It’s been a spectacular winter, and now spring, here in Asturias, with lots and lots of sunshine and very little rain. We’ve been making the most of it, climbing, hiking and generally being outdoors every chance we get. Unfortunately, with all this unseasonal making hay while the sun shines this blog has been somewhat neglected. We have however been accumulating experiences, photos and a ton of good stuff to share with you so I guess we’d better get on with it!
Let’s kick off with some photos from a hike we did back in January (although you’d be forgiven for thinking it was from last summer – check out those blue, blue skies!) This route took us up to Las Saleras peak at 1,700m with magnificent views over Puerto Ventana, to the Picos de Europa and even off to the sea in the north.
Quite apart from those views on the horizon and the simple satisfaction of peak bagging, the hike was full of interest. At times we kept our eyes to the ground as we sought out traces of the Cantabrian brown bears and wolves that still live in these mountains. At others it was the traces of human civilisation in centuries gone that captivated us.
It was approaching twilight as we passed through La Braña de los Fuexos on our final descent. Here the stony remains of an ancient settlement of cowherds’ cabins and their livestock corrals are dwarfed by giant, ancient beech trees. Picking our way through in the half-light of the witching hour made for a truly magical finish to a great day out on the hills.
With a ton of beaches within an hour’s drive from Casa Quiros, surfing or simply sunbed lounging is the perfect rest day activity after lots of crag-ticking or stomping up mountains. Last Tuesday we took a sneaky rest day ourselves and headed to Salinas beach, near Aviles, to remind us just what a great spot it is. We also managed to get rather sun burnt as we committed the fatal error of forgetting that sun-cream can be vital even when you’re still technically in the winter months!
The waves were super clean and gloriously empty on Tuesday – enough to tempt Richie into the water
An impressive 3 kilometres long, Salinas has something to offer everyone. It is one of the most consistent surf beaches in the whole region, catching any swell that’s going and with several different mini-breaks along its length. Its attractive promenade is also dotted with several excellent bars and restaurants.
The terrace of Ewan bar-restaurant is a favourite spot. Great food and even better views
There is a surf shop and shaper for all your surf supplies and in August the beach is host to an international long-board festival which is in its 15th year and always draws a big crowd to enjoy the competition, the music acts and the general mellow vibes and good times.
At just 15 minutes drive from Asturias airport, Salinas can make a great stopping off point on your day of departure and a very pleasant spot from which to bid Asturias farewell. Or should we say ‘Hasta luego!’
Not every day’s climbing is about ‘sending the gnar’ (as some of our American friends like to say ). Sometimes just getting to the crag can be an achievement in itself. Take the other Saturday. I was here in Casa Quiros, car-less and partner-less, all set for an afternoon of house-bound pottering with our 6 year old son when I was messaged by some friends, a group of mums who climb. Turned out they were heading cragging here to Quirós. The perfect excuse to ditch the duster!
3 Mums climbing with their 4 kids – mission accomplished!
It was a beautiful afternoon so, even with an easily-tired six year old in tow, the walk from Casa Quiros to the base of the crag was a pure delight. We caught up with our friends halfway along the path – two brave mums with 3 small children. Brave because the first rule of doing anything with children (imho) is try and not let them outnumber you! This goes double for climbing but despite the odds being stacked against us we made it pretty painlessly to La Selva.
La Selva sector is a great spot for families and beginners with a wide, tree-shaded base at the foot of the climbing and a ton of easier routes, including some very fine slabs that go at between grade 4 and 5. The perfect place for setting up camp for an afternoon.
Climbing in a three meant that there was always one mum with her hands free to supervise the four little ones, who ranged in age from 2 to 6. To be frank, this task would make sending sevens seem easy but sharing it between us and breaking it up with some 5 star routes helped preserve our sanity!
In fact we were all having such a good time that it wasn’t until twilight that we finally got ourselves packed up and headed back down. It’s a good thing the path is wide and easy! And so we arrived home with smiles on our faces and a real sense of achievement despite having no ‘gnar’ to report