Tag Archives: Finisterre

Lighthouse Finisterre (Cape Finisterre)

We have arrived in the Finis Terrae, the last point of our route which has taken us along this rough and beautiful area of the coast. The view in front of us is astonishing and surprises us as it had done with the Romans and the pilgrims that have arrived at this point all along the History. Down our feet, the immense Atlantic Ocean is sailed by thousand vessels that every day go across this maritime corridor.

There, near the Cape Finisterre, the wreck with the highest number of ships involved and more victims took place in Galicia. In 1596, 8 years after the disaster of the Invincible Armada and after several seasons of British lootings all along our coast, Felipe II ordered the Second Invincible Armada set sail. From Cádiz, Seville and Lisbon, some galleons and small vessels set sail forming a fleet of more than 100 ships, commanded by Martín Padilla.

On October 28th, in 1596 in front of the coast of Finisterre, suddenly they found themselves in the middle of a strong storm that caused the wreck of 25 vessels. The total disaster: 1706 crew members remained buried under the waters of this sea that is the one who imposes its law. The number of casualties (Santiago de SM (307), Nave Anunciada (243), Angel Gabriel de Paulo Veira (174), David de Pedro Frías (163) gives us the idea of the immense tragedy. The rest of the vessels appeared in the different ports all along the North till Biscay.

As it has happened with all the wreck along the years, these vessels have suffered from lots of plundering that are not punished or controlled. From 1987, the writings by Manuel Martín Bueno and Miguel Sanclaudio give more details about the condition of these archaeological remains.

The lighthouse was built in 1853 to mark this geographic point, really important for the navigation. The octagonal tower made of stone measures 17 meters and its torch, placed 138 meters above the sea level, reaches further than 30 nautical miles. At first, it worked with oil lamps that were replaced with filament lamps that emit a flash every 5 seconds.

As there used to be a constant fog in winter, a building was built next to it with a siren in 1889, the Vaca of Fisterra (“the cow of Fisterra”), to warn the sailors against the dangers. On the days where the coast was covered with the fog, it emits a low pitched sound that can be heard further than 20 miles.

The building “Semáforo” (“traffic light”) was built in 1879 to emit signs to the Navy. Nowadays, after being rehabilitated, it is a small and peculiar hotel at the “end of the land”.

If we look towards the South, all the Ría of Corcubión, the islands of Lobeira and the imposing MountPindo complete the natural viewpoint.

And here, in the Finis Terrae of Decimo Junio el Bruto and the end of St. James´Way, is where O Camiño dos Faros finishes, the route that has taken us all along the Costa da Morte.

A Camiño dos Faros that goes along and across a lot of different landscapes, always looking at the sea and towards the West. Lighthouses, beaches, dunes, rivers, cliffs, estuaries with a great amount of birds, seas of granite, “castros”, dolmens, fishing villages, viewpoints overlooking the sea that breaks against the coast in many different ways, sunsets. In short, a unique hiking route that will take the hiker to a world of unique feelings that you can only enjoy along this Costa da Morte.

O Camiño dos Faros awaits you…


Mount of Facho

We start our calm ascent to MountFacho all along the Camiño da Insua, an old path tucked among the rocks, whereas we laughed remembering the best and worst moments of this route.

Mount Facho is a place full of legend. In Duio a lot of archeological remains have been found, remains that can prove that the big city of Dugium where the old celtic people, the nerios, lived. They also may prove that the summit of Mount Facho had its altar of the Sun: the Ara Solis, where pagan cults were held worshipping the sun.

The legend of the city says that this city was flooded by divine punishment to remain buried under the water since then. As all the pagan places, it was also Christianized. In this case, it was Saint Guillerme, an anchorite that built there a chapel to live the days when he prayed in harmony with the Finisterrae. Nearby, some infertile couples lay on the Holy Rocks to become fertile.

Mount Facho has been also, from immemorial times, a key place for navigation. Before the lighthouse was built in 1853, some bonfires used to be lit to guide the vessels that were sailing in rough waters or just to let the other cities that some enemy raids were taken place. In the summit, we can see some remains of the tower where the fire was made and very close the Holy Rocks.

