This walk is part of the trek El Camino Primitivo - from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela.
This stage goes through more rural landscapes, along small dirt tracks and quite a lot of tarmac with frequent slopes. In general, it's pretty moderate with the opportunity to visit small villages, a few of which have restaurant services. The route finishes in Melide, where we join the Camino Frances.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D) The day starts with a goodbye to the people at the hostel Ponte Ferreira and our route heads west along the shaded LU-P-2901 road towards A Leboreira. About 500 m after the 24 km mark and a bend to the left, at a small wood on the left, bear left along a track into the hamlet of A Leboreira. Follow the Camino signs through the buildings to eventually come out again onto the LU-P-2901 road at Bouzachás. Turn left along the road, following the bends from left and right. Ignore the sign to Codeseda but keep right to head past the Fuente de San Jorge de Aguasantas (fountain of Saint Goerge of Holywaters). Onwards along the road leads us through San Xurxo, past the chapel of San Xurxo and cemetery on the left, to continue to Montecelo and Ribadal. Keep on the road for a while longer, past the 27 km mark and round to a turn off to the right (sign pointing left to Ulloa). Turn off to the right to Merlán (San Salvador) to reach the church and cemetery. Shortly after, turn left into a shaded lane that leads to As Seixas. Keep heading west, following the Camino signs, to cross the stream Gándaras and reach Casacamiño.
(1) At Casacamiño, head up the gravel path in a northerly direction, keeping slightly left of the high ground (Penedos de Casacamiño) to reach O Hospital das Seixas. Turn left down the road, then right to follow the cement brick wall (signposted Toques and Ferradal). Follow this road west past a sign Hospital, bearing right at a low stone wall, straight through a junction signposted Casa do Concello, past Arnade to take a track off to the left, signed with a Camino tile. This will lead to Vilouriz after about 1 km. Weave through the buildings to bear left just before the church of Santiago de Vilouriz. At a T.junction turn left to head uphill over O Pazo de Arriba and then turn right to go down to Villamor de Arriba. At the main road turn left to head into O Pazo de Abaixo and Vilamor de Abaixo. Keep on the road to go through Irago de Arriba where there is a small bar (Bar Carburo).
(2) Having taken refreshment in the shade (if the sun shines) carry on along the main road heading southwest past the houses and farm buildings. Ignore roads leading off to the right and the left, to eventually cross A Ponte da Pedra over the river Furelos where we enter a Red Natura 2000 territory, Sierra do Careón. Our route continues along the road, through Curutelo. At a fork, bear right ignoring the sign for A Revolta and continuing to Compostela and Zaramil. The road continues southwesterly through O Campiño and up to a junction at O Mascaño. Turn left along the DP-4604, there's a good pavement on the righthand side. This road becomes the Avenida Toques e Friol as it heads into O Forte Novo and eventually ends at a junction with the AC-840. Cross over and head south along Rúa Calvo Sotelo to go past the church Igrexa de San Pedro de Melide and the Praza do Convento. Bear left along the Rua do Convento to come out at the main roundabout where you will find the fountain Fonte dos Catro Canos. This is the centre of the town of Melide.(A)
D : km 0 - alt. 540m - Ponte Ferreira
1 : km 7.1 - alt. 648m - Casacamiño
2 : km 14.73 - alt. 449m - Irago de Arriba
A : km 20.32 - alt. 456m - Melide
This stage is quite gentle and there are several small bars along the way. Most people will help you fill your water bottle and there are some places with shade from the sun or shelter from the rain. It's mostly road walking, so ensure you have comfortable footwear and always have your wet-weather gear to hand. Reaching Melide has many advantages, not just the choice of hostels but also the choice of places to eat pulp de Melide (octopus). Some establishments that serve it have become pilgrimage sites in their own right, such as the pulperías Ezequiel and A Garnacha. Also, check out the Arzúa-Ulloa cheese.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
As you stroll through the rural villages and hamlets, take time to look at the variety of produce growing in the land around the houses and farms. Most of it will be recognisable but asking the local people will also spark up a conversation that will give you a feel for the places you travel through. Take time to enjoy the scenery and to chat to the people you pass, this is not a race and plans should be flexible. Don't leave any rubbish and don't damage the environment. Keep to the Country Code and respect the farmers, vegetation, animals and rivers. Don't take any plants or stones home; take photos (they last longer and you can share them). Say hello to fellow walkers and help anyone who needs it. Take care of yourself and make the most of the moment!
The route follows the N-547 but using local paths and tracks, sometimes crossing the main road but only walking short stretches of tarmac. The route is a bit up and down, crossing the River Boente and the beautiful valley of the River Iso to reach Arzúa. Then it's a pretty comfortable 5 km as we go along forest tracks, through woods and meadows to reach the albergue at As Quintas.
This stage is the official route and avoids the detour to Friol and Sobrado dos Monxes. There is a fair amount of road walking but if the weather is unkind (i.e. wet and cold) that is probably a blessing. There are a number of villages to go through so plenty of opportunities to chat with local folk along the way. Santiago is getting closer and that will also probably mean more people on the trail but that can also be pleasant and conversation on the road will make the journey more entertaining.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.