reasons to hike

Why do People Hike? 12 Reasons to Start Hiking

My love of hiking started when I was young. My grandfather was a lover of nature and he used to drag me on long walks while explaining the world around us. Like many, I rebelled as a teenager and stopped hiking. I was late in my twenties before I start again.

St Bees on the Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast Walk

Devised by famous British fellwalker Alfred Wainwright in 1973, the Coast to Coast is a diverse and challenging long-distance hike in the north of England.

Hiking Headlamp

Best Headlamp for Hiking

The best hiking headlamps will be easy to use in all dark or low light situations. I use it mostly for early morning starts.

keen vs teva

Teva Vs Keen – The Ultimate Sports Sandals

Due to their open-ended design, hike sandals are breathable, extremely packable, and also weigh a lot less than your regular hiking shoes or hiking boots.

Palas de Rei Spain

Palas de Rei

Palas de Rei was referred to as the Royal Palace in the first pilgrims’ guide from the 12th century, however, there is little in the …

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Camino Travel

The more time you have for traveling the less it will cost, and the less time the more…  Travelling to your start point on the …

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Santiago Spain

Who was Santiago? Santiago Matamoros

Santiago is the patron saint of Spain and the reason for the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela.

Castrojeriz in the way of Saint James at Castilla

Inner and Outer Experiences of the Camino de Santiago

Since completing the Camino de Santiago I have read 2 books by individuals who have described their inner and outer experiences, their trials, their triumphs and their fellow pilgrims along the way. Although fairly interesting and at times amusing they write about their unique journey and whilst there are certain shared experiences, they are still their experiences and not mine.

Camino in winter

What is Best Time to Walk the Camino de Santiago?

This is one of the questions I get asked most frequently, what is the best time of year to walk the Camino de Santiago. Usually, though people are asking about the Camino Frances to Santiago, and for that reason that is the route this post refers to.

what type of sleeping bag is best?

Down vs Synthetic Sleeping Bag

If I am in a situation where my sleeping bag might get wet or damp I would normally choose to use a Synthetic Sleeping Bag. Down sleeping bags are best for ultralight and warmth to weight ratio.

Line of pilgrims

A Million Steps by Kurt Koontz

It is not often that I find myself being judgmental of an author while reading his or her book, but with Kurt I was.  We are of similar ages, backgrounds, both of us had addiction issues and both of us left those behind many years ago – even though they are still something that defines us.  So, sorry Kurt, although I enjoyed reading the book, initially I was not going to write anything about it.  However, after my other half read the book I asked her what she thought and she really liked it.  So here I am getting over myself.

Camino stone

Camino de Santiago Frances Last Section – Part 3

This is the third post of three and it cover the last section of the French Way, the first is Walking the Camino Frances, and the second is the middle part of the Camino Frances. These are the last of the email compilations from Douglas and Christine Ball’s journey on the Camino Frances during 2015. The text below cover the last section of about 155 miles.

Ancient pilgrim

Middle Section of the Camino Frances

This is a continuation of the emails of Gordon and Christine Ball’s time on the Camino Frances during 2015. This section covers the middle stages of the Camino Frances. You can read the first part here – Walking the Camino Frances, and the next section the Last stages of the Camino Frances.

Douglas and Christine

Walking the Camino Frances

In 2015, two pilgrims to undertake the Camino Frances walk were Douglas and Christine Ball, from Gateshead in the north east of England. Here is their personal story of ‘Walking the Camino’.  (I have split this into three parts as it amounts to 20,000 words and would make for a very slow loading and long page). The next two post are the middle section of the Camino Frances and last part, the last section on the Camino Frances.

backpacking quilt vs sleeping bag

Backpacking Quilt vs Sleeping Bag: Which One is Better?

Backpacking Quilt vs Sleeping Bag which is the best for camping? It depends – is it one night, a long hike, is it warm weather, cold weather, inside or out. It really does depend.

Cotswold Way

Hiking the Cotswold Way National Trail

The Cotswold Way is an escarpment walk from Bath it is one of England’s shorter National Trails.

Des O'Dowd Camino

Celebrate Your Retirement and Walk The Camino!

