On 17 March 2012, me, JB, my brother and his girlfriend followed the PR4 – “Rota dos Caleiros” (lit. Route of the water channels), a short pedestrian route of 8.2 km in “Serra do Caramulo” (Caramulo Mountain), Portugal.
“Serra do Caramulo” is a granite mountain where the high vegetation is scarce. There’s mainly low vegetation, dominated by heather and carquesia (Genista tridentata). The mountain is known by the quality of its water and by the purity of its air.
To arrive at “Serra do Caramulo”, we took the A25 motorway to the exit “Oliveira de Frades”.
Then we went through some winding roads to “Caramulinho”, the beginning point of the pedestrian route. The GPS was a good help on this part of the way.
We arrived to Caramulinho just in time to have lunch. The problem was to find a place to seat. There were a few benches and tables, but they were too exposed to the strong wind that was blowing. After walking from one side to another, looking for a sheltered place, we decided to have our lunch behind some rocks. At the beginning it wasn´t a bad place, but then we had to hurry to finish our lunch because the wind was getting stronger and colder.
With our batteries charged, we climbed the 284 steps carved on the rock to arrive at the top of Caramulinho, where the geodesic mark stands. From up there, at 1074 meters high, we enjoyed a spectacular view.
It was time to start our walk. We followed the main road and few minutes later we turned left, following paths used by farmers to take their cattle to the pastures. There were rocky formations all around us. Some of that rocks resembled us something, like a man or an animal… We also noticed the presence of many purple crocuses (Crocus spp.).
After a small walk on the asphalt road, we arrived at the small village of “Jueus”. This village was the place chosen by some Jewish people to hide themselves from their persecutors. The name “Jueus” may come from the adulteration of the word “Judeus” (Jewish).
There was a big “espigueiro” (granary) that took our attention there. Next to the “Capela do Menino Jesus” (Chapel of Baby Jesus), we admired the valley and what is left of an old village named “Carvalhal” and of a Roman stone path.
Not to far from Jueus, there’s another village, Pedrógão. We find here the “Penedo do equilíbrio” (Balanced rock) and, a few meters ahead, a long “caleiro” (water channel) that was used to drive the water to the village. The “caleiros” (water channels) were made of granite and, whenever there was already rocks along the way, they were carved in those rocks.
Nowadays, next to the old “caleiro” we also find a modern water channel, a water pipe. The water pipe accompanies the “caleiro”, crossing the path and trees.
We stopped for a snack in a great place. We had a beautiful view from there and from time to time we could listen the relaxing sound of the bells from the cows that were grazing not too far from us.
We met a dog that made us laugh. The dog was accompanying a lady that was driving some cows. It ran away to hide itself behind some plants when it saw us and started barking trying to scare us. As none of us moved from its way, the dog decided to leave its hiding place very quickly and ran away from us, following again its owner.
We lost the marked trail and went by a wrong path after we had crossed the asphalted road that goes to the village of Cadraço . Luckily we found the right path some meters ahead. We found out that we had shorten our route and we had arrived faster next to one of the several eolic towers that cover the mountain.
We saw many cows along our walk. Some of them were grazing and others passed by us on the mountain paths. These were very funny moments. The cows coming from the opposite direction were afraid of us and refused to pass by us. When they finally found the courage to pass next to us they passed very fast and as far from us as they could.
We took 3h to complete this pedestrian route but we had shorten the route by going through a short cut.
I recommend everybody to do this pedestrian route. It’s an easy trail that offers great landscapes.
PR stands for “pequena rota”, which means short route.