Seven city councils sharing territory and a common project. That is the spirit of the Cabo Ortegal Geopark Project, which this year also plans summer georoutes through a coordinated programme that will take visitors to unique places. Thanks to the managing board of the project, Cariño, Cedeira, Moeche, San Sadurniño, Ortigueira and Valdoviño will offer 16 routes to discover geological sites as well as heritage that will be spread out in 71 trips in different days and times from 01 July to 14 September. New this year, is the possibility to book for all the summer georoutes available through a direct link that can be accessed from “Georoutes” on this website. All the trips have the same Price 9€ per person.
The 16 georoutes offer an overall and comprehensive view for all ages of the geological richness and exclusivity of the scope of the project. It has 6 Geosites- places of geological interest of international importance- associated to the Cape Ortegal area.
All of which are spread over different coastal and inland areas. There are around one hundred sites worth highlighting that explain the history of the planet dating back as far as 400 million years ago, when it brought up from the depths elements that would normally only be found in the Earth’s crust.
Most of the routes will cover coastal areas. From West to East, in Valdoviño we can enjoy the Xeorruta dos Cabos (Cape Georoute) and the Xeorruta do Arsénico (Arsenic Georoute), observing features such as dune systems, the geological fault of Valdoviño- that reaches as far as Monforte; and the old arsenopyrite mines where gold and silver were found.
On our way toward Cedeira, we find the well-known Xeorruta das Praias Negras (Black Beaches Georoute). This is the first one this summer, on the 01 July taking us down towards Teixedelo, Other georoutes nearby are Xeorruta dos Cantís (Cliff Georoute), Xeorruta do Cromo (Chromium Georoute), Xeorruta do Litoral (Coastal Georoute) and Xeorruta do Granate (Garnet Georoute)– they will lay before our eyes amazing landscapes as well as unique rock formations of amphibolite, pyroxenite and peridotite.
These formations can also be appreciated in the Xeorruta do Limo in the city council of Cariño near the Herbeira cliffs. Currently, another georoute is being created in this area, Xeorruta dos Aguillóns (Aguillons Georoute) that will cover the biggest sighting of eclogite in the world, a type of rock forged at a depth of more than 100 kilometres.
The wide variety of informative routes also reaches the city council of Ortigueira. In fact, the Xeorruta dos Penidos (Penidos Georoute), of scientific reference and a must if one wants to contemplate eclogites. On the other side of the ria, (a ría is an inlet of sea water into the coast line. It has a tide like the sea, sometimes they are joined by rivers or even waterfalls. They are a unique geographical feature of Galicia) on the coast line of Espasante and Loiba (towns of the city council of Ortigueira) we have the Xeorruta dos Volcáns (Volcanoes Georoute) and the Xeorruta das Lavas (Lava Georoute), these routes help us picture the violent volcanic activity that once dominated the area millions of years ago.
As well as the coastal routes, the summer programme includes routes inland in the city councils of Cerdido and Moeche. They offer the Xeorruta do Cobre ( Copper Georoute), visiting the old mines of Os Carrís in A Barqueira, closed in the sixties, discovering the geological phenomena that uncovered material rich in copper.
With this in mind, the city council of Moeche has organised the Georoute through the Piquito Mine, it is the shortest of all of them- less than 2 kilometres- and one of the most sought after of the summer programme. It runs along the old mine galleries, which now have been turned into one of the most spectacular speleothems of the Norwest of Spain. Both of the mines in the city councils of Moeche and Cerdido have been catalogued by IGME (Spanish Geologic and Mining Institute) as sites of geologic interest pending their delimitation.
Moeche is also well known for its stone Toelo, “Pedra de Moeche” a very attractive serpentinite used in ornate constructions in the area. The Xeorruta do Toelo (Toelo Georoute) is dedicated to it, and so brings us to the old quarry of A Caleira. But before the quarry is reached, the visitor will enjoy the sights offered by the Castle of Moeche as well as San Xurxo church, with all the ornate pieces made in this stone looking a lot like grey and green marble.
The pack of georoutes reaches its end with the Xeorruta das Pías (Georoute of Potholes) in the city council of San Sadurniño, south border of the geopark project. It covers part of the Castro River valley as well as the granite formation of the Forgoselo, full of granite boulders, rocking stones, potholes and tafoni; all of which can only be found here, in the territory aspiring to obtain the UNESCO certification
The georoute programme led by Francisco Canosa, Professor in Geology, takes place from 01 July to 14 September both days included. The trips will be alternate and repeated- a total of 71- so no-one misses out on the opportunity to participate in whichever one they like or in all of the 71 trips. The length of the trips goes from the 2 kilometres for the shortest, (Piquito Mine) to 8 kilometres for the longest (coastal georoutes and Penidos).
The duration also varies (from 2 to 6 hours) and the difficulty of most of them is average or low. The only ones that demand more physical form are those of Praias das Areas Negras (Black Sand Beaches Georoute) and Xeorruta do Granate (Garnet Georoute), due to the terrain and the paths. The number of participants ranges from 10 to 20 depending on the trip.
This year, all the bookings for the georoutes are centralised on a direct link available in Galician, Spanish and English. It is managed by Viaxes Galitur SL (travel agent) on our website. The price for all the georoutes is 9 Euros per person which must be paid online with the possibility to cancel or get a refund up to 24 hours prior to the date of the trip.
Last but not least, as well as the organised routes through the seven city councils comprising the project, the active tourism company Rutas Cedeira will once again offer sea georoutes from the old port of Cedeira to Cape Ortegal, giving a different perspective of sites such as Candieira Point, Ensenada das Cortes (Cove), Santo André, Teixedelo, Herbeira, Limo Cliffs or Aguillóns (they are a rock formation emerging form the sea close to Cape Ortegal, similar to three very sharp shards). Times and dates are on their Facebook. Please note they depend on the sea conditions of the day.