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A detour to San Pedro de Arlanza

peregrina2000

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We got most of this this all straightened out on the great Virtual Planning thread. The Lana comes into Santo Domingo de Silos, and from there goes to Covarrubias and on the Mecerreyes. But I do have a question, so bear with me, sorry.

For anyone who wants to take a detour to visit the newly opened (after years of rehab work) Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza, one way to do it is to walk from Santo Domingo to San Pedro and then to Covarrubias. That turns what would be a walk of 16-17 kms into one of about 26, which makes Covarrubias a nice stopping place for the night. It’s a pretty touristy place, but I have to say it’s very charming.

My question is about the route from Santo Domingo to the Monastery. We learned when we were doing the plannning thread that there is a Desfiladero (gorge), the Desfiladero de la Estacada somewhere along the way. I do not think I want to walk through that gorge, based on what I have read.

I have seen two different wikiloc tracks for the route from Santo Domingo to San Pedro.

This one goes through the gorge:


This one takes a slightly different route, going through the town of Contreras.


Does anyone with good map-reading skills have an opinion as to whether that second trail is likely to avoid the gorge? I can’t really see where the gorge is. I actually wrote to the author of the second set of tracks and he responded that he didn’t remember any gorge, so maybe I am being overcautious, but since I’ll be alone I would really like to be sure.

Or has anyone walked this way?
 
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Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
Or has anyone walked this way?
This one takes a slightly different route, going through the town of Contreras.
I've been to Contreras that way - it's really nice. But a different way after. It's really nice.

Does anyone with good map-reading skills have an opinion as to whether that second trail is likely to avoid the gorge?
It looks that it does based on what I have. But tomorrow I'll have a look at the IGN small scale map to be sure. It's not so different after Contreras, both following the Rio Arlanza.

But there is this way, which after Contreras (on Google Earth) looks like a two-track dirt road that goes down a little valley. It'd hardly be called a gorge.
20221207_001802.jpg
20221207_001835.jpg
I'll check the IGN small-scale topo map tomorrow.
Edit: that is a two-track on the IGN map (beginning and ending with the white arrows; the part from Contreras to the lower arrow in the screenshot is very mellow).
20221207_005014.jpg
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
I found a route that is a circular route through the Desfiladero de la Estacada and it looks to me like it would be right at the end of the walk into San Pedro, where the two wikiloc tracks I linked to above seem to coincide.


Which is leading me to believe I need to find an alternative way to get to San Pedro de Arlanza. Google maps also has something that looks off-road and is about 17 kms.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
I need to find an alternative way to get to San Pedro de Arlanza
No, don't worry! Thie bottom of the loop on the map you just posted is the same as my purple line on the OSMand map. You should just go through Contreras, then turn down the road that directly goes to the bridge near San Pedro. It looks very easy, and I've walked the part til the turn off - it was a piece of cake. I'll try to make a file you can use as an overlay. (But not now. It's 1AM!)
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
I got a response from the guy who has the blog “SendasdeBurgos” and who posted the wikiloc tracks. I had written to ask if there was a way to go from Santo Domingo to San Pedro de Arlanza without going through the gorge/desfiladero. Here’s my translation of what he said (just another example of what wonderful people populate Wikiloc!).

It’s perfectly popssible to go from Silos to San Pedro de Arlanza without stepping on asphalt, in fact there are several alternatives.

From Silos we can go to Sad Hill on a wide and comfortable trail. From the cemetery continue till Contreras, where we will get on the trail that heads west. This wide path goes to the “cattle sheds of Valcarcel.” (tenadas de Valcarcel). (I had to google around to see what that was, there is a picture on this website.). There, we get on another camino, in good condition, that continues westward to begin a descent towards the bridge over the Arlanza River. From there, it’s a kilometer and a half to the monastery.

Another alternative is to not go to Contreras and to get on the track on the left that goes up along the ridge till the Alto de Pedernales. Then continue west and go down on another path to the cattle sheds of Valcarce. The cattle sheds are the key point of this route, no matter which alternative you take.

In both cases, make sure to have the route on your GPS because it is a large area with no marking at all.


I am not sure if one of these is the route that VN has suggested, but I am not going to try it unless I can find GPS tracks to follow.

Maybe I can use this track to get from Contreras to the cattle sheds, but from there I’m not sure what to do. Off to wikiloc again!
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
I’ve got this detour pretty well figured out, except for the part from Contreras to the monastery.

First part, Santo Domingo - Sad Hill - Contreras is easy. Last part, from the monastery to Covarrubias has one off-route option and one road option.

I’ve been in touch with the person who walked this circular route. She tells me there are parts through the desfiladero with no mobile coverage and that when they went in November they had to find a work-around, and that there was water blocking parts, and that there’s a difficult part with a cable to hold on to. She said that the southern route of the circle is easy, no problem. So that’s one good option, and maybe it coincides with what you were thinking, @VN?

I‘m wondering if this track, which doesn’t go into Contreras but does go past the Tenadas de Valcarcel, would be a better option. It’s only 15 kms from Santo Domingo to the monastery, which is about 5 kms less than going through Contreras. That would also make it a more manageable total stage if I take the off-road tracks from the monastery to Covarrubias, which add 4 or 5 to the distance from the monastery.

Hope this isn’t too confusing! Thanks to anyone who can help.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I’ve been in touch with the person who walked this circular route. She tells me there are parts through the desfiladero with no mobile coverage ...

I just came upon this thread and haven't viewed any maps or tracks so I'm no help in that department but the fact that there may not be any cellular coverage in the gorge warns me that there may not be any GPS coverage either if the gorge is narrow. Check the tracks to see if there are a lot of straight lines showing the way, that would be an indication of bad GPS coverage. On the other hand, there may only be two ways to go though the gorge and you will have already walked one way out when walking in.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
wondering if this track, which doesn’t go into Contreras but does go past the Tenadas de Valcarcel, would be a better option
The thing that gives me real pause about this is that I went along that ridge for quite a way (to a viewpoint overlooking the road to Contreras) and do not remember seeing any track or path leading off in that direction. It doesn't show on Googlemap or my OSMand map, either.

The view was spectacular, but I wouldn't want to bushwhack up there without company and a sense of direction.
 
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