There are certain locations which make walking holidays in the Picos de Europa special and memorable. The Fuente de cable car is the only one in the area and after only a 3 minute ride will drop you off high amongst the peaks, opening up terrific views as far as the eye can see. Today’s walk saw 11 guests joining both Jack and Beth, this summer’s walk organisers, for a day’s ramble at over 1,500m to see if this easy/moderate walk really did live up to its name.
Looking up at the cable disappearing into the cloud, we could only hope that our return ticket would get us above them and into the sunshine. And our positivity paid off! As we climbed higher everyone turned round to admire the stunning cloud inversion as we all ‘ahhhh’d’ in turn. It was only right to take time for photos at the top and he who dared stood on the see-through platform that hung over the edge of the rock face!
Once we reached the top of the track the views opened up over the Forgotten Mountain – an impressive rock formation protruding solo with its head sticking above the cloud. Our walk group fancied a bit of a challenge and decided to climb to the top of 3 small(ish) peaks which ran along the ridge of the massif. It was well worth the detour as a small herd of Chamois came to investigate and conveniently posed on the rocks for photographs. We stopped for a quick snack break but it was hard to choose a direction to face as the 360° view was continually breathtaking.
As we wandered down into the glacial bowl, the clouds began to rise so that the sunshine could follow us. Young cattle showed an interest as we wandered by, chatting away to each other whilst identifying the flowers. We all agreed that flower enthusiast David Charlton would have appreciated the hundreds of deep blue Gentians dotted amongst the grass, but a photograph to show at office hour would have to do.
The Rifugio that had been in view most of the day had been in discussion all morning. Would it be open? Was there a cold beer waiting? After a hot zig-zag climb to its doors, a sigh of relief and big grins let the rest of the group know that it was open for service. Being the only group on the mountain, we enjoyed a cool drink along with our packed lunch and watched the Vultures soar above on the thermals.
It was no surprise to find some snow up at this level and on the way back to the cable car, a small snowball fight let loose – and not just between the staff!
The view we enjoyed earlier was now covered in cloud so our timing to head back down to the car park was perfect.
A massive well done to guest Ailie for overcoming her fear of heights and for getting up and down the cable car (without the aid of the Dutch courage she was carrying in her bag!)