Along the Pantanos Route: water, forests and winding roads in the unknown Palentina Mountain | The traveler | The USA Print

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In the region of Palentine Mountainto the north of the province of Palencia and on the southern slopes of the central sector of the Cantabrian mountain range, there are three reservoirs that make up the Rute of Pantanos: Compuerto, Camporredondo and Ruesga, respectively. A route of about 55 kilometers that runs along the narrow, winding, panoramic and mountainous road P-210. A road that is barely separated from those swamps that were built to store the water discharged by the rivers from the neighboring mountains to generate hydroelectric power.

The route goes through a changing landscape, as explained by Minerva Archaga Miguelañez, forestry engineer, environmental educator, mountain guide and manager of Gea Forest, an active tourism and ecotourism company that carries out activities related to the interpretation of the natural and cultural heritage of the Palentina Mountain. In spring the reservoirs are filled to the brim with melting ice and reflect the trees and their newly sprouted leaves. In summer, on the other hand, this water is used for irrigation in the region of Farmland, so its volume decreases. In autumn and winter the level of the reservoirs is usually low, but the reflection of the deciduous Atlantic forests and the snowy peaks provide a beautiful spectacle.

Velilla del Río Carrión and Cervera de Pisuerga are the towns from which you can start or finish this route which, if it weren’t for the beautiful landscapes that invite you to stop, would take just over an hour by road. Velilla is a town crossed by the Carrión River that does not look much like the towns in the south of Palencia. Its appearance is more alpine than Castilian, and the air you breathe is fresh. A town of stone houses with gabled roofs, as they all are in these Palencia latitudes. In the Trout Interpretation Centerwhich acts as a tourist office, one can ask, among other things, about La Ruta de Tus Sueños, a small theme park dedicated to the Ratoncito Pérez designed for all audiences, although it is especially enjoyed by boys and girls with teeth milk.

Very close to Velilla, before seeing the Compuerto reservoir, there is a detour on the P-210 that gives access to the natural pine forest of Peña Mayor or Pinar de Velilla, a relict forest that has survived the extensive pine forests that for thousands of years covered the slopes of these mountains, in which the tree known as Curled Pine. From the car park of said pine forest, following the road, after climbing and passing through a tunnel carved into the rock, you reach the villages of Valcobero and Valsurbio, the latter abandoned. On the way to both you can see the Compuerto reservoir and dam, from 1960, constructions that flooded a Roman bridge and several mills. The best place to contemplate this half-empty reservoir is the Valle de Valcobero viewpoint, next to the P-210. A road that never stops twisting and in which each curve offers a view that seems designed by a cinematographer. Nor is it lacking in stone milestones, some better preserved than others. Thus, from frame to frame, you arrive at Camporredondo de Alba, a town between the Compuerto reservoir and the Camporredondo reservoir, one of the oldest in the province, inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1930.

From this point on, the most beautiful panoramic views of the trip follow one another. Added to the swamps and vegetation are the sight of solitary and cold mountains, such as Espigüete. A mass of limestone more than a peak. A white stone pyramid 2,451 meters high and whose feet are Cardaño de Abajo and Puente Agudín. The latter is a passing and resting point for hikers and mountaineers who gather at the town bar. A usually silent place except when the motorcycle platoons that circulate along the P-210 pass or when it is celebrated in Velilla del Río Carrión, on the third Sunday of July, the Day of Fuentes Carrionas and the Palentina Mountain. A traditional folklore festival in which it is typical to taste the stew or stew of the shepherd, based on sheep meat.

Further on, in Alba de los Cardaños, on a steep curve and high up, there is a viewpoint from which you can see the Camporredondo reservoir, the aforementioned town and, once again, the Espigüete. The roof of the Montaña Palentina is Curavacas, a 2,525-meter-high peak that can be climbed from the town of Vidrieros, which is reached by taking a detour at Triollo. A peak of quartzite boulders covered with colored lichens, from which it adopts that blackish green color so characteristic and particular to this summit.

Before reaching the last swamp of the route, you have to crown the Alto de la Varga, a mountain pass at an altitude of 1,413 meters that divides the river basins of the Carrión and Pisuerga rivers and in which a rest area has been set up and a viewpoint from which the high Palentina Mountain can be contemplated. From this point begins a descent marked by oak and beech forests. the path The Giant of the Narrow Valley, a path suitable for all types of hikers, precedes the Ruesga reservoir. Of the three, this reservoir is the only one suitable for bathing (in all of them it is possible to practice non-motorized water sports); You can also go around it by bicycle along a path that connects Ventanilla with the town of Ruesga. From the latter one glimpses, between a green mantle, the Cervera de Pisuerga innon the Fuentes Carrionas nature reserve, very close to the town of the same name. In this urban nucleus, the most important in the Palentina Mountain, you can visit the Museum of Chinese Art, a private collection of fossils, the House of the Park, the Ethnographic Museum of Cantarranas and the Piedad Isla Ethnographic Museum. In Cervera the Ruta de los Pantanos ends and the routes that the Palencian photographer Piedad Isla (1926-2009) did, on a Vespa, began, but that is another route. Another story of the Palentina Mountain.

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