Thursday, 22 October 2009


We have had lots of good weather this autumn and I’ve been able to make the most of it, doing some lovely high mountain walking in the Picos de Europa. On my walks I have had the chance to see a lot of chamois, which is probably the most representative fauna species of The Picos de Europa.

This amazingly agile animal is generally found above 1,500m and as a mountain dweller is very well adapted to living in the rugged, rocky landscape of the Picos de Europa.
A fully grown chamois reaches a height of about 75 cm and weighs about 50 kg. Both males and females have short horns which are slightly curled backwards. In summer, the chamois' fur has a rich brown colour which turns to a light grey in winter. Distinct characteristics are a white face with pronounced black stripes below the eyes, a white backside and a black dorsal strip. Chamois can reach an age of up to 20 years.
The hooves are thin and highly versatile, capable of running with extreme agility over difficult rocky terrain as well as snow and ice fields. This agility is due to the unique design of the cushions that occupy the central part of their hooves

Chamois are social animals that move in small groups in search of mountain pastures. These groups are formed only by males (which may be solitary) or only by females and their offspring, which only meet during the mating season.

Their sight, smell and hearing are excellent. This helps them quickly identify their predators, including bears, wolves, lynx and men. Other dangers to the chamois are avalanches, to the extent that it is not uncommon to find whole herds killed by avalanches at the time of thaw.

In the national park of The Picos de Europa there is an estimated population of about 5,000 individuals. Although they are active throughout the day the best time to see them is in the morning or early evening. One of the (relatively) easier walks where there is a good chance of seeing them is from Pan de Carmen near the lakes of Covadonga up to the Ordiales viewing point. (More information on this walk and others on the self guided walking section of our web page)

Walking up to the Ordiales view point with chamois admiring the views!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Apple Picking and Press Coverage

We started picking apples today and are expecting quite a large harvest this year (about 10 tonnes.) There were 6 of us picking and it will take about 15 days work to complete the harvest.

Interestingly enough this coincided with a news article about us on the BBC news web page:

"Looking out over their cider apple trees towards the Picos de Europa mountains beyond, Nigel and Joann Burch take a break from the harvest." To read the full article click on the following link:
BBC NEWS Spain's organic farmers dodge recession.

And for another interesting press coverage we had earlier the season in the National Geographic Adventure magazine you might like to look at this link: The New old Thing!

Its all publicity!


Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.