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Day 3 - Tuesday 4th September 2018

Refugio de Vegarredonda to Vega de Ario


Distance Time Elevation in meters

Gain Loss Min Max
16.53 7H08 710 554 1,054 1,652




Map Courtesy of Andrados Ediciones

Early morning at Refugio de Vegarredonda


Danny prepares the horses for a supply run

Joggy the doggy has a morning drink. He looked like a friendly dog at a distance but
nearly took a lump out of my leg as I walked past!

Breakfast was basic but adequate.

Ready for off. L to R: Julian, Stuart, Roland, Rosana, Clair, Fiona, Emmet, Andrew, Mike and Lisa.



If we got this close to a bull in England I would be running for cover!

Fortunately he had other things on his mind!


We were soon caught up by Marta leading the horses, and Joggy running ahead. I kept well
clear of him this time and had my walking pole to hand just in case!

Time for a brief rest. Hello! That's another bull behind you!

Traversing across to the southern end of Lake Ercina

(photo: Julian Hart)

Approaching Amalia's stone hut on Lake Ercina

Amalia, 88, comes up to her hut in the high pasture every year for 3 months to maintain
the traditions of old. She makes unpasturised cheese from the cows in the pasture.

Cheese tasting


Sampling the cheese


Four of the team bought a whole cheese for 30 euros to share.



Graham filling up with water at the spring


Lake Ercina

Farewell to Amalia and we were on our way


Pico el Mosquital (1,284m)


Approaching Las Bobias

Las Bobias


As we ate lunch a break-away-donkey turned up to see if he could scrounge some food!

He was soon rounded up and put back to work by his irate owner

We headed for two cairns on the ridge

Direction finder

10 minutes to go to the Refugio

Looking across to the Central Massif

Approaching Refugio de Marques de Villaviciosa (1,630m)



The Marquis of Villaviciosa, the Spanish John Muir
(translation from lab.elmundo.es)

Pedro Pidal was a man of imposing size, of almost two meters, always armed, with full beard and lips painted with red carmine after his mountaineering excursions - the only protection against the sun burns to which he had access - and that spoke very high. His descendants tell that he was always thought to be colorblind. "My aunts say that he was famous for always wearing clothes of colors that did not hit anything," says Juan Figaredo, doctor of the rescue service in Mountain Firemen of the Principality of Asturias and great-grandson of Pedro Pidal and Bernaldo de Quirós, Marquis de Villaviciosa. The history of the Spanish National Parks and the beginnings of conservationism in Spain can not be understood without the polyhedral and unrepeatable figure of this aristocrat. He was an entrepreneur, politician, jurist, sportsman, writer and, above all, inveterate hunter. His father, Alejandro Pidal y Mon was president of the Congress of Deputies and he himself was elected deputy in the Spanish Cortes with 26 years, from where he had a decisive role in the first Law of National Parks of Spain approved in 1916. As a great traveler that he was, he knew first-hand the new conservationist trends that were prevailing in Europe and the United States and visited Yosemite and Yellowstone, the first national parks in the world driven by the naturalist John Muir, and imported his ideas to our country.

His fondness for hunting, together with his aristocratic origin, made him a personal friend of Alfonso XIII, being habitual companions of hunting escapades. Most probably the history of the National Parks in Spain owes a lot to that relationship. However, despite being the driving force behind the conservation of nature in Spain at the highest level, Pedro Pidal is a forgotten and unknown character in Spanish society.

The Law of National Parks that opened the door to the declaration of the first National Park in the Mountain of Covadonga on July 22, 1918 already included the definition drawn and defended previously by the Marquis of Villaviciosa: "They are National Parks, for the purposes of this law, those places or places exceptionally picturesque, forestry or wild of the national territory that the State consecrates declaring them with the exclusive purpose of favoring their access by means of adequate communication and of respecting and making respect the natural beauty of their landscapes , the richness of its fauna and flora and the geological and hydrological peculiarities that it contains, thus avoiding with the greatest efficiency any act of destruction, deterioration or disfigurement by the hand of man ", reads article 2 of the draft Law for the creation of National Parks.







Great idea for the refugios.... the provision of Crocs

Bunk bed accommodation

A glass of wine as we wait for dinner. The beef stew we had for the meal was really good, but the dessert...... a pineapple ring with a Kit-kat finger on top...... I suppose when supplies are scarce you have to innovate!

Dessert (Photo: Emmet Hart)


There is just one eco-friendly toilet around the back of the lodge, and you have to get the
key to use it. The key was being passed hand-to-hand quicker than Usain Bolt in the 4 x 4
relay race at the Olympics. The eco-friendly toilet was a "dry" toilet with a conveyor belt just
below the seat. After use you have to press a lever with your foot 5 or 6 times
to move the belt on!

For those not familiar with the Eco-toilet there were clear instructions for use!

The weather came in and we experienced a thunder storm close by with lots of lightening. As the following day involved taking the Shepherd's path to Ostón and do the steep Culiembro descent into the Cares Gorge we had to wait to see what the weather would be like the next day

Refugio facilities struggle with the demand for device recharging!