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camino de norte via narrow gauge rail + 100k walk


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Greetings Here,

For many years, I have had an ambition to do a Camino but my work means I cannot spend much time. I have now booked flights into Biarritz on 15th September and home from Santander 22nd September. I would like to travel the narrow guage rail from Irun as far west as possible. I know that it goes all the way to Ferrol from where I could take the Camino des Ingles but I would prefer this time to get off the narrow guage somewhere west of Oviedo and then bus or train down towards Lugo for the last 100K of the Camino de Norte. Looking at the map, I hope I can join the Camino di Norte at Vilalba but I have some questions which I hope someone can help me with.
Which stop on the narrow guage would give me the easiest travel towards Vilalba ie a good bus connection?
Will I be able to get my Pilgrims Pass stamped at Vilalba at that time?
Will the passport be authorised as a Camino? I calculate that Vilalba is over 100K from Santiago but is there precedent for this on the Camino di Norte as there is from Sarria on the Camino Frances?
Is my plan realistic in the time? I will welcome any comments or suggestions.
Buen Camino
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Thank you JW.

I am reviewing my plan to try and save a day. I note from Mundicamino that the section from Baamode to Sobrado dos Monxes is 40Km long and rises to 680M. This would be a very strenuous start so I think I will have to break this section up. There is a refugio in between so I can do that but at the expense of a day. If I start my Camino at Baamode, will I then qualify for a Compostella?

Also, I note that these sections before Arzua are very much cross country, are they well travelled and well sign posted. If anyone has been that way recently, I would love if they would let me know how they got on.

In regard to the stop where I get off the train, I note that Barreiros is on or near the E70 road which passes Villalba. Can anyone tell me if there are local buses on this route or will I need a taxi. I note the distance from Barreiros to Vilalba is about 60-70Kms.
Buen Camino

We walked from Baamonde to Miraz in about 3 1/2 hours. The albergue in Miraz is excellent. Bring food as there is only a bar that serves drinks, no food. The kitchen is excellent in the albergue so you can cook whatever you want. We brought Bocadillos for lunch and dinner, plus some extras. The bar had a house wine for 3 Euros that worked for us. :) Super nice place Miraz.

The camino was well marked from Miraz to Sobrado, no problems.

Also true for walking from Sobrado to Arzua. After some very nice trails and dirt roads leaving Sobrado you end up on the main highway to Arzua but there is a very nice path along the road specifically for pilgrims. At one point the Camino branches to the right following a road into a town, away from the highway. It is the right way to go. After going through the town the Camino follows an old highway that nobody uses. We walked down the middle of the road almost all the time, very peaceful. We left Sobrado at 6:30am and were in Arzua by 1:00pm, all easy walking.

:D Thank you to everyone who responded to my queries. I completed this mini-Camino between 15th and 22nd September. It worked perfectly and was very very satisfying. I can highly recommend it as a first step for anyone not familiar with Spain or anyone not sure of their walking abilities.

I started by flying to Biarritz and took shuttle bus to Bayonne Station and the train to Hendaye. At Hendaye I took the Euskotren to San Sebastion. I over nighted in San Sebastian and in the morning back on the Euskotren to Bilbao. Had a nice couple of hours break in Bilbao at mid-day had a meal in the market, got my credencial stamped at the lovely old cathedral and changed to the FEVE train arriving in Oviedo around 8pm. Over night here again and in the morning continued the FEVE to Ribadeo. On the train I met pilgrims using the train as the train route almost follows the Camino del Norte route. It is a wonderful railway and a great way to see Northern Spain. Cost is quite reasonable, less than €40 for over 550Km. :D

Ribadeo is a very pleasant medium sized port and seaside town well worth spending more time in. I just spent a few hours until taking a bus to Villalba. Buses travel to Villalba (65Km) 3 times per day morning, mid-day and evening. At Villalba, I got my credencial stamped in the tourist office after spending several hours trying to find it. I got great help from a guardian angel fellow pilgrim Manolo from Majorca who I met on the bus. We crossed paths several times during my Camino. A carpenter from Palma, he had no English and I had no Spanish but we got on very well together. Around 4pm I started walking to Baamonde, too ambitious! Got caught in the dark and had to look for lodgings. Had a great night in Restaurant Margarita introducing a couple of fire extinguisher installers from Leon to the taste of Jameson Irish Whiskey. One of them gave up his room for me, otherwise I was going to sleep on the floor. In the morning I continued to Baamonde and took a break before going on to the nice little Albergue in Miraz. Cutting out lots of lovely detail about people and places I met and saw along the way, I stayed at Sobrado de Monxes and then walked to Arzua but passed through to over night in Santa Irene. On the final day I walked from Santa Irene to Santiago stopping for a few moments at Monte de Gozo. On 21st I got to the cathedral of Santiago around 3pm. Then went to Pilgrims Office and received my Compostella. For information walking from Baamonde does not qualify, Villalba does qualify. It was wonderful. Do It! :D :D
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