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Worried about some of the new 'recommended' route choices

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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I have just come back from a walk from Rabanal to Santiago, and noticed some new route choices along the way - some of them worrying. In particular the new signs in O Cebreiro, which seems to indicate that the recommended route to follow is to walk on the road (!) and that the lovely walk through the woods, starting at the municipal albergue at the end of town, is a 'complementario' route, hinting that it is a detour or not the 'right' one. I have walked this part of the Francés many times and always walked through the woods, apart from once when it was deep in snow and we walked along the road. I really cannot understand how the road could be recommended apart from when the wood trails are covered in snow! In fact it seems dangerous to lead pilgrims onto the twisty road, especially early in the morning. If you do take this trail, make sure you are wearing reflective clothing!
If anyone is in or near O Cebreiro now, it would be great if you could confirm or even take a pic of the new signs pointing to the road (carretera) as the recommended route.
I also walked the new, steep route down to Portomarín once and can't understand why that would be the 'real' route - in or after rain that would be treacherous, so I am happy to see that the marker now points both to the 'new' (but historic?) and the 'old' route. You get to a road crossing the smaller road you are on, where if there is a concrete marker pointing both to the right and left - see photo below. I would definitely recommend turning right and following the smaller tarmac road down to the river and the bridge.
There are other places too where what I know as the camino is now a 'complementario', though it's not always clear (as when leaving Portomarín) where the new one is.
Does anybody know why these parts of the trails have become 'complementario' or why pilgrims are recommended to walk on the road? @Rebekah Scott? @ivar? @natefaith?

I am pretty sure this is the marker before Portomarín, claiming that the trail to the left, the steep slope down between two stone walls, is the more historically correct, while the other, to the right, is a 'secundario' (but in my opinion by far the safest and easiest).
DSC_0432 kopi.jpg
 
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susanawee

susanawee
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
I must admit that I too have been wondering about this.
 

DebR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances:
2013; 2014; 2015; 2017; 2018; and counting down to Christmas 2019
I had an amazing full moon walk out of O Cebreiro last October, under crystal sky around 6am.
But I confess, the undulation of the forest walk wore off about 2km in, and I gladly slipped down to follow the road. Didn’f taint the glorious moonlight, but a tad easier on the knees.
I even cheated and took the road to that bacon and egg breakfast bar, and regret not a moment...
Road or forest, it’s the adventure you make it.
 

Peadarmac

Irlandes Pedro
Camino(s) past & future
Astorga-Santiago '11 & '18
St Jean-Belorado '13 & '17
Belorado-Astorga '15
Fisterra-Muxia '11 & '18
I have just come back from a walk from Rabanal to Santiago, and noticed some new route choices along the way - some of them worrying. In particular the new signs in O Cebreiro, which seems to indicate that the recommended route to follow is to walk on the road (!) and that the lovely walk through the woods, starting at the municipal albergue at the end of town, is a 'complementario' route, hinting that it is a detour or not the 'right' one. I have walked this part of the Francés many times and always walked through the woods, apart from once when it was deep in snow and we walked along the road. I really cannot understand how the road could be recommended apart from when the wood trails are covered in snow! In fact it seems dangerous to lead pilgrims onto the twisty road, especially early in the morning. If you do take this trail, make sure you are wearing reflective clothing!
If anyone is in or near O Cebreiro now, it would be great if you could confirm or even take a pic of the new signs pointing to the road (carretera) as the recommended route.
I also walked the new, steep route down to Portomarín once and can't understand why that would be the 'real' route - in or after rain that would be treacherous, so I am happy to see that the marker now points both to the 'new' (but historic?) and the 'old' route. You get to a road crossing the smaller road you are on, where if there is a concrete marker pointing both to the right and left - see photo below. I would definitely recommend turning right and following the smaller tarmac road down to the river and the bridge.
There are other places too where what I know as the camino is now a 'complementario', though it's not always clear (as when leaving Portomarín) where the new one is.
Does anybody know why these parts of the trails have become 'complementario' or why pilgrims are recommended to walk on the road? @Rebekah Scott? @ivar? @natefaith?

I am pretty sure this is the marker before Portomarín, claiming that the trail to the left, the steep slope down between two stone walls, is the more historically correct, while the other, to the right, is a 'secundario' (but in my opinion by far the safest and easiest).
View attachment 57692
Many thanks for raising the Portomarin route Nidarosa . I took the 'left hand' route last year and had to negotiate that tricky descent you mention (photo attached) some of the 'steps' are 12-18 inches which rendered trekking poles useless. I was so relieved that it was a dry day as coming this way would be treacherous in rain or frost. I will DEFINITELY be taking the 'right hand' route when I reach that crossroads sign in September.
Rgds,
P
 

Attachments

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@Peadarmac Thank you for the photo, I never thought to stop and take one at the time, I was too busy getting down safely! I always use my Pacerpoles as 'hand brakes' but like you say they were practically useless.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Possibly some of the route changes are done for safety when the weather is bad. The thinking may be that going by road instead of a woodland trail when snowing is best but making the road the preferred way would get more people going that way when it does snow.
 

