General Description: The Ruta de la Lana is based on a commercial route formerly used in the wool (lana) trade. A pilgrimage on the route is documented as early as 1624. Depending on the source, the route is described as starting on the Mediterranian coast at Alicante or from the tiny village of Monteagudo de Las Salinas southeast of Cuenca. 380 km from Alicante running in a straight line horthwest through Almansa (crossing the Camino de Levante), Cuenca and Santo Domingo de Silos to Burgos where it joins the Camino francés.
Waymarking: There was a note in a diary written in 2002 that the Ruta de la Lana was being intentionally left without waymarks (yellow arrows) for the purpose of having it retain some flavor of previous centuries. However we have seen a more recent note (March 2008) concerning new route markings being painted between El Herrumblar (between Alicante and Almansa) and La Melgosa (just short of Cuenca).
Terrain: The route is described as not being particularly difficult relative to the terrain but more so due to the long stages.
When to go: Climate tables for Alicante, Cuenca and Burgos.
Accommodation: There are esentially no pilgrim-specific accommodations on the route but there hotels, hostales, pensiones and casas rurales all along the route.
Guidebooks: The website of Los Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Cuenca makes reference to a guidebook that covers the route from Cuenca northward to where it joins the francés at Burgos, La Ruta de la Lana, Guía del Peregrino a Santiago de Compostela, de Cuenca a Burgos (1999). Editorial Alfonsípolis. (Spanish)
Internet links: Los Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Cuenca has a site and a forum focusing on the Ruta de la Lana. (Spanish) La Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Albacete has information on all the routes in the area of Alicante, Valencia and Albacete - the Camino del Sureste, the Camino de Levante, the Camino del Argar, the Camino del Azahar and the Ruta de la Lana. La Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Cuenca has a substantial amount of information on the Ruta de la Lana including accommodations, stage descriptions, two journals (2002 in English and 2007) and a forum. (Spanish)
Other remarks: Colin Jones and Paddy Barr, pilgrims on the route in 2002 wrote: "At Burgos the real contrast between La Ruta de la Lana and the Camino Francés becomes obvious. Suddenly we were joining a constant stream of pilgrims along the Camino Francés. Following the Wool Route had required us to pay attention to our surroundings; to our guide-book and to advice we received from local people. It also meant being very aware of the route we were following. The lack of yellows arrows kept us alert. While we met no other pilgrims with whom we could share our stories and experiences there was a deep sense of focusing on our own reasons for being pilgrims."