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Pico Ferreirúa – The highest point in Teverga 1941m…

We picked a cooler day to do our walk up Ferreirua, the highest peak in the ‘concejo’ of Teverga, and that proved a blessing on the steepest parts of the hike.  As we did when we did Huerto del Diablo  we set of from Puerto Ventana after a short car ride.

This time the sky was grey so the views were not as stunning but at least we could see where we were going and it looked like a great walk. The path was relatively easy to follow  (we followed our nose without a map) and the first km or so wasn´t to steep and kind of skirted round the first obvious peak. However, the first hill proper was a bit of a shock with about 75m of very steep climbing which left us out of breath but improved the views. And from there we ascended via a series of steepish ascents and short descents over several small hills. The path was obvious and the ground pretty easy and forgiving.

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Then after about 2.8km the ground got a bit more mountainous and rocky and we semi-scrambled along a series of ridges each sharper and rockier than the last. These were fun as there were no serious drops and the path was easy to follow but they were a bit slow and awkward. At the end of the ridge we thought we were at the summit but in fact there was one last short, rocky descent and ascent to gain the top, which was marked by a small cairn.

As we reached the summit the clouds lifted and a bit of sun shone giving us stunning views into León and the Parque Natural de Somiedo, where some even bigger challenges lie!!

The map of our ascent.

The map of our ascent.

Overall this was a fun walk with some steep bits, some rocky traversing and as ever great views. We did it in about 3+ hrs with quite a few short stops and a 10 year old. Once again this would make a brilliant mountain run…

Follow us on Strava to see all our activities we are – Casa Quiros

Casa Quiros – Climb Bike Hike Run Relax…


Ya estamos abiertos!!

¿Tienes la suerte de estar en Asturias? Ya puedes pasar unos días en plena naturaleza aquí en Quirós! Con la Senda del Oso y muchísimos caminos de monte al lado tienes muchas opciones para hacer senderismo o bicicleta (tanto de carretera como de BTT). Estamos en la fase 1 de la desescalada, lo que significa que ya pueden abrir los alojamientos turísticos. Siendo un concejo de menos de 5.000 habitantes aquí no hay franja horaria para pasear y hacer deporte así que los que se alojan aquí pueden disfrutar al máximo.

Ves el calendario en el margen derecha y contactanos por correo electronico para hacer una reserva…

Recuerdas que hasta más adelante no se puede viajar a Asturias desde otras provincias ni a otras provincias desde Asturias entonces no podemos aceptar reservas.

La Vuelta – Delayed until late October

Following the delays to the Tour de France and the Giro de Italia La Vuelta 20 has new dates, following the recent official announcement by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The Spanish tour will take off with the Irun – Arrate. Eibar stage on Tuesday the 20th of October, and will conclude in Madrid on Sunday, the 8th of November.

Due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19, Unipublic, organiser of La Vuelta, made the decision to cancel and not replace the official departure which was to take place in the provinces of Utrecht and North Brabant (Netherlands). Taking this into account, the UCI has reorganised the cycling calendar by exceptionally including a Vuelta with 18 stages, instead of the usual 21. This is a unique event as, since its 1986 edition, La Vuelta has always featured, at least, 21 days of competition.

The Director of La Vuelta, Javier Guillén, has highlighted his “satisfaction” with the new dates. “We have to try to turn this necessity into a virtue and to make the most of the opportunities available to us as a result of this new paradigm. We have a great position in the calendar and we hope to have an exceptional participation level”, emphasised Guillén.

La Vuelta will take place one month after the Tour de France (29th of August – 20th of September) and three weeks after the UCI Road World Championships in Switzerland (20th – 27th of September).


With these changes, La Vuelta 20 will be the latest edition in its history. Originally (1935) held during the months of April, May and June, Unipublic made the decision to move it to the end of summer in 1995. Up until now, its 2001 edition held the record for being the latest in the calendar. That year, the Spanish tour began on the 8th of September with an individual time trial in Salamanca and concluded with a linear stage in Madrid on the 30th of September.

