Fly to Bilbao. We transfer to our hotel, with views up to the highest peak in the national park.
The walk begins directly from our hotel. After leaving the village, an ancient Roman path leads us up to the high pastures of Nava, which in the months of May and June are alive with a sea of flowers. We continue up where the scenery changes to one more reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales, with limestone outcrops jutting out of the landscape. Looking skywards it is possible to spot a variety of eagles and vultures roaming the thermals. The path leads us to the summit of Juan Robre, which rewards us with commanding views of Arenas far below and the jagged peaks of the central massif in the distance. The descent is via the Juan Robre ridge, which brings us back to Arenas and an opportunity to sample a refreshing glass of cider to cool us down.
A short transfer takes us to the village of Canales. The first part of the day follows farm tracks before a short climb up to the 'Collado de los Buitres'. If you are lucky you may see Griffon vultures soaring above. We then follow open terrain, slowly ascending to the base of the Pandescura peak. A simple ascent to the top will lead us to an ideal lunch spot with superb views of the Western massif peaks. We then descend through an ancient forest to an easy river crossing in the Casaño gorge and follow banks of the river to the hamlet of La Molina.
The classic Cares Gorge has been described as the jewel in the crown of Spanish hiking. For 12 km, the engineered path has been blasted into the rock face. Originally built in the 1940s as part of a hydroelectric scheme, it is now one of the most popular walks in Spain. In places, the surrounding peaks rise over two thousands metres above the path and if we're lucky, we may catch a glimpse of the rare and beautiful wall creeper. The path eventually emerges in the village of Cain, where we have lunch before our return along the same path to Puente Poncebos. Transport will be waiting here to take us to back to our hotel in Arenas.
Today is free for you to visit the coast or try a spot of caving, canoeing or canyoning. Our local staff will be able to help organise any of these activities.
Walk up to the Pandebano Col with fantastic views of the monolithic peak of Naranjo de Bulnes. From here we continue up to one of the classic viewpoints of the Picos; the summit of Peña Main. We will then decend through the forest and pastures to the village of Tielve and then transfer back to base.
At 2000m, the twin summits of Mancondiu are the highest point we reach during the week. Most of the walking apart from the last 200m is on disused mining tracks. The top offers fantastic views of the Central and Eastern Massifs, and on the C-grade weeks we take in the relatively easy but exposed traverse between the two summits. This is a fantastic end to varied week of walking.
End Arenas de Cabrales. Fly to London.