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Crushed rock fills the Camino Primitivo in Galicia

#1
The Primitivo enters Galicia after the pass at Acebo. At that point, at least up to Lugo where I am now, almost every bit of unpaved camino has been scraped, leveled, and filled with a crushed rock/gravel type substance. There seem to be two widths. Where possible, the path is wide enough for a car. In the hills and valleys, the machinery must have been smaller and the path is about 5' (?) wide. Even on those parts after Paradavella and the ascent up to A Lastra, it is incredible. There is one spot where Mother Nature has taken her revenge and left a mess but for the rest of it, you will be walking on a leveled gravel path. I guess "paving" is an overstatement but not much.

I assume it's the Xunta and they must have their reasons. 4 years ago this was a regular old (and beautiful) camino --why would they do this?!

If this idea spreads back to Asturias, I don't even want to think about how it would change things. It's just not right to be walking through beautiful woods on a cleared gravel path.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#2
Would this construction make the path suitable for cyclists then?
 

mla1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2000); Ch St. Giles (2013); Le Puy to SJPP (May/June 2015); vdlp 2016
#4
There were also some of these very engineered paths in Galicia on the Sanabres. In some places, it seemed, to stop erosion. But I did wonder what they had been like before and whether the project had been intended to protect the landscape, to make it easier for more pilgrims to walk the route, or to make jobs.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#5
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Olivares

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
#6
Peregrina-- I am so with you on this one! Hated the paved sections of the Camino Frances and resented ;)the gravel and concrete sections as well. The original intent was WALKERS, so unsure why and when the priorities shifted to make it more amenable to cyclists and even motorists. I do get the need to perhaps alleviate the muddy trails, but planting grass is perhaps a more environmentally friendlier answer.

That said, the Camino ultimately is under the care of the particular communities and they used it as well for their daily routines, so who can blame them for wanting to make their lives easier as well? Tough to balance.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#7
When I was there a year ago there was already some walking paths built in the last 2-5 km as one entered Lugo. I walked on the road! This aggravates me, same when arrows take you on a silly detour to avoid 2 meters of road walking. I really hope the Friends of are able to convince the local authorities that they should forget about these silly initiatives that do not improve the Camino, do not attract more people, and annoy many, and spend their EU € on serving the community where it really needs it.

Oh dear, did I just point out yet another reason for the Brexit? ;0)
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
#8
All Caminos will be on road or crushed rock within 5 years. To police the way? Or to reroute the bike who have some towns in upheaval! 8-10 bikes speeding thru small Pueblo. Not a pretty sight or sound. The people are afraid. Also someone else will become responsible for the white paper. Patrol cars are everywhere including plain cars.
 
#9
The damage is done and I don't know how it could be undone. I don't know if the intent is to make the path suitable for cyclists (which I think it is now,except for the rare mess). I don't think so because there are virtually no cyclists on the Primitivo (I've seen 2). I am sure the intent is not to benefit the local folks who use the paths, otherwise the "repairs" would not all be in one line heading to Santiago. Whatever the intent is, if this is what is going to happen to all the Caminos in Galicia, God help us. I am no "purist" but I find this to be such unpleasant walking that I can't imagine coming back to the Primitivo in Galicia.

Fiends of the Invierno had better join forces and block those bulldozers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#10
This April (2016), I encountered about eight kilometers (2 km + 6 km) of red slimy, clay-based mud, west of Astorga, after Hospital de Orbigo. The accurate reason I later learned was that the local junta (government) sought to improve the path for farm machinery. I just happened to arrive AFTER they leveled and applied a coating of clay as a base, before adding a gravel top-layer. Just my family motto at work..."A dollar short and a day late..."

Note, that much of the Camino, several traditional routes across several provinces and regions, traverses agricultural areas. These agricultural areas, and their productivity, are critical to the Spanish economy, at least the agricultural sector. This economy literally needs all the help it can get.

Seen in this context, repaving the graveled paths, or in some cases adding hard paving (concrete or asphalt) to support larger, heavier, perhaps more efficient farm machines is not incorrect IMHO. If you were a farmer you would likely have an opinion in favor of improving the access roads so you could more efficiently work your fields and crops. The result is a net good to all.

However, when seen as Camino pilgrims, who prefer walking on a completely natural surface, we sometimes feel outraged, angry, or somehow disadvantaged by these "improvements." This understood, I submit we need to consider that the primary purpose of these paths continues to be to support the local economy. Use as Camino pathways is secondary, regardless of UNESCO designation or historical precedent. We pilgrims are literally guests in Spain, and along the Camino. We are passing through. The local inhabitants must earn a living aside from our contributions.

After I fell and bruised arms, knees, hips and elbows several times in April (see above), I was also quite (like HUGELY) cross. Once home, I started asking questions of people I knew who live in the area, or who had direct knowledge. I started looking for related stories about "improving" roads in agricultural areas that were also Camino routes. What I learned is what I am trying to describe above. I am NOT taking a "for" or "against" position.

As a pilgrim, I too prefer walking on wholly natural surfaces. However, too much of the original routes are deeply gouged by millions of footsteps, wagon wheels, horse hooves, bicycles, etc., over the millennia. The result is a LOT of mud and treacherous footing whenever it rains, which is does quite often in Northwest Spain. It was not always this way. Pilgrims inadvertently caused much of the wear and tear over the centuries.

All things considered, and based on my personal experiences, observations and preferences, my FAVORITE walking surfaces are the finely gravel coated sendas, traversing large farm tracts, like those found across the Meseta. These are farm machinery access roads, running through vineyards (in Rioja and eastern Leon), and across large farms along the rest of the Camino Frances (for example).

This type surface drains rain quite fast, and provides ample traction even if snow is falling. It does not require the extra care and regular maintenance that small rounded stones or old Roman Roads do. The gravel is not as likely to twist an ankle like the rougher stone-covered paths farther to the west, and across Galicia, for example.

Of course, I realize that each of us has a preference. But, this is mine. As someone in his 60s, with bone issues, I do try to avoid tripping, falling, and twisting any body part. While I respect the purist point of view, I am also aware that the use of much of these routes as Camino paths is secondary to the daily, primary use of these routes for agriculture. Thus, we must "share the road."

I am also aware than some, perhaps many of you, may disagree with my view. However, before replying angrily, think about the big picture. This issue, while important to us pilgrims, is only one consideration in an economy that is trying desperately to remain competitive and to improve the overall standard of life in Northwest Spain. I agree with you all, who prefer "the good old ways." However, I also see the overriding reasons and necessity for the local folks doing what they believe they must to survive economically.

I hope this helps the dialog.
 
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backpack45scb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2001 CF, 04-6 LP, 07 Port, 08-10 Arles, 11 Mozá,12-13 Gen-LP. 00-10 PCT, 15 Norte, 16 Primi
#11
We just walked over this section a few weeks ago. "Paving" is a very misleading way to describe it. We've walked both the Norte and the Primitivo, and there is quite a bit of road walking where the walking surface is truly paved with asphalt, and quite hard on the feet. In contrast, the new gravel paths in the Galicia part of the primitivo are about as perfect a walking surface as I can imagine.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#12
The damage is done and I don't know how it could be undone. I don't know if the intent is to make the path suitable for cyclists (which I think it is now,except for the rare mess). I don't think so because there are virtually no cyclists on the Primitivo (I've seen 2). I am sure the intent is not to benefit the local folks who use the paths, otherwise the "repairs" would not all be in one line heading to Santiago. Whatever the intent is, if this is what is going to happen to all the Caminos in Galicia, God help us. I am no "purist" but I find this to be such unpleasant walking that I can't imagine coming back to the Primitivo in Galicia.

