Every pilgrimage to Santiago seems to have a stage that pilgrims look forward to with a combination of dread and excitement. On the Camino Frances, it’s the first day climb up from St Jean to Roncesvalles or the long stretches of nothingness on the Meseta. On the Camino Portuguese, it is the climb up to Alto da Portela Grande on the stage covering Ponte de Lima to Rubiães. While researching the Camino Ingles, I had a tough time finding which day would hold the candle as the toughest, but most opinions centered on the uphill climb between Presedo and Bruma. The Camino Ingles is a rather flat and easy to walk trail compared to other options, but this stretch packs in a steep 1000ft+ climb and is void of refreshment rest stop options until reaching bar Casa Avelina at the top.
Stage 6 Overview:
Point to Point: Presedo to Bruma
Distance: 8.3 miles / 13.3 km
Elevation Gain: 1172ft / 357m
Trail Conditions: Mostly paved roads and gravel pathways, with a little walking near minor streets.
Food and Water: Very few on-trail food options, so pack snacks. Water fountains were plentiful.
End of Day Accommodation: Albergue San Lorenzo de Bruma
Our sixth day on the Camino Ingles began with a very satisfying Spanish breakfast at our accommodation, Rectoral de Cines. We enjoyed fresh fruit, juices, bizcocho, coffee, and cured meats. With our bodies properly fueled, we were ready to hit the trail. As we looked outside, we could see that we would have perfect weather for the big 1000ft climb on this stage. The skies were thick with clouds, but dry, and the air held a very pleasant temperature in the 60s.
Since Rectoral de Cines is located 3km from the Camino Ingles, we needed a ride back to the trail. Lucky for us, they have their own taxi service, and we got dropped off at cafe Xente no Camino. We had just eaten breakfast, so we didn’t get anything to eat or drink at Xente no Camino, but we did stock up on snacks and Aquarius since there would be nowhere to stop for the next 6.5 miles.
The Camino Ingles picks up right behind Xente no Camino, but we didn’t get far due to a friendly horse in need of a good morning rub down. Owen and Julia gave the horse a few minutes of attention, and then we had to make our way back on the trail towards Bruma.
As we got back on the trail, we ran into a trio of pilgrims we had seen off-and-on since we started in Ferrol. Their names were Beth, Janet, and Susan, and we had been staying at the same accommodation for almost every stage. We had the chance to say hi a few times, but it was on this day they became a part of our Camino Family. Beth was also kind enough to provide us with our first official Camino Ingles family photo.
The first two miles of walking on our way out of Presedo was on a mostly flat trail. Once we reached the town of Leiro, we knew the grade would start to increase as we made our climb up towards Bruma. As we passed through Leiro, I saw a spriteful little pony that reminded me of Owen.
After passing through Leiro, the Camino Ingles joins a gravel and dirt road that passes through groves of eucalyptus. Despite the increased grade of the trail, we were all in great spirts and had high energy due to our walking companions.
At the 3 mile mark for the day, we passed by the Beche dam. The Beche dam area has a nice playground, a picnic area, and public use toilettes. Owen played on the playground for his ‘rest break’, and then we got back on the trail to finish the rest of our uphill hiking.
Leaving the Beche dam behind, the trail continued to gain elevation, but never really felt too steep or severe. It’s much more of a gradual uphill climb, like any you’d find on a forest road or fire service road. This section passes through a small town called O Vao with a few crisscrossing streets before heading back to gravel and dirt roads.
At this point in the Camino Ingles, we only had 45km left on our journey! This was a very proud moment for Owen, as we though back on the 112km sign we saw on day 1 in Ferrol.
At the 6.5 mile mark for the day, we reached the town of As Travesas and Cafe Avelina. We enjoyed a simple jamon y queso bocadillo and a few coffees while we rested our legs from the long uphill climb. We also had to put on our warm layers, as the damp chill from morning still gripped the air. The chilled air was welcome during the hike, but with sweaty shirts, was not so pleasant while sitting.
Across the street from Cafe Avelina is Cruciero das Travesas. The lady in the cafe has the keys to open up the church, and advised all of us to hug the tree out front for a blessing.
Leaving As Travesas behind, the Camino Ingles follows highway AC-542 for a short while, before turning onto a dirt road towards Bruma.
We arrived in the village of Bruma after 8.3 miles of walking and 1200ft of climbing. It was amazing how fast that day flew by though. At the beginning, we were wondering how Owen would do. As always, the Camino provides. And on this day, it provided us with an amazing Camino family to help motivate, inspire, and distract us from the climb we just endured.
For our accommodation for the night, we stayed at the brand new Albergue San Lorenzo Bruma in a private room. This albergue also has shared accommodations, but we booked early to have a room and bathroom all to ourselves. This albergue also has laundry services, a kitchenette, and vending machines. It is right down the street from the old pilgrims albergue, and Cafe Casa Graña, the only place to eat in town.
Our private room had a sliding door that looked out on a large yard and nearby farm. We took a few hours to rest our legs, shower up, and rest a little while enjoying the view.
After getting our rest in, we made our way down the street to join our friends at Cafe Casa Graña. We enjoyed a very nice pilgrims menu dinner, and more importantly, each others company. Sadly, our three peregrina friends would be walking all the way to Sigueiro the following day, while we’d be cutting that stage in half and stopping in Ordes.