Tour C. Walking in Montaña Palentina

- Tour alpine flora and fauna. Vivac in the mountain.

- 7 Days discovering the natural history of the “Cordillera Cantabrica”.
- ACOMODATION: 3 nights staying at “El Mayorazgo”. 3 nights bivouac in the mountain.
- DATES: 2nd two weeks of May - June  -July

In the north of the Iberian Peninsula ranging from east to west, one finds the Cantabrian mountains with a length of 480 km and an average width of 100 kilometers, (although at some points not exceeding 60 kilometers), with very steep slopes on the north side, and and long gentle slopes on the south, entering in contact with the great Castilian-Leonese plateau. In the center of this range, the Natural Park Montaña Palentina is located between two biogeographical regions, the Mediterranean and Euro-Siberian, make this place one of the most biodiverse regions in Europe.

This is a journey unlike any other, designed for those people who want to live, feel and see nature in a different way, and keep in touch with her 24 hours a day. After arrival to the Santander airport in the afternoon, and within an hour’s travel, we arrive at the small town called Cordovilla de Aguilar, where “El Mayorazgo”, a group of highland style cottages, is located and where we’ll stay the first overnight. Then we’ll eat a delicious dinner prepared by our wonderful cook Rosa. The menu is prepared with local products and embellished with good wines. After dinner, we’ll hold a small gathering to explain and discuss the different excursions that we’ll make over the following days, especially those related to bivouac on the mountain. Finally, we’ll need to rest because the next day we have to get up early.

The first days of the excursion will be focused on travelling across the heart of the mountains of Palencia: the valley of Pineda; the massif of the Curavacas; and the massif of Fuentes Carrionas, the longest glacial valley on the Iberian Peninsula. Surrounded by a spectacular landscape and travelling with our 4x4 vehicles, we arrive in an area of special protection and nature reserve, distant from any population center and with a wealth of Alpine flora and fauna. The massif Curavacas is formed of conglomerate rock. It contains a wealth of unique alpine plants, such as Spergula viscosa, Primula pedemontana (Iberian subspecies), Linaria alpina (subspecies filicaulis), among many others. We also find alpine birds: Alpine sparrow; Wallcreeper; Alpine chough; Alpine accentor. The Fuentes Carrionas massif encloses the source of the river Carrion, that’s  a corner of singular beauty at 2.200 m. Here one may find very interesting plants such as Veronica alpina, Ranunculus parnassifolius, Androsace cantabrica, Armeria cantabrica. Some interesting amphibian species may be found in the glacial lakes: Alpine newt, salamander, Rana bermeja, and in areas of peat we can found the Viviparous lizard. Interesting groups of Cantabrian chamois (endemic species) can be observed at the top of the mountains. The highest peaks of the Cantabrian Mountains are here, with mountains over 2,500 meters: Peña Prieta; Curavacas; the peak of Fuentes Carrionas; the peak of Tres provincias; etc. We’ll set up the camp among these mountains where, for sure, we’ll spend unforgettable moments, which will be the base for all trips to be made to the various corners of this mountain.

For the three days that we’ll stay in this place daily activities will be very interesting, especially the feeling that we’ll have when night falls being at 1800 m. above sea level, viewing a clear sky covered with stars from our sleeping bags. We will have breakfasts and dinners in this magical place, and picnic during the excursion. Every day in the evening after arrival at the campsite and before dinner, we will have time to rest, relax, and develop our field book ... and the bravest ones can swim in the alpine water.


The following day, accommodation, breakfasts and dinners will be in the cottages of El Mayorazgo, with picnic lunches in the field, always supported by our 4x4 vehicles to carry everything necessary. The tour route will be in the eastern part of the natural park, Sierra de Valdecebollas (2,200 meters) in a habitat and landscape, totally different from before. Gentle slopes mountains dominated by a forest of oak (Quercus petraea) and beech (Fagus sylvatica), with a good representation of birds: Medium-peak, Short-toed treecreeper, Crested tit. Our main destination, the Canal Peñalba, is a micro flora reserve of Castile and Leon that is home to several endemic plant species including Echium cantabricum, Geranium subargenteum, and Artemisia cantabrica. This area deserves special attention, because some protected species as Brown bear and Iberian wolf live in these valleys.