Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

Two Spanish Tripoints - 2005-09-11 - updated 2006-05-14

by Hugh Wallis

Text and all photographs © 2005, 2006, Hugh Wallis - All Rights Reserved

La Rioja, Castilla-León and Navarra

Following a posting on Yahoo Groups borderpoint mailing list enquiring about a Spanish Provincial tripoint I decided to give it a visit on my trip through Spain. Looking at the map I noticed that there were actually two tripoints within a few km of each other making the potential rewards of taking this diversion that much greater. What follows is my findings - note that all the photos are presented on this page in thumbnail format - clicking on them will bring up the full photo, which is generally around 700KB (so be warned). All GPS waypoint information is using the WGS84 datum.

The original enquiry referenced a website entitled HISTORIA DE LOS TRES REYES (History of the Three Kings) and a detailed map. This was the tripoint between the Spanish Provinces of Navarra, La Rioja and Aragón (note that the name differences on the marker are explained in the "History of the Three Kings" article - click here for a Babelfish translation into English) and on or near the N-113 highway. The aforementioned map showed the tripoint as being northwest of the road. Looking at other maps, Microsoft Streets and Trips showed it as being southeast of the road as did another topographical map I located.

When I reached the appropriate spot on the road I searched around for any kind of marker some distance either side of the road but was unable to locate one. What I did locate was all on the road itself. From these conflicting pieces of evidence it is is not possible, therefore, to determine accurately exactly where the tripoint is located. The following photographs hopefully will provide some interest, at any rate..

Navarra, La Rioja, Aragón Microsoft Streets and Trips Map - click for full size
View looking southwest with the two road signs visible. The tripoint marker is on the far side, on the bank of the road between the nearest two white road marking posts.
View to the northeast from behind the tripoint marker. The marker itself is located at N42° 00.437' W001° 50.790', elevation 1,801 ft. - note that is says "Logrono" not "La Rioja" - the old name for the province as explained in the article.
Side 1 of the tripoint marker - La Rioja, Zaragoza
Side 2 of the tripoint marker - Zaragoza, Navarra
  I did not get a photo of both Navarra and La Roija sides in the same picture
Closer view of the tripoint marker and road. The road surface changes south of the municipal signs and north of the tripoint marker. The road surface change is at N42° 00.448' W001° 50.773', elevation 1,808 ft

Update 2006-05-14

The following is part of the text of an e-mail I sent to the boundarypoint mailing list in December 2005 about some further research I did on these two tripoints, which contains links to various supporting material.

Revisiting these two Spanish tripoints from the comfort of my computer and the internet I have a lot more information to share now. Regrettably this means that I am now convinced that NEITHER of my two "finds" last September were actually of tripoints. :(
 
Lets take the northern one first - notably es2arlona. (The "comunidades autónomas " of Aragón, La Rioja and Navarra - see http://www.statoids.com/ues.html )
 
I have found the following evidence that makes it quite clear that the actual tripoint is, indeed, some distance to the north west of the road where I had stopped and taken the pictures that are at http://tinyurl.com/baglc, including ones of the supposed tripoint "mojón" which is obviously in the wrong place.
 
First I have found various topographical maps published by various agencies as follows:
 
http://tinyurl.com/78xsz is an extract from a 1:25000 topo map apparently published by a national agency
http://tinyurl.com/dhucl is effectively the same map but published by the government of La Rioja
http://tinyurl.com/dp73d is from a 1:50000 topo map
 
Now I have also found a wonderful site from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture that has very detailed land division information superimposed on aerial photographs - this is at http://www.mapa.es/es/sig/pags/sigpac/intro.htm#inicio and leads you to various sites for each of the autonomous communities in Spain, some of which have better information than others.
 
First looking at the info from Navarra (http://sigpac.tracasa.es/navegar/) we can see in http://tinyurl.com/c8w8y the boundary of Navarra superimposed on a photo from 2003. In http://tinyurl.com/7zvv6 we have the same information on a photo from earlier (interesting to note the change in vegetation around the area of the tripoint during this interim period). It is also very interesting to note that the boundaries do not appear to be as straight as marked on the topo maps but tend to jog around quite a lot.
 
Comparing this with the info from Aragón (http://sigpac1.aragob.es/visor/) in picture http://tinyurl.com/bxy3e we start to get a hint of a possible exact location of the tripoint (maybe at the pointy bit just northwest of the abandoned railway track?).
 
