Those lovely limestone mountains were calling to me, and there were many walks still to do, so back I went, 2 years on, with another splendid ramblers group for two more weeks of joyous mountain scenery. As I write this a few weeks later, three types of memories stand out: the superb walks, the nature highlights and the fun people moments.
On the walks:
We started with a trip up the cable car in Fuente De (spring of the river De) walking across delightful meadows, on to check out the old mines, and then the long long meadering descent to the pretty little village of Mogrovejo. The grade 7’s returned to Fuente De another day, to walk the Vega de LLiordes, a beautiful ascent, some snowy spires at the top, another perfect picnic spot, and a vicious descent on a never ending steep rubble path. But with views to die for (one of our group did indeed think he was going to die!)
Wide open grassy ridges were a feature of many walks at both grade 6 and 7, many a perfect picnic spot found.
One day we started out together with a view to splitting up for the grade 7’s to climb the summit, grade 6 to contour around, but I managed to persuade everyone to to top, up the steep bouldery slope, a first grade 7 walk for Kate, and what a fine summit it was: Gabanceda, and a fine lunch spot among the toothy rock spires.
La Traversona: a misty climb through the woods, past the pigs and up into the rocky spires, we emerge for the thick mist to an outstanding cloud inversion. Then on up the carefully concealed gully, over the snow field, conveniently covering rough boulder terrain, along a lovely moraine ridge, and finally to the lofty green pasture. We then climbed up to the impossible looking col to see the long traverse. And it’s certainly a long one, across scree, a bit of snow, rubble strewn grassy patches.
Cares Gorge always worth a mention, that’s one big gorge.
We were blessed with some real experts in the group: Ken on the flowers, and Alison on the birds. And we were rewarded with some amazing sightings. On afternoon we sat in the bowl of Vela de LLos watching the griffon vultures feasting on a carcass, when a golden eagle flies in to check out what’s happening, and then the Lammergeier turns up and starts on the bones. The sighting of the crested tit was a first for Jane too.
On the flowers, we did really well with the orchids: Ken showed us the arms and legs of the Man orchids, there were some lovely bee orchids, and I was overjoyed at the burnt orchids. All in addition to the many spotted heath orchids, white orchids and and….
The newts were pretty good too, up in the high meadows, where we walked along some of the prettiest and richest streams and pools.
And then there were the cows…magnificent beasts, but one was far too interested in Alun…or was it his lunch?
After a 800m ascent up the mining track to Treviso, full of admiration for the postie who used to walk this every day, we dive into the bar to find some local fare for lunch. As usual, the offering for vegetarians wasn’t obvious, but after much encouragement from the waitress, Andreas ordered some cheesy chips. But at the insistence of the waiter, and much misunderstanding it we all end up eating most of Andreas’s lunch, as well as our own assorted bowls of stew? soup?…..In fact many of our hilarious moments revolves around the food.
All desserts featured some type of custard, but the addition of a rich tea biscuit added a supreme level of sophistication. We were treated to this delight twice, the second time with much hilarity.
Feet in the cows trough was another happy moment, just what we needed for the last descent from La Traversona.
We developed a carefully assessed grading scale for gorse, a there were a few occasions when all I could see was a row of bobbing hats. Grade one gorse on the ascent to Pico Jairo was the meanest. Approaching another gorse infested slope, we met a farmer busy putting up his white tape fence. A friendly chap, but looking a bit concerned. Where had we walked from? Did we see his small black bull? Anywhere along the path? And where were we going? Yes, that was a good path, but could we look out for his bull please? (Not sure what we would do if we found it!)
We also visited the reconstructed wolf trap, amazed at the careful planning and construction that went into trapping the wolves. We felt we needed to try a re enactment to get the feel of what really happened. Julia was the wolf, looking far more like a bear. Or really, just a ramblers leader being very silly. But we laughed a lot.
Thanks again all, it was a blast.