Fiends of the Invierno had better join forces and block those bulldozers.
I fully agree with you on this. Years ago (2009) I met a team at work putting in some steps and paving on the Norte. They said then, that ultimately the Camino would be "paved" all the way to Santiago! Sadly they may have been right.
I much prefer this:- DSCF2507.JPG

to this:- DSCF2518.JPG

Blessings
Tio Tel
 

micamino73

Active Member
#13
The Primitivo enters Galicia after the pass at Acebo. At that point, at least up to Lugo where I am now, almost every bit of unpaved camino has been scraped, leveled, and filled with a crushed rock/gravel type substance. There seem to be two widths. Where possible, the path is wide enough for a car. In the hills and valleys, the machinery must have been smaller and the path is about 5' (?) wide. Even on those parts after Paradavella and the ascent up to A Lastra, it is incredible. There is one spot where Mother Nature has taken her revenge and left a mess but for the rest of it, you will be walking on a leveled gravel path. I guess "paving" is an overstatement but not much.

I assume it's the Xunta and they must have their reasons. 4 years ago this was a regular old (and beautiful) camino --why would they do this?!

If this idea spreads back to Asturias, I don't even want to think about how it would change things. It's just not right to be walking through beautiful woods on a cleared gravel path.
Given the mud in some places i preferr the new path. 40cm deep in mud is not nice.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo April/May 2016
Voie Littorale May 2020
#14
We walked Norte/Primitivo in May this year and appreciated efforts to improve drainage and apply packed pea gravel surfaces. Very nice break from ample asphalt and mud.

If walking in the dry months this is probably not an issue but better paths would make Primitivo pleasant in April and perhaps reduce congestion in later drier months.
 

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
#15
Improving mud-holes is one thing, paving or making gravel tracks in other places is spoiling it IMO. Just glad we walked the Primitivo when we did.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#16
Note, that much of the Camino, several traditional routes across several provinces and regions, traverses agricultural areas. These agricultural areas, and their productivity, are critical to the Spanish economy, at least the agricultural sector. This economy literally needs all the help it can get.

Seen in this context, repaving the graveled paths, or in some cases adding hard paving (concrete or asphalt) to support larger, heavier, perhaps more efficient farm machines is not incorrect IMHO. If you were a farmer you would likely have an opinion in favor of improving the access roads so you could more efficiently work your fields and crops. The result is a net good to all. . . . . . . . . . . .

I started looking for related stories about "improving" roads in agricultural areas that were also Camino routes. What I learned is what I am trying to describe above. I am NOT taking a "for" or "against" position. . . . . . . .

Of course, I realize that each of us has a preference. But, this is mine. As someone in his 60s, with bone issues, I do try to avoid tripping, falling, and twisting any body part. While I respect the purist point of view, I am also aware that the use of much of these routes as Camino paths is secondary to the daily, primary use of these routes for agriculture. Thus, we must "share the road."
. . . . . . . . . .
I am also aware than some, perhaps many of you, may disagree with my view. However, before replying angrily, think about the big picture. This issue, while important to us pilgrims, is only one consideration in an economy that is trying desperately to remain competitive and to improve the overall standard of life in Northwest Spain. I agree with you all, who prefer "the good old ways." However, I also see the overriding reasons and necessity for the local folks doing what they believe they must to survive economically.

I hope this helps the dialog.
I do not think that Peregrina2000, myself, or others would have an issue with the upkeep and improvement of farm tracks. The problem is the "improvement" of forest paths that have been the great attraction for many of us who have enjoyed the Primitivo. If you like long, open, made up tracks then the Meseta is for you. Until this last year or so, the Primitivo has been a mix of narrow tarmac roads, forest and mountain paths and some mud!! (especially around Tineo). The variety is why some of us have returned to the Primitivo. If it is to become another bland underfoot walking route then it will have lost much of its attraction.

Enjoy it while you can!

Blessings
Tio Tel
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
#17
Fiends of the Invierno had better join forces and block those bulldozers.[/QUOTE]

I'm on the Invierno as I write this, and very sad to inform that heavy machinery is levelling an unsightly route through nature between Rodeiro and Cabra.

The problem is not, as another has posted, EU money, as the way that EU money is spent on regional development projects is decided not by Brussels but by the national government. The current President of Spain comes from Galicia, and internal decisions have led to absurd projects being commissioned. The high speed train (AVE) that has torn apart the Sanabres is a major act of environmental vandalism.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(09/2013)
#18
The Primitivo enters Galicia after the pass at Acebo. At that point, at least up to Lugo where I am now, almost every bit of unpaved camino has been scraped, leveled, and filled with a type substance. ...
Will the crushed rock/gravel application wear out the soles hiking boots that much quicker? Last year, I wore out my new Lowa Renegade boots walking the del Norte from Irun, and to my chagrin, I learned that they are designed to be resoled.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#19
Will the crushed rock/gravel application wear out the soles hiking boots that much quicker? Last year, I wore out my new Lowa Renegade boots walking the del Norte from Irun, and to my chagrin, I learned that they are designed to be resoled.
I would not worry so much about the sole of your shoe, but its structure, atiffness, etc. 800km will normally kill any shoe, no matter the sole.

Now, why Spain is waisting €€€€€€ given to it to pave the Camino really bothers me. It has much bigger fish to fry with that money, especially considering this is no added value. Until now I have never felt I deserved to vote in Spanish elections since I don't live ther, but this may do it.

The Primitivo doesn't have us walking uneavenly in fields none stop like the Frances does.

As for mud, it comes with cold rainy weather, so I choose not to walk in muddy months to avoid cold and rain.
 
#20
Will the crushed rock/gravel application wear out the soles hiking boots that much quicker? Last year, I wore out my new Lowa Renegade boots walking the del Norte from Irun, and to my chagrin, I learned that they are designed to be resoled.
The crushed rock may not harm your boots, but it could do a number on your body. By leveling the camino to an even and harder path, it makes tendonitis much more likely to rear its ugly head.

I appreciate that the mud on the Primitivo causes problems, but I just can't believe that hormigon (crushed rock) is the best environmental or aesthetic or ergonomic solution. Walking through green forests and ancient hamlets on a level nearly paved white crushed rock path is jarring to say the least. Surely the Xacobeo can do better.
 
Camino(s) past & future
August 2016 - Primitivo
#21
As someone who is planning to start my first walk next month I find that taking what is the easiest solution to path management very depressing that once done will be impossible to reverse. There are plenty of places around the world that have high visitor numbers and suffer the same problems of erosion and mud and they find ways to maintain and improve paths without resorting to destroying what makes an area special. I would guess no has though of the consequences of having built proper paths it then encourages more walkers which then changes the towns and villages it passes though. Who want to visit town and villages that exist just to serve tourists and where the tourists outnumber the locals.
 
#22
As someone who is planning to start my first walk next month I find that taking what is the easiest solution to path management very depressing that once done will be impossible to reverse. There are plenty of places around the world that have high visitor numbers and suffer the same problems of erosion and mud and they find ways to maintain and improve paths without resorting to destroying what makes an area special. I would guess no has though of the consequences of having built proper paths it then encourages more walkers which then changes the towns and villages it passes though. Who want to visit town and villages that exist just to serve tourists and where the tourists outnumber the locals.
I talked with several people with businesses on the Camino Primitivo who are very aware of the difficulty of keeping the "right" balance. They all look at the Frances and say they don't want to be Frances 2.0, because they think that a lot of their business comes from people who are looking for alternatives to the Frances. The Primitivo no longer has "too few" people, so the challenge will be keeping it from falling victim to "too many" people. But I don't know how that's possible to accomplish.

I am not sure what the impact of the trail "improvements" will be, but once you're back I would be interested in your (and others') opinion of the crushed white rock level path that has become the predominant surface in Galicia on the Primitivo. Others have found it preferable to heavy mud, but I'm not even sure I would rank it above heavy mud!

