It all started with Olle 5 in January 2014 and with the completion of Olle 4 on Sunday, we’ve now walked all the Jeju olle trails, the 21 that make up the circumnavigation of the island and the half dozen that are loops and alternative routes or that are on smaller islands around the coast.
Olle 4 is the longest trail at 22.9 km and Sunday was a scorching hot day to walk, with little shade from the sun. The trail does make an excursion inland but mostly follows the coast – a turquoise sea and waves crashing on the rocks (was that an effect of tropical storm Halola off to the south-east?). We celebrated with a cup of tea once we reached the end in Namwon Pogu, glad of the air conditioning and a place to sit down.
What’s next? Well, there’s a 770km trail that follows the east coast of South Korea between the border with North Korea and Busan, or a series of Olle trails in Kyushu.
You won’t get any sense of Olle 3 from these photos, although food is an important part of a successful and enjoyable walk: those all-important questions of how much to carry, where to get a hot meal along the route or a refreshing drink. Or even, having found somewhere to eat, to be confident about ordering from a menu that’s all in Korean.
We knew that we would get noodles (kuksu) for lunch yesterday but didn’t know that they would be served cold, in ice. Given that it was a hot and humid July day on Jeju, that was an inspired choice.
The route runs over 20 Km from Onpyeong-pogu to Pyoseon. These are the same start and end points as the recently-opened and shorter Olle 3B, but takes in two oreums whereas 3B keeps closely to the coast throughout its entire length. The best part – on a hot day in summer, anyway – is the few hundred metres at the end where you remove walking boots and wade across the shallow water on the beach at Pyoseon.