Camino Mozarabe variant por el Guadiato (March 2017)
Because we were unable to walk to long stages (38k, 25k, 32k) on the published Camino after Villaharta we decided to use the newer variant “por el Guadiato” via Espiel (20k), Belmez (27k) and Valsequillo (23k) which was waymarked in 2014. It joins back up to the original Camino at Monterrubio (23k).
We used the tracks downloaded from wikiloc (link). For mapping – maps.me (free, offline) + Back Country Navigator Pro (with Spain IGN Topo maps downloaded) + Google Maps (cached, off line) on an Android phone.
GPS would be a must to use this route.
Cerro Muriano to Villaharta
We followed the yellow arrows easily.
After passing under the N-432 near Villaharta we turned left, walked past the REPSOL petrol station to stay the night at Hostal Resturante El Cruce (€48 double). Tel. +34 957 36 72 33. The Hostal was warm, clean and comfortable (no Internet). We did not go into the village of Villaharta.
Villaharta to Espiel (19.9 km)
Leaving Hostal El Cruce we crossed over the N-432, turned right and walked along the old N-432a road for about 15 minutes until coming to two STOP signs. A few meters before those signs the Camino goes down a narrow path to the left. But we recommend ignoring those arrows and instead turning left onto the main CPTN road which has just come under the N-432. This will avoid wading through a stream to go under the CPTN about 5 minutes later. Just after passing some large ruins around the bend on the right there is a locked gate (38°07′20.36″N 04°54′56.98″W). Climb over the gate and follow the stony tractor track parallel to the road. There are no arrows but keep going on the path (about 1.8 km) until you come to another gate.
At this gate, arrows lead up to the right on a narrow track. From here on there are plenty of arrows and anyway just follow the path.
In order to cross a finger of the Embalse you need to follow the route north almost to the N-432, but if it’s dry you could cross a little earlier. To cross, head west until you pick up the road that closely follows the finger of the Embalse on the opposite (western) side. You can ignore arrows leading into the forest and stay on the road until it reaches the railway bridge where the road veers right and parallels the railway line (which is to your left).
After about 1.6 km you come to a railway bridge across a small stream. Here you must go under the bridge and scramble up onto the old railway line. We saw no arrows indicating to do this but you’ll pick up the arrows on the old line/path/track which you follow parallel to the new line (now on your right) for about 2.8 km.
Here you cross over the line onto a solid road which you follow to Espiel passing the Ermita de la Estrella about 1 km after the railway crossing.
We stayed at the friendly Hostal Juan Carlos 1 (€25 double) Tel. +34 651 39 70 24 where had a delicious and filling meal. Excellent value and highly recommended.
Espiel to Villanueva del Rey (15.3 km)
We found no markings in the Espiel town. Descend to meet the minor road parallel to the N-432. Head west to reach a track leading down to the left at 38°11′13.42″N 05°01′44.21″W. There are arrows which take you down past an old mine tower to your right.
Follow the arrows which continue to Villanueva del Rey.
We experienced no difficulties.
Villanueva del Rey to Belmez (11.6 km)
Days of mud and drizzle with a forecast of heavy rain defeated us so we took a bus to Belmez. We stayed in a nice room at Hostal Javi (€49.50 double) Tel. +34 957 57 30 99
Belmez to Valsequillo (23.1 km)
There are faint arrows through Belmez. Go up Calles Córdoba and Negaillos to the Iglesia Ntra Sra De La Anunciación and go left on Calle Santa Maria out of town past the cemetery where the road becomes dirt and continues to Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo.
The Camino is through the town waymarked but irregularly – when you arrive at the main road (Avenida Andalucia) turn left and continue to a park (about 500 m). Go right and take the first left. Continue to the Mercadona Supermarket then go right and the first left. Continue straight ahead until two roundabouts. At the second roundabout take the second street from the left, Calle Gral. Primo de Rivera, and follow the arrows up the hill. About 1.9 km from the roundabout there is a waymaked “shortcut” along a rough grassy track for about 900 m. You can go this way or if it’s wet follow the road round to the right. The dirt road continues to La Granjuela.
From La Granjuela in order to save some time we took the quiet country road, CO-9026 to Valsequillo and found it was waymarked too (head north-west from the church to pick it up).
The Ayuntamiento (Council) has Alojamientos Rurales Sierra Trapera for visitors to the village, but it was closed for renovation when we arrived on March 28, 2017 – reopening date unknown. We were driven back to La Granjuela where we spent the night at the excellent Hostal Bar Madrid 77 (€40 double) Tel. +34 957 58 70 09 and back to Valsequillo next morning. If you do want to try, you should arrive before 2pm whilst the Ayuntamiento is open. Tel. +34 957 58 71 51 (Castellano) http://www.valsequillo.es/turismo/donde_dormir
La Granjuela and Valsequillo were two of the nicest, cleanest and friendliest villages we had seen.
Valsequillo to Monterrubio de la Serena (23.5 km)
Arrows lead through the village along Calle Mesones to the A-3278, a good quality wide earthen road that continues to the border with Extremadura where it becomes the bitumen BA-051. There are no waymarks and none are needed. About 1.8 km from Monterrubio a road sign “MONTERRUBIO DE LA SERENA (Acceso Sur)” indicates a left turn. Turn here and head up to the church.
From Monterrubio de la Serena on follows the standard Camino