The mountains continue being the protagonists of the Primitive Way, doing in this occasion of natural border between Asturias and Galicia, between Grandas de Salime and A Fonsagrada. A demanding itinerary that will take us from the deep Navia valley to the rounded Galician mountains. The transition between Asturias and Galicia is sweet, the change of the landscapes and its people is hardly perceived at first sight by the pilgrim, while he prepares to tread the first localities of the province of Lugo by which he will transit from now on the Primitive Way in his run towards the tomb of the Apostle.
The stage 7 Grandas de Salime-A Fonsagrada with 25,8 Km leaves behind the church of San Salvador de Grandas de Salime, to continue the ascent that in the previous stage brought us here. A climb that extends to the port of Acevo but not without first letting us say goodbye calmly to Asturias and its people, places like the chapel of Carmen that says goodbye to our departure from Grandas de Salime. This stage will lead us through the mountains that separate us from Galicia, passing small villages or entering them, as is the case of Cereijeira. By then we will have realized that the road will also be one of the protagonists of our day, standing in our way every two by three and serving as a guide at all times. But luckily we will be able to enjoy pleasant journeys between green meadows or surrounded by the leafy vegetation that grows here, while the Primitive Way continues its implacable march making us pass on tiptoe through Malneira, where we barely get to know its chapel of Hope.
Castro awaits us with his very ancient history that goes back many years as witnessed by the Castro of Chao Samartín, which goes almost unnoticed in the eyes of the pilgrim. From here we continue the long and tended ascent furrowing the mountain, ascent that takes us to pass next to the chapel of San Lázaro where it is said, still today we hear the laments of the sick people who were taking care of themselves in the leprosarium, that near there was located. To the one who came in search of the miraculous fame attributed to this saint as far as this illness is concerned. But the road insists again on taking us out of the magnificent landscape that surrounds us with the condition of approaching to Peñafuente, in whose entrance its church of Santa María Magdalena is waiting for us. From here we set course to overcome another of the mountains that separate us from our objective, mountains that are interspersed with each other not giving us a moment of respite in exchange for the beautiful environment they provide us. The entrance in Galicia would pass us unnoticed if it were not for a sign that assures to be the correct border between both autonomous communities, point also from which we will have the first vision of A Fonsagrada final point of this beautiful stage. We begin then an undulating route with innumerable ascents and descents, descents like the one that takes us to O Acebo, where we will begin to see the first Galician marks of the Primitive Way.
We continue with the relentless march that takes us to pass through the first Galician villages such as Cabreira or Fonfría, where a pilgrims' hospital used to be located. Other villages are those that also want to look out onto the Primitive Way, as in the case of Barbeitos, which is barely stepped on, to continue to the small Silvela. After passing through this village, we are almost immediately surprised by the coquettish chapel of Santa Bárbara del Camino, located in a beautiful corner, before embarking on a new ascent and its subsequent descent that will lead us to Paradanova. Its Santa Cruz chapel tells us that there are several Paths that started and start from here, although today only one is the most used of the two that reach A Fonsagrada, the third has fallen into disuse for many years since it did not even visit the town. A Fonsagrada is the final point of this stage of the Primitive Way in which the typical Galician gastronomy, the octopus a feira, the butelo, the freixós and so many other dishes that define this land invade us.
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Even if you are tempting at one of the junctions with the road to follow its course, do not do so unless the specific conditions at that time so advise. In many cases the laps that the Way makes us do are not enough reason to want to save a few meters. On the contrary, in most cases following the road means travelling a greater distance in addition to the unnecessary risk involved and is reserved for those cyclists who do not want to risk having to get off the bike to advance in some areas.
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Complicated stage of the Way of Saint James for our dog, not so much because of the kilometres and the slope to be covered, which already represent a hard test, but because of the many crossings and stretches of road where the danger is important and extreme precautions will have to be taken.
With hardly any water points throughout the stage and without too many services to replenish their provisions, we continue as in previous stages almost forced to carry an extra water and food for our partner to drink and eat what the stage will require.
