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2019 Camino Guides

Dangerous river crossing on Fisterra - Muxia route

A

Anonymous

Guest
#1
I have today walked from Muxia to Fisterra. I left at 5.30 am from Muxia (because I knew there would be a flood of pilgrims into Fisterra after the festivities in Santiago and I wanted to make sure I found a place in the albergue), so I happened to arrive first on the scene at the dangerous river crossing at Lires, where an injured Spanish walker was floundering in the river with a broken foot. This was not a pilgrim but a day tripper with her companion.

The hospitalero at Muxia had already warned those of us going to Fisterra that the stepping stones were dangerous. They are under water (at some points a foot under water!) and also they have been moved by floodwaters and some are at all angles, though most are horizontal. They are VERY SLIPPERY.

I was told I´d have to take my boots off to wade across the stepping stones, but warned to keep my socks on (!) so I would not slip off the stones. This is not very good advice! The pilgrim authorities here are not taking the situation at all seriously: when I arrived in Fisterra I reported the incident of the woman with the broken foot and I was simply told, "There isn´t usually any problem..."

This needs sorting before more accidents occur. In the meantime, taking a very close look at the situation, it is clear that no pilgrims should be using this route until it is made safe.

Gareth
 

alipilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2005), Frances (2007), Madrid/Frances (2011), 1/2 VdP (2012),
#2
Yes, it is a dangerous crossing, and mostly determined by high tides, if I'm not mistaken. It might be prudent for pilgrims to find out what time high tide is before attempting a crossing. I crossed it myself last year (May) and found the stones about 6-8" under water. I tied my shoes to my pack, took off my socks (bare feet have infintely more traction than socked) and waded very carefully and very slowly from stone to stone, testing the stability of each before I put my full weight on it, and using my walking poles for balance. Very scary in beginning but afterwards I thought it wasn't as big a deal as I first made out. Caution and care are required but it is not impassable. Like every road a pilgrim walks, an awareness of self and safety is required.
 
#3
Yes - I also thought it was part of the adventure although when I walked this route a few months ago there was about 8 inches of water above the stones. Alison Raju in her guide advises pilgrims to put their boots inside their rucksack to maintain balance. This is good advice. After I crossed I met a man coming in the opposite direction with his wife who I had met a year earlier on the Via de la Plata - Paco - his wife made it accross successfully but poor Paco fell in. There is the detour of course when the water is too high.
 
#4
the advice generally given in places like Scandinavia, where crossing rivers/streams is often necessary, is to remove your boots and socks, then put your boots back on. If you try barefoot you run the danger of cutting your feet on a jagged edge. Depends a bit on your footwear, of course. In Scandinavia, you're likely to be wearing proper boots with a good tread, which may not be the case in Galicia. Dry your feet/boots on the other side. Socks should be kept dry, as walking in wet socks is a good way to get blisters.

And, yes, carrying a stick/pole is also recommended, for balance.
 
#6
Mimie

That's the very spot. But it doesn't take a lot for the water to rise and the stones can be slippy and the current can be. There is a little groove in each stone where you lodge your stick whilst crossing from one to the other. But...great fun!

John
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#7
I came upon that river crossing two weeks ago on Aug. 11, 2008. I was completely alone and after spending some time considering, decided to attempt to cross the granite blocks. Unfortunately, I am not a tall person and they were placed too far apart for me to safely step from one to the next - even with the use of my very sturdy walking stick. I had to "push off" and hop a little - but as I landed, I hydroplaned due to the 6-8 inches of water covering them and then slid on the slippery surface. Additionally, the weight of my pack shifted and I was in a very dangerous position. So I tried to step down into the water between the blocks, but the bottom was rocky and very slippery and the water quickly became too deep for me to continue to do that safely. I had no choice but to go back.

I then tried to wade across the river. So I stoically rolled up my pants legs (further) and waded into the water. The ducks were happily swimming circles around me as the water got deeper and deeper. When it reached my "culo" I stopped. The bottom once again was rocky - similar to the descent from Perdón - and VERY slippery. I took one or two more precarious and dangerous steps but then the bottom of my pack was getting wet. I envisioned one slip and going in, my pack filling with water and that would be it! Also, if my movil got wet, I wouldn't even be able to call for help. SInce I had not seen one single other Pilgrim since I left Muxía that morning, I decided that my only solution was to back out and walk the road route around the river.

