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LIVE from the Camino Mountain route from Soto de Luiña

LTfit

Veteran Member
This is a pitch to follow the mountain route from Soto de Luiña😊. The hospitalero in the municipal will discourage you quite profusely (difficult and no services for 19 km) but in good weather and if you are fit I really recommend it.

The majority of pilgrims take the coastal route but as I had walked it 5 years ago I decided to go through the mountains. It was no walk in the park with elevation gains of 750 meters and some tricky narrow downhills with loose rocks but if you're fit it is really worthwhile. IMG_20220709_090551.jpg IMG_20220709_091649.jpg
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
YAY! I knew you would love it! So many people get the wrong info. It is hard but not dangerous or scary, and the warnings are very ominous. A good friend walked this alternative about a month ago and she kept running into a guy named Pepe, first the night before walking he was working in a bar, then the next morning he was working in a hotel bar where she got coffee, and he kept telling her to avoid it! Luckily she had been forewarned.

Is this Pepe the same person who tried to discourage you? She didn’t stay in the albergue so she wasn’t sure if he was the hospitalero or not.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I took the turn by accident but I can't quite recall how, I think in 2017, and found it exhausting, but the weather was splendid that day, with just enough of a breeze to keep me cool. It justified a carnivorous meal that night.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
YAY! I knew you would love it! So many people get the wrong info. It is hard but not dangerous or scary, and the warnings are very ominous. A good friend walked this alternative about a month ago and she kept running into a guy named Pepe, first the night before walking he was working in a bar, then the next morning he was working in a hotel bar where she got coffee, and he kept telling her to avoid it! Luckily she had been forewarned.

Is this Pepe the same person who tried to discourage you? She didn’t stay in the albergue so she wasn’t sure if he was the hospitalero or not.
It was the hospitalero in the Escuelas municipal that discouraged everyone, don't know his name.

I would not suggest the route in bad weather, even today after days without rain it was in parts muddy and wet but the day was so splendid I had no excuse. As far as I know I washe only one who walked it.

Parts reminded me of the Hospitales route on the Primitivo.

Here is a picture when the sun was coming up. Looks as if the trees are orange.

IMG_20220709_070123.jpg
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
it is a pity people are discouraged to follow that route, like I was discouraged too, it looks amazing!!! The Ballotas route has too much tarmac and non stop ups and downs crossing small valleys among eucaliptus trees, not one of my favourite parts of the Norte. Seeing these photos, I want to go back and take the mountain route, yes!!!
 
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annmte

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte - May 2022
A good friend walked this alternative about a month ago and she kept running into a guy named Pepe, first the night before walking he was working in a bar, then the next morning he was working in a hotel bar where she got coffee, and he kept telling her to avoid it! Luckily she had been forewarned.

I think I’m the friend Laurie’s referring to - and yes, Pepe was a chief discourager (and also strangely seemed to work in many places at Soto de Luiña, like a Monty Python skit!), but I was also warned off that route at my very pleasant hotel Casa Vieja del Sastre, where they told me someone had destroyed the signs, and it wasn’t safe (there were plentiful signs and the route was obvious). There’s clearly some sort of local campaign going on!

Like you, I had a good weather forecast, and thanks to great advice from @peregrina2000 took that route with a couple friends and also loved it. Friends who went the other way said it was equally hard (many more ups and downs, while this was three short but steady ups, then across, then down) - but nowhere as beautiful as what we had.

We actually went all the way to that antennae in your first photo, didn’t turn at the mojone - there’s a monument up there (as well as several goats and some elderly dogs) - and you can actually still get down from the other side without backtracking. One of my favorite Camino memories!
 

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Time of past OR future Camino
2020
In good weather the mountain route is fantastic. The negative hype isn’t warranted. I think they want pilgrims to walk through the coastal towns and spend money. Fair enough. I just finished the Norte and this time walked the coastal route and it was very pretty. So two good options!!
 

Rita Flower

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Via del la Plata
In good weather the mountain route is fantastic. The negative hype isn’t warranted. I think they want pilgrims to walk through the coastal towns and spend money. Fair enough. I just finished the Norte and this time walked the coastal route and it was very pretty. So two good options!!
Not the first time I have heard that locals have 'co-opted' the route for economic gain ( and I completely understand why they would do that). There is a spot on the Portuguese where the arrows send you along a road and through a couple of towns rather than by a most exquisite river walk. Thankfully it was actually noted in my guide. 😅
 

Babyboomergirl

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017
Primitivo 2018
Finisterre/Muxía 2018
Norte 2019
Seems not much has changed … This was my post from April 2019
Thanks everyone for your quick replies. I ended up walking the coastal route ( as advised strongly by Pepe in Soto de Luiña ) since all the pilgrims I asked were going that way. Weather was fine but there had been rain so it was a lot of muddy trails and crossing streams and constant up and down hills so not sure if it was the best choice ! Also although called the coastal route there was not much coastal scenery until the end. Nevertheless it was all part of my Camino journey .
 
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steve cranston

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Arriving in Bilbao 23 May 2019 and walking the Camino Norte and then onto Muxia.
Thanks for your posts and pics - really lifted my spirits this morning. I stayed at Soto de Luina May 2019 and planned to do the mountain route. The guy at the albergue pleaded with me not to risk my life! I was right up for for taking the route - but when I got to the turn off the cloud base was pretty low and that tipped me against. I didnt fancy getting up high and then lost in the mist. I then spent the rest of the morning looking left with the top of the mountain range bathed in sun - teasing me! Look forward to the next time!
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Not the first time I have heard that locals have 'co-opted' the route for economic gain ( and I completely understand why they would do that). There is a spot on the Portuguese where the arrows send you along a road and through a couple of towns rather than by a most exquisite river walk. Thankfully it was actually noted in my guide. 😅
interesting... which stretch is that?
 

Canche

Volcano Climber
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte/Frances 2016, San Salvador & Primitivo 2021
This is a pitch to follow the mountain route from Soto de Luiña😊. The hospitalero in the municipal will discourage you quite profusely (difficult and no services for 19 km) but in good weather and if you are fit I really recommend it.

The majority of pilgrims take the coastal route but as I had walked it 5 years ago I decided to go through the mountains. It was no walk in the park with elevation gains of 750 meters and some tricky narrow downhills with loose rocks but if you're fit it is really worthwhile. View attachment 129216 View attachment 129217
I think I might do that on my next Norte as I didn't finish my first one. Where is it exactly. I climb mountains and volcanoes 2-3 times a week and sometimes do 750 meters so it shouldn't be a problem. Thanks for the tip.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Aug 2019 CF
May 2022 CP Coastal
Is there anyway to take the mountain route and walk down to Ballota without having to back track to Soto Luna or from Cadavedo?
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Is there anyway to take the mountain route and walk down to Ballota without having to back track to Soto Luna or from Cadavedo?
The gronze map I’ve put in here shows that Ballota is almost directly north of the high point of the mountain route. I don’t remember seeing any trails that descended towards the ocean, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I have used my wikiloc map function to search for trails that both pass through Ballota and the high point of the mountain alternative and the only thing I found was a circular route that went from Ballota back to Soto, then up to the mountain ridge, and then down to Cadavedo and back to Ballota. Maybe someone with a better map function or more tracks can find something.

EDADB596-031C-4221-9DAB-8E7C4DCDA4B7.png
 

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