Defeated once again by the scenery, terrain and state of Spanish maps. We headed off along the MascÃºn Gorge from Rodellar with the intention, if fairing well, of reaching the deserted village of Otin above the far end of the gorge.
It didn’t start too well with a little difficulty find the right path out of the village, but we soon got down to river level and picked our way spot the banks and over stepping stones. The lower stretches close to the village have soaring vertical walls, hollows and holes clean though the rock. The MascÃ¹n Inferior emerges from a cavern on one side of the gorge, and so leaves a dry stretch for a couple of kilometres.
We bypassed the regular route to Otin, instead opting for picking our way further up the gorge. Large sheets of ice remain in pockets, half suspended in mid-air where the water has drained away through the rocks beneath.
Suddenly the river is back, and there is no clue where it disappeared to, and it start to slow progress as we have to pick our way through undergrowth and over boulders to stay out of the water, which is enticingly crystal clear but perilously cold.
We are still about a kilometre before the path heads up the side (at least the map suggests) but our path is blocked – a narrow in the gorge is filled with water, and rock climbing skills would come in handy to scale the sides of the gorge to avoid it.
We decide to turn back, but not before sitting in a patch of welcome sun and enjoying a packed lunch whilst watching the eagles soaring overhead.
We retrace our steps, passing through pockets of alternately warm and chilled air, the lack of a breeze preventing the patches warmed by the sun from mixing with those less fortunate.
Despite the thwarted mission, a very agreeable way to spend an afternoon!