Thursday, September 15, 2016

Reinosa - Corconte

GR1 Sendero Historico day 7.
Distance: 38.4km (210.5km), time spent: 08:45.
Waymarking: Good most of the way (GR1 is however not waymarked on this stage).
Weather: Mostly grey and gusty, some rain.

All that I knew about the route between Reinosa and Corconte was just that a large part of it consisted of a long walk on a road, but all this minimal information was of little importance. For where the route actually went, I had not been able to find out; perhaps there never was a route there at all. A gap in the history. In his book, John Hayes bluntly wrote that you should take the bus between the two locations and left out any description of this stage. It is 21 kilometres between Reinosa and Corconte on the road.

In Reinosa in the morning before setting off.

Instead, after having walked five kilometres on the road, I found a local route that also went to Corconte. PR-S 78, Sendero Embalse del Ebro Ramal Norte, which in opposition to going along the road, went up into the hills above Embalse de Ebro. This route would make the day much longer, as the distance was about 26 kilometres, but it was nevertheless more tempting than continuing to go along the road.

At the western end of Embalse de Ebro, with the road behind me.

In Reinosa it was a light trace of rain in the air, I had eaten breakfast in my hotel room. Any hope of miraculously finding any waymarks for the GR1 did not exist. I followed the GR99 again in the beginning, but then left it to embark upon the long walk on the road. It was not that bad at first, it never is, but as you go, it begins to tear at you. Dark clouds and more rain set the stage for the walk. When Embalse de Ebro appeared in my line of sight, it formed a nice diversion from the view of the road.

On my way up into the hills above Embalse de Ebro after having left the road in Orzales.

View over Embalse de Ebro, dramatic and gloomy.

After five kilometres, I came to Orzales, where I started looking for a place where I could myself a café con leche. Instead I found the information board that displayed the route to Corconte, that is PR-S 78, not the GR1. The path was very nice, at first I climbed upwards, getting better and better views of Embalse de Ebro below as I progressed. Rain on and off. The view wonderful, but not very cheerful. The biggest problem with the route was that it several times took the trouble of going down from the hill to visit some villages, who had not very much to offer, only to climb back up again. The ascents and descents felt unnecessary.

In the woods between the small villages of Servillejas and Servillas.

This route was marked with yellow and white stripes instead of the red and white stripes that characterizes the GR trails. What was interesting was that suddenly red and white also appeared along the route. For a while, I went with the joy of the mind that I had found where the GR1 went, but that was probably far from the truth. Something that possible got confirmed up at a pass later, where a small pole marked the trail to be the GR74 (Corredor Oriental de Cantabria). It was still somewhat confusing, the waymarker on the pole pointed in the direction that I came from, but it continued to be GR-waymarks further on in the direction I was going (the GR74 took off from my route at the pass). For the most part, the waymarking was good and it was easy to find the way, with a few exceptions.

Church tower of an old church in Servillas.

When I walked higher up, where I could take in the whole of the lake in my eyes, I was quite happy with my decision of not taking the bus to Corconte and leaving the road. Though the view was gloomy and dramatic, it was rain on the way towards me and rain on the way away from me. It however never rained so much that it became uncomfortable and unpleasant, just small and light downpours. More wind higher up. Further down, between the villages, the route went through woods. At the very bottom, between cultivated fields and farmlands.

Rolling hills to the east. After Lanchares, the PR-S 78 went down among cultivated fields and acres.

There were no facilities along the route. Although it went through four villages and hamlets, Quintana, Servillejas, Servillas and Lanchares. Besides a hotel that did not appeared to be open. My original plan was torn apart, that consisted of going to Corconte, for then to continue further to camp. As the clock showed no signs of stopping and the kilometres ran, I realized there was no point in looking further ahead than Corconte. I called Restaurante Conchita to check if there was a room available. When I arrived, my GPS displayed that I had walked 38.4km. Which was far longer than what I had anticipated. However, I had spent some additional meters out of curiosity and trying to find the path sometimes.

View back over Embalse de Ebro towards Reinosa from the last hill before Corconte. Lanchares to the right.

At the last part of the walk came the steepest climb, with the result that I went on a great path along the hill above Embalse de Ebro with views down towards Corconte and back towards Reinosa. Further behind, I could make out the distinctive shape of Canales de Dulla. Between that mountain and me lay the route that awaits me tomorrow. I came down to Corconte were a herd of sheep came running towards me on the other side of a stone fence, while a sheepdog glared sceptical at me.

From the same hill as the previous picture, Corconte below. Canales de Dulla is discernible in the background, which the GR1 passes by later.

For the rest of the day, I just sat inside the restaurant in Corconte resting and enjoying myself, outside it was just gusty with occasional rain. Which seemed to please my feet. I appeared to be the only overnight guest, so my phone call was not very necessary.

Ominous clouds over Embalse de Ebro in Corconte.

If you plan to walk the GR1 and like me feel that traveling by transport is breaking the purpose of the journey, the PR-S 78 Sendero Embalse del Ebro Ramal Norte is a recommended route between Reinosa and Corconte. It is possible that there are other alternatives, but disregarding this route, the only option left is to walk the 21 kilometres along the road. The route is actually very nice, especially when it ventures higher up. On the other hand, taking this route will give you a long day and you cannot altogether escape a walk on the road.

Map of the PR-S 78 Sendero Embalse del Ebro Ramal Norte. On the map, you can also see where the road goes to Corconte.

<- ReinosaPedrosa de Valdeporres ->

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