Tag Archives: Ornithology

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.

Estuary of Lires

The estuary of Lires is formed in the mouth of the river Castro on the beach Nemiña, forming the perfect habitat for a great deal of birds, mainly, seagulls and cormorants that find easily food among the “leftovers” the fish farm gets rid of.

In order to go from Nemiña to the village Lires, we will have to leave towards the paved track and after some hundred meters, follow the route that leads to the right and borders all the River Castro till the bridge of Vaosilveiro, which replaces the old paths the pilgrims had to walk along in their way to Fisterra or Muxía. It is one of the few stretches that O Camiño dos Faros coincides with the “Way of St. James”

After walking over the bridge of Vaosilveiro, we get to Lires, a village with a special charm and that has got used to the hikers, a path that follows among the “hórreos” and rural houses that have been restored with a very good taste. The offer of accommodation is great and diverse, that´s why we suggest you staying there some days.

 

We go across the village of Lires and we go towards along the other bank of the ría, walking along the bridge over a small stream. When we arrive at the fish farm, this stream joins the river Castro which is full and flowing river and that gives shape to this Ría of Lares.

After a while, we get to the beach of Lires, a small and quiet sandy spot that is on this side of this ría, which is the smallest in Galicia. Just imagine how small it is that you can go across it in summer if the tide is low and the level of the water doesn´t cover higher than your ankles.

From that point, we can see one of the most amazing panoramic views of this Camiño dos Faros: the beach Nemiña with its thousand “faces” and a big dune covered by a forest.

At this point, we are going to tell you a secret. We wanted to keep it just for a few of us because these coasts one people know them, they start losing something…But as we are very good trasnos, there it goes:

From the terrace of the bar Playa, with a drink and eating the delicious omelets or the calamari that Pepe´s family prepares we can admire the most amazing sunset in this Costa da Morte. A natural viewpoint above Nemiña and all the ocean that you should never miss.

If the tide is appropriate and you are not tired, we also suggest you crossing the ría and finishing the previous stage watching the sunset.

Lighthouse Touriñán

It is placed further west than Finisterre, although not as far as Cape of the Nave, which is the westernmost point of the Spanish peninsula. This huge prominent part of the coast is more than 2 kilometers long and it was perfectly marked when the lighthouse was built in1898 to guide the vessels during their voyage as these waters are really dangerous. We start this part by bordering the cape by taking a small path till we reach the lighthouse.

The original lighthouse was not supposed to be built, but as there were several wrecks at the end of the 10th century, it was inaugurated in 1898. They used the optic of the old lighthouse of Vilán. It was placed 50 meters above sea level and 8 meters high. It is next to the dwelling of the lighthouse keepers. Its light reached 10 miles, with a fixed white light produced by a lamp of paraffin. In 1918, this lamp was replaced with one of vapor of petrol, reaching 20 miles.

The new lighthouse, build in 1981, is a 11-meter tower made of concrete with a light that reaches 23 miles, flashing once or twice every 15 seconds. The westernmost point of this Camiño dos Faros is right there.

We sit down on the grass that is in front of the building. On its façade we can read the poem of an anonymous writer dedicated to God and written with a lot of patience. From the top of it, we can have a privileged view of the Atlantic Ocean.

On the right, down there, we can see the imposing Laxe dos Buxeirados, a “resting”, that gets into the sea and it is a real danger for the maritime navigation. As it happened in 1935, when both the German vessel Madelein Reigh crashed against the Galician fishing which ended up breaking into two, although all its crew members were rescued. It could be mentioned as if it were another wreck, however, if we take into account that 22 years later, in 1957 the Madeleine Reigh wrecked in the same place, we can thing that the fate of this ship was very capricious. Besides, near Touriñán, the German submarine destroyed a lot of allies during the First World War.

During one month a year, from the Equinox of the spring around March 22nd till April 25th, the “last” sun in Western Europe sets in Touriñán. The physician Jorge Mira explains perfectly this phenomenon in this video.

We say bye bye to Touriñán by taking a path that goes along the coast. There are 6 kilometers left and we will get to the beach Nemiña in a short period of time.


Bay of Basa

We keep on walking along pine groves along this V-shaped inlet that is the Bay of Basa which is extraordinarily rich in seafood. If the tide is low, we can walk along this stretch on the sand and see the riverbank vegetation as the shellfish activities carried out by the people from the area. They sow and harvest the fine clams, cockles, razor clams, which have become the activities their economy is broadly based on.

In summer months we can also see how they leave seaweeds drying, an activity that has a deep tradition in this area. It is the “argazo” (´gholfe´) a kind of species they sell to the factories to extract the carragenate, a substance used in food to gel some types of meat or increase the lifespan of some dairy products. It is also used in cosmetics, toothpaste, creams or even air-fresheners.  On our way, we can see several carpets made of seaweeds drying  all along the old roads with not traffic at all (the asphalt of the road makes the process be faster) or on any corner.

Around the shellfish farmers, the cormorants also find in this place a perfect spot to rest from their migrations.

