The fertile valleys and rounded mountains of this area of Asturias are the framework chosen by this stage of the Primitive Way to transport us from the Indiano Grado to the medieval Salas. A journey that will not only take us through magnificent landscapes but will also allow us to discover part of the history treasured by the places where the Way takes us. To the treasures of the nature, yews, chestnut trees, we have to add the architectural jewels that will make much more pleasant and entertaining this route that without a doubt will help us to get used to the future challenges that await us later.
The stage 2 Grado-Salas with 22.4 Km allows us to say goodbye with calm of Grado, leaving behind us its chapel of Los Dolores of the XVIII century whose interior without a doubt will have surprised us. The itinerary will make us warm up quickly forcing us to face the ascent to the Alto del Fresno. The landscapes, altered by the passage of the highway, give us a colorful tapestry dotted with small villages that we are furrowing as we pass, as the Acevedo formed by not a few places or rather independent hamlets. The tireless ascent takes us to the detour to San Juan de Villapañada, a town chosen by not a few pilgrims as the starting point of their stage San Juan de Villapañada-Salas. While the Way continues to gain height lets us contemplate another of the essential stops of the journey, the Sanctuary of the Virgen del Fresno, built around the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which to visit we will have to leave for a moment the Way to our arrival at the detour to El Fresno. In the past, the pilgrims who passed through here were nicknamed the novenarios, as they used to spend several days at night to attend the novenas prior to the September festivity.
Once we have visited one of the Asturian sanctuaries that receives the most visits, we undertake a quick descent that leads us to pass through La Meredal before meeting again the group of villages that make up Santa Eulalia de las Dorigas. San Marcelo is the first nucleus that comes to greet us giving us passage to La Reaz, just before our arrival to Doriga, where its palace of the Viscounts of the Hill waits for us, whose first notions date from the 14th century. From here there awaits us an unequal struggle with the works of the highway and then undertake a slippery descent that leads us to the meeting of the salmon river Narcea where the small town of Casas del Puente awaits us. In front of us is a practically flat route that will take us to the very gates of Cornellana, as if from someone who takes a candy from a child, to detour not letting us enter the town. In return he rewards us with a visit to the Monastery of San Salvador de Cornellana, where we will again have the option of entering the town. The monastery has its origin back in the 11th century, founded by the infanta doña Cristina and surrounded by a singular legend. The Way continues its course, taking us out of the comfort of the valley and forcing us to gain height again while we cross Sobrerriba, which extends along the slope of the mountain.
In front of it, a route through the interior of a leafy forest that sometimes will not make our passage through it easy and that will lead us after passing next to a sandstone to Llamas, where we are surprised by its breadbaskets, or the dovecote, more common in the French Way. We continue the route going up the course of the Nonaya river between fields of cultivation and surrounded by green mountains with the sight put in Quintana and the silhouette that composes next to its church of Santiago de Villazón. The Way forces us to leave the locality aside to continue its rectilinear course passing by the source of Santiago and then make us leave the unbeatable track we traveled to enter the thick forest again following a damaged trail that will bring us to the vicinity of Casazorrina. Already with our minds set on the end of the stage, we advance overcoming the pitfalls that come our way, such as, for example, the national road that forces us to cross it in order to continue on to the well-kept Mallecín, through an embedded path that reminds us of the Galician corridors. The next end of the route is made to wait while we cross the urban layout that separates us from the centre of Salas, where this stage ends together with the Collegiate Church of Santa María la Mayor from the 16th century and the medieval Tower that houses the pre-Romanesque museum.
|San Juan de Villapañada
|Casas del Puente
The park of San Antonio de Grado (0h 00min) marks the starting point of the stage, from here we begin the journey through the town following the street Eulogio Diaz Miranda, which with its gentle slope makes us warm up quickly.
We advance without paying attention to as many streets as we pass, a route that allows us to contemplate some of the beautiful Indian houses.
Following this street, which coincides with the itinerary of the national road, leads us to pass by the Fuente de Arriba and then take us to the Cruz del Camino, where the route continues with its straight course.
The itinerary continues with its gentle ascent, taking us little by little out of Grado, while a petrol station serves to confirm the good course taken and to indicate the imminent detour that awaits us a few metres further on.
Almost on the outskirts of the town we find the junction where we must leave the company of the national, here on our left we see two streets that converge at this point, the two being the one that continues almost in parallel with the national road, where the Way of St. James continues.