There are quite a few villages and towns that we are going to cross in which the dogs that inhabit them, normally tied, will be denoted. To all this we have to add the cattle that still not as numerous as in previous stages is still present in some areas of the route.
|Grandas de Salime|
The beginning of the stage 7 Grandas de Salime-A Fonsagrada takes as its starting point the town hall of Grandas de Salime (0h 00min) and the church of San Salvador.
From here we undertake the march that takes us to pass by the church tower to look for the outskirts of the town following the Carmen Street.
From the very first moment, the route makes its intentions clear to us, making us gain height little by little.
We quickly come across the road, which if we follow it would take us to A Fonsagrada, which we must cross to continue ascending. The street between the walls of the last buildings of the town leads us without major complications.
After passing by the chapel of the Virgen del Carmen we arrive at the outskirts of Grandas de Salime where we will say goodbye to the town and continue along the comfortable track on the left of the two that appear in front of us. The cement track continues to make us gain height taking us to a steep curve of its layout.
Here we will abandon its perfect firm to continue straight on following the path that begins in that same place. This path, almost covered by pastures, crosses the meadows that surround us while continuing to make us ascend with each step.
The road towards which the path led us is surprising again after crossing a wooded area. Luckily for now we will get rid of it, as the route follows the path that borders it, leaving it over our heads.
This stretch of wide path frees us for a moment from the uncomfortable company of the road, which unfortunately will be one of the main protagonists of this stage.
Once again we meet again with the asphalt and this time yes, we will only have to follow its course by a narrow path that borders it. We continue with our march following as far as possible the narrow path that the pilgrims have been creating at the edge of the road with their passage.
Soon a guardrail parapet us of the traffic, almost at the same time that we are with another road that we must cross to follow towards some agricultural pavilions.
This section passes next to the cattle farm, approaching the time to cross the road. Here the Primitive Way follows for a few metres the old layout of the old road, forcing us to make a small detour.
Soon we will meet again our inseparable companion which we will have to cross again. On the other side we have a narrow trail to follow, enjoying greater security.
But quickly we will be forced to jump the guardrail, to cross the road again as our journey continues to the other side, following a path that will take us away for a while from traffic.
We continue with the gentle but constant ascent along this new path which, as on previous occasions, crosses fields of pastures giving us the impression of being part of them.
Soon some houses take us out of our green surroundings while the road continues to follow us to our left.
At the end of these houses the Way goes straight on leaving on the left the track that joins them with the nearby road. In front of us we can already contemplate the first locality that we are going to pass in this stage.
The trail leads us to the entrance road to the town, which we must follow.
She will be in charge of introducing us in Cereijeira (0h 50min), making us cross it very quickly. As it could not be otherwise our friend the road that leads up to A Fonsagrada goes to our meeting.
Here we have to choose between crossing the road to cross it again soon, or continue on the right bank and avoid crossing it twice, as just 300 m from the crossing where we are we have the next detour.
Once you have crossed this short section and in the middle of the crossroads, the path begins where you must continue, leaving the road. This path takes us back between meadows defined only by the fences that mark it out.
We soon reached the time to return to the course lost at the previous junction and turn to continue parallel to the course of the road we have just left. The fence will be in charge of guiding us through the meadows we are crossing.
Wooden door posts that prevent animals from passing through mark the separations between the different meadows that surround us. Our route is clearly delimited by the grove, the wire fence or the stone walls that alternate as we advance.
The chapel of La Esperanza de Malneira precedes our exit to the asphalted track that goes from the road towards this nearby town that we barely touch.
We crossed this track to continue the unalterable course that brought us here. We cross the limits of this town that barely looks out on the Primitive Way, passing by an old house just before leaving for a new crossroads.
Here we have to follow the path on the left, slowly moving away from the town we have passed.
As soon as you turn, you will come to a new crossroads where you will now continue straight ahead, leaving the path that goes down towards the road.