However, adding in the info from La Rioja (http://sigpac.larioja.org/visor/) in picture http://tinyurl.com/7tuxr things get a bit confusing because if you now compare all three images you see that the little triangle shown on the Aragón picture crossing the railway overlaps with the land apparently claimed by Navarra thus raising the possibility that the actual tripoint is just south of the railway.
 
So another visit is most definitely called for - I hope to get back there in early May next year when I have another possible visit to Spain in the works.

So I did indeed have the opportunity to revisit the location on 2006-05-14 while driving from the north coast of Spain to Madrid. I went to where I now expected to find the real tripoint and, indeed, there was a marker there. Some photos now follow.

The tripoint marker - this is the only face with any inscription on it.
Two of the other faces of the marker.
The fourth face is visible here.
View of the marker and its environs, facing north. The abandoned railway line is to the right of the marker.
View of the marker and its environs, facing south. The abandoned railway line is to the left of the marker.
The "money shot" - Class "A" find.

La Rioja, Castilla-León and Aragón

Then I moved on further south where the map showed a tripoint right on the road between La Rioja, Castilla-León and Aragón

La Rioja, Castilla-León, Aragón Microsoft Streets and Trips Map - click for full size - Aragón is on the east side, Castilla-León on the south and La Rioja on the northwest.
Looking south from behind the tripoint marker which is located at N41° 57.934' W001° 51.483', elevation 2,017 ft.
Close up of the "Soria" (i.e. Castilla-León) side of the tripoint marker -  we are facing south here, i.e. TOWARDS the named province
Close up of the "Logrono" (i.e. La Rioja) side of the tripoint marker - we are facing northwest here i.e. TOWARDS the named province
Close up of the third side which should be the Aragón (Zaragoza) - except that the writing is completely worn away. Also note that we are looking west - i.e. AWAY from the (supposedly) named province - so someone messed up when they built this marker!! There is no way to place it correctly so that the sides consistently face either towards or away from the named provinces (unless you turn it upside down!!)
A general view looking back northwards to show where the road surface changes. The marker is just in front of my car, behind the barrier.
General view along the line of where the La Rioja/Castilla-León border lies. The signs say "Private Hunting Land" and I could hear the sound of gunshots so I decided NOT to go wandering.

Update 2006-05-14

The following is part of the text of an e-mail I sent to the boundarypoint mailing list in December 2005 about some further research I did on these two tripoints, which contains links to various supporting material.

 
Now - turning our attention a few km down the road to es2arcllo (Aragón, Castilla-León, La Rioja) which I had thought I had found at the roadside:
 
Looking at topo map http://tinyurl.com/brcqh (1:50000) it appears that the tripoint is not by the roadside at all but some distance to the east. This would explain the fact that there were only two readable province names on the marker I found at the roadside and why they were apparently inconsistently placed for marking a tripoint (I was led astray by the fact that this was a triangular cross section marker)
 
To confirm this lets look at some aerial photos:
 
http://tinyurl.com/caqdw is from La Rioja (unfortunately there is no actual photo at the probable tripoint although boundaries are shown) and http://tinyurl.com/7zys7 is from Aragón and http://tinyurl.com/933th from Castilla-León. These three photos tend confirm the information from the topo map and appear consistent and indicate that the tripoint is approximately where the track starts to turn towards the south on the right of the pictures. Once more it appears that the actual borders are a lot more "wiggly" than shown on the topo maps. So, again, another visit is called for here.

Continuing on south on 2006-05-14 while driving from the north coast of Spain to Madrid. I again went to where I now expected to find the real tripoint and, indeed, there was a marker there. Some photos now follow.

Again the marker was easily found - interestingly it had exactly the same inscription on it as the one I found at the more northerly tripoint. I cannot at this time explain the meaning of this inscription.
A view of the marker looking back towards the road where the marker found in the previous visit was found.
Other faces of the marker.
For completeness, the last face of the marker.
Again the "money shot" - another Class "A" find.
Looking south along the Castilla-León, Aragón border you can see two other markers showing this border. The railway line is to the left of the markers from this vantage point.
These two markers are along the La Rioja, Castilla-León border. Although it is not evident from the photo, to the best of my ability (by standing and looking in each direction with binoculars,) I was able to confirm that these two markers do for a straight line with both the roadside marker and the tripoint marker pictured earlier, confirming my supposition that I had, indeed, found the tripoint marker.
Lining up these two La Rioja, Castilla-León markers shows where the tripoint marker is located with respect to the railway line.

I hope you have found this interesting - I won't publish my e-mail address here otherwise I will get spammed to heck but if this is of interest to you, you could join the Yahoo Group "boundarypoint" which exists for people with this rather esoteric tripointing interest and where you will find the means to e-mail me.