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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
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Flog

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
My body automatically goes into a different rhythm for steady short hill climbs such as this, especially early in the day. It felt great to power up it full of energy at 9am after a night under the stars and full moon in San Anton, then an amble down onto the meseta..

That was the first time, am I right in thinking they've 'improved' the descent with concrete in recent times, I seem to remember it was earth and gravel before??
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
My body automatically goes into a different rhythm for steady short hill climbs such as this, especially early in the day. It felt great to power up it full of energy at 9am after a night under the stars and full moon in San Anton, then an amble down onto the meseta..

That was the first time, am I right in thinking they've 'improved' the descent with concrete in recent times, I seem to remember it was earth and gravel before??
Short hill???!! You must be kidding :) The descent was always concrete as long as I have walked there. It is also bad :)
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
It’s ok (ish) done first thing in the morning, after a night in Castrojeriz.
Last few times I walked it, I started in Hontanas and ended in Boadilla. It was hard!
But yes, I miss it too! 😱😂
Go figure, we’ve all gone mad! 🤣
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I climbed to the castle on top of the hill at Castrojerez after checking in for the night; totally worth it!
The following morning shortly after leaving our albergue, it rained with high winds as we headed up that big hill and it continued until lunch time. Nevertheless, I have a great memory of that cold, rainy day in April, 2017.😃
Screenshot_20210527-175607~2.png
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Did you see Álvaro Lazaga’s latest camino video? He is walking the Francés right now. He circumvented the hill after Castrojeriz and took an alternative route to Los Balbases. It’s in the video, around 3 minutes 30 seconds.


I am not sure if the place they stayed in Los Balbases is really an albergue or just a friend’s house but @alexwalker it looks like there is a way to avoid it!

p.s. I have to say that watching these videos, I am getting the impression that the entire Camino Francés has turned into a wide gravel road. I was thinking it would be nice to revisit in the low-crowd-covid months, but these videos make it much less attractive. What’s with all the hormigón?????
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
On top at last, February 18, 2009.

It was a steep climb up but the view from 'the top of the world' was worth it. One could see widely; to the east the path taken and to the west the path to take. It was a brief, perfect moment.


20210119_171354.jpg
 
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Pilgrim9

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
I think we can all agree that the up-hill bits are the best part of the Camino.

😈

They provide that essential sense of achievement.

-

Edit: The first sentence was a joke BTW.
 
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My body automatically goes into a different rhythm for steady short hill climbs such as this, especially early in the day. It felt great to power up it full of energy at 9am after a night under the stars and full moon in San Anton, then an amble down onto the meseta..

That was the first time, am I right in thinking they've 'improved' the descent with concrete in recent times, I seem to remember it was earth and gravel before??
I believe you are correct - the descent was earth & gravel when I walked in 2007.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF14
LePuy/CF(21?)
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These are our pictures of this same climb up to the Meseta from Castrojeriz. The first was taken at 06.08hrs and the second at 07.29hrs. We walked this on 10th, September, 2014, the weather was very hot, so we decided to leave Castrojeriz early that morning and departed from our accommodation at 05.35hrs in the dark. When you enlarge the first photo you will see the trail of lights from peoples headtorches, who also decided to leave early because of the heat. I (Anne) don't remember this climb being too bad, maybe because we did it in the dark, using headtorches and being careful of foot placement etc. Seeing the daylight photo of the climb does make it look more daunting. Once we reached the top we stopped for a picnic breakfast by moonlight, it was amazing. Then we continued on our way guided by the moonlight.
10 Sep #1 0608hrs View from Meseta (900m) back to Castrojeriz (810m).JPG 10 Sep #3 0729hrs Walking the Way by the light of the moon from Castrojeriz.JPG
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
These are our pictures of this same climb up to the Meseta from Castrojeriz. The first was taken at 06.08hrs and the second at 07.29hrs. We walked this on 10th, September, 2014, the weather was very hot, so we decided to leave Castrojeriz early that morning and departed from our accommodation at 05.35hrs in the dark. When you enlarge the first photo you will see the trail of lights from peoples headtorches, who also decided to leave early because of the heat. I (Anne) don't remember this climb being too bad, maybe because we did it in the dark, using headtorches and being careful of foot placement etc. Seeing the daylight photo of the climb does make it look more daunting. Once we reached the top we stopped for a picnic breakfast by moonlight, it was amazing. Then we continued on our way guided by the moonlight.
View attachment 101139 View attachment 101140

