The thaw and the rains of the last few days have allowed the Gállego navateros to cross the river almost on wings due to the force of the water. This is the first descent of the season in Alto Aragón, which is always celebrated around San Jorge, which will be followed by those of Aragón , from Hecho, and Cinca , from Laspuña. There was a great desire to see the rafts navigate the river from Murillo to Santa Eulalia de Gállego after two years of parenthesis, and also the weather has favored the influx of public.
Descent of the navatas by the river Gállego.The navatas cross the Gállego
At 9.00 the two navatas were reviewed, one with two tricks and the other with three, although it was not until 11.00 when the 12 men and women who had climbed on them were released, who had previously embraced each other forming a circle while the president of the association that organized the XVIII Descent by the Gállego river has given the last instructions and encouraged the participants. The start to make the 7 kilometer route was accompanied by the music of Os Gaiters d’a Tierra Baja.
Behind them came the Kayak Club of Murillo de Gállego and the water rescue teams of the firefighters of the Huesca and Zaragoza councils to ensure this event. The first curves of the river have already made the force of the water felt, which has put Navatera’s expertise to the test, since the flow has increased in recent days.
Around 11.15, the public that filled the Murillo de Gállego bridge saw the three-trap navata appear and then the second, observing how they expertly passed under it. It is one of the most complicated points due to the concrete plates that remained after its construction.
Part of the public has followed the route along side tracks, reaching the pass of the Washer, another difficult place where two curves and a stand inside the river require a lot of skill , as well as balance, because that small jump supposes a good soak and an effort important for rowers.
Since there are oars both in the front and in the back, the orders are given by naming the two towns that are on each side and that all the navateros have internalized. The captain of the boat directs it by shouting ” Erés ” when you have to row to the left bank and “Santolaria” to go to the right.
After passing the Washing Machine, the navatas have stopped in a slight pool, in the place known as the Paso de la Barca because there used to be an old boat to cross the river. At that point, a brief lunch will be held to give the vehicles time to reach the Iron Bridge. A large audience gathered here and broke into applause when the two Navatas appeared.
A new banner with the motto ‘Río Gállego Vivo’ (Río Gállego Vivo), a sign of victory in the legal battle to rule out the Biscarrués reservoir , is displayed on this newly repaired bridge . Behind him is the arrival beach where the participants have embraced with their families once free of the tension of the descent, and have received the applause of the public.
The tradition was recovered on the banks of the Gállego in 2004 thanks to the support of the Sobrarbe association . Wood from the Pyrenees and Pre-Pyrenees came down this river from the forests of San Juan de La Peña and those close to the towns located on the banks, to Huesca , Zaragoza or the sea, to Tortosa, where the wood was used to build the navy ships.
The trade was lost due to the construction of the La Peñ a reservoir in the 1920s and also due to the appearance of the Canfranero, but there are numerous samples that recall it on the eaves of the houses and the roofs of the Galliguera.
In the weeks prior to the descent, intense work is also carried out to build the log boats.