And I wonder if you can describe some of the other, less violent, methods of path management you have seen in other places. Thanks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
August 2016 - Primitivo
#23
The path improvements I have seen are rerouting to allow the ground to recover, reseeding, improvements to drainage, duckboards and hadrian's wall asks walks to only walk between May and October to reduce erosion, they also ask people not to walk in single file in some areas. As I started to write this I realised that good path management should be invisible the aim is to restore a path to look as nature intended. The English national parks covers a wide variety of different landscapes each requiring different approaches to management. Have a look a the links below show some of the different techniques used.

http://www.fixthefells.co.uk/what-we-do/path-repair-techniques

http://www.dartmoor.gov.uk/learningabout/lab-printableresources/lab-factsheetshome/lab-erosion

http://www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/?PID=137
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#24
Sadly lots of these things get done without enough forethought. I absolutely hate the hard concrete path in part of the section between Roncesvalles and Zubriri, but having come a cropper there in the mud and getting hurt, I can understand why it was done.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#26
Maybe the Xunta is only paving on Fonsagrada municipality. (I couldn' find out on Internet the global Xunta's plan for the Primitivo).
 
#27
Maybe the Xunta is only paving on Fonsagrada municipality. (I couldn' find out on Internet the global Xunta's plan for the Primitivo).
I should clarify because I don't want to mislead. First, as others have pointed out, and as my first post says, the term "paving" is an overstatement, so I will change the title to reflect that. What has happened is that nearly the entire camino Primitivo path in Galicia has been cleared, leveled with some sort of earth mover, and filled in with crushed white rock. This is not a thin level of gravel, it is packed down very hard, to a substantial depth as far as I could see. To my memory, the only parts in Galicia that escaped this treatment were forest tracks (like the one after Cadavo), which are already suitable for vehicular access, and the parts already on actual pavement. There was also one spot after Lugo around Bacurin that looked like it had gotten the "treatment" years ago and was much less severe in its impact.
This program is not limited to Fonsagrada.

I appreciate all the serious background information on trail preservation and management, as well as the link to the UNESCO requirements. Rebekah said that FICS has filed a denuncia/legal complaint, so maybe that is the basis. I just don't know what we can do, it is frustrating, because it has so changed the most beautiful parts of the Galician Primitivo.
 

jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
#28
Some call this progress

But the sad truth is that there are places in this world where us two legged creatures simply overwhelm the environment at times.
(There is also the case of some having access to too much money and finding a need to spend it on building and constructing things for some odd reason)

We could try turning back the clocks, bringing back dark ancient medieval muddy paths along with swamps, fallen logs, washed away bridges, etc.

Or we could fast forward into the future and employee Spot or Atlas to do our camino for us, just like royalty did in years past.


 
#29
Some call this progress

But the sad truth is that there are places in this world where us two legged creatures simply overwhelm the environment at times.
(There is also the case of some having access to too much money and finding a need to spend it on building and constructing things for some odd reason)

We could try turning back the clocks, bringing back dark ancient medieval muddy paths along with swamps, fallen logs, washed away bridges, etc.

Or we could fast forward into the future and employee Spot or Atlas to do our camino for us, just like royalty did in years past.


The links in @homebuilt's posts illustrate that there is a third alternative -- environmentally and historically sensitive trail management. With all the money the Xunta drops into all things Camino, and given the UNESCO designation, I think they had an obligation to explore that third alternative.
 

jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
#30
The links in @homebuilt's posts illustrate that there is a third alternative -- environmentally and historically sensitive trail management. With all the money the Xunta drops into all things Camino, and given the UNESCO designation, I think they had an obligation to explore that third alternative.
I agree 100%. In fact here is the paragraph that points to this issue...

Notwithstanding these arrangements, systematic actions will be needed to address the potential threats posed by the layout of motorways and the high-speed train line, the natural growth of cities and towns, and the pressure from increased tourism and number of pilgrims. Enforcement of regulatory measures and legislation will be crucial, as well as the development of environmental and heritage impact studies for new construction. In addition, urban development schemes of the municipalities along the route will need to take into account protection of the attributes of the property.

Are you ready to take on the Xunta and the Spanish government?

Given what I saw on the VdlP and what has happened on the Frances route and elsewhere, there is a case to be made arguing that that Camino should lose its UNESCO status
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#31
I'm on the Invierno as I write this, and very sad to inform that heavy machinery is levelling an unsightly route through nature between Rodeiro and Cabra.
Fiends of the Invierno had better join forces and block those bulldozers.
There is obviously sensitive trail management know-how out there.
The damage has already been done on the Primativo, so there's not much that can be done. But I wonder about the Invierno, which so far seems relatively untouched--and the trouble is coming there too, from the sound of it. From a distance it's hard to know if there's anything practical we could do, short of an e-petition to the Xunta. Can FICS or some friends group do something to head off the same kind of 'improvement' there, stopping destruction before it happens??
 

jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
#32
There is obviously sensitive trail management know-how out there.
The damage has already been done on the Primativo, so there's not much that can be done. But I wonder about the Invierno, which so far seems relatively untouched--and the trouble is coming there too, from the sound of it. From a distance it's hard to know if there's anything practical we could do, short of an e-petition to the Xunta. Can FICS or some friends group do something to head off the same kind of 'improvement' there, stopping destruction before it happens??
The Xunta moves slowly if at all, so I doubt a petition by some foreigners will hold much sway.

But a legal challenge in a Spanish court demanding that UNESCO drop the camino would wake a few folks up!
 

jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
#33
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#34
The Xunta moves slowly if at all, so I doubt a petition by some foreigners will hold much sway.
Exactly, @jirit--I agree. Unless perhaps there were thousands of signatures, and even then. Ironic, since foreign peregrino/as on the the various Caminos in Gallicia probably do a lot to keep the local economy afloat. Enough said, as the discussion could go in a political direction. But as @peregrina2000 says...what can we do?? Is there any place of leverage?
Here is a document by UNESCO on trail maintenance for another set of trails. I wonder if there is anything for the camino ?
One hopes FICS has this and is talking about the Invierno too.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#35
For Spanish Unesco World Heritage sites re the Camino de Santiago see --
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/669

This described in 2015 a network of four Christian pilgrimage routes in northern Spain. The UNESCO 2015 citation is an extension of the Route of Santiago de Compostela, a serial citation originally inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#36
Since the addition of crushed rock has destroyed the authenticity of the Primitivo Camino in Galicia the current situation might be widely broadcast through the work of Hispania Nostra. Read more of their efforts to protect the Spanish natural and cultural heritage on their web http://www.hispanianostra.org/
 
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jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
#37
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#40
In that Unseco report here is a pertinent section (italics mine; the entirety of pages 216-17 make interesting reading...):
"Protection and management requirements
The routes are Crown property, and the built components are under a mixture of private, institutional, and
public sector ownership, as are the buffer zones. The serial property is managed by the Jacobean Council (Consejo Jacobeo), which was created for the purpose of collaborating on programmes and actions to protect and conserve it; to further its
promotion and cultural dissemination; to conserve and restore its historical-artistic heritage; to regulate and promote tourism; and to assist pilgrims.
Notwithstanding these arrangements, systematic actions will be needed to address the potential threats posed by industrial and urban growth and development, new transportation infrastructure such as motorways and railways, pressure from increased tourism and the number of pilgrims, and rural depopulation. Enforcement of regulatory measures and legislation will be crucial, as well as the development of environmental and heritage impact studies for new construction. In addition, urban development schemes of the municipalities along the routes will need to ensure protection of the attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property."

