The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Thursday 7 February - by Alcoutim

We arrived in Alcoutim yesterday, me on foot from our previous nightstop, Mick in Bertie. After a couple of hilly runs this one looked easier, being downhill overall, but it had enough undulations that I was happy to take a micro-breather for a quick photo when I got my first view of the village of Sanlucar, with its prominent castle, just across the water from Alcoutim:
The water in question, the River Guardiana, forms the border between Spain and Portugal; Alcoutim is in Portugal, Sanlucar in Spain.

Today I rested my running legs by going for a walk. The signed Petite Randonée route in Alcoutim didn't look particularly interesting, so instead I chose a route I'd downloaded from, which turned out to use sections of the PR2, the GR15 and the GR13, as well as some forest tracks that aren't on any marked trails.

Here are a few snaps:
Looking downriver on our outward leg. Alcoutim is on the right bank, Sanlucar on the left.
Trying and failing to capture the extent of the green lumpiness of the landscape and how it contains a whole lot of nothing.
Apparently we were following in the footsteps of smugglers during at least part of our outing.
This info sign, located in the town, gives a bit of history relating to that smuggling.
After the wide tracks and dirt roads of the GR15 then the GR13 we took to lesser used tracks, some more overgrown and eroded than others. This one was very slightly narrowed by overgrowth, but had a good surface.
In the foreground are the scant remains of Alcoutim's old castle. Beyond is Sanlucar's castle. It's a pity there's not a position from which one can capture both of these and Alcoutim's 'new' (14th century?) castle.

The outing came in at 6.3 miles with 850' of ascent - short enough to be back in time for lunch, but long enough to justify our break half way for elevenses.

(Conrad: a bit of an aside, but I think you would have been as entertained as we have been by the German caravanner that arrived this afternoon and who has spent a good two hours trying to find the absolute ideal position for his caravan, finally setting everything up completely in one spot only then to decide that six feet to his left looked better and to restart the whole exercise over again. The drama when something went awry with the positioning of a wheel chock was something to behold!)


  1. Not within touching distance of Bertie’s door then.
    Just thinking aloud, was area fought over during the Napoleonic wars?

    1. None of the information signs mentioned the Napoleonic wars and Mick doesn't remember reading about Alcoutim in any of his go-to resources on the subject (that being the Sharpe series of novels!). So, in answer to your question, we don't know.

  2. I did a quick look on wiki and found some mentions of Napoleonic activity. I’m surprised they don’t make more of it in the area. But I guess they want to forget it.

    1. There were a couple of information signs on the waterfront that we didn't read (inaccessible due to maintenance works), so it's possible one of those gave it a mention.