Day 27 GR1 to Puente de Montañana

Today, for two basic reasons, was a tougher walk than I expected.

Firstly it was longer, 28 kilometres rather than the 23 we had expected.

Secondly the going was difficult, a lot of it muddy and "claggy", often overgrown, and occasionally disappearing across a muddy gully. It was just hard work.
Tough trail

There has been a lot of rain over the last couple of days, mostly at night, but although it was drizzling this morning it didn't really rain hard on the day. If it had done today would have been impossible.

After an excellent breakfast (tosta, tomatoes and olive oil, jams, cakes, chocolate donuts, fresh orange juice, and gallons of cafe con leche) we went with Juan in a taxi down to Lascuarre. We said goodbye to Juan, who took the GR1 in the opposite direction before returning to Madrid tonight.

We could have joined the GR1 at Lascuarre but instead avoided a big loop and walked along the road for about 6 miles towards Castigaleu. It was damp, drizzling, and the road took us through a gauntlet of pig farms. When we did leave the road, just before Castigaleu, it was so muddy we regretted it. It's a special sort of mud here that obstinately sticks in huge clods to your boots.

After Castigaleu it felt like we were back on the GR1 proper. Lovely ancient trail, but often overgrown and easy to loose. It was noticeable today how the GR1 would often take you along an original pathway which, without use and some maintenance, had simply become impossible. To make progress you had to find an alternative way through and then often lost the way marks.
Monesma de Benasbarra
I guess the first milestone after Castilgaleu was the abandoned church at Monesma de Benasbarra. We had been making slow progress, climbing a lot, and we changed direction at the church and hoped the going would get easier. It got worse. Passing the flank of the Tozal del Puyol, with its ruined castle on top, we had to cross an endless series of gullies where the rain had washed great slices out of the hillside and finding the path was almost impossible.
Sarroca de Monesma
Eventually we made it to the ruined village of Sarroca de Monesma and were surprised to find amongst the ruins a shepherd and his mother still trying to make a go of things.

Sarroca de Monesma
Downhill and we really thought we had cracked it but after 3 or 4 kilometres of fast walking along a farm trail we were once again crossing gullies and trying to find our way along overgrown ancient trails.

Things finally turned around at the little farmstead of Môra de Montanyana. The trail was often overgrown but it was steadily downhill, and the ancient walled walkway sufficiently well defined to make following the route easy and a pleasure.

Lovely ancient trails beyond Môra de Montanyana
Eventually we dropped down to Montañana which is a spectacular spot set at the junction of two gorges. The route takes you past a church, which sits on a rock high above the village and a defensive tower. There are ruins everywhere. The village itself is tiny but perfectly preserved with an lovely original footbridge, cobbled streets and ancient arches.
The church above Montañana
The final walk down the road was longer than we anticipated (everything is) but we spotted the hostal immediately which saved about an hour on the usual timing.

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  1. Dear friends. The mud also was my toment thvrout the 26k to Graus. Aniway going home in the high speed train confortably seated and nearly sleping. Have a nice wal tomorrow with no mud.

    1. Thanks so much for all your help Juan - we have missed you already, we got lemonade rather than aqua con gas when we had dinner

      Good Spanish dinner though

  2. Was that the hostal in the picture background??
    Catching up with your posts of the GR1 - certainly unknown areas.
    Just back from a spell in Catalonia - GR7 Excellent few days in the mountains, but cold and windy. No doubt you will be having the same.
    Regards John