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Old 08-14-2010, 09:54 AM   #1
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Picos De Europa

Hi all,I thought I'd post a RR from this years holiday;
Together with my mate Jamie we've just been down to the Picos De Europa,Jamie on a early Triumph Tiger,me on a kick-start XT600.I rebuilt the old XT last year,and boy did it need a rebuild;
Jamie only bought the Tiger a few months ago and he's had some er issues with it,but hopefully after a replacement set of carbs it'll be good.
We set off from Lancashire mid Saturday morning aiming to get down to North Devon for the evening.
We've both spent to much time driving artics down the M6 to want to spend any time on the motorway when it's not essential so we went down the A49 to South Wales,picked up the M4 then dropped down a couple of junctions on the M5 before cutting across North Somerset & into Devon.
It's the first time I've been to North Devon and I'd heard that they've got some big hills.Well what I heard is true,on a couple of them,when doing a hill start I found it difficult to hold the XT by the front brake, with the panniers loaded,no tankbag & the weight over the back wheel, the front wheel couldnt get enough grip to stop the bike attempting to slide backwards,so I ended up using both brakes just to stand still..
We made it to the B&B we were to stay in with only 1 mishap,we missed the turn for the B&B and Jamie dropped the Tiger at a virtual standstill on a real steep slope,it was so steep I did'nt even stop the XT,I went up to the top of the road where it was level enough to turn around & go back down the hill.When I got ot the top of the road to turn around I spotted a sign directed at the road we'd just come up "unfit for motor vehicles",You do'nt say!
The Tiger was leaking some fluid and the rear brake lever was bent into the case,but the case was only scuffed,so we got away with that one.
The following morning we headed down to Plymouth for the Santander boat,
I was going to take some photos on the way down but as the early part of the journey was through thick coastal fog the camera stayed in the bag..

Mark.F screwed with this post 08-14-2010 at 10:03 AM
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:28 AM   #2
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We got the 70 odd miles down to Plymouth docks done in good time and the sun came out.
I do'nt know how it works in other parts of the world but I always think that the holiday only begins when you get to the quayside and now that we were here we could get into holiday mode.There were a few bikes on the quayside waiting for the boat but the place was mainly populated by car & motorhome owners all waiting for the same boat as us,in the hot mid-day sun,yep in England people were looking for shade,most unusual..
We got talking to a couple on a BMW 1150/1200 GS,they were from Keighley over the border in Yorkshire,Pete & Carol.
I should point out at this stage we had a vague plan about going back to the Pyrenees,last time I was there was 1992,Jamie the year after,anyway Pete & Carol were'nt going to the Pyrenees they were going to the Picos De Europa,they liked it so much last year that they were returning.
Next we met a family from York,who should have been traveling on Africa Twins but someone had a broken elbow so they were travelling on 4 wheels,they were also travelling to the Picos..
Anyway the quayside began to fill up with lots of motorcycles and eventually we went through customs and descended into the bottom of the ferry.The boat the Pont Aven is a big boat and as we were on first we got settled in as it would take another couple of hours to get everyone on board.
Eventually we set sail in sunny weather

That's Plymouth in the background,and here's the view of the English Channel from the front of the boat,

