Total distance 864.5 km
Daily average 27.9
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 294 m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 302 m
I was rather alarmed this morning to discover that I only had a small amount of data left on my iPad sim. I’m not sure what I used the last 100 MB’s on as I have been very careful, but I was left with less than 50 MB to get me through the day. And I wasn’t sure it would be sufficient to give me good views of the terrain I would be walking. I had been planning a route that involved cutting through a lot of country side roads. Without sufficient data wikiloc would give me the line of the route I was taking, but not the background satellite view. If the data ran out when I was in the middle of nowhere, I would be in trouble and totally lost. So I made the decision to take the through road AC-556 which runs from Barqueiro to Ferrol. It is a fast road, although it being a Sunday there was a lot less traffic than normal and almost no lorries. But it was busy enough and the cars that passed did so at great speed.
I spend a great deal of time when walking on a road crossing from one side to the other. It is common sense, and I think the law in Spain, to walk on the left, ie facing the oncoming traffic. But I have observed enough cars whizzing by to know that there are times when it is by far safer to walk on the right. Mainly when there is an approaching left bend, ie right bend for the car coming towards me. Firstly, the driver will have no knowledge that I am walking at the side of the road around the blind bend. Secondly, cars driving at speed take a right hand bend very tightly, often encroaching deep into the shoulder. I have witnessed it time and again and there is no way I want to be facing oncoming traffic under these conditions.
There was a wide enough shoulder on both sides of the AC-556 and whilst it was very bendy I spent most of my time walking on the right. As an added precaution I also used my very HiViz pack cover so that (hopefully) I couldn’t be missed. Once the road straightened I reverted to walking on the left.
At Narón, with perhaps only 5+ kms to walk, I switched to a narrow country road, which was actually more stressful, as there was no shoulder at all and barely room for two cars to pass. I bypassed Ferrol and headed for the albergue at Neda on the other side of the estuary. An Austrian woman about my age arrived at the same time and there was already a group of three young fresh Spanish girls in residence. For reference, the entrance is at the back of the building and if no-one else is around the key is left on a window frame to the right side of the door.
There are I think 22 beds, separate bathroom facilities each with two showers and one loo. As is normal in Xunta albergues in Galicia there is little or no privacy in the showers, no curtains. At least here there was a semi-recess. I was totally outraged the first time I came across this scenario. How difficult would it be to provide a shower curtain? But now I have come to expect it. I don’t like it (read that as hate it), but it is what it is.
There are very few (possibly no) facilities to eat or drink close to the albergue in Neda, so I have recrossed the estuary to the Ferrol side where I shall probably stay to eat, before returning for an early night.
Today’s walk wasn’t great, or even good, although it was bright and sunny for a change. But I’ve had more than my share of fabulous trails over the last week, so I shan’t complain too loudly. I wasn’t inspired to take any photos – I was too busy keeping my attention on the traffic. Hopefully normal service will be resumed tomorrow. Incidentally I probably could have followed my original plan with sufficient data, but I just didn’t feel I could take the chance.
I would like to raise the subject of the eucalyptus farming in these parts. Practically the whole area seems to be intensively farmed with these trees. I have heard (although I haven’t done any research of my own) that eucalyptus are very bad for the environment. They take a lot of water and give nothing back to the soil. They are also a severe fire hazzard. As a walker, they take away many of the wonderful sea and landscape vistas that would have been visible not so many years ago. Who owns the land that is being farmed in this way? Are big companies responsible, or is it piecemeal local farmers? The former I would imagine. When the trees are felled it leaves the land looking devastated. I believe they are only used for pulping to make paper. Any informed views are very welcome.
And on the subject of views. Please know that I am so very appreciative of all the comments I receive. I read every one and only wish I had time to reply. You wouldn’t believe how very long it takes to write and post the blog with the photos. I have very little time or internet connection to respond, but I will definitely get around to it eventually, so please keep them coming and look out for my responses.