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Hot days on the Via de la plata

Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
#1
I'm just about to book a flight to Sevilla for later in the week with a view to starting walking the Via de la Plata. Before I do I thought I'd ask how best to deal with the heat.
Last August on the Frances around Pamplona there were days when the temperature was around 100 Fahrenheit. It was sometimes unpleasant but not impossible to walk in.
Daybreak in Sevilla is about 7 AM just now. I had thought of starting then and stopped around noon to avoid the worst of the days heat. But there are some 30Km days early on in the walk and I know I couldn't do them in 5 hours.
Any thoughts?
 

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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#2
Unless you are used to exercising in the heat and able to carry at least 3l water (or more on some stretches) I would stay away from the Plata in summer! Have a look here: http://www.caminodesantiagotiempo.com/viaplata/index.htm for what to expect.

I know that is not what you wanted to hear, but several pilgrims had to be rescued last summer, and at least one of them sadly died, because of heat related problems.

Take care and Buen Camino what ever you decide, SY
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Sanabres (2018) Frances reverse(2018)
#4
Only last week a pilgrim of 35 years had to call the emergencies.
I was interested to read the article, Sabine, but I can't download it. (It comes up overlaid by a blank screen). Can you tell us the gist of the circumstances?
 

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Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
#6
I was interested to read the article, Sabine, but I can't download it. (It comes up overlaid by a blank screen). Can you tell us the gist of the circumstances?
A 35 year old Italian pilgrim, suffering from heat stroke, dehydrated and disorientated, was rescued by the authorities after he called the emergency services.
With my meager Spanish that's how I read it.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#7
Summary:

A dehydrated and desorientated, 35 year old Italian pilgrim had to be rescued near Almaden de la Plata by the Guardia Civil. He called 112 and was brought to the medical center in Real de la Jara where he is/was recuperating.

BC SY
 

Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
#9
I celebrated my 70th birthday a few weeks ago so I'm twice the age of that Italian pilgrim.
I think it might be sensible to put the Via de la Plata off until there's cooler weather.
I'll have a look at the Norte.
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Sanabres (2018) Frances reverse(2018)
#11
Summary:

A dehydrated and desorientated, 35 year old ...
It's very easy to empathise with his predicament, if he'd just walked the long hot road from Castilblanco, and found himself completely alone and in distress in El Berocal. I know what that feels like.
 

m108

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2016
#12
I (63 years old) was in last July in the part Salamanca-Astorga. This is certainly not as hot as the southern part. Walking was not the biggest problem (I walked until 13-14h), but then the heat of heat (35-40°C) is up to 22h in the evening and there is no activity - it is simply too hot for anything, even for sleeping. Walking and seeing the surroundings is impossible. This time is fulfilled with the expectation to cease. Via de la Plata is wonderful, but I decided not to go anywhere this year. I will wait another year when I am retired and will not be tied to a summer vacation. In the attached photo you can see what a rest is like when the shade is not 10km around:confused::mad:
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#13
I had thought of starting then and stopped around noon to avoid the worst of the days heat.
Any thoughts?
By 11 am it is already really hot but it is pointless to stop and wait for it to cool down: it doesn't. In fact the temperature increases until about 5 pm.

Just read you were thinking of doing a different camino: wise decision :)
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#14
I celebrated my 70th birthday a few weeks ago so I'm twice the age of that Italian pilgrim.
I think it might be sensible to put the Via de la Plata off until there's cooler weather.
I'll have a look at the Norte.
Excellent idea. Please do. I walked the Southern most section of VDLP in April, and even with 3 liters of water and a silver umbrella there were difficult days, days I had to manage my water.
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#15
Unless you are used to exercising in the heat and able to carry at least 3l water (or more on some stretches) I would stay away from the Plata in summer! Have a look here: http://www.caminodesantiagotiempo.com/viaplata/index.htm for what to expect.

I know that is not what you wanted to hear, but several pilgrims had to be rescued last summer, and at least one of them sadly died, because of heat related problems.

Take care and Buen Camino what ever you decide, SY
Fully agree.

Possibly rethink few things.
Starting your walk this time of the year at 0700 hrs is too late.

