Daily distance: 35.2km / 21.9mi
Weather: 12 degrees, blue skies, 10 mph northerlies
Dove Step 3 bird list: 102 species
Best birds: Great Spotted Woodpecker, Cirl Bunting and hundreds of Cranes
Cumulative Dove Step 3 distance: 428.8miles
Not sure I entirely respected the beating I took over yesterday’s 51km+ effort. By lunchtime today I was extremely fatigued and absolutely starving. The bar in the first village I came to was shut as such I had to clock another 9km to the next. I walked in and the gent behind the bar could see I was in something of a pickle. I ordered a coke, cafe solo, crisps, chocolate croissant, olives and an apple. Basically everything I could see which was vegetarian. Then ate/ drank in quick succession. The gent could see I was somewhat bedraggled and got Google translate up on his laptop – next thing I know – a slap-up warm vegetarian salad is before me. I inhaled it with as much gusto as the selection before it. Lunch took the edge off for the afternoon sessions and I felt much improved – even adding a couple of km to the day’s tally to try and draw down form tomorrow’s mosterous total.
As ever it was great to meet with Mal – hear of his days birding and just chat. I am convinced having Mal here aids in my overnight recovery. I was absolutely smashed to pieces last night. A bath, 2 bowls of muesli and a good chin wag with Mal and I was good to go this morning. I may have waned again at lunch but I was in really poor shape at around 22:00 yesterday.
Another benefit of Mal’s support is the lightened pack – I estimate about 8kg lighter than it was for the week I was solo. This has the duel effect of the straps not slipping and requiring adjustment every 10mins and much lighter foot-fall. The balls of my feet were feeling crushed before – now a couple of days with the lighter pack and I can really feel them recovering. Sweet vibes.
It was really cool today – starting with a ground frost and with a constant northerly headwind. Indeed it was the first day I kept my jacket on well into the afternoon. The snow topped mountains running to my right all day were a mark of how far I’ve walked north in 16 days.
Another gratifying point is the inclusion of the GR100 long-distance path on signs. Once the planned route leaves the Via de la Plata, which I have followed since Seville, we utilsie the GR100 to hit the northern coastline at Gijon. Indeed one sign today even had Gijon on it! I was delighted.