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Ruta del Mar -- round the bump and down

alansykes

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Ribadeo's riverside xunta albergue is right on the Ruta do Mar, and the 3 hours to As Catedráis were probably the best coastal walk I've had so far. Low tide at the cathedrals, virtually deserted at this time of year - timed tickets in the summer, I gather. After that it was mostly very dull walking past 100s of dreary villas, almost all on tarmac. And quite bad roadworks near Foz, where I'm staying the night. The compensation was taking a taxi to see San Martín de Mondoñedo, which claims to be the oldest cathedral in Spain (man made, that is, as I suppose As Catedráis can give it a year or two). DSC_0691~2.jpg
 
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alansykes

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North from Foz is good coastal walking again. A sign in the town said its name came from the Latin Faucem, meaning mouth (of the river) - there was some discussion here about whether it was Latin, Celtic, Norse or Galega.

I encountered the doubtless expensive paving that comes with the coastal path in places, and rather agree with @Tia Valeria that it's not much good, sometimes not very even, very like crazy paving in suburban patios, and partly of a slate-like material that I suspect may be very slippery if it ever rains again (and the forecast says normal service will resume on Friday or Saturday).

I liked the tiny peninsula of San Cibrao, with its tiny chapel, which claimed bits dating from the 11th century (but which was closed, claro), right by the fishing port. And the stories about the maruxaina, the local mermaid who is tried every August as they're never quite sure whether she's a malicious siren or benevolent, presumably depending on how many fishermen drowned the previous year.

And then a bus to Viveiro, where I found a nice b&b across the bay in Covas, almost as far north as it is possible to stay in Spain.
 

alansykes

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I liked Covas very much and was lulled to sleep by the waves on the beach outside my b&b. This morning was just great, up into the hills and away from the almost constant ribbon development of the coast. Woods, streams, clean smells, just great. After a couple of hours I got to the Puente do Porto, the dividing line into A Coruña province, the first time I've crossed into a familiar province on this camino (6 new provinces in one camino, I'll never be able to do that again). Just before leaving Lugo there was a tiny chapel of the Virxe de las Angustias, which was open and had a (?early 18th century) pietà in it, and a bench offering knick-knacks for sale. I wish I'd bought a cigarette lighter with the pietà on it, but contented myself with a keyring. The oración included the prayer (a pity Galician isn't as easy to understand as it is to read) "acompáñanos no noso camiñar e ensínanos a vivir como mensaxeiros do Evanxeo".

There were some great views from up the top down onto the bay of Ortigueira, and then a steady descent, mostly on tarmac now, but on almost deserted roads. Ortigueira is not perhaps as jolly as Viviero/Covas, but pleasant enough.

IMG_20151119_121502.jpg
 

alansykes

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I should probably mention that the signing was pretty good up to the Lugo border and thereafter I don't think I saw a single arrow. At the border was an excellent map showing the way to San Andrés de Teixido, and there are some red ichthys symbols along the way, although I didn't see any of them after about 10km, so assume I must have been on the wrong path. It's fairly difficult to get badly lost when you can see your destination in front.

And tomorrow, if I fall off the highest cliff in mainland Europe, I'll have gone a bit too far north.
 
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Pelegrin

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North from Foz is good coastal walking again. A sign in the town said its name came from the Latin Faucem, meaning mouth (of the river) - there was some discussion here about whether it was Latin, Celtic, Norse or Galega.

I encountered the doubtless expensive paving that comes with the coastal path in places, and rather agree with @Tia Valeria that it's not much good, sometimes not very even, very like crazy paving in suburban patios, and partly of a slate-like material that I suspect may be very slippery if it ever rains again (and the forecast says normal service will resume on Friday or Saturday).

I liked the tiny peninsula of San Cibrao, with its tiny chapel, which claimed bits dating from the 11th century (but which was closed, claro), right by the fishing port. And the stories about the maruxaina, the local mermaid who is tried every August as they're never quite sure whether she's a malicious siren or benevolent, presumably depending on how many fishermen drowned the previous year.

And then a bus to Viveiro, where I found a nice b&b across the bay in Covas, almost as far north as it is possible to stay in Spain.

