Lousã is a municipality in the middle of Portugal, about two hours car drive north of Lisbon, I was here to hike up this mountain, I took my camera with me so I could share this with you! Along the route were schist villages, which was my main reason for wanting to do the hike. People settled permanently in the schist villages of the Lousã mountain in the second half of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century. Until then, occupation was only seasonal, in the spring and summer. We started our hike just after 10 in the morning from Castelo da Lousã and quickly got quite high up.
It didn’t take long to get to the ruins of a schist village. Unlike Gondramaz, the only way to get to here is by the very steep footpaths up the mountain. The old stone pathways taking one further up hill are still useable, and are a relief from some of the rougher paths used to get to this point.
Talasnal is one of the renovated villages, and also a spot for a quick break, there are no permanent residents here. The houses have been converted into second homes, visitor accommodation or shops.
Walking away from Catarredor towards the final part of the hike, we used the old walkways that were the only access to the villages when they were built.
We had really good weather, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, primroses were among the spring flowers just coming into bloom, we often had the sound of water tumbling along water courses, to accompany us, and at one point there was a scary part where it felt like rock climbing rather than hiking. The terrain was varied, and it was challenging, but also really enjoyable.
Candal is regarded as one of the most developed and accessible, and so the most visited of the schist villages, it helps that it has good transport links. Candal had 129 residents in 1911, rising to 210 in 1940. They were shepherds, charcoal burners, tree planters, road menders, and farmers, mainly of subsistence agriculture. The village only had electricity and the telephone in the 1970s. This was our final destination, 6 hours and 18 kilometres later, so time for a well earned sit down and some snacks, while we waited for lifts back to the castle.
Back at the castle we said our goodbyes to each other and to the sun as it slipped down behind the hills, before we set off home to Lisbon.