We propose here an excursion as God orders, that we will have to travel in several sections. But the effort will be worth it. We speak of an unforgettable space, to go with your feet on the ground and an open mind to the great landscape, historical and cultural discoveries that have resided in these lands for thousands of years.
The Royal Walk of the Table is a marathon hiking trail. The area that crosses this road is very mountainous, crossed by deep valleys where very picturesque populations and an enviable nature are located. More than 56 kilometers, presents a longitudinal layout that we will face with a medium-high difficulty, taking about 17 hours if we go on foot. Although this path also lends itself to mountain biking and riding it on horseback. It is a route of Great Tour (GR-101) It is well signposted with two red and white parallel paint strokes, with milestones, roman milestones and poles that indicate the direction - although in the hills the vegetation masks the road a bit.
A road with a lot of history
This Camino Real runs through the municipalities of Somiedo, Teverga, Belmonte de Miranda and Grado, crossing part of the protected areas of the Somiedo Natural Park, the Las Ubiñas-La Mesa Natural Park, and the Caldoveiro Peak Protected Landscape. Its history goes back, at least, to the moments before the Roman conquest (last quarter of the first century BC). Given its pre-Roman origin, it is marked by multitude of megalithic stations. Necrópolis appear especially along the Cordal de Porcabezas and its lateral saws, between Belmonte, Teverga and Grado, mainly. With numerous tumuli such as Piedrajueves, El Cumalón, Sierra de Santa Cristina, Campo de Cueiro, La Forcada, Peñas Negras, Balboa or the necropolis of La Escrita, among others. A megalithic that affects this territory between the III and IV millennium a. C., in a Neolithic already settled.
In this layout there was a Roman road that communicated Asturica Augusta (Astorga) with Lucus Asturum (probably the current Lugo de Llanera), and the Romans included it as an extension to the sea of the Vía de la Plata. It is one of the most emblematic ancient roads of how many cross the Cantabrian Mountains. It is believed that the Berber chief Munuza, after being defeated in the Battle of Covadonga by Don Pelayo, tried to leave Asturias to the Meseta through this port. In later centuries it became part of the pilgrims' route to Santiago. Throughout the Middle Ages it was the main communication for people, livestock and merchandise with lands of León and Castilla, being one of the main communication routes with the Meseta until the middle of the 19th century.
Its historical artistic heritage is very rich, from the time of the Asturian kingdom is the well-preserved church of Santo Adriano de Tuñón. As far as the Romanesque, important temples have arrived until our days like the one of the Collegiate church of San Pedro de Teverga of century XI, Santa Maria de Villanueva de Teverga (centuries XI and XII) and San Pedro de Arrojo (beginnings of century XIII).
Ruta El Camín Real de la Mesa
Al Camín de la Mesa you have to respect him, like the whole Asturian mountain. We must be prudent both for its altitude, almost constant, and for the permanent exposure of the mountain range to all types of winds. We must also be cautious with fog, wear spare clothes and avoid the route in winter, unless we are professionals of mountain hiking.
The area is crossed by rocks and in the forests that can be seen from the Camín, there are grouse, hawks, thrushes, wolves, foxes, wild boar, deer, roe deer, etc. Its route shows different examples of the Asturian relief, from the mountains of the Cantabrian Mountains to the interior valleys of the Nalón river basin. A varied range of landscapes arranged in altitudinal floors, from the high summits and brambles somedanas and teverganas, to the fluvial vega del Nalón.
Although you can travel in whatever direction you want, the most common is to start it in Leon and finish it in Asturias. We detail below the three sections or stages which usually faces.
Torrestío - Alto de San Lorenzo
(22 kilometers, 6 to 7 hours, high difficulty)
In this section it is necessary to cross two cars, at the beginning and end of the route, or look for a way to pick up the vehicle again. The 1 Car would go to Torrestío: Taking the A-8 to Oviedo, where we will take the N-634 to Trubia. There we take the detour towards Santo Adriano-Proaza by the As-228, towards Teverga. We continue on the same road to León, until reaching the port of La Ventana. Shortly after descending and already in Leon we will take the detour to Torrestío, where this route begins. The 2 Car to the Alto de San Lorenzo: We left by the A-8 in the direction of Oviedo, and once in oviedo we take the N-634 to Trubia, where we will take the detour of Santo Adriano-Proaza (AS-228) from which we will deviate towards Teverga on the local road TE-1, ascending to the top of San Lorenzo.