A narrow street that quickly sees its layout cut by a new intersection in which for now we will go straight ahead paying attention to the sign indicating the direction to Acevedo.
Almost at the moment we leave the road that leads towards Acevedo and we will undertake an increasingly intense ascent that will take us definitively out of the locality following a narrow track for now asphalted. A long stretch of green fields dotted with lonely houses awaits us in front of us, where the route allows us to enjoy the environment that surrounds us.
The track, perfectly delimited by the fences of the fields it crosses and escorted by a row of trees that make an effort to provide us with their pleasant shade, transports us without problems to the next detour where we meet again with the road we left behind at our exit from Grado.
We continue along the asphalted tracks that give access to the different houses and agricultural areas we come across as we go along, surrounded on one side by the noisy motorway and on the other by the inseparable national highway. The itinerary makes us cross one of the communication knots with the dual carriageway to head towards the first town we will pass today.
The road that leads to Acevedo (0h 45min) makes us advance without further detours going through the different villages that encompass the population, leaving to the left and right how many roads we are finding.
There are not a few houses that we leave behind us while we follow the narrow road. We leave behind us a road that crosses the highway to continue the ascent towards the next village in front of us.
Upon reaching it, the itinerary is forced to change course in order to remain parallel to the noisy motorway, always in a continuous ascent. The landscape, so characteristic, mitigates in part the effort to which this area of the route is subjecting us.
Almost without realizing it, we arrived at the crossroads with the road that if we followed it would take us to the nearby San Juan de Villapañada (1h 05min), a small detour of approximately 1 Km chosen by some pilgrims as the final point of the first stage.
Leaving to our right this detour and to our left the road towards Lalinar, the route continues its ascent looking for the next objective to reach, El Fresno.
Following at all times the direction marked by the road, without the few junctions with which we find ourselves alter our run. In front of us there is a strong ramp that seems to lead us directly to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fresno, which stands on top of the hill we are ascending.
Our route goes out to new road while each time it leaves us something more clear that to be able to visit the sanctuary we will have to abandon its itinerary. Indeed we arrive at the crossroads with the road that leads to El Fresno (1h 35min) which we must follow if we want to approach to the sanctuary of which only a few 400 m separate us.
The Primitive Way, on the other hand, goes straight on, taking a dirt track through which we will undertake the descent of the hill we have just climbed.
The dual carriageway has changed not only the landscape around us but also the route that used to follow the Way of Saint James. In one of the few areas that have resisted we find the Meredal bridge, which precedes a more modern one through which we will cross the dual carriageway.
We pass the other side of the motorway to continue the descent ahead. At the bottom of the valley we can already contemplate the next town we have to pass through, while we leave over our heads the dual carriageway we have just crossed.
Our way converges with a narrow road by which we continue the journey, always in continuous descent. The route follows the road, leaving behind as many paths as we can find, while making us cross San Marcelo (1h 50min).
Shortly after leaving the locality we find ourselves in front of a new crossroads where we must continue with the already gentle descent that leads us towards what looks like a roundabout at the access to the dual carriageway.
When we reach the roundabout we find, on our left, a blurred path that follows the route, making us think that it leads nowhere.
The path almost disappeared by the vegetation becomes a narrow trail that runs through the fields that surround us. Soon we come across a stream that we must cross and that will accompany us for a while.
This shady stretch surrounded by vegetation is usually quite muddy so we must walk with some caution to avoid slips.
The state of the footpath, which barely resists the vigorous vegetation that tries to cover it, makes us doubt the correct course we are taking, which is confirmed by some solitary mark that indicates that we are following the right path.
The trails and paths almost hidden by the vegetation are something we must get used to because we will find them on more occasions than we can imagine at this stage of the journey.
Our trail takes us directly to the small village of La Reaz (2h 00min), which brings us back to the comfort of the tracks we were walking on until recently.
The track that runs through the village is now in charge of guiding us, leading us to a long tunnel through which we will cross the nearby road. Almost at the moment, we will see ourselves again walking next to the first houses that welcome us to the town of Doriga (2h 05min).
We cross the locality taking as reference the tower of the church towards which the itinerary seems to direct us.
The Primitive Way, on reaching its height, turns left to pass under its tower, bordering the church.
At the moment we find the road that leads to the town, which we cross to leave behind us Doriga. This track takes us back to the dual carriageway, although this time it has not yet been completed and we will be forced to cross a construction area.