Follow this link to the UCI site 

At the moment I haven’t seen the full new tour but I am presuming that the the two stages which passed close to Casa Quiros are still going ahead…

Quirós by drone – a visual guide to the crag

Set in a fantastic location, Quirós is unquestionably one of the best crags in the Roca Verde guidebook with a wealth of climbing across the grades on over twenty separate sectors. Historically important in the evolution of climbing in the Cordillera Cantábrica, its development goes back to the 60s and it is home to the first Asturian 8a. However, Quirós is not stuck in the past; it’s a vibrant, and very popular venue which is cared for by a dedicated crew of climbers including those from the refugio. Most of the sectors have been re-equipped with new bolts and chains and there has been plenty of new routing even in recent years.

Quirós is difficult to summarise due to the amount of climbing but several things stand out. Most prominent is the superb limestone, which, even after more than 40 years has hardly polished; then there is the variety, and although the climbing tends towards slabs or wall climbing, with fantastic examples of both, there are tufas, overhangs and even roofs! Add in a brilliant mix of multi-pitch and single pitch routes and the fact that a lot of the single pitches are of a good length and it’s easy to see why it’s a great destination.

Finally, Quirós is also very much an ‘everyman’ crag with the majority of the routes skewed towards the mid-grade climber as well as plenty for beginners and some superb, harder testpieces too.

Fraguel rock, a brilliant 6b on sector La Amarilla

Fraguel rock, a brilliant 6b on sector La Amarilla

Like Teverga many of the greatest Asturian climbers, as well as others, have left their mark at Quirós. Again the following list is probably not perfect but hopefully covers a lot of the main people: Eduardo Velasco, Francisco Blanco, Tino González, Claudio Sánchez, Javier López, Mariluz Santacruz, José Manuel Suarez, Nacho Orviz, Carlos Vásquez, José A Margolles, Plácido Suárez, José M Fernandez, Kike Oltra, Anselmo Menéndez, J Carreras, Jesús Martín, Roberto Magdalena.

Casa Quiros facilities – a selection of bikes perfect for the Senda del Oso

Just below Casa Quiros, next to the lake, runs the Senda del Oso which, roughly translated means ‘the bear path’. Now one of the most popular things to do in Asturias the Senda started life as the railway line which connected the mines of Quiros and Teverga to Oviedo. However, once the mines shut it became obvious to utilize the flattish tracks and tunnels to make a brilliant cycle/running route.

The Senda del Oso

The Senda del Oso

This route or just part of it makes great day out, either as a rest day from climbing or simply as a fun activity on its own – walking, running or biking. Obviously you’ll cover most ground on bikes and although there are plenty of bike rental companies if you rent Casa Quiros we have a selection of bikes all of which are suitable for the ‘off-road’ nature of the Senda.

Obviously a couple of these are true mountain bikes and so could be taken on some of the more demanding tracks which can be found around the house.

The bikes at Casa Quoros

The bikes at Casa Quiros

And we also have a bike with an attachable baby seat for those who bring a child under 5!

And for those who are very keen, one of the most popular events – and one of the hardest – is the half-marathon which takes places each year on the Senda del Oso. I did it a couple of years ago as my first ever race and if you’re up to it it’s a pretty cool event. It’s on 28th October this years and here’s a link: –

My first race

My first race!! – team Senda del Oso…

Teverga from the air…

For those who don’t know how much rock we have or what they’re missing in if they haven’t climbed in Teverga – which is a short 15min drive from Quirós – here’s an aerial view of some of the 35 (or more) sectors which make up this brilliant destination.

There’s close to 1000 routes here and thanks to the work of the dedicated local club Grupo Escalada Aguja de Sobia there are more routes and sectors being opened every year.

You can see the size and scale if you check out the cars on the road…

The guide to the area is available on my page and if you need somewhere we’re here for you…

Las Saleras hike

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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.



Camin Real de la Mesa

I found this great Blog in the Guardian and borrowed it…

After 20 years of living and travelling in Spain, I like to think I have a handle on the country and its people. Every so often, however, they can still spring a surprise.