Lisanne

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning: camino Frances april/may 2019
Many thanks for raising the Portomarin route Nidarosa . I took the 'left hand' route last year and had to negotiate that tricky descent you mention (photo attached) some of the 'steps' are 12-18 inches which rendered trekking poles useless. I was so relieved that it was a dry day as coming this way would be treacherous in rain or frost. I will DEFINITELY be taking the 'right hand' route when I reach that crossroads sign in September.
Rgds,
P
If you want, there is a third option into Portomarin. It is also signposted. If you Go left at the crossroad where there is two yellow arrows, after some time you will find yellow arrows to the right going the very tricky descent. If you continue to go on that road, a little further down the road you will find another yellow arrow to the right, on a trail walking at the back of some houses.
At the first crossroad with yellow arrows in two directions there is a big sign explaining the three routes. The English o’brierly my friend had, also explained the three options. I took the one that is on the left hand, and again on the lefthand. According to the information on the sign you walk 400m extra’s, but is very easy walking so I think in the end it even saved me time. Oh and this trails ends up on the road at the exact same point as the tricky route does!
Well I hope this explaination makes sense. Otherwise I would make a little drawing for you ;)
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Thank you for pointing out the third route, which is less challenging than the other one to the left. I would still recommend turning right at that road though but if you miss it, at least you have another option.
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
I have just come back from a walk from Rabanal to Santiago, and noticed some new route choices along the way - some of them worrying. In particular the new signs in O Cebreiro, which seems to indicate that the recommended route to follow is to walk on the road (!) and that the lovely walk through the woods, starting at the municipal albergue at the end of town, is a 'complementario' route, hinting that it is a detour or not the 'right' one. I have walked this part of the Francés many times and always walked through the woods, apart from once when it was deep in snow and we walked along the road. I really cannot understand how the road could be recommended apart from when the wood trails are covered in snow! In fact it seems dangerous to lead pilgrims onto the twisty road, especially early in the morning. If you do take this trail, make sure you are wearing reflective clothing!
If anyone is in or near O Cebreiro now, it would be great if you could confirm or even take a pic of the new signs pointing to the road (carretera) as the recommended route.
I also walked the new, steep route down to Portomarín once and can't understand why that would be the 'real' route - in or after rain that would be treacherous, so I am happy to see that the marker now points both to the 'new' (but historic?) and the 'old' route. You get to a road crossing the smaller road you are on, where if there is a concrete marker pointing both to the right and left - see photo below. I would definitely recommend turning right and following the smaller tarmac road down to the river and the bridge.
There are other places too where what I know as the camino is now a 'complementario', though it's not always clear (as when leaving Portomarín) where the new one is.
Does anybody know why these parts of the trails have become 'complementario' or why pilgrims are recommended to walk on the road? @Rebekah Scott? @ivar? @natefaith?

I am pretty sure this is the marker before Portomarín, claiming that the trail to the left, the steep slope down between two stone walls, is the more historically correct, while the other, to the right, is a 'secundario' (but in my opinion by far the safest and easiest).
View attachment 57692
Due to bilateral knee replacements, I almost always skip the “complementary” paths. The “normal” option down from O Cebriero is not on the road, but follows it (more or less) through the woods.
I had a good laugh at that little bit (I think it was into Portomarín). After checking Google Maps, I chose the road, while some cyclists chose the path. I met them at the other side, as it was in only a short sharp bend in the road, while they were stuck in the middle of the path as it seemed that something broke on one of the bikes.

Edit: Looking at the graphic above, I think it was Ligonde.
 
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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@gerip Have you walked from O Cebreiro recently? If so, did you read the signposts or just follow the concrete markers? In May the signpost marked recomendado pointed to the road which is why I am concerned.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
This was published in La Voz de Galicia a few years ago when the Xunta introduced the new mojones:



The choice of wording on the new waymarkers - camino complementario - is perhaps unfortunate. I don't think that any of the black, blue or red options are "recommended" routes. I never rely exclusively on the mojones and yellow arrows as I like to know where I am and where I am going but I know that for others it's attractive not to consult maps.

PS: This overview is from 2016 and was published by a newspaper. Don't take it as gospel, it's just a sketch.
 
