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Spanish Charity Hike (read: ill thought out walk of danger)

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Offline SNiDE

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« on: June 02, 2010, 04:12 AM »
Hi all, been a long time since I've posted here, but I have been reading with interest.
In August me and a friend are attempting to walk from Bordeaux to the village of Huescar in Andalucia, near enough 650 miles. This was originally a wager, but there has been a surprising (scary) amount of people wanting to sponsor, and the charities (Diabetes UK and Alzheimer's Research Trust) are suitably keen, so it is actually going to happen.
The idea is to carry everything; where possible we will use campsites, however this will not always (or often) be possible, so we will have to wild camp, which on research I found the law is as restrictive yet ambiguous as in the UK, but then having done it before in Spain I assume there just aren't enough people to enforce it?
We have some decent experience of camping and hiking, but it would be most excellent if I could kindly ask some advice from you, particularly the ex-pats and Spaniards- mostly regarding any laws, places, information regarding pitching a tent in places that are neither campsites nor natural/national parks. Also, does anyone know how many wild dogs there are, what sort of threat they pose? Also have heard some rumours about "wandering migrant gangs" that prey on back-packers, but assume this to be rumour mongering and exageration. Lastly, if anyone has a garden that is roughly on the route (small chance I know) that you wouldn't mind having a tent pitched in, that would be fantastic. 
If anyone wants to sponsor us also, I will put the details here once they are established, it's quite complicated getting it sorted with the bank.
Thankyou for your time!

the route:

Offline lisa

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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2010, 16:35 PM »
Sounds brilliant Lloyd, but I have one burning question. How long do you reckon it will take?

P.S. Who is doing the thinking out?  :)
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Offline Bob M

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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2010, 19:01 PM »
Hi and good luck with this.

I'm afraid that my garden is off your route.


While I wouldn't want to belittle any dangers which can exist at any place or any time - I've not heard recently of any attacks by wild dogs or wandering migrant gangs.  Perhaps your informants were thinking of the middle ages?


Having said that you may need to keep a stout stick to ward off mastiffs out to protect their flocks. And I guess that there are criminals everywhere in the world.

I must say that it sounds like a real adventure.

Offline SNiDE

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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 22:26 PM »
Hi thanks for the responses. I thought the rumours of criminal gangs were unrealistic, having never encountered nor heard of any at all previously (touch wood).
We think we can do 30 miles a day without too much difficulty, except through the pyrenees and in the Ebro valley where it's so hot it isn't even funny, so we calculate it will take 22 days. We are allowing 4 -5 days for things that might pop up unexpectedly (I'm wanting more time but we both need to be back for uni), so we have allocated 26 days, or just under four weeks.

Offline nick

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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2010, 10:51 AM »
What a fantastic adventure. Best of luck!
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2010, 17:00 PM »
Greetings Lloyd and fellow hiker,
Great adventure. Have fun!
Apart from Bob's suggestion of the stout walking stick, there are a couple of things you'll need to be very serious about: drinking water and protection from the sun, as in sunstroke and sunburn. You are obviously well aware of it, and Lisa's burning question is not to be taken lightly, but don't forget July and August are really hot and much of the country you'll be crossing from Zaragoza down will be almost desert*like. Don't forget you'll be walking into the sun from before noon onwards the whole day/way.** It gets dark late here at that time of year so maybe you can factor in some late evening and/or even night walking if there's a full moon and you've got reflector vests or jackets or whatever they're called...

*can't find the bloody hyphen on me new keyboard...
**This time they're real asterisks: I did a similar journey one September by bike, albeit shorter, turning left at Zaragoza to get to Madrid, and despite sun cream 'n' 'at, got seriously sunburnt on hands, forearms, nose and knees. And saddlesore from the searing heat...

Re. bandoleros, the UK Embassy in Spain has the following advice on its website http://ukinspain.fco.gov.uk/en/help-for-british-nationals/travel-advice/travel-advice-spain: "highway pirates" who target foreign registered and hire cars, especially those towing caravans[/i] but I don't s'pose they'll be interested in a couple of scruffy hikers :dancing:

Only question left is that of camping/sleeping rough, but I'll have to leave that to others.

Mad dogs and Englishmen regs.,

Keep us updated.
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also: