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Warning to Women Walking Solo

2020 Camino Guides

zrexer

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
@zrexer
If you "wish a solo experience" do you "need to walk in somewhat close proximity to other walkers so as not to be a target?" Would you be willing to adjust your walking pace and your definition of "a solo experience" in order to feel safe? If you don't need to do so, do you think it reasonable to refer to another human being who doesn't want to do so either as lacking common sense?
Yes. I agree it is not fair, but females tend to be targeted more than males. On the other hand I am getting close to 60, so I don't ever kid myself I would be able to repel a younger more aggressive, armed individual(s) that wished to rob me. So I tend to keep other walkers in sight as much as possible myself so as not to be a 'soft' target. This seems like common sense to me, others may disagree.
 
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Stroller123

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
I think what you look like or your age has nothing to do with it in most cases seems most predators look for opportunity and a vulnerable female or male ; best thing is don't give them opportunity and if you have a means of self defense be ready and willing to use it and let them know you ARE prepared to fight if need be
I agree with this.

Predators look for a (easy) prey, they don't want to get hurt, they don't want to get caught, they don't want a duel, like in movies, against another male. They just want to want to "dominate" someone they regard as weaker then them. Proving them that who they regarded as a "prey" is not a prey, but can fight back, more often than not it disrupts their mental state (predator - prey) and may open a window for getting out of dodge. In other words it creates a surprise effect.

I can't say what can be the most effective tool to achieve that, as it depends on age, gender, level of fitness, training, mental state and so on. But a pepper spray kept in a deep pocket or in a bum bag is useless; a blunt or sharp object used for defense without proper training can become very dangerous for the user; a whistle or a rape alarm may be ignored by most people; unless you are a very fast runner, running away from a predator (not incapacitated) may be pointless.

I think everyone has to find the right solutions for themselves, eventually with a help of a (serious) professional, and not to feel afraid or shamed of saying "I am afraid". For me "fear" is what it keeps me from stepping over the edge of a cliff, crossing a road without looking for incoming cars, picking up things from a hot oven without protections and so on. In other words "fear" (in the right amount and processed) is what makes me take steps to be prepared and feel safe.

Just my two cents.
 
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tricia Williams

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances in August 2017
Hi Sparrow!
I plan to walk Porto to SdC along the coast next April/May as a "final" camino. You'll probably be long gone before I'm there - but just relax and enjoy. And enjoy the company of other pilgrims, who will become your "pilgrim family". Whatever you do, don't be put off by these rare occurences. Check out my web site for my previous caminos, and know that I have enjoyed EVERY ONE!
Blessings from grey England....
HI Stephen, I am walking porto to SDC starting early May. I am hoping there will be a few people on the trail. I read over your website. You reminded me of the dogs...hoping i have no encounters with vicious dogs on my walk. I may see you although i imagine you will be ahead of me. Bom Camino
 

Liz Drew

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Coastal Portuguese
2018 Via de la Plata
(2019) del Norte
HI Stephen, I am walking porto to SDC starting early May. I am hoping there will be a few people on the trail. I read over your website. You reminded me of the dogs...hoping i have no encounters with vicious dogs on my walk. I may see you although i imagine you will be ahead of me. Bom Camino
I walked from Lisboa to SdC in 2016 and walked both alone and in a small group. I didn’t encounter any of the unsavoury type of males mentioned - who unfortunately you can fine anywhere BUT I did experience dogs. These dogs were only protecting their turf, but I was still frightened. I realised that they didn’t understand English and I don’t speak Portuguese so trying to talk to them was a waste of time but very quickly their owners arrived and took them away and were most apologetic. That experience was nothing like doing the VdlP last year and coming face to face with a bull ( I was lost at the time). Interesting how we react when we are out of our comfort zone.
Stay safe, be vigilant. Stick to your route, know where you are and how far to the next town, don’t start too early or walk late.
 

Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
I always take a "dog dazer" which emits a high frequency noise which humans can't hear, but dogs run away.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/K-II-Enterprises-Dog-Dazer-II/dp/B000IBRI2Y/ref=asc_df_B000IBRI2Y/?tag=bingshoppinga-21&linkCode=df0&hvadid={creative}&hvpos={adposition}&hvnetw=o&hvrand={random}&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl={devicemodel}&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583726541709559&psc=1
Hope this may help you: it's a bit of peace of mind, if nothing else.
Bon camino! I'm off in a fortnight to Portugal, to walk the coastal camino.
 

Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
Too hot there Stephen a month ago , it nearly killed us .
We had walked coastal and survived with the sea breezes , then ventured north ;)
You will love Portuguese , go very slow and venture west @ Caminha and then Spiritual .
Keep warm and i hope Cookie makes a ton.
Am off in a fortnight! OK OK I know it's only February! Couldn't wait any longer! I think it should be fine, and slightly cooler than in August! :)
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
I always take a "dog dazer" which emits a high frequency noise which humans can't hear, but dogs run away.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/K-II-Enterprises-Dog-Dazer-II/dp/B000IBRI2Y/ref=asc_df_B000IBRI2Y/?tag=bingshoppinga-21&linkCode=df0&hvadid={creative}&hvpos={adposition}&hvnetw=o&hvrand={random}&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl={devicemodel}&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583726541709559&psc=1
Hope this may help you: it's a bit of peace of mind, if nothing else.
Bon camino! I'm off in a fortnight to Portugal, to walk the coastal camino.
I bought a dog dazer before my Camino de Invierno but I never had to try it. Does it really work? It was a bit heavy, so I guess I won´t bring it next time.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi again, Sparrow!
Well, I planned to walk some time after you....but I simply can't wait that long, and fly to Lisbon tomorrow!!!
Enjoy your camino.
S. x
Don’t mean to hijack this thread, but I couldn’t resist saying bom caminho to you Stephen. So glad you have found a way to keep on walking! I think I remember you telling me that your Ebro so many years ago (when you helped me out so much) was going to be the last. Just shows that hope springs eternal and frequently turns into reality. Lucky you. Would love to hear how it goes for you, will you walk all the way to Santiago? Bom caminho, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
Does the "alert cops" app, post #11 (sorry, I still have not figured out how to quote) give your location to the police?
 

Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
I bought a dog dazer before my Camino de Invierno but I never had to try it. Does it really work? It was a bit heavy, so I guess I won´t bring it next time.
I can only say it worked on the wild packs in Castellon. But it's in my luggage now!
 

Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
Don’t mean to hijack this thread, but I couldn’t resist saying bom caminho to you Stephen. So glad you have found a way to keep on walking! I think I remember you telling me that your Ebro so many years ago (when you helped me out so much) was going to be the last. Just shows that hope springs eternal and frequently turns into reality. Lucky you. Would love to hear how it goes for you, will you walk all the way to Santiago? Bom caminho, Laurie
Each camino I walk is my "final" one, Laurie! On this one, I shall turn 80 on 22nd Feb. I'm only walking for 2 weeks, so won't reach SdC, but plan to return next year to complete it..... oh! no! I can't if its my "final" one !!! 😄.
 

MARISEL

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I would say, yes. I would say that of any of the routes. That is if what you mean by safe, is safe from being the victim of a sexual assault or physical attack of some sort. Also I am assuming the solo man in question is fit and capable of taking care of themselves.
I do not think I have heard of any attacks/assaults on male pilgrims. Again, in the sense that this thread is discussing.
Criminals, especially sexual predators, size up their victims and the situation, location etc before they act. They do not want to risk the chance of being caught or being physically injured. They are cowards. Someone fighting back is not part of their plan.
Most flashers are exhibitioners and get off your reaction . Don't think they mean to rape
 

MARISEL

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I agree. I just found that pepper spray under 5% is allowed in Spain and most airlines will let you bring it in your checked luggage. I carry pepper spray on my keys at home and will be bringing it to my next Camino. Stay safe ladies!
Where do you buy the pepper spray?
 

Liz Drew

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Coastal Portuguese
2018 Via de la Plata
(2019) del Norte
I really think it’s a shame that such paranoia has set in, particularly from many who live in the USA which had clear evidence of the high rates of physical and sexual violence against women.
I am soon to start my 3rd Camino and like the previos two, my only means of self defence is my voice and walking poles
 

Marietjie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
Has anyone experienced something like this on the Tuscany route in Italy (Via Francicena)?
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Has anyone experienced something like this on the Tuscany route in Italy (Via Francicena)?
I admit that I haven't walked there. However, I would fully expect that there have been harassment events in Tuscany!
 

Marietjie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
I wonder if one can take pepper spray in to either Spain or Italy? I can buy it in my country which is quite dangerous at the moment to move around as a single woman!:oops:
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
I wonder if one can take pepper spray in to either Spain or Italy? I can buy it in my country which is quite dangerous at the moment to move around as a single woman!:oops:
Hi Marietjie, you should check if you are allowed to take it on the plane.

Mace Europe says the following about Italy:

Italy: Any citizen over 16 years of age without a criminal record could possess, carry and purchase any OC-based compounds and personal defence devices that respond to the following criteria:
Containing a payload not exceeding 20 ml., with a percentage of Oleoresin Capsicum not exceeding 10% and a maximum concentration of capsaicin and capsaicinoid substances not exceeding 2,5%;
Containing no flammable, corrosive, toxic or carcinogenic substances, and no other aggressive chemical compound than OC itself;
Being sealed when sold and featuring a safety device against accidental discharge;
Featuring a range not exceeding 3 metres.
and about Spain:

Spain: Approved pepper spray made with 5% CS is available to anyone older than 18 years.
OC pepper spray, recently adopted for some civilian use (e.g., one of 22 grams, with no registration DGSP-07-22-SDP, is approved by the Ministry of Health and Consumption).
I suppose 'no registration' means number of registration.

http://mace-europe.com/eu-pepper-spray-laws/
 

Marietjie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
Thanks MinaKamina for this very usefull information. If I can buy it there, then I rather not take it on the plane from here!
 

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