Day 5 – The Vertical Kilometer: Courel summits (13.3 km)

ROUTE FERREIRÓS DE ABAIXO – A SEARA

WEDNESDAY, MAY 6

After walking the valleys and the most characteristic villages of Courel, it is the moment to reach its summits. Ferreirós de Abaixo is the starting point of the Vertical Kilometer of Penaboa where, in just over 4 km in length, we will ascend 1000 meters high through the Penaboa crest to reach Pía Paxaro, one of the mountain tops with its 1607 meters. After this effort the road is easier and, through the Lucenza glacier lagoon, we will go down continuously until we reach A Seara, a beautiful village where the stage ends.

Dificultad ALTA
Difficulty HIGH
Dificultad ALTA
13.3 kilometers
Dificultad ALTA
7 hours
Dificultad ALTA
+1323 m, -872 m slope

The Vertical Kilometer:
Summits of Courel
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After several relatively comfortable stages we reach the mountain stage of this Camiño do Courel and its known as Vertical Kilometer of Courel, opened and equipped by Orlando Alvarez in 2013. In just over 6 kilometers we will ascend from Ferreirós de Abaixo (550 m) first to Penaboa Penaboa (1450 m) and then to Pía Páxaro (1613 m), in an ascent that will set our legs in tune and that we will have to do with tranquility. To finish off, a quiet descent down the Lagoa de Lucenza until reaching the village of A Seara.

We leave Ferreirós de Abaixo (550 m) along the path on the left edge of the river, which we will cross a few meters.

Thus we arrive at Ferreirós de Arriba (732 m) one of the villages with more population of the Courel. In a walk through its narrow streets we can see, in addition to the typical houses and the chapel of San Pedro, several mills that took advantage of the strength of the different rivers that descend from Penaboa. We can visit the one in Leirorío, on the Ferreirós River, in addition to O Batán and Darriba.

Near Ferreirós de Arriba is the Fonte do Fedo, famous for its calcium sulfated medicinal waters and to which people came from neighboring areas that were staying in the homes of the neighbors themselves. The castro del Teso da Croa is located 300 meters from the village.

Another curiosity is that in the village everyone knows how to make wicker baskets and this tradition of “cesteiros” remains to this day. Felix, one of his greatest exponents, explains in an interview: «I’ve been making baskets for more than 30 years: they are made by tradition and I make them wicker (vimbio) and broom (xestas) and also piornos. I am going to pick up the material in the field, then I prepare it and clean it, and I am shaping it “where the baskets began, in the ass”; Then I make the braids until we reach the place where the “reviretes” are made, five or six wicks are used, another type of braids is made again and they are finished. They dry only, some are varnished and others not. The green ones do not wear dye, it is the color of the broom and the piornos, something typical of Ferreirós. I also make stone houses, plows, granaries and even made a chapel »

We leave Ferreirós de Arriba for a chestnut souto in the direction of Penaboa. After arriving at the Cabaña de Penadelongo and crossing the small stream, the path begins to have some significant slopes ascending the ridge. On the one hand we see how everything is confined in the Ferreiros River. In the end, every effort has its reward, and the views from the top of Penaboa are spectacular. The small villages of the Courel appear below surrounded by green valleys and closed by all the mountains that surround the valleys of Lor and Louzará. Further north we see the whole Ancares cordal and, to the South, the Serra de Queixa. We stayed for a while at this point to, while recovering strength, enjoy the environment to the fullest.

Continuamos nuestro camino por pistas forestales en continuo ascenso que nos dejan en la base de Pía Páxaro,que con sus 1613 metros es la segunda cima más alta de toda la sierra. Desde la cima tenemos unas espectaculares vistas, con Ancares al Norte, el Pico Formigueiros y más al oeste todo el Macizo de Trevinca. Es increible ver todo lo que subimos. Allá abajo se ven los verdes valles donde empezamos la etapa.

We have overcome the toughest part of this Camiño do Courel. For those who want to “soften it”, there is another alternative that, starting from Ferreirós de Arriba, will go up the hill in continuous zigzag and with less slope until reaching the Campa de Lucenza, where it will link with the other path, just before going down to the Lagoa de Lucenza.

The Lagoa de Lucenza is located at an altitude of 1440 meters, in the middle of a glacier circus. Its origin is more than 16,000 years ago, in the Upper Pleistocene. It is 60 meters in diameter and, except for very hot summers, it never gets dry. Undoubtedly, another different biotope where we find species of flora and fauna, especially reptiles, which are only present here.

La Fervenza de Navaregas is another of the great waterfalls of the Courel, falling down from an approximate height of 70 meters.

Before a small bridge and a few meters from reaching A Seara, we take a small path to the right which, in less than 100 meters, will take us to the Fervenza do Fócaro, another beautiful waterfall that creates a small natural pool.

At last we reach the goal of this tough stage. A Seara is another typical village that shows us its typical rural architecture of these mountain villages. Settled at the bottom of a valley, it belonged for centuries, by royal donation, to the charge of Quiroga, of the Order of St. Xoán de Jerusalem, who exercised civil and criminal jurisdiction. On a walk through its narrow streets we can see its slate houses and wooden balconies with pleasure renovated on the banks of the Selmo, distributed with the house on the top and the cattle on the bottom, taking advantage of the heat of the animals in the hard winters

Curious carved wooden signs give name to each of the houses and, in the center of town, a kind of “council of elders” where the oldest in the village offer advice to any neighbor or visitor. As in all these villages of the Courel, every corner we find takes us back many decades ago. And so, breathing tranquility once again, we finish this mountain stage of Camiño do Courel that we have enjoyed a lot.

Route Planning

Km StagePointHeight (m)Km Total
0,0Ferreirós de Abaixo55746,5
1,5Ferreirós de Arriba74748,0
3,8Summit of Penaboa138550,3
6,0Pía Paxaro (1607 m)158152,5
9,5Campa da Lucenza148256,0
10,2Lucenza Lagoon138456,7
12,9Fócaro Waterfall103459,4
13,3A Seara100659,8