Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

2 nd to 10 th of June 2018 - Picos de Europa

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Potes and Gijon.

Andy collected our hire car and we drove along the coast up into the Western Picos where we had an apartment with a swimming pool rented for a week. Potes was a very pretty town only 20 km from Fuente Dé a large rocky outcrop with a cable car to the top of the eastern massif. We needed to stop off at the visitors centre in Sotama. This was a very strange place and not very informative, however fortunately it did sell 1:25,000 maps so we could do some decent walking without getting too lost. Finding maps in the book shops is nigh on impossible. The weather wasn't as sunny however what we lost in blue skies was made up for in atmosphere. The skies changed continually and fortunately there was a washing machine and tumbler drier near our apartment for us to dry our wet weather gear. 


The area around the Picos is very popular with people walking the 'way'. As a result there are lots of monasteries and churches even in the tiny villages high up in the mountains. The monastery near Potes claims to have a small part of the original crucifix. This made it a very busy spot for people visiting to touch the container. Not really one for me and Andy but we did enjoy a short walk around the monastery to the hermitages nearby.

SIERRA DE LA VIORNA                        



The snow was still quite thick at the top and many of the high passes were blocked. However, we were able to get up to nearly 2000m. Once up on the plateau, the scenery became much greener and there were cows grazing as well as the odd chamois. Walking on the snow was quite problematic as it was melting from underneath so it was uncertain whether it would hold our weight. As a result we did have to take a few detours.


On our last day, we decided to go for a drive around to the south of the mountains. The roads were exciting and gave some lovely views. We headed toward Riaño which was originally at the bottom a a valley. In the 1980s they flooded the Valley and built the town further up the hill, moving the church stone by stone. The trees still seemed to be surviving underneath the reservoir and you could just see the tops poking out of the water.




On return to Gijon, we took advantage of the car to do a big heavy shop before planning our journey east.

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