Plan A; Get up early and get there for when it opens and try to get a ticket? or
Plan B; follow the old adage Mad Dogs and Englishmen and go midday just as the locals are settling down to their siestas?
Based on how hot is has been and the fact that today was a bank holiday, Plan A was decided upon so after a short walk from the campsite, we were at the ticket office at 8.50am chatting to a very nice security man who told us to come back at 10am when the manager arrived…. As nothing was open in town we sat by the lake and as the crowds began to arrive we strolled back to see our chances of getting a ticket. A quick chat with one of the staff soon confirmed that the chances of that today were zero but there may be some tickets available through the hotel in town. We’d heard this through someone at the campsite but were given the impression that the hotel was essentially charging for the free tickets. However the deal was that the hotel did have tickets for its own clients – either those staying at the hotel or those using the restaurant with a minimum spend of €25 per person. Well with having missed the shop yesterday we decided to have lunch in the restaurant – a good decision in the end!
So with tickets in hand, we went back to our new best friend, the security guard, and with the prerequisite helmet we were finally on the walk. Initially a gravel track alongside the reservoir, the climb to the official start was very gentle and then came a series of wooden staircases to get you to the level of the walkway. The new path has been built over the top of the previous one but the footpath no longer has bits missing and there is a wire fence along the outside edge for the entire length. You can see why they closed the previous walk as in places you would have been walking on rusted girders (although you would have been clipped on to the wire attached to the cliff face) and sadly in two places there are memorials to people who had died on the route, once as recently as 2010.
The Camino had been a bucket list item for us and was it worth it? Absolutely! It’s difficult to put into words the jaw dropping height of the rock faces either side of the gorge and sheer overwhelming force that is Mother Nature.
It is only a very short walk on the main section and very easy to walk back to the point from which you started (although you can carry on to the second access point and take a bus back) which for us was just in time for lunch and a very cold beer!