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The Hill of the Toad: the greatest challenge between A Fonsagrada and O Cádavo

One of the most feared sections of the entire primitive way

Descent to O Cádavo, picture from Wikimedia Commons by José Antonio Gil Martínez

Descent to O Cádavo, picture from Wikimedia Commons by José Antonio Gil Martínez

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Bajada hasta O Cádavo, imagen de Wikimedia Commons por José Antonio Gil Martínez

Descent to O Cádavo, picture from Wikimedia Commons by José Antonio Gil Martínez

Stage 8 of the primitive path

The route between A Fonsagrada and O Cádavo is the first stage of the primitive way that runs entirely in Galicia if you come from Oviedo. If the starting point is O Acebo, it is the second stage. It is a stage that is fascinating due to the natural environments that we cross during these 24.4 kilometers, but that does not make us forget how hard it can be.

This route alternates ups and downs of different intensity, while passing through several villages. Although this stage may go unnoticed, it is more demanding than it seems, especially for those who decide to extend it to Castroverde to reduce the distance of the ninth stage, which reaches Lugo.

The worst section of the stage

In general, it is considered that the hardest stage of the primitive way is the one that goes from Borres to Berducedo, since it includes the ascent to Pola de Allande and the steep descent to Berducedo. If the climb is hard, going down is even harder, since there is a drop of 600 meters that in winter may seem impassable for someone with little tanning.

However, halfway between A Fonsagrada and O Cádavo is the Hill of the Toad, which culminates in A Lastra. This ascent is not long, but intense, and in just one kilometer you go from 675 meters to 820 meters. It may seem that 145 meters of altitude difference is not much, but uphill and after carrying nearly thirds of the stage, it is exhausting. Speacially, keeping in mind that once you reach A Lastra, there is still a stretch of ascent to Fontaneira of about another kilometre. It is not as hard as the previous one, but it is a good idea to take a short break in A Lastra to catch your breath before continuing.

Primitive way, picture from Wikimedia Commons by Simon Burchell

Primitive way, picture from Wikimedia Commons by Simon Burchell

The reward after the climb

Fortunately, once in Fontaneira, there is only the final stretch left, much easier. From the highest point of the stage, at 900 meters of altitude, it's time to go down until it reaches 700 again. There is still about an hour of stage left, just under five kilometers. After a mostly bearable descent, you can finally see O Cádavo, where there is a hostel at the entrance where you can recover your energy after this intense stage.

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