Having hiked in Asturias a few times before I was prepared for open trails and amazing views. The Camino Real del Puerto de la Mesa, high up in the mountains provides all this, along with an amazing insight into local history.
The GR-101 is a path that runs from south to north through Asturias, leaving Torrestío and ending at Las Cruces, after passing through Belmonte.The route follows the old Roman road of La Mesa, more commonly known as El Camín Real.This route linked the Castilian plateau with the town of Gijón.
The Roman road is around 45km long. This trail also has a variant, the GR-101.1 Camino Real de Cueiru to Villanueva, which is what we walked (in reverse).
For an Open Street Map view of the whole of the GR101.1 click here – we opted to walk as far as the old historical town of Bandujo / Banduxu.
“I’m going to struggle with that crux pitch” I said, as I watched an Italian guide following his client up the rock face and wobbling on his crampon points as he went. When his foot slipped it crossed my mind that if he was finding it difficult to keep his crampons on the tiny slots cut out of the face, I was going to do more than struggle.
After an amazing couple of days in Somiedo National Park we jumped on the early bus back to Oviedo to catch another two to eventually arrive in Arenas de Cabrales for two days of walking in the Picos de Europa mountains.
The tiny tourist info centre in Arenas provides free maps but they aren’t great. Green (easy) routes are easy to navigate as well waymarked but we did have an afternoon mishap trying to navigate a blue (medium) route back to Arenas as the path disappeared and we had to scale a wall and under a fence to get on a track. Serves us right for walking into Poo de Cabrales just for a photo of the road sign (immature i know!)
Having spent an afternoon in the major city in Asturias, Oviedo, we jumped on the bus to Pola de Somiedo for a couple of days of walking.
Having never visited Asturias before I was amazed at how big and beautiful the landscape is and I certainly would recommend Somiedo to everyone. Its quiet and being a national park it is never going to be over developed like some of the towns in the Picos Mountain area.