Stage 25 – Berducedo to Castro, 27.1 km

Yesterday afternoon some locals seemed to take delight in telling us that there would be storms today, and their prophecy of doom was supported by the weather forecast. It was indeed raining when we left this morning, but not heavily, and there was no more than light rain throughout the walk, with many periods of no rain. But there was very limited visibility as I walked through thick cloud for the first couple of hours – down to 20 or 30 metres. It created a very special atmosphere.

Right side up / upside down images – showing the camino trail through the raindrop

The first 6km were along a quiet road. After reaching the hamlet of La Mesa there is a ridiculously steep hill that stretches for 2+ km – a real killer. I huffed and puffed but kept my pace going to the top. Shortly after the summit we forked onto moorland. Over the last few days there have been extensive patches of burned land and I had wondered if this was some sort of controlled land management.

This moorland was also burned off, the smell of the fire was still very strong. After some distance I entered a planted pine forest – trees all in regimented rows and all completely blackened by fire. Now I realised this was no plan but a devastating accident. There must have been millions of destroyed trees. In my limited experience of pine forest fire (Competa 2014) pines do not recover. I was walking for probably a couple of hours through the carnage, which was strangely beautiful, particularly with the low lying mist giving the impression of smoke still rising from the ashes.

The views changed constantly, with the variation of light and the position of the cloud, encouraging more and more photo opportunities

There was a point at which we could see the wide body of water of the Rio Navia deep down at the bottom of the gorge with the wispy cloud adding to the magic of the view. I have been blessed on this walk, even when the weather isn’t fine, it is actually beautiful.

I asked a passing Spanish guy if he knew anything about the fire, and he said that it had happened only two weeks ago. The land affected rises from the gorge of the Grandas de Salime dam at 220 metres to the summit at over 1,000 metres. What a change to the scenery in just a couple of weeks. I’m guessing that all these trees will have to be felled and removed as they have been in the mountains surrounding Competa. An absolutely mammoth task.

The walk down this gorge was a great strain on the knees and mine were definitely ‘talking to me’ as Marilyn would say. If fact they were shouting obscenities at me. But I pretty much ignored them and made it to the bottom in one piece. Only to realise the inevitable – what went down must go back up and there was a steady climb for the next 6 km when we reached the new town of Grandas de Salime (the original town had been drowned by the dam when it was constructed in 1954). I was glad to find an ATM as I was running short of money.

The last 5 km from Grandas to Castro were a delight. Mostly on tracks through woodland and between pastures with some roadwalking added to the mix. I think I almost prefer this gentle scenery to the huge expanses of mountain passes. Trotting across pastures, between tiny hamlets past a variety of farm animals gives me great joy and a lifts my spirits.

The albergue at Castro is an absolute delight. It is advertised as a youth hostel/albergue, but I can’t imagine many youths would be likely to stay here. Perhaps it is a way around the Spanish ‘autonomo’ (self-employed) system. There are 16 beds in rooms of four, two bathrooms, a huge communal sitting/dining room with kitchen facilities (microwave), a bar with an amazing choice of healthy food, and a delightful garden. There are no other facilities in this tiny hamlet, but none are needed! I absolutely recommend this place at 11 euros, with washer/dryer.

Today’s distance 27.1 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 713 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 946 m
Total distance 674.8 km
Average per day 27 km

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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9 Responses to Stage 25 – Berducedo to Castro, 27.1 km

  1. perryjudith says:

    Beautiful photographs as usual – I have been “travelling with you” each day of your walk and enjoying your descriptions of the changing scenery. Hope your knees recover from today!

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  2. JoAl says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post and pics. You make me feel I’m there lol.x

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  3. Maureen Gillespie says:

    Maggie I’m speechless. What an extraordinary feat you’re undertaking (excuse the pun). You put us 56 year olds to shame. xx

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  4. Amanda de Klerk says:

    Nurture those knees…..Hope they recover fine during the night and that you are up and going strong tomorrow again! I always say ‘you don’t mess with the sea, the gods and your knees!”
    Buen Camino!

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  5. That is a serious elevation change!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Siepi King says:

    Again amazing pictures keep them coming. Thank you so much. Siepi

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  7. absolutely loving your journey. what a surreal landscape….those burned woodlands. a real shame though that they have to be destroyed like that, but they sure provided some amazing scenes. the alburgue looks lovely. thanks for the headsup. I shall add it to my hints and tips list for future walk. 😉 Hope the knees are okay. Mine scream regularly LOL

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  8. Mary Lynch says:

    Your photos just get better and better Maggie. Be kind to the knees they have to do you for another few years. Yet another wonderful albuergue very valuable information for future reference many thanks. Much love and buen camino xx

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  9. kristina wilkening says:

    Beautiful scenery. When you are in the mountain passes it seems you are a million miles from any civilization! You definitely have part energizer bunny in you!

    Like

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