Some hundred meters out of sea, we can see the challenging resting, O Centolo. This 25-meter rock, is the one the sea hits continuously against giving shape to a perfect habit for the barnacles that live are grown there.

The last slope, with its steep and rugged hill is the great ending. But when we get to the top, we are really awarded: the first views of the Lighthouse of Fisterra, we reach by taking a route very different from the rest of the people: O Camiño dos Faros. So many kilometers to get there and a great deal of landscapes we have walked along cause a mix of feelings and emotions difficult to understand.

After all the effort, reaching the Lighthouse of Fisterra is the happiest moment in the Trasnos´s life.

Beach Mar de Fora

O Camiño dos Faros reaches the beach of Mar de Fora, somehow at the back of the village Fisterra.

This beach has 500 meters long and although it is more protected than the other ones, it faces the sea. It is ideal to walk, to breath fresh air with its smell that involves everything but really dangerous for swimming.

We will see fishermen with their canes all along these beaches trying to fish the renowned big European seabass. We walk across the beach looking for the picnic area, where we will stop for the last time to have something to eat and drink. We do feel like arriving, but we will rest and gather all together to reach the last goal of O Camiño dos Faros, the mythical Lighthouse of Finisterre.

Cape of A Nave

Along the path that borders the beach Arnela we reach the first cliffs of the Cape of A Nave. All this stage has taken us along a rough and uneven coast that we have walked across along the highest parts of this section, but this stretch has no comparison. All along 2 kilometers and a half, we will ascend progressively along a path, from a 40-meter height till the 220 meters of the antennas of the Cape of A Nave.

From the path we see all these wild cliffs that fall down in vertical towards a rough, wild and threatening Ocean.

We are walking along a safe place, but looking down may make us feel dizzy. From that point, Point Longa has the appearance of a crocodile getting into the sea.

Huge and unspoiled rocks that can have only two colonizers: the birds and these goats that are able to balance on them without falling down the ocean…

After this demanding walking, we reach the antennas of Cape of the Nave, where we rest for a while and face the last kilometers of this Camiño dos Faros.

The views of this kind of balcony are amazing. The mount that falls in vertical, the beach of the “Mar de fora” and the imposing MountFacho, which hides our last goal: the lighthouse of Fisterra.

We descend along the road of the Cape till we get into some forest by taking the right way that will take us directly to “Mar de Fora”.

Beach Arnela

The beach Arnela is the westernmost point in Galicia. It is quite protected by the rocky area that forms Point of Arnela surrounded by the dunes. This isolated beach is very dangerous for swimming although it seems an oasis of peace among the cliffs of Point Castelo and the Cape of the Nave.

We head along the path on the left hillside of the beach towards the Cape of the Nave. From the top we can see CapeTouriñán and all these cliffs of the beach Arnela.

Castro of Castromiñán

At the end of this part of the route we get to the Point Castelo. There, in the summit, getting into the sea, we see another vestige of History that dates back to the Iron Age: the Castro of Castromiñán.

As we are getting closer, we can see perfectly the two walls. At first sight, it seems a place impossible to live in but, as it happens in all the castros, the place chosen to build it is not by chance. The existence of the water of some springs used to be the main factor to decide the place where the castro would be built. Our ancestors managed to build a watchtower in the highest part to protect themselves against the coldest winds. From up there, they could control everything without being seen and, surrounded by cliffs, they didn´t need anything else to defend against anything.

Under the place where we are stepping on, we could find many keys to understand their daily routines. Just use your imagination. Although it is catalogued, it has neither studied nor even excavated. If you want to have further information, you can read the article by Manuel Gago.

Next to it, the Point Gavioteira (“gaviota” is a seagull), another challenging cliff. Its name fits the place. There is not better place for a marine bird than these isolated landscapes.

From this point we can see our next destination: the beach Arnela and the CapeNave. In order to reach that point, we will leave towards the road and we will walk across the rural settlements of Castromiñán and Denle.

