The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday 23 November 2017

Cruz de Priena (Covadonga)

My mind was raring to get out and about this morning. My body was somewhat more lethargic. That was not, however, why we opted for the shortest-with-least-ascent option of the three routes I had downloaded.

The option of walking to the lakes above Covadonga was rejected as it would have been at least a 21km round trip just to get to the first lake. I'd rather go up there when we can either drive or catch a shuttle bus, neither of which were viable options* today as the road was closed for resurfacing.

That left us with a toss up between two hills accessible from Covadonga, one on either side of the valley. Cruz de Priena won as, although it was an out-and-back, whereas the other option was a circuit, it was on the sunny and unwooded side of the valley and it looked the more pleasing shape and viewpoint.

The snaps I took of our objective before we set out all boasted a lovely blue sky, but a far better illustration of where we went is given by this one, taken this afternoon from a chapel constructed within a cave on the side of the hill opposite:

See the path zigzagging up?

This one shows the wooded slopes we would have ascended had we plumped for the other hill:

Bertie is in this shot too.

It was a very straightforward walk (aside from a bit of tree debris after last night's strong winds, and some very deep sections of lying leaves through which we had carefully to wade, not knowing what lay beneath), with the switchbacks providing an easy gradient. That was good, as it was sweaty enough a climb in today's temperature.

A short cut was necessitated for the final stretch to the summit to avoid a sheep dog, guarding his flock, right on the path. Then we were there, saying 'Cor, that's a big cross!':

The views extended for 360 degrees, but the most notable were those towards the snowy Picos, with uncountable jaggedy lumps:

The sun wasn't in the best place for this snap, as you'll likely notice.

It took us almost exactly 2 hours to walk the 3.9 miles out-and-back, with around 1900' of ascent, and our considered opinion was that our choice was a good one. For such a pleasant, easy hill, boasting such good views, it's surprising the path was so narrow (Mick had a worse time with the overhanging gorse than me).

(*technically we could have driven. The road was closed from 8-13h & 14-18h, but that was a bit too restrictive for my liking.)


  1. Excellent call! The lakes are cute - but only really as a base for getting back into the western massif. I passed by them after a Monster Ascent from from Cain gorge on my way to the Vegarredonda refugio, which is about a two walk in. If you ever have the time, do make a return back-packing trip (late June > early October). The Picos landscape is something else - and you can take half-an-hour moving 100m whilst negotiating the grikes and clints if you go off-piste! Loving yr blog xx xx

  2. sSunds like Mick earned more than half a glass of wine.