2018. Worth
the driving, and the nice weather was appreciated.
Queso Tres Leches in El Cuera was all the supper that was needed.
||Today’s objective was to drive east again via Merodio (east of Panes)
then Cabanzon, Camijanes, Bielva. Our specific objective was the
fishermen’s path along the river Lamasón just north of Sobrelapena
but as we arrived the predictable downpour started. So we drove
over the pass to Puentenansa but the town was uninspiring and it
was still too early for lunch. In the hope of finding better weather
yet further east we drove over another pass to Valle, in the Saja
valley and on to La Bolera restaurant again in Los Tojos. Mike had
an enormous half ration of costillas whilst Bill modestly got
by on a plate of lomo. Good Viña Mayor (Ribera). Excellent
Back to Llanes and dinner at Amistad bar.
Similar weather forecast as past few days: dry until noon, then wet,
so we decided on a bit more caving. We arrived at Caldueñin at
around 10:30 and were soon inside the cave (wetter than usual) for
some successful photography experiments with the new lamp.
Caving is fun in Caldueñin
We were headed to Comillas for lunch as it was expected to be dry
there, but as it was early we stopped off at Pendueles for refreshments
and then at the Buelna bar for one last check whether anyone had
handed in our missing drone controller. “Sorry, no”, said the bartenders
who had taken our number and name the week before.
¡Wait a minute!, said a third, reaching up above the bar counter.
¿Is this it? – and it was indeed the missing controller, in perfect
condition. Celebrations! It had been left at the bar by a chica
who had found it near Cobijeru; they weren’t sure exactly where or
In due course, on to Restaurante Filipinas in Comillas for squid
in its ink with rice for Bill and asparagus for Mike, with a a line-up
of Riberas ‘in the bottle’ to choose from.
||Drive to Bilbao, both home very late (Gatwick → Coventry 4+ hours for Mike, flight delays for Bill). But it was worth it.
- March expedition mantra: “I hate masks!”.
- Exchange rate: 1.17 EUR/GBP in March, 1.16 in June (compared to
1.43 in 2015, 1.10 in 2020); 85.0p = 1 Euro = 166 pesetas (≈194
- Petrol was €1.87/litre, in March in Unquera (a record high);
in June it was €2.189/litre, before 15% Gov. discount, in Rales
(a new record high).
- Weather in March: really nice days both weekends; cold & sometimes
- Weather in June: first week very hot (34°C max); second week highs
of 19–21°, light rain most afternoons.
- The drone flown was a DJI Mavic 2 Pro »; 27 min in total.
GPX tracks of the drone flights may be available if you contact
- The pictures in this log were taken using a Sony RX100M6 camera,
a Panasonic LF1, various phones, a Ricoh Z1, and the drone.
- 360° panoramas are very large and so are not displayed in this log;
instead, click on the [360°] marker
to open and then save the panorama.
- Specific GPS positions are shown by a pushpin symbol (📌)
in the log above – click on the symbol for a Google maps view of
the fix. These positions are also listed on the Speleogroup site list page with coordinates in °,′,″ degrees using
WGS84 datum and in UTM coordinates; see Coordinate systems.
- Fixes and tracks were recorded using a Samsung S10e Android ’phone
using the MyTrails app (or by the drone, for drone flights).
- This log was almost entirely edited in the field on a Lenovo Yoga
notebook, using the
MemoWiki » extended
Wiki notation which is then processed by a
Rexx » script to generate the HTML for this