Do as advised, take, or have access to, 3+ L of w a t e r.

IMHO having lived in Seville many years, I would only start out on the Plata in the spring time. Never in the summer.

Be safe.

Good luck.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#16
As someone who TRIED to walk the VDLP in summer, after ignoring warnings from several forum members and locals, I am also suggesting you make other plans.
Fountains listed in the guidebooks were dry as a bone, making the walk DANGEROUS as hell.
We were rescued by firemen who brought us water.
Otherwise we may have been a story in the newspaper.
And the heat was unthinkable. The heat, as Reb of Moratinos described it, "fell like a curtain" each day, making moving, much less walking, more effort than I had in me.

Do yourself a favor.
Walk a different route.
Save the VDLP for Spring or Autumn, or even Winter.
That's my advice.
 

Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
#17
It's a wise pilgrim who knows when to listen to good advice. While I'm not saying I'm wise, indeed many a time I've been described as 'Not wise', (a Belfast term similar to 'eejit') I'm now convinced that starting from Sevilla in the middle of Summer could be problematic, to say the least.
Thank you all. As I said earlier, I'll look at the Northern coastal route.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#19
You are indeed wise and, if I may say so, a refreshing change to the very, very occasionally pilgrim that just wants to push this/her idea of his/her Camino through. The Via de la Plata will be waiting for you (may I suggest March as a starting date for maximum exposure to spring flowering wild flowers?).

Buen Camino de Norte, SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#20
I walked the VDLP in June/July but I have the advantage of being acclimatised to the Australian tropics so I am used to walking/cycling/exercising in high humidity and temps in the 30s. Before that I lived in the Red Centre so I know my limits in that dry desert heat. The summer conditions are like the desert. You don't see the sweat evaporate off your skin and that's where people get caught. The Almaden segment is hard and given the current conditions you really need to be out the door at daybreak. I am a fast walker so I know I would be there well before 1630h when this chap contacted emergency services. Because there is no guaranteed water on this stretch you need to carry a LOT of water. I tend to work on the presumption of needing a litre/hour. Which means 6 litres at my usual 5km/hr speed. Don't worry about the weight because you will use it soon enough. You need to preload before you are out the door eg drink a litre of water at least. I recommend practising drinking at least 3 litres daily in the weeks before you leave so that your body can handle maximal hydration. Carry sweet food because sugar breaks down to water. Electrolytes are worth considering. I had a 3 litre water bladder and I also carried Aquarius and juice poppers to alternate with. Your only hope of water in that park is the water trough in the park. And there is no guarantee that water is drinkable. If you are thirsty you are probably about 3% dehydrated.
I recommend a reflective umbrella to take down the temp around your head. And when you get to Almaden you need to start replacing your day's losses until your urine looks reasonably clear again.
The stretch between Merida and Alcuescar is another segment where people get caught. Stop for the night in Aljucen.
If you don't have experience of walking in hot conditions and don't have a good handle on what you are doing, it is best to avoid the VDLP at that time of year. And if you do walk, walk with someone in case you do get distressed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
6/7, 2013 SJPP to Santiago-finisher-Muniz, 6/7, 2016 La Verna to Rome, 6/7/8, 2018 VDLP
#21
I walked the VDLP in June/July but I have the advantage of being acclimatised to the Australian tropics so I am used to walking/cycling/exercising in high humidity and temps in the 30s. Before that I lived in the Red Centre so I know my limits in that dry desert heat. The summer conditions are like the desert. You don't see the sweat evaporate off your skin and that's where people get caught. The Almaden segment is hard and given the current conditions you really need to be out the door at daybreak. I am a fast walker so I know I would be there well before 1630h when this chap contacted emergency services. Because there is no guaranteed water on this stretch you need to carry a LOT of water. I tend to work on the presumption of needing a litre/hour. Which means 6 litres at my usual 5km/hr speed. Don't worry about the weight because you will use it soon enough. You need to preload before you are out the door eg drink a litre of water at least. I recommend practising drinking at least 3 litres daily in the weeks before you leave so that your body can handle maximal hydration. Carry sweet food because sugar breaks down to water. Electrolytes are worth considering. I had a 3 litre water bladder and I also carried Aquarius and juice poppers to alternate with. Your only hope of water in that park is the water trough in the park. And there is no guarantee that water is drinkable. If you are thirsty you are probably about 3% dehydrated.
I recommend a reflective umbrella to take down the temp around your head. And when you get to Almaden you need to start replacing your day's losses until your urine looks reasonably clear again.
The stretch between Merida and Alcuescar is another segment where people get caught. Stop for the night in Aljucen.
If you don't have experience of walking in hot conditions and don't have a good handle on what you are doing, it is best to avoid the VDLP at that time of year. And if you do walk, walk with someone in case you do get distressed.
Hi, Donna,
I would like your advice about summer VdLA

