I forgot to start recording today’s walk, so have included the route I recorded in 2016 plus today’s version which varies slightly at the end.
I now have a matching pair of blisters at the lower edge of each heel. It takes five or 10 minutes of walking in discomfort before it’s almost possible to forget about them
It is still advised by the albergue hospitaleros to walk along the N634, it being the safer, more beautiful and shorter option to the official route. The two routes converge at Pesués after 9km of road walking (it feels safe with a wide shoulder). There follows a short woodland walk and the towns of Unquera and Colombres (very pretty with an attractive albergue) where I stopped to do some blister repair work.
Then a slog along some rough stony tracks towards La Franca. A loose stony track is one of the worst surfaces for a walker, especially if you have boots with thin soles and feet with soles that are becoming rather tender.
We stop for another rest in La Franca and then it isn’t long before we take the alternative route that involves crossing a railway line and a stile in order to reach the beautiful wild moorland that tops the high cliffs on the route to Pendueles.
I have so looked forward to this stretch along the rugged headland that I last walked with my camigo Günter. It was a lovely blue sky day back in 2016, whereas today there is a grey sky threatening rain. But the rain holds off and I take a path through the rough gorse covered moorland as close to the cliffs as possible. It is a very rugged, rocky walk passing in places very close to the edge of the towering cliffs. And then we reach the ‘Puente Salto de Caballo’ a rock formation that bridges an inlet. Last time Günter persuaded me that we should act our age and walk around it. But this year I decided to go for it and carefully made my way across the pointy deep rocks that form the bridge. I took it slowly and carefully and made it across in one piece. Yay, it was really exhilarating. So glad I did it.
There remained roughly 2 km to reach our stage end of Pendueles. We are staying in Casa Flor. A rather soulless accommodation that calls itself an albergue, but is actually a converted house with three rooms of bunks, a weird shared bathroom and no other facilities. It was badly reviewed on gronze.com and I have no reason to argue with that. The lovely place where I stayed last time no longer exists and of the other two albergues, one is closed and the other is full. At least we have a bed for the night.
All in all a very satisfying day.