The Coastal Way
Stage 11: Soto de Luiña - Vil.lamouros
A peculiar stage on the Asturian coastal road, as it corresponds for the most part to a mountain route, which, crossing various peaks of the councils of Cudillero and Valdés, contemplates the coast and the flat coastline of western Asturias from above. It is an eminently rural road, the vast majority of which runs along dirt or gravel tracks and paths, passing through the vicinity of transhumant brañas from vaqueiros towns, such as Busmarzu, which is why this route is also known as the Vaqueiro Way.
Along a route of just under 20 kilometers (specifically 19.80), the Jacobean route enters the Sierra de las Palancas, following the layout of an old royal road that saves in the most logical and direct way possible the distance between Soto de Luiña and Vil.lamouros, in an area where there is an alternative route along the coast, the so-called Las Ballotas road which, despite running much closer to the sea, subjects the pilgrim to a series of ascents and descents of unknown intensity on the road to Las Palancas.
This other unofficial path is recommended, however, in circumstances of bad weather or for people not used to traveling through mountain roads. It should also be taken into account that the Las Palancas road runs through areas without any service for almost 14 kilometers. A very precise description of the conditions that the pilgrim must face on this road to Las Palancas was already offered in the 19th century by the traveler Juan de Llano Ponte, who pointed out that this route should only be taken when the weather is good and not “if it is bad. or it threatens to be, because there is a rather difficult climb, where you will not find any shelter, where you will not be able to enliven the passage and where, as is natural at such a great height, the winds are ferocious ”.
Notwithstanding what is indicated in this description, the ascent to the Sierra de las Palancas is carried out in an extremely tended way, with practically no time having to travel through steep slopes, since the route is carried out along the axial axis of the saw . From the exit of Soto de Luiña to the culmination of the Sierra, some 12 kilometers pass in which progressively the 600 meters of unevenness between the two points are saved. From the highest point there does begin a steeper descent to the town of San Pelayo de Tehona, along tracks that are sometimes barely traced on the ground, between rocky areas that make it difficult for pilgrims to transit.
This stage marks the transition to western Asturias, with the first buildings with a slate roof, typical of this territory, appearing in San Pelayo de Tehona.
The stage begins next to the church of Santa María de Soto de Luiña. As soon as you pass the temple, you must cross the road and continue to the right, along the sidewalk, for a few meters, until on the first occasion, you turn left next to the La Fontica fountain, going up a track of concrete, between residential buildings of one and two stories and a block of flats, in the El Pontico neighborhood. Leave the detour to the old Soto schools on the right, converted since the 1990s into a pilgrim hostel.
- Related item: Escuelas de Soto de Luiña
This road leads to the national road N632. You cross and continue straight ahead, leaving a hotel on your left. We continue along a concrete track, which after a curve in which there is, on the left, a granary, becomes gravel, between single-family houses. When you reach the ruins of an old construction, you continue to the left, along a dirt road that between meadows, plot closings and some houses, leads to a concrete track that leads to an asphalt road, continuing to the right until lead to the national N632. Continue, along the shoulder of this road, to the left, steeply uphill for about 340 meters along the so-called slope of the Tower, between meadows, leaving behind the nucleus of Soto de Luiña and entering a purely rural environment.
After that distance, the Camino deviates to the right, leaving the national highway and entering a eucalyptus forest. In an intense ascent, it runs along a dirt and stone track, which after approximately 270 meters ends up merging with a forest track. We continue to the left, arriving after a short trip to the national highway, which crosses in the direction of the Soto de Luiña cemetery located on the other side of the road.
We then continue to the right, through the Las Chavolas neighborhood, along a small paved track parallel to the road, in an area where there is a roundabout that is bordered by following this path.
- Related item: Las Chavolas
You come to a building, located on the left hand side of the road, for hotel use, after which there is a fork in the road. In front, along the shoulder of the national highway, continue along the so-called Las Ballotas road, unofficial but signposted. On the left, take the Camino Real de las Palancas, the official route of the Camino de Santiago to communicate the councils of Cudillero and Valdés.
