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Doing Norte route - hopefully Spring or Autumn 2018 - but getting freaked out by weather...

Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully Camino del Norte/Primitivo Spring or Autumn 2018.
#1
Hi everyone!!

This is my first post - finally - but I've been lurking on these threads for quite some time and finally decided to start an account and ask a question!

I keep seeing conflicting information regarding weather for the Camino del Norte / Primitivo (I plan to do the whole 860km) for Autumn experiences. My situation is that I'm currently a student (second degree - I chose poorly the first time, so am returning), and so I can only take off Spring quarter 2018 (March-May), or Autumn 2018 (Sept-Nov).

Sooner would be preferable, for reasons:
1) I LOVE hiking in the rain,
2) I want to start my camino as soon as I'm able, and because
3) I read these threads and see the videos and hear your stories and long, yearn, need to do this walk.
But March is SOO soon, so I thought Autumn would be a good compromise.

However, I've seen threads that describe del Norte route during Autumn as:
- just rainy,
- as sunny and perfect, and
- snowy and miserable. Conflicting accounts, all.

I'm all up for rain - even 15-20 straight days of it. I *want* that challenge. But I'm not confident that I'm prepared (emotionally or gear wise) for snow or sub-zero exposures.

So, I'm starting to freak out and second guess my decision to go in Autumn, even though it would financially - and school-wise - make more sense.

Can anyone offer some more solid experiences from their Autumn-specific journeys? I understand the weather will vary along the entirety of the 800-some-odd-kms, but is snow really a true concern for September/October/November specifically? (I have no desire to still be in Spain for December... at least not walking it.)

Thank you all SO much. I'm so excited to finally post my very own thread. ... Hopefully I figure out how to see the follow up responses and whatnot.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully Camino del Norte/Primitivo Spring or Autumn 2018.
#3
Hi, and welcome to the forum! I walked from Irun to Santiago 8 Oct to 19 Nov 2016 and had lovely, perfect weather all through October. Then had a week of rain in November. Sunny again, but cold, into Santiago. Might be completely different next year!
Jill
Wow! Thank you for the prompt response! You rock!
That is very encouraging to hear. My godparents traveled through Spain this October (2017), northern Spain as well, and said it rained maaaaybe twice, but that the sun they had was very unusual. So I wanted to be sure.
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2017), Norte (2017), Frances (2017), Portugues (2018), La Plata (2018)
#4
Hi Jsalt,

Weather in autumn may normally vary between very nice and raining. It has to be an exceptional year to find snow in that season. Things may become a little more complicated when you approach to the winter (late November or beginning of December).
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#5
@LeelooLizzie if the weather is really bad you always have the option of continuing on the Norte, instead of turning onto the Primitivo. We had intended walking the Primitivo but for various reasons continued all the way on the Norte instead, and I loved it. In fact, one of my favourite parts of the walk!
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
#6
There's a reason it's called the Green Coast of Spain - it doesn't get that way without a lot of rain! As a mountainous maritime region, you're as likely to be blessed with torrential downpours as with clear skies - in fact I experienced a good dose of both walking in September this year. However the temperature itself along the coast is relatively mild; you're unlikely to experience snow along the Norte, and even in mid-winter the average temperature for cities like Bilbao and Santander is around 11°C. A different story on the Primitivo, however, which is more inland and reaches higher altitudes, so you might indeed experience the start of some "winter weather" if you're walking in Autumn.
 

sharon w

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007
Camino Portugues 2009
Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
Cammino di Assisi 2014
Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
Aussie Camino 2016
#7
Walked the Norte route in October,2015. The weather was excellent. We expected rain and had a very wet first day out of Irun. However, there were lots of stunning, sunny days. This is a great time of year to go.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#8
Spring and fall look similar in my crystal ball, regarding the range of weather you are likely to get, so go with the one that seems to suit your life better. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#9
I walked the Norte/Primitivo combo starting on April 20th, 2016. I loved that time of year and after winter I was chomping at the bit to go! Temps were pretty great for walking and rain was minimal. Going in spring, the Primitivo warms up by May, whereas in the fall, the Primitivo would normally become colder as you walk.

Sorry, I can't speak for going in the fall, but my enthusiasm for you to consider going in the Spring took over!
 

