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Any solo females who walked the camino Primitivo?

Past OR future Camino
Future
It seems more and more likely that I will be walking the camino Primitivo alone. I just wanted to reach out to women who have done this tours before me to get their feedback on their experience- especially if they have done so in the off season… thank you in advance

Kindly,
Katherine
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Katherine,

I have walked the Primitivo four times, and once was in October, years ago. Even then, there were others on the route and this was before it was anywhere near as popular as it is now. I always started out alone, and always met people to walk with if I wanted. The Primitivo is a very popular route now, but traffic will drop a lot at the end of October, I bet. The fact that the private albergue in Grandas said it was closing on Oct. 31 probably reflects that. I have walked many stages on the Primitivo alone and without seeing anyone else and never felt threatened or nervous. I actually relish the stages when I walk totally alone, but that comes after many years of walking caminos. But when people ask me about this, I always say that I would never recommend that someone walk alone who is feeling nervous or anxious because that’s a sure way to ruin your camino. The camino is extremely safe, but fear comes from emotions and not always from facts. My telling you that statistically I am safer walking alone on the Primitivo than walking through my town at night is not going to help you sort out your own sense of anxiety/nerves or lack thereof! But I can say that I know many women who have walked alone, on the Primitivo and on other much more remote routes and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Primitivo is very well marked, but having GPS tracks on your phone might make you less nervous.

You’ll make the right decision for you after careful consideration. Buen camino, Laurie
 

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
.
Hi there, @U20C_Katherine
I walked El Primitivo from Oviedo as far as Lugo a few years ago. I enjoyed the physical challenge and found the scenery inspiring. Although I walked alone there were other pilgrims appearing here and there. I'm not sure that my comments will be of much use to you, today, as it was way back in September-October, 2011. However, you may enjoy seeing a few old photos. Here's a link to what I shared on the forum starting at post #664 .

Cheers,
-Lovingkindness
 
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Hi, Katherine,

I have walked the Primitivo four times, and once was in October, years ago. Even then, there were others on the route and this was before it was anywhere near as popular as it is now. I always started out alone, and always met people to walk with if I wanted. The Primitivo is a very popular route now, but traffic will drop a lot at the end of October, I bet. The fact that the private albergue in Grandas said it was closing on Oct. 31 probably reflects that. I have walked many stages on the Primitivo alone and without seeing anyone else and never felt threatened or nervous. I actually relish the stages when I walk totally alone, but that comes after many years of walking caminos. But when people ask me about this, I always say that I would never recommend that someone walk alone who is feeling nervous or anxious because that’s a sure way to ruin your camino. The camino is extremely safe, but fear comes from emotions and not always from facts. My telling you that statistically I am safer walking alone on the Primitivo than walking through my town at night is not going to help you sort out your own sense of anxiety/nerves or lack thereof! But I can say that I know many women who have walked alone, on the Primitivo and on other much more remote routes and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Primitivo is very well marked, but having GPS tracks on your phone might make you less nervous.

You’ll make the right decision for you after careful consideration. Buen camino, Laurie
Thank you. I do not fear spending time with self. I am just very nervous about the hospitales stage and of the pola de Allende if I was to get stuck along the way due to its remoteness I guess - I have read that that specific part is very isolated and the cellular network may not work. Therefore being a bit paranoid due to the fact that it may also rain during my hike. Any words of wisdom?
 
Past OR future Camino
Future
Hi there, @U20C_Katherine
I walked El Primitivo from Oviedo as far as Lugo before making a detour via A Caruna to Santiago d C, a few years ago. I enjoyed the physical challenge and found the scenery inspiring. Although I walked alone there were other pilgrims appearing here and there. I'm not sure that my comments will be of much use to you, today, as it was way back in September-October, 2011. However, you may enjoy seeing a few old photos. Here's a link to what I shared on the forum starting at post #664 .

Cheers,
-Lovingkindness
It’s all relevant. I appreciate your feedback and photos very much… I guess I’m most nervous about the unknown…
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I guess I’m most nervous about the unknown…
The unknown has another name: Your future. The author Mark Twain said:

“I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”​

Go forward. Don't look back unless you want to go there.
 

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
.
It’s all relevant. I appreciate your feedback and photos very much… I guess I’m most nervous about the unknown…
No need to worry, you are just going for a nice long walk. There will be yellow arrows, scallop shells, blobs of paint and pilgrim art to guide you along the way. In the communities which you pass through there are already people looking forward to your arrival, thinking about your needs, praying. If you need help along the way, ask for it: go to the municipal office, the library, the café, church, or police. Make enquiries face to face. Most people are friendly and like to help....
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I am just very nervous about the hospitales stage and of the pola de Allende if I was to get stuck along the way due to its remoteness I guess
I would be very surprised if you had to walk that stage alone. There are bound to be some people staying in Campiello, Borres, and samblismo, and I think most peregrinos are happy to team up on stages like this. If you are really worried about walking alone, and if you still haven’t met others who will be walking the stage when you do, you could sleep in Samblismo. That is the place that is closest to the beginning of the Hospitales route. Get there early and you will be ahead of everyone who starts in Campiello and Borres. Then just wait till people come along. But I really think you will have met people by this time and will have some company.

Rain would not be a problem on this stage, but a thunderstorm could be, because you are out walking exposed on a ridge for many kms. But as I said in an earlier post, I would far prefer to walk Hospitales in the rain than the Pola de Allande route, because that entire 400 m descent from Campiello to Pola is on a rocky path that turns into a small river in heavy rain.

You are right that this stage is more remote than others on the Primitivo, and maybe others can comment on cell phone service. Not at all to trivialize or dismiss your concerns, but I think everyone gets the pre-Camino jitters. Even more so if it’s your first Camino! By the time you get to the decision point, you will have a much better sense, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much now and just wait to see how things are going when you are actually there. I bet you will have a whole different level of confidence by then!

