The sun is coming up and has risen high enough to spear a shaft of honey light from right to left, tinting the ridge across the valley along its length like a hot blade, and giving us some idea of the compass points in this mess of mountains.
Three valleys, in fact, are visible from our high vantage point: to our left all three converge on the little town of La Vega, far below us. The ridge is called El Angliru – a long mountain that fills our field of vision. Its upper reaches, the knife’s edge, are stony and serrated – wild highlands. The slopes below, as in the other valleys, are green and cultivated – forested here and there, and elsewhere divided by hedgerows and fences into small fields, some of them on almost sheer gradients.
We watch the moving sunlight play with shadows. It’s silent here except for the bells – down in one of the valleys an unhurried and beguiling melody is chiming out from a church, behind us the closer tinkle of cowbells as some of the locals – butter coloured bovines with big brown eyes – graze.
Tiny little towns are visible on some of the higher slopes. It all looks so picturesque – old houses or barns occupy many of the fields we can see, pocking the ripples of mountainside like crumbs in the folds of a sheet, More