Sunday, 1 July 2018

Castro Valnera

Walk Summary
Dd not expect to see any snow in Spain this low in July,
around 1400m
Low cloud but patchy giving a bit of warm sunshine but not too much.
After nudging my progressive high point to 1411m on Mortillano two days ago, blew it away this time on Castro Valnera 1718m, P866.
Walked only 7.21km with 649m of ascent so have ascended more for smaller hills - it's all relative. The bonus was being able to drive 3km from the BU-572 to El Bernacho saving 6km of walking overall.
Even found snow in Spain in JULY!
This is the only summit I managed from the base at Camping La Isla though with hindsight I could have saved myself a long drive back to 
Camping Playa Arenillas, Islares after Mortillano had I planned out my campsites better, but with the downside being having to set up a new camp after what was a fairly tough day. So you pays your money and make your choice.
From Camping La Isla I really wanted a route up Castro Valnera from the south rather than the more popular northern access and the CA-643. The best I could manage was from the west off the BU-572 but in addition to the encouraging sign to the summit; the track from the info board to El Bernacho, with a little care at a couple of rutted areas, was firm enough to take a standard road vehicle and more importantly my camper van, close to where the footpath starts through woodland all the way to the collado and 1444m spot height, saving a 3km walk in and 3km walk out.
As the path turns right and NW
cairns start to confirm on right path to summit
There is a marked path on the IGN 1:25000 from El Bernacho to the 1444m which is easy to follow on the ground. The plan was then to continue to the province boundary and turn right up the ridge all the way to Casta Valnera summit. However shortly after the 1444m col I noticed a well defined path at N43°08'21.357" W3°40'48.623" turning back on itself from the main path that after a slight scramble contoured around the SE shoulder of Castro Valnera between 1500m and 1550m before turning 90° to the right after approx. 400m over grass marked by cairns and onto exposed sloping rock. This seemed a better option on the day as I was not 100% certain there would be an ascent path along the province boundary as well as cloud starting to gather on and above the col area. 
Cloud clearing at just the right moment to reveal 1685m col
to right of summit
Once on the rock head for the col and 1685m spot height to the right of the summit where you take another sharp right up the path along summit ridge to the base of an easy scramble and on to the summit area and high point marked by a trig pillar broken off to just under ½ its normal height.
I had a good chat with a couple of guys out for the day from Bilbao. Unfortunately cloud had gathered below the summit to the north obscuring what looked like rugged terrain. Exploring beyond the summit for an alternative descent route along the planned province boundary revealed only more cloud. So after summit pictures I decided to return back down the ascent route along a known path and back to the van before 12:30pm and with the cloud burning back the prospect of an afternoon in the sun back at Camping La Isla.
Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 01 July 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Start Point - End of track at El Bernacho approx 3km from BU-572 (N43°08'54.104" W3°39'28.112")
Start Time - 09:15
Finish Point End of track at El Bernacho approx 3km from BU-572 (N43°08'54.104" W3°39'28.112")
Finish Time- 12:21
Total Duration - 3hrs 06mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.44mph
Total Distance Walked - 4.46 miles
Total Height Ascended - 646.90metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185S&P - 2165E)
Castro Valnera (7S - 8S&P - 36E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
Spain Province High Points (52)
S: Spain
P: Portugal

Other walks on this trip
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
01st Castro Valnera
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune

More Photographs
View as you traverse around SE shoulder of Castro Valnera on descent.
Pico del Rostro at 1236m yet another fairly distictive peak that I will not be going up

Click on photograph to view slide-show