This walk is part of the trek El Camino Primitivo - from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela.
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.
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) Our route leaves Berducedo from the church of Saint Mary heading west to climb a cemented road that becomes a dirt track as it levels off. Once past the last buildings, bear left at a fork and then left at a T-junction. Bear right at the next fork and follow this path along the hillside, climbing gently to meet another track. Bear left to head in a southwesterly direction, across streams and finally ending up at the church of Saint Mary Magdalen, in the hamlet of A Mesa.
(1) The small shop in A Mesa is only open in July, August and September so make sure you have enough to keep you going until you reach Grandas. Leave the hamlet heading west then north to climb steadily uphill to As Rozadas where the windmills are clearly visible. The track bends left quite sharply to go round the other side of the hill and then bends right to go downhill to the chapel of Saint Theresa and Santiago(James) in Buspol. Here the descent starts, at the end of a farm track, heading west. Bear left onto a path that goes downhill in a zig-zag pattern. At first, the route follows a cattle track of dirt and stone. Soon you should be able to see the Salime reservoir in the valley and the town of Grandas de Salime, our destination, on the other side. The descent, which doesn't have an excessive slope, is divided into three parts. The first part, along a wide dirt and stone track in long zig-zags, and in which we lose altitude little by little. The second part is along a dirt forest track, which is pretty flat and even has a short climb, and in which it seems that we are going too far from the reservoir, which is down to our left. The third part begins when we leave this track to take a nice path to the left, which zigzags through a forest until it comes out onto the road that, on the left, leads us to the Mirador Boca de la Ballena.
(2) This viewpoint offers a spectacular view of the reservoir and the Salime dam. With access from the road through a tunnel dug into the rock. Once you've admired the engineering, it's time to cross the dam. The AS-14 road goes right across then heads over to El Salto, passing the Hotel Las Grandas. Our route continues along the AS-14 road with very little relief apart from the views over the reservoir and the shade from the pine trees. After a particularly pronounced bend to the right, there is a recreational area with some tables and benches, even a bus-stop! Ignore the road that heads towards Pénjamo and a viewpoint, rather follow the road west for another half a kilometre. Just after the 2km sign, take a track off to the left that takes us through woodland parallel to the road. After about one and a half kilometres there is another recreational area with tables and benches. Shortly afterwards, the path gently descends to join the road just before the righthand turn off to enter the village of Grandas de Salime.(A)
D : mi 0 - alt. 2946ft - Berducedo
1 : mi 2.51 - alt. 2844ft - A Mesa
2 : mi 8.77 - alt. 833ft - Mirador Boca de la Ballena
A : mi 12.88 - alt. 1854ft - Grandas de Salime
Make sure you have enough water for the day as there are few places to fill your bottle. Also, shops and bars are few and far between, so pack a lunch or stop at the Hotel Las Grandas. Most of the route is pretty exposed so wear the right gear, according to the weather.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The obvious point of interest through the day is the reservoir and the engineering that went into building the dam. The descent from Buspol should be enjoyed and not rushed as the long walk after the dam is fairly monotonous in comparison. There are a couple of chapels to visit but not much else until you reach Grandas. Allow time to investigate this pleasant village and prepare for the next stage. 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 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.
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.
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.
The day starts with a climb even though Tineo is already perched over the Villar valley. The route takes us along the southern flank of the Pico Navariego, staying high above the valley and the road below, finally dropping down to Obona and then a fairly flat stroll all the way to Borres.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.