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€12000 fine on Route Napoleon?

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Just reading this thread https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/news-from-the-camino.86228/ and the OP mentions people being fined €12000. I knew that you cannot do the Napoleon in certain weather and would have no intention going against any advice.
However from a UK perspective, someone getting fined so heavily for doing this is extraordinary.
Does this really happen, is it an on the spot fine or a local court, or an Urban Myth.
 
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Just reading this thread https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/news-from-the-camino.86228/ and the OP mentions people being fined €12000. I knew that you cannot do the Napoleon in certain weather and would have no intention going against any advice.
However from a UK perspective, someone getting fined so heavily for doing this is extraordinary.
Does this really happen, is it an on the spot fine or a local court, or an Urban Myth.
It happens. No doubt someone else can explain the process, but it happens.

Personally I’ve long thought that idiots who do stupid stuff like taking a 14 month old baby up Scafell Pike in the winter, this should be fined, or presented with a bill for the rescue effort

Or

Or
 
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The case I was thinking of in the UK was this https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-66762308 where a rescue got badly injured and subsequently died.
The people rescued were breaking lockdown rules.
Nothing like a €12000 fine.

This case is very different to the UK

My post wasn’t about fines that have been imposed because of breaking lockdown rules, but about my personal opinion that some more fine wielding wouldn’t go amiss.

There are plenty of cases (I’ve added links to my OP) where people do stupid things, and need to be rescued by Mountain Rescue, who are staffed as I’m sure you know by volunteers. A bit of hefty fine wielding, or presentation of bills for costs, might cause more people to think.
 
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Thats that cleared up then.
I read the original post but I did not bother to comment. You may have noticed that this ""news"" was "heard from two different sources (who didn't know each other) in two different towns" - so it must be true 🙄.

These stories are dished up every year and the fines get larger and larger.

Misuse and abuse of rescue operations in the mountains is a serious topic. It ought to be discussed seriously and not based on hearsay.
 
Regardless of fines (which likely can be imposed by french or spanish authorities specifically for this route or endangering rescue personnel in general-i'm not inclined to research it) the rescue costs can be significant and since this article is from 2016 I'm sure they have increased.

"The Government, for its part, in addition to having decreed restrictions, charges for mobilizing its emergency resources up to €1,400 per helicopter, €50 per hour for an ambulance and €30 per hour for each rescue personnel. In fact, the bill issued to the Brazilian pilgrim rescued in Ibañeta this same month amounted to 5,360 euros."
 
I read the original post but I did not bother to comment. You may have noticed that this ""news"" was "heard from two different sources (who didn't know each other) in two different towns" - so it must be true 🙄.

These stories are dished up every year and the fines get larger and larger.

Misuse and abuse of rescue operations in the mountains is a serious topic. It ought to be discussed seriously and not based on hearsay.
The voice of reason, thank you.
The issue though, is of someone deciding he/she/they can flout the rules or the recommendations. In this context, clearly. However...
Where I live, a simple phrase captures it: "they have lost the run of themselves". Meaning they have decided they know better than the rules.
It would not upset me to learn that someone received such a fine. For good reason. For having flouted the rules.
Ps: I predate the I can do what I like modus operandi. 😇
Edit plus: Yes, I predate, and learned in my upbringing that respect for rules was legitimate.
 
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Hi!
I think i remember something about the 12000 euros for a couple of pilgrims being air lifted by helicopter after getting stuck in snow or lost on the Napoleon but it wasn't a fine it was the cost/fee of doing it out of season. I think someone posted a piece from local news on the forum
 
Regardless of fines (which likely can be imposed by french or spanish authorities specifically for this route or endangering rescue personnel in general-i'm not inclined to research it) the rescue costs can be significant and since this article is from 2016 I'm sure they have increased.

