The PR9 – Trilho dos Canos de Água (Trail of Water Pipes) is a pedestrian route of 10.2 Km, located on the “Monte de Santa Luzia” (Santa Luzia Mountain), in Viana do Castelo (Portugal).
It starts in front of the “Santuário de Santa Luzia” (Sanctuary of Santa Luzia), next to the panel that shows the details of the trail. From there, we just have to follow the yellow and red marks.
Me and JB followed this route on June 12, 2012, at the time of our trip to the Littoral North of Portugal.
We walked along a forest path, under a light rain, until we arrive next to 2 arches of stone, known as “Arcos do Fincão” (Arches of Fincão). There are water pipes above those arches that collect water from water mines in the mountain and take it for some tanks in Viana o Castelo.
The trail now continued over the water pipe. Because of the previous rain that made the water pipes very slippery, we had to walk very carefully.
We found some “casinhas de água” (little water houses) along this route. There’s also a detour to see a water mine, but, due to the dense vegetation, we didn’t go there.
We walked over the water pipes for one hour, until we arrive next to the “azenha velha” (old watermill). There were signs of a former fire, there.
A signboard indicates the direction of the “Aldeia Velha” (Old Village), the place where S. Mamede had its origin. We followed that direction, but we didn´t find the ruins, only 2 noisy dogs. Actually, we saw the ruins of a house but we found no way to go in there and check if it was part of the “Aldeia Velha” or not.
The next 2 Km were a little bit boring. There was nothing noteworthy to be seen. An abandoned building was the next point of interest we saw. That building, known as “Casa do Radar” (House of the Radar) or “casinha dos aviões” ( little house of the airplanes), was the place where a tower of air control was going to be set up at the time of the Second World War. I would like to have gone inside the building and to have climbed the stairs to appreciate the view, but as some portions of the building’s ceiling had began to crumble, we decided not to go in there and we continued our walk.
We had been climbing till here, now it was time to go down. We went along the remains of a Roman path, then we found a picnic park where we stopped to have a snack. Right ahead the picnic park, there was a shooting range.
Almost at the end of this route, we saw a signboard indicating the direction of a “miradouro” (viewpoint), but the only thing we could appreciate was the water tank and the trees that were blocking the view. We passed by several “miradouros” (viewpoints), but all of them had the same problem, vegetation blocking the view.
Further down, we had a look at the “Citânia de Santa Luzia”, an archaeological site of Castro culture. This is one of the most important castros for the study of Romanization in the North of Portugal.Three and a half hours later, we returned to the starting point of our walk.
Just a note, this trail is classified as having a low degree of difficulty, but I disagree. I think there are some parts of this route that are not that easy. Beside that, we must be careful when the water pipes are wet, since it can be very slippery.
Characteristics of the route
Arrival and departure: in front of the Sanctuary of Santa Luzia (Viana do Castelo)
Scope of the route: historical, panoramic, scenery
Extension: 10.2 km
Duration: 3 hours
Level of difficulty: easy