The rounded Galician mountains that separate A Fonsagrada from O Cádavo take over in a stage of the Way of Saint James in which we will continue crossing the green meadows of pastures and crossing the leafy forests while we jump from mountain to mountain, from valley to valley, discovering ancient remains of the history of the Primitive Way. A route that takes us from village to village as we enter more and more into Galicia, land of customs and traditions, such as eating octopus with toothpicks to avoid the bad luck of eating it with a fork.
The stage 8 A Fonsagrada-O Cádavo with 24,4 Km takes us through a demanding but beautiful route without descending for the moment of the mountainous summits that have accompanied us up to here. A Fonsagrada with its Holy Fountain that according to legend, gave milk to feed a needy family, bids us farewell not before letting us enjoy its streets and people or know its important Ethnographic Museum, before moving away from the town. We enter what for a long time has been and is the final stage for many pilgrims, O Padrón. This coquettish and well-kept village together with its church of San Xoán mark the beginning of our walk between fields and forests, in an incessant ups and downs that will accompany us throughout the stage. Forests such as the one that houses the Pastizal Fountain, a pleasant corner where you can take a breath and recharge your batteries while waiting for what is ahead of you.
The Primitive Way as in previous occasions hardly brings us closer to the doors of small villages that look out over it, villages like Vilardongo or Pedrafitelas. From here and after passing through the village of Montouto we undertake the ascent that will bring us closer to the hill where the ruins of the Montouto Hospital are located, next to the dolmen of Pedras Dereitas and a small chapel that together with the landscape make the delights of those who pass through there. Time to start a dizzying descent down the hillside that will take us to Paradavella itself, which as its name suggests is a good place to prepare for the hard stretch that awaits us ahead. Again the Way insists in entering us through shady forests, approaching small villages that just let us enter, such as Calzada or A Degolada in whose church of San Lourenzo we detour to set course for O Couto through streams that flow down the slope.
Once again we leave O Couto to one side to venture into the ascent of the famous A Costa do Sapo, a real challenge of the Primitive Way. After overcoming this hard test, A Lastra awaits us. Next to its church of San Xoán, they see the pilgrim pass on his way to the next ascent, which awaits him as soon as he leaves the town behind, the Fontaneira peak. The ascent, not as demanding as the previous one, undoubtedly makes a dent in the just forces of the pilgrim, before letting him reach A Fontaneira. From here there awaits us an undulating route in which the mountains no longer seem so high, nor the valleys so deep, a route through places of legend that will lead us to the very gates of O Cádavo, where this stage of the Primitive Way ends and where we will be able to enjoy a deserved rest and the rich gastronomy characteristic of the zone.
The Plaza de España next to the church of A Fonsagrada (0h 00min) are the starting point of the stage 8 A Fonsagrada-O Cádavo del Camino Primitivo.
From here we again consider a couple of options to leave the town, the one with the most painted marks tells us to follow the road, which, converted into A Fonsagrada street, crosses the whole town.
This road joins again with the Way to the exit of the locality, after crossing it leaving behind as many streets as it is found.
The second, which follows the original Primitive Way, somewhat shorter than the previous one, passes by the door of the church and goes up the San Roque and Mayor streets.
We follow its course, which after this first ascent quickly loses height again, while we walk in search of the road, where we join the other option.
Already together the two routes continue descending, to cross the road and leave it a few meters later.
This new street that we have just started will definitely take us out of A Fonsagrada.
Faster than expected we find again that, as in previous stages, the road will again have a special protagonism. And as happened to us in days past, we will once again be going in and out of it and crossing it at every step.
The road continues next to the road following a narrow path separated from the asphalt only by the guardrail.
We quickly return to leave the company of the road to climb an asphalted track that takes us to the town of O Padrón (0h 20min).
We crossed the small village passing, as it could not be otherwise, next to the church and descending towards the boundaries of the locality.
Here, at the end of the houses begins a journey that will take us through fields of pastures following a path almost converted into a trail by the vegetation that covers it.
