And Then The Sun Came Out….

The sudden shock of winter, with oppressive, rain-filled skies and plummeting temperatures, may have born down heavily upon me last week but then, on Thursday, the sun came out. The skies opened out into a blaze of blue and the light was crisp and clear. All the better to see what had been going on in the high mountains while here in the foothills we had been battling rain storms.


The view to the western massif of the Picos from our village, taken last Thursday evening.

And even though it felt like it had been raining forever, when we dashed out climbing at the first hint of a dry day, we found a crag full of perfectly dry limestone on which to unfurl ourselves in the welcome warmth of the sun. We were not the only ones. The crag was crawling with delighted climbers.

Irene enjoying the winter sunshine and dry rock at Manzaneda, near Oviedo

Irene enjoying the winter sunshine and dry rock at Manzaneda, near Oviedo

The talk, however, was mainly of the snow itself and of plans to get out in it that weekend. Now, if you’re a regular reader of this blog then you’ll know that the thought of the local ski stations opening up for the season is more likely to make me shudder than cheer for joy. (Long story. Read it here.) But their excitement was contagious and even I caught myself wondering if maybe I oughtn’t to try getting out for a day’s snowshoeing in the mountains. I couldn’t come to much harm doing that, could I? Certainly, being far from the crowds (and kamikaze snowboarders) made the prospect more appealing.

Then when I saw these photos of the weekend taken by our friends from the mountain refuge at Quirós (Refugio del Llano Quirós) I was *almost* all for buying myself some cross-country skis.  Here they are in the peaks of the Parque Natural de las Ubiñas, under an hour from their refuge, making ski mountaineering look appealing to even the most prejudiced of eyes.



Heading off across virgin snow


On the summit, Peña Ubiña


Wahay!! That looks steep…. and fresh, powdery and perfect


Glorious solitude in the mountains of the Parque Natural de Ubiña

In reality this is as close as I’ll be getting to a pair of skis this winter, beautiful and all as it is. I’m sticking to seeking out the sun and dry rock whilst admiring the snowy peaks from a distance. But that’s the beauty of social media – you get to see stuff like this without all the hard work and risk! Big thanks to the guys from the refuge for letting me share their photos on here.


  1. How beautiful… The sun has left us today, it’s all grey and miserable at the moment. You can’t beat days like the ones you have been enjoying! :)

  2. Lovely shot of the massif – Glad it stopped raining long enough for you to get out & about. :-)

    • Thanks Sue. It’s amazing how caught up in the moment of the weather one gets. If it has rained for more than a day I feel like the sky is falling in!! LOL

  3. Wow that first photo! Amazing. Just fabulous. When are you going to come and do some climbing around our way? x

  4. That first photograph is sensational…. I think we flew over the Asturias mountains on the way to Lanzarote the other week. And love the photos of your friends in the mountains too… X

  5. That looks beautiful Mary x

  6. Wow the views in the mountains are really spectacular aren’t they? Like skii bliss!

  7. Cross country ski-ing is great. Went to France (Vercors), scotland a few times (Aviemore), and around the streets and parks at home in Newcastle :D Still got them hanging up in the garage but it doesn’t snow where we are :(

    • It does look really appealing I must say. Just like really good fun, off the beaten track and exploring, rather than following the crowds off a ski lift and down the slopes.

      • Yes, my partner has never been impressed with the idea of yoyo skiing (up and down yes?) but I did manage to get him on some CC skis. Had a fine time whooshing through forests in Aviemore, you can take it at your own pace, a bit like walking. When I learned in my 30s, there was someone in their 60s trying it for the first time. It seems pretty classless, ie avoiding the snobbery aspect of the posher ski crowd which is an attraction in itself.

  8. Ski Sunday starts again soon, that is as close am I’m getting.

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