La Ultreïa : 100 cols from Barcelona to Santiago-de-Compostela
This route takes in 100 road cols (all surfaced) during a crossing of the northern Iberian Peninsula, from Barcelona to Santiago de Compostela (St.Jacques de Compostelle), with emphasis being placed on the Caminos (Paths of Santiago) encountered.
Total climb: 26,000 m; Distance: 1,850 km approx.
Traced by Bernard “Biki” Pommel (Cent Cols No. 3094).
The Club des Cent Cols, founded in 1972 and affiliated to the French Federation of Cyclotouring,g, has prepared this “Randonnée Permanente” based on a simple theme: “One Hundred Cols”. The completion of these one hundred cols will allow you either to join the Club, or to progress with your list in the Club’s “Table d’Honneur”.
This route follows the pilgrim trail from the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where the pilgrimage ends.
This route does not pretend to be a “Camino de Santiago”, or even to follow one or more of the “Caminos”, the first objective is to cross 100 cols (90 on the linear course, 10 in short there and backs).
However, as much as possible the focus is on the various “Caminos” encountered, and their course is sometimes followed for several kilometres.
NB: “Ultreïa” (from the Latin ultra-beyond-and eia, interjection evoking a journey) was an expression of joy in the Middle Ages, mainly related to the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela, and meaning to go farther, higher.
The logbook of the ride, provided to registered participants, also contains additional documentation on the history and legend of the pilgrimages to Compostela, the various Paths and Caminos leading to the cathedral of Santiago, and a bibliography on the subject.
As in all the routes of the 100 Cols Club, “La Ultreïa” can be completed without time limit and in as many trips as the participant wishes, at any time of the year.
However, winter can make some cols impractical even if their altitudes are not very high. The hot summer temperatures can be difficult. The best seasons are spring and autumn.
The extent of the country covered by this ride doesn’t allow us to give an exhaustive list of places to stay. We therefore limit ourselves to providing the internet addresses of organizations offering accommodation or providing information on this subject, such as tourist offices, hotel groups, etc. This list of addresses is on the page Accommodation of the randonnée.
Being an almost complete crossing of the north of Spain, the rider will find all kinds of landscapes, ranging from some very urbanized or industrialized sectors (which we have however tried to avoid as much as possible) to valleys without many resources, even depopulated. We advise you to study the route and always plan ahead for your food and drink.
The proposed route is from east to west, starting in Barcelona and ending in Santiago de Compostela. It is divided into 9 sections, in each of which you will need to stamp your card at two points. You must also have your card stamped in Barcelona and Santiago de Compostela, for a total of 20 stamps obtained at 20 different locations. You will receive two road cards (each with 12 boxes to stamp) to complete this ride.
Presentation of the different sections
(*) The altitudes were calculated from the road map. The reality on the ground can only be more considerable
- Barcelona – Solsona(206 km, 14 cols, minimum altitude 33 m, maximum altitude 720 m, 2550 m of climbing): Heading for the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, we choose to set off, symbolically,from the Sagrada Familia. So we start our journey in Barcelona itself (where we will find our first col), and must cross its very urbanized periphery (Sant Cugat del Valles, Terrassa), the reward being to cross the Sierra de Montserrat, where we will find the Cami of Sant Jaume. We then head north towards the Pyrenean foothills.
- Solsona – Campo (216 km, 15 cols, minimum altitude 445 m, maximum altitude 1471 m [Coll de Fades], 3200 m of climbing): Arriving in thefoothills, we turn towards the west (north west) and begin crossing a series of valleys. Three major climbs in this sector with the valleys of El Segre, NogueraPallaresa, NogueraRibagorçana (which separates Catalonia from Aragon) and Rio Esera, and the corresponding cols.
- Campo – Burgui (230 km, 8 cols, minimum altitude 530 m, maximum altitude 1267 m [Puerto de Serrablo], 2600 m climbing): Our switchbackroute leads us to the first “Camino” Via Tolosana, which descends from the Somport.We leave this Camino straight away to admire the monastery of San Juan de la Peña, before leaving Aragon and returning to Navarra.