Perfect weather for drinking beer
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:00 AM   #3
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The PONT AVEN is a real big boat,in fact it's the only ferry I've been on with a swimming pool,but I was more concerned with food & drink
The boat left Plymouth about 4 pm and was due in Santander about 10.30 the following morning,and big as the boat is, it was easy to meet the people we had been talking to on the quayside.
I switched to holiday mode,the crossing was smooth(Not always guarenteed in the Bay of Biscay) and was enjoying the craic with the everyone I'd met.At some stage I got introduced to 3 blokes from Grimsby and one more who was travelling with his Spanish wife & child.
Once again the question came up,where are you going to then?
Er,wev'e got a vague plan about going around the Pyrenees,how about yourselves? Oh wer'e going to the Picos De Europa,it's great.
By this stage I decided wer'e missing a trick if we do'nt go to the Picos,Jamie had no real plans with the Pyrenees so when the boat docked,we headed to Potes in the Picos.Pete & Caarol recommended the campsite they were staying at and gave us the directions from Potes
We docked in the Spanish sun,but as we were first on the boat we were last off so we chilled whilst all the motorhomes & cars disappeared into Santander.
One slight problem with us changing plan & going to the Picos was that now we had no maps,however whilst we were waiting on the boat Duncan,one of the Grimsby blokes told us to meet up with them at the end of the esplanade and they'd give us directions to Potes,so after a couple of wrong turns in Santander we met up and got the directions to Potes.
Here's a picture from the little bridge when you head through the gorge towards Potes
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:56 AM   #4
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Old 08-15-2010, 04:22 AM   #5
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We found the campsite easily enough and as it's only 70 miles from Santander the journey did'nt take long,also as Pete & Carol said, it's a good site.
The main road in, the N621 is really scenic following the rio Deva through a gorge,here's the river,

I noticed there were a lot of anglers fly fishing in all the local rivers,they even put up a statue of whats in the river;

We ate on the campsite on the first night and the group from Grimsby turned up for food & beers
The next day we went to Fuente De,where there's a cable car up into the mountains,here's Fuente De;

And here's the cable car;

Jamie went up in the car & took a walk around,but unlike me he had a topbox to put all his kit in,I decided to give it a miss & come back better prepared,here's a picture from the road on the way back to Potes;

The next day we went exploring,here's the Tiger

We went off exploring all the back roads,we found a village called Tudes,it had a bar called the englishman or something similar ,so we went in for a brew,I was on the local mountain tea, we had a chat with the bloke who owned it,he's english lived in spain for 20 years and obviously likes the place.He mentioned that they were having a fiesta at the weekend,something to think about..
Here's Tudes;

As you can see it's a quiet little place..

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Old 08-15-2010, 04:40 AM   #6
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Looking good.
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Old 08-15-2010, 06:09 AM   #7
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Nice places and photos.

With which programme you made white frames on the photos ?


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Old 08-15-2010, 08:57 AM   #8
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Sebastjen,I just resize the images in photoshop.
Today I decided to go back to Fuente De,use the cable car and go for a hike,unfortunatley when the cable car got to the top of the hill the clouds were low..

After walking away from the cable car things started to clear up

Everything is waymarked so I started down the trail

There's still snow up there

It did'nt put the climbers off

and eventually I got to a pass,from where,on a clear day they say you can see all the way to the coast
However today was'nt very clear,looks like rain down on the coast..

When I got back to the campsite we had new neighbours,they had a motor home & a Suzuki 750 quad
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:10 AM   #9
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Looking forward to more.


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Old 08-15-2010, 09:15 AM   #10
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:34 AM   #11
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The next morning we got talking to the quad owners and they put us onto a easy track.We were'nt so sure about going off road as we do'nt know whats legal or otherwise but the couple with the quad assured us if we did'nt go fast or ride in a group we'd be alright so we went to attempt it.
We found the track alright,but after no more than a couple of miles the tigers cooling system was complaining so we headed back down to the road and did a ride to a place called Tresviso.
We went on some great little roads

If you look closely you can see the road going up the valley
The road went through a few tunnels

After going through the tunnels the views were good

Here's Jamie & the tiger

We went through the village of Sotres and on towards Tresviso

About this time Jamie asked if I had enough fuel in the XT,I thought I'd be alright,however a few miles down the road I started having doubts so I beeped my horn but Jamie just rode off,I figured he'd turn round when he realised I was'nt following him so I got the camera out again

I must have been there 20 minutes but no sign of Jamie,so I took another picture

And waited,after a while 2 vultures started circling above me..
He still did'nt show up so I decided to try and get to Tresviso,eventually I got there and found him.
This was the taverna in Tresviso

