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Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa

Postby JohnJoe » Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:33 pm

Date walked: 06/08/2012

Time taken: 13

Distance: 20 km

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This was a 20k hike from the Lakes of Covadonga (Asturias, Northern Spain) to Cain, a village at the other side of some of the highest mountains in the Picos de Europa.

The night before we set off we stayed in a hotel next to the huge catholic Basilica set in the forest and the Holy Cave of Covadonga which contains the tomb of the first king of Asturias. It's interesting from a historical and religious point of view, but I had already been dragged round there as a child and wasn't too bothered about looking round it again. The food and everything else about the hotel was awful, so we were glad to get out the next morning and head up into the national park.


Looking up towards the mountains we would pass through. Peña Santa de Castilla, the highest peak we would pass by (but not climb) is to the right.

Looking back towards the northern coast of Spain

Polish pot-holers who had set up a semi-permanent camp. I just don't understand why you would come all the way here just to disappear underground and crawl around in the dark.


The pass we used to get through to the descent on the other side. It took a while to find it and we weren't totally sure it was the right one. The path completely disappeared at the start, but then we spotted the little piles of stones to guide us through. Once through the pass, we had to descend 1400m over just 3km! Needless to say it was knee-shattering. The piles of stones were invaluable in guiding us down, allowing us to concentrate on not falling over (or off). My friend's dad eventually fell and injured his leg, but otherwise he had done pretty well for a 55 year old chain smoker.

This was almost the end of the walk. Or so we thought. At this point a huge, aggressive dog came charging towards us from some farm buildings. It wasn't deterred by us picking up stones or waving sticks and shouting at it, and chased us back up the hill. We were so close to the finishing point but couldn't get past this guard dog!

We spent about an hour basically trying to skirt round a ravine, and eventually found a way round the farm and down some terraces, narrowly avoiding a huge cliff.

Once we arrived in the village we stopped at the first restaurant we came to. We ordered the classic Asturian dish - ham, eggs and chips, and a few beers. It cost next to nothing and tasted great. What a contrast to the disgusting food in the overpriced hotel we stayed in the night before.

The owner of the hostel told us the dog which chased us away was a constant problem for walkers and had recently bitten someone trying to get past it. During the day the owner is there and it isn't a problem, but at night he leaves the farm - and the dog, which roams around chasing and biting people.

We had planned to walk back via a different route the next day, but after our exhausting experience, and given that one of us was injured, we opted for a short walk along the river and then a 2 hour, 90 euro taxi ride back to Covadonga!
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Re: Picos de Europa

Postby ChrisW » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:50 pm

Great report JJ, shame about the one fall/injury and the damn dog :lol: but a wonderful hike and a fine meal to finish....90 Euro in a cab is a bit steep though :shock:
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