First of all, have you experiences any real big temperature differences, such as really cold at night. We all know day time can be burning. If it was cold at night, do you suggest carrying a sleeping bag?

Is it sufficient enough? That I have some safety measures: such as reflective umbrella used on the Camino de Frances in Italy in June/July, will bring electrolytes, water bladder and a Life Straw, which will enable me to drink from any water source. I am used to get up early and leaving the albergue around 6, and if I can 5:30am to beat the heat. I also have full body coverage if needed like in the dessert.

I don’t like heat and humidity, but when calls for it, I just deal with it. I was at India, and several Asian countries last summer very hot, but of course, not walk8ng with a pack.

Third, if it is needed to avoid those long stretches, is there a bus available or taxi only? Or no such option at all once started. I have 46 days to cover from Sellvia to Santiago via Sansabres, do want to break those 30+ days as much as I can.

Any other suggestion do you have? By the way, I will train myself before leaving to keep in good shape. Hopefully to maintain 4km per hour on the road and get to my destinamtion no later than 4pm.

Also if a reservation can be made in advance, find a spot to rest from 2-4pm, and then walking, is it a good idea to avoid the mid day heat and to conserve energy?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

A fellow peregrina


I have planned some safety measures.
Reflective umbrella, electrolyte pills,
 
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#22
Hi, Donna,
I would like your advice about summer VdLA

First of all, have you experiences any real big temperature differences, such as really cold at night. We all know day time can be burning. If it was cold at night, do you suggest carrying a sleeping bag?
The only places where it got obviously cold were Almaden where I found I needed the sleeping bag. However I am a person who cannot sleep well if the temp is under 20 deg-ish without a blanket or a sleeping bag. Compare that to my partner who will run the aircon...
The coldest starting temps I experienced was about 12 degrees with some fog. Had to use the windbreaker!

Is it sufficient enough? That I have some safety measures: such as reflective umbrella used on the Camino de Frances in Italy in June/July, will bring electrolytes, water bladder and a Life Straw, which will enable me to drink from any water source. I am used to get up early and leaving the albergue around 6, and if I can 5:30am to beat the heat. I also have full body coverage if needed like in the dessert.

I don’t like heat and humidity, but when calls for it, I just deal with it. I was at India, and several Asian countries last summer very hot, but of course, not walk8ng with a pack.
Although those things are great. Those Life Straws are wonderful inventions but it's more of a case of there is no water available rather than it being questionable on those really hot stages.
Third, if it is needed to avoid those long stretches, is there a bus available or taxi only? Or no such option at all once started. I have 46 days to cover from Sellvia to Santiago via Sansabres, do want to break those 30+ days as much as I can.
The stretch to Almaden - the highway bit can be avoided with a taxi and that's about 17 km from memory. If the forecast is for a stinking hot day that may be a very sensible thing to do. I see one poor old pilgrim died at Calvary of heat stroke on a stinking hot day in 2017.
Any other suggestion do you have? By the way, I will train myself before leaving to keep in good shape. Hopefully to maintain 4km per hour on the road and get to my destinamtion no later than 4pm.