Now we will cross a wooded zone that alternates leafy zones with others that allow us to see the relative proximity of the highway. We advance following this path without further detours for the moment.
After a while and coinciding with the end of the wooded area, our path comes to an end when we come across the conditioned track that goes up from the road and through which we approach the next town we are going to pass.
This track makes us ascend taking us to pass by the church of Castro (1h 25min) to enter definitively in the locality.
We cross Castro following this long street so soon embedded between the houses as by walls of stones that delimit the lands that belong to them.
There are not a few crosses that we leave behind us as we look for the outskirts of the town.
Little by little we are crossing Castro while in front of us we can already observe the hill towards which we seem to be heading.
The well-kept cement track is finally cut by the road that gives access to this and other localities in the area, a road that we must cross beginning a remarkable ascent. This part of the stage asks us once again to make an effort to go up the slope.
The path we follow runs between earthen slopes and stone walls that perfectly delimit its layout. The vegetation that surrounds us sometimes creates a thick tunnel that protects us from the sun.
We continue to leave behind the few paths that leave our path without these generate too many doubts to follow the right path.
The slope seems to have softened in part its requirement allowing us to progress more easily while we enjoy the route.
Shortly after leaving behind a couple of more paths, we will find the solitary hermitage of San Lázaro.
We will pass her by leaving her behind along another path that emerges next to her. We will quickly find ourselves again in front of another fork where a new path, which we will ignore, invites us to descend in search of the road.
We will leave that reunion for later and continue cutting the hillside of the mountain following the well-defined path.
A metal fence indicates the proximity of the road to which we will inevitably join a little later.
When we reach her height we will have to cross her to follow the narrow path that runs next to her on that side.
At this point we should not get confused and follow the path that starts from this place into the forest.
Once again a few meters further on a small trail, leads us to an old section of the old road.
In front we have a short journey to a new junction, where we follow the junction that will return us to the road we had abandoned.
When we reach her height, a long journey awaits us following the course she marks, while we continue to gain height with each step. The road without verge hardly leaves us space to separate us from the dangerous traffic that frequents it.
The guardrail that once protected us from vehicles now prevents us from getting rid of the asphalt, cutting off any room for manoeuvre.
At the few junctions we pass, the road and its signs make clear the direction to follow.
After a long journey along this road we arrive at the time to say goodbye to it, at least for now, to take a detour in search of the next town that the Primitive Way will take us to know.
Shortly after turning off, when we reach the height of the first houses in this town, the route turns again, forcing us to go up a hard ramp.
This ascent takes us next to the cemetery of the town, which we leave to our right to go to the nearby church of Peñafuente (2h 50min) and enter the town.
This street serves as a guide through Peñafuente leading us along this village that extends around the Primitive Way.
Always in continuous ascent we follow our cement track turned into the main street of the town. The houses alternate with their different plots whose walls insist on leading us to the outskirts of the municipality.
Suddenly and almost without warning our track becomes a stepped dirt road that finally takes us away from the last buildings of Peñafuente. From this point on, the route begins to gain height with more evidence, forcing us to make a greater effort if possible.
We ascend, leaving on both sides the paths with which we cross while we cut the hillside of the mountain we are crossing, observed by the windmills of the wind park that crowns its summit.
This almost constantly ascending section gives us beautiful panoramic views of the valley at the same time as we cross pine groves.
Our path converges with a track that ascends from the road, towards which we have to go.
When you reach its height you will find yourself at the crossroads with the road that leads to Bustelo. We will cross the road to continue for a few metres towards Bustelo.
At the moment of taking this road we will have to turn aside and follow a trail that ascends directly towards the aerogenerators that crown the top of the hill that we have in front. A hard ascent that will take us to save this natural border between the Principality of Asturias and Galicia.
The path struggles with the vegetation that tries to occupy the space snatched by it, while forcing us to save one of the greatest unevennesses of the stage.
The slope seems to come to an end in the same instant that our trail ends cut by a wide path. We border the line marked by the wind turbines and surrounded by pines.