Anne&Pat,
These photos are magical.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful souvenirs of "a picnic breakfast by moonlight".
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
1341
Amazing what current realities do to perception!
I wrote this before somewhere, but repetition is a key in story telling! When I saw that 'slope' I knew better than to complain. We had stopped at the first cafe in the village, meeting up with a very lovely constant companion, a red haired lady from Sardinia. Refreshed, and as I said, having learned to hold back some of my protests, I devised a method for getting up to the top. Two breaths in, two breaths out. My memory tells me it took 17, but perhaps it may have been 19 minutes. Don't ask me about the descent surface, I do not remember. July 2006. It was a lesson for life!
 

Chenahusky

Happy Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
CFSJPP to SDC 2016
CIng x 2 2018
CPort. Tui May 2019
CF Ponf. June 2019
I did it in 2016 from Hontantas to Fromista. My journal just says "a bit of a pull, but helped loosen up the knees". I did enjoy the view from the top, a lot. I am one of those who love the Meseta a great deal. There did seem to be a difference in climb rate, between me, rucsack at 6.5Kg and other pilgrims with half a house on their back. Also I was only 68 at the time, I might find it harder now!

IMG_20160609_091901466.jpg
 
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Ron Cesvalles

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C Frances 2012,2013,2015,2015,2016,2016,2017,2018,2018,2019,
Portuguese 2019
D’Assisi 2014,2019

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I think we can all agree that the up-hill bits are the best part of the Camino.

😈

They provide that essential sense of achievement.
And cherished memories we will never forget!...especially with wind and rain going against ME most of the way.😂
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I did it two years ago yesterday.
Hontanas to Población de Campos. View attachment 101129
What time of year was that? I would assume late spring or early summer. I have never seen green on my three walks on the Meseta (well at least not much haha). No matter I still love walking on the Meseta. A more than necessary to walk the Meseta.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
What time of year was that? I would assume late spring or early summer. I have never seen green on my three walks on the Meseta (well at least not much haha). No matter I still love walking on the Meseta. A more than necessary to walk the Meseta.
Err ... “two years ago yesterday”

Sorry, can’t resist that. 🤣
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I was okay with the uphill, but the downhill was definitely my biggest challenge on the Frances (both times). I found the steep, paved downhill difficult, and began walking across and back to ease the stress on my knees. A little later, I noticed that the walkers behind me were starting to do the same.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I saw a little Korean lady in front of me walking backwards while zigzagging down a steep hill on a wide, flattish trail. That would take some coordination; I assumed she had some knee issues.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
..... and began walking across and back to ease the stress on my knees.
But then one has to be extra careful of bicyclists that come barreling through. Even here in my own neighbourhood - although I’m very careful to walk in a straight line - I’m thinking I would be better off if I were to invest in one of those little rear view mirrors that’s attached to one’s glasses. (Actually, I’d likely need two little mirrors, one for each side, depending on what kind of pathway I’m on.)
 
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DebraS.

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances June/ July (2015) - incomplete
Frances June (2018)
That was my most favorite portion of the Frances. I love walking up steep inclines. I absolutely hate walking down them though. So up was great, down was definitely not. Did a bit of foot damage on that part.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I notice I am almost always in the minority on the uphill/downhill discussions. I absolutely hate walking on the uphills and am as slow as a turga. I often pause to take pictures, probably to catch my breathe😮...give me the downills any day!😊 I scamper down like a rabbit with the wind in my hair...well almost anyway! 😃
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I notice I am almost always in the minority on the uphill/downhill discussions. I absolutely hate walking on the uphills and am as slow as a turga. I often pause to take pictures, probably to catch my breathe😮...give me the downills any day!😊 I scamper down like a rabbit with the wind in my hair...well almost anyway! 😃
I love the Meseta! No uphills, no downhills. On my first Caminos, I was running downhills to get rid of them. Ahhh, the blessing of young age. I hate uphills! Probably an age issue... 🥺
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I love the Meseta! No uphills, no downhills. On my first Caminos, I was running downhills to get rid of them. I hate uphills! Probably an age issue... 🥺
Age...what's that?😅
Finally reaching the tops of the dreaded uphills, I always knew my reward was nigh!
 

longwalker60

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
09/2018
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
One thing I will add. I volunteered as a Ditch Pig one year, and the absolutely worst place for attempting to clean up was the top of that hill. Garbage bins had been installed, which minimised the strewn litter, but a multitude of walkers had done their morning "number two" behind the low wall at the top of that hill, and had made no attempt to clean up after themselves. A small shovel and a plastic bag would assist to carry your waste to the bins.
 