We advance parallel to the road, surrounded by trees that from time to time allow us to see the valley and the fields that we have on our right. The path finally joins the road and together we arrive at a new crossroads.
It is time to cross the road to continue on the other side towards the cemetery gate.
Once we pass it, we will find a path that enters the leafy pine forest where our itinerary continues. The route leads us through the impressive pine forest following a wide dirt road with the appearance that in rainy seasons we will find it quite muddy because it keeps a lot of moisture.
After a short journey through the interior of the forest, the path takes us back to the road, forcing us to travel along it. We ascend taking advantage of the narrow hard shoulder provided by the road to arrive a few metres further on, at a crossroads next to a well-kept rest area.
There are many marks that encourage us to continue along the road while others point out that the Primitive Way continues to our right, crossing the road. Cyclists in this stage are practically forced to follow the road in its entirety, unless they mind having to set foot on the ground on more than one occasion to save steep or poorly firm stretches.
We cross to the other side of the road where the road begins that will introduce us again in the leafy forest.
We begin to be somewhat aware of what this stage of the Primitive Path will bring us, with constant ups and downs, each one more demanding. Our path crosses other paths as we advance through the forest, leaving them behind to continue without detours.
Logging operations will be a constant along the route, and the landscape may be altered due to felling or the creation of new paths or firebreaks. After the intense ascent we have to descend through the forest, quickly losing height to find the road again.
Once again, after crossing the steep slope that separates us from it, we must cross the road, as the route follows the path that begins on the other side.
The narrow path that struggles with the vegetation to open its way, takes us back to the meeting with the road again avoiding a long curve that it describes.
Here we must cross it again to begin a hard ascent following a stark trail almost covered by vegetation.
After the short but intense ascent, the path loses its strong inclination, allowing us to enjoy the eucalyptus trees, the ferns and the exuberant vegetation that surrounds us. If we look back at the horizon, we can still see the silhouette of A Fonsagrada.
Already in a wide way the itinerary takes us to pass of soslayo by the village of Vilardongo that extends more down. There are few buildings next to which we pass and which warn us that we are passing through this Galician village, while we leave behind us the paths that join them.
Our route passes by the wall of one of these houses to definitively leave a locality that we barely touched. We continue following a dirt track that, like the previous one, has become a narrow path marked by the pilgrims' steps, leaving the rest of the land to the vegetation that covers it.
We have to go back up a rounded hill following this path bounded by fences that separate it from the meadows of grass and trees that populate these slopes.
We cannot avoid walking with our eyes fixed on the wind mills, which on the horizon are already beginning to look as if they want to show us the place where we are going.
After the hard ascent, the path becomes totally smooth and runs through a pleasant landscape surrounded by the green pastures of the cattle farm towards which we are heading.
The route passes through this farm to follow the track that leads to it and that leads us to a road.
When we reach its height we see with some relief that the itinerary crosses it again introducing us into a thick forest at the same time that it follows the course marked by the inseparable road that accompanies us from the beginning of the stage.
Once again, we are faced with a new ascent that allows us to look out over a privileged viewpoint from which to contemplate the valleys and mountains that surround us. The undulating terrain makes us uncomfortable again while the vegetation again hides the landscape.
The path that runs between stone walls loses its relatively good firm becoming a cobblestone trail that asks us for an extra effort to ascend it.
The vegetation and sometimes the mud do not want to lose protagonism in this section of the Primitive Way contributing its grain of sand to this battered path that we follow.
The next locality we visited on this stage comes to save us from the harsh conditions we were facing along the way. Montouto (2h 05min) looks out over the Primitive Way which makes us pass quickly through this locality.
There are several crosses that we will find here and that can lead us to confusion, since so soon we will have to descend following a road, as to ascend through an asphalted track.
For that reason in these crossings we will have to be attentive, to locate the correct marks that indicate to us the route to follow.
Now we will follow the route that marks us this track that cuts the slope of the mountain crossing this beautiful place.