"The Government, for its part, in addition to having decreed restrictions, charges for mobilizing its emergency resources up to €1,400 per helicopter, €50 per hour for an ambulance and €30 per hour for each rescue personnel. In fact, the bill issued to the Brazilian pilgrim rescued in Ibañeta this same month amounted to 5,360 euros."
Thank you
 
Misuse and abuse of rescue operations in the mountains is a serious topic. It ought to be discussed seriously and not based on hearsay.
Hence the thread, an attempt to get accurate information.
From what I can gather though, in the UK, MRT volunteers tend to be rather non judgemental and would rather people got out and did things as opposed to not.
An issue in the UK though seems to be Mobile phones enabling people when a tad weary to phone for rescue, much as they would, an Uber.
Though not doubting you, I would like a little more about the authorities powers vis a vis The Napoleon route and stopping people proceeding into the mountains,
 
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In March 2016, two pilgrims walked the Napoleon route although it was already prohibited at the time but this legal prohibition was less well known than now. One of them fell and got injured and immobilised and it was night time. It had snowed and at higher altitude there was a lot of snow on the ground. She managed to get in touch with the rescue services - it was also more complicated then than now - and luckily she was rescued by helicopter. This is the mother of all the stories about fines.

At the time, the decree of the regional government about the closure of the Route Napoleon during the winter period November to March mentioned two things: first, a list of the charges for a rescue operation, i.e. man-hours, terrestrial vehicle, helicopter and so on. There may or may not have been mention of a fine in addition to these operational charges - I would have to look up the wording of the 2015 decree to be sure.

Later decrees and the current decree do not list any charges for a rescue operation. I would have to look up the wording to know whether there are any fines mentioned. If so, it is not a sum, whether €120 or €12.000, but rather a vague reference to a different and more general law.

I don't know for certain whether the pilgrims of March 2016 - there were two who are known to have walked on that day despite the legal closure of this part of the Napoleon trail on Spanish territory but they were separate - were charged for the rescue in the end or even fined in addition to the operational charges.

The first responder team - Bomberos - opposed even the charges, see this article:

Quote from this article (machine translation): In the case of the peregrina, as detailed by the Government of Navarre last week, € 5,360 were billed for the use of a rescue helicopter and for the 12 hours of work of 11 people, and in the case of the peregrino €450 corresponding to a three-hour operation carried out by 4 first responders and a terrestrial vehicle. These amounts do not include the health services provided or the use of the medical helicopter, which would also be billed by the Health department.
 
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Hence the thread, an attempt to get accurate information.
From what I can gather though, in the UK, MRT volunteers tend to be rather non judgemental and would rather people got out and did things as opposed to not.
An issue in the UK though seems to be Mobile phones enabling people when a tad weary to phone for rescue, much as they would, an Uber.
Though not doubting you, I would like a little more about the authorities powers vis a vis The Napoleon route and stopping people proceeding into the mountains,

Local authorities fines and local courts who enforce fines usually have caps. Fines should be proportionate. You'd need to research if 12k is the fine, or is it someone plucking a figure from the air (I suspect it might be)

As for whether someone would be fined 12k just for being caught trekking the route 1 day before the restriction is lifted..., i doubt it. Similar to how a max fine for littering might be €3000, i doubt anyone was hit with such a fine for throwing a cigarette butt on the ground.
 
That is very interesting, thank you.
For people from the UK with free at point of use healthcare and free MRT and free helicopter rescue, the systems elsewhere are totally alien, and it is very interesting for me to try and see other perspectives.
Thank you again for your posting.
 
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For people from the UK with free at point of use healthcare and free MRT and free helicopter rescue, the systems elsewhere are totally alien, and it is very interesting for me to try and see other perspectives.
Healthcare related costs are of course another different kettle of fish. I don't follow developments in the UK very closely but I seem to remember that non-residents may now also get charged for NHS services when they need medical care in the UK, at least in some cases.

In the 2016 case, although both pilgrims happened to be Brazilian nationals, the peregrina was actually a permanent resident in another EU country, and due to mutual EU wide agreements, we don't get charged directly ourselves for medical services provided in Spain. The EU+ countries have general agreements about these kind of costs for their health systems incurred by tourists and other non-resident visitors.
 
Misuse and abuse of rescue operations in the mountains is a serious topic. It ought to be discussed seriously and not based on hearsay.

Looked at the Swiss approach as I'm going there this year to the GSB Pass. There is an archived article here which suggests Swiss rescue is a fee-based model - though the fees can be reduced by subscription. Or paid by travel insurance.


