Footsteps

Caminar = to walk

El camino = the path, track

El Camino de Santiago = famous medieval pilgrim route which passes through this area

Roger is a seriously disciplined and dedicated runner. No matter where we are, what the weather is like, how he’s feeling or how busy we are, he always finds time for a daily run, usually between 9 and 13 miles but often much further. The challenge for him here is not so much the distance, but the ascent. There is no such thing as ‘flat’: hills – very steep ones – are compulsory and he often climbs so high that he can see the sea, snow-capped peaks or both. He is currently notching up a climb of over 2 000 feet per day; that’s the equivalent of five Snowdons a week or more than an Everest every fortnight! With statistics like those, I haven’t even found the courage to put my trainers on, yet alone run anywhere (yes, I’m a wuss), but instead I am walking when he goes for his run. Walking is a popular pastime here, and given the age of some of the daily walkers in our area, it’s a good thing to do with health and longevity in mind. There’s only one rule: unless there is wall-to-wall blue sky, carry an umbrella (everyone does). Those Asturian downpours can come from nowhere! There are miles of lanes and forestry tracks on our doorstep so it’s a great way to explore and there is no need to be bored by taking the same route every time.

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This walk is my ‘default’ walk if time is short. It’s a two mile loop with very steep sections to start and finish, but quite a change of scenery throughout. Come with me and see what you think.

I start with a climb from the house. It’s impossible to capture just how steep it is in a photo (especially with the morning sunshine effect) but the lane here is made from ridged concrete: there is no way you could walk or drive on a smoother surface here, especially in wet weather.

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A quick diversion to the right along our forest track . . .

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. . . it’s not really necessary, but gives me a bird’s eye view of the house, the village and the valley opposite.

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On up into the woods. There is a lot of eucalyptus, planted as a commercial crop which will eventually be harvested for toilet paper. It’s certainly not a monoculture, though: here are oak, cherry, birch, chestnut, elder, hazel, several varieties of pine, and holly, which is a protected species and cannot be cut. The green is so intense, it’s dazzling; the birdsong is a riot.

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Out onto a short stretch of road (traffic is NOT a problem!) and a bit of downhill, too!

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At the bottom of the hill, I come out of the trees and the landscape shifts to grassy meadows close to the river. I’m a mile from home here and this is the point where I turn and start to head back (it’s also where our nearest neighbours in this direction live).

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The track meanders through fields and is even flattish in places. The wild flowers are beautiful.

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Not another human being in sight but I’m definitely being watched!

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A little further on and back into woodland; there is a tantalising glimpse of the village through the greenery.

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Further still and there’s our barn perched on the side of the hill. Almost home – just the small matter of a very steep climb . . .

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Occasionally, I meet Roger on the way back, depending on what route he has taken. If not, then this is the deal: first one home grinds the coffee beans. Cheers!

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PS We had a day out exploring the local area this week. I think I’ve found the perfect FLAT running spot! 🙂

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