The wide dirt track leads us to a frank ascent, although for now without making us face the greater slopes of other roads we come across. To our left are the slender wind mills that crown the top of the mountain we are ascending.
Our path begins to gain height with more evidence at the same time as it encounters another track that ascends from the nearby road. This hard last stretch of ascent takes us to the windy hill where the well-kept remains of the old Montouto Hospital are located.
Once at the top of the hill and after enjoying this ancient landmark of the Primitive Way we will continue leaving to our right the ruins of the hospital next to the small chapel that is also there. In order to follow the perfectly defined route of the track we arrived on, which turns to the left and starts the descent.
The mills that we observed before in the ascent are now located on the other side of the mountain while we leave behind the pass where we crossed it. The descent gradually brings us closer to the forest until we see ourselves again enjoying its pleasant shade, ideal protection for summer days.
We continue losing height without deviating at any time from the main track whose good condition can serve as a reference in case of doubt in the crosses that we will pass in this descent. In front, a long and beautiful route in which, except for the mark of the beginning of the descent, we will not have many more reasons to think that we are on the right path.
Luckily, when we are about to take for granted that we have lost our way, crossing a road will restore our confidence, as a new sign will indicate that we must cross it, to continue the descent through the interior of the forest.
A few metres after crossing this road, the path practically disappears and becomes a narrow trail that rushes towards the bottom of the valley. The battered trail sometimes quite tangled by vegetation and somewhat cobbled makes us lose height very quickly.
Its slope, the thickness of the vegetation, which almost covers it in its entirety in some areas, together with the type of terrain, somewhat slippery in certain sections, make the descent somewhat uncomfortable as well as entertaining.
Shortly after the slope seems to have reached its end we will come across a fork in which the path to follow is the one on the right.
This trail takes us directly, a few meters away, to find the first buildings of the next locality of the stage we will pass.
Now, through a wide dirt track, we will find again the inseparable road that will take us into Paradavella (3h 20min).
As on previous occasions the road serves as a guide through this small town.
Just as we leave Paradavella behind, the path we must follow begins, once again embarking on a strenuous ascent. Once the path has become a narrow trail, the route follows the road closely.
Our trail makes its way along the hillside of the mountain while the vegetation alternates hiding the landscape or letting us observe what surrounds us.
The mud and the undulating terrain make it difficult for us to advance, compensated by the fact that we do not have to continue on the road.
We continue leaving behind us the few junction that we find, while we get closer to a new encounter with the road.
After a considerable descent, quite slippery if we find it with mud, we arrive at the road where we will have to face a dangerous junction to continue our journey along the path that continues with the descent to the other side.
This path takes us quickly to the road that gives access to the village of Calzada that we leave to one side to follow the descending course that marks this new road.
Shortly after walking on the asphalt we arrive next to the church and the cemetery of A Degolada where we will leave the road to border them and begin another new ascent of this roller coaster that is this stage of the Primitive Way.
The path quickly becomes the typical trail that we have followed so many times and that runs along the hillside of the mountain surrounded by the vegetation that populates it. There are not many paths that we cross, where the lack of marks is replaced by the state of the road that we should not follow.
The route takes us to save a small stream to ask us again for a new effort to make us recover the lost height.
We leave behind a winding path that ascends the hillside of the mountain to begin a gentle descent that takes us to the gates of O Couto, another small Galician village, which we barely touch.
The itinerary makes us leave behind the path that descends towards the village to get away from it in search of a new ramp.
The good state of the path facilitates us to advance with greater comfort within the comfort that can be the important effort that is going to require us this part of the stage.
We are fully immersed in the fearsome Cuesta del Sapo, a real wall whose slope puts in trouble more than one euphoric pilgrim who does not take calmly this ascent.
The route, as usual, leads us straight back to the road, which is located on the upper hillside.
When reaching its height, we must follow its layout, taking advantage of its smaller slope and heading towards the next locality of the stage.
As soon as we begin this stretch of road, we will come across a junction which we leave behind us, to follow at all times the direction that our inseparable companion marks for us.