Continue along the official path, therefore taking that deviation to the left, along a concrete track that runs between eucalyptus trees. After 300 meters, you pass a water tank on your left and the path becomes a dirt and gravel track, called the Cuesta de La Ventana in the direction of the mountain of the same name, the first in the Sierra de Las Palancas to which it is accessed in this Jacobean path.
The route continues among eucalyptus trees. After a curve to the right, you come to a fork in the tracks, having to continue on the left, in a prolonged ascent that then leads to two other forks in the tracks where you have to opt again for the ones that go up to the left . It is circulating through the interior of a large mass of eucalyptus trees. Occasionally, on the right-hand side, among the trees, you can see views of the sea and the coastal plain, as well as the national highway and the Cantabrian highway and some large industrial warehouse located in its vicinity.
The ascent along the forest track continues until reaching La Ventana hill, a high area where it is already flat, leaving a detour on the left, around a curve, in an area with splendid views towards the coast, on the right hand side.
The route then continues along a slight and steep uphill slope, until at a curve you take a detour to the right, continuing along the track until you reach a fork in the road where you must choose to continue straight ahead, abandoning for a few meters the forest track and entering a narrower path, between meadows and some pine trees. After a short journey, this path leads back to the forest track, continuing to the right, which ascends between pine trees and bushes to a height, on Mount Traviesa.
Afterwards, a descent along the same track begins, the Camino deviating shortly to the left, along a narrow path, barely marked on the ground, between pine trees, bushes and meadows. We continue along this road, reaching an area where its route is straight, between meadows, with the view at the bottom of Mount El Pedrisco. Its route passes between small masses of pine trees and extensive meadows, with views to the left of the Troncéu valleys.
After a patch of pine trees, an ascent begins, skirting Mount Perina. After a curve, the path narrows, which becomes a dirt track, flanked on the left by a slope, running through eucalyptus trees. After leaving the trees behind, you come to an area of meadows, with the small nucleus of Monteagudo on the right (made up of just a house and auxiliary buildings), which you cannot reach, since before you take a detour, in a Steep curve in which an ascent begins, which leaves the nucleus mentioned on the right, lower and lower, also allowing the contemplation of very good views of the coast.
- Related item: Monteagudo
Continue along this narrow track, between pine trees, meadows and bushes, passing a little later next to a newly built isolated house, which is on the right, after which, a few meters away, it connects with a track wider, continuing to the right, reaching a mass of pine trees, with a fork in the roads in a curve. We opt for the road that rises to the right, in the area known as the Canto del Llano, which descends, bordering the El Gordo peak, on a steep slope but continued for more than half a kilometer until it reaches the local road that connects Novellana with Arcayana.
Continue to the left along the shoulder of the road, until you reach a road junction in Silvaoscura, at a point with good views of the coast and the valleys of the interior of Cudillero and Valdés. At this crossroads we continue to the right, towards the few existing buildings in this nucleus, old road sales located in the place known precisely as the Collado de las Ventas, in the direction of Las Cruces and Arcayana.
- Related item: Silvaoscura
Then a 1.8-kilometer journey begins along the shoulder of this road, gently ascending between pine trees, and leaving the detours to La Mafalla, a forest track and Las Cruces and Arcayana on the left, skirting the peak of Los Bones.
After that distance, when arriving at a curve in which the road continues towards Ballota and the hermitage of San Roque, it continues straight ahead, along a wide forest track that ascends between a mass of pine trees, which later gives way to meadows that lead to the track, in a straight line towards the Cabornín peak, which is ascended by this route. From it, a wide panoramic view of the surroundings is contemplated, being able to see, towards the sea, the great viaduct of the Cantabrian highway dedicated to the Painter Dionisio Fierros, near the town of Ballota.
Continue the straight path, along the track, towards another peak, the Cougruzas. A few meters before reaching it, take a detour to the left, along a narrow path that borders the height, between pine trees and from which you can see in the background the next peak that appears on this route through Las Palancas, the Bolao peak. .
After skirting the Cougruzas peak, the path reconnects with the forest track, already in front of the new elevation that is the Bolao peak. In this case, you also take a detour to the left shortly before reaching the stop. You take this small stony path between meadows and pine plantations, and you end up reaching a forest track, before La Paradiella peak, which you cannot climb either, since you take a detour to the right, passing through a gate that allows access to a meadow that develops on this flank of Mount La Paradiella. This is the highest point that the route will reach in this stage, at an altitude of about 700 meters, and then the descent to San Pelayo de Tehona begins.