Punta Castelo

This stretch between Punta of the Pardas and Punta Castelo is a very good example that describes perfectly O Camiño dos Faros. It is a coast of an unquestionable beauty, full of history that dates back to time immemorial and that hides a past of death in the middle of a paradise.

We walk bordering Rostro and the panoramic view from the Point of the Pardas is amazing. We have to be very careful and not go too close to the edge as these cliffs go down vertically towards the ocean of the Punta Castelo, on the foreground, challenging us.

Right at this point, in the middle of an explosion of life, it took place one of the events that changed the life of this area for a few days.

On December 5th, in 1987 early in the morning the Panamanian flagged-bulk carrier Casón was sailing 15 miles off Fisterra with 31 crew members, all of them from China, with a load of 1100 tons of chemical flammable, toxic and corrosive  products whose destination was Shangai. In the middle of a huge storm, the load is moved and a big fire starts.

The captain who is the only one who knows what they were carrying orders to leave the vessel. In the middle of the smoke and the toxic gases a lot of the crew members jumped into the sea, they had to do whatever except staying on the hell where they had got into. It was only possible to rescue 8 crew members.

The ship owner doesn´t take any responsibility during the rescue and the Cason, in spite of the fact that the tug boat was nearby, ends up crashing and wrecking between the Punta of the Pardas and the Castelo.

cason

From that moment on, there are several theories about the kind of load the vessel was carrying and people start getting worried. On December 10th, in the afternoon, and forecasted alive the load spilled on the ocean starts provoking explosions when it gets in contact with the water and the vessel, involved in smoke, seems as if it were to burst. The state of alarm of the inhabitants who were already nervous because of the lack of coordination and the contradictory information the authorities and the media provided them with.

On that night, the “Delegado of the Government” announces via the Galician Radio that there is a toxic cloud and 700 hundred buses are taken to Fisterra to evacuate the inhabitants. After listening to him, there is a massive runaway. The inhabitants take their own cars and drive away towards the nearest villages. The main roads of Vimianzo and Carballo are filled with people that are very scared and arrived by car, busses, or even in the trucks filled up with fish. Hours later, García Sabell, refutes the fact that the cloud was toxic. But it was too late.

Schools and sports halls are packed. About 12,000 neighbors that were returning to their villages. It is also true that some inhabitants had decided not to leave the village despite the threat.

The History of this vessel didn´t finish there. The government decided to take the load to Brens but its inhabitants didn´t want it at all. From that moment on, the load started a kind of pilgrimage that finished in Aluminia-Aluminio in San Cibrán. There, in the middle of the mess that this arrival had provoked, the workers decided to leave the building and the ovens of the factory stopped working. The economic loss reached 120 million euros, that has been the most expensive tragedy in Spain for sure. 109 workers were fired and the 22 members of the work council.

In the end, the load ended in Antwerp, the vessel was dismantled and the its structure remains here, under the water 100 meters off the coast full of stories, in this Costa da Morte.

Vídeos

On our walk along the cliffs, we admire the beauty of this place so rough. From this balcony overlooking the sea, we remember the History.


Beach of Rostro

The beach of Rostro is another wild wonder of A Costa da Morte. It is a kind of ode to the sea, the salt of the sea saltpeter and the pure air. A unique pleasure for our senses.

Open to the Atlantic Ocean, the wind continuously hits all along the yea has formed a dune system with important heights and full of vegetation, which gives color to this area during some seasons of the year.

We go across the 2 kilometers of the beach Rostro along the shore, without any rush and enjoying each step of the paradise that is closed to us.

The strong wind and the rough sea work continuously with the sand providing us with amazing images, mainly in winter.

Also from the sea, this “wooden duck” arrives totally conquered by barnacles. They are pelagic gooseneck barnacle, also known as fake barnacles, which get stuck to any floating solid object that is in the ocean.

When we reach the end of the beach we realize again that O Camiño dos Faros provides us with a feeling step after step.

This is the place chosen by the Trasnos to have something to drink and to eat for first time today. We can choose between both the rocks that are at the end of the beach or ascending a bit more and avoid this effort later. From the Punta of Rostro we also have amazing views to have a sandwich.