The UBSS in the Pyrenees
Members of the Society had visited continental Europe prior to the 1960s, but really only on tourist trips, archaeological tours and similar visits. The first serious expedition that broke new ground was a visit to the Pyrenees in 1963. The visit was preceeded by a reconnaisance trip the preceeding summer by five people. According to Brian Collingridge, all he can remember of the caving was them dropping all their ladder down a cave and him climbing down to the end and "hanging there, unable to see walls or floor and no idea about how much further down it went".
So, on the basis of a succesful recce, a larger party consisting of eleven members of the Society and four members of the South Wales Caving Club visited the Monte Perdu massive in July/August 1963. No full report was published at the time, although a brief report on the water sampling work appeared as an appendix to a paper on water chemistry in Co. Clare. However, a manuscript report was prepared and the "results" section can be seen here, including the published water tracing work.
One significant cave was found and surveyed, the Pot de Collado de Salerons, 260 m long and 125 m deep. This survey has never been published and, as far as can be ascertained, only a centre line plot was ever drawn up. The data has now been processed using "Survex" and the 3D file can be found below.
In some respects this trip was ahead of its time, as UK cavers did not wholly develop the necessary techniques for "alpine" caving for another decade or more and this lack of both experience and suitable equipment meant that this visit was not followed up by the Society. The following Summer found us back in our happy hunting grounds of Co. Clare, Ireland.