Log Book I Day 1 I How to squat a river

Looking for the river spring

We wanted to start from the beginning, that is, to find the place where the river Jamor rises. This was not easy.


Contrary to expectations, the web doesn’t inform where the source of Jamor is. All that we can find is a vague information about how the river rises in Dona Maria, in Serra da Carregueira, county of Sintra. With a filming camera in hand, we went on this true expedition.

And we discovered the following:

a)      Dona Maria is a very small village in the suburbs of Greater Lisbon, but still preserves very rural characteristics - small farms, unordered houses that 
lead to small squares, dust roads and many fountains; In Dona Maria everybody knows and / or has a degree of kinship.

b)      The river Jamor is gaining different names, depending on the place where it passes (Ribeira de Belas, Ribeira do Brejo, Ribeira de Dona Maria, etc); It is born in an uncertain part, not formalized or recognized, and therefore the opinions about the place diverge, as we describe.



Arriving at Dona Maria, we asked a passing lady: “Good morning, do you know where the source of the river Jamor is?” The answer came quickly: “The source of Jamor is in Clara.” She explained the way, we followed it. In the middle of the journey, to make sure we were not lost, we asked the same question to two other passers-by. They explained that it was not Jamor. “The river Jamor only forms later, in Queluz. So far, it gains the name of the place where it passes.” They also explained that there is not one, but several springs, scattered around the area. Some of them remain, they confirmed, in the land of that Clara. To get there, we would have to go to Casal do Brejo, find a green house, and there would be someone who would surely help us to get to the springs. “Say that you spoke to Zé Pedro.”

It was in the green house that the secret of Jamor’s spring began to unravel. The person we met there revealed to be a true source of knowledge about the subject. Natália, who was a cousin of Zé Pedro and married to the godson of Clara, explained that “they are not springs but water mines. As there is a lot of rock in that area, the water tends to remain on the surface, and the mines result from the accumulation of that water. When they are full, they become small streams of water, which run and gather at a certain height, creating a brook.” She showed us on the map the locations of some of these mines and streams, but also warned us that most of them are buried, by the land owners or by the State. She pointed out, however, that one of the most important mines is still in the open, and the running water is plentiful enough to fill existing tanks built more than 200 years ago. “This mine is on a plot of land whose owner does not live far. A certain Henrique, owner of a yellow house, here in Casal de Brejo.” We knocked on the door, but nobody answered…

Just before finishing, when on the way back we talked to the owner of the cafe where we went to rest and relieve a bit our hunger (after such an expedition), he told us very strongly that the source of Jamor is inside the Lisbon Sports Club.



At the end of the day, and because we did not accept to leave Dona Maria without at least seeing water, this was the possible record we got from the source of Jamor. For now.



Note: The names used in this text are fictitious, to preserve the privacy of the involved persons.

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