Tiatordos is the emblematic mountain of Ponga and there are two main ways of climbing it; the easier route starting from Pendones in the borough of Caso or the more demanding route starting from Taranes in Ponga when it’s possible to climb the summit and combine it with a complete circular walk around the mountain. The walk described here (which I did a couple of days ago) is the second harder option and represents one of the toughest walks described on this blog. This is a 10 hour walk with 1900m of ascent and some quite complicated navigating so needless to say it should not be taken light hearted.
It’s been three years since I last did this walk and when I crowned the summit of this spectacular mountain for the first time it was an important mile stone in my walking life. Despite brilliant weather the days were getting shorter and I knew I could only reckon on 12 hours of day light for this walk. I calculated it would take 10 hours but I wanted to allow plenty of contingency time as I knew the walk was complicated. I decided to start walking at 07.30am, a good half hour before daylight broke with the help of my headlight on. The walk starts from Taranes up the spectacular “foz de escalada” or canyon of the climb. With a name like that you can imagine what it is like; 500 meters climbing up a steep narrow ravine but with the compensation that every time I stopped and turned round, I could see the Picos in the distance spectacularly framed by the rock edges of the canyon.
Amazingly the path up the ravine was once cobbled all the way to the pastures of Daon just beyond the ravine. These large pastures are being lost to bracken and gorse as one of the rarest breed of the mountain fauna; the mountain farmer slowly slips into extinction. Most of this route goes from one mountain pasture settlement to another, using tracks which farmers used to use to travel between these different settlements. From Daon to Entigue and then on to the “majada” or settlement of Tiatordos. The views are spectacular with the mix of beech forests, limestone outcrops, and stone huts.
Just before reaching the ruined settlement “majada de Tiatordos” I diverted from the circular route and started the 400 meter climb a long a well way-marked path to the summit. With many of the mountains in Ponga geological tilting and faulting has produced a gentle slope on one side and a shear drop on the other side. In the case of Tiatordos after climbing up the slope on one side of the mountain there is an unexpected a stomach stirring 500m drop at the top. Having gone as near to the edge as my stomach allowed I started descending back to the majada of Tiatordos ready to carry on the circular walk around the mountain. My solitude was briefly broken by the sound of a group of walkers coming up from Pendones, it was a Saturday and I guess you can’t always have the mountains all to yourself!
I carried on following the cattle tracks with a rather large down and up before I reached Romamperi. From the previous time I had done this walk I remembered this point as having one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen and living here in Asturias that is saying something. I was not disappointed; in the foreground beech forests covered the lower flanks of the spectacular chain of the Zorru Mountains while the Picos sat omnipresent in the back ground. I sat and had my lunch here admiring such sheer beauty and wanting to absorb it into my memory for ever. I’ve looked to see if there would be an easier way to get to this spectacular view point without such a long slog, so that more people could enjoy the views but to date I haven’t found a way.
As I continued to the next remote pasture; Brañadosu I came across a farmer Antonio looking for five cows he had lost. A hardy but gentle looking character who had obviously spent all his life caring for cattle in this very remote part of Asturias. For me it’s always a real bonus when I meet a local farmer and have the chance to talk and learn more about the local area, paths and customs.
An old path takes you out of the Brañadosu meadow through a small pass in a limestone outcrop and then through a beech forest before crossing two very steep pastures with long grass and patches of hazelnuts. I had wondered why these pastures hadn’t been grazed and the grass was so long and tough looking. I had asked Antonio and he had told me that as the pastures were so steep when the grass was wet the cows often slipped over and fell to the bottom (a long way to fall.)
Once over the next coll; Collado Forada I could see the base of the 500m drop that I had been looking down earlier that morning, wow! After descending down another grassy slope you follow a cow track for quite some way through more meadows and woodlands before coming to a larger track which eventually takes you back to Taranes. I arrived at Taranes very satisfied to have done this long walk once again.
Maps and gpx tracks available from the hotel as well as walking notes
|Type of walk||Circular|
|Acces||35 km from hotel, 45 min by car|
|Public transport options||Very difficult|
|Total Length||20,2 km|
|Total Ascent||1900 m|
|Altitude||600 – 1951 – 600|
|Total Walking time||10 hours|
|Terrain||Mountain paths and slopes|
|Navigation||Very difficult in parts|
|Refreshments||Bar at Taranes|
|Map||Mapa Topográfico nacional de España: Campo Caso|