This throwback Thursday we’re recalling that time we drove the Ruta Del Cares 4×4 trail in northern Spain.

People will often tell you that something can’t be done, when they’ve not even tried themselves – “you can’t go off-road/adventuring/overlanding/roadtripping in that!”, choose the naysayers words! But, a few years ago we took a Land Rover Freelander through the Picos de Europa on an amazing adventure through pristine Spanish wilderness. Something very few people have the privilege of doing.

We took what we had and went.

If we’d listened to all the naysayers and internet experts we’d probably never have left our street let alone plan and undertake a family adventure road trip that tackled a backcountry wilderness route in a four wheel drive the haters proclaim as not being a real Land Rover – I wonder what those internet trolls think of the new breed of Landies? Anyway I digress. We had a Freelander at the time and we weren’t going to let other people’s opinions and prejudices stop us from going exploring.

Having read about some of the off-road routes in this magnificent region of Spain’s rugged mountainous north, it was decided that it had to be experienced. Details are thin on the ground but if you dig enough and scan google earth for coordinates, you’ll find wilderness & adventure.

Too many people allow what they don’t have to stop them from getting out there and having an adventure of their own.

Don’t be one of those people – look at what you have and make the most of it. If we’d decided to wait until we could afford an overland equipped Land Rover Defender or VW Syncro campervan, we would not have the amazing memories & experiences. Those are the real treasures, not the expensive fully equipped under utilised vehicles sitting on our driveways.

We strapped our surfboards to the roof (for when we hit the coast of course), packed up our camping gear, loaded the kids and followed the road.

The Ruta del Cares climbs steeply up into the Picos de Europa national park. It’s a proper 4×4 off-road trail that snakes it’s way through incredible valleys overlooked by towering peaks. It roughly follows the small river of the same name. It truly is a spectacular route. The sense of remoteness is staggering.

At the point where the panoramic photo was taken we’d climbed relentlessly up onto this ridge line flanked on either side by a steep slope hundreds of feet high. Below in the valleys either side there were scattered sheep and a chapel used the the shepherds who still graze their herds here in the spring and summer. Although we didn’t see them, wolves and bears still roam these mountains freely. The thought of that added to the thrill of being in such wilderness – here in Western Europe… a wonderful thought: not all of Europe is hustle and bustle. Wilderness and solitude can thankfully still be found.

Be more adventurous.