Also if a reservation can be made in advance, find a spot to rest from 2-4pm, and then walking, is it a good idea to avoid the mid day heat and to conserve energy?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

A fellow peregrina
Set off early at day break (I wouldn't bother with leaving in the dark as you gain very little unless the forecast is particularly ominous) and try to get to your destination by 2-3 pm at the latest. After this it gets stinking hot. Remember that Spain works on a quirky time zone (equivalent to Berlin when it probably should be the same as Ireland) so the midday heat actually happens mid afternoon.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
6/7, 2013 SJPP to Santiago-finisher-Muniz, 6/7, 2016 La Verna to Rome, 6/7/8, 2018 VDLP
#23
Hi Donna,
Thank you for your quick response. I am a person who gets cold easily. On my last camino on the French route, I brought a thin liner bag, and I had to wear all of my clothes at some nights and was envy those German pilgrims carrying good sleeping bags. The blanket was so thin in those public Albergues, I had used 2 or 3 blankets gathered from others who had adequate bag. I ended up bought a little blanket (thicker than the Albergues' one) at Lyon. I would never thought that I would be cold in the summer month in Spain and regretted. I feel like my cold tolerance is similar to yours. Maybe a 0.5 kg light fleece bag, temperature rating 10+ is worth taking? I also have a light down bag temperature rating 7+, weight may be a little more. That seems a overkill at the peak of the summer, isn't it?

No water source is a major concern, so carrying enough water, even extra water is crucial. This is important to know, thank you for pointing it out. By the way, did you bring a swimming wear?
 

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
#24
It's a good idea to bring swimmers as there are Roman baths you can go in at Ourense and Banos de Montamayor. Also, several albergues have swimming pools. A very nice way to cool down.
 
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#25
Hi Donna,
Thank you for your quick response. I am a person who gets cold easily. On my last camino on the French route, I brought a thin liner bag, and I had to wear all of my clothes at some nights and was envy those German pilgrims carrying good sleeping bags. The blanket was so thin in those public Albergues, I had used 2 or 3 blankets gathered from others who had adequate bag. I ended up bought a little blanket (thicker than the Albergues' one) at Lyon. I would never thought that I would be cold in the summer month in Spain and regretted. I feel like my cold tolerance is similar to yours. Maybe a 0.5 kg light fleece bag, temperature rating 10+ is worth taking? I also have a light down bag temperature rating 7+, weight may be a little more. That seems a overkill at the peak of the summer, isn't it?

No water source is a major concern, so carrying enough water, even extra water is crucial. This is important to know, thank you for pointing it out. By the way, did you bring a swimming wear?
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/my-vdlp-from-june-2015.32196/ is the thread that I wrote while on the camino during June and July. It mentions how much water I carried on some stages to give you an idea. However judging by the colour of my urine I was probably a little dehydrated on arrival most days so you really need to make a conscious effort to be well watered for the rest of the night.
Re sleeping, I alternated between just a silk liner and using an actual sleeping bag. My sleeping bag is a Marmot Nanowave 55 Ultralight 13c Sleeping Bag which weighs 680g.
I didn't take a swimming costume. I had a pair of black running shorts and a black sports bra that could pass as a bikini top. Even my knickers were boyshorts which provided a bit more versatility and allowed me to take a lunchtime dip in the reservoir on the Sanabres without having to change into anything.
 
Camino(s) past & future
6/7, 2013 SJPP to Santiago-finisher-Muniz, 6/7, 2016 La Verna to Rome, 6/7/8, 2018 VDLP
#26
Thank you Donno, I am looking forward to read your blog this weekend. I think I will consider a silk liner and a fleece bag. Both added together probably are 600g. Not bad and It is more versatile than a heavier bag.

I like your sports bra and boyshorts idea. Maybe a bikini top also can be used as a sports bra? The other way around? Nice to hear that there is water to dip into on the walk. What do you think about Nike Pro shorts? Would it be too hot to walk at that time as underwear? No chance to try it walking in summer, NW summer is never as hot as Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
6/7, 2013 SJPP to Santiago-finisher-Muniz, 6/7, 2016 La Verna to Rome, 6/7/8, 2018 VDLP
#27
Hi, Donna, thanks for you blogs, I read them all, very helpful. I have never heard of Aarn backpack, am intrigued after looking at his website. I am wondering how do you use your reflective umbrela with the balance pack in front of you and hands free?

Do you think this pack is really better than other bags you used? Just curious

Thanks
 

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