Category Archives: Walks

Camino Invierno – O Barco de Valdeorras to Quiroga

River Sil Valley

Once again as the Camino Walks it would have been 46 km from  O Barco de Valdeorras to our lodgings outside Quiroga our distance is governed by the lack of accommodation on the route especially for 3 pilgrims requiring single rooms, although it has to  be said we haven’t walked past very many, if any other, accommodations that are open.

Fortunately for today Colin and I having Geoff with his Achilles tendon problem and Colin’s car we not only get to have our bags carried but also can choose which bits to walk 🙂 Today we chose to walk from Montefurado to the outskirts of Quiroga a distance according to my watch of  just over 17km but with over 450m of ascent.

House in need of TLC

The views down the Sil River are magnificent as are all the ancient derelict houses begging to be renovated, in fact, we asked the sole resident in the street he immediately wanted me to buy his 3 bedroomed modernish house with amazing views down the valley for €50,000 so he could retire to Leon. 🙂

A very enjoyable day with the weather quite a bit cooler and the occasional light shower underfoot mainly on tracks and incredibly quiet roads.

We managed to find a lunch stop on the outskirts of Quiroga, the Meson Parillada O Ferreirino very pleasant and at €10 for a three-course meal and beer a real bargain. Then a short ride to our homestay lodgings Hospedaje Ferreria-Quinta with the two baby owls nesting in the old tree stump outside 🙂

Strava says we walked 17km and 456 metres of ascent in 4 hours 23min
Today’s pics are here:
Camino Invierno – O Barco de Valdeorras to Quiroga

Camino Invierno – Borrenes to O Barco de Valdeorras

The distance via Camino between Borrenes and O Barco de Valdeorras according to my route is 36km so a pretty lengthy one!

Fortunately our host, Saturno, offered to drive us all in his 4WD to the Mirador de Orellan and then drop us of in the car park outside Las Medulas thus saving  7km walking on the Camino plus giving us a private viewing of the spectacular ruins of a mountain demolished by Roman slaves in the pursuit of gold for their masters.  This ably demonstrating the advantages of having a fluent Spanish speaker in our trio thanks, Colin!

We turned off the Camino to do the short walk to the Mirador de Pedrices to admire the ingenuity of the Roman engineers in using water as a blasting medium to break up the mountain. Whilst thinking why hasn’t anyone finished the job off with dynamite!

We then started the long descent into Puente de Domingo Florez to find a very welcome bar for a drink and some tapas the route then went up a hill and past an intriguing hydroelectric scheme, apparently built by the Germans to aid their extraction of Wolfram (Tungsten Ore) in the forties. The track is very undulating down the valley with great views of the surrounding countryside and the slate works alongside the main road below. We decided to end the days walking in the lovely town of Sobradelo having a great late lunch in the busy Meson Museo restaurant. Fortunately, Geoff joined us with Colin’s car so we could skip the final 9km to O Barco.

The Hotel O Camino had a very challenging electronic kiosk to obtain the entry key which took at least 20 minutes to issue the keys for the three of us.

The day itself was cool and overcast with periodic rain showers

So Strava says we walked the 23 km (The watch missed around 1km) in under 5 hours of walking so 4.6km/hour

Here are the pics of the day:
Camino Invierno – Borrenes to O Barco de Valdeorras

Camino Invierno – Ponferrada to Borrenes

An excellent days walk on the Camino Invierno with Colin, alas poor Geoff’s Achilles tendon prevented him from joining us except for a brief encounter en route in the car and at the end. Sally will be pleased to know I really enjoyed the walking and Graham will be pleased that with Colin’s help I’m slowing down 🙂

Contrails heading to Santiago airport

We started walking to the famous castle in Ponferrada, meeting a constant stream of pilgrims on the over popular Camino Frances, including aircraft flying to Santiago airport, showing them the way, instead of the old fashioned Milky Way,  I stopped to correct the OSM where the original Camino is prevented from crossing the railway line.

What a joy once over the river that we turned right whereas all the pilgrims where coming from the left 🙂 We didn’t see another pilgrim all day.

View of Castillo de Cornatel from our ascent

The walking was superb if a little bit hilly all on very quiet roads & tracks we found a shop where the lady kindly helped us make sandwiches on her deli counter ready for us to eat at the top of the major climb. The castle looks impossible to get too, stuck very high up on a rocky promontory, but the path gracefully curves up to Villvieja where we ate our sandwiches, the track is then flanked by really ancient chestnut trees before arriving at the previously commanding Castillo de Cornatel (closed of course). We then dropped down to Borrenes to be met by Geoff with his duff Achilles tendon to finally reach the excellent looking Hotel Cornatel Medulas – the only place open since we left the shop in‎⁨ Toral de Merayo! fortunately, they offer evening dinner too with the excellent local Roandi wine 🙂

We covered the 23km (14.5 miles) with 547m (1,777 feet) of climbing at an overall average speed of 3.3km/hr ~2mph

Strava is here:

All the pictures are on Flickr here:
Camino Invierno - Ponferrada to Borrenos

A day in Ponferrada & Villafranca

Shock horror I at to be woken up by Colin calling me at 8.42 this morning 🙁  I think the early start and travelling all day really shattered me and with the room in total darkness I just failed to wake up.

After the €4 hotel breakfast, we decided to drive over to Villafranca for some lunch and sightseeing, amusing to see busloads of pilgrims having a quick tour then quickly moving on. The town itself has a plethora of buildings looking for renovation and the prices seem very reasonable 🙂

Lunch was at the Don Nacho restaurant a great 3-course meal & wine for about £10 🙂

After a siesta at the hotel, I went on a walk around Ponferrada to see the castle I passed on 5th September 2004 on my first Camino interesting to see so many empty shops in the town like the UK.

Ponferrada Castle 2004 Taken with Treo

Ponferrada Castle 2019 Taken with iPhone7

Here is the Strava of the little stroll:

Tomorrow we start the main walk of the Camino Invierno, should be interesting 🙂

Today’s pics:
Ponferrada & Villafranca