I asked him why he did'nt go looking for me when I was'nt behind him,he reckoned I'd stopped to take some photos,good job I had'nt come off the bike!
It's a dead end when you get to Tresviso so we made our way back and got to a petrol station,I had plenty of fuel in the XT,so much for worrying about the fuel range.
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:16 AM   #12
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That night back at the campsite we were talking to the spanish couple with the quad and told them why we did'nt do the track that day, but I assured them that I'd do it on my own with the XT.
The next morning I had decided to do a proper hike back up the mountain,so I rode back to Fuente De and got a one way ticket in the cable car.
I noticed that the weather had changed and there was a lot of low level cloud about.I got the cable car up the mountain and here's the first picture I took
Anyone know what this is called,I've never seen it before?

The Picos started to appear through the mist

You could see it was sunny up above

I eventually got back to the pass with the view to the coast,no chance of seeing the coast today,so I decided to scramble up one of the Picos
Here's the view from the top,it does'nt look much but just in front of the rock in the foreground is a cliff with what looked about a 700 ft drop

Here's the view back down to Fuente De..

I hiked back to where I started

However this time I did'nt return on the cable car I took the long walk back down,I had to get my wet weather gear out as it got drizzley
As I got to lower altitudes I ended up walking down a track and eventually I dropped onto a 4x4 track,after about half an hour on this track 2 trail bikes came past on GB plates, a Yamaha Serrow and what looked like a DR350 Suzuki,I kept walking and a couple of 4x4 went past and then some mountainbikers,eventually I turned of this track and went through a big wood full of oak trees,mud and slugs,just like being back home!
Here's a view before I dropped into the woods;

It shows just how much the enviroment changes in a few miles,I was slipping on mud going through these woods.Eventually after 15 miles and a whole lot of altitude I got back to the XT,in the rain and rode back to the campsite.Tomorrow I was going to do the trail on the XT.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:51 PM   #13
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The following morning I woke up half siezed from the previous days hike,I had a chat with the spanish couple who were packing up & going home,however they were going to the Pyrenees next week,hard life eh?
They were a nice couple I hope they enjoyed the Pyrenees.
I told them I was of to do the trail & I set off on the XT.
The weather was cloudier than in the previous days,but I got to the track & set off;

The track was easy just like the spanish couple said,it was also a lot cooler than when we tried it with the tiger;
When I got to this point I recognised where I was from the previous days hike;

The weather started to close in again..

I went past this chapel

and dropped into a grassy valley

By this time the fog was coming down ,I went on for about a mile but the track got vague so I decided to call it a day and have another go when the sun turned out.
I went back to sunny Potes,which looks like this;

and then back to the campsite,
Where I got told that the next day was gonna be sunny
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:53 PM   #14
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The next day the weather seemed better,it was still a bit cloudy but no drizzle;

As I got a bit higher the weather cleared,it was nice to see what was at the side of the valley as on my previous 2 visits it had been full of mist & fog

Now that the mist & fog had lifted, i could see the sides of the grassy valley & it looks like this

I got back to where the track went vague yesterday & could'nt see a way through so I climbed up a bank and could see a signpost about half a mile away.After getting to the signpost I realised I was on the wrong route..
I ended up backtracking a couple of miles & picked up the right track.
The small building in this picture is the chapel, I had to go back past it and come round on the track in the picture.

Now that the visibility was good you could see where the track went

The track was easy,even for a novice off roader like me,I met a few people out hiking & mountainbiking,the only other motorised vehicles I met was a spanish 4x4 belonging to a local farmer & a 4x4 on GB plates,they also ended up in the grassy valley & had to turn around..

The next section of track got more technical, no photos here as I spent my time concentrating on getting down without any dramas.
After a few miles it levelled out before picking up some mountain backroad and I picked a backroads route back to Potes.
Good day out,I was cursing Jamie being on the Tiger & not his Super Tenere,the old Yam would have got around this route no problem..
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:03 PM   #15
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