Like when Guillermo Mañana, a 70-year-old scholar, first told me about the 56km Camín Real de la Mesa. The Camín Real, said Guillermo, was an ancient trail through the mountains of northern Spain, winding spectacularly among some of the grandest yet loneliest and least-known scenery in Europe. I had never heard of it, but if I was up for it, he said, he’d show me the secrets of this magical route.

That was in May 2009. I had just met Guillermo through a friend in Oviedo, capital of the region of Asturias, where together we walked the awe-inspiring gorge of the river Cares in the Picos de Europa mountains. Since he retired from his profession as an anaesthetist, he has devoted his time and energy to his overriding passion: the mountain landscapes of his Asturian homeland.

I was already familiar with his marvellous books, a series of lavish tomes documenting these landscapes in extraordinary detail. Now, he told me, he was preparing what would perhaps be his greatest work, a definitive study of the Camín Real de la Mesa.

For centuries the Camín was one of the few points of contact between the provinces of León and Asturias. It is essentially Roman in construction, but the route has been used for trade for 5,000 years, traversing a mountain range with peaks of 2,000m, reaching into some of Spain’s most wildly beautiful and otherwise inaccessible landscapes.

While livestock and gold mining were flourishing industries, the way held a strategic importance. But with the rise of modern roads it fell into disuse, and now it is barely known except by a few local farmers and a handful of keen walkers who are happy to stay off the beaten track.


I was gripped by Guillermo’s vision of this long and winding road, its historical importance and its near-obliteration at the hands of modern life. So we arranged a two-day trek on the section of the way that is accessible only to walkers, leaving out the northerly part which has been covered with asphalt, its beauty spoilt.

Our route would take us from Torrestio, at the northern edge of the province of León, to the village of Dolia in the county of Belmonte, Asturias – a distance of some 30km. At both ends of the route there would be simple places to stay, but the Camín passes through no other villages, so the plan was to take food and a sleeping bag. In summer you can sleep under the stars or take a tent but, since it was autumn, we would bed down in one of the thatched shepherds’ huts, called teitos.

The night before our departure, my guide sent me a text: “Weather terrible. Cold front. Thick sleeping bag. Waterproof clothing.” I felt a shiver of dread.

We met up on Sunday night in the mountain town of San Emiliano, on the León side of the Cordillera Cantábrica, and dined on fried eggs and chorizo in the Hostal de Montaña, a simple mountain hostel. Before dawn next day we drove to the hamlet of Torrestio, under a dark sky as cold and clear as spring water. At 7am there was a blanket of mist over the valley, but it was the right sort of mist, said Guillermo, the sort that would burn off quickly, leaving bright skies.

We set off in the half-dark, heading up the Valle de las Partidas: the Valley of Departures. Up ahead, the first rays of sun were beautifying the squat grey peak of El Muñón.

At the top of the valley was a fence marking the border between the two regions, Castilla y León and Asturias. A concrete pillar gave the height above sea level: 1782m. To the north lay a wide stretch of pasture between mountains: the Mesa, or tableland, from which the Camín takes its name. Brown cows with wide horns stood and stared as we passed, and the quiet was blurred only by waterfalls and cowbells.

Further down the Mesa lay a scattering of stone huts, some round and low, others square, roofed with tiles or thatch. These hamlets, called brañas, are the only human settlements in these mountains. Until 10 years ago 12 or 15 families might have spent the summer up there with the cows, subsisting on rye bread and onions, potatoes and lentils. It was a life of simplicity, hardship and closeness to nature, and has now almost entirely vanished.

We stopped beside a waterfall for lunch – Asturian cheese, Serrano ham, black chocolate, and bread with olive oil. We drank fresh spring water, but also supped from a leather skin filled with Valdepeñas wine.

A shepherd came by looking for a lost foal. A pair of binoculars hung around his neck, and by his side was a dog as big as a small pony. He’d been looking for the horse all yesterday, peering up the mountain through the rain and mist. But he feared the worst: last spring four or five of his horses had been taken by wolves. Not everyone is happy that, after many years in decline, the local wolf population is on the increase, and his dog wore a chain-mail collar bristling with metal spikes to protect him.

