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Routes for Trekking

Costoria ( 1032 metros)

Introduction

Perched on top of a rocky hill, La Mellera hermitage stands amid the mountains of Costaria and Peña Cárabo, enclaves of the Valdegovía Valley to the far west of Alava. The climb along the Fuente Colorada gully leads up to the top of mount Costoria from which the views are nothing special, but the pinewoods (Pinus sylvestris) that clothe the two slopes of the Sierra de Arcena offer their own particular charm.

How to get there

From Espejo, take the A-4327 to Barrio. From the middle of Espejo, this road passes the church then crosses the river Omecillo before carrying on to Barrio. Park on the open ground next to a disused quarry before reaching the village proper.

Finding the route

Of the three roads leading into Barrio 1, pick the one in the middle which is Calle Real, then bear right round about house nº 6 and continue up to the metal barrier.

Cross the barrier and turn left where the paths meet.

After a few minutes there is another junction. The fork on the left crosses the stream and goes up a steep slope; do not take this one. Instead, go straight ahead, leaving the river on the left as well as the Fuente Colorada which gives the gully its name 2.

Costoria Peak

The gully closes in here and offers a landscape of beeches, birches and above all wild pines. Once past the narrowing, a climb up the sandy path leads to a fork. Turn right here along the steepest which leaves the bed of the stream on the left. At the next junction five minutes later, bear right and tackle the stiff slope that ends in a well-defined forest track. Once on this wide path, bear left and carry on climbing. When the path has gone up as high as possible, take care not to miss a footpath that goes off to the right into the pinewood. This is a key point on the way up to Costoria. The path can be a little confusing at times, but it is not hard to reach the summit, bypassing curious rock formations until finally arriving at the cairn that marks the highest spot3. The pinewood cuts off all the views.

Back to Barrio

he route back to Barrio goes past Nuestra Señora de Mellera hermitage. From the summit, return to the wide path, then turn right and follow on down a long descent. After a few minutes walk, already quite close to Barrio, the path zig-zags and comes close to a metal barrier. Leave the path, climb over the barrier and turn right as far as the small church 4.

o drop down to Barrio by the old path, walk from the hermitage to the metal barrier, cross it and bear left down a stony track that starts out between the barrier and the wide path that led from Costoria.

Alternatives

Instead of turning right at the metal barrier to reach Mellera, bear left to drop down to the village of Nograro via the Cruz de Trevantas, a wooden cross. Another option is to climb up to the Berbea (Berbeia) Iron Age settlement from Barrio. This involves starting from the church and climbing up the slope, over clear ground, to the hillock on which the settlement stands.



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