An Autumn Weekend in León

Finally, after months without rain, the drought has ended. This is a cause for great celebration. Crops have suffered, drinking water supplies have dwindled and this corner of ‘Green Spain’ was showing signs of scorching at the edges, its usually lush verdant hues beginning to be tinged an unbecoming yellow and brown.

Now that’s what you call a dry reservoir. El Embalse de Riaño, León this September

Last Wednesday normal service was resumed. Autumn arrived in Asturias with a sudden snappy dip in temperatures and the heavens opened. You could almost hear the earth breathe a sigh of relief.

So shallow and fickle is human nature however (or at least the humans in this household) that by Thursday and with a long weekend looming we’d already become bored with the rain and decided to hightail it over the mountains to León, where drier climes (and, yes, climbs) awaited us.

This is one of the many great things about living in Asturias – we have the best of both worlds. While Asturias has a mild maritime climate, across the Cordillera Cantabrica in León a harsher continental climate reigns, with hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters. The upshot is that we live mellowly surrounded by soft fertile greens but easily escape the rain that feeds them if it should happen to inconvenience us (i.e. by falling at a weekend).

The drive over the Puerto de San Isidro is always spectacular and perhaps never more so than in autumn. The steep sides of the mountain pass are densely wooded and I have never seen such a variety of shades of reds and yellows as were on display. Sadly, on the way up the pass we weren’t able to make a photo stop, as stopping in our heavy, underpowered motorhome on this steep, unrelenting mountain climb is best avoided for fear of never getting going again. Must. Not. Lose. Momentum. is our mantra, muttered through gritted teeth as we lean forward in our seats desperately trying to stay in third gear.

Looking out from the crag at Pedrosa, Leon

Still, I hope some of the photos from the weekend give at least the tiniest inkling of how beautiful the autumnal colours were. On talking to our friend Alberto about it (he’s a fanatical mountain runner and climber and knows the Cordillera Cantabrica like the back of his hand) he informed me that the very best place to view the autumnal display is by hiking in to the Pena del Viento peak from the top of the pass at San Isidro. From there you look back down into Asturias from León and, he assures me, it is like standing above a volcano, so vivid and startling are the autumnal reds. Maybe next year.

Alberto climbing at Pedrosa, above the Valverdin valley, Saturday morning

Walking back to our motorhome in the early morning chill. (After a dog walk, not a night on the tiles, natch.) We overnighted tucked away in the trees, alongside a river, on the outskirts of the bustling little town of Boñar.

Gratuitous photo of Jack entertaining himself at the crag, learning how to clip a bolt

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

25 thoughts on “An Autumn Weekend in León

  1. Isn’t weather fickle? All the hoo-haa we had in the UK about our empty reservoirs and then a summer of constant rain has filled them all up again so we now have flooding.
    Can’t beat beautiful Autumn colours.

  2. Now that is what you call an Autumn display…. Just stunning! Glad the rains have arrived, and that you can escape them from time to time! Love the last pic too! Emma 🙂

  3. Stunning photos – sigh! I miss autumn so much (am in Indonesia as you know) and we await the rainy season here; months of roaring downpours that cool the air for an hour or so before the humidity returns – with the sweats! Very jealous but so glad that you had a lovely time. Best wishes.

  4. Pingback: An Autumn Weekend in León | Travel Northern Spain, Green Spain |

  5. Oh my God that rocking climbing picture almost gave me a heart attack. It looks like he’s free climbing, and then I saw the bottom picture of your little boy and realised he’s probably using those strap thingies!

    Amazing tree photo.

    Popped over via Country Kids

  6. I love to read your story each week, the apples last week and now the rains. Looking at that reservoir you really did need this rain. How marvelous to just be able to drive away from it all over the mountain though. Great post with amazing photos as always. Thank you for linking up to Country Kids

  7. Pingback: Driving Over Chestnuts | Asturian Diary

  8. What a great post. This is SO interesting, I really never knew quite how diverse Spain was as a country. How does the motorhome work for you? We’re thinking of hiring one this summer and driving through France. Thanks for linking up to Oldies but Goodies 🙂

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