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BiggBlue

Robin
Year of past OR future Camino
Sept 17 Frances to Ponferrada,
April 18 Ponferrada to SDC,
Sept 18 Portugese,
Sept 19 Primitivo
This climb was a bit of a double whammy for me in 2017. First, I remember thinking, when does it end? Even though I could see the top it took what felt like a long time to get there. Then a very welcome rest at the top. After a short distance, the descent appeared and was initially welcomed by me; however, I quickly discovered it was much steeper than the climb.

A consequence of this, I was over flexing my foot on the downhill very shortly after over flexing it on the earlier uphill section. The next morning my right shin felt very tender, and I was sure I was getting tendonitis. Two days later, at Terradillos De Los Templarios, I woke to a swollen lower leg, and a suggestion from a doctor friend in the UK to whom I sent a photo might be cellulitis, and I should proceed to a Hospital. So very reluctantly, I got a taxi to Leon, where they put me on a drip and diagnosed tendonitis with a suggestion of 5 days leg rest.

Five days and I was off again, only for the discomfort to remain and the swelling to quickly return. Finally, at Ponferrada, I had to call it a day and end my Camino. Upon returning to London, I went for an X-Ray and was diagnosed with severe shin splints and early-stage stress fractures.

I am convinced the hyperflexion of my right foot during the climb up and down that hill triggered the conditions for this injury. I went back seven months later to finish the CF and fortunately didn't have to return to the climb. IMG_0655.JPG IMG_0501.JPG
 
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Chris RJ

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019

i remember, with great fondness, leaving Castrojeritz in the dark, doing a 30 second Instagram video for my daughter at boarding school, telling her about the day ahead, particularly the climb.

it was so beautiful as I walked across the bridge as the dawn was breaking that I did another video to her and then another with exhilaration at the top.

I remember this because it’s almost the only day that I didn’t just do a video at the start and the end to tell her about my extraordinary experience. In about 48 weeks I will be climbing the same hill, hopefully enjoying it as much next time.
 

David61

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Frances (2020)
Ah, return to Senda - didn't Elvis sing that?
and here is me just after the ascent, no weight on my back, airily waving and kissing my hand at struggling and sweating pilgrims as I pass 😄😄
Mind you - at the top my first thought is always "what a perfect place for an ice cream stand".

View attachment 101151
Hi David, can I ask if you have used your trailer for the full Camino? Any particular problems?
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
And cherished memories we will never forget!...especially with wind and rain going against ME most of the way.😂
It isn’t a true Camino unless you are dying I the heat or being blown away with high winds and horizontal rain as you walk on the Meseta! Honestly I really do love this section so much.
 

La Brique Jaune

Official member of la confradia del pinza del oro
Year of past OR future Camino
2017: SJPDP to Finisterre
(202?): I hope and need to
I remember this climb as really tough, In fact I just know it, I don't really remember. When I was climbing,
a running guy pass me and re-pass me when he came down. If in summer 2023 I will have 2 months of vacation I swear I will do two times in row . :p
 

DyanTX

DyanTX
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Sept 22 - Nov 3, 2016
Slow and steady. That's how I climb hills. It was chilly and windy the October day we climbed that hill. It was also memorable for the doe and her fawn that ran up the hillside just to the left of the trail. Almost the only wild animal we saw in all of Spain
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Almost the only wild animal we saw in all of Spain
Same with me...I only saw one deer and one rabbit in six weeks; another time only two rabbits in four weeks. I was surprised to never see any squirrels, which are so very common in much of the US.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
In my autumn walk on the VdlP in 2017, I saw two herds of deer in one day, running across the road near me as I walked in a solitary location. I shall be going through there again this fall and hope to see deer again, although I was apprehensive at the time that fleeing deer meant eager hunters close-by.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
The only place where I heard hunters on the path was on the alternate camino to Villar de Mazarife after leaving Virgen del Camino where they were stalking in the bordering fields; thus, autumn pilgrims need to be noisy and wear bright colors in order to be noticed and not mistaken for game!
 