I retired on the 1st of September 2008 and I wanted to celebrate my new life and new freedom. The Camino de Santiago was the challenge and adventure I needed. So in late September, like children going on a school tour, myself and my fellow retiree Pat McEvoy arrived in Dublin Airport with our rucksacks packed. We flew to Biarritz and two hours later were in the beautiful village of St. Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees. Our adventure had begun.

Village in Spain Camino

Camino Blues After Returning from the Camino

Meeting people from around the globe, facing the unexpected, experiencing physical and mental cleansing, laughter, meditation, natural beauty

Wild the book

Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found

I enjoyed reading Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed. I found the book gritty, ruthlessly honest and inspiring. All that from a book that at first glance is about walking the Pacific Crest Trail. It is, but the book is also about Cheryl’s life to that point.

backpacking pillow

Best Backpacking Pillows

At the end of a day’s long hike, a comfy backpacking pillow will add that much-needed level of comfort.

hiking underwear

Best Hiking Underwear

Many hikers don’t buy hiking-specific underwear. But they should. The best hiking underwear is built specifically for the trials and tribulations of trails.

Jakobsweg

How to Prevent and Treat Blisters on Your Feet

Blisters are every hiker’s worst nightmare, and not just because they can be very painful. If you roll your ankle or your back gives out, it feels like a proper injury, and you’re more than justified in packing up and going home. Blisters on the other hand always feel like something that you can walk just one more mile with.

The problem with this way of thinking is that all it does is make the issue worse. by never addressing the root causes, and ploughing on regardless. If you want to be able to get the most out of your walking holiday, you’re going to need to give some serious thought to how you plan to protect your feet. A little time and effort now could save you miles of walking in pain. Certainly worth it when you think about it, isn’t it?

Waterproof jackets

How to Choose Waterproofs for the Camino de Santiago

This is the third post in my series about walking gear for the Camino, the first is how to choose the best hiking boots or lightweight hiking shoes, the second is how to choose a backpack. This is a general article on waterproofs – the age-old discussion about a waterproof jacket or poncho continues on the forum.

Santiago

Newbie Mistakes & Advice for the Camino de Santiago

To be honest, I wanted to get your attention with the title of this blog post. I guess it worked if you are reading this now 🙂

Great. Now that we are here I would like to clear something up which is of high importance to me.

The word “mistake” in the blog title is not really right. I rather try to see things as experiences and experiments instead of mistakes. This gives more space and helps us to go out and try more things because we are not so afraid of failure.

Backpack fitting

How to Choose a Backpack for the Camino de Santiago

After choosing the best hiking boots or hiking shoes for your feet, a backpack is the second most important piece of equipment you need for walking any of the Camino routes (see Camino packing list).  Bear in mind this humble backpack is going to hold all your belonging for a month, sometime more.

Santiago arrow

Is It Safe Walking the Camino de Santiago Alone?

One of the most common questions I am asked – is it safe to walk the Camino de Santiago alone?  This became a question being asked more again recently when someone went missing on the Camino. However my opinion remains unchanged – yes, it is safe to walk the Camino de Santiago alone. I would think it safer than most local walking routes in most countries; safer than walking home from Dublin or any large city on a Friday or Saturday night.

How to Remove a Tick Head after the Body is Gone

When you’re enjoying a great walk in the hills or countryside, it probably feels like nothing can bring down your mood. The sun is shining, your legs are feeling great, and those new hiking boots have certainly cured your blisters. But then you notice a sharp pain in your leg, you look down, and see that you’ve fallen victim to a tick bite. They might seem like tiny innocuous little pests, but they certainly pack a punch. The venom they boast can cause all sorts of nasty complications (including partial paralysis and life-threatening fever), so you need to make sure you know what to do. Take a look at the following wise words and you’ll be well prepared should the worst happen.

The South Downs Way

One of England’s National Trails, the South Downs Way is a 160km long-distance walk, the entirety of which sits within the South Downs National Park. …

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Border crossing

Walking for Peace

I met Mony, one of the authors of Walking for Peace, at a conference about the Camino de Santiago in October 2015.  I found Mony an engaging person to chat with and discovered during one of our talks that she had written this book. Because of that, I bought and read the book.

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