Lago Ercina

Speleogroup  title


Site list (GPS fixes) Walks (GPS tracks)  Video clips Panoramas

Coordinates used

Electronic projects:

 Bat detector
 Lamp tests
 µ-controlled lamp
 SEPIC-based lamp
 ISP isolators
 Making SMT boards

Expedition logs:

  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,
  2022, 2023
  New England


 The Battle of
 El Mazuco

Expedition log, New Year 1974/75

Trumbio 1974/75

Trumbio 1974/75

It was thought that this expedition was not logged at the time, so the following paragraphs were written largely from memory; however, in 2019 a single page of notes (covering the first half of the expedition) was discovered; these notes are transcribed below the photographs, below.

Departure date was 27 December 1974; the ferry company cancelled our daytime trip to Le Havre but gave us a free cabin on the overnight passage! Very welcome.  Long drive in the three-wheeler down through France.

We attempted a survey of Tinganón using a protractor as an clinometer (which Bill still has, in 2007!).

We were accommodated in the Rales house (see below) by Tony’s mother (María Luisa).

We went down Rales cave.  This was almost certainly the through trip starting at Pozo de Molino, through the squeeze/duck down the pitches and cascades and out via Fuentica.

One reconnaissance up into the mountains on icy roads almost ended up in disaster, as the car skidded to the side of the road, just above a precipice.  If the car had four wheels, one of those might have been over the edge ...

New Year’s Eve was spent in Llanes, where we took pictures of revelers, the Guardia, etc., and also visited Matiu’s club (disco).

After New Year’s we went up to the Lakes in very frosty weather for photographs near Trumbio and surface explorations, etc., and on a later day drove up the Deva gorge and viewed Pozo del Infierno. 74 colour photos in all, plus 48 B&W discovered in 2023.
Bill & Reliant outside ‘our house’ in Rales

Bill & Reliant outside ‘our house’ in Rales

Pozu del Infierno entrance

Pozu del Infierno entrance

26.12 Left Bath 5:30pm.  Arrival Soton with 2 hours to spare and got on Normandy Ferries OK @ 9:30pm.
27.12 Off the boat by 7:15am.  Drove via Chartres, Tours, Poitiers, Bordeaux, and crossed Spanish border at 11:30pm. Slept on a hillside after doing 600 miles total.  5 hours sleep before drizzle at 7:30am ...
28.12 Bypassed Bilbao [no motorways then!] going via lakes – obscured by mist – then down to Santillana → Unquera → Rales @ 3:00pm.  Chatted to locals and were lent house for our use.  Down to Posada and “Becket” disco in the evening.
29.12 Off to Tinganón to survey it.  Forced to give up at stream junction near to top entrance because Bill’s carbide lamp used/gave up and no spare.  5 hour trip.  Noticed fault(?) inlet at highest point.
30.12 Llanes (shopping) and San Roque to get car repaired (leaking petrol tank).  Tank was soldered up, but was leaking again by the evening.  Went for a short drive then had a meal (steak, chips, and sour wine) in Llanes.
31.12 Samoreli entrance of Rales → Big Chamber (50m high by triangulation) with spotlight, car battery, and lots of camera equipment.  Took 50 or 60 photos, etc.  Bounce flash experiment, too.  Back to house (hair wash in cold water!).  Went into Posada; eventually learned that the New Year celebrations did not start until after midnight.  Went to Llanes and took photos outside the Town Hall in Llanes at midnight (annoyed the Guardia!).  Then off to posh Matiu’s Disco [in 2019 a hardware store] for next four hours.  Got back to Rales at 5am.
01.01 Got up at 3:00 pm.  Went for drive to look at Barbolla resurgence with mills then back to Posada to bars, etc.

No page covering the 2nd January through the return date (7th January) has been found; it may never have existed.
Some additional pages detailing times and mileages for the trip south through France do exist; no real information in them except for petrol prices: 1.80 Francs/Litre.  On 1 Jan 1975 there were 10.41 Francs to the Pound, so 1 litre would have cost 17.3p.  The 2019:1975 inflation factor for GBP is ×8.32, so in 2019 pounds that would be 1.44/l (about 14% more than average 2019 UK price).  NB the UK 1975 inflation rate was 24.24%.

Expeditions to the Picos de Europa and elsewhere since 1973.
Please e-mail Mike Cowlishaw ( or Bill Collis (
if you have any corrections, suggestions, etc.   See also the SpeleoTrove speleology section ».
The pages and data here are for non-commercial use only.   All content © Speleogroup 1973, 2023, except where marked otherwise.  All rights reserved.  Here is our privacy policy.

This page was last edited on 2023-05-24 by mfc.