It’s the peak season for wildlife in the Scottish islands and we are walking the newly opened Hebridean Way- 180 miles from Vatersay to the Butt of Lewis. In this post I talk about the appeal of this new route, trail logistics and some minor gear updates.
It’s been over 2 months since we returned from walking the GR1 and we’ve had time to review our thoughts on the trail. This post covers issues such as how we found wild-camping, food re-supply, the weather, route highlights and any problems and dislikes. The GR1 has so much to offer hikers looking to get off the beaten track and into the lonely heart of Spain.
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.
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.
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 3 the GR1 got tougher as we plunged into the jumbled geology of the Sierra de Cadi. There were some bird highlights, plenty of dog encounters (good and bad), some logistical difficulties, heavy packs and few more hotels than planned. A timely decision at the end made all the difference.
Week 1 of our walk across Spain on the GR1 ‘Sendero Historico’. In 6 days we have ascended from the blazing Coastal plain to into the deep woods of the lonely Sierra Garrotxa.