Foz has clearly a Latin origin meaning mouth of a river like Foz de Igaçu or Figueira de Foz.
The discussion you mean was about a place in England (don´t remember the name) with similar spelling that was mentioned by TerryB as possibly Latin and finally resulted to have more probably a Viking origin.
 

alansykes

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My last full day on the Ruta do Mar. Starting with many km of road before getting into forest tracks leading up to the cliffs. On one of the viewpoints was a memorial plaque to Leslie Howard, whose plane was shot down nearby by the Luftwaffe in 1943. There is a very steep very narrow goat track down to San Andrés de Teixido from there, with many loose rocks. Probably best not attempted when wet, but fine today. I drank from the 3 fuentes and dropped my crumbs in the water, where they sank like stones, so no wish there. There was a lot of tourist tat about, and I resisted the temptation to buy a St Andrew cigarette lighter. The nice barmaid in the bar near the church showed me another goat track behind her bar which led me back up the cliffs and on to way to Cedeira, saving me about 4km of backtracking and roadwork, I think, St Andrew's blessing be upon her.

IMG_20151120_123143.jpg
 

alansykes

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And so on to Xubia where the Ruta do Mar merges with the Camino Inglés, and the signage suddenly becomes very good indeed, after having been largely busking it for four days, with very sporadic arrows or ichthys.

I liked the Ruta do Mar, lovely highland countryside, fabulous fish, pleasant little villages and towns, but there was an awful lot of road work, and its surprising how stressful the vague feeling, not that you´re lost, but that you´re not entirely sure where you are or how far it is to a bed, can be. Certainly suddenly finding reliable arrows and scallops at every junction makes for much more relaxed walking, and probably rather faster as well.
 

Dave

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Alan, thank you for your detailed posts on your walk! I'm hoping to spend some time on this route over the summer, and the write-ups by you and Tia Valeria have been really helpful.
 

Tia Valeria

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Alan, thank you for your detailed posts on your walk! I'm hoping to spend some time on this route over the summer, and the write-ups by you and Tia Valeria have been really helpful.
Have a great walk. If you have not already found it our blog about the Camino do Mar-Camino Inglés is here at Camino 2015 where there is additional info and photos. If you want any details of accomodation then feel free to PM us
Buen Camino
@TerryB and @Tia Valeria
 
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peregrina2000

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Have a great walk. If you have not already found it our blog about the Camino do Mar-Camino Inglés is here at Camino 2015 where there is additional info and photos. If you want any details of accomodation then feel free to PM us
Buen Camino
@TerryB and @Tia Valeria
Hi, Tia, I was walking last summer when you posted your blog, so this is my first glimpse. Lots of beautiful pictures and helpful information. Was the visit to Mondonedo a detour you planned or is it on the Ruta deal Mar?

Buen camino, Laurie
 

peregrina2000

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And a postscript for anyone else looking at this route -- I see there's a good GPS track on wikiloc, which shows the route quite clearly.

http://es.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=3283494

And it also answers my question about Mondonedo. :) I have walked through it on the Norte but hadn't bothered to figure out where it was in relationship to the coast. The church was closed when I was there, unfortunately, and it looks like I really missed something!
 

Dave

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Have a great walk. If you have not already found it our blog about the Camino do Mar-Camino Inglés is here at Camino 2015 where there is additional info and photos.
@TerryB and @Tia Valeria

This is great, thank you! It's funny--after my first Camino in 2002, I spent a handful of days on the coast to wind down and prepare for going home. I spent a couple of nights in Viveiro and Cedeira and loved it. (I vividly remember being in Viveiro for a World Cup match between the USA and Portugal. I've never seen a group of Spaniards laugh as much as they did that day, when the US upset Figo and the rest.) How fun to now get to return to those places on foot!
 

Tia Valeria

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And a postscript for anyone else looking at this route -- I see there's a good GPS track on wikiloc, which shows the route quite clearly.

http://es.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=3283494

And it also answers my question about Mondonedo. :) I have walked through it on the Norte but hadn't bothered to figure out where it was in relationship to the coast. The church was closed when I was there, unfortunately, and it looks like I really missed something!
There are 2 Mondoñedos so it is not the same place @peregrina2000 . We walked through San Martiño de Mondoñedo, which predates the 'new' cathedral at the Mondoñedo on the Norte. Access to the older,Romanesque, cathedral is in the information office round the back of the building.
I am not sure how good the GPS track is - I cannot view it!, but we superimposed the Lugo Amigos outlines onto the Mapas Militar, which worked well.
Maybe we need to look at our maps and make a list of places and some of the turnings. Alan seems from his description to have continued straight to Foz but our route took us into San Martiño de Mondoñedo and then turned down to Foz itself.
 

