22.6 km today.
54.5 km this trip.
327.5 km from start.
0 metres minimum height.
16 metres maximum height.
42 metres ascent.
60 metres descent.
Track Log: Logged.
Coast road busy at start. Empty road after ports.
We walked from Huelva bus station to Mazagon. The route followed the estuary and the river Odiel. We walked through the town and through industrial areas. The copper works was particularly smelly. The gas importing and storage facility was the last industrial complex. After this the environment became quiet and rural with forest and lake.
It took just over half an hour to get from 401 Kabila Golf (our holiday accommodation) to the bus stop in Matalascañas - a distance of 2.8km).
Setting out, we had a small panic. We went calmly down the four stories and out of our edificio. The gate, usually open, was clearly locked. We could not get out of our complex without our front door keys but Mini had these back in the house. We decided we lacked the agility to climb over the security fence. So at six a.m. Neil went back up the four flights and was trying to wake Mini up to get the keys. Her bedroom was at the back so she could not easily hear the doorbell (when fast asleep). Bing, bong - pause - bing, bong. After what felt like an hour with much more binging and bonging, she came to the door, bleary eyed and gave us the keys. Back down the four stories and across the car park to the postern gate. It was dark and not easy to see which key to use so, looking for the light switch Neil pressed a likely button only to activate the gate unlock buzzer. We didn't need the keys at all. Back across the car park and back up the four flights to return the keys to Mini (looking a bit more awake now). Finally back down the four flights, across the car park and into freedom. We walked rather fast to make up the lost time arriving at the bus stop too early and overheated. The temperature was below zero so we got rather chilly before the bus came.
The bus came in on time and we got tickets for Huelva, arriving there at 8.15. This was the university and school bus so there was a "school run" dropping students off at the bus stop.
The walk was quite straightforward. Just follow the estuary. Much of the edge through the town has a green bouncy sward and even when you have to use the hard shoulder it is uneven gravel which is kinder on the feet than asphalt. Although this area was very industrial, we saw godwits, black-winged stilts, lesser ringed plovers, lesser black-backed gulls, black-headed gulls. To get over the Rio del Tinto estuary, we used the road bridge. This is a horrible bridge for pedestrians, not quite a motorway which we wouldn't have been allowed on at all, but the next worst thing. The path was narrow and not separated from the traffic. There are thieves, rapists, axe murderers, terrorists and other dangers in the world but this was probably the most dangerous moment of the week - road traffic! The estuary is dominated by a massive but unfinished statue similar to the one at Rio de Janeiro.
Still in the port area, we passed cormorants sitting on posts. This stretch, although very commercial and industrial, is very interesting. We passed a copper factory and other chemical smelling plants. We had to wait for a goods train to cross the road going to the muelle (jetty) to get a consignment of coal from the dockside. We saw piles of wood chippings, ready for transportation prior to making chip board. There was an oil recycling plant and a gas importing terminal.
After 2 hours 9 minutes, we had our first break.
We stopped next to the estuary, still in the port area. In clear view was a huge tanker ship called Havru (origin unknown) which had brought gas to the muelle. The superstructure consisted of 4 huge spherical gas containers one behind the other.
On the far side of the estuary, there was a causeway being repaired. There were lorries going backwards and forwards the whole time.
At 11.45, we had our first lunch - having had breakfast at 5.00 this morning we were ready for it.
We extended our break slightly to watch Havru set sail assisted by two tugs and head out to sea. Now that we had passed to port area the walking became calmer.
There were just 4k to go to the start of Mazagon
We continued along the beach until we reached Mazagon, our target for the day. To reduce the distance to be walked tomorrow, we walked through the village to the far end.
Flowers seen: pancreatic maritime seed heads; miserable geranium; miserable yellow daisy; small asphodel; bugloss; pink convolvulus; small yellow pea cheerful; small yellow pea miserable; soft thistle; enormous soft prostata thistle; white pea.