The Riaño reservoir (also called Remolina) is located in the east of the province of León, in the autonomous social network of Castilla y León, Spain. It belongs to the Duero hydrographic basin, and is fed by the sources of the Esla and Yuso rivers.
With a capacity of more than 650 cubic hectometres, it was established with the purpose of irrigating 84,000 hectares of the Tierra de Campos paramo of León. It floods from the date of its closure, on December 31, 1987, the area of the vales that were the place of establishment of nine old towns; left under its waters.
The first days of the month of July of the year 1987 are not easily forgotten in the province of León. Nor, in the collective conscience of a generation of environmental activists. In any case, that year became a macro-project for the construction of a reservoir in Riaño that now had been projected even at the beginning of the 20th century. For one reason or another, the work was postponed. And it was the Government of Felipe González who ended it. Dazzlingly, yes. The reservoir caused nine villages to remain under its waters and their residents to be forcibly evicted house by house. The environmental struggle, still a beginner in our country, has history marked in red.
Of what happened those days there is enough written. From documentaries, photographic exhibitions to even a documentary called Mi Valle. The testimonies reflect the wound that he left in the inhabitants of the ancient Riaño, Burón, Anciles, Salio, Huelde, Éscaro, La Puerta, Pedrosa del Rey and Vegacerneja. An example, Begoña Liébana, a resident of the area, in statements to El Norte de Castilla three years ago, on the 30th anniversary of the eviction: “Since we were little we had heard talk about the swamp, we saw the construction of the dam but it seemed that it was never going to arrive because it lasted for decades. It was a slow death of the people that you have to have lived to feel it. 30 years have passed but I will never forget it”.
The project provoked a substantial mobilization in various parts of the State led by some active environmental organizations in those years. And it marked them to this day, just as certain fourth power of their main characters affirm. “It marked many people in the environmental movement. It marked me a lot”, says Santiago Martín Barajas, one of the promoters of Ecologists in Action. “Above all, it marked us people who were 20 and a few years old then. Keep in mind that at that age is when one begins to go out into the world. We find ourselves with a ruthless injustice, a tremendous work that in the end was completely useless. He dealt merciless damage. In that sense, the truth is that it marked all of us at that time, ”he adds.
Town of Riano
Someone told me recently that Riaño is a town without a soul. Perhaps it will remain under the waters of the reservoir. It must be remembered that, although Riaño did not completely disappear, a large part of the obsolete town continues to be submerged. He had no other antidote than to be reborn from his ashes and rise again. Regardless, it has enough incentives to dedicate an in-depth visit to it.
We have the possibility of starting with the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, next to which the so-called most beautiful bench in León rests. A more than powerful claim to freak out with the views that are obtained from this natural viewpoint. The temple was moved here stone by stone. And it is that this hermitage was initially in the town of La Puerta.
The visit will now take us through the so-called Route of Remembrance. A one kilometer long pedestrian path that runs along the edge of the swamp. The beauty of this trail is that we can see numerous information panels with explanations and also images of the past of this valley before the construction of the reservoir. I applaud this idea. It seems very correct to me.
Hermitage of Quintanilla
This little beauty narrowly escaped being engulfed by the waters of the reservoir. Despite everything, sometimes, there are happy endings. And the vision of the beautiful Hermitage of Quintanilla surrounded by mountains and with the waters of the reservoir, can well be considered a happy ending. Or at least one less loss of artistic heritage.
The temple is located just 3 kilometers from the center of the town. You just have to cross the huge viaduct over the dam and follow the warnings.
Valley of Anciles
This route that begins in the town of Liegos, will take us to one of the few virgin valleys that remain in the province of León.
From Liegos, there is a track that through the San Pelayo Valley takes us to the town of Lois, which we will take and after about 6 km we reach the Collada de Anciles, the most prominent point on our route.
We are going to take the track that goes to the left and after passing a fence, we will enter the Anciles valley, a well-cared area, for which we ask from here to protect the area and not bother the fauna that inhabits these places.
Going down this track, the valley will open to our right, in a plain of pastures and forest, where we will be able to see species such as:
Deer, Mountain Goat, Fox, Chamois, Wild Boar, Eagle, Vulture, Partridge… Closing the mass of Peñas Pintas and Pico Llerenes to the south.
Further down, where the valley narrows, we will pass the fence again and behind it, we will find a stream of cold and crystal clear water, in which to fill our canteens.
Next, the valley reopens with the incredible tail of the swamp, which we will walk along its left bank, until it joins the Bachende canyon and the limestone masses of Pico Gilbo and Cueto Cabrón.
Lois Mountain Cathedral
The temple was called “the Cathedral of the Mountain” and it is surprising to arrive in Lois, in a first-rate environmental and landscape setting (River Dueñas, in Alto Esla), and to find yourself at the fall of the hillside with this unitary construction of powerful masses and cubic volumes that rises above the entire farmhouse, in which
In addition, there are popular buildings and certain civil buildings of interest, such as the 18th-century manor house of the Álvarez Reyero family, and others with their coats of arms on the covers and facades, since all its inhabitants belonged to the nobility.
The place now appears cited at the time of the Repopulation, at the beginning of the 10th century, its payments belonging to the abbots of Sahagún and Eslonza throughout the following centuries. Throughout the Middle Ages it belonged to the territory of Alión and in the 12th century (1185) the kings of León donated it to the Order of Santiago. In the fifteenth it was part of the Valdeburón merindad and in 1974 it merged with Crémenes.
- Name: La Remolina Dam
- Year of commissioning: 1987
- Prey gender: double curvature vault and asymmetric contour
- Coronation thickness: 4.20 meters
- Height above foundation: 100.6 meters
- Height above the channel: 89.91 meters
- Coronation level: 1,102.60m
- Length at coronation: 337 meters
- Galleries length : 1328 meters
- Number of spillways: two
- Number of drains: 1
- Maximum suitability of drains: 877 meters³/s