Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Weekend In Somiedo

Another rewarding weekend walking in Asturias. If anyone believes that this region is just about the Picos de Europa, then I recommend a visit to the Parque Natural de Somiedo. Far less touristy than the Picos, but with some magnificent mountain routes and scenery. On Saturday we ventured to one of the most protected natural spaces in Spain, the Reserve of Muniellos. A maximum of 20 people per day are allowed to enter this reserve (and prior reservation is needed), which amongst other things serves as a refuge for the endangered Iberian brown bear. The lack of human disturbance is evident as you walk through one of the country’s largest oak forests. Even the rain didn’t put us off although I ended the day completely soaked. This place has to be wonderful in Spring or Autumn.

We had better luck with the weather on Sunday and Monday, and were able to do two different high mountain routes in the area around Saliencia and Valle de Lago. On neither of these routes did we see anybody else at all, obviously early January is not peak season but even so it is impressive to be in such peaceful surroundings. We did see plenty of wildlife in the area around Lagos de Saliencia, as every rocky outcrop seemed to have a rebeco (Pyrenean chamois) looking down on us.

Lago de la Cueva

Above the Lagos de Saliencia

Ever get the feeling you are being watched?

Lago de Valle

We stayed in Pola de Somiedo, a still small village although it seems to be expanding to meet the growing demand for rural tourism in Spain. Here is the map of the three routes, clicking on each one gives additional information and links. As usual it is easier to manage if you view the larger map. Any GPS users who want the tracks of the routes should send me an email.

View Larger Map


Katie said...

mmmm! thanks graeme for yet another reason to head up to asturias asap. nice job on the map!

Keefieboy said...

Stunning photos!

Ben said...

Stunning photos, another lost piece of Spain to check out!