Last edited:

Kiwi-d

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sep/Oct 2014
You know, I never knew that climb was called "The Mule Killer", yet at the time I wrote:

"And that, my dears, was a sodding hard day. Oh, the first 21km was a doddle, slightly marred by the hissing down rain at bird's fart, but I cunningly tacked on to a slow-motion American who was the proud possessor of a brighter headlamp. Use 'em and lose 'em being my motto, I dispensed with his services as soon as it got light enough to see the trail. Annoyingly, since I consider myself a fast walker, he was never far behind me at coffee stops, the pretentious swine.

So that was the easy bit over, but being an idiot, I decided to carry on. Having a low boredom threshold, finishing at 11am leaves a lot of day. Remind me sometime, however, guidebooks are meant to be read.

At this point, some unprintable swine inserted the hill from hell. It's the only one on the planet. They send mules here to end their days. I nearly ended mine. God it was hard, it went on and on, and on. And then, oh joy, there was the descent. Here, the rest of the mules suicide for pleasure.

And that, my dears, is how one walks 32km for fun. Or something. Tomorrow I shall hit myself with large bricks for a change of pace."
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Its my favourite climb on the whole Camino, I always use it as a test of my fitness. Into my seventies I can still do it without stopping which is a camino miracle as just about the only exercise I take is walking the Camino.
Exactly! This is just how it is for me too. I love that hill. It comes after a couple of weeks of walking, and I test my fitness by walking all the way up without stopping.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Oct 2020
The only place where I heard hunters on the path was on the alternate camino to Villar de Mazarife after leaving Virgen del Camino where they were stalking in the bordering fields; thus, autumn pilgrims need to be noisy and wear bright colors in order to be noticed and not mistaken for game!
I heard (before I saw) several small groups of hunters as I walked on the stretch between Santibañez de Valdeiglesias and the friendly kiosk on the top. A bit scary for a solo walker, as I hate guns.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
You know, I never knew that climb was called "The Mule Killer", yet at the time I wrote:

"And that, my dears, was a sodding hard day. Oh, the first 21km was a doddle, slightly marred by the hissing down rain at bird's fart, but I cunningly tacked on to a slow-motion American who was the proud possessor of a brighter headlamp. Use 'em and lose 'em being my motto, I dispensed with his services as soon as it got light enough to see the trail. Annoyingly, since I consider myself a fast walker, he was never far behind me at coffee stops, the pretentious swine.

So that was the easy bit over, but being an idiot, I decided to carry on. Having a low boredom threshold, finishing at 11am leaves a lot of day. Remind me sometime, however, guidebooks are meant to be read.

At this point, some unprintable swine inserted the hill from hell. It's the only one on the planet. They send mules here to end their days. I nearly ended mine. God it was hard, it went on and on, and on. And then, oh joy, there was the descent. Here, the rest of the mules suicide for pleasure.

And that, my dears, is how one walks 32km for fun. Or something. Tomorrow I shall hit myself with large bricks for a change of pace."
🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣
Thank you for the laugh!!!!
 

jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
That was the first time, am I right in thinking they've 'improved' the descent with concrete in recent times, I seem to remember it was earth and gravel before??

Yes, I think so. I am 99% sure that the descent was gravel in 2013, as I was disappointed that it was concrete the next time in 2014. This photo was taken in 2015 . . . you can see where the concrete stops . . . .

092.jpg
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
September 2001 and the ascent was a narrow, rocky goat path. The descent was wider but still gravel.
The best thing was seeing two sunrises: the first leaving Castrojeriz and the second as we came out from under the shadow of the ridge.
The worst was a gaggle of late teen American girls who "climbed" the ridge with a Gucci "backpack" and a bottle of water and were then whisked away by bus to Boadilla where their escorts had nabbed all the benches for a picnic - my first experience of Touragrinas!
 

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Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
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