This route goes through the eastern side of the Cantábrica mountain range: Ramales de la Victoria, mass of Hornijo and Alto Asón and the Ebro water reservoir.
It uses ancient pathways that have been kept thanks to farming use, which distributed the space on these mountain sides. The territory is one of the most inhabited of Cantabria and thus is a very attractive cultural space.
In our region, GR-74 unfolds four of its stages, between San Roque de Riomiera and San Miguel de Luena, with stops in Selaya, Vega de Pas and San Pedro del Romeral. Along these paths, the visitor will have the opportunity of enjoying purely Pas settings, cottages, landscapes and some oak grooves. There are two more stages in Besaya river and near the Ebro water reservoir, South of the mountains.
GR -74 Stage 3 San Roque de Riomiera – Selaya
Before reaching San Roque de Riomiera, the route takes us along the limestone rock masses of Hornijo and Alto Asón. The most notable feature of this third stage is the Pas landscape and heritage of almost five centuries of human activity in these mountains. Pastures closed by stonewalls, cottages, oak or beech trees and the moulding activities of rivers and melting in the Lunada headwaters.
It starts from the square of La Pedrosa, ascending towards Collado, and soon offering wide landscapes of the mass of Las Enguinzas and the headwaters of Miera river.
The glacier trough of Lunada can clearly be seen with its U-shaped profile, while to the south we have Veinte and Pizarras in the mass of Alto Asón. To the right, the beech groove of La Zamina and Coterotejo, part of the Oriental Mountain LIC. Here, where the setting is swampy and with an exclusive and adapted flora and fauna: bryophytes, moss, hepatic, peat and, especially, carnivorous plants such as sundew or butterworts.
The dividing line with Pisueña valley crosses through Caracol pass, taking a right to Vaolosquillos, crossing the cottage neighbourhood of La Sutía.
Towards Bustantegua, we can see a completely different relief from that of Lunada.
Opposed to the karstic and glacier forms of high Miera, we now see a smooth landscape of regular hills and nice rivers. Pastures are everything the eye can see to the west, while crossing the cottages of Bustantegua, Lo Segundo, La Espina y Valvanuz.
In this last neighbourhood is located the Sanctuary of the Pas patron and, above it, the extensive oak forest De Todos.
GR -74 Stage 4 Selaya – Vega de Pas
Once in Selaya, the following three stages cross the meridional area of the Pas Valleys and the inter-rivers that there are: Pisueña, Pas, Viaña, Barcelada and Troja. This space represents like nothing else the symbiosis between man and territory.
Crossing the divisory with the high Pas will allow the hiker to enjoy a wide view north, over Pisueña river, and south, over the Valnera mass and the rivers Pandillo and Yera. We leave behind Selaya through the neighbourhood of Puente Piedra, in the direction of Los Vaqueros and La Sierra, south. This is an area of intense farming, where pastures are the essential element of space organisation.
While going up to Alto de Salces, firstly following a beautiful pathway in La Cárcoba and later on a forestal trail, we see the transition between farming uses: more frequent in the more open pastures. This ascend to Salces shows us a beautiful picture of Pisueña valley. The deep valley between Selaya and Villacarriedo is to our west, flanked by a notable river terrace between Tezanos and Santibáñez de Villacarriedo. It is an area of enormous agricultural potential of cows milk production.
We now start descending to the neighbourhood of Candolías.
GR -74 Stage 5 Vega de Pas – San Pedro
This 5th stage links Vega de Pas and San Pedro del Romeral. Starting from Candolías, in the direction south of La Frente, crossing between Viaña river and its affluent Bustalvain, we leave to the east the Yera valley.
We cross the cottage neighbourhoods of La Torre, Cutil, El Cuadro, La Estoja and Falacuesta, until reaching the headwaters of Bustalvain in Lamesalcarro and Cotero La Marruya.
In this stage, cottages occupy most of the landscape, giving the deep Yera valley a more serious image, with Atlantic land and poor pastures with barely any cottage. At the headwaters of Bustalvain, we find one of the oak forests of this area: Mount Marroquín.
The oak forest is more exigent than other trees at these altitudes, looking for advantageous locations with nutrient rich floors. Thus, they have fought for the spaces appropriate for farming and mainly lost the battle.
The descent through the cottage neighbourhood of La Calleja to the bridge above Tejeda river lets us see traditional architecture. This cottages give a hard and hostile image, most of them having collapsed.
Once the river is crossed, we approach San Pedro del Romeral, walking a path between the forest of El Coto and crossing Bustaleguín. We see now bigger buildings, manor houses and “vividoras”, almost always from between 18th and 19th centuries. We go down to river Barcelada and finally access San Pedro del Romeral.
GR -74 Stage 6 San Pedro del Romeral- S. Miguel de Luena Bustasur
This last stage crosses from San Pedro del Romeral, Troja valley, Rosario, La Sota and Bustiyerro to get to San Miguel de Luena. We are, once again, surrounded by Pas cottages.
The route starts going west to the neighbourhood of La Sota. Taking Callejo de Lo Juancho and descending through La Peredilla, we go up to the stone bridges of rivers Vegaloscorrales and La Sota, to the road leading to Rosario.
We then start ascending to the division line with the municipality of Luena.
We need to hike along La Sota, from Espinela to Alto de La Corva and the cottages of Brenagudina, a Pas occupied space and a singular natural space moulded by men’s hand.
The landscape is not very different from what we have already seen, standing out the oak forests of Troja and La Sota.