Perhaps if I had been with others it would have been passable, but I was very much alone and to be honest, it was probably the only time I was ever really afraid on the Camino de Santiago. The walk around by the road was very long, poorly marked and I ended up asking directions and being told I was 5 km off the Camino. By the time I reached Fisterra I had been walking 10.5 hours and 42 km. And that day, there was an Atlantic storm with rain, wind, fog and mist. It was not my best day on the Camino.

Something really needs to be done about that crossing. The Xunta de Galicia is touting the Muxía Fisterra Way as the "second best Route" to walk... but that crossing is extremely dangerous. And I attempted it with "low" water and a calm current. I can't even imagine if the water had been high. I shall include the link to my web album for anyone who would like to see the photos. It is otherwise a beautiful Way. http://picasaweb.google.com/aStoirin/Th ... August2008

Buen Camino,
 

alipilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2005), Frances (2007), Madrid/Frances (2011), 1/2 VdP (2012),
#8
Diedre, I'm sorry you had such a difficult time trying to cross the river. I too am short, only just under 5'3" but had no trouble with the distance between the stones. It was a bit slippery but I just made certain to plant each foot solidly before transfering my weight to the leading foot (and my walking stick sure helped!). I had a huge sense of relief and satisfaction when the crossing was completed but then thought, "oh, it wasn't that bad"...
 

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#9
Hello,

I crossed the river in June this year, after a couple of weeks of rain the water levels were high and the current very strong, I got to the middle of the stones and was swept off my feet...............
luckily I managed to right myself and walk the rest of the way on the riverbed, everything was soaked, backpack and all the contents.

I would strongly advise against doing this crossing and go the long way round.

Buen Camino
 
#10
Hi

As with any other crossing like this it is really important to check the water level. When I was there a few months ago some locals in the fields approaching the crossing shouted to us that the water level was low. Even then it wasn't a crossing for the faint hearted I felt and it might have been better walking on the stoney river bed than on the stepping stones - however each of them does have a groove in which you can lodge your stick for extra stability.

I'd avoid this crossing completely in bad weather or after a period of rain.
 
#11
We crossed this river in April 2008. I left my rucksack and my fiance crossed with his, went back and then crossed with mine. We knew nothing of this river crossing until we came to it. It is one of my favourite memories of our Camino Finisterre/Muxia.....
 

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#12
Good news about the dangerous crossing on Fisterra - Muxia r

Hola - some pilgrims were put off walking from Muxia - Fisterre to Santiago (which qualifies for a compostela) or wouldn't walk from Finisterre to Muxia because of the dangerous river crossing. The bridge which has been promised for some years has now been constructed:
 

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#13
Hola peregrinos
It was adventurosliy to cross the river over the stones.I think the next time I go to Muxia I will cross the river over the stones not over the bridge.
Ultreia y Buen Camino
Michael
 
#14
I was at a cofraternity event in Glasgow today and I was told that ths crossing now has a bridge.I am so glad to hear this as it was a dodgy crossing indeed, even after a dry spell.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances, Norte, Ingles, Primitivo, Aragones, Vasco, SanSalvador, Fisterre, Muxia - more than once
#15
It is easier to cross the river over the stones if you take off your boots and walk in socks, so it is not so slippery. I was recommended it and I was happy I followed this advice.
 
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handzondeck2

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (x2); VdLP (x4); Portuguese (x2); Madrid (x2); S/Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles ('17) Camino 19 tba
#16
It is easier to cross the river over the stones if you take off your boots and walk in socks, so it is not so slippery. I was recommended it and I was happy I followed this advice.[/QUOTE
Csutak there is a bridge now. It's quite safe
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances, Norte, Ingles, Primitivo, Aragones, Vasco, SanSalvador, Fisterre, Muxia - more than once
#18
Yes. I know, but it might be of some interest for the new pilgrims as well.
I have been there twice since the new bridge was built. However, they left the stones there so you can choose how to cross the river.
 

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