Beneath the Mountains

Exploring the deep caves of Asturias

David Rose and Richard Gregson

Preface

This is the record of several years' work by a large number of people. If it appears from these pages that the two of us have played a disproportionately important part in the expeditions, then we must apologise. It is neither true not the impression we wished to give.

Like the trips themselves, writing the book has been teamwork. The name in capitals at the start of each section indicates who is to blame for what follows. We must thank: the photographers whose work is represented here, Mick Clarke, Simon Fowler, Martin Hicks, Geoff Hogan, George Hostford and Clive Westlake; the Spanish caving authorities, the FNE and CRNE, for allowing us to work unhampered in the Picos de Cornion, the Grupo SIE of Barcelona for many years' cooperation and friendship; and the successive wardens of the Refugio MVA de Ario, Manolo, Eduardo, Alvaro, Vlas and Julia. Amador Gonzalez Ramon, who allowed his restaurant to be taken over by speleologists ad gave them free showers, deserves special thanks, and he also has a part of Xitu named after him.

We don't really need to thank all those who took part in the expeditions, who shivered in cold dark tunnels and sweltered up the mountains with huge packs. They, like us, are obsessed by the caves in an obscure range of mountains of which most of their friends have never heard; and in many cases their obsession has continued long after they stopped being students and took up more suitable employment. Why this is so may seem a mystery, to which no amount of words or descriptions can give and explanation. But we have tried.

David Rose and Richard Gregson

Bradwell, May 1986

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