Uh-huh. Maybe. Or maybe not.
So while generally speaking these kinds of concerns are clearly on the UNESCO radar, there also seems to be the usual bureaucratic hands-off response, leaving municipalities along the way responsible for preservation and protection.
And the Consejo Jacobeo: what role do they play?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#41
And the Consejo Jacobeo: what role do they play?
Answering my own question, here's a quote from the thesis that @jirit cites above:

"The Consejo Jacobeo is a special council, governed by Spanish Ministry of Culture. Its purpose is to facilitate communication between the Spanish Central Administration and the Autonomous Regions of Spain in topics related to the Camino. It helps
regions in their cooperative work for preservation, restoration and promotion of pilgrim's routes (French and Northern) through development and implementation of programs, projects and activities related to the Camino de Santiago and celebrations of its Holy Years. (Council of St. James 2011.)
The Primativo is not included in its scope.

This has all been an education for the naive...an amazingly complex mishmash of 'stakeholders:' governmental, corporate, ecclesiastic, and private. The thesis remarks,"Pilgrims are the most important stakeholders of the Camino de Santiago," but we have the least influence on what happens to it. As my teachers often say...surrender. (And in this case, hope that someone with influence has the information, sensitivity, and foresight to see that 'killing the goose that lays the golden egg' is not very smart in the long run. )
[Edited to add another quote and some comments...and to correct spelling:)]
 
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TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#42
Since the addition of crushed rock has destroyed the authenticity of the Primitivo Camino in Galicia the current situation might be widely broadcast through the work of Hispania Nostra. Read more of their efforts to protect the Spanish natural and cultural heritage on their web http://www.hispanianostra.org/
I know that there has been a survey and recording of hórreos in Asturias. I wonder if there is a similar record of ancient paved trackways? The stones are often hard to walk on but they record some 1000 years of history! Any resurfacing of these areas must be an act of cultural vandalism.

DSCF1065.JPG The Camino del Norte leaving La Vega (after Ribadesella)

DSCF2266.JPG The Camino Primitivo between Tineo and Campiello

Blessings
Tio Tel
 
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#43
I guess we have all vented our frustrations, but the question is -- now what? I will try what mspath suggests and contact hispanianostra. I have also written to some Spanish friends who were fully engaged in the efforts (successful) to stop the industry near Arca and another issue or two. Maybe they will have something concrete to suggest, especially with regard to stopping the bulldozing of the Camino de Invierno. But it may just be too late to do anything. Thanks for the education, guys.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
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#45
I guess we have all vented our frustrations, but the question is -- now what? I will try what mspath suggests and contact hispanianostra. I have also written to some Spanish friends who were fully engaged in the efforts (successful) to stop the industry near Arca and another issue or two. Maybe they will have something concrete to suggest, especially with regard to stopping the bulldozing of the Camino de Invierno. But it may just be too late to do anything. Thanks for the education, guys.
Being something of an activist :rolleyes: I contacted Hispania Nostra via their website:- http://www.hispanianostra.org/
I have had a helpful reply from one of their English speaking members, suggesting that the problem could be posted on their Lista Roja del Patrimonio en Peligro (Red List of the Heritage at risk) on their website:- http://listarojapatrimonio.org/envio-de-nueva-ficha/
It would be helpful I think if someone with firsthand experience of the problem could do that. Meanwhile, we will follow up his other suggestion and ask the CSJ U.K. if they can get involved.
Maybe the more pressure that can be applied, the better?

Blessings
TerryB
 
#46
Thanks, Terry, for reminding me of this. I contacted some friends who are involved in FICS and they gave me a suggestion or two, but I've been away from my computer for almost two weeks now and can't get a Spanish language keyboard on my iPad. I will be home next week and will write a complete description to them. Do you think I should send it to the person you are already in contact with? If so, send a PM and I'll carry on from there. I also think it's a good idea to contact national associations, so I will contact APOC as soon as I have the time. These are great suggestions, though I find it sad that others with more knowledge of trail maintenance than I seem to think that once the damage is done, it is irreparable. But maybe it will help with the preservation of other Caminos in Galicia. Buen camino, Laurie
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
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#47
Thanks, Terry, for reminding me of this. I contacted some friends who are involved in FICS and they gave me a suggestion or two, but I've been away from my computer for almost two weeks now and can't get a Spanish language keyboard on my iPad. I will be home next week and will write a complete description to them. Do you think I should send it to the person you are already in contact with? If so, send a PM and I'll carry on from there. I also think it's a good idea to contact national associations, so I will contact APOC as soon as I have the time. These are great suggestions, though I find it sad that others with more knowledge of trail maintenance than I seem to think that once the damage is done, it is irreparable. But maybe it will help with the preservation of other Caminos in Galicia. Buen camino, Laurie
Hi Laurie - will send you a PM.
Blessings
Terry
 
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
#48
I also think it's a good idea to contact national associations, so I will contact APOC as soon as I have the time. These are great suggestions, though I find it sad that others with more knowledge of trail maintenance than I seem to think that once the damage is done, it is irreparable. But maybe it will help with the preservation of other Caminos in Galicia. Buen camino, Laurie
Forgive me if this has already been suggested elsewhere, but is it possible that the work being done is a (perhaps misguided) attempt to fulfil the 2003 ley de igualdad de oportunidades, no discriminación y accesibilad universal de las personas con discapacidad so that wheelchair users can access these sections of the camino?
 
Camino(s) past & future
August 2016 - Primitivo
#49
Forgive me if this has already been suggested elsewhere, but is it possible that the work being done is a (perhaps misguided) attempt to fulfil the 2003 ley de igualdad de oportunidades, no discriminación y accesibilad universal de las personas con discapacidad so that wheelchair users can access these sections of the camino?
I would not thinks so. If you want a quick cheap fix to path management then crushed stone is the answer. If you wanted an environmentally sustainable solution then it takes more time and resources.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#50
I read this thread with great trepidation before setting off on the Primitivo 3 weeks ago. I have an MSc in Countryside Management and have personal experience in path construction. I took careful notice of the work that had been done and took photos specifically to post here.

It's true that almost a metre after you enter Galicia, there is some path work which is rather blatant and intrusive (photo 1 - you can see the starting point of the new material). But from then on, it seemed that the work had only been done in places to combat erosion by water, and certainly not on long continuous stretches where no crushed rock had been present before. The work is very new so it looks glaring and ugly, e.g. the material is pale and the ditches have been cleaned out, which looks awfully stark and makes the path look wider (e.g. in photo 2). But nowhere did I see any evidence of widening of the path over and above the original width, or dramatic change of the camber, profile, or straightening, which would be typical of bulldozer use. Ditch clearance is a standard practice which would have taken place regularly in winter before the countryside became so depopulated, and crushed rock surfacing is present in many older roads in the area, which has now become obscured by vegetation growth, so it looks more 'rustic', with two wheel tracks. I saw no damage to old walls or banks anywhere, which would be expected if heavy machinery were used in a confined space. In many places, granite channels have been placed across the path to limit erosion (photo 3), and occasionally along the line of the path (photo 4). Again, they look intrusive when new, but in time, even these stones are likely to be displaced and undermined by running water. Note that the 'crazy paved' stone and cement section in photo 5 was the only section like that I saw, and was only about 200m long. Also worth to mention is that the character of the rural roads in Galicia is different to Asturias, and the unimproved sections in Galicia are not so 'scenic' as the Asturian byways, so the effect of the works comes as more of a shock when entering Galicia.

I feel that on balance, overall it was high quality work, which with time, weather and wear and tear, and the regrowth of the vegetation, will become not so intrusive, as long as the stone crazy paving isn't allowed to become the standard method.

[NB I crossed to the Norte after Lugo so can't comment on Lugo to Palas de Rei.]
 

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#51
Hi, notion200,
Thanks so much for these pictures. To anyone who has walked the primitivo before, they will be jarring. It had occurred to me, when I was thinking back over the trail around Bacurín (whose "improvement" took place years ago) that with time this will become less noticeable because the surface darkens. So I'm sure you're right about that. But it's also a question of how all the harder pounding will affect the pilgrims' joints.

