With some time on our hands before leaving Spain, we returned to Santiago in the hope of liking it a little better! We were not disappointed, it was the build-up to the Fiesta of St James and the city was bursting with pilgrims. We spent hours enjoying the buzz of the new arrivals and finished on a high with a magnificant firework display. En-route home we visited the start point of our 2015 GR11 hike at Cape de Higuer and enjoyed an unexpected coincidence.
After 11 weeks on the trail we finally reached the ‘End of the World’ at Cape Finisterre. Our final few days on the Camino Finisterre had their challenges but arrival on the cool, glittering Atlantic coast was worth it. Cape Finisterre was the ‘proper’ ending we had been hoping for and we initally enjoyed the luxury of not having to hike- although soon enough we started to feel the loss of our simple and satisfying trail life.
At the beginning of Week 10 we set out from the buzzing city of Oviedo to hike 350km on the Camino Primitivo. The Primitivo is pretty tough, but it was made tougher by the heat and humidity. It took a while to learn to share the trail with others again and also to like the Primitivo as a trail, but it had redeemed itself by the time we arrived in the great pilgrim city of Santiago.
The week got off to a difficult start with the shadow of Brexit looming over our thoughts and sapping our motivation. After a wild swim broke the spell, we focussed again and the GR1 treated us to a glorious traverse of the Picos Regional Park before ascending to it’s finale at the pass of Puerto de Tarna.
One of our favourite weeks on the GR1 so far, across stunning limestone landscapes awash with wildflowers. There was a palpable relief to be back on the trail again and far from the world in Spain’s rural depths. The trail and weather were trying at times, but we have returned with a renewed appreciation for the journey and freedom.
After a short, unplanned break from the trail, we have arrived back in Spain to complete our GR1 adventure. 400 miles remain on our journey to Santiago and mythical Finisterre, and we return refreshed and looking forward to our ascent into the mountains of Cantabria.
In Week 7 we left the broad horizons of Navarra behind, and climbed into the verdant, misty hills of the Basque country. The locals we met were convinced we had lost the Camino, but we were glad to be back on lonelier trails doing our own thing, as is our wildpilgrim way! There was lots of waiting for the rain to stop and plenty of time for tea- drinking and contemplating as we reflected on how the hiking-life deepens our sense of time and the value of unnoticed things.
Week 6 saw us descend from the Sierras of Aragon to the plains of Navarra. The bustle of roads and cities was a shock to the system, but the big, dramatic skies and unexpected birdlife of the plains was a highlight of our walk so far. By the end of the week we finally had some company as we crossed the pilgrim ‘highway’ of the Camino de Santiago’.
Week 5 has taken us along some lonely remote sections of trail and cut a cross-section through the varied landscapes of Aragon, from the Sierra de Guara to the Hoya de Huesca and the towering red cliffs of Riglos. The weather has thrown in some challenges too, as has food resupply, but we made it through and now contemplate our descent to the plains of Navarre.
In week 4 we complete our journey through Catalonia and cross into Aragon through the mighty Mont- Rebei gorge. We walk through lost landscapes of abandoned villages, lose the GR1 on a few occasions and end with a tough climb into the magnificent canyon country of the Sierra de Guara Natural Park- one of our favourite places ever!