The Cares Gorge is a popular destination for those visiting the Picos de Europa and quite rightly so; it is 7.5 miles in length and offers a stunning walk high above the river Cares and far below the towering rocks. Such a dramatic route can be enjoyed by most as the track is wide and keeps to a steady level almost throughout and as long as you have a head for heights you’ll enjoy the few bridges you cross and the superb path (constructed in the 1920s for access to the Poncebos hybrid electric power station) which clings to the side of the face all the way round – will you be brave enough to peer over the edge? Almost all of our guests this week were keen to explore the well-known walk so all 20 of us headed off in convoy together.
An hour and a half drive can put a lot of people off but I encourage everyone to think again for this particular walk. On route the Puerto de San Glorio, the highest mountain pass in the Picos, is climbed with extensive views across the mountains and plenty of miradors (viewing points) to take advantage of. As you reach the summit and start the ascent down the windy roads, the rolling mountains change dramatically and become more lush and green. The drive takes you through quaint mountain villages and brings you to Cain, a pleasant hamlet surrounded by limestone peaks and the starting point for the days walk. Our guests followed in the footsteps of staff by beginning the day with an ice-cream, and why not?
Doing a linear walk meant that an individual pace could be set and whilst some set off at high-speed to attempt the whole 15 miles, others kept at the back to enjoy the many orchids on route without a worry of anybody going the wrong way.
At every bend a new and even more beautiful view opened up. Some sections required walking in amongst the rock where fantastic tunnels had been created and other parts had you walking on wide gravel path which you could happily walk along whilst looking up. The perfectly placed bridges were a great reminder to stop and look and the sound of the river at times reminded you of just how powerful the water is. A canal, which winds its way alongside the path, appeared now and then above the rock and the colour of the water became a temptation in the midday sun. Happy, friendly Spaniards passed by in their numbers – a daily stroll with the dog for most – and never failed to say a warm ‘Hola!’
Strolling back the way we had come seemed to take no time at all considering it was a linear walk. The twisting of the rocks and a change in light meant the return route felt brand new and cameras went on clicking right until the end to capture this new perspective.
The long drive home needn’t be dreaded either as the welcoming cafe in Cain stays open late and offers well-earned refreshments before the need to set off home. Perfecto!