peregrina2000

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Not the same place @peregrina2000 . We walked through San Martiño de Mondoñedo, which predates the 'new' cathedral at the Mondoñedo on the Norte. Access to the older,Romanesque, cathedral is in the information office round the back of the building.
I am not sure how good the GPS track is - I cannot view it!, but we superimposed the Lugo Amigos outlines onto the Mapas Militar, which worked well.
Maybe we need to look at our maps and make a list of places and some of the turnings. Alan seems from his description to have continued straight to Foz but our route took us into San Martiño de Mondoñedo and then turned down to Foz itself.
Thanks for the clarification, Tia. I see that San Martino is about 5 km from the center of Foz. What a beautiful place. And yes, though you can't see it, the wikiloc track makes a big loop around the Ria de Foz and then heads through San Martino and then back up to Foz. So it is right on the Ruta. This looks like a great alternative to the Norte from Ribadeo! Just what I need, another Camino on my wish list.
 
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Magwood

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What a close community this forum is. I got to this thread in a very convoluted way. I had taken note of the guide book 'the Northern Caminos', co-authored by @Dave in another thread and am planning to order it. But unfortunatlely it doesn't include a section on the Ruta do Mar, which I am interested in walking as a continuation of el Norte later this year.

By coincidence I saw a comment by Dave on a Facebook forum and asked him a question about this route. He kindly responded with a link to this thread. And now here I am amongst the great and good forum members giving such sage advice. And a particular thank you to @peregrina2000 for the Wikiloc track that I immediately downloaded and gives me a slight feeling of comfort to walk a route that isn't well marked.

Thank you all so much for your generosity and encouragement - and expect more questions after I have read @Tia Valeria's blog.
 

Tia Valeria

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We are hoping to put a list up of all the places we should have walked through, as on the Mapas Militar, plus the places we actually walked through when we diverted from the route. This may take another couple of weeks to appear here.:)
 

Magwood

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@alansykes could you tell me why you caught a bus into Viveiro rather than walking? Was this due to the terrain or lack of time?

I'm trying to work out how long it will take me to walk from Ribadeo to Ferrol. @Tia Valeria's blog has been very useful but I will probably walk at a faster pace. It seems from reading your posts above that you walked in five days.

Any advice you can give will be gratefully received. I will be a long way out of my comfort zone walking in an area without pilgrim infrastructure but I think it's time I pushed myself to be a bit more adventurous.

Many thanks
Maggie
 

Tia Valeria

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Alan's reasons may have been different to ours but for us the route north from Xove was both a demanding distance and also had a lack of facilities. The alternative was to walk the side roads or main road so we took the train from Xove to Viveiro. the same reason for taking the train onwards to Esteiro etc. Just back from a trip to see the family so can start work on the itinerary list :)
 

Magwood

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I have been studying the route as best I can from the Internet and am thinking that I might make the following stages. Any thoughts will be most appreciated

Ribadeo - Foz (25 km)
Foz - San Cibrao (22 km)
San Cibrao - Covas (18.5 km)
Covas - Ortigueira (30 km)
Ortigueira - Cedeira (25 km)
Cedeira - Xubia / Ferrol (26 / 30 km)
 
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alansykes

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@alansykes could you tell me why you caught a bus into Viveiro rather than walking? Was this due to the terrain or lack of time?

Hi there,

I was running a little bit low on time, and thought that stage was the easiest to cut. San Cibrao to Covas by the coastal route is about 27km, I believe.

I have been studying the route as best I can from the Internet and am thinking that I might make the following stages. Any thoughts will be most appreciated

Ribadeo - Foz (25 km)
Foz - San Cibrao (22 km)
San Cibrao - Covas (18.5 km)
Covas - Ortigueira (30 km)
Ortigueira - Cedeira (25 km)
Cedeira - Xubia / Ferrol (26 / 30 km)

I did (roughly) those stages, but seem to have done very different distances on a couple of them, at least where my wikiloc trails were recorded - but that may just be because of my detours to, for example, As Catedráis and San Andrés de Teixido. So I've got 32km from Ribadeo to Foz, 32 from Foz to San Cibrao and 34 from Cuiña (3-4km on from Ortigueira) to Cedeira (via San Andrés de Teixido).

Cuiña to Cedeira was quite a tough day, with over 1000m of cumulative ascent, quite a lot of tarmac, and a very tiresome stretch leading to a quarry, with heavy dusty lorries thundering past every 2 minutes for 5km - but it was worth it for the spectacular cliffs around San Andrés. Covas to Ortigueira was probably my favourite: several lovely lonely hours in the empty highlands with breathtaking views of the bays ahead and behind - and 1330m of cumulative ascent.
 
