Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A New Walk; Villamayor to the Hotel along the Sueve Mountains.

Typical scenery along the walk

Whilst we have been shut over the winter I have developed six new walking routes, five of which can be done from the hotel and using public transport. I’ve just finished testing the walking notes for the longest of these walks which is from the village of Villamayor to the hotel along the side of the Sueve mountain range.

Farm track on the side of the Sueve mountain near the begining of the walk.

The walk involves walking down to Arriondas where you catch a train or bus to the Village of Villamayor from where the walk starts. At first you follow small lanes for about 2 kms to the edge of the Sueve Mountains, and then you follow small tracks which link small farms and pastures all along the edge of the Sueve Mountains.

Traditional farm landscape on the walk
There is a fascinating contrast between the farms on the land just beneath the mountain range and the farms higher up on the mountain side. The lower farms on the better agricultural land (at the beginning of the walk) have been subject to “improvement plans” These farms predominantly have dairy cows which are kept in cattle sheds most of the time and the land has been planted with grass monocrops. The farms along the mountain side where it is much more difficult to use machinery still operate in a traditional manner with hay fields and a mix of sheep and Asturian mountain cows grazing the land.

"La Collada" one of the small traditionl farms on the route

The walk passes many different small tradional farms (some of which are being abandoned) and eventually climbs up to the common pasture by the side of the Tiegu peak.

Common land where a mixture of cattle and horses graze

Once across a small section of the common pastures a track takes you down to the small villages of Villar de la Cuesta and Cofiño. The walk then goes along old animal tracks back to the hotel, where the bar will be awaiting you for a well deserved drink.

Looking back from where you have been walking with the snow covered Ponga Mountains in the distance.
As always when walking along the Sueve the views are absolutely stunning on this walk with the Sella and Piloña river valleys in the foreground and the Pico de Europa and Ponga Mountains in the back ground.

Traditional farm hut

In total the walk is about 16kms with an accumulative ascent of about 800m. Most of the walk is on farm tracks, some on small lanes and short section on animal tracks across open pasture. There is a very short section just before the hotel which is slightly overgrown but hopefully we will get this section cleared before too many guests do the walk! Total walking time from Villamayor to the hotel is about 6 hours.

Don’t worry if this walk sounds a bit strenuous we also have some new walks which are also lovely and much less demanding!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Earth Pilgrims Retreat with Satish Kumar

Join Satish Kumar, Sebastian Burch and Hotel Posada del Valle's Community on a Special event from
30 September to 6 October, 2010

This event is open for bookings

As my mother and I were walking along the estuary of the River Sella, on one of the many signed Santiago's way, a couple that had pilgrimaged all the way from the south of Spain came up to us. Do you speak Spanish? He said, confused by our northern looks. Claro que si! We replied, and only with the humbleness and gentleness of someone who has walked for so long, he asked for some help. As we departed and wished each other good luck, I remembered that in Asturias, land of passing pilgrims, it is well known that helping a pilgrim is something that brings home luck and good times.

Pilgrims in the 21st century? It hardly seems like the time in history when you would expect to hear about pilgrims, but it is, and maybe now more than ever it is time to become an earth pilgrim. Earth pilgrim is the title of Satish Kumar's latest book, a conversation between him and his daughter and also is the title of the BBC documentary about him and his relationship to Dartmoor.

Satish believes that at this stage of human history we now need a new kind of pilgrim, unattached to any form of dogma - 'Earth Pilgrims' who are connected with this world, not to the next, Such pilgrims are seeking a deep commitment to life here and now, upon this Earth, in this world. We need to realize that we are all connected, and through this connectivity we become pilgrims. (Earth Pilgrim, S. Kumar)

We are all Earth Pilgrims! Every time we walk, sit and contemplate or take action for the world, in a mindful and profound way, we become Earth Pilgrims. By doing this we become aware of the acute interconnection between every member of this planet and how the landscapes that surround us are also the landscapes of our minds, we co-evolve and are mutually defining.

To celebrate 15 years in Asturias and its social-ecological commitment, Hotel Posada del Valle is proud to host such an event. An opportunity for anyone to enjoy the company of other earth pilgrims, joining Satish and Sebastian in quiet reflection through mindful walking and sitting, as well as sharing some of their thoughts and ideas. It will be a time for walking, discussing, meditating, and experiencing the place of spirituality in the modern world as well as understanding a more holistic way of being in our life by engaging further with the natural world and finding healing in our connection with it.

Satish Kumar undertook an 8,000 mile peace pilgrimage, walking from India to America without any money to deliver packets of peace tea to leaders of the four nuclear powers. In 1973, he settled in England, becoming editor of Resurgence magazine – a position he has held ever since. Satish is the guiding spirit behind a number of ecological, spiritual and educational ventures in Britain and was one of the founders of Schumacher College.

Sebastian Burch MSc (Hons) was born in the south of Spain. He came to Asturias with his family at the age of twelve and became part of what Hotel Posada del Valle is today. Since a young age Sebastian has loved the natural world and this led him to start a degree in Biology at Oviedo University. Disillusioned with mechanistic and reductionist science, he then did a Masters in Holistic Science at Schumacher College. He is now engaged in holistic research concerned with landscape feelings, and is very interested in Deep Ecology and social ecological transformation.

“A pilgrim is someone who sees life as a sacred journey, who sees the Earth as a sacred home, who sees the universe as a process”

Satish Kumar, Earth Pilgrim

Click here for more information on the course

Watch on youtube the BBC 2 Natural World documentary

“Blog entrance written by Sebastian Eslea Burc"


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.