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Ultimate track for Borrenes-Orellán-Las Médulas

2020 Camino Guides

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Hola amigos!

finally I got to compile the track that I followed on my first stage of this stunning Camino. Instead of taking a flatter, shorter route over Carrucedo, this track climbs to the Mirador de Orellán, the best viewpoint of the Roman mining complex. To me, this route offers significant PROs:

1) you can call it a day when you reach the village, because you have seen the mining complex on your way to the village. You can have a shower, relax and take the rest of the day off, as opposed to having a shower and preparing for a 5 km hike or, more likely, deciding you are too tired to visit the old Roman mines and its otherworldly landscape and just choose to give it a miss
2) it does not significantly increase the mileage for the day
3) I do not know the landscape between Borrenes and Carrucedo, but I can assure you my suggested route is pretty and varied, and when you reach the viewpoint in Orellán and see the red collapsed hills and the thick green chestnut forests, it is something else.
4) most of the route is indeed marked with yellow arrows, otherwise, it is quite easy to follow, you just follow a track built on top of some pipeworks all the way to orellán, then from the village of Orellán just follow Senda de los Conventos, and then Senda de las Valiñas, with plenty of signposting
5) the Senda de las Valiñas brings you to the most iconic places in the Médulas.

Any CONs? of course, it would not be fair seeing only the rosy side of it!

1) There is more uphill than in the original route, but it is worth it. All in all, if you do Ponferrada-Las médulas visiting the Cornatel castle along the way and following the track I suggest, you end up with 35 km and 1100 climb in total. You can, HOWEVER, split the first stage and do Ponferrada-Borrenes (25 km if you visit the castle, which is a MUST), and then do Borrenes-Domingo Flores the second day which would come to 19 km maybe.

that is pretty much the cons, now it is up to you to choose!

So, below please find my track for this Borrenes-Orellán-Mirador-Médulas route.

https://es.wikiloc.com/rutas-senderismo/borrenes-las-medulas-camino-de-invierno-26377291

Laurie, I can send you the actual track file if you need it, anything, just whistle! In fact, I am attaching it here too, actually! I also have the whole Ponferrada-Medulas track for the same day, if needed
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
This is a great alternative, @amancio. If I’m remembering correctly, 1100 m ascent is about equivalent to the day from SJPP. So it’s nothing to sneeze at, but doable for many. And cutting it up at Borrenes makes it really very accessible.

I wonder how hard it would be to continue on to Puente Domingo Flóre from Orellán. If someone sleeps in Borrenes and thinks 19 km is too short for the next day, that next stretch is pretty gentle and only about 9 km I think. I know that the day from As Médulas starts with an ascent that takes you about 500 m from a secondary lookout (I took the detour, it was not at all as spectacular as Orellán), but that does suggest that Orellán to the Camino without going to As Médulas should’t be too hard to find. Does that make sense? Any ideas?

It would mean missing out on visits to the centers down in the village, though, and I found those very interesting, but hey you can’t do everything!
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
This is a great alternative, @amancio. If I’m remembering correctly, 1100 m ascent is about equivalent to the day from SJPP. So it’s nothing to sneeze at, but doable for many. And cutting it up at Borrenes makes it really very accessible.

I wonder how hard it would be to continue on to Puente Domingo Flóre from Orellán. If someone sleeps in Borrenes and thinks 19 km is too short for the next day, that next stretch is pretty gentle and only about 9 km I think. I know that the day from As Médulas starts with an ascent that takes you about 500 m from a secondary lookout (I took the detour, it was not at all as spectacular as Orellán), but that does suggest that Orellán to the Camino without going to As Médulas should’t be too hard to find. Does that make sense? Any ideas?

It would mean missing out on visits to the centers down in the village, though, and I found those very interesting, but hey you can’t do everything!
Well, if you add up the ascent plus the mileage, it can be an arduous stage for some people, particularly on the first day.
You mention an ascent as you leave the village, so I believe you must have taken a different route, via the viewpoint in Las Pedrices. We did not need to take that detour, including the 500 m climb, because we had pretty much seen all that area the day before, by following the track above.

If you follow the official signposted route, the walk to Domingo Flórez from Las Médulas village is a gently rolling, lovely descent to Domingo Flórez, some 9 km. From Borrenes, that would be nearly 20 km in total, and then you have Sobradelo 10 km later if you want to make it a 30 km stage from Borrenes.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
1100 m ascent is about equivalent to the day from SJPP.
Laurie, please change this in the guide.
It's not a 1100m ascent from Borrenes to the mirador, but only 475m! :eek:
That's a huge difference, and not at all equivalent to SJPP to Roncesvalles. The number put me off even trying, and I realized only later that it was inaccurate.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Laurie, please change this in the guide.
It's not a 1100m ascent from Borrenes to the mirador, but only 475m! :eek:
That's a huge difference, and not at all equivalent to SJPP to Roncesvalles. The number put me off even trying, and I realized only later that it was inaccurate.
Yes I have already made that notation. I think the numbers refer to total elevation gain between Ponferrada and Médulas. That is, the ascent to the castle plus the ascent from Borrenes. So for people who walk Ponferrada to As Médulas in one day it would be the equivalent of the SJPP day.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Just to say that Sara recently walked this alternative and you can see her vlog showing the route up through the village of Orellán and onward to the mirador of Orellán. She also went through the tunnel and filmed it as well. It is really a preferable alternative, IMO, because it takes you straight to the lookout and then down to the village.

I had a point or two where I needed the GPS, but Sara seems to have made it fine without using it.

 
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Thomas1962 Camino de Invierno 2

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