This walk is part of the trek El Camino Primitivo - from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela.
This stage starts gently but soon becomes tougher as it ascends to the border with Galicia. This is where we say goodbye to Asturias and begin our journey across Galicia towards Santiago de Compostela. This is a long day but full of interesting encounters with people and places along the way. The change of region is also noticeable in the markings and villages the route goes through.
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 route out of Grandas de Salines is well marked, taking the Calle Carmen from the church, cross the AS-28 (Av. Galicia) next to a cream coloured building and continue past the chapel dedicated to Carmen. Bear left on the road second left after the chapel. This track leads us to the main road AS-28 after about half a kilometre. Follow the road as far as A Farrapa and take a track off to the right just after leaving the hamlet. This will lead to the hamlet of Cereixeira, past a bar (tienda casa Federico) and then back to the main road, where there is another bar (La Parrilla). Bear right at the main road (AS-28) and walk about 50 meters to a road junction. Our route leads off at an angle from the junction, heading west but then bending southwest to run parallel with the road. First, the route goes through Malneira (chapel of la Esperanza) then San Julían (chapel of Saint Julian), to arrive shortly afterwards in Castro.
(1) The route leaves Castro in the same direction (southwest) on a concrete road with a modern stone wall either side, that changes after crossing a tarmacked road and becomes a path heading south. At a fork, bear left towards the main road (AS-28) to go through the small hamlet of Padraira. When you reach the main road bear right to go into the hamlet and out the other side to reach the chapel of San Lázaro about half a kilometre down a country lane. This lane comes out again onto the main road (AS-28) just before the km 7 mark, which we follow south. There is some relief from the main road at Xesteselo, where the route goes off to the left to follow a local road for about half a kilometre. Back on the main road, from km 8 to km just before km 10 it's road walking all the way to Penafonte.
(2) At the entrance to the village, up the road first right, is the small church of Santa María Magdalena and, next to it, a generous shady water fountain, which in summer is a blessing for the heated pilgrims. There are no shops or bars in the village, so carry straight on south out of the village on a country lane parallel with the main road. Stay on this track round to the right to reach a junction, bear left to join the main road. Cross over the road and take a path to the right through a wooden gate. This path heads up the hill towards the wind turbines to cross Pico Cuía and head along the crest for a while. As the path drops down, the route crosses the border between Asturias and Galicia and finally reaches O Acevo.
(3) Our route continues down a lane by the side of a white coloured farm building (a bar and shop with irregular open times) and carries on the southwest to meet the road (LU-701) further down, past the Alto do Acevo (1,050 m). There is a dirt track off-road to the left that runs alongside the road to Cabreira and continues all the way to Fonfría. Here we will find the church of Santa María Madanela. Half a kilometre from Fonfría the route goes off to the left on a slight ascent, over a modest hill and down to Barbeitos and the main road again. Head straight across the road to find the Catro Ventos inn, with friendly treatment for pilgrims and a good menu at an acceptable price. Back at the main road, the route heads southwest to go through Silvela where we bear left in front of a cream coloured house with blue around the door and windows. Go past the chapel of Santa Bárbara, which has a rest area, and along a lane to end up back at the main road. Bear left and follow the road around a bend to the left then a bend to the right, to pick up a path off to the left that leads into Paradanova. Fortunately, in August 2017, the historic access road to A Fonsagrada was recovered; so, we don't go back to the road, but take a path out of Paradanova heading southwest that takes us directly to the town, with a final slope up to meet the road. Turn left along the road (Av. Asturias) to go into the town past the church of Saint Mary, into the Plaza España and the Albergue in Rúa San Roque, Ramón Rodríguez.(A)
D : km 0 - alt. 564m - Grandas de Salime
1 : km 4.99 - alt. 673m - Castro
2 : km 9.58 - alt. 849m - Penafonte
3 : km 14.14 - alt. 1021m - O Acevo
A : km 25.5 - alt. 953m - A Fonsagrada
The first section of the route is pretty simple and there are a couple of bars in Cereixeira. In Penafonte there is a fountain but no shops or bars. If you are lucky, the shop/bar in O Acevo will be open, otherwise you'll have to wait until you reach Barbeitos and the Catro Ventos inn. Be aware that the new landmarks placed by the Xunta de Galicia, the scallop shell is not indicative of the direction to follow.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
This stage has a mixture of country lanes, roads and paths, so the surroundings vary as the day goes on. However, it's all pretty civilised and you have to be on the look out for wildlife. There are several chapels and churches that can be explored. 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!
This stage has highs and lows, reaching 1,041 m above sea level (3,415 ft) and droping to 209 m (686 ft). The route goes past a wind farm on the tops and crosses over the dam that holds the water of the Salime Reservoir. Some spectacular views and changing countryside make this stage one to remember.
The route is a delight with a succession of descents and ascents surrounded by domesticated rural scenery. If the weather is kind, this stage is as enjoyable as any other and much easier on the feet that the previous stage. This is authentic Galician hinterland with a warm welcome from folk all the way along the trail.
This stage has two route options: the High Road or the Low Road, otherwise known as Hospitales or Pola de Allande. One deciding factor might be the weather as the higher route is quite exposed. On the other hand, the lower route means more distance (17.9 km as opposed to 15 km). The recommendation is for the Hospitales route as it appears more authentic and has less tarmac to cover.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.