Texas Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017 summer)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
#10
It is also important to consider whether the latitude you live at is even remotely similar to the latitude of Northern Spain. (Ahem.) It's entirely possible to think that it will be weather kind of like the analogous season where you live, and be totally surprised by the weather you get. Not to say that I had to buy a fleece in Pamplona because I was freezing my ahem off in late May/early June or anything like that. But I live at latitude 27.5 or so...pretty far south of the latitude of the Caminos. And it was a lot colder than I had anticipated.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011 April, 2014 March) San Salvador, Primitivo, Finisterre, Muxia (June 2015) Del Norte (Sept/Oct 2016)
#11
I also walked the Norte from Irun in October 2016 and stayed on the Norte when others went to the Primitivo.
Because of the time of year, my pack was full of every type of rain gear imaginable. There were fewer than 5 times in the entire 5 weeks that I had to use any of it! I'm not complaining. I hadn't walked a Camino in autumn before and I loved it!
The weather will be what it will be.
I have a pilgrim friend who walked the Frances in April/May 2012. Every single day he had rain or snow or both for at least part of the day. He had a wonderful Camino.
Take a leap - the weather is probably the one thing you can't plan for!
Burn Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully Camino del Norte/Primitivo Spring or Autumn 2018.
#12
Thank you, all, for your input! This is encouraging and getting my excitement back up!

@Kanga: Thanks! I just realized that today! I think I thought that the Norte route always branched off onto Primitivo. I will definitely be doing only Norte, now that I know it does in fact go the whole way. Do you just "stay to the right" to stay on the coast and not get lost?

@Texas Walker: I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that it will be colder than anticipated. I live on the beautiful, (usually always) sunny Central Coast of California - San Luis Obispo. It rarely rains here, and NEVER snows - although we got frost once when I was a kiddo. ;) Thanks for the heads up!
 

markgrubb

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Hospitalero 2017 Camino del Norte (2017)
#13
I walked the Camino del Norte in September/October this year from Irun. It poured with rain on the first day and one other day in Asturias. Otherwise in the 4 weeks there was some rain on 5 other days and maximum temperatures varied between 18C 64F and 32C 90F. It was very muddy in the Basque country with some treacherous descents and in contrast there was a drought in Galicia with forest fires.
I found it hard going in the rain because it was warm and I found myself getting quite wet on the inside from sweating despite having good quality Goretex gear. The other thing that was a surprise to me is that a large part of the Camino is on paved surfaces
 

Jean T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012) on foot (incomplete)
Camino del Norte on bicycle with children April 2018
#14
Hi, I was on Camino del Norte end October 2015 and weather was unseasonably warm- we got to swim most days... returned October 2016 and weather not as warm but very pleasant. Looking to return in April, am expecting it to be more changeable than Autumn...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#15
@LeelooLizzie the split is very clearly marked, complete with a character called Faustino (I think) at a fork in the road. You’d only miss it if engrossed in deep and profound conversation!

I have a picture, but sadly keep getting errors and can’t share here
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles Nov 2018
#16
Hi everyone!!

This is my first post - finally - but I've been lurking on these threads for quite some time and finally decided to start an account and ask a question!

I keep seeing conflicting information regarding weather for the Camino del Norte / Primitivo (I plan to do the whole 860km) for Autumn experiences. My situation is that I'm currently a student (second degree - I chose poorly the first time, so am returning), and so I can only take off Spring quarter 2018 (March-May), or Autumn 2018 (Sept-Nov).

Sooner would be preferable, for reasons:
1) I LOVE hiking in the rain,
2) I want to start my camino as soon as I'm able, and because
3) I read these threads and see the videos and hear your stories and long, yearn, need to do this walk.
But March is SOO soon, so I thought Autumn would be a good compromise.

However, I've seen threads that describe del Norte route during Autumn as:
- just rainy,
- as sunny and perfect, and
- snowy and miserable. Conflicting accounts, all.

I'm all up for rain - even 15-20 straight days of it. I *want* that challenge. But I'm not confident that I'm prepared (emotionally or gear wise) for snow or sub-zero exposures.

So, I'm starting to freak out and second guess my decision to go in Autumn, even though it would financially - and school-wise - make more sense.

Can anyone offer some more solid experiences from their Autumn-specific journeys? I understand the weather will vary along the entirety of the 800-some-odd-kms, but is snow really a true concern for September/October/November specifically? (I have no desire to still be in Spain for December... at least not walking it.)

Thank you all SO much. I'm so excited to finally post my very own thread. ... Hopefully I figure out how to see the follow up responses and whatnot.
In case you want someone to at least start walking with, I’m planning to start El Norte from Irun beginning of March and walk it to Santiago. It’s my second camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013
#17
I walked in Oct. 2015. A number of days the storms were intense. I caught a touch of pneumonia and had to go to the hospital and take almost a week off. I wouldn't do it again.
 

zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
#18
It’s fun hiking in the rain right? Haha how you feel about hiking in the mud? Like ankle deep? I did my in 2016 from Abril to May from Biarritz to Santiago it rain for a total of three weeks out of the 34 days I had a severe case of Bronchitis and toke several days of rest but was a lot rain and mud so I opt for the asphalted roads in many many occasions.


Zzotte
 

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