We descend gently as we approach the town we are about to visit. The hard shoulder and the footpath next to it separate us enough from the traffic on the road.
The first houses of A Lastra (4h 55min), welcome us to this locality, while we enter it following the route of the road that crosses it.
Almost on the outskirts of the town, at the intersection, we will say goodbye to the road again, to continue a few metres further between the houses of A Lastra.
Shortly before this detour returns us back to the road we will take an asphalted track that ascends crossing the last houses of the town.
We began to gain height once again quickly following this careful track that makes us finally say goodbye to A Lastra. Our track for now with a good cement road leads us to some lonely houses on the slope of the mountain.
This was the reason for how prepared the cement track was, as from this point we return to the dirt road through the forest. Once again the slope becomes more demanding due to the tiredness that we have already accumulated in our legs at this stage of the Primitive Way.
The forest provides us with its appreciated protection and the landscape that surrounds us makes the ascent we are facing a little sweeter.
Luckily, shortly after passing a junction, the slope is softened, allowing us to catch our breath as we head towards a new encounter with the road.
When we reach its height we will have crowned the Fontaneira Pass, point from which we have to follow the course marked by the asphalt.
We begin the gentle descent down the road, approaching with each step the next town we will pass in this stage, whose houses we can already see in front of us.
The road enters us in A Fontaneira (5h 45min) without letting us leave us for now of its implacable course.
As in previous occasions, the road is in charge of guiding us through A Fontaneira, making us leave behind all the junctions with which we are encountering.
Once we have left the town, we arrive at the path that leads to the cemetery where we will go.
At the moment we will turn off again to follow an almost hidden path that leaves the cemetery on our left and leads us to a wooded area.
The wide path among the pines frees us for the moment from the road that runs close to us, hidden by the vegetation that surrounds us.
Soon the road is heading towards the road, which claims its part of protagonism in this area of the stage.
The old route that followed the road is in charge of leading us to it, to face a long stretch in its company.
Sometimes we go along the verge and sometimes the narrow trail that runs next to it. There are not many junctions that we come across in which the road is responsible for making it clear that for now does not want to let us leave his side.
The undulating terrain continues to be a constant, with continuous ups and downs that make the passage uncomfortable. In one of these descents we find the junction of roads where we will leave the company of the road definitively.
From this point start several paths, which forces us to be attentive to take the right one, which quickly introduces us into a lush forest.
The pines soon come to an end, leaving us at the mercy of the elements as we cross a tangled scrub area. There are several roads that we will find, while we continue heading without deviating towards a line of electric towers.
This electric line will be in charge of setting the course accompanying us in this final part of the stage.
The terrain continues with its incasable slides that do not allow us to maintain a constant rhythm.
In front of us there is only the cobbled descent that will take us to the town where this stage of the Primitive Way ends.
The descent, somewhat slippery due to the loose stone, continues to make us leave behind all the roads that go out to meet us.
The dirt track we took ends when we come across an asphalt track that goes up from the village to the water well, the track where we will follow the descent.
The first houses of the town indicate the proximity of the end of the route.
We continue descending following the street by which we entered between the houses of the locality. This street takes us irremediably to the meeting with the road that crosses O Cádavo (6h 55min).
Upon reaching his height next to the playground of O Cádavo ends this stage 8 A Fonsagrada-O Cádavo.
Remember that this figure changes depending on where you start and end your stage.
This figure can be modified if we are forced to follow the road for some reason, as it draws a much wider route. Also if we underestimate the stage and spend our energies cheerfully the final stretch can make us very long and require more time than really necessary to travel.
The landscape that surrounds us, the mountains that we cross and the green meadows that extend along the way make this stage a beautiful journey that will surprise us in every corner. Almost without realizing the change, the environment that surrounded us in previous stages is gradually giving way to the Galician fields and mountains and its marked and unmistakable character.