Wonder how many pilgrims travel without insurance?
 
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I wonder how many insurers would cover you for ignoring travel warnings or intentionally putting yourself in danger.
For example many insurers will deny claims if a hospital report notes alcohol in your system.
Not many. In the UK we have the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who issue travel advice, and if they advice against travel, then most policies will not cover you.

As a slight aside, if anyone struggles for insurance perhaps because of age or medical record, it maybe worth considering the Austrian Alpine club who offer rescue as part of membership, plus for UK citizens a GHIC card which replaces the E111, and many insurers expect you to have anyway.
 
There is an article (in Spanish) from 2021 about How much does a mountain rescue cost and who should pay for it? The various regional emergency services have different rates / fines if you need a mountain rescue.

However, it has to be pointed out that the regional mountain rescue teams are generally not involved in the rescue operations on the Route Napoleon. It is the first responders teams who intervene there - professional firefighter teams from Burguete, sometimes including voluntary firefighter teams from Valcarlos, and also regional police forces. All from the Autonomous Region of Navarra.
 
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I now know again where the €12.000 come from. I had looked into this in March 2016.

Below is the relevant quote from a forum thread of March 2016. My personal guess is that this is similar to the example of how a maximum fine for littering might be €3.000 as mentioned earlier. The Navarra law of 1 July 2005 has general legal dispositions, it is not specific for walking on a banned section of a Camino trail.

Quote: There are no legal restrictions on the track in France. The legal restrictions start at this point: 43°3'2,02"N and 1°16'6,04"W and they are fixed under Spanish law. If you walk there as a pilgrim on the camino during November-March, you can even be fined, up to 12.000 EUR (on the basis of articles 60 and 61 of Ley Foral 8/2005 of 1 July). That's in addition to the risk of being billed for the cost of a rescue operation.


No Camino pilgrim has ever been fined €12.000. I am confident that it would have made it into Spanish news. It did not happen.
 
No Camino pilgrim has ever been fined €12.000. I am confident that it would have made it into Spanish news. It did not happen.
Pretty sure it would have been all over the local Navarra news websites and the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the SJPDP pilgrim office, the Roncesvalles albergue, the Navarra police local and/or the Guardia Civil. No mention of it anywhere.
 
I now know again where the €12.000 come from. I had looked into this in March 2016.

That's a relief!

It's basically someone's interpretation of what constitutes a minor infraction of a law in Navarra. To say it's the fine for walking the Napoleon way in winter is a stretch.
 
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Quote: There are no legal restrictions on the track in France. The legal restrictions start at this point: 43°3'2,02"N and 1°16'6,04"W ...

Near the Fuente de Roldán?
 
The Spanish border

The mapping system I use shows the CF Route Napoleon almost exactly paralleling the FR/ES border for about 500 metres from about
(43.0504253, -1.2684153)
to about
(43.0469400, -1.2646900)

It is almost as though one's right leg is in Spain whilst one's left leg is still in France. Ditto for rest of body depending of course upon one's posture and the amount of fatigue-induced sideways staggering being experienced.

Being curious about stuff in general, I was just wondering if the coordinates in the legislation cited by Kathar1na are also coincidentally, or perhaps not coincidentally, the coordinates of the Fuente de Roldán.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Being curious about stuff in general, I was just wondering if the coordinates in the legislation cited by Kathar1na are also coincidentally, or perhaps not coincidentally, the coordinates of the Fuente de Roldán.

I stand to be corrected but i highly doubt the legislation details coordinates.

Edit: and i stand corrected.
 
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Being curious about stuff in general, I was just wondering if the coordinates in the legislation cited by Kathar1na are also coincidentally, or perhaps not coincidentally, the coordinates of the Fuente de Roldán.
That would be so romantic but, sadly, it isn't the case. 43°3'2,02"N 1°16'6,04"W is the point where you enter Spanish territory on the Napoleon trail. It is the point where Spanish law starts to apply.

