The entrance of the Cave in the town of Llovio, Ribadesella, is preceded by a lush landscape.
We ascend through a dense forest and in our journey, little by little, the rock formations appear. In the middle of the vegetation, and close to the cave, we walk along an expanse of medium-sized stones, a huge limestone prao that speaks of the virulence that can reach the waters of the Tinganón in times of flood. Over the centuries the river has deposited these stones outside the cave, around a blind and deep valley still loaded with trees.
Further on the roquedal becomes steeper and steeper. They are large blocks, disproportionate steps to reach the immense entrance to the cave of Tinganón on its northern slope. This steep access, like a cannon, translates into our first effort worthy of mention. We are going up and already we guess that the adventure promises and that the spectacularity of the Tinganón will be a great reward.
From the entrance, crossing the mountain requires a minimum of security and adequate equipment, so the best thing to do is to resort to the help of the adventure companies of the area. With this extra help any person not expert in caving can face this challenge and admire carefully the lesser-known areas of the mountain: its entrails.
We will be ready to go through the helmet with helmets, carbide equipment and neoprene wetsuits. Valley of Peme, place that we will reach once we have crossed the Sierra de Escapa underground.
How is the tour of the cave?
The round trip takes two and three hours, and from the beginning does not leave indifferent. The spectacular dimensions of the entrance, the stalactites and stalagmites, the green leafyness that sneaks up to the cave itself ... the sight of all this makes it worthwhile the first half-hour journey along the mountainside.
From the very beginning we also discovered that the cavity is very influenced by the external climate due to its two large access points, such as two giant windows wide open, causing appreciable air currents in many areas of the journey.
The water course inside it is another of the hallmarks of Tinganón. Although the flow is much more considerable in rainy weather, the water accompanies us all the way and will help us to refresh ourselves of the effort. Many of the narrow corridors that run between the walls of the cave reach an important depth of water, we will also see waterfalls, we will slide by small slides, we will cross tunnels and we will discover minimal lakes inside.
In total we will face a little unevenness, just 65 meters along its kilometer of travel. The cave also descends at some point but the height of its roof is almost always constant: about 50 meters high. As far as the width, relaxed in the majority of the passage, it becomes narrow in concrete points, channels that in this case do not surpass the meter or the two meters to the width.
We will also practice climbing in the last stretch, to reach an overwhelming panorama from the exit to the valley. We see an arch of about 60 meters high. A dimension similar to the width of this enormous natural perforation in which it begins to dominate again the exterior vegetation, sneaking through all the cracks, in the eagerness of this small mountain range to adorn the doors to its karst interiors.
Go abroad It requires more care, because the last section is narrow and slippery.
Back home, the adventure of the Tinganón will comfort us for days. It will be difficult to get rid of that pleasant feeling that we have been in an unforgettable site.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com