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nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@Kathar1na Thanks for that overview! This shows the 'tradicional' route out of O Cebreiro is on the road, but the sign did say 'recomendado', so that's another layer of confusion. I normally just follow what I know to be the camino, but for new people who read the signs on the signposts, it can be a different story.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
@Kathar1na Thanks for that overview! This shows the 'tradicional' route out of O Cebreiro is on the road, but the sign did say 'recomendado', so that's another layer of confusion.
I was there not too long ago. I took the more lonely trail with the somewhat higher altitude. I didn't pay much attention to the markers as I knew that's where I wanted to go so I didn't see any sign saying recomendado. I understand from an earlier message in this thread that the trail I didn't take is not on the road but follows it more or less through the woods. If so, it's probably to be recommended for the majority of camino walkers from Cebreiro as it avoids the (relatively small) increase in altitude. I had a look at an older map and I think it was perhaps the traditional camino - meaning the one that was "the" camino in the 1990s or so?
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I was there not too long ago.
Me too, and that's when I noticed the clearly new signpost pointing to the road. I thought it was a bike specific sign because of it. I have walked the higher and lower altitude trails through the woods, they meet not long before you get out on the tarmac road above Liñares. The lower one passes practically over the front step of the albergue, and is my favourite with great views over the valley in the beginning. But to anyone who is confused now - either of the woodsy trails will be preferable to the road unless you are worried about snow.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Many thanks for raising the Portomarin route Nidarosa . I took the 'left hand' route last year and had to negotiate that tricky descent you mention (photo attached) some of the 'steps' are 12-18 inches which rendered trekking poles useless. I was so relieved that it was a dry day as coming this way would be treacherous in rain or frost. I will DEFINITELY be taking the 'right hand' route when I reach that crossroads sign in September.
Rgds,
P
I walked/climbed this tricky downhill route the last time that I was through Portomarin. I considered it to be rather a scrambling route than a walking route, and I would never walk it again. It would indeed be dangerous in wet weather. But I doubt if I will remember the marking if I ever go through Portomarin again. And of course, the markings may well be changed again. I am surprised that I have not yet heard of a pilgrim being seriously injured here. It utterly bewilders me that the relevant authorities have assigned this as a walking route.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
Oh I remember that well and the whole time I was saying "Are you kidding me, who would make this the way?" Very tricky, there was news in 2013 when I first walked of a woman slipping and falling on her face, bloodied her up a bit. Be careful out there my fellow pilgrims.

:cool:👣
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
I really cannot understand how the road could be recommended
You’re never actually on the road, but alongside it. I took this route by mistake in February, immediately after Linares, when I was walking “backwards”, and it was very up and down! I preferred the (original) higher route as once you are at a higher altitude you stay level until you gently descend again.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I followed the road from O Cebreiro to Liñares once and yes there is room for pilgrims but it was nowhere near as safe or scenic and I wouldn't do it again unless the other trail(s) was full of snow. Then again it might be great for cyclists!
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
@gerip Have you walked from O Cebreiro recently? If so, did you read the signposts or just follow the concrete markers? In May the signpost marked recomendado pointed to the road which is why I am concerned.
About 10 days ago. It was late in the afternoon and as the "complimentary" routes usually take me longer to walk, I chose the "recommended". Still a lovely walk through the forest, over a wide, well maintained trail. Loved the difference in trail maintenance once crossing the border to Galicia.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@gerip I'm glad, that is the best route. Still confused though as the recomendado sign - not concrete marker - was marked carretera, meaning the road? Looks like I'll have to go back and investigate ... 😁
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
@gerip I'm glad, that is the best route. Still confused though as the recomendado sign - not concrete marker - was marked carretera, meaning the road? Looks like I'll have to go back and investigate ... 😁
Now that you mention it, I think it was ln of those the wooden markers on a post just down from the albergue.
 

JAMM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Not enough
Due to bilateral knee replacements, I almost always skip the “complementary” paths. The “normal” option down from O Cebriero is not on the road, but follows it (more or less) through the woods.
I had a good laugh at that little bit (I think it was into Portomarín). After checking Google Maps, I chose the road, while some cyclists chose the path. I met them at the other side, as it was in only a short sharp bend in the road, while they were stuck in the middle of the path as it seemed that something broke on one of the bikes.

Edit: Looking at the graphic above, I think it was Ligonde.
Nidarosa and Peadermarc: I was rather confused by the multiple 'complementario' signs we found in the las 100km. We opted for the 'descent' into Portomarín along the 'histórico' route and yes, it is fairly steep and probably tricky in wet weather but we did it in dry weather and found it very beautiful. The stone walls at either side were literally in full bloom and the shade was wonderful: there was much to admire on the way down, we thought. I should add that we were a group of four (height varied from 116 to 185) and even the ones with the shorter legs thought it was a very nice route (although they were probably quite oblivious to the risk element...). We all had backpacks on; I imagine things are easier if you don't have a pack with you.
 

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