When I put the coordinates into Google Earth I see a point about 500 m before reaching the Fuente de Roldán. And when I look at a topographic map on Iberpix I also see that this is the point where the Camino trail actually enters Spanish territory. Many people think - I included at the time - that you enter Spain when you step over the cattle grid close to the fountain but that is not it. Border crossing happens a bit earlier when the trail makes a left turn. I think this is also where the official Spanish board (similar to a large traffic sign) is located that informs about the ban during November to March.

For reference ☺️, here is the text copy-pasted from Resolución 142/2023 de 22 de septiembre for the ban during the period that has just ended:
  • Cerrar la variante este en dichas fechas a la entrada en Navarra, en el punto de coordenadas geográficas 43º3’2,02’’N y 1º16’6,04’’W, en las inmediaciones del Collado de Bentartea.
 
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It does.


It's an interesting read. It's basically saying the restrictions are put in places not because the route is particularly dangerous (except in blizzard conditions) but due to the amount of pilgrims not being fit enough and not carrying the correct equipment to safety trek it in winter conditions.

Seems to be a market to allow people to trek it with a guide during winter months, or as has previously been suggested, with adequate insurance.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Seems to be a market to allow people to trek it with a guide during winter months, or as has previously been suggested, with adequate insurance.
Nope. And nobody has suggested that.

The ban on this section of the Camino Frances, known as Route Napoleon, is absolute and applies to everybody during November to March without exception. There is no discussion to be had about this.

Anybody who is dead keen on walking over the Pyrenees during November to March has dozens if not hundreds of passes to choose from, such as the Ibañeta pass from Valcarlos, or the Somport pass or many many others.
 
Seems to be a market to allow people to trek it with a guide during winter months, or as has previously been suggested, with adequate insurance.

Anybody is dead keen on walking over the Pyrenees during November to March has dozens if not hundreds of passes to choose from, such as the Ibañeta pass from Valcarlos, or the Somport pass or many many others
Indeed. The closure order is very specific. One particular route. If anyone wants to walk to Roncesvalles in winter on a high-level route they can walk any other path they choose. Over the tops of mountains if they wish. Though that may be unwise. Walking the only route which is very specifically barred seems unnecessarily provocative.
 
@Pilgrim9, this may interest you: a map of the old border stones marking the French-Spanish border from the Cantabrian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea across the whole range of the Pyrenees. There are other websites with photographs of dozens of them. I think somebody may have photographed all of them but I am not sure anymore. I guess we walked past three of them but, as so many things that one is not aware of beforehand, I did not even notice them. :cool:

https://www.carlosyconchita.net/rutas/wp-content/uploads/gpx/BornasCarlosConchitaTodas.html

And also:
 
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I did misinterpret the travel insurance comment.

What I was saying is there may be a market to permit people to cross before 1st april provided they're with a professional guide. (Obviously this would be a small market!)

E.g. guide would ensure no adverse weather forecasted, know when to turn back if conditions change or if it appears someone is struggling, ensure everyone has correct equipment, carry emergency supplies, have insurance, etc. This would reduce the risk to almost zero.
 
What I was saying is there may be a market to permit people to cross before 1st april provided they're with a professional guide.
I'm sorry to say so but this discussion does not lead anywhere other than perhaps to a thread closure. There is no market full stop. The decree about the legal ban is issued by the government of Navarra. They issue this decree every year for the winter months based on their assessment. It is frankly and in my humble opinion plain silly to think that anybody MUST walk EXACTLY there at any time of their choosing throughout the year.
 
@Pilgrim9, this may interest you: a map of the old border stones marking the French-Spanish border from the Cantabrian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea across the whole range of the Pyrenees. There are other websites with photographs of dozens of them. I think somebody may have photographed all of them but I am not sure anymore. I guess we walked past three of them but, as so many things that one is not aware of beforehand, I did not even notice them. :cool:

https://www.carlosyconchita.net/rutas/wp-content/uploads/gpx/BornasCarlosConchitaTodas.html

And also:

You are feeding my cartography addiction! Thank you, Kathar1na.
 
