The road goes up and up from the Poncebos bridge, we cross small artisan tunnels, prayed in the rock with a bit of dynamite. The Duje River channel accompanies us. In the valley of Tielve, at 700 altitude meters and about 6 kilometers from Poncebos, we discovered the tradition of Cabrales as in few places of the council, the raw material of the cheese, the herds of goats and sheep can be seen among the rocks, the trees or crossing high in the same road, in front of our car. We see the Peña Maín, with heights that exceed 1.500 m., and just opposite the walls of Portudera, above the 1.200 m. The orography of the place is capricious and with a predominance to get up more and more, it only lets us see small valleys as provisional landings of a staircase that continues its unevenness in a serpentine way.
Sotres: Cabrales cheese and more ...
We arrived in Sotres, the highest parish of the council, after 11 kilometers of sinuous road from Poncebos. Someone will tell us that here they live around 200 inhabitants, heirs of a harsh pastoral activity that once crowned the peak with no small effort. Currently climbing Sotres is no longer that kind of challenge, and once up there is not a mythical village of huts and pastures, but a core certainly urbanized, where farmers, adventurers and entrepreneurs live together. There is a high level of hospitality, mountain guides, and a high quality of handmade products, authentic jewels of the tradition, as much in alimentary matter (sausages, meats, cheeses) as in prized objects of the popular craftsmanship that is born between mountains. There is no shortage of cheese makers of Cabrales, since in Sotres they count on a high number of natural caves for the maturation of the cheese, and that in not few cases they have obtained prizes in the official contests of this product.
The peaks of Europe close this human promontory in such a way that within the inhabited nucleus, walking along its paths and neighborhood roads, among the rustic houses, we find another law of gravity, a little more ethereal, less certain. We walk on solid ground, but around us there are a thousand reasons for vertigo. If we follow the road a couple of kilometers further up towards the neighboring town of Tresviso, we come across an authentic shepherd's flock, huts in a pure state from which we envision a wonderful panoramic view, if the weather permits, of the town of Sotres and of the mountains that surround it. We see how there are paths, paths, small scars, which from the outskirts of Sotres continue on their way into the Picos de Europa.
Hiking routes from Sotres
From Sotres we can ascend to the Lake of the Moñetas, a friendly and close summit. For this we will raffle a gap of 800 meters. First we go to the winter of the Texu, Aliva address, a few meters from the entrance to the town of Sotres. Direction Aliva we go to Las Vegas del Toro or Sotres, another corner of this particular arcade in which we will possibly find continuous flocks of sheep. There begins the valley of the Moñetas. In this small winter, on the right, we take a little marked path that will take us to the Lake. One more of the Asturian paradises. If it is not our idea to walk too much, we can choose to hire the services of a 4X4 in the same Sotres, and sit in the back seat to contemplate the landscape.
If we continue Address Aliva, by a wide track, we will walk next to the dividing line of the autonomous communities of Asturias and Cantabria, between the massifs Central or of the Urrieles and the Oriental or of Andara. This route is now traveled by hikers and jeeps, although once the traffic here was due to mining activities in the area. Since the Vega de Sotres the track begins a slope and 700 m crosses the stream of Duje, which is known as Vao Jumiello, low force and is a place suitable for eating empanada, potato tortilla sandwiches or whatever third. Following the track 2.000 m. leaves a path to the left and 1.500 m. you reach a hill where on the left / east is the Hermitage of the Virgen de las Nieves, from where you can see the Refuge of Aliva and the lead and zinc mines of the Real Compañía Asturiana de Minas. From there also starts an easy route to the beautiful district of Liébana, already in Cantabria.
From the aforementioned Vega de Sotres, instead of taking Aliva direction, we can take Pandébano direction to the same skirt of the Naranjo de Bulnes or Picu Urriellu. The road is long, but from the Collado de Pandébano the first spectacular view of the Naranjo opens up. We can recreate with those 2.518 m so well molded. An isolated high python, of Paleozoic origin. Although the accesses to the Naranjo and the Vega de Urriello refuge were traditionally made from the Camburero Canal and Jou Lluengo from Bulnes, or by Horcados Rojos from the cable car of Fuente Dé (Cantabria); It will be from the 80 years when Sotres and its Pandébano and Vallejo hills, from La Majada de la Terenosa, become the best option. With this route in vogue, Sotres completed its wonderful location in the Picos de Europa and enlarged its prestige as King town of Asturian mountaineering.
The S-cape Travel agency It offers a self-guided hiking package that includes various trekking routes from Sotres. The trip includes:
• 7 nights accommodation with half board
• Luggage transport between the hotels of Sotres and Arenas de Cabrales
• Transfer to the beginning of the routes
• Detailed descriptions of the routes, maps and digital tracks
• 24 telephone assistance hours
More info on Hiking Trips in Sotres