A new crossroads takes us out of the tranquillity by making us follow the path that goes up the slope of the mountain again.
Luckily we quickly come across the track that joins the mills, which we will cross to continue among the pines, and with hardly any slope.
Our route, more tread and free of vegetation than the other paths we cross, takes us through this sea of pines that populate the mountain.
There is no doubt that the timber industry can vary the landscape we are passing through, while we continue at all times our well marked path.
Almost without realizing it we jump between Asturias and Lugo by where the Primitive Way will run from now on. We begin then the descent that as it could not be of another way it will return to find us with the highway.
The obvious loss of altitude allows us to already see the buildings and the road towards which we are heading.
When arriving at the road we will have to cross the crossing that is located in the same place to go towards the solitary houses of O Acebo (4h 10min), to which we arrive next.
As soon as we pass the buildings, the itinerary turns abruptly making us leave the road behind us and forcing us once again to undertake a new ramp.
This new path makes us leave at our feet O Acebo to go up the hill that cuts us off. Once on top, before us lies an immense landscape that allows us to sense our end of stage, still distant.
There will be many paths that we leave behind as we follow the track.
We descend seeing clearly the course that follows our track that, as expected, takes us towards the road. After an abrupt turn we head straight for it.
Now a pleasant route awaits us without the need to touch the asphalt thanks to the path that runs next to it.
This comfortable path leads us without delay to Cabreira (4h 35min) protected by the guardrail that separates us from the road in this section.
We cross this small village and the crossing that is also here to continue the course that marks us the road. A long journey awaits us ahead, following the path, always under the protection of the road that runs next to us.
A lonely road takes us out of our lethargy making us cross it to continue the monotonous march along this road that leads us to the next town that awaits us.
A good while later, the village of Fonfría appears in front of us. Our path descends to take us to an asphalted track that we must follow.
We are quickly faced with the obligation to abandon it and take again a rocky road by which we will finally reach Fonfría (5h 00min).
After passing by its small church and just before leaving for the road, we will turn to our left following a short path that takes us through this village.
In short, the path returns us to the edge of the road to continue along it, bidding us farewell to Fonfría. We are about to travel a short distance following the path that runs along the road until we reach the time to leave his company again.
A few metres after the end of this path that separated us from the asphalt emerges the dirt track that we have to follow. Once again we are faced with another ascent although not as demanding as on previous occasions.
The perfect track allows us to advance with certain comfort while we cross another wooded area that populates the hill that we are crossing. We leave behind the few paths we come across as we cross this hill that stands in our way.
We begin to descend with our sights set on our next objective, which we can already see next to the road.
Our track ends when we reach an old stretch of asphalt by which we continue a few meters leaving behind the crossing that gives access to the town of Barbeitos (5h 15min).
At the end of this area of asphalt we will have to cross the road to continue again to his side, but now on the other side. This path helps us to avoid the traffic of the road, even taking some distance from it.
Although this is still the one in charge of setting us the course to follow and our itinerary is still obliged to follow it. Once again, the pines provide us with their refreshing shade in this area where, after moving away from the road, we return to walk towards it.
We join a new track that comes from the nearby road and will be responsible for taking us to the next town of this stage.
We continue descending to get closer to the road and next to it to travel the distance that separates us from Silvela (5h 45min).
Once again we are forced to cross the road as the Primitive Way continues now on that side.
Just when you reach the large salt silo that is in this place the route turns sharply making us leave the road behind us. The itinerary finally leaves Silvela passing between the two houses next to the silo, snaking between them in search of another climb.
As soon as we pass the Santa Bárbara chapel, just after leaving Silvela, a hard ramp begins that will ask us for a new effort.
Luckily, the slope gives way sooner than expected, allowing us to enjoy the route that goes by again surrounded by the pines that populate the area.
Our inseparable companion joins us again at the same time that we cross another road that cuts us off.
Now we follow an undulating road that runs parallel to the road. In front we have a long stretch following the winding course of the road.