Leaving Torrestío in the direction of Somiedo we will find a bifurcation. We must take the track on the right that goes up to the Puerto de la Mesa (1780 m.), Border between Asturias and León and where we will find the source of the Güesos famous for the quality of its waters. In gentle descent we continue until the brañas de Saliencia with a set of corros or cabins with a stone roof. Soon we will pass by the place called the Wall, with the remains of the defensive slope built to try to reject the Roman advance, from where the route follows a slight descent with good views of the council of Teverga.
Continue the path uphill, an area of turns and curves to reach La Magdalena, and over the valley of Saliencia. From here the road continues the Table Run going under Peña Prieta, identifiable by its dark color. They are places of great beauty in which you can still see remains of the old stone pavement of the road. A little beyond this rock the road crosses the braña from La Corra (an exceptional ethnographic element, with its precious teitos). From here and uphill we will reach the Xuegu la Bola, the last point to enjoy the panoramic views of Saliencia Valley.
The final section in descent crosses large fields to the port of Piedraxueves, where remains of a Roman altar have been located in honor of Jupiter (hence, Thursday). Shortly after this point the road becomes a descent track that will take us to the top of San Lorenzo, where the road that joins the councils of Teverga and Somiedo will mark the end of the section.
Alto de San Lorenzo- Dolia
(23 kilometers, 6 to 7 hours, high difficulty)
It is also recommended to use cross cars. 1 car (to the top of San Lorenzo), as described in the previous section. 2 car (until Dolia): We left by the A-8 in the direction of Oviedo, and once in Oviedo we took the N-634 to Grado, and there we diverted by the AS-311 until the height of Villamarín, where we will follow the indications of the local road to Dolia.
From the top of San Lorenzo the path is well marked in the North direction, ascending little by little to the La Tartulla hill. From here it descends until reaching the precious vega de Cueiro, confluence of the municipal limits of Belmonte, Teverga and Somiedo and scene of a great annual pilgrimage. The road, diffuse in the meadow, part of the left slope and a little further on we already find unmistakable stretches of the Roman road. We will successively reach the Pousa la Sal, La Barrera and El Acebo with excellent views. Continue to the plain of El Gamón, La Aparecida and Sierra del Conto (where you can still identify the vestiges of tumular burials) where the path descends to the Campa de las Madeiros and the La Forcada stream. From here we will ascend Peñas Negras to arrive at Venta de Porcabezas, the first good source that we found from our exit. From here we descend to La Corredoria, where the magnificent Homonymous sale is located. The tour continues -defined in its entirety by perimeter closures of padrerías- until Dolia, end of the route and where an asphalted track arrives from Las Cruces.
Dolia - Degree
(13,7 kilometers, 4 hours, medium difficulty)
This stage runs on firm asphalt or concreted, since the original layout of the Camín was reused for the conditioning of contemporary roads. It has its beginning in the village of Dolia (Council of Belmonte de Miranda), the first and only town that is located in the Camín Real de La Mesa, which led its neighbors, already in the 1721 year, to be exempt from paying any contribution to the Belmonte monastery, change to give "inn, fire and water" to the large number of travelers who traveled this route. Dolia, whose name of Roman origin attests to the ancient of its history, witnessed the unsuccessful attempt of the Arabs to conquer these lands; of the passage of the marble directed to the construction of the Colegiata de Salas and even of battles waged against the French troops, some of whose soldiers, according to legend, remain buried in the hermitage of the town.
In its first meters the Royal Walk of the Table runs next to the Pico Castiello. After ascending to the Pico Matacaleao, it descends again through a jacket until Las Cruces. From this point you continue north along the road that leads to the Alto de la Cabruñana (in the N-634). Once you reach Moutas, the route leaves the road and deviates to the right, finding the Venta of the same name, one of the best preserved roads, to reach El Putril, where you take a detour to the right that leads to Santa Cristina. From this point a gentle descent begins to the historic village of Grade, where the route ends.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com