Risk Assessment – Camino Inglès May 2020

Risk Assessment

Screenshot 2019-09-30 at 11.17.01


Ferrol to Santiago De Compostela, Spain


October 2018


Julia Doherty, Walk Director

If you would like to see the terrain in video format, there here is the vlog from October 2018.

For more information about this particular walk, please click the areas of interest below.  The details are correct as of publication, and we will regularly update this assessment.

Summary of risk

Most of this trail is along well-trodden footpaths that weave through small Spanish villages.  We are passing through some rather large towns and we need to be vigilant for traffic, cyclists and other pilgrims on the trail.  This trail is not as popular as the other Camino routes, but there are still a number of dangerous things to consider.

It is imperative that all trekkers attend the training, where we will go through the itinerary in details so each walker will know what to expect.  In addition to this each trekker will need to carry the following in their day pack as essentials:-

  • Min 2 litres of water
  • Torch or headlamp
  • First aid kit
  • Good walking shoes / boots
  • Waterproofs
Traffic Roads


We will be walking many stretches of road and also footpaths alongside the road, therefore visibility is essential.  It is worth noting the cars drive on the right-hand side in Spain, therefore we will be walking on the left.

Who May Be Harmed

All walkers

How the risk is controlled

  • Warn walkers in pre-walk talk
  • Cross at safer places
  • Keep the group together
  • Torches are essential for all walkers if we are leaving early in the morning.
  • Footwear to be assessed at check-in
  • We must always walk on the left side on the road sections (in the opposite direction of traffic) and in single file on the shoulder. If we have to cross the road, we must do it in areas with wide visibility, avoiding curves and changes in grade.
Dual Paths

The hazard:

The Camino paths are used by cyclists, donkeys, cars, motorbikes, shepherds (often in a little white pick up truck) and other trekkers/pilgrims. They all have the same rights to the path as we do, so it is worth keeping this in mind.

Risk – often cyclists do not ring their bell or warn us of their arrival which can be rather startling.

Who may be harmed?

Those that are hard of hearing or have other sensory ailments.

How the risk is controlled:

  • Inform trekkers to turn off headphones in built-up areas, and to have them at a low level when walking on paths that are shared by bikes.
  • Inform the group at the beginning of the walk that we may come across others on route.
  • Keep to one side of the path (naturally, fall to the left)
  • Check the group is not drifting across the path
  • Ask walkers to help warn others of bikes approaching
  • Take extra care when crossing others on the trail





The hazard:

We are not expecting to have any dogs with us on this trail (perhaps with an exception to service dogs), but we do need to be aware of stray dogs.  Often dogs will be chained up outside a house and will look vulnerable, but they also come with an element of danger.

Do not offer them food, since they can decide to follow you in your stage to see if you give them more and suddenly be lost, several kilometres from home and without knowing how to return home (a very common problem in the Camino de Santiago).

Who may be harmed?

All trekkers.

How the risk is controlled:

  • Warn in pre-walk talk and as necessary on the route
  • Keep nervous walkers away from dogs.
  • Advise in the briefing to not stroke any dogs on the Camino unless at a cafe and the owner has said it is ok.
  • If you see a wild dog, then always have your walking poles available.
  • Note: Pepper spray is illegal to carry in Spain.




Other animals

The hazard:

We are walking through numerous forest routes and I have witnessed wild pigs and boars crossing the trail on various occasions. They are usually fine if you stand still and ignore them, but they can also be aggressive if provoked.

The most frequent thing in the Camino is to find animals such as horses, herds of sheep, cows, which are normally found grazing or inside private farms. Respect them and above all do not invade private property, remember that you are only passing through; the photographs are fine, but the animals may not feel good about touching them.

Who may be harmed?

All trekkers.

How the risk is controlled:

  • Warn in pre-walk talk and as necessary on the route.
  • Identify those that have a fear of pigs or wild animals and pair them up with those who are confident when walking through forest trails.
  • If you see a wild pig, then always have your walking poles available.





The Hazzard

The weather in May in Spain can be rather unpredictable.  We need to be prepared for hot sunny days or cold and wet days.  There will be elements of walking through the forest which can be slippy and muddy in wet weather.

Who may be harmed?

All walkers. All, particularly those that are frailer and aren’t dressed appropriately

How the risk is controlled:

  • Check walkers’ clothing at beginning of the walk
  • Take water, hats, raingear.
  • Be aware of places to shelter (numerous places throughout the trail).
  • Abandon walk if necessary – use exit strategy.
  • It is Adventure Geek’s responsibility to check the weather forecast before the walk begins.




Waymarks & Signage

The Hazzard

It seems obvious and simple, but do not forget that on the Camino you have to follow the yellow arrows and the scallops with a blue background to follow our route. However, there are stretches on some routes where the indications are not clear and occasions on which the “pillería” makes some people place signals trying to mislead the pilgrims and guide them to their business (not always the usual). It is best to ask at the accommodations on the Camino and the tourist offices of the localities.

How the risk is controlled:

  • We will be walking as a group, however, we will also encourage people to walk on their own.  You will always see pilgrims in front of you and behind you so it is difficult to get lost, and essential to have some solitude on this particular route.
  • Take water, hats, raingear.
  • Be aware of places to shelter (numerous places throughout the trail).
  • Abandon walk if necessary – use exit strategy.
  • It is Adventure Geek’s responsibility to check the weather forecast before the walk begins.




Other People

The Hazzard

Other people who may look suspicious.

Who may be harmed?

All walkers.

How the risk is controlled:

  • Move past any potentially threatening group avoiding eye contact.
  • Carry an attack alarm, should you feel there is cause to do so.  (Adventure Geek Leaders all carry an electronic whistle)
  • Have a charged mobile phone to hand.



Slips, Trips and Falls

The Hazzard

This area has many potential areas to slip as there are often running streams, slippery and muddy surfaces.

Who may be harmed?

All walkers particularly those with balance difficulties/mobility issues.

How the risk is controlled:

  • Warn in pre-walk talk and as necessary on the route
  • Help walkers around muddy spots, narrow paths, etc.
  • Abandon walk if path accessibility is very bad





The Hazzard

There are a few steep climbs (mainly as you exit a village) and head into the hills.

Who may be harmed?

All walkers, particularly those with heart problems, high blood pressure etc e.g. Angina

How the risk is controlled:

  • Warn in pre-walk talk
  • Be aware of walkers’ health needs – AD walk leaders to note the medical declarations on the registration entry.
  • Allow everyone to take inclines at their own pace – tail walker to always stay at the back.  We will walk as fast as the slowest person.
  • Remind walkers to take and use the medication if necessary
  • Rest at the top of any incline and wait for the group




Emergency Services

And finally.

If we witness a robbery, pilgrims being intimidated, threatened, attacked or any event that goes against the law, we must notify the authorities by dialling 112 so they can act as soon as possible. On the other hand, if we see that someone needs help (for example, in the case of a traffic accident, a fall, etc.) assess whether your help is necessary or if it can only contribute to making things worse, in which case you should call directly to emergency services.




Safety with money

The Camino is a cash country and it is unusual to pay at cafe’s with a card / Apple pay etc – therefore an element of cash will be needed each day.

ATM machines can be scarce, therefore I would recommend carrying a min of €30 in cash with you at all times.  Use a money belt, or keep your essentials with you on your person at all times.  Do not carry large amounts of money with you.


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