In one of its curves, our path comes to an end, and we are forced to follow the road. We ascend the asphalt, to leave behind a crossroads, with our eyes set on the path that will serve us to leave the road.
We arrived at the place where we left the road to follow a short chaff of old asphalt in search of the beginning of the path.
We quickly left behind the asphalt to continue already protected from traffic and surrounded by vegetation. Vegetation that reduces the width of the path until it becomes a narrow trail.
Vegetation that creates a shady tunnel that takes us directly to Paradanova (6h 20min), where we meet the road again.
As soon as you arrive in this town, you will come across a large number of signs that indicate the path to follow.
Although in truth the route that is followed now is not the one that corresponds to the Primitive Path that climbs more direct to A Fonsagrada.
If we follow this new route we have to follow the asphalted road that crosses the town. This path takes us directly to the road that we must follow a few meters.
Almost at the moment of advancing by the road, to our right begins the path by which we have to continue ascending.
This new layout, somewhat longer than the old one but with less demanding ramps, is the one chosen by the great majority of pilgrims.
Soon our path leads to an asphalt track which we will continue along. This local road continues to make us gain height at the same time that we leave behind some crossing. In fact, the routes we have followed correspond to the variant of the Primitive Way that, without stepping on A Fonsagrada, took pilgrims through the villages of O Chao and Xestoso de Riba up to Montouto, where they once again joined the traditional Way.
Now this variant has fallen into disuse so pilgrims follow at all times the road that brings them closer to the end of this stage of the Primitive Way. We can already observe the first houses of the locality that receive us to our arrival to her.
Almost without realizing it, we see ourselves walking through the streets of this town, entering it little by little. We advance without deviating leaving behind how many streets we are finding.
The journey through A Fonsagrada (6h 55min) takes us right in front of its church where this stage ends.
At the same time we come across the road that has already been turned into a street, where the pilgrims who chose the other option arrive.
Those who, on the other hand, chose to follow the old route of the Primitive Way in Paradanova must take the path that, passing to the left of the house, leads away from the village.
We follow a wide track for now without the promised slope that awaits us.
Unfortunately the calm is broken when arriving at the next crossing, where we take a detour to undertake the ascent that will take us to A Fonsagrada. The strong ramp runs along the slopes that delimit the path.
Our barricaded path leads to a slightly clearer track that we continue to climb.
This track is the one in charge of transporting us to the meeting of the road that in Paradanova we abandoned.
When we reach the height of the road we will see ourselves in the same gates of A Fonsagrada. The inseparable companion already turned into a street of the locality serves us to enter it.
We continue ascending leaving to left and right all the streets that come out to us to the pass.
The ascent comes to an end when we meet the church of A Fonsagrada (6h 55min), where we will join the pilgrims who followed the current path and where we will conclude this stage of the Primitive Way.
Total distance. 25,8 Km
Total time. 6h 55min
There is hardly any difference between taking one path or another in Paradanova, the greater distance from the current one is compensated by the greater effort required by the ramps that the old layout has, making one thing compensate the other.
Time of year. Fogs can hide the landscape from us
This stage presents great scenic attractions that can be enjoyed throughout the year, especially if the weather accompanies. The fog, the cold and the wind are inopportune companions that can affect us at any time but still give us a different atmosphere that many people prefer to the hot summer days.
Material required. Don't forget we're still on the mountain.
