PICOS NATIONAL PARK

The camper couple who we got chatting to in San Sebastian had suggested Picos and the mountains in the national park, we were so flexible we thought we would add this into our route. We love hiking and exploring so this made a change for cities and sand. We admit the weather wasn’t the best. It was misty with splashes of rain on the windscreen as we drove the twisting roads through mountains, alongside rivers and steep drops. We drove for what felt like hours, technically it was a couple but you understand it felt a lot longer, until we came to a quaint little village which wouldn’t have looked out of place in the lake district. Potes, it is apparently one of the main villages along the road. By main I can only assume it had more than one restaurant and also had a post office. It was a hikers haven of little B&Bs and snack bars offering pitstops and a base for the avid rambler. We pulled up and walked round choosing our restaurant carefully before settling on which overlooked the river. To put it bluntly the food was absolutely disgusting, so disgusting that we howled with laughter throughout the meal and each time a plate was brought out the look of horror on our faces had us in fits of laughter. It wouldn’t say it is a place I recommend in general unless you are into walking and planning on staying a good few days to get out there but anyway we were there and we wanted to find a perfect wild camping spot to spend the evening relaxing and probably filling up our still empty tummies.

 

 

We drove further along the main road winding up and down and round and round enough times to make anyone feel ill until we took a steep right up towards a church. It was perfect. High up on the mountain we had a hazy view of the national park still damp from the earlier showers and with cloud clinging to the rock faces the obscured views made us feel like we were in a Lord of the Rings set. As we parked up we took a walk around the area before setting up. Less than an hour of arriving we needed some sugar to keep our energy up and so Joshua ventured to the local shop and came back with two ice cold cans of coke and somehow had a dog in tow. Maybe it was a stray or a village dog but the pup was smitten with him and wouldn’t leave his side despite us having no food we could eat ourselves let alone share with her. I was sure she would be coming with us in the van at one point but sadly she left us, with no-one around and nothing but nature surrounding us we had the most wonderful sleep and woke up refreshed and ready for a hike.

 

 

The weather was still the same. A dampness clung in the air and to the ground because we were so  high up.We threw on our gear and jumped into the cabin twisting again and again until we reached Fuente de. Don’t expect to go here for a meal or have anything like Potes because it is literally a cable car, the road leads you right to it then stops. The weather didn’t look like it was on our side still but we were there so why not make the most of our time. A little rain never hurt nobody! We queued up and before long we were ushered into a tiny rickety car. Surely it didn’t go that high? How wrong I was. The journey up into the clouds meant we could no longer see our hands before our eyes. The dense fog formed droplets on our faces and the cool air chilled our noses. It was quite scary at the top. I had no idea where to go which paths led around the mountain and which led to a cliff edge. Our limbs were thoroughly chilled to the bone after a long walk round the mountain top and to warm up we headed into the cafe. As we sipped our coffees the thick fog seemed to lift and within minutes the heavens opened, lashing against the windows. It was like being at home so we loved the comfort of the hot drinks and weather outside. It was like the cloud had lifted and within minutes of the rain ceasing the true extravagance of the scenery surrounding us came to life. The bells we heard chiming in the fog turned out to be a large herd of horses with some young foals in tow. The tips of the mountains became visible with the last clumps of snow clinging the each and every patch of shade. When wed had enough of the rocks, grass and another round of incoming fog we headed back down the steep slope in the rickety cable car through the clinging clouds and back to our home. We were starving to say the least so treated ourselves to some super noodles reminding us of our duke of Edinburgh days. Our bellies were full and we’d warmed up our toes so on we went back through the windy roads back out of the beautiful national park.

 

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