Cordillera Cantábrica shelters lots of unknown mountains, modest in altitude but with exceptional views to other summits more known and travelled: it’s the case of Pandián.
This is a mountain surrounded by large forests
, where it’s difficult to find another company that cows or horses. That animals graze free by that lonely corners of these Cantabrian mountains. Pandián is situated in a little populated area, included inside of the borders of Picos de Europa Regional Park (Parque Regional de los Picos de Europa)
that belongs to the province of León, in the north of the large region (Comunidad Autónoma) of Castilla y León.
The strategic centre of this area is the village of Nuevo Riaño, a new village built after the demolition of the old village of Riaño, that was located at the bottom of a wonderful valley. The end of the construction of a huge dam in 1987, to convert in irrigated lands more than 80.000 has in the south of the province of León, suposed the defeat of the ecologists that supported the local community, opposed to leave their houses. Today, the only remain of that old village is the church of San Martín de Pedrosa del Rey (XVI century) moved stone by stone to his new location.
Picos de Europa Regional Park was created in 1994 with a surface of 120.639 has. It’s on the south of the nearby Picos de Europa National Park, recently ampliated (there was the first National Park in Spain, founded in 1918 by the king Alfonso XIII) and shelters the highest tops in Cordillera Cantábrica: Torre Cerredo (2.648 m.), Torre del Llambrión (2.642 m.), Peña Santa (2.596 m.), etc. All of them are visible from the top of Pandián in a sunny day.
The faunal jewel of this natural space is the Cantabrian brown bear (Ursus arctos)
, that still survives in these wild massifs of northern Spain. Near to extinction in the last decades, today regains from centuries of hunting and poaching, thanks to the good job of different administrations and several wildlife trusts like FAPAS
or Brown Bear Foundation (Fundación Oso Pardo)
However, a new threat has appeared in the last years: a new large ski-resort (San Glorio ski-resort)
in the neighbouring massif of Fuentes Carrionas, in the border of provinces of Palencia, León and Santander. This huge project threatens to destroy the quiet and silence of these valleys and summits, and hide dark speculative interests. The recently modification of the Natural Resources Ordenation Plan of another neighbouring Natural Park (Fuentes Carrionas and Fuente Cobre Natural Park) in the province of Palencia has been the last step to start the construction of this ski-resort. The ecologists have reported to the European Comission this ecological attempt; it’s the last hope to preserve the biodiversity of these wild areas of Cordillera Cantábrica.
To know more you can visit the web page of Plataforma en Defensa de San Glorio
(San Glorio Defence Platform).
Getting ThereBy car:
Due to continous changes in the denomination of the roads of Spain, it’s very advisable to consult the web page of Guiacampsa
where you have a seeker of routes. It’s very easy to use: you have to write in “Origen-Localidad” the name of the town or village where you start your trip and in “Destino-Localidad” the name of the village where you want to go (in the case of the route described forward, you’ll write “Vegacerneja”). Inmediately, you will see a map (that you can print) with all the route (you can enlarge this and see the name of the roads, towns and villages).
From northern Spain:
The village of Riaño is a forced point of pass to get to this area. N-625, and N-621 are the principal roads to get to Pandián from the cities of Oviedo or Santander. CL-635 and AS-17 are another alternative roads from people that comes from Oviedo.
From southern Spain:
N-625 is the principal road, but there are more secundary roads: CL-615 and LE-241 to get from Palencia (or Madrid, Valladolid, etc.).
From western Spain:
From the nearby city of León you can get to Pandián driving by the N-621 and LE-V-3141 to Cistierna, and then again N-621 to Riaño.
No permits or fees are required to enter in this area; however, it’s convenient to inform in the nearby Park House of Valdeburón (Casa del Parque de Valdeburón; phone: 987742215), located in the quiet village of Lario (16 kilometers from Riaño by the CL-635), because it’s possible that in some periods of the year the guards of Picos de Europa Regional Park don’t permit the access because of hunting or the presence of threatened species like bear or capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus).
In autumn and winter, you can consult the road conditions in Dirección General de Tráfico
or in the pages 601-611 of “Teletexto” in channel number 1 or 2 of TVE (spanish public television).
Camping and lodgingsFree camping is forbidden
in all this area, but the abundance of country houses (casas rurales; visit the web page top rural
to find it. There are another lodgings (hotels, campings...) that allow a confortable stay in this privilegiated corner of Cordillera Cantábrica.
Some of these are:
Casa rural “La Huerta” I y II. Phone: 987740663.
Centro turismo rural “Buenavista”. Phone: 987740810.
Hostal “Riaño”. Phone: 987740616.
Hostal “Sainz”. Phone: 987740663.
Hostal “El Abedul”. Phone: 987740706.
Hotel “Presa”. Phone: 987740637.
Albergue “El Refugio”. Phone: 609634823.
Cámping “Hoyo de Valcayo”. Phone: 987740687.
Hostal “Mirva”. Phone: 987742296.
-In Boca de Huérgano:
Casa rural “Aldarón”. Phone: 98744030.
Centro turismo rural “Argamón”. Phone: 987740186.
Hostal “Tierra de la Reina”. Phone: 987740102.
Pensión “Crescente”. Phone: 987740134.
Cámping “Alto Esla”. Phone: 987740139.
Hostal “Mirva”. Phone: 987742296.
Casa rural “La Era” I y II. Phone: 987740096.
Casa rural “La Catedral de la Montaña”. Phone: 987710801.
Casa rural “Sol de Mediodía”. Phone: 987742346.
When to goSummer:
most of days are sunny, but it rains sometimes. It’s preferable to rise early, carrying enough water and protecting properly of sun with a hat and sun screen.
rain can be a great inconvenient and foggy days are very frequent. It’s advisable carrying a GPS and marking frequents waypoints to avoid unpleasant surprises in this depopulated area.
be careful with the conditions of the snow. Depending of that you can need rackets or ice-axe (even crampons to the last slopes of Pandián, where the inclination can amount to 30º). Carry a good equipment for cold days.
days can be very differents. So, being informed of weather prevission is very important, thus as foresee that can be still snow in the beginning of this season.
IGN 1/50.000: Burón 15-6 (80). You can buy it in La Tienda Verde
. In Madrid the adress is: Maudes street, 23 and 28. Phones: 915353810 or 91 533 0791.
Another interesting link is: Desnivel
to buy maps and books. In Madrid the adress is: Plaza Matute 6,
Phone: 902248848. Fax: +34 913 694 727.