The Way continues along a dirt track and a lot of stone that runs at a height of 630 meters along the north slope of Mount La Paradiella, skirting its top, passing past cattle pastures, crossing a gate again and connecting with the track forest that comes from the top of this mountain, that is left behind and that goes towards the mount La Braña, that is in front. In this area, the definitive transit between the councils of Cudillero and Valdés (whose municipal limits were intertwined during the journey through the Sierra de Las Palancas).
Cross the gate and descend along the north slope of Mount La Braña, between heather and gorse on a route through the 575-meter elevation, complicated by the irregularity of the road, with a lot of loose stone, which leads to the Braña de Busmarzu, circulating for 160 meters next to one of the dry stone walls that delimits said braña, towards La Bobia peak, in the area known as La Carrilona.
- Related item: Busmarzu
After leaving behind that wall of the braña, you descend through bushes until you join a path that descends between pine trees, to become then boxed in between earth slopes and lead to a forest track, at a crossroads where there has been of opting for the one in the center, then starting a walk down the Campo de San Juan and the Monte de los Piqueros, between a forest of pines and ferns, which will last for more than a kilometer and a half. This section leaves after two deep curves, a detour to the right that is not taken, connecting in a curve with another track, in the Rodillera field, having to continue at this point to the left, until reaching an asphalt road that leads, to the right, to the town of San Pelayo de Tahona, the first town in the Valdés council along which the coastal road runs.
Continue along the shoulder of this road, between pine trees, leaving a water tank on the right, and on the left, meadows and views of the San Pelayo valley, passing next to the first cattle farms, until after just over 700 meters you arrives at the first houses of San Pelayo de Tehona.
- Related item: San Pelayo de Tehona
On the left, a house from the beginning of the 21st century, which you pass by, without taking the detour to the right that starts from this point. You descend along the road, passing by the first two buildings with a slate roof that are on the coastal path of the Asturian Camino de Santiago. One hundred meters after leaving both buildings behind, you take a detour to the right, having to overcome a small slope that leads to a dirt road next to a cattle farm, which leads to a small group of houses, with some granaries between them. in the neighborhood of El Cutayón. You cross that set and you come to an asphalt road, which goes down a slope and connects with a local road, at a crossroads where you continue straight ahead, descending until you come to the AS-268 regional road, next to a Two-storey house and undercover, located on a plot surrounded by a stone wall, to the left of the Camino.
When you reach the regional road, cross it and continue straight ahead, along a local road that climbs a steep slope towards the top of La Collada, parallel to the As-268 road, which is located on the right hand side, at a lower level of the terrain. The neighborhood of La Cuesta is reached in a few meters, deviating from the road in the same curve of access to the houses of La Cuesta, taking a dirt path that emerges to the right, after passing a cattle pass delimited by shepherds electrical
This path soon joins a track, continuing to the right, through the interior of a mass of eucalyptus and pine trees, passing through areas in which the Way presents a deep box, delimited by earth slopes, in some cases reinforced by walls of stone, under Mount Llamas. You go through a small stream and then, after approximately one kilometer of traveling along this track, you take a detour to the left.
The path continues between eucalyptus and pine trees, leaving behind a detour to the right and passing next to the ruins of a construction, which is on the right hand side of the route, giving way to a section of the deep box road between earth slopes, which After a short descent, it leads to a paved road, in a curve, continuing to the left, skirting a two-storey house located at the end of a plot surrounded by a boxwood hedge. After leaving the house behind, you come to a paved straight, which runs parallel to the Cantabrian motorway, with pine trees between both tracks. After about 200 meters of walking along it, you access, turning right, to a flyover over the highway, after which you continue straight on along the asphalt road, between extensive meadows on the left and pine trees on the right. arriving after a few meters to the first houses of Vil.lamouros, among which there is some granary and bread basket, leaving a detour on the right that is not taken, and continuing straight until connecting with the national highway 632, ending this stage here, a very short distance from the town of Cadavedo, on the right from this point.
- Related item: Vil.lamouros