29 June – 2 Jul: Backroads and beaches


July 4th, 2017


North Atlantic 2017 – 2019, Spain

Written by

Richard Farrington

No comments
By Richard. Posted on July 4th, 2017 in North Atlantic 2017 – 2019, Spain.

43:25.54N  8:14.2W

Cambados is a slightly unusual fishing port, in that the centre of town is a few hundred yards inland.  There are probably two reasons for this: most of the fishing is related to fish farms which dominate the shallow water in this ria – they sprang up very recently in the town’s history; and Cambados is the capital of the Alburino wine growing region.  There’s an EU sign to say so – in fact, it has major recognition in 2017 (clearly timed for our arrival).  So, having found a waterfront venue selling seafood, with a great view out over the Ria, the most memorable bit of that meal was the very elegant, inexpensive white wine that accompanied it.

Grapes growing by the roadside in Cambados

We returned to our accommodation outside Padron and were on the verge of writing a note to the patron to say that we did not want breakfast, when Anna noticed that one table had been neatly laid up for three.  Feeling slightly guilty, we slept soundly and the breakfast was well above average.  So the verdict on Padron is: if you have to stay there, the ‘Old House on the Hill’ is the place to do so.

We resumed the Back Roads itinerary on Thursday and enjoyed a lovely walk around the southern tip of the Isla de Arousa.  Apparently this is what much of the area would have looked like if Man had not come along and built all over the land.  Pine trees, brilliant white sand dunes, vibrant wild flowers,  granite rocks, seashells everywhere and the sea peering around every bend – picture perfect.  Glorious sunshine was punctuated with some very heavy showers until after lunch, so we always had one eye on the Heavens.  Just offshore, swarms of small fishing boats fished for clams.  This is seriously hard work: they lay out two opposing anchors to steady the boat and allow them to work along a set line of seabed unaffected by the wind, tide or their own exertions.  Then, equipped with a bamboo or plastic pole some 15m long with a heavy net/rake attachment on one end, they scratch away at the seabed, dislodging anything that might be down there with the rake into the net.  One man per boat, but they hunt in groups and you can almost hear the banter from the shore – I bet it’s ripe!


We moved on to the next island – A Toxa.  This is a spa resort that has grown up around sulphur springs.  It’s all a bit too manicured for my liking, though we did enjoy the small chapel clad from spire to steps in scallop shells.

Lunch was a great success.  We were on the verge of tramping along a splendid long beach when it started to rain and we spotted an unassuming little taverna on the clifftops at one end of the beach.  They did paella and Padron peppers well. The sun came out and the view of people walking on the beach was good too.  We spent so long there that we did not have time for the walk, but pushed on towards Sanxenxo and Pontevedra.  There were vines everywhere – it seemed as though every household contributes to the Alburino harvest.  We found time for a short post-prandial nap on a lovely little beach before driving along the cliff tops and looking down onto the Ria de Pontevedra.  It looks very promising for visiting by sea over the next few weeks.  We probably won’t get the boat into the town though: all looks a bit shallow, but the town itself is lovely.  Dating from Roman times, it has an abundance of small squares with cafes, bougainvillea, some good small sculptures and a smattering of twitching net curtains.  We had tea and returned to La Coruna along the motorway.  The boat was pitching and writhing to get away in the marina.  We put out extra warps, found some earplugs for the squeaking, drank the last of the Bowmore given to me by the Captains in DEVFLOT and crashed out.


What to do with old seashells     Lunchspot

The fleet at anchor?  Mussel beds at Pontevedra

The highlights of Friday in La Coruna were a visit to the fantastic fish market where we made some new friends amongst the stall holders and wondered about goose barnacles, an ‘Escapade Bouillabaisse’ that emanated from that (no barnacles, just sea bass, clams, mussels, cod, squid and langoustines) and the arrival of our younger daughter Lizzie from London that evening.

She brought some better weather with her so we set off to find an anchorage to swim and relax.  The strong winds of the last few days had left a residual swell in the bay, so we returned to our earlier anchorage at Ares, where the sea was calm and the sun hot.  We returned to the Café de Pescadores in the evening and did not regret it.  On Sunday we hoisted the genoa and ghosted downwind to the resort town of Sada on the south side of the Ria.  We anchored there and conducted some synchronised swimming serials in between lunch, ‘just relaxing’ and taking the girls ashore to catch flights back to London.  That almost ended badly: it was low tide and the gradient on the beach is really flat, so we ran out of water in which to float the rubber boat a hundred yards or so from ‘dry land’.  I carried Anna; the last time I did so she was probably ten years old…  Still, they stayed dry, caught the flight and we laughed long!  It was lovely to have them onboard – even for a couple of days, to share something of this Great Adventure with us.


That evening, the wind got up from the north.  I don’t like being on a lee shore much, so we weighed anchor and motored back to Ares, where we spent a quiet night at anchor and ate home-made ‘Salpicon’ for supper.