This part of the route may undergo modifications as the work carried out here progresses, although it seems likely that the route will follow its current layout, crossing under the impressive viaduct that is being built.
On the other side of what will once be the dual carriageway is a small footpath that takes us off the track, leading us to a narrow path that we must continue along.
We undertake a strong descent following the footpath for the interior of the leafy forest, leaving behind the few ways that we are. This path, sometimes somewhat cobbled and slippery, makes us lose height quickly while it seems to approach step by step towards the road that hides the vegetation.
We arrive at a livestock farm that precedes the town of Casas del Puente (2h 25min), where we find the road, which we have to continue.
After crossing this small town, on the left side of the road we will initially have enough margin to avoid asphalt.
Soon it is a path that runs parallel to the road, in charge of avoiding the traffic that supports the road.
A new roundabout is on our step, fortunately we will be able to continue avoiding in part the road, thanks to the narrow footpath that borders it.
To our left we leave a recreation area with barbecues and tables, while we always advance next to the road, entering and exiting it.
The river Narcea precedes the arrival of the Way to Cornellana, although nothing else crosses the river our route turns radically to follow a careful boulevard that follows the banks of the Narcea, leaving the entrance road to the town and heading towards the Monastery of San Salvador.
This pleasant promenade allows us to contemplate Cornellana as we progress to find the Nonaya river just where it flows into the Narcea, it is at this point where we leave the asphalted promenade to cross the river and continue along its other bank. With our eyes fixed on the silhouette of the monastery, we go up the river and approach this singular corner without delay.
Once again we are forced to take a detour in order to avoid following the path that borders the river, while we set a clearer course towards the old building.
Upon reaching its height on our right we will have the road that brings us to the entrance of the monastery and the next option to enter Cornellana (2h 50min) from which separates us at this point just 400 m.
Instead, the Primitive Way turns left, finally leaving Cornellana and its monastery behind to continue its untiring journey.
Shortly after leaving the monastery behind, we find a steep road on the right hand side, which we have to continue along.
This road makes us gain height quickly not without effort, going up again another hill that leads us to the meeting of what will be the highway in its day, now under construction and for now has not affected the route of the Way of St. James at this point.
The road takes us directly to the next village through which we pass, the route follows the course that marks the asphalt making us travel Sobrerriba (3h 15min), between care hórreos and royal stone houses.
Without major complications we are advancing little by little leaving to the right the different accesses to the houses of the locality, while we continue the ascending course that forces us the road.
Almost at the end of the municipality, which extends uphill, we leave the road, entering between the houses of the village, thus avoiding the curve that this one draws.
When we meet the road again, we will cross it, to continue straight on along the path that leads us directly to the interior of a leafy forest leaving, and yes definitively, the company of the road. As soon as you start the path and leave the village, it splits in two, with the right-hand option being the one you have to take.
For now this route keeps us on the edge of the forest leaving to our right the fields of grass and the valley that we have left behind.
The path on which we go, full of stones in some sections, struggles to open a hole in the vegetation, which together with the unevenness that we have to overcome makes us advance with some difficulty.
As it could not be otherwise we follow the same pattern that in the previous kilometers, after a strong ascent touches the descent, now by the interior of a leafy forest following a narrow and quite muddy path even not having rained so, yes or yes, we have to take it with a certain calm to avoid slips.
The wide path, quite stark in some of its sections, gives us a break, softening its unevenness, which allows us to enjoy the spectacular forest we are crossing.
Little by little we are losing the height that had cost us so much to win, approaching until the limits of the quarry that we have to border. After advancing next to this industrial enclosure we find ourselves in front of us a crossroads of three paths, being the path we must follow the middle of the three.
In this area we have to exercise extreme caution because the quarry still maintains its industrial activity and heavy vehicles are a regular. At the previous crossroads, of the two roads on the right, we can choose either of the two because a little further on they come together again.
After a few meters, we leave to a road that we must continue, and that will take us towards the next village. Always following the road, leaving on our left a path that continues straight, we enter directly into Llamas (3h 55min), which we must cross.
The asphalt acts as a guide as we walk around the town full of granaries and with a solitary dovecote that reminds us of the Campos de Castilla of the French Way.
The road, which we must not leave at any time, takes us out of this beautiful town without any further ado, leaving us in front of a route between pastures full of chestnut and oak trees that adorn and beautify our walk. The road is going to be our companion for now, marking the way to follow in the different crossroads with which we are going to meet.