I appreciate that you have a lot more knowledge about trail construction than I, and I'm glad you think that over the long haul things will improve. But I guess I have to disagree about whether paths were widened or not. I particularly remember a long stretch before the ascent into A Fonsagrada, where what used to be a sidewalk-width off road earthen path was now a crushed rock path wide enough for a car to drive on. This was not on a hill, near a stream, used by local farmers, it was just a flat long path for pilgrims. I don't know anything about erosion, so I wonder if long flat paths nowhere near water need crushed rock to avoid erosion. My memory is admittedly not what it used to be, but I also remember seeing scraped sides where it sure looked to me like the path had been widened by machinery (thinking here of after Cadavo before you get to the forest roads, which thankfully have not been touched). Locals told me in several places that a lot of machinery had been involved, but I don't know if they're just remembering dump trucks or rollers or what.

I wish I had thought to take pictures, because the part that was the most dismaying to me of all was after Paradavella and before A Lastra. This was a forest path and it is now crushed rock. There was one part where rushing water had washed out the crushed rock, making quite a mess, but the rest was exactly like what your pictures show, except that it went through the middle of an old growth forest. I surely hope you're right that this is a high quality environmentally appropriate program, because it has fundamentally changed the aesthetics of the Primitivo in Galicia.

Thanks for all the information, I guess I'll just have to go back in a few years to see how things have weathered.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#52
I think machinery was used, most likely mini diggers, tippers and rollers, but not big earth movers. As for the widths, when ditches are cleaned out, it makes the whole path look much wider, and you can get scrape marks from the work of the digger, but I looked very carefully, and could not see any evidence of deliberate permanent widening, i.e. the bank tops and walls were all intact and the vegetation on them well established. Where an 'improved' section met an untouched section, under the vegetation, the overall line of the ditch and bank/wall was the same. I attach a photo and a sketch to illustrate this.

I agree it looks fairly horrible right now, but it's also important not to idealise the results of years of depopulation and neglect. Back in the day, every winter, men and boys would have gone out to clean the ditches, fill in holes in the paths and mend the walls. The paths would have looked a lot more 'used'. I took photos only of the most worked on sections, so people looking at this post should not assume that the whole Primitivo in Galicia looks just like this.
 

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Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
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#53
after Paradavella and before A Lastra. This was a forest path and it is now crushed rock. There was one part where rushing water had washed out the crushed rock, making quite a mess,
This is the section that Terry said was actually dangerous (2009) with erosion and slippery stones as the water was running down from a broken channel. We took the bus from Paradavella to avoid it in 2012 so sad though the work might seem visually it was probably essential. Hopefully it will blend in and the channelling will be maintained.

The section before A Fonsagrada was new, but not that wide and did give some protection from fast moving traffic. I think the road itself may have been improved/widened where the new path sections are in place.

Good to read that other sections are repair work rather than 'improvements'
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#55
The Foro do Camiño, composed by 30 ONGs from Lugo, has denounced the works made by the Xunta de Galicia in Camino del Norte and Primitivo before ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites, an advisory body of UNESCO). The Foro says (my poor translation) that under euphemisms as conditioning, recovery and improvement, the traditional appearance of the historic pilgrimage routes is being modified with purposes essentially related to tourism.
The Foro supports its arguments with a law protecting the Caminos since 1996, which defines those Caminos as cultural goods associated with a historical territory, and not as regular roads or tourist attractives (the legalese is difficult to translate, it is "no como caminos funcionales de tránsito o de mercado turístico-comercial" in Spanish). Also, some testimonials from pilgrims that criticize the new conditions of the Camino have been included in the document.
See "El Diario", here
(Note: edited to correct the url)
 
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#56
I will take good footing anytime, and erosion control is necessary for those who live there even if visitors think the aesthetics are poor.
Touché, falcon. My comment sounded entitled and self-centered. I talked to a lot of people along the Primitivo this summer because I seemed to be on a crushed rock path from Acebo onwards and it was such a radical transformation in such a short time. I couldn't figure it out. Now, the villagers I talked to may have been a bunch of anti-government Xunta haters, but not one of them thought that their welfare had anything at all to do with this. They weren't opposed to the camino and its promotion, but did feel like the Xunta was ramrodding its own vision down their throats, taking charge and doing whatever it wanted with the paths. As far as erosion goes, I'm no expert, but I have seen many trails in US national parks that get a lot more traffic than the Primitivo, and nowhere have I seen this crushed rock as the solution. Some of the links @homebuilt provides show that there are better ways to do it. The Xunta is spending hundreds of thousands of euros annually on these caminos, so I think they can be criticized for providing a cheap, unfriendly (to the environment and pilgrims alike) way of doing it. I agree that the two interests you highlight are more important than the aesthetics, but I don't think either of those interests is being furthered.

The Foro do Camiño, composed by 30 ONGs from Lugo, has denounced the works made by the Xunta de Galicia in Camino del Norte and Primitivo before ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites, an advisory body of UNESCO). The Foro says (my poor translation) that under euphemisms as conditioning, recovery and improvement, the traditional appearance of the historic pilgrimage routes is being modified with purposes essentially related to tourism.
The Foro supports its arguments with a law protecting the Caminos since 1996, which defines those Caminos as cultural goods associated with a historical territory, and not as regular roads or tourist attractives (the legalese is difficult to translate, it is "no como caminos funcionales de tránsito o de mercado turístico-comercial" in Spanish). Also, some testimonials from pilgrims that criticize the new conditions of the Camino have been included in the document.
See "El Diario", here
(Note: edited to correct the url)
I am glad to see that there are others, with a lot more stature and knowledge than I, who are taking up the cause! That's much more valuable than my ranting and venting. ;)
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
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#58
It seems that there is genuine repair work and 'desecration' (see @Felipe's Diario link above) - the latter being unacceptable IMO. Glad we walked when we did and that our future plans don't see us walking into Santiago again. We'll keep our happy memories and stay in Asturias
 
Camino(s) past & future
August 2016 - Primitivo
#59
I will take good footing anytime, and erosion control is necessary for those who live there even if visitors think the aesthetics are poor.
That sound fine till you realise that you are following a historic route. How can you follow in the footsteps of the original pilgrims if there are no footprints to follow. As others including myself have stated it's an historic route and it should be preserved to a standard that the original pilgrims would recognise. As the link posted by @Felipe states the work could drive visitors away and that would not benefit anyone.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#60
Historic trails are paved in many places. They followed the best route, and when the ox cart was replaced by the automobile, they were pave with macadam. Romans and pilgrims took the easiest route, so all the difficult scenic routes are modern inventions to keep pilgrims safe from vehicles.
That sound fine till you realise that you are following a historic route. How can you follow in the footsteps of the original pilgrims if there are no footprints to follow.
 
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notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#61
If you want to object to the works it would be important to demonstrate that the addition of finely crushed rock has not got a proper historical precedent in the area, even if it has been used in recent times. Also you could look at the granite used for the water channels and see if that is locally sourced and if such channels have a local usage which shows continuity.

I personally thought the 'crazy paved' section was absolutely wrong and bad because it used concrete, aside from it looked awful. This would be the easiest thing to object to, and to get an assurance that this method would not become more widespread.

I could NOT see evidence of straightening, widening, or earth moving, or damage to banks or walls, in fact I felt that the works must have been carried out with some care to preserve them. I felt that I could see why the path would look widened, but the appearance comes from resurfacing and ditch cleaning.

I don't think objecting to path works, as such, has much validity, as I said above, when the countryside was more populated, wall, path and ditch works would have been regular winter work. It's more valid to object to how they were done.

