We awoke to drizzle, which had ceased by the time we left the hotel to seek out a bar for breakfast. We left town at 09:35, the road quiet apart from a few big lorries. We paused at Unquera for bread and watched the morning Santander to Oviedo FEVE train pass. We continued south-west through lovely green hills to Panes where we stopped for our customary bread and cheese picnic lunch.
The road accompanied the Rio Deva upstream, climbing steadily but with the disconcerting illusion of appearing to be slightly downhill. The hills closed in on us but opened out as we approached Potes. We sat on the terrace in the photograph drinking coffee and the sun made its first appearance. Suddenly it became very warm, sending us diving into the panniers in search of the suntan lotion, but the heat soon dissipated as the clouds regrouped.
The town looked to be an activity centre with quad bike excursions and the like on offer. We bought food for dinner and a bottle of sidra (local Asturian cider) then rode a short way out of town to La Isla campsite. It looked perfect – quiet and spacious – but Christine gave it barely a glance and was insistent on carrying on to the next one. So we climbed another few kilometres to San Pelayo, a very busy site full of young English white-water rafting types. “The bar’s fuckin’ cheap” remarked one to his chum as they came out of the shower block. Christine looked dismayed. “Up to you”, I said, in resigned mode.
We freewheeled back to La Isla to pitch the tent. While Christine was showering indoors, the clouds conspired to unleash a cold shower on me while I cooked, so I had to scamper round to avoid getting our belongings soaked. I overlooked the clothes I’d washed in the morning, which had almost dried on the bike. Now I’d have to start from scratch again tomorrow. We’d brought enough spare clothing with us, possibly too much, but you really need a daily change when cycling and prolonged wet weather would mean we’d soon run out of clean dry clothes.
The Cortina sidra was lovely… dry but retaining a delicious apple fruitiness.