/ Asturias in mid-February
We're considering taking our car on the ferry to Santander and driving over towards Oviedo, maybe Leon, finding some accommodation and climbing in the area for 10 days or so. If the trip seems more likely in a few weeks, I'll probably buy the Roca Verde guidebook; for now we're just gathering some preliminary information.
We're used to Costa Blanca at that time of year - is there significantly higher risk of rain stopping play in Asturias? How about Leon?
Any recommendations for must-not-miss crags with good routes in the 5c-6c range? South-ish facing slabs and walls suit us somewhat better than shady, steep tufa!
Any recommendations for accommodation (for a couple, not bunkhouse/dorm)?
More generally, any suggestions/info from climbers familiar with the region gratefully received!
Never mind rain, it may be snowing in February! I'd go to Costa Blanca everytime given the choice. May/early June is a much better time for the Picos, Asturias area, etc.
> Never mind rain, it may be snowing in February!
Totally agree, this is NOT a winter sun area! We drive through Asturia most winters on our way from the ferry to the Costa Blanca and beyond. It is always cold and sometimes snowy. You might get the occasional mild spell, but but not reliably enough to risk your holiday on.
If you want a change from the Blanca, there are 100s of areas in Southern Spain to climb in. Get hold of a copy of Donde Escalar en España ("Where to climb in Spain") for a lifetime's worth of climbing in the sun.
Hmmm ... maybe a rethink, then.
We were considering the Santander ferry because we've resolved not to take any more flights for holidays; however, we don't have unlimited time, and wouldn't want to lose two whole days in addition to the ferry days travelling to CB or further south. We haven't ruled out CB again - obviously the temperatures and rainfall make it attractive for Feb - but would probably be looking at trains or driving from the UK.
.... Interrail passes and London-Valencia by train seems a reasonable option.
I would continue to investigate Leon though if I were you. A friend from around there says that in winter the nights are bitter cold but the days warm and sunny for fairly obvious reasons; the prevailing wind having dropped its moisture over the mountains. Same guidebook.
Another thing to consider, if your time is limited, is the unreliability of the Bilbao or Santander ferries in winter. The vessels and crew are great, but the Bay of Biscay can get very rough, so cancellations and major delays are not uncommon. But driving through France is time-consuming too, so maybe the train is the way to go?
I really admire your resolve not to fly, so I do hope you find something that works for you!
If you are travelling as a couple and using BnB, you can easily have enough luggage space (chest mounted smallish rucksack and large backpack, each?) to not need to go by car?, especially as car hire seems so cheap in Spain.
Train from Paris to Barcelona only takes 6 hrs, so not much further to other places, but unfortunately needs booking a couple of months in advance to be affordable.
For Barcelona, I calculated a return train trip at around £160, from Bristol, including coach from Bristol + Eurostar to Paris, then night train to Latour de Carol in the Pyrenees, but a local train from there to wherever adds several hours. Perhaps hire a car from somewhere near there?
I recently did a coach from Bristol to Marseille, with Megabus to London Vic + Flix coach from Vic to Marseille. The Flix coach was only about £70 return, goes on the Chunnel, does one change at Paris Bercy with a couple of hrs waiting, + from Marseille goes on to Genoa if you want Spain. London to Marseille is around 20 hrs, + with earplugs + a neck pillow you might sleep on the night stretch ok, especially if you pick the one that does the night stretch from Paris.
Any changes to your Flix coach tickets only cost about a fiver at most.
I'll be doing this again soon as loads of quality climbing in S France and warm + dry enough too in winter, Car hire not so cheap though.
Hi. Thanks for the post (can't think why it got a dislike).
After much research, trying to keep costs down but also save time, we're going London - Barcelona by train and staying there overnight; then picking up hire car and driving (4.5h) to our BnB in Cocentaina. Think we're allowed 2 big bits of luggage plus small, which is plenty
If you head to the north, I would head inland like you say to Leon or up towards Pamplona. As the other side of the mountain range that runs along the north coast is a little in the rain shadow.
Crags to lookout there are San Fuasto, Etxauri and Penartea. Although I suspect it will be quite chilly there.
Thanks for the info. Actually, I've ruled it out now for this Feb, but I still plan to do an Asturias trip by ferry at some point, maybe next year in April.
This week's Friday Night Video is an extra from the new film from Dark Sky Media: Undiscovered. The film explores Dave's obsession with exploration and climbing new routes in some of Scotland's most remote and scenic corners. This outtake...