- Burgui – MarkinaXemein (241 km, 17 cols, minimum altitude 45 m, maximum altitude 1056 m [Puerto de Ibañeta], 3500 m of climbing): Through the mountains of Navarra, we reach the main Camino de Santiago, the Camino Francés that we find below the Col de Roncesvalles, Puerto de Ibañeta, for which we make a detour. From there a part of the sector is shared with the randonnéepermanante “Divisoria”, with a few differences. Then we leave the Navarra to enter País Vasco or more precisely in Guipúzcoa.
- MarkinaXemein – Puente Viesgo (219 km, 13 cols, minimum altitude 2 m, maximum altitude 445 m [Puerto de Fuente de las Varas], 2750 m of climbing): Never being very far from the coast, our route through the País Vasco is never very high, although there are lots of small climbs. We will cross or follow the “Camino del Norte” from time to time. We bypass the Bilbao areaby the north, and take advantage of the Getxo ferry bridge. After a well built-up area we find our small almost coastal cols and enter Cantabria.
- Puente Viesgo – Puebla de Lillo (208 km, 12 cols, minimum altitude 50 m, maximum altitude 1627 m [Puerto de Las Señales], 4550 m of climbing): After a first half in the same vein as the previous day, things change from Potes since here we are now in or on the edge of the Picos de Europa.Bigcols and their typical landscapes succeed one another, and the climbs make themselves felt!
- Puebla de Lillo – Villablino (204 km, 7 cols, minimum altitude 210 m, maximum altitude 1521 m [Puerto de San Isidro], 4250 m of climbing): We leave the Picos de Europa, but the Cantabrian Cordillera and Asturias proveto be just as tough! After a passage through Langreo and Mieres del Camino, very built-up and industrialized valleys, we again start a succession of cols at more than 1000m of altitude, and Alto de laCobertoria with its double figuregradientsdoesn’t go unnoticed! We cross the Reserva Nacional de Somiedo and end with the col of the same name.
- Villablino – Outeiro de Rei (206 km, 12 cols, minimum altitude 230 m, maximum altitude 1364 m [Alto de la Collada], 2400 m of climbing): We leave the Cantabrian Cordillera and Asturias and reach the province of Lugo, to find another of the major Caminos, the Camino Primitivo. The landscape are changes, here are the rounded summits of Galicia, and we are gradually losing altitude.
- Outeiro de Rei – Santiago de Compostela (109 km, 2 cols, minimum altitude 250 m, maximum altitude 600 m, 400 m of climbing): It is finally time to reach the goal. One the last (small) col,and we reach the Camino Francés to Melide, and finish by the route taken by the great majority of the pilgrims (still at least two days of walking) and taste the Galician charm of the compostellan city.
- Coll de Boixols 1321 m
- Coll de la Creu de Perves 1335 m
- Coll de Fades 1471 m
- Puerto de Ibañeta 1056 m
- Collado de Hoz 659 m
- Puerto de San Glorio 1599 m
- Puerto de Pandetrave 1566 m
- Puerto de Panderruedas 1463 m
- Puerto de Las Señales 1627 m
- Puerto de San Isidro 1521 m
- Alto de la Cobertoria 1179 m
- El Puerto de Somiedo 1486 m
- Porto ou Alto do Acebo 1021 m
BCN and BPF sites on the route
Since the entire route is outside France, this tour does not include any BCN / BPF site.
The Michelin maps 571, 572, 573 and 574 at 1: 400 000 are usually sufficient for this ride. However, it is sometimes useful to take a local map as well; many publishers exist in Spain. The best solution is to use a GPS which,though not essential will offer great service. GPX tracks of the course can be provided to the participant after registration. The Michelin maps are available online: http://www.viamichelin.es
Rules of the randonnées permanentes
Any participant in this 100 Col Route agrees to respect the rules governing it.
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