Buen camino, Katherine, Laurie
 
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Camino Francés (1974 + others)
I started the Primitivo alone in August, but I got to know the other pilgrims walking the route. I did Hospitales, but there were always people ahead or behind, the route was well marked, and halfway through, clouds rolled in and I walked in dense fog and heavy rain until Puerto del Palo - there was never a chance to get lost unless one didn't pay attention. It was glorious - an experience not to be missed.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
It’s understandable to be nervous, so if it’s reassuring many women (including myself) have walked that stage alone and enjoyed it with no problems. To echo what @peregrina2000 said, you may very well be part of a group by then, and if not could ask to join others you meet—I am the most antisocial misanthrope to ever walk the Camino and even I would have agreed to accompany someone who didn’t feel comfortable walking that alone. If for some reason you just aren’t ok with the Hospitales when you reach that point, go with the pola de Allende route, and if necessary even arrange some other way to berducedo. Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable, and Buen Camino!
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
I walked the Primitivo alone in 2016 at 69 yrs old with no problems. Its a very friendly Camino with just the right amount of pilgrims for comfort. Mind you I walked it again with my son in 2019 and really loved it . He walked a day ahead after Grandas with some younger folk and I also met others to walk with at times.
 

MechEngr69

Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPDP to Burgos 2014. Burgos to SdC arriving 5/5/2015. C2C (2016) Le Puy to Moissac April (2018)
Go to Nadine_walks on Instagram, and scroll down to her post on July 25, 2021. That was her Day 1 on the Primitivo this summer. Joe
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I've walked the Primitivo twice alone, the last time this past June. I rarely join a group as I like long stages and have no problem walking without anyone (65 year old female), even the Hospitales route. The first time (April 2019) I started it with a Frenchman leaving from the albergue in Samblismo (after Borres) but lost him during the first climb never to see anyone till reaching Berducedo. In June I was the first to leave the albergue while others stayed on to see if the mist would clear and asked me to Whatsapp the conditions which I did. The mist did eventually clear but even if misty there are many way markers and poles showing you the way. I was never afraid to get lost but if you feel uncomfortable leave with someone else.
 
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MCathleen

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2017
Hi, Katherine,

I have walked the Primitivo four times, and once was in October, years ago. Even then, there were others on the route and this was before it was anywhere near as popular as it is now. I always started out alone, and always met people to walk with if I wanted. The Primitivo is a very popular route now, but traffic will drop a lot at the end of October, I bet. The fact that the private albergue in Grandas said it was closing on Oct. 31 probably reflects that. I have walked many stages on the Primitivo alone and without seeing anyone else and never felt threatened or nervous. I actually relish the stages when I walk totally alone, but that comes after many years of walking caminos. But when people ask me about this, I always say that I would never recommend that someone walk alone who is feeling nervous or anxious because that’s a sure way to ruin your camino. The camino is extremely safe, but fear comes from emotions and not always from facts. My telling you that statistically I am safer walking alone on the Primitivo than walking through my town at night is not going to help you sort out your own sense of anxiety/nerves or lack thereof! But I can say that I know many women who have walked alone, on the Primitivo and on other much more remote routes and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Primitivo is very well marked, but having GPS tracks on your phone might make you less nervous.

You’ll make the right decision for you after careful consideration. Buen camino, Laurie
I agree with ALL of the above. I walked the Camino solo in October-November 2017. It was wonderful because of the wonderful solitude. There were a couple days that I did not encounter a soul all day long. So much time for contemplation.

I was 63 and people were kind of surprised that I would take it on, but it was not really very hard at all. At that time of year, however, yes...be sure to check for availability of albergues. I found many closed because so many hospiteros go on holiday in October, and they do start closing for winter then as well.
Research the hospitales route in advance if you choose that option. It is not technically difficulty but it is a long day. It is the only day I had my pack carried by courier for me, and I was glad I did.

You can read my blog posts about my experiences on the Primitivo beginning here:
https://cathleensodyssey.com/camino-de-santiago-del-norte-day-19/
 

krosemc

Camino Primitivo 2020, Camino Frances 2019
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hi Katherine! I walked the Primitivo alone beginning December 20, 2019-January 4, 2020 meeting only 4 pilgrims, and only one female pilgrim. I was very happy to meet her when I did! We met Christmas eve in Pola de Allende, and we were the same age, both 40-42. I love solitude, and was surprised at the joy I experienced meeting other pilgrims on this way. I walked alone for about 8 hours a day. Even though that was the case, I’m pretty certain there was always at least one pilgrim ahead of and behind me. There were stretches that I lost my cell signal, but they didn’t last very long …only minutes…and they weren’t frequent. It never made me nervous. I and the other female pilgrim I met had both been checking in with a family member at the end of each day, and letting them know where we had ended and were staying for the night.

I always felt safe and welcomed wherever I was. The people I met were very supportive, kind, friendly, and enthusiastic. Only a couple of times was I called nuts for walking in December! I never had trouble finding a place to stay, but about half the municipal albergues were closed. The weather was pretty great, with only a few light rainy days, no snow, and low temperatures never went below freezing. I think it was a mild year. However, it was really wet! There were parts of the trail that were submerged in water. I was able to circumnavigate it, but ended up getting trekking poles. I strongly suggest trekking poles, a poncho, and waterproof boots! The poles really help when it’s slippery and wet. Keep your chin up if it rains. Know it’ll pass. The rain might slow you down, but as a result you’ll probably get to see plenty of rainbows! I saw more rainbows in that one trip than in my entire life! It was an absolutely spectacular experience!

I’m planning to walk it again this December, beginning around 12/8.

I wish you a Buen Camino!

Kathleen
 

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