As we walked Guillermo pointed out curious historical, natural or architectural sights along the way, ranging from a wide meadow called Xuego La Bola – where the shepherds came to play bowls – to a long trench that had been an eighth-century defensive wall during the reign of Alfonso ll, part of Catholic Spain’s protection against the Muslim hordes who had already claimed most of the peninsula.

The Camín Real is little documented except by a handful of adepts including Guillermo, who has spent years mapping it and searching for its history in the great archives of Spain. Bronze-age burial mounds can be seen along the route, but it was the Romans, or rather, their slaves, who built a proper four-metre-wide path.

By the third century AD it was the main access route between León and Asturias, used primarily by Roman civil servants and gold dealers heading south from the mines of Belmonte. It remained an important commercial corridor, with all sorts of goods – wool and cloth, wheat and wine, sheep and salt fish – travelling back and forth. Impromptu toll stations were set up, levying a tax on “brides and corpses”.

Then in the early 19th century, a trunk road was built linking León and Oviedo via the Pajares pass, and the Camín fell into disuse. Parts of it were completely destroyed, especially at the northern end near Pravia, or became abandoned and overgrown. But it remained a secret door into the stunning wilderness of the Somiedo reserve.

Roman road-building skills made the Camín a broad path with a modest gradient. The walk is never gruelling, but the views are spectacular – grey-white mountains looming over deep valleys lined with beech, and gorges with patches of pasture clinging to shelf-like plateaus along their length. On the far horizon lay a line of palest blue: the Cantabrian sea. After eight hours, we stumbled into the shadow of a strange crag, La Peña Negra (the black rock), as dark and sinister as something out of The Hobbit.

Our accommodation that night would have appealed to the Baggins family. Braña La Corra, a collection of seven roughly thatched stone teitos, were deserted but in reasonable condition, their maintenance funded by the Asturian government. Shepherds live there in summer, but walkers are free to use any left open, though they can’t be reserved. The owner of one had offered Guillermo use of it if ever he were passing, so we laid out our sleeping rolls on its hay-strewn floor.

From the terrace of our rustic lodging, 1,200m up, we could see the deep Valle de Saliencia below us and glacial lakes to the south, among a bristle of ash-grey peaks. The thick forests opposite are one of last remaining habitats of the Cantabrian bear, of which some 130 remain. Old-timers around these parts, said Guillermo as we ate our supper of sardines, bananas and almond turrón (nougat)often tell tales of bears, how they came down to the villages, destroyed beehives, and were hunted ruthlessly.

At 7pm, night fell like a stone and so did the temperature. Having no lights to read by, we cocooned ourselves in our sleeping bags, and Guillermo told me stories about the Camín Real, its history and legends, of a convoy of 45 ox-drawn carts that carried alabaster quarried in Guadalajara on a six-week journey from Torrestio to Salas, to build a mausoleum for Archbishop Valdés Salas – an important inquisitor who died in 1569. It remains the most important Renaissance monument in the principality, and on the Camín itself.

The next day we discovered the remains of a venta, a small stone shop in a wide green pasture called Piedra Jueves (Jupiter’s altar), that once sold wine, and vinegar for the feet, to shepherds who had travelled for days to bring their sheep to the spot.

We stood at the crest of the hill, surveying an Impressionist wash of grey-green broom, yellow birch, and a scarlet stipple of rowan berries. I looked in vain for a building, a road, or a human figure, but there were none. In August you might meet groups of walkers, cyclists or riders, but off-season the mountains slump back into solitude, and on the entire journey we saw only three mountain bikers, a couple of horsemen, and the occasional shepherd in a 4×4, checking on the livestock.

The floor of the valley was speckled with bleached heaps of stone which, centuries before, had been dwellings. Guillermo, who had known the Camín as a populated place 35 years ago, told me about a great livestock fair that had been held annually up here, 1,000m above sea level, where shepherd clans from Somiedo, Teverga and Belmonte had met up to party.

The road itself has fallen into rui, too, and been further damaged by occasional four-wheel drive vehicles and quad bikes.