To our left is a leafy forest that extends along the slope of the mountain while to our right the green meadows occupy the entire valley through which we are advancing.
We arrive at the moment of abandoning the road which turns to the left heading towards Monteagudo while we continue in front now by a wide dirt road.
This wide and well maintained path on which we are advancing does not give us any doubts in the few crosses with which we are encountering.
We continue among mountains, crossing the valley that goes towards our next objective. The dirt track gives way to another asphalt track by which we have to go to the right in search of the nearby river.
Quickly the asphalted track takes us to a new crossroads in which this time we have to follow by the left to recover the lost course, the river runs to our right while we advance by a track of earth between fields of corn and with the sight put in the mountains that later we will have to ascend.
This track takes us to the outskirts of Quintana, where the road that leads to the town cuts off our way, the road continues straight ahead and passing by the rest area and the Quintana laundry.
This part of the route goes through a track in good condition and even asphalted at times and that perfectly marks the direction to continue walking through this valley surrounded by rounded mountains full of trees.
The comfortable path we are on, totally smooth, leads us to a crossroads with a rather cobbled trail, where unfortunately the comfort ends. We follow this path that introduces us once again into the forest, where the vegetation is in charge of hiding practically the crosses with which we are going to meet while the trail we must follow is clearly marked, thanks in part to the passage of pilgrims through it.
The meandering trail gives us a nice route through the interior of the forest while requiring us to be attentive to avoid stumbling in the most stark areas or where we find the mud, usual in this part of the path.
The trail on which we are going takes us directly to a narrow path in which we have to go straight without deviating while the vegetation covers almost everything, preventing the entry of the sun's rays. Our route continues to meet some other trail or path completely covered by grasses, thus preventing any confusion as long as they continue to be covered by the vegetation that invades them.
We advance leaving behind us a solitary path that joins with ours on the right and together we cross the Nonaya river.
Shortly after crossing the river, the path on which we are going takes us straight to an asphalted track on which we will go to the town of Casazorrina (5h 05min), crossing the few metres that separate us from it. The asphalted track that brought us to the locality introduces us definitively into it, making us walk practically from side to side.
Just when it seems that we are going to leave the locality some big hórreos mark us the moment in which we must detour following by the street of our left, that still keeps us a little more inside the population.
This detour quickly leads us once again to another asphalted track on the outskirts of the town, where we must continue without detouring to leave Casazorrina for good.
The green fields definitively mark our exit from the village, following the track without detours already turned into a dirt road.
The footbridge of the Debesa serves us to save the stream that stands in our way while we advance between fields of apple trees, chestnut trees and hazel trees.
The path as usual is clearly marked in comparison with other trails and paths normally invaded by vegetation, which clearly indicates the itinerary to follow.
The unfinished motorway from Oviedo to Lugo, next to the national one, get in our way again, fortunately now we have a tunnel enabled to cross to the other side. Shortly after crossing it, just when it seems that we have to face another hard ascent, we find on our right a small open space in the parapet that separates us from the national road and the marks that indicate the place to cross the road.
On the other side is the path that follows the Primitive Way as it advances towards the nearby Salas. The crossing of the road is made easier thanks to the fact that on both sides the two guardrails have small openings through which we can pass.
The route makes us leave the national one behind, introducing us into a wooded area following a narrow path that crosses the trees.
The trail we are going along does not lead to a road which we must continue to ascend smoothly.
After a somewhat longer and more expensive stretch than expected, following the path embedded between walls in the style of the Galician corredoiras, we suddenly find ourselves with a wide path that introduces us to Mallecín (5h 40min).
We cross this small and well-cared for village following the track by which we arrived leaving to both sides the streets and ways that go out to our step. Again we see ourselves walking along a path without knowing very well what is the distance that still separates us from the near end of stage.
This trail takes us back to a dirt track by which we must continue to the nearest, Salas.
The path ends radically cut by one of the access roads to the locality, in front of us we have the street that will lead us directly into its interior.
This street leads us to the centre of the town, but not without leaving behind a good number of crossroads and streets.
Without deviating at any time from the street on which we entered, we will arrive next to the Collegiate Church of Santa María la Mayor de Salas (6h 15min), where this stage ends.
The detour to the sanctuary hardly increases the distance of the stage.
