Saturday, January 08, 2011

Walking in Asturias 8 - Peña Crespa

The walk up to Peña Crespa is in the Ponga Mountains, a mountain range next to the Picos National Park and popular with walkers. From La Pasera, it takes us over an hours drive along some very impressive mountain roads with fabulous views.

Peña Crespa was the last in a series of five limestone ridges we tried to climb over on this particular occasion and just before all the snow had melted. The views of the surrounding mountains are spectacular and in the distance you can appreciate how impressive the Picos Mountains are.

Any walking in the Ponga area will take you through some stunning pasture lands and meadows dotted with stone huts or cabañas used by the shepherds in the Summer months. Many of the cabañas fell into disrepair when the number of shepherds started to decline in the late 80s and through the 90s. I could not resist photographing the carvings on the door of one of the cabañas still standing. Spending any length of time in any of the cabañas as people did in the old days must be quite an experience. I could see myself spending the odd night in a tent up in the mountains but imagine stopping in the middle of nowhere with a fire for warmth at night, a candle to light up your evenings and having to collect your water to wash yourself from a natural spring running down the face of the mountain ...

These remote environments we enjoy while walking for the day are often viewed very differently by those who still walk these mountains to tender their herds. Whilst talking to a farmer whom we encountered at the end of this walk, it was very apparent that opinions differed over this type of landscape. He had livestock grazing the high meadows and viewed it as a working landscape. Harsh and difficult it maybe but beautiful and enchanting to the visitor.

Coming soon: Making hand cream; The Palette; Cultivating Seeds.

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