Although in many cases the paths on which we will travel have been improved making sections that were once impassable almost perfect paths, mud and water are still the main actors in this stage of the Primitive Way. Somewhat broken or muddy paths and steep descents covered with loose stone or slippery grass await us, so a boot will give us a plus of confidence and comfort. If it rains or it has done it the previous days the gaiters avoided the entrance of water by the high zone of the boot, in addition in some sections the grasses almost do not leave step and so much if they are wet as if not, a trousers or the same gaiters avoided the direct contact with them. The walking sticks, water and some food are great allies that undoubtedly can make the journey less hard. The protection against the sun and some reflective object for the sections by road is something that we cannot lack in our backpack. The fogs are also common in this area and we are still at a certain altitude so we must choose well the clothes we wear and do not forget to leave by hand the headlamp and some warm clothing if we need it. Consult our list of material and equipment to make the Way. Read more
As far as the physical aspect is concerned, this stage is very close to more mountain stages, its distance, added to the hard ramps that we are going to find, and not only the famous Cuesta del Sapo, make this a demanding route. We will have to dose our energies well, hydrate ourselves and eat properly, as this can make the difference between enjoying the route, or in some cases remembering it as the final point of our Primitive Way. To take it with the calm and the necessary time the itinerary, will help us to save a complicated day in part increased by the fatigue accumulated in previous stages.
The long stretches of road, which although they have some hard shoulder and in some cases a narrow path next to it, are the most dangerous points of this stage, in addition we must cross the road on several occasions and not by areas with all the visibility that would be grateful. Mud, wet grass and cobblestone terrain are other reasons for taking the descents with due caution, even though they are no longer like those of previous stages. Watch out also in the forests belonging to timber exploitations, we can find ourselves with machines working or vehicles running through them.
A complicated stage in which the large number of crossroads and paths that we will find next to the thick vegetation of some stretches will make it more difficult than usual to follow the correct layout. It is not uncommon to find contradictory marks that want to send us to a particular place without counting whether or not the pilgrim needs to pass there, but this is a circumstance that we should already be accustomed to so we will be relatively easy to locate the correct marks. The vegetation is another enemy of the pilgrim to hide not only the signs of the Primitive Way but also some stretches of the route, especially from Montouto onwards. We will also find crosses in which the signs shine for their absence, here the common sense will surely avoid us to deviate from the main path that usually ignores these crosses.
|1-A Fonsagrada||0:00h||950m||0Km||29T 657190 4776622|
|2-O Padrón||0:20h||882m||1.5Km||29T 656356 4775626|
|3-Montouto||2:05h||977m||7.3Km||29T 651971 4773422|
|4-Paradavella||3:20h||688m||12.3Km||29T 648579 4771052|
|5-A Lastra||4:55h||805m||17.3Km||29T 647932 4767980|
|6-A Fontaneira||5:45h||903m||19.7Km||29T 646651 4766160|
|7-O Cádavo||6:55h||721m||24.4Km||29T 642882 4764157|
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 074, 073 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.
Para mí una de las etapas más duras de todas, con zonas bastante empinadas, vamos de las rompe piernas. Eso sí como hasta ahora una pasada de paisajes, de aldeas y de gente. ¡¡¡Buen Camino!!!
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¿Did you know that...
The Cuesta del Sapo is known by that name because of the hardness of its unevenness that makes the pilgrims who ascend it, in the eyes of those who observe them, seem to climb jumping, similar to those who give the toads to advance. Not so long ago, this stretch did not enjoy the relatively good road that it now has, and this made much more evident the deceptive jumps that pilgrims made from stone to stone, step by step, to climb this ramp, the most famous of all the Primitive Way.
Don't miss out...
A visit to the Montouto Hospital, a former pilgrims' hostel founded in 1357 by order of King Pedro I of Castile and which remained active until the middle of the 20th century, and whose ruins are barely a few metres from the route of the Way and often go unnoticed by many hurried pilgrims. Although in reality they are the ruins of the "new hospital" since the old hospital, of which little or nothing remains, was located inside the nearby forest.
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 19-11-2018. 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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