Western Sea & Eastern Mountains in Cantabria

A local weekend away, a late evening start heading back to San Vicente de la Barquera, where this time we stayed in town.  There’s no AC area here, but camper overnighting is tolerated along the one-way seafront promenade.  It’s relatively quiet at night being one way, and you get great views one side over the estuary.  And of course, the bonus of being able to head into town for dinner and drinks if you please.  There is not a huge selection of late night entertainment in Sanvi of season, we ended up on the terrace of one of the two bustling bars playing bingo and drinking G&T’s – a typically random Spanish night out!

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Bingo in San Vicente

We had a lazy Saturday, heading over to Merón beach the next morning for a surf, before heading on east along the coast to the cliff top car park at Liandres, between Comillas and San Vicente.  The car park is not totally flat here, but the top section is not bad, so we parked up and had a lovely lunch and lounge around the picnic area with great views in the sunshine.  There’s a popular restaurant here where we were able to get bread and water, El Remedio.  It’s a pretty spot.

 

After lunch we headed on east towards the Miera valley, our next overnight.  The Miera valley is one of the Valles Pasiegos in central/eastern Cantabria.  It’s a stunning drive up with rocky outcrops and mountains all around you.  We were heading to a place we’d been before on walks, and where we were pretty sure we could overnight in peace, next to the little Ermita del Toral chapel just past the village of La Concha.  This is not a place for big vans, the road down is thin and steep, but we were fine in Berta.  We went for a nice evening stroll up the river and back before settling down to a very peaceful night.

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Evening walk in the Miera valley

The next morning, we woke up right at the start of our planned walk, another one we’d been waiting to do for ages, the PR-S 71 Hayedo de Zamina.

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Waking up and starting the walk from the Ermita del Toral

 

Now, this route is nicely presented in the relatively new Guia de Senderos Valles Paseigos walking guide, however, it is absolutely terribly signposted for the first hour and a bit!  You need to have researched well online to know where you’re going, and the locals don’t help, as there are various old routes (and old route markings) which are now incorrect.  There are a few signposts for the real walk along the way, but there are others which are not, and it’s impossible to know which is which!  However, the initial climb along old roads and Pasiego paths connecting cabañas (traditional stone huts) is very charming, if steep.

 

On reaching the top the views back down over the Miera valley and over the Pas mountains are wonderful.

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Worth the climb for the view over the Pas mountains

The signage from here on improves massively, and the likelihood of getting lost reduces too as the path becomes pretty obvious.  But the best is yet to come, the lovely Zamina beech wood.  The little fox we saw running towards it gave an idea as to the magical nature of this wood, with trees hanging from rocks and a series of deep hoyos (sink holes) throughout.  And of course, the views again through the breaks in the trees.

 

Coming out the other side we walked back down to Berta, stuffing ourselves with early wild strawberries on the Pasiego dry stone walls along the way.

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Spot Berta below!

Once back at Berta, we decided to drive the long way home (we’re not bothered by driving as you can see if you plot this trip on a map!), continuing up over the Lunada pass, and stopping on the side of the road just before the top for lunch with breathtaking views.  Then once over the other side into Burgos, we thought we’d just head up to check out the future overnighting possibilities on the way up to the next pass, Estacas de Trueba.  On the way up there we stopped at a favourite swimming hole of ours in the high Trueba river, the Cascadas de Guarguero waterfalls.  It had cooled a little too much for a swim by this point, but it’s always great to see the falls.  And sure enough, there were several great flat little places to overnight on the way up to the pass, we’ll be back this way to wildcamp in the future.

 

As it was today, we just enjoyed the views down the Pas valley before turning back down towards Espinosa de los Monteros, to use its AC area to change waters.  This area has basic services and a picnic area, it’s also a little out of town, and when we were there (mid Sunday afternoon) there were also rather noisy dirt bikes racing round the neighbouring track, although I assume that’s not something that would be going on all night.  Despite a broken tap, it served our purpose though.