View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Camino Sanabres. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camino Sanabres. Show all posts

Monday, 23 April 2018

Blog silence…and De-stressing, April 2018

A particularly stressful 7-8 months (just one cause of the recent silence here) demanded some very serious space and time to straighten my head and to come up with A Plan. …so that’s exactly what I did.

Firstly a trip with TH to Glaramara in Borrowdale, where there was much running up and down hilly stuff in the finest of company, eating far more than is good for a chap, then possibly over-rehydrating by way of lots of nice beer followed by more than one brain-straightening session with good mates, all helped set me on the road to recovery.

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Next came a trip, perhaps a more spiritual trip than I expected, along a section of El Camino Via de La Plata in Northern Spain (should 'Northern' be written with a capital 'N'?). I was joined on this trip by Rob, who apart from being a chap made of The Right Stuff, proved to be an ideal walking companion: not once did he complain about my smelly feet, my whinging, or anything really.  Rob's one of The Good Guys. And he takes wonderful photographs.

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Then there's a short backpacking trip to That Yorkshire... well,  the Yorkshire Dales atcherly. This hasn't happened yet, but it's going to happen, next week. I know this because I've now booked my train tickets to Clapham. No, not that one, the real one... in That Yorkshire. This has been arranged by Lucky the Dog and his kilted Dad, The Pieman. Also in attendance will be Dawn, Chrissie Dixie... and maybe a doggy or two.  There may be more attending, I don't know, I'm just very grateful to have been invited along.

Firstly, Glaramara…

I was most fortunate to be able to squeeze myself onto this little trip although I wasn't able to spend as much time there as I'd have liked.

Arriving on Friday evening I was greeted by the rain and the general greyness that only Cumbria can provide. The gloom was soon lifted: I was sharing a room with Rob (no that one, the one that runs up and down hills at lightning speed), and the bar in Glaramara served Coniston Bluebird and the seriously excellent Loweswater Gold (a new one on me). The usual suspects were already in residence, having arrived either early that morning or even the previous day. My late arrival only raised a few eyebrows,  but there you go.

A very convivial evening followed, excellent food, good conversation, and maybe a beer or two more than was wise.

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Dinner at Glaramara

Next morning,  after a huge breakfast, I set off in the company of Ding Dong,  to follow the sawdust trail set by Doggy Burston. The trail was reputedly 10.5 miles, up Langstrath to Angle Tarn, over the tops of Allen Crags and Glaramara, then eventually back to our digs.

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We came upon Big Ian who had, perhaps wisely, opted out of running and decided to walk the route.  Ian has long and powerful legs, he was round the route in quick time.

Approaching Angle Tarn we spotted Wells the Elder coming up behind us. He didn't fall into the beck once, unlike someone else who shall remain nameless (Ding Dong,  seeing as you asked). Paul stopped for a quick chat before powering off over Allen Crags and the glories of Glaramara's 783m top.

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An un-named runner not quite falling into the beck

The next lot to catch us were the Fast Pack of McHarry, West-Samuel, Whitehead and Biker. A minute or so later Old Ruddock appeared and declared that he'd had enough of this nonsense and decided to join us on the descent by Grains Gill.... but we didn't see him again.

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A fast(-ish) moving Wells the Elder

Next up was Potter, sporting his usual grin - he also trotted off in the direction of Glaramara.

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Potter (unusually) in recovery mode

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Posing by Angle Tarn

Jenkinson, Murray & Co were next on the scene - Murray sporting the latest hair style that has become so popular among high-speed fell runners. I don't know how he keeps it out of his eyes.... maybe he just runs so fast the problem doesn't arise.

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Jenkinson leading the way

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The arrival of McHarry & Co

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The departure of McHarry & Co

Fast Taylor was next, running alone.  He tells me he's the strong and silent type.....well he's strong anyway.

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Fast Taylor en-route to Allen Crags

David and I,  along with some others, had realised that the trail might be a tad longer than the stated mileage. We took the executive decision to bale out at Allen Crags and trot down Grains Gill to return to Chateaux Glaramara via Seatoller. This proved a good move, even with our short cut the route was still 12 miles, quite long enough.

The day was warm but there were still signs that the area had been very recently splattered with lots of the white stuff:

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On our return to base we discovered that Burston had taken a tumble whilst laying trail. This necessitated a trip to Keswick's Minor Injuries clinic where he was treated by Nurse Whiplash.... and a satisfying outcome involving 4 stitches. Both nurse and patient appeared to have enjoyed the pain.

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Post-op Burston

More good food, a damned quiz (I escaped to the bar, along with other quiz cowards), then lots of good conversation, laughs and a few tears for those recently lost, and maybe a little more of the Loweswater Gold, all conspired to keep us going until well past midnight.

Next morning, at 7.30am, and after overnight rain, those daft enough to feel competitive took part in The Fell Race. The trophy,  the Side Pike Bottle, has quite a history to it. Presented to The Club in 1930-something by the Bass Brewery, it has become the subject of some derision. It's hardly a thing of beauty, but everyone wants to win it.  Apart from me.

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The Side Pike Bottle….and minder

The race is handicapped, I strongly suspect that the winner is chosen in advance and the appropriate handicaps are then dished out.

This year's worthy winner was Fast Taylor who's living room is now adorned with the winner's trophy.  His wife will be very pleased.  So he tells me.