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I'm sorry to say so but this discussion does not lead anywhere other than perhaps to a thread closure. There is no market full stop. The decree about the legal ban is issued by the government of Navarra. They issue this decree every year for the winter months based on their assessment. It is frankly and in my humble opinion plain silly to think that anybody MUST walk EXACTLY there at any time of their choosing throughout the year.

The legal ban exists because too many people walked this route while they were unfit or carrying inadequate equipment, hence the blanket ban.

I hiked the inca trail. It was illegal to do so for environmental reasons..... Without a guide! Because there existed a market, the government put restrictions in place rather than outright banning the inca trail trek.

Simply put, nothing to stop interested parties from submitting proposals to the Navarre authorities for next year. I don't think there's a large enough market, i.e. enough walkers, let alone those who want to walk with a guide, let alone pay for the privilege.

But no need to get upset just because i made a recommendation.
 
It happens. No doubt someone else can explain the process, but it happens.

Personally I’ve long thought that idiots who do stupid stuff like taking a 14 month old baby up Scafell Pike in the winter, this should be fined, or presented with a bill for the rescue effort

Or

Or
We’ve seen some of these clowns near Scafell Pike in stiletto heels….white of course…also some in flip flops!
It’s hard enough in boots
I believe the rescuers once found someone pushing a buggy up there

Each year end, the rescuers provide information regarding each rescue carried out in the fells and many of the rescues are bona fide, but many others, not
Was it Forrest Gump who said “ stupid is as stupid does”?
I honestly think the twats should be fined
It would focus their minds and others a bit more
 
But no need to get upset just because i made a recommendation.
My humble opinion: If exceptions are made it only increases the number of people who believe that they, too, are exceptional. I already start to regret my participation in this thread. 😶

Maybe it would indeed be better if everybody believed that two pilgrims were fined €12.000 early last week. 😶
 
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That is very interesting, thank you.
For people from the UK with free at point of use healthcare and free MRT and free helicopter rescue, the systems elsewhere are totally alien, and it is very interesting for me to try and see other perspectives.
Thank you again for your posting.
As a fellow UK national, actually the systems aren't that different. Many of the costs of rescue and treatment which would be met by taxpayers (ie NHS services) for a UK citizen are now supposed to be billed to foreign nationals, presumably to be covered by travel or medical insurance, if it remains valid despite the foolish choices of those being treated/rescued. There are some exceptions for life threatening emergency treatment, but I wouldn't want to rely on them.
In my view we should not ignore a very narrow and specific legal restraint on our freedom at this small part of the border between France and Spain. After all, it was put in place to protect the lives of pilgrims and locals who might risk their own safety in attempting to rescue them.
 
A €12.000 fine is nothing!

Imagine being responsible for the death or injury of a First Responder attempting your rescue. How could you live your life with that guilt?


-Paul
 
Just reading this thread https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/news-from-the-camino.86228/ and the OP mentions people being fined €12000. I knew that you cannot do the Napoleon in certain weather and would have no intention going against any advice.
However from a UK perspective, someone getting fined so heavily for doing this is extraordinary.
Does this really happen, is it an on the spot fine or a local court, or an Urban Myth.
Hopefully, soon, the fine will be increased to 18,000 Euro and even higher. No one has the 'right' to put another person's life at risk, whether it is someone on the trek itself (like immature teenagers or children) or whether it is a rescurer. Stupidity, poor judgement, and poor discipline ought to be rewarded accordingly.
What do you say to a rescurer who has been seriously injured or killed during a rescue attempt . . . 'I'm so sorry for your loss when it was not necessary/warranted. Have a nice day.'
 
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If you haven't got the decency to respect the rules/laws of another country (let alone your own) then stick your hand out when it all goes wrong putting others lives at risk, a fine to me seems relatively minor. I wonder, in these circumstances, how the travel insurance company would respond. I would suggest with one finger !
 
Just reading this thread https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/news-from-the-camino.86228/ and the OP mentions people being fined €12000.
The OP of that thread mentioned that two pilgrims said that there had been a €12000 fine, but we have zero proof that this happened.

No Camino pilgrim has ever been fined €12.000. I am confident that it would have made it into Spanish news

I am going to close this thread, because it's all based on hearsay. If and when it makes the Spanish news, we can reopen it.
 
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