Feel free to use my photos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2008 April/May) (2011 May/June) (2014 May/June), Camino Primitivo (May 2016)
#62
I have walked the Primitivo for the first time this May. After reading all the comments above I can not for the life of me remember any surface that I walked on that bothered me! :)
I do remember the mud on the Friol-Sobrado route but that was part of the experience for me. I was so in awe of the beauty, tranquility, jaw dropping vistas that I did not take any notice of the surfaces that I was walking on! I fell in love with the Primitivo and I would walk it again in a heartbeat. Maybe the second time around I would look at the route with different eyes! :)
 
#63
I have walked the Primitivo for the first time this May. After reading all the comments above I can not for the life of me remember any surface that I walked on that bothered me! :)
I do remember the mud on the Friol-Sobrado route but that was part of the experience for me. I was so in awe of the beauty, tranquility, jaw dropping vistas that I did not take any notice of the surfaces that I was walking on! I fell in love with the Primitivo and I would walk it again in a heartbeat. Maybe the second time around I would look at the route with different eyes! :)
Hi, Petro, I certainly am not trying to rain on everyone's Primitivo parade. In fact, I was walking in a loose group of about 15, all of whom were first timers, and it wasn't till I pointed it out that they became aware, and by the end they were all hating it like I was. So that's maybe a reason to just keep quiet and hope that the authorities take care of things, so as not to have a negative impact on others' experience. Because you are absolutely right that it is a beautiful, peaceful route in spite of what's under your feet.

I think I noticed it since I had already walked the Primitivo twice and had such clear memories of a little-traveled pristine camino. Just as it was hard to ignore the increase in pilgrims, it was hard to ignore the hardening of the foot path, but I agree that it is still a gem.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2008 April/May) (2011 May/June) (2014 May/June), Camino Primitivo (May 2016)
#64
Hi, Petro, I certainly am not trying to rain on everyone's Primitivo parade. In fact, I was walking in a loose group of about 15, all of whom were first timers, and it wasn't till I pointed it out that they became aware, and by the end they were all hating it like I was. So that's maybe a reason to just keep quiet and hope that the authorities take care of things, so as not to have a negative impact on others' experience. Because you are absolutely right that it is a beautiful, peaceful route in spite of what's under your feet.

I think I noticed it since I had already walked the Primitivo twice and had such clear memories of a little-traveled pristine camino. Just as it was hard to ignore the increase in pilgrims, it was hard to ignore the hardening of the foot path, but I agree that it is still a gem.

Hi Laurie, I did not want my comment to come across as a criticism of your observations. I do appreciate your concern about the impact that the "improvements" may have on the route. After walking the CF for the third time I realised that change is not always for the better and that my opinion or view has changed from the first time I walked it.

However, I have enjoyed all my caminos immensely and I hope there will be many more to come.

Thank you for your informative and valuable posts on this forum.

Petro
 
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#65
Hi Laurie, I did not want my comment to come across as a criticism of your observations. I do appreciate your concern about the impact that the "improvements" may have on the route. After walking the CF for the third time I realised that change are not always for the better and that my opinion or view has changed from the first time I walked it.

However, I have enjoyed all my caminos immensely and I hope there will be many more to come.

Thank you for your informative and valuable posts on this forum.

Petro
Hi, Petro, absolutely no offense was taken, so I hope you weren't apologizing. I guess my use of the word "certainly" may have conveyed to you the sense that I was being prickly. Funny, I just this minute turned the radio off after listening to a discussion by some speech profs who were describing the miscommunications that occur when our conversations are limited to the written word. I had always been kind of skeptical and judgmental about all the uses of emoticons in texts and in forums, etc., but as one of the profs pointed out -- writing without emoticons is kind of like speaking with a paper bag over your head and in a monotone. So anyway, long story short, I was just trying to convey that my goal here isn't to make people hate the Primitivo and I hoped you didn't think otherwise. :)
 

Kanga

Moderator
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Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#66
Not on the topic of the Primitivo, but on the same theme, I was devastated this year to find that one of the prettiest sections of the CF, just after Villares de Orbigo leading to the high ground overlooking Astorga, has been bulldozed and is now a wide gravel road. It looks as if it is about to be surfaced with something. I remember it as a delightful garden pathway, meandering between shrubs and flowers that in spring were sensational.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2008 April/May) (2011 May/June) (2014 May/June), Camino Primitivo (May 2016)
#67
Hi, Petro, absolutely no offense was taken, so I hope you weren't apologizing. I guess my use of the word "certainly" may have conveyed to you the sense that I was being prickly. Funny, I just this minute turned the radio off after listening to a discussion by some speech profs who were describing the miscommunications that occur when our conversations are limited to the written word. I had always been kind of skeptical and judgmental about all the uses of emoticons in texts and in forums, etc., but as one of the profs pointed out -- writing without emoticons is kind of like speaking with a paper bag over your head and in a monotone. So anyway, long story short, I was just trying to convey that my goal here isn't to make people hate the Primitivo and I hoped you didn't think otherwise. :)
Laurie, I know that you are passionate about all caminos and that you certainly would not want to make anyone hate a route!
In fact, I have learned a lot from you about the various routes.

All is well!

Here's to many more happy caminos!

Petro
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
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#68
Since the addition of crushed rock has destroyed the authenticity of the Primitivo Camino in Galicia the current situation might be widely broadcast through the work of Hispania Nostra. Read more of their efforts to protect the Spanish natural and cultural heritage on their web http://www.hispanianostra.org/
Just to flag up this post again. This organisation is taking an active interest in this issue on the Primitivo. If you scroll to the bottom of the hispanianostra page there is a contact link. (Also see @TerryB post #45 above for a further link on their site) Those who have walked previously and have seen the damage could make a comment or report and any photos 'before' and' after' would help. They have an English speaking representative so language is not a problem. You might need their e-mail response to send any photos. They already have the Diario link and photo (@Felipe post #55 above).
 
#69
The assault continues. Compare the before and after pictures in this article:

https://www.galiciapress.es/texto-d...te-camino-santiago-original-sepultado-cemento

If my memory is correct, the only part of the Primitivo in Galicia that has escaped this treatment is the logging path after Cádavo on the way to Castroverde. And that’s just because it is already a path that holds truck traffic!

And it’s not only on the Primitivo. Last summer on the norte, the owners of a new albergue O Xistral (before Vilalba, a fabulous albergue, btw) told me how many kms of old camino paths near their place have been the victims of this crushed rock improvement.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Tia Valeria

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#71
Well, not really 'like' but thanks for the update @peregrina2000 .
We have no plans to walk the Camino again and instead are planning on walking the less travelled and unspoilt paths that we can search out for next year.
We can still encourage would be pilgrims but the 'upgraded Camino' is not for us.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#72
We have no plans to walk the Camino again and instead are planning on walking the less travelled and unspoilt paths that we can search out for next year.
We can still encourage would be pilgrims but the 'upgraded Camino' is not for us.
I feel much the same. The argument in favour of this sort of thing is nearly always that it makes the Caminos more accessible. But then I have to ask myself if I really want access to something that ugly - or to be part of the flood of people which the local authorities believe justifies such vandalism.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#73
Sounds sad but I can’t ‘see’ the pics the link is supposed to include. No pics of rocks or paths when I open Laurie ‘s link above @peregrina2000
 
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Guest
#75
I'm with @t2andreo --- the camino runs through a country that must be used by its permanent occupants, and has been from its very earliest days built as an effort to make the transport of raw materials and agricultural produce easier and more efficient. The already very poor region owes us nothing; we owe it everything for providing such an accessible and financially remarkable path to our own self actualization projects (which, from a certain angle, are entirely frivolous).
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#77
That is so bloody sad it barely bears contemplation. I'm but an ingenue to this that was camino. And tomorrow another Peregrino will begin their journey from wherever to Santiago with so much hope in their heart and they will encounter this and it will be 'normal' for them. The 'ruta' should be clear, it should be easy - why ever else would you walk it? And is it really true all anyone wanted was that your camino should get you to Santiago with clean boots, hope in your heart and a few Euros to buy the Tshirt.

