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Via de la Plata in Reverse

jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Hi, how easy is it to walk the via de la Plata “backwards”? Anyone here done that?

I’ve walked the CF in reverse, and it was easy enough, as I’d walked it the “proper” way several times, so I had a good idea which way to go at every junction I came to.

One year I walked parallel with a social worker and her young charge on the Norte, and after celebrations in Santiago, and the rest of us went home, the two of them continued south on the Via de la Plata as the youngster’s sentence wasn’t over yet, and I know that they had no cell phones on them.

I don’t want to have my face in my phone all the time, trying to find the way, so all that GPS tech stuff is not an option. Any thoughts?
 
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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 am unsure: I have walked from Sevilla and all the way up. There are some long stretches where you can't go wrong, but there are also tricky areas. I think you will need some GPS (not continuously, but as for planning your next day) support to do it.

When walking in the opposite direction, I think you may/should start early autumn, due to hotter climate as you are walking southbound.

But your idea is interesting!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I don’t want to have my face in my phone all the time, trying to find the way, so all that GPS tech stuff is not an option. Any thoughts?
If you use the Wikiloc app you can just walk along a track and go the way you think the camino goes. If it notices that you have walked off the track it will give you an audio warning and then you can backtrack to the junction, look at its map and choose the correct path. Also, if you have supplied it with a south to north track you can walk it in reverse. The app says that you are going the wrong way but you can indicate that is the way you want to go and it will correct itself. I'll supply more information if you want.
 

geraldkelly

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
Walking the Via backwards would be extremely difficult. Depending on the time of year there might be very few people walking in to other direction to help orient yourself or to ask advice. I've walked it 3+ times in the other direction and even I wouldn't feel confident of being able to do it backwards (the Frances would be a lot easier because of the abundant signage and other pilgrims). If I was you I'd use some kind of GPS app.
 

michael

Member
With a little care it should be easy.
My hand held gps has reverse track on it and the speed you are traveling at you would not go far wrong before you realised it.
Without a gps looking back at junctions should give you a clue as to where the arrows are readable from.
 
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mahz

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Primitivo 2017
North 2016
French 2014
French 2012
With a little help from a GPS app here and there, it will be easy. Not the only one that has come out with the idea. I have met more than one person walking 'backwards'. For sure, centuries ago people would not use a train or an aircraft to travel back home. But today, what is the point? You'll be missing and important part of the joy of the Camino, coming across other pilgrims having (or not) some form of interaction with them. In any case, depending on the month you choose to walk, you won't find many people on the VdLP
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
I walked the Baztan backwards a couple of years ago and spent quite a bit of time retracing my steps.
It was fun.
It’s been along time since I walked the VDLP but given the weather distances and the sparse population I would not attempt to walk it backwards without a good map and compass or electronic navigation.
Maybe you could keep your phone in the bottom of your pack. If you had the route loaded there and knew how to use it it could very possibly come in handy.
There are areas on this route where it would be dangerous do not know where you are or which way to go.
You could be confused for a couple of days.
 

jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Thank you all for your replies and thoughts. I will be sensible and walk it in the proper direction.

But where to start from? Is it possible to start in Gibraltar? Please point me to the right thread, if there is one.

Thanks again! Jill
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018, 2019
I will be sensible and walk it in the proper direction.
It's not foolish to walk in reverse - especially in the autumn as the weather gets colder. I met plenty of people doing that. But I think, as other people have said, that you would need to overcome your technophobia because a good app or navigation device is the best way to avoid going off the right path.

But where to start from? Is it possible to start in Gibraltar?
If you're a "completist," Seville is the official start of the VDLP. Anything more is just showing off and won't earn you any extra brownie points in Santiago, but that's fine.

If you feel like starting from Gibraltar, you can follow the Vía Serrana from Gibraltar to Seville. It's also possible to start from Cadiz - taking the Via Augusta to Seville. Or you can start in south-eastern Spain (Malaga, Almeria, Jaen, or Granada) and follow the Camino Mozarabe route that joins up with the VDLP in Merida. (But in that case, you don't get to start in Seville ... )

Best thing to do is use the forum search function with the bolded keywords above - and that should take you down a rabbit hole full of ideas for future caminos.
 

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