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Fast Taylor, first in on The Fell Race

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Murray, sporting That Hairstyle


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Fast Taylor in Pose Mode

After breakfast I left the guys to continue their Cumbrian Adventure whilst I scooted southwards and home. I'd managed a much needed quiet and stress-free break, but there was packing to be done for the next adventure.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

29th – 30th September, Sanabria > Zamora > Bilbao

Homeward bound

My journey home: the train from Puebla de Sanabria to Zamora, bus from Zamora to Bilbao where I stopped overnight in the Albergue, a day wandering around Bilbao and then EasyJet back to Manchester.

Not many words, I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

image The early morning train to Zamora

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Zamora Railway Station in the early morning light 

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P1030072a Zamora

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Coffee and  churros at the best little churrería in Zamora

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Bilbao, Basque country – and a different language

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Bilbao is on the Ruta de la Costa or Los Caminos del Norte

 

P1030090aTwo cycling Peregrinos from Gent, Belgium 

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P1030092aHard to resist! 

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Bilbao’s Park

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Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

A stunning building, read more about it here

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P1030116aFlahs….farsands of ‘em 

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P1030153aPigeon control, Bilbao-style 

P1030156a Bye-bye Spain…until next time

Thursday, 30 October 2014

28th September, Camino Sanabres to Puebla de Sanabria

 

Can we do altitude? We can. Oh yes we can…

image     I mean, look at the size of that tree!

There was rarely a time when we were in doubt as to which way we should go, the inhabitants of Asturianos wanted to make damned sure we knew how to leave town:

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The bar at the Albergue didn’t open for breakfast so we got our heads down and sloshed (only a bit) to the first village that had an excellent bar / restaurant and a Dia shop (think Spar, but foreign).

The bar was a busy place and not without it’s peculiarities. Slap bang in the middle of the customer area was a display of knives, all for sale. There were big ‘uns, little ‘uns, in-between ‘uns, in fact there was virtually every type of knife available for sale. What I didn’t realise until now, and Matthew certainly hadn’t mentioned this to me, Vanessa had a thing about knives. She seemed to want to keep buying them. In fact it was becoming clear that she couldn’t get enough of them. Perhaps she’s taken out a huge life insurance policy on Matthew – they’ve only been married a few months. You hear about these things…..

So she bought one – how one earth she was going to get it past security at the airport, well heaven knows. I suppose she’d just put it with all the other knives she was carrying.

;-)

Another unusual thing about this bar were the large numbers of wasps nests on the ceiling:

image Oh well, whatever floats your boat. A bit like knives I suppose. Or taking all the bread.

Suitably refreshed, and only a little nervous of the knife-wielding Vanessa, we passed the first water source of the day:

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Leaving our snug little bar, suitably armed with a variety daggers, swords, stilletos and other dangerously sharp implements, we came across two ladies out for a Sunday morning mushroom collecting jaunt.

It appears that this area (I daren’t tell you where it is, I’ve been sworn to secrecy under pain of something probably quite painful) is a favourite mushroom hunting area for those in the know.

Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

These ladies sell the product of their Sunday morning forays to restaurants in the posher parts of *******.

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Then we came across more mushroom hunters:

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This fine lady very kindly gave us the mushroom she’s holding. I’ve no idea of the variety, you’ll have to ask Vanessa – she seemed to know.

image It’s not just ladies that get up to these larks

 

imageIf you got a fed up of walking you could always jump in a taxi

A gazillion miles away, and obviously nowhere near where the wonderful mushrooms were being collected, was Remesal de Sanabria. At this place a meeting took place (a very long time ago) between Fernando the Catholic and Felipe the, er, beautiful. That’s the literal translation. They were probably very nice boys.

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They must have fallen out / had a bit of a tiff, because just down the road they prepared to beat the living daylights out of each other:

image I’m not sure who came out, er, on top.

Off we went on out jolly way, the right way as it happens…

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….until we came to the village of Otero de Sanabria and it’s parish church:

image  image Wooden carvings of two saints above the church’s main door

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Wooden carving of seven sinners above the sacristy door

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Matthew enjoying the power cables….and the view of the church

What sticks in my mind when I think back to this walk, apart from the history, architecture and so on, is the interest shown by the people I met on the way.

If a car drove by as I walked down a road, the driver would invariably waved and greeting shouted. People would stop to talk when walking through towns and villages, the call ‘Buen Camino’ was often heard. Everyone realised I was walking the Camino. The Camino belonged to them and they were proud of it.

image We were stopped by this lovely man, chatting with him for nearly half an hour!

image The builders are in

imageThis one looks like a good project… 

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…although this one may be beyond economical repair

A change of scene, the pylons of Puebla de Sanabria come into view…

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…and a tractor…

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…shortly followed by a musical welcome into the town…

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…and then our Albergue:

imageCasa Luz = Light House 

After an excellent lunch in the restaurant across the road from the Albergue we set off to explore the town….and have a beer or two.

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imageDowntown (uptown?) Puebla de Sanabria

imageThe castle walls 

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 Puebla de Sanabria from the castle

This was my last day of walking El Camino on this trip, I’d walked around 250km from Salamanca. It’s around the same distance again to get to Santiago de Compostela – a good few km more to get to Finistere, where I hope to eventually finish this walk. That will have to wait until next year, there are other trips to do.

Matthew & Vanessa, Frankfurt Frank, Patrice & Christien, and all the other peregrinos I encountered on my walk all contributed hugely to my enjoyment of the trip. I miss their company already!