3rd August 2020
Camarinas, Galicia, Spain – Finisterre, Galicia, Spain
Attitude is critical. It’s attitude that can turn challenge into triumph, it can turn rainy days into pleasantly cooling ones, and it can change ignorance into new found knowledge. As we have hiked far away hills in anchorages attitude has made all the difference in changing gruelling climbs to precursors of views, foggy visibility to moody glimpsed panoramas and industrial landscapes to opportunities to learn about new economies.
With the fog rolling into the anchorage instead of taking to the sea we took to the land for adventure in the hills. We were bound for Cabo Vilán on the appropriately named coast of death. Nothing could sound more foreboding on a ominous day where dense fog gave glimpses of the crashing waves and hid the wind turbines that would tower above us. All we knew of their presence was an eerie whooshing noise which just added to the foreboding.
Every one of Iain’s walks wouldn’t be complete without some form of highlight. The highlights at Cabo Vilán came thick and fast. There was the view of the inside of a cloud from the top of the cape and the path that was bounded on one side by engineering plants and the other gave way to a sheer fall into crashing waves.
These highlights however paled into insignificance compared to the fascinating industry we happened upon. We found millions of litres of sea water being pumped into small black tent like structures, where pipes ran off to oxygen tanks and forklift trucks buzzed about like bees. This was unlike anything we’d seen before and with a little research we found that camped inside the little tents were millions upon millions of Turbot, Sole, Sturgeon and Caviar. This was fishing but not as we knew it.
It was only attitude that changed this walk from a soul-destroying romp through the fog with dreary landscapes and a painful march along a road, to the most fascinating and memorable experience that gave us education, exercise and a new found respect for aquatic farming.
With the fog clearing we made a punt to round the fabled cape of Finisterre. This cape, in Roman times was believed to be the end of the World, has claimed boat upon boat and is littered with shipwrecks. Instead of the well-known stormy conditions Ruffian rolled downwind with the sunshine beaming down. The cliffs towered over us while waves safely broke on the rocks that we avoided. It wasn’t attitude that gave us this safe rounding of the most western point in mainland Europe, it was aptitude.
The beach in Finisterre spread from horizon to horizon while the hills seemed to go so high as to touch the clouds. Being this far west we just had to make like the Romans and hike to the ‘end of the World’. With the clock hands striking 12 and the sun high in the sky up we went. The climbs were punishing, every step was an effort and with every foot forward up we went by another foot.
The views of Ruffian’s bay were fleeting and finally cresting we were gifted, not a view of Ruffian sitting safely at anchor on flat water, but of the windward side of Europe. Waves which had been building uninterrupted for thousands of miles crashed into stone cliffs which over 1000’s of years had created a beach of the purest white sand where the foaming sea glowed blue.
Once again attitude could have turned the hike into a painful exercise in heat stroke, instead it gave way to the reward of a bay and paths that were as old as time itself. it just goes to show that everything is in the attitude to take to everything.
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