We leave the bay and we walk along a small stretch along the road to avoid the “Rego do Trasteiro” and get to the village Xaviña. In the main straight you can see the “Bar-Parrillada Rojo” and, around 600 meters farther, a track on the right that takes us to the Route Insua.

The path of River Anllóns

This 3rd stage starts by walking along this amazing landmark, the estuary of the river Anllóns. The first kilometers is carried out by leaving the bridge of Ponteceso by taking the main road till we reach the factory Apligasa, from where we will take the right one that will lead us to a broad forest walk to the mouth of the river.

When we descend, we realize once again that all the landscape with the MountBranco in front of us make this route be a special piece of landscape in every step. 

This is a very rich area and the livelihood-sustaining asset of the shelfish gatherers that look for the cockle and also of the great amount of birds that rest along their migrations as it is a calm place where there are no predators and it is full of small invertebrates they feed upon.

And it is there, at the beach of Urixeira, next to the small observatory place, where the trasnos met José Luis Rabuñal Patiño. This ornithologist is the only authoritative voice to speak about this ecosystem, as he has been walking along it since the 70s, when he discovered that this estuary was the door for the birds flying form the States to get into Europe.

Since then, he has spent his life watching their migrations with more than 3500 visits documented. Not only is he a source of information but also he is a very good speaker. Just listening to him describing the flight of a 20-grame bird that flies across the Atlántico more than 10000kms without any stop, eating or sleeping is one of the presents this Camiño dos Faros gives us away.

From the beach Urixeira, the Path of Anllóns starts, a path that goes along the mouth of the river Anllóns, the bay Insua reaching the beach Lodeiro. In total, they are 3 kilomters along which you could see a lot of fauna and flora which makes this place be amazing.

Apart from its natural environment, the route takes us to some of the old shipyards where ships of wood were built that still exist nowadays. In the 20th century, loads of fishing and coasting vessels left from the shipyard of A Telleira. They are small shipyards where vessels are built and repaired in a craftsmanship way. Currently, there are still 3 (O Baladiño, O Tecelán e Roseva). They are one of the ethnographic treasures of the area.

When we reach the beach Lodeiro in As Grelas, which is actually the end of this path, we go across the road and it is then when the landscape radically changes again.

O Camiño dos Faros goes along the coastline whenever is possible, but in this stage we will walk 10 kilometers inland as it is worth doing it. We will ascend by taking the Route do Rego dos Muíños to see the Castro A Cibda and the Dolmen in Dombate, two archaeological treasures in A Costa da Morte, to finish the route in the Mount Castle of Lourido, the best viewpoint above the Ría with its 312-meter height.

Estuary of the River Anllóns

At this spot we are witness of how the wind action shapes the really fine sand to form some dunes with whimsical shapes. It is the desert of O Camiño dos Faros. In our route, we will walk over it and we will try not to step on any plant.

This part is a mix of feelings: after walking by the dunes, we walk along a path by the river. This stuary is the habitat chosen by loads of birds such as: plovers, tufted ducks or mallards to stay there for long. We suggest doing this part with binoculars and, if you feel like, go to the observation stand. 

We go on through the boardwalk of Couto towards Ponteceso. This part is full of contrasts, which makes us be aware again of the great variety of treasures in this route. O Camiño dos Faros, every step, one amazing landscape.

Sisargas Islands

The Sisargas Islands are a small archipelago uninhabited placed 1 mile off the Cape of Saint Adrián in Malpica. This archipelago is formed by the islands “Grande”, “Chica” and “Malante” together with some islets. They were inhabited in the past as the presence of the Chapel Santa Mariña proves. This chapel that was destroyed by the pirates in their endless raids all along the 10the century.

This nature reserve is rich in plant and animal life. Loads of endangered birds nest in these islands and some other ones just use them to rest in their long-distance migrations. Species such as the herring gull, the kittiwake, and the seagull known as the “dark” seagull. They find in the cliffs that are in the northern part of the island the perfect habitat.

If we have the chance of getting close to the island and walk along it, we shouldn´t miss it. There is no company that can take us, so the only way is to find a ship from Malpica that take us there.

We land in a small natural port. We can take a dip in the only beach the island has and start a walk that will take us to the lighthouse admiring an amazing view of Malpica and Saint Adrián. The seagulls and the herring gulls are the real owners of these islands and they will come with us while we stay in the island. They will protect their eggs and their chicks.

We reach the lighthouse. It was built in 1919, and it has a mute witness and guide for those sailing by for a long period of time. The lighthouse keeper used to stay there for 15 days alone in the islands till he was replaced by another one. The cliffs near the lighthouse reach 100 meters high. The croaking of the birds and the noise the sea makes are mixed in this view of the sea causing a feeling of vertigo that we will never forget.

We leave the cliffs to head to the forest that covers a huge part of the highest area of the GrandeIsland. This small forest surprises us because of the amount of leaves of the pines. Curiously, the absence of human beings has allowed that the treetops reach our heads.

We descend again till the pier where there is a ship waiting for us that will take us to land after spending some hours that are unforgettable.