River Vero Rock Art Route II – Lecina


1- Lecina
2- River Vero
3- Portiacha Ravine
4- Abrigos de Mallata caves
5- River Vero (chapel of San Martín)
6- Steps
7- Abrigos de Bafaluy caves
8- Lecina
1-Our route starts in Lecina, the little hamlet famous for its ancient holm oak tree. From the car park at the entrance to the village, there is a path threading through the stone walls down to the River Vero.
2-We will cross the bridge over the river and take the path on the right going up the escarpment, and continue along this path around the Argantín Ravine until we can get across it. Right at this point, the path starts to climb, coming out into a clearing at the top.
3- On the right of this area is a bird watching point. However, our route continues along a track that comes off the road (signposted). It is the only track visible from the clearing.
4-Rising at the beginning and then levelling off into a saddle, this will lead us to the intersection of the caves or Abrigos de Mallata. The path leading to the caves goes off to the right. After we have seen them, we will return to the intersection and continue straight on along a trail that will veer right and lead down towards the River Vero.
5-When we reach the river, we will have to go back upstream by crossing over three times before approaching the chapel devoted to San Martin. The path is visible here. We can visit the chapel or continue on along the path that runs parallel to the river.
6- Just before this path reaches the river, there is a milestone on the left that marks the exact spot where we should start our climb uphill. First of all this is marked by an all but vertical signpost and then the path is followed intuitively as it turns towards the left. It rises to the level of some depressions in the terrain, which we cross over on the right. Then when it starts to rise again, we turn left. Here there is a natural window with a rope indicating which way to go. Once we have crossed over this window, the path is more clearly visible as it takes us up to the top of the hill.
7- A few yards further and this path joins another one that is much better signposted. If we wish to go up to the caves of Bafaluy, we should take the left-hand fork, whereas if we prefer to return to Lecina, we will turn right. If returning from the Abrigos de Bafaluy, we only have to retrace our steps and then follow the trail to Lecina (signposted).

History and culture

While preparing and checking the routes, I like to inquire about the areas I visit. There is no better way of doing this that by asking the locals, who are always happy to share their stories of their youth.
This is the case of Fernando Arilla, a resident of Betorz. When I told him I had been visiting the steps called the Escaleretas de Gallinero, he became amazed and nostalgically told me stories from his childhood. These steps carved into the rock were made as an escape route from flash floods in the River Vero. In those days, the entire river basin as far as the Oscuros bottleneck was covered in farmland and grazing areas and, since that it became impossible to head back home upstream, an alternative was found. He had spent a few nights in the caves, where the wall paintings were always respected, even though nobody knew what they were about. Fernando also told me about a time he was climbing down a wooden ladder with his dog in his arms. The ladder came away from the wall, leaving him with his dog in his arms balancing on the ladder. Luckily the ladder went back to the rest on the wall instead of falling backwards. The beehives were kept in the caves out of reach of animals that would steal the honey.
He also told me of other locals who set traps in the region, particularly to hunt stone martens. In those times their pelt was highly valued and the scant resources and hunger of the post-war era sharpened people’s wits.
The cultural side of the route – the caves of Mallata and Bafaluy with their schematic art, the chapel carved in the rock devoted to San Martin de Lecina of Romanesque origin, the vantage point over the River Vero from Portiacha and the village of Lecina with its church dating back to the 16th century, devoted to St John the Baptist or its impressive ancient holm oak– make it one of constant discovery of history, culture and nature.


ROUTE: 5 River Vero Rock Art Route II
START-FINISH: Lecina-Lecina
DIFFICULTY ACCORDING TO THE 5-POINT MIDE SCALE (SYSTEM DEVISED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ARAGON TO MEASURE DIFFICULTY) M (level of risk) = 5; I (signposting) = 3; D (difficulty) = 5; E (duration of effort) = 3; Difficulty of terrain and effort =4 (climb)
LENGTH: 8 km
Mountain bike: No




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