Buen Caminos?
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#78
It would seem from the article that the 'improvement' was nothing to do with improving access for locals, but purely to 'upgrade' the Camino path.

Very sad indeed. Looks rather like the gravel pilgrim 'motorways' in Palencia.

Tour buses next I guess..............
 
Camino(s) past & future
planning Primitivo (April to May, 2019)
#79
And tomorrow another Peregrino will begin their journey from wherever to Santiago with so much hope in their heart and they will encounter this and it will be 'normal' for them. The 'ruta' should be clear, it should be easy - why ever else would you walk it? And is it really true all anyone wanted was that your camino should get you to Santiago with clean boots, hope in your heart and a few Euros to buy the Tshirt.
I am planning to walk the Camino Primitivo around mid-spring. For me it will be for the first time. The general slant of comments like these speaks of a certain, I don't know what.... maybe arrogance? It smacks of a "there goes the neighborhood" attitude that is disparaging of future Peregrinos on the Camino Primitivo. It's maybe bad that some local agency to promote tourism took steps to "improve" the Camino, for whatever reason, good or bad. But to despair to the point of saying that all future Peregrinos will only be walking because it is an easy, clean, sanitary experience.... well... I think that you are taking your disappointment out on us newbies. I'll be walking that route. I'll be on those gravelly paths. And I'm definitely not doing it because it is easy. I can stay home for "easy."
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#80
But to despair to the point of saying that all future Peregrinos will only be walking because it is an easy, clean, sanitary experience.... well... I think that you are taking your disappointment out on us newbies.
I am sure that @Tincatinker can answer for himself but I did not read his post in that way. I took his comments to mean that those who will now come to the Primitivo will sadly not know what they have just missed. I also had the impression that @Tincatinker thinks that those behind these "improvements" are the ones who mistakenly believe that what we who walk the Caminos want most of all is the simple and the easy. I see no slight on those whose first Camino is yet to come.
 
#81
I'm with @t2andreo --- the camino runs through a country that must be used by its permanent occupants, and has been from its very earliest days built as an effort to make the transport of raw materials and agricultural produce easier and more efficient. The already very poor region owes us nothing; we owe it everything for providing such an accessible and financially remarkable path to our own self actualization projects (which, from a certain angle, are entirely frivolous).
I totally agree with your sentiment, but unfortunately the motivation for these changes has nothing to do with making the transport of raw materials or produce easier and more efficient. Those products do not travel on gravel paths between Oviedo and Santiago. This is a change that is directed exclusively by the tourism bureaucrats who see the caminos in Galicia as a golden egg, done without consultation with the many cultural, historical camino groups in Spain, many of which have tried unsuccessfully to stop this with legal maneuvers both in Spain and in the EU.

Saddest of all to me is that the Xunta is spending millions of euros to drum up business on the camino, and from what knowledgeable people have said, these trails could have been preserved in a much more respectful and environmental way than the aggressive leveling and destruction that they opted for.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#82
@astronwolf , and with thanks to @Bradypus , my apologies if my post has discomfited you. That was not my intention.
Yes, I think the "improvements" to the camino are wrong, destructive and driven purely by a lust for numbers and for profit; applied without consultation of local people, the amigo associations or anyone else who might have expressed a contrary view.

Camino isn't supposed to be easy, safe and neatly packaged; nor is it supposed to be difficult or dangerous. Camino, for me, is a journey in liminal space to a place of the heart. My ire is invested in those who seem to think it is a holiday destination.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
#84
My experience with this type of work being done here at home, and because of funding, or lack of, its not done often, is that its done to prevent erosion not to facilitate easier access. When you see the damage done by several hundred walkers, not to talk of thousands, on some of the trails, you can understand why. Croagh Patrick springs to mind.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#85
I am also horrified by this transformation but don´t forget that in Galicia there are a lot of wood (pine trees, eucaliptus) and corn fields and the big machines associated to these crops and the rain damage the traditional paths.
 
Camino(s) past & future
----
#86
I'm with @t2andreo --- the camino runs through a country that must be used by its permanent occupants, and has been from its very earliest days built as an effort to make the transport of raw materials and agricultural produce easier and more efficient. The already very poor region owes us nothing; we owe it everything for providing such an accessible and financially remarkable path to our own self actualization projects (which, from a certain angle, are entirely frivolous).
I've been googling the issues of altering the trace or the "look" of the physical Camino to Santiago in Galicia a bit. As seen from Galicia, there are at least two opposite views: one party says that the physical paths are defined as assets of a cultural nature associated with a historical territory and not as functional roads for transit or touristic-commercial markets. The Xunta as the other party apparently accuses them of clinging to static authenticity, attests them a reconstructive zeal, fossilization, speculative re-creation, and has even identified a "fetish-like object of contemplation"; instead they plead for a presence that is alive and vital, according to the description of a case once brought to the Galician High Court. I'm sure my poor translation doesn't do the words justice.

I like your description of "our own self actualisation projects". :cool:

PS: Since the approach to Zubiri, which is of course not on the Camino Primitivo, I've repeatedly asked myself why there is such an apparent shortage of know-how about how to create and manage walking paths in these regions. I'm aware that most of the time I'm not walking on medieval roads as they are indeed covered under asphalt and used by motorcars. The tradition often referred to, I think, is the tradition of the last few decades.
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#87
. I'm aware that most of the time I'm not walking on medieval roads as they are indeed covered under asphalt and used by motorcars. The tradition often referred to, I think, is the tradition of the last few decades.
When the modern Camino Frances was first marked out and mapped in the 1980s Don Elias chose the most practical walking routes which linked the places of historic pilgrim interest. He and his associates made use of existing paths rather than creating new trails. For the first few years the Camino was virtually indistinguishable from other local paths with only the occasional yellow arrows to identify it. As numbers walking increased so did the need - or the perceived need - for more substantial engineered paths. A vicious circle - increasing numbers leading to more infrastructure works and then ever greater numbers. How far can that process go before the nature of the Camino is so far altered as to be almost unrecognisable as the Camino earlier generations of pilgrims knew and loved? As @Tincatinker points out for those who come fresh to it this will simply be the new normal. It will mostly be those of us with other memories who are troubled by such developments. Some of us already look to other routes for something closer to our first Camino experience.
 
Camino(s) past & future
planning Primitivo (April to May, 2019)
#88
Camino isn't supposed to be easy, safe and neatly packaged; nor is it supposed to be difficult or dangerous. Camino, for me, is a journey in liminal space to a place of the heart. My ire is invested in those who seem to think it is a holiday destination.
Well OK then Tincatinker.... this is a pretty good forum and I assume that, as a moderator, you are partly responsible for that. I do share your sentiment about the destructiveness of these improvements. That newspaper article had some strong talk about others who seem quite upset about what the tourism agency did. The improvement process is not going to continue unchallenged, and I suspect that some Spanish voices will get quite loud if the "improvers" do not temper their activities.

I'm not going to allow this to poison my pilgrimage to visit the shrine of the Apostle St. James the Great. I have bigger fish to fry, so to speak...