This time does not take into account the possible detours that we can take to El Fresno, Cornellana or San Juan de Villapañada, except for this last option whic:is more final or starting point of the Stage of San Juan de Villapañada Salas the rest do not mean more than 30 additional minutes of journey without counting the time dedicated to eac:place.
We continue between mountains of not muc:altitude, reason why except punctual moments we should not have too many problems to realize the route. Autumn and spring continue to bring their special colour to the landscape that surrounds us, the apple trees, chestnut trees and oaks that populate the fields and mountains embellis:a landscape that is beautiful in itself.
The boots in this stage and in the successive ones, surely will not disturb us, since we will pass throug:zones in whic:the mud, the vegetation and the state of the land in some sections make very advisable to take a footwear that isolates us and protects the foot and the ankles. In the backpack we cannot lack food and water, as on the other hand it should be in all the occasions, the canes will surely be good allies helping us in the advance and in some that other task more. Althoug:we will find enoug:shade along the tracing we cannot forget the protection against the sun, glasses, cream and cap. Nor is it superfluous for us to carry the information of the itinerary wit:us, as we will probably have to use it at some time. Consult our list of material and equipment to make the Way. Read more
We continue to feel in our fles:the demand of this Primitive Way, continuous and increasingly demanding ramps on whic:it is not advisable to leave too muc:energy that we will undoubtedly need in coming stages. The distance may seem little, but if we add the toboggans that we must assume may be harder than expected for more than one pilgrim. The humidity of the environment can play a trick on us, we cross shady and humid zones that make that the cloudy days althoug:they are fres:we do not stop sweating. So we will have to take special care to avoid dehydration.
The mud, the stony descents and the state of some sections of the trails that we travel somewhat decomposed, and wit:slippery roots that arise from the ground, are the major complications that we will find throughout the stage. We also have to take extreme precautions on the few occasions when we have to cross the road or on the sections that coincide wit:it, as the traffic circulates quickly and will be thrown on top of us without us noticing. It is not surprising that we find heavy vehicles whose drivers do not have the same visibility or manoeuvrability as a car.
Well signposted in most of the crossings it is again the vegetation that will bring us more problems when covering some of the signs. In addition, the works have varied the layout and their progression can alter the detours that have already been made, even thoug:they are normally signposted. Another point where we may have doubts is when we meet the roundabout shortly after leaving San Marcelo, here the Way leaves the road and enters the forest crossing a farm throug:a pat:almost covered by vegetation that ends up becoming a marked path.
|29T 737377 4808350
|29T 735340 4807540
|3-Desvío a San Juan de Villapañada
|29T 734456 4807956
|4-Desvío a El Fresno
|29T 733196 4807531
|29T 732126 4808115
|29T 731481 4808326
|29T 731293 4808649
|8-Casas del Puente
|29T 730705 4809701
|29T 730251 4810192
|29T 729758 4809670
|29T 727738 4809549
|29T 724126 4809351
|29T 722615 4809353
|29T 721761 4809880
Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84
This sketc:of the route is not made to scale nor does it contain all the information relating to the area, it is merely indicative.
This schematic wit:the pat:is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 028 y 027, 1:50.000"
Senditur has manipulated the tracks to correct the aberrant points that may exist, caused by problems wit:the reception of the GPS signal. In any case the tracks are always approximate. SENDITUR encourages you to use the new technologies within your reach, using them as support and consultation in your activity, not basing the realization and orientation of the same only and exclusively on them, since they may see their functioning altered by very diverse causes, not functioning correctly and their indications may not be precise.
Bonita etapa del Camino Primitivo, al igual que la anterior con continuos sube y bajas, pero este camino es así, esto creo que es parte de su encanto junto con los paisajes y otras cosas más.
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¿Did you know that...
In the cemetery of Salas we can find the Yew of San Martín de Salas, a yew of considerable proportions declared natural monument that will surprise us with its more than 15 m of height and its wide trunk, in addition the yew is a protected species in the Principality of Asturias.
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Los Carajitos del Profesor, typical hazelnut pastries that have been made in the town of Salas since the beginning of the 20th century and that liven up the evenings of social gatherings between the parishioners and the Indians of the time, in the café known as La Casa del Profesor, deriving in the name with which they are known today.
From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go.
Besides sharing with all of us your experience on the route we would be grateful if you could write to us to inform us of any erroneous or outdated information you may have found, or simply to let us know what you think at Thank you.
This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 12-11-2018. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.
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