“Do you see now what jewels we have, and what a state they’re in?” Guillermo said bitterly, pointing to a potholed and muddied section. “It should be a national monument.”

At Cueiro the Camín diverges, east towards Oviedo (the Camín Francés) or north to Llanera and Gijón. We struck north, passing a large former venta, now a barn, ripe for conversion into a simple B&B for walkers unwilling to sleep on a floor covered with hay. I peered through the window of the venta’s derelict chapel. The altar was piled with old whisky bottles.

The village of Dolia was pretty and bucolic, snoozing amid hazel woods, but the asphalt underfoot and the power lines overhead came as a shock after our three days in the wilderness. For when the tarmac begins, the spell of the Camín Real starts to wane. We had covered three-quarters of the 40km that can still be walked. The last quarter, where it pushes into the 21st century world of petrol stations and builders’ merchants, has lost its mystery. We called a taxi and took a last draught of Valdepeñas from the wineskin.

 The Camin passes right by Casa Quiros and can be enjoyed by walkers, runners or by very keen mountain bikers too…


First review of Casa Quirós

After the first visitors comes the first review…!

It’s always a nerve-wracking experience setting off on something new, and so when our first guests arrived at Casa Quiros we were pretty excited, and also a little scared of what they would think. Asturias is different and although I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t enjoyed their stay you never know if your choice of decor or the way you’ve furnished a house will be to someone’s taste.

So Nicola and Roger stayed at Casa Quirós for three weeks in March and seemed to really enjoy their time – or at least we were hoping they did! The weather didn’t always play ball for them to get as much climbing done as possible but they enjoyed a mix of walking and climbing exploring some of the local peaks – including Pico Gorrion which is the 1200m mountain opposite the house.

The view across the valley from the house...

The view across the valley from the house…

Happily both me and my partner Mary got out climbing with them a couple of times – I love showing off the crags – and their feedback on the climbing ‘great routes with very little polish, even on the easier routes’ and ‘very uncrowded’ was pretty heartening. I climbed with them at Muro Techo and we had a pretty sweet day, despite it suddenly being a fair bit colder than we’d expected – still in was March and these things happen.

Nicola on the first pitch of the Clasica del Muro Techo, 6a

Nicola on the first pitch of the Clasica del Muro Techo, 6a

In the end they sent us a short, pithy, feedback and vowed to return for more…

‘We turned back the clock.  Aciera is the rural village idyll where the 10 cows outnumber the cars.  The stone walled cottage is charming and full of character.  Stunning views, a very warm welcome and a fabulous location for climbing and walking. It was also great to be able to walk to the crag from the house and to find a wide selection of unpolished routes to go at. The routes themselves were all pretty good too and it was refreshing to climb on very uncrowded crags.’

We will keep publishing reviews and hope we get plenty of people to write them..

Roca Verde reviewed in Climb Magazine

There is nothing that makes me more nervous that putting Roca Verde up for review.

Because even though it’s been quite successful so far, and everyone’s been very complimentary, there’s always the feeling at the back of my mind that I’ve missed something and that someone, one day will point out the obvious thing I’ve missed! I’ll pick up the magazine and the review will read something like ‘the book was great but if only Richie hadn’t made that huge mistake on page 99’.

And all of that goes double when the review in question comes from Climb Magazine, and it’s author is Dave Pickford who’s not only been to Asturias but is a man of high standards.  So it was with great trepidation that I picked up my copy of the Jan 2015 issue where my book was being reviewed…

Climb Magazine Jan 2015

Climb Magazine Jan 2015

And it was an audible sigh I let out when I read it. No huge error had come to light and Dave seemed to like the book and certainly still had fond memories of Asturias and his visit.

Indeed, his words of encouragement to ‘just buy a copy of Roca Verde and book a flight to Santander’ echo my own and so I’ll say it again. This is a great spot hop on a plane and come and visit us…

Finally if you’re not convinced by that review here’s another – this time from the estimable Niall Grimes and if you’re still not convinced here’s another from Miles Gibson