Last edited:

Magwood

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Thanks so much @alansykes for this extremely useful information. I had been guesstimating the distances from google maps. Could you share your wikiloc routes - they would be a very helpful reference point?

I feel I am getting to know the area a bit now (via my iPad) and am feeling a bit more confident about this section.

The trouble is, I have recently become Facebook friends with John Noble who has written many guidebooks for lonely planet (and coincidently lives in my neighbouring village only 3 km away - we are due to meet up after his current travels). Being friends with him is not the trouble, but that he is currently travelling in the area of the Ruta do Mar and keeps posting magnificent photos of sites he has visited (including San Andrés de Teixido) which are tempting me to divert to take in Estaca de Bares (the most northerly tip of Spain) and "Banco mas bonito del mundo" - the most beautiful bench in the world - which is causing havoc with my stage from Covas to Cuiña. On the day, it will all be weather and visibility dependant.

Many thanks to you and to @Tia Valeria for taking the time to post on this thread.
Maggie
 

Tia Valeria

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@Magwood - attached is the file that has the place names I promised. It relates to the maps found on the Lugo Amigos-Camino del Mar website. Note that they are arranged as Sunday/weekend walks rather than continuous walking so that the stages can end where they were picked up by mini-bus rather than where there is accomodation. As we have said before we super-imposed the green line onto the Mapas Militar. I think that the wikilocs page might follow a slightly different route in some places. Have fun plotting your route.:)
 

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Magwood

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Huge thanks @Tia Valeria for the pdf and the link, both safely stored for more planning.
 

alansykes

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Thanks so much @alansykes for this extremely useful information. I had been guesstimating the distances from google maps. Could you share your wikiloc routes - they would be a very helpful reference point?

I feel I am getting to know the area a bit now (via my iPad) and am feeling a bit more confident about this section.

The trouble is, I have recently become Facebook friends with John Noble who has written many guidebooks for lonely planet (and coincidently lives in my neighbouring village only 3 km away - we are due to meet up after his current travels). Being friends with him is not the trouble, but that he is currently travelling in the area of the Ruta do Mar and keeps posting magnificent photos of sites he has visited (including San Andrés de Teixido) which are tempting me to divert to take in Estaca de Bares (the most northerly tip of Spain) and "Banco mas bonito del mundo" - the most beautiful bench in the world - which is causing havoc with my stage from Covas to Cuiña. On the day, it will all be weather and visibility dependant.

Many thanks to you and to @Tia Valeria for taking the time to post on this thread.
Maggie
Hi there,

This is my trail from Ribadeo to Foz. It's possible to go via San Martín de Mondoñedo ("the oldest cathedral in Spain"), taking a few km longer, but I would have hit it when it was closed for the afternoon, so dumped my rucksack in the hotel in Foz and took a taxi back out to it:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/spatialArtifacts.do?event=setCurrentSpatialArtifact&id=11429805

This is Covas to Cuiña/Ortigueira:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/spatialArtifacts.do?event=setCurrentSpatialArtifact&id=11444063

And Cuiña to Cedeira via San Andrés de Teixido:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/spatialArtifacts.do?event=setCurrentSpatialArtifact&id=11455136

Your neighbour's bench does sound very inviting if I ever pass that way again.
 
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Tia Valeria

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I see that you stayed on the N642 while we turned left and went through A Espineira, Vilaronte and Seoane to San Martiño de Mondoñedo. Did you find the side road from Fazouro or did you do what we did and follow the main road? I see one of the other Wikilocs pages shows the line we took through Nois.
 

alansykes

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I see that you stayed on the N642 while we turned left and went through A Espineira, Vilaronte and Seoane to San Martiño de Mondoñedo. Did you find the side road from Fazouro or did you do what we did and follow the main road? I see one of the other Wikilocs pages shows the line we took through Nois.
I think you had the better walk - I was on or near the main road from A Espiñera all the way to the outskirts of Foz. Foz to Fazuoro and on the next day was much better, coastal path most of the way to San Cibrao, with a pleasant swim in a bay near Burela (I liked Burela, where I had a snack lunch in a friendly bar where the owner had spent 5 years working in Liverpool, and had an amazing Galician-Scouse accent when trying out her English on me).
 

sansebastienne

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Hi there,
do you know, whether it is reasonable to go the camino do mar in October?
I guess I won't find any pilgrims hostels but only hotels & private rooms?
Are there enough possibilities to stay the nights?
Is the way marked with arrows & can be found easily?
Thanks for a recommendation.
greetings, mandy
 

