Eastern Massif caving expeditions

In 1987 there were three main expeditions, the exploration of Sistema Sara by Lancaster University Speleological Society (LUSS) and the diving expedition in Cueva del Nacimiento by the South Wales Caving Club (SWCC). Verbond van Vlaamse Speleologen (V.V.S.) also returned to Sistema Sara to continue exploration of the Rio Mancondiu, discovered the previous year

Tresviso 1987 (LUSS)

Sara, a 600m deep cave explored in 1978 down a sporting streamway to sump well short of its potential. Were there high level routes to take us to greater depths, that existed in caves like 56? Much surface exploration over recent years had revealed little. Although a few mines led to deep systems, like Sara, hundreds didn’t go anywhere. Surface and mine exploration was becoming increasingly harder and more demoralising. Was Sara the only big lead in Andara and if so would she carry us on towards Agua?

Tim Nichols



  • explore possible high level leads in Sistema Sara,
  • explore beyond the -293m limit in Pozo Castillo
  • continue exploration of Clockwork Pot, found in 1986
  • continue surface prospecting
  • carry out various water traces


Approx. 3km of new cave was found in Sara 2. The system was re-surveyed and found to be -591m deep. The Rio Mancondiu section was explored by the Belgian Verbond van Vlaamse Speleologen (VVS) group, to a sump at -571m, directly above the Sara 2 sump.

Clockwork Pot was explored for -100m, including a large 83m shaft, entering the Pozo Natacha series of the Sistema Castillo.

T145 Pozo Castillo (part of the wider Sistema Castillo) was attempted to be re-explored but progress was blocked by a severe snow collapse


Brian ThompsonLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987
Colin DentLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987
Dave HetheringtonLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987
Dave WarringtonLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987
Jes PetersonLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987
Martin JohnsonLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987
Neil TurtonLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987
Paul OldhamLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987
Sarah FagentsLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987
Tim NicholsLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987
Cath FearnLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Tresviso 1987

Documents & Links

Agua 1987 (SWCC)

Agua 1987

The aven looks horrendous. It would probably take 2 days hard work. The walls are covered in very liquid mud and there is a consistent stream of water coming down.



The main objective of the SWCC 1987 expedition was to set up a 4 person camp in Consort Hall of Cueva del Nacimiento and push all the known leads in the Teeth of Satan series, discovered in 1986.

Additionally, an attempt to dive the terminal sump in Cowshead Cavern was to be attempted and a dive of the Parting Friends sump in the Road to Wigan Pier section of Cueva del Nacimiento.


Cueva del Nacimiento

Teeth of Satan was re-rigged to the Wet Aven a further climb above leading to walking canyon passage and chamber, Space the Final Frontier. A further ramp was climbed to further high level canyon. The canyon continued through numerous boulder falls to a small chamber (P-Chamber) before further rift passage led to an enormous chamber, Death Race 2000

A pitch at the far side of Death Race 2000 was dropped down >60m to a small stream

Parting Friends was not dived due to high water levels. An inlet sump near Spangle Junction was dived, but emerged in the downstream end of the Road to Certain Death passage.

Cowshead Cavern

Sump 3 was dived to -31m before ascending to surface. After 5m of dry passage Sump 4 was encountered.


Cathy MackaySouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Fiona ThomsonSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Gavin NewmanSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Helen RichardsonSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Janice RichardsSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Jim ThomsonSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Marco PaganuzziSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Nick AireyLancaster University Speleological SocietyUK1987Agua 87
Nigel AshcroftSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Pete FrancisSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Phil HallSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Phil RustSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Roddy McLauchlanSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Sarah TyndallSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Steve JonesSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87
Steve RichardsonSouth Wales Caving ClubUK1987Agua 87

Documents & Links

Sara 1987 (Verbond van Vlaamse Speleologen)

Systema Sara 1987


  • Exploration of Sara (continuing exploration of the Belgian Connection / Rio Mancondiu)


Andre SleursVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87
Eddy SchrevensVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87
Frank De ClerckVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87
Jan DielsVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87
Jan MasscheleinVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87
Jos BeyensVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87
Koen MandonxVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87
Patrick BlommaertVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87
Rik KuenenVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87
Ronny PonetVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87
Wim CuyversVerbond van Vlaamse SpeleologenBEL1987Sara 87

Documents & Links