I read about how tour buses full of pilgrims traveling along the last 100 km of the CF pile out at designated stops to collect their sello. Pitchers of sangria per stop! Sounds like raucous good fun. I'm not going to play "brother of the prodigal son" and furrow my brow about their antics. Are these sorts of high jinks going to spread to the whole Camino? I don't know. If they do... then they do...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#89
My experience with this type of work being done here at home, and because of funding, or lack, of its not done often, is that its done to prevent erosion not to facilitate easier access. When you see the damage done by several hundred walkers, not to talk of thousands, on some of the trails you can understand. Croagh Patrick springs to mind.
A good and valid point, wayfarer. I confess that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
#90
Have you walked to Finisterre? Just askin’...
I don't see the point of the question. I did walk a portion of the way, then fell ill in September, then resumed, and quit about 1km from the lighthouse because I was overcome by fear of falling down the cliff.

I totally agree with your sentiment, but unfortunately the motivation for these changes has nothing to do with making the transport of raw materials or produce easier and more efficient. [ ...] This is a change that is directed exclusively by the tourism bureaucrats who see the caminos in Galicia as a golden egg, done without consultation with the many cultural, historical camino groups in Spain, many of which have tried unsuccessfully to stop this with legal maneuvers both in Spain and in the EU.
[...]
Mmmmm.... From a certain angle though, and this is what I am getting at: we are now the materials to be transported for the economic benefit of the region, and as far as camino goes, this is historically consistent with the long arc of history. The hospitals built along pilgrimage routes to the various cathedrals of Europe and the UK were put there not only to help heal those of us who walked through plague and into various states of injury and infection, but also to provide assurances to future pilgrims that there would be help if one fell into truly dire straights. The building of bridges (Santo Domingo comes most famously to mind) to facilitate *our* movement... for 1000 years pilgrims have been the raw material that made the sustaining work of the cathedrals, and of those who lived in their protected/blessed spheres of influence. Pilgrimage routes have *always* been about mining human capital in order to help maintain power, order and prosperity in a region. At least these new (of the last 20 years or so?) routes, albergues, refugios, etc are bringing some economic promise to ordinary people, and not merely to an institution.

If we are to worry about the environmental destruction of camino undertakings with any seriousness, I think we ought to consider simply staying home. The collective tromping of 300,000-ish people per year through the fields of the locals creates erosion problems, water consumption increases (with no attendant food production), and so forth. Now, if we all stayed home, then serious hardship would befall the areas that have undertaken to build infrastructures along the way(s), so I'm not really proposing we stay home. My point is that the concern for history and environment does smack of a certain desire to claim a kind of "authenticity" that one denies to those who come later (when it's easier for them). But honestly: we have hot running water and beds off the ground and roofs over our heads on most nights. We have entire villages providing us with menus for our meals.... Our "true pilgrimages" look nothing like those of the first walkers. We are rarely keeping company with anyone walking the road as a convict's sentence; we rarely walk with plagues (though, yes, ebola officially arrived in Spain on my first Camino) ....

I grew up in a punk scene with the older punks always declaring that the younger ones were just fakers and "posers". I humbly assert that we are all just faking it until we make it. If these roads, with their modest French culverts help to protect farmer's fields (I walked some of these new paths this summer in Galicia where there had previously been only rutted paths through farm fields on my first walk); I do not think they detracted from the quality of the walk.

I should like to go back to reading Victor Turner's work from the 1970's on pilgrimages.... Perhaps I shall.

Wishing all a quiet day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#91
PS: Since the approach to Zubiri, which is of course not on the Camino Primitivo, I've repeatedly asked myself why there is such an apparent shortage of know-how about how to create and manage walking paths in these regions. I'm aware that most of the time I'm not walking on medieval roads as they are indeed covered under asphalt and used by motorcars. The tradition often referred to, I think, is the tradition of the last few decades.
Upgrading of well used paths is probably inevitable. If only to avoid erosion. We are the cause in one way.

But I agree 100% with you on the nature of some of these improvements.
A number of times on the CF I would rather have walked across the rough ground than the more recently 'improved' paths that were very dangerous in the wet.

And those sections like the downhill into Biskerreta? Step, pace pace, step, pace pace, step...... Were much harder to walk down than a more natural slope. (And again, very dangerous in the wet)

Also, as you can see by the 'troughs' created by many pilgrims feet at the side of these paths, many choose not to walk on them at all......

Just sayin....
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#92
Upgrading of well used paths is probably inevitable. If only to avoid erosion. We are the cause in one way.
I agree. But I feel that the work done should be in proportion to the need. Looking at the "before and after" photographs of this part of the Primitivo I find it hard to believe that such a drastic large-scale road-building exercise was necessary.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#93
I don't see the point of the question.
Agreed. I had deleted it before you answered as I had neither the time or the energy to explain further.
My point was that the exact same path was created on the way to Finisterre and it cannot have been to help the locals as - if you walk there - you’ll see there aren’t any.
But that’s only my opinion! ;)
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
#94
If funds are made available to "improve" paths, companies will pursue the work, regardless of whether it improves things for anyone but them. To paraphrase US President Eisenhower, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the construction-bureaucracy complex.
 
Camino(s) past & future
planning Primitivo (April to May, 2019)
#96
They just did a short stretch of this along the Variante Espiritual, what a nightmare to walk on.
Nightmare? That seems to be a bit over the top... If I walk the Camino here, will I have nightmares? Or did walking on the altered paths make your feet or legs very sore, and by doing that, you were equating that to a nightmare?
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#97
Nightmare? That seems to be a bit over the top... If I walk the Camino here, will I have nightmares? Or did walking on the altered paths make your feet or legs very sore, and by doing that, you were equating that to a nightmare?
English isn’t my first language so I checked in the Collins dictionary.
- ‘If you refer to a situation as a nightmare, you mean it is frightening and unpleasant’
Or:
- ‘You are saying in an emphatic way that it is irritating because it causes you a lot of trouble’
In my opinion, a perfectly apt expression to depict the new ‘upgrading’ of those stretches ;)
 
#98
Whatever words you want to use to describe this situation, there is now an online petition you can sign to express your solidarity with FICS, I believe, and others who oppose the desecration of the caminos throughout Galicia. I am not certain if that link will work, but fingers crossed. The introductory material explains that formal complaints filed with both UNESCO and ICOMOS (International Commission on Monuments and Sites) have gone unanswered. I am not naive enough to think that petitions change the course of history, but it is an expression of opinion and may lead to someone else taking notice. Buen camino, Laurie

https://www.change.org/p/secretaria...QesY-Z7sDnwDrKxB_oKiAQJdYcNCvL0wLAlH7Ws7ADBsE
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#99
Further to my comments above.. in a damp climate like Galicia on PERMEABLE path materials the vegetation WILL grow back in a few years. Vegetation is way more resilient than most people realise. I work in conservation and have spent days and days in a previous job hacking at vegetation that I cleared only the year before. In conservation in temperate climates we spend 95% of our time chopping things down. It looks ugly for a while, then it all grows back. One of my old colleagues had a t shirt that said 'plant more trees'. We used to laugh at it because we would spend days and days cutting down literally hundreds of small trees. Nature is very powerful.

I DO think it's very important to protect the old banks, walls, ditches and boundary markers. These are irreplaceable cultural artefacts, especially so since the skills of dry stone walling are dying out. I haven't seen evidence that Xunta works is damaging these, or of reprofiling. In fact carefully clearing the ditches out protects the walls from erosion. It's also important to protect historical path surfaces such as cobbles, and boulders, as in @TerryB 's photos above. If tarmac, concrete or crazy paving is used where previously there was sand or crushed rock (technical name self-binding gravel), that's clearly wrong and should be protested.

Example of vegetation encroachment into self binding gravel over 10 years (sequence e to h)
encroachment.jpeg

Reference / photo credit
https://www.researchgate.net/figure...ent-onto-paving-surface-over-8_fig3_327509281
 
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notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
One more thing, if you want to protest environmental destruction in Galicia, start with the eucalyptus issue. You might notice that in eucalyptus plantations there is no wildlife, no birds, nothing. It's also a massive fire hazard.
 


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