Tia Valeria

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We walked 'out of season' in May and found accommodation via booking.com. There are no albergues so it is al private accommodation.
The way marking varies from good to poor to almost non-existent. We had sections of the Mapas Militar (Ordnance Survey maps) and had marked the path out on them using the on-line guides. We also used the FEVE a couple of times and a taxi then bus after San Andres to join the Ingles at Ferrol. Others have walked through.
Check out our blog Camino 2015 (see 'signature link below) and the blogs of others who have already done this.
Do-able, I would say 'yes' but preparation is needed on the route.
 

sansebastienne

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thank you for your answer.
I will definitely prepare the route before & already printed some maps from the Lugo camino page.
I was just worried whether we might find the way easily & whether out of season - in October - we would find always a place to stay the nights.
I read the landscape is very beautiful towards praia das Catedrais. how is it afterwards?
why did you take taxis & FEVE?
Any spots especially not to miss on the way?
kind regards,
m.
 
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Tia Valeria

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We found the scenery was mostly very good.
We walk short days and were aware that the distance in some places was too far between accommodation options. With no albergues we needed to be sure of a bed and also food in the latter part. The FEVE and taxis made it possible for us personally, others who walk longer distances daily did not need them. Be aware that there is no accommodation, nor food in some areas and we chose to pre-book as we were walking 'out of season' in May.
We loved Viveiro and stayed in a pension just near the FEVE for 3 nights just to look around.
 

sansebastienne

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We found the scenery was mostly very good.
We walk short days and were aware that the distance in some places was too far between accommodation options. With no albergues we needed to be sure of a bed and also food in the latter part. The FEVE and taxis made it possible for us personally, others who walk longer distances daily did not need them. Be aware that there is no accommodation, nor food in some areas and we chose to pre-book as we were walking 'out of season' in May.
We loved Viveiro and stayed in a pension just near the FEVE for 3 nights just to look around.

Hi Tia Valeria,
thanks for that very helpful hint to make sure to always have some food with us.
what do you mean, when you say you walked short days? how many kms usually?
We plan with about 20-30km per day, depending of course on the places to stay the nights.
Kind regards,
sansebastienne
 

Tia Valeria

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Hi Tia Valeria,
thanks for that very helpful hint to make sure to always have some food with us.
what do you mean, when you say you walked short days? how many kms usually?
We plan with about 20-30km per day, depending of course on the places to stay the nights.
Kind regards,
sansebastienne
We walked about 15kms per day which meant that we had time to visit places too. Partly why we then took a taxi to get to our booked accommodation (maybe 5kms or so)
 

Magwood

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hi @sansebastienne. I walked a version of the Ruta do Mar last year. Like @Tia Valeria I walked in May, so cannot comment on how the conditions are likely to be in October. Accommodation was certainly very much more expensive than on the main caminos and the availability of accommodation determined the stages I walked, which were as follows:

Ribadeo to Foz 39.4 km
Foz to San Cibrao 29.4 km
San Cibrao to Covas 29 km
Covas to O Porto do Barqueiro 29.6 km
Porto do Barqueiro to Porto de Espasante 15.4 km
Porto de Espasante to Cedeira (via San Andrés de Teixido) 26.5 km
Cedeira to Ferrol (Neda) 31 km

From Ribadeo there were a few yellow arrows, but not sufficient to follow. But there was a very well marked route for the Camino Natural de la Ruta del Cantábrico which absolutely hugs the coast from Ribadeo to O Vicedo - here is a link to information about this magnificent trail.

I knew nothing about this route before I saw the first signposts so had not planned to follow it. However I can highly recommend it as an alternative to the mostly unmarked Ruta do Mar as far as O Vicedo. Many times the two routes coincide, but where the Ruta do Mar often heads inland, the Camino Natural sticks firmly to the coastline, which results in a few extra kms. I can see that there are sections of the trail posted to wikiloc, so you can take a look at the route and terrain.

I also uploaded my trail from Ribadeo to Ferrol to Wikiloc which can be seen here or you can search the App for reference 14327215 or "Magwood's Camino de Costa from Ribadeo to Ferrol ". Please note though that on the last couple of stages I followed some trails which occasionally placed me outside my comfort zone - that of a 60+ year old solo woman. You are welcome to take a look at my blog, where I posted live every day from the camino with loads of useful info and photos - stages 24 to 31 (see link in signature line below). If you are interested in the scenery on this route you could take a look at my video - I set off from Ribadeo at minute 28:50
 

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