Ancestral paths cross Asturias from North to South and East to West, trodden since the Palaeolithic right up to the present day. Romans and shepherds used to use them to get from one village to another, crossing or bypassing valleys, rivers and mountains to buy and sell, take livestock to the high pastures or even to go a party in who knows which village.
Recently, these paths have been taken by you, by me, by all the hikers who enjoy Asturian nature, but we must not forget that we have to do it responsibly and safely. The responsibility of knowing that many of these paths are in natural spaces and that in these spaces, we cannot walk wherever we want. That many of these paths have boundaries that we cannot cross so as not to disturb the nature, therefore it is essential to get in touch in advance with whoever can advise us on this for each natural space. This is what the Interpretation Centres and the management of the spaces, if necessary, are for.
Xurbeo Waterfall (Aller).
We do not collect living creatures except on our camera, without pressuring them or chasing them and, above all, we do not leave rubbish of any type and if we find some that is not ours, we pick it up whenever possible. We also have to head out with the assurance that we can get back by ourselves, knowing that our physical conditions are suited to the route, taking appropriate boots and walking sticks and ensuring that we have sufficient food and drink, since on most of the paths we will not find fountains or places to buy food or stop to eat en route.
Road to Vega de Brañagallones (Andorviu - Caso).
For safety, it is also recommended that you register at your nearest Mountaineering Federation and take with you the track of the route on a mobile application or GPS. Once you have all of this prepared, go out, enjoy yourself, take a hundred photos and share them. Share with other participants the beauty of this region and the hidden and magnificent places that it preserves.
We must have the responsibility of knowing that nature is better left as it is, leaving no trace of our passage.
Safety in nature
Nature is not exempt from risk, not even the most simple of walks. Changing weather conditions, landslides, flooding, wild animals... are unexpected events that can encroach upon any route or any path, which we must prepare ourselves for wherever possible. Any excursion, as simple as it may be, must be prepared.
First of all... Assess your capabilities, you must know what your limits are regarding distance and incline. For this reason, it is better to start with simple routes, no more than two hours long with less than three hundred metres incline, if you are not used to hiking. Analyse the conditions of the route's terrain, precipices, fountains that there may be en route, the difficulty of the walk...
Find out the weather forecast Once you are clear about what routes you can do, the next thing is to find out the weather forecast. Nowadays, this is simple, and we can find it out for very specific areas online (aemet.es). Respect warnings and monitor the altitudes of the route, which can greatly influence the conditions in which the journey is carried out.
Hiking (Cangas de Onís).
Sufficient provisions Ensure that you bring sufficient food and drink (at least a litre and a half per person per day) that is suited to the activity.
Equip yourself Get hold of appropriate equipment, it is always advisable to use several layers of clothing (thermal vest, coat garment, waterproofs...). For footwear, boots that support your ankle are recommended, to avoid accidents like sprains or similar injuries. Using two walking sticks helps to stabilise our stride and avoid falls.
Take precautions Communicate where you are going, the route which you are embarking on, the planned route and your estimated completion time to friends and/or relatives and let them know when you finish. Don't go walking alone. Check if you are doing well for time, and if it looks like you are not going to have time to finish the route, cut it short or turn back. For your own safety, and that of the species that live in the environment, don't stray from the route. And if you are in a natural space, find out beforehand which areas are prohibited. Avoid unnecessary risks. Leave all farm gates that you find closed and endeavour not to get too close to livestock, for your safety and for theirs.
Don't forget to take...
A first-aid kit.
Orientation methods, such as a map and compass or GPS (with a track of the route downloaded) or a mobile application for hiking that geo-locates you. Batteries or external battery.