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Back on the Mar

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Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Via Podiensis 2015
Hi everyone,

I'm in Spain for a quick last jaunt on the Mar and Inglés before I have to finalize the manuscript for publication for the new guide. As a few of you might recall, my major scouting trip on the Mar was... well, marred by an unfortunate encounter with an unfriendly German Shepherd, so that threw off some of my plans at the time. I needed to make one more trip in order to set foot on all of the trails/tracks included, which is a pretty good amount, considering it covers the Mar proper, the Cantábrico, and the coastal approaches surrounding Teixido. It's a bit over 400km total, I think.

Anyway, it was a different approach for me, since I rented a car and revisited some stretches solely via slow-moving auto (the mostly road-bound section between Viveiro and Cuiña, for example), and then would park in others and trot through trails--and then trot back. I would have rather just been on foot entirely, but time didn't permit and this had some advantageous given the many variants to jump between.

I'm now on the Inglés--and have a fun new alternative approach that I scouted out yesterday to share later--so this will just be some quick impressions of what I covered:
  • First off, I posted photos to the NC Facebook page here
  • Cantábrico waymarks are excellent all the way through to Ladrido, just north of Ortigueira. They officially end at that point, though curiously I also saw a Cantábrico sign next to the San Xiao trail north of Cariño. So perhaps there are hopes of expansion
  • That said, I can understand why it breaks off in Ladrido. As things stand, there's no clear way to connect Ladrido and Ortigueira without a long highway walk or a very lengthy and circuitous inland detour (at least, so far as I can tell). The same is true between Ponte Mera and Cariño. For big chunks of both of those sections, you have very little (if any) shoulder to squeeze into
  • Mar waymarks continue to be maddeningly irregular. For example, you'll see a couple of yellow arrows on the long stretch between Covas and Riobarba, often in places where they merely confirm that one should continue to go straight, but then they are lacking entirely when a counter-intuitive turn is required.
  • That said, they are at their peak reliability between Cuiña and Ponte Mera, where the route has changed a bit and is now a little more compact. Lots of arrows here!
  • There's also some very interesting flashes of yellow arrows around the San Xiao trail north of Cariño. An arrow and scallop shell appear out of nowhere, leading you along the trail. As you arrive at San Xiao, you see a yellow 'Buen Camino!' Then--this surprised me--when you return to the highway, there's actually a yellow arrow calling for a left turn (back towards Cariño), eventually turning right up a steep dirt road (not navigable by most vehicles). I had to leave the arrows there (I was out of daylight at this point and had to continue onward to Teixido the next day), but it's worth exploring later. Note that I did not see the arrows come out on the other side, but I may not have been looking in the right place
  • Again, the road from Ponte Mera to Cariño would be very unpleasant to walk. But my goodness, Cabo Ortegal is exceptional--all rocky crags and surging waves--and the ascent from there to the bluff overlooking it all is dramatic. If you take the direct route from Ponte Mera to Teixido, you still see some of it, but you miss out on brilliant walking with sweeping views of Cariño and the bay on your left, cliffs on your right, and some brilliant stretches of turbines (with the accompanying gusts you'd expect). This was the most memorable scenery I encountered...
  • ...Rivaled only by the Ruta dos Peiraos, connecting Teixido and Cedeira via the coast. This is strenuous walking. Every time I saw another big coastal peak in front of me, I thought 'surely we won't climb over the top of that one, too,' but indeed we did! You are on the coast pretty much entirely, with some nice stretches of pine and eucalyptus, and others where it's just you and the rocky coastline. There is one very, very brief stretch of pavement, but it's otherwise entirely offroad until the final approach to Cedeira
  • Some of the locals call the coastal stretch south of Cedeira 'Galifornia' because of the big surfer-friendly beaches. And they are awesome! Valdoviño, Pantin, and Doñinos are all exceptional
  • I loved the final approach in to Ferrol, following the coast past Castle San Felipe and then around the port
  • There's a big sign in Teixido promoting the GR-55, which links Teixido to Betanzos (on the Inglés). Seems like a cool approach--anybody done it?
  • T&V - We previously talked a bit about Xove. Historically, it seems to have been a place through which at least some pilgrims passed, as you did. I went through there but found zero waymarks or indicators
OK, gotta go walk. Another long day today, linking Betanzos and Sigüeiro, and I'm anticipating zero resources. But, I think I may have yet another perfect set of blue skies--once the sun comes up around 8:45!


Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
T&V - We previously talked a bit about Xove. Historically, it seems to have been a place through which at least some pilgrims passed, as you did. I went through there but found zero waymarks or indicators
We visited Xove last May (2018) by car. The signs we found in 2015 were no longer there and also there was no accommodation either time. The decision to re-route may have been influenced by that as well as by the actual terrain.
It will be interesting to see the route you map out.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
I am impressed with the details and respect for the toponomy. Only found a little mistake: Doñinos is Doniños.
Thanks to your post I learnt two new Galician words: Peirao (dock) and Xiao (Julian ).


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Via Podiensis 2015
Ha! Good eye -- I'll get it right in the book!


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