Although the route passes through a few localities, in many cases these are villages with hardly any services so it is still advisable to bring more than usual supplies of water and food. The type of terrain, as long as the weather conditions are right, allows us to wear less heavy footwear than in previous stages, watch out for the mud. The walking sticks continue to provide us with greater comfort and at the same time are an extra help on the ramps with which we will be confronted. As for the clothes, it is not too much to carry a garment that protects us from the wind or the cold that can surprise us when we gain height. Of course the protection against the sun cannot be missing either, glasses, cap and sunscreen are our inseparable companions. Consult our list of material and equipment to make the Way. Read more
Slope acumulate. 1473 m Slope positive. 930 m Slope negative. 543 m
Maximum altitude. 1115 m Minimum altitude. 560 m
Mileage, in addition to continuous and demanding ups and downs, mark the hardness of this stage that can make us harder than it actually is, partly due to the efforts made in previous stages. On the contrary, the good tracks on which it takes place make it possible for us to maintain a more constant rhythm. The ascent is concentrated almost entirely in the first half of the stage, while the end is a tedious leg-breaking route that does not give us a moment of respite. The heat will undoubtedly harden the stage especially in the most exposed sections that usually coincide with the proximity of the road. Moisturizing and eating properly will help us to make the route much more bearable.
The constant crossings with the road next to the sections in which the Primitive Way coincides with it are the greatest dangers that we normally have to face. There is no doubt that we are still passing through mountainous areas where ice and snow are more common than they seem. The route runs almost entirely on good tracks and wide paths, where the mud can play a trick on some stretch.
The large number of junctions with the road, the changes of paths, together with the different options that arise to reach A Fonsagrada make it very difficult to find your way in this stage. In addition, the signs and marks in many cases are neither as visible nor as clear as one might expect, making us doubt or even mistaken the path. The new layout of the road has changed the normal course of the route, which in its desire to protect us from it describes constant changes of side, entering and leaving old roads in disuse. Another factor to be taken into account from now on is the wood industry that exploits these mountains since they can make the landscape vary a lot from one year to the next and what used to be a leafy pine forest is now a depopulated hillside waiting for the small pines that grow on it to cover the landscape again, as well as different paths that may appear or disappear depending on the need of this industry.
|1-Grandas de Salime||0h 00min||560 m||0 Km||29T 672504 4787174|
|2-Cereijeira||0h 50min||643 m||2,8 Km||29T 670368 4786494|
|3-Castro||1h 25min||673 m||5,2 Km||29T 668838 4785055|
|4-Peñafuente||2h 50min||849 m||9,7 Km||29T 667861 4780980|
|5-O Acebo||4h 10min||1021 m||13,9 Km||29T 665158 4778775|
|6-Cabreira||4h 35min||983 m||16 Km||29T 663714 4777904|
|7-Fonfría||5h 00min||947 m||18,1 Km||29T 662473 4779241|
|8-Barbeitos||5h 15min||923 m||19,6 Km||29T 661170 4779257|
|9-Silvela||5h 40min||865 m||21,3 Km||29T 659860 4778545|
|10-Paradanova||6h 20min||843 m||23,8 Km||29T 658091 4777630|
|11-A Fonsagrada||6h 55min||950 m||25,8 Km||29T 657196 4776621|
Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84
This sketch 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 with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 049, 074 1:50.000"
Senditur has manipulated the tracks to correct the aberrant points that may exist, caused by problems with the reception of the GPS signal. In any case they 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.
Que bonitos recuerdos que guardo del Camino Primitivo, fuero duro pero mereció la pena. Esta etapa recuerdo que me puso las cosas difíciles, llegaba muy justa de los días anteriores, pero al final eso en parte es el Camino de Santiago, superar las pruebas que te va poniendo.
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¿Did you know that...
While in the route of the Primitive Way in Asturias the typical scallops that signalize the route are oriented with the narrow part indicating towards Santiago de Compostela, once we enter in Galicia this orientation changes, being now the widest zone the one that indicates the direction to follow. This fact also happens on many other ways in which on arrival in Galicia see how the marks change their orientation putting in trouble pilgrims who do not know this curious anecdote.
Don't miss out...
The Castro of Chao Samartín, that you will be able to find near the locality of Castro. It is a fortified enclosure founded at the end of the Bronze Age and that extended in time until well into the Roman era when an earthquake destroys it causing its total abandonment. On the outskirts of Castro, close to the Primitive Way, is the castro museum, from where guided visits to this important site are organised.
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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 18-11-2018. 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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