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.

Cycling the Camino

Cycling the Camino de Santiago

This is one of the best Camino videos I have seen, although I have not cycled the Camino de Santiago I would love to and as life has become busier it seems like this mode of travel will be used on my next Camino. 

Bikes on the Camino

Cycling the Camino Frances

I first considered walking the Camino, but that was never really an option. I’m physically challenged, there was no way that I was able to hike the Camino with a backpack.

Canon camera

Best Camera for Hiking and the Camino de Santiago?

The pilgrimage to Santiago is an adventure rich in breathtaking views and unforgettable moments. Still, some travellers prefer to completely unplug from the noise of civilization and leave all the tech gadgets behind. Others, like me, can’t resist documenting whenever possible, and because of that finding the best camera is important.

Whether or not you decide to disconnect completely and leave the camera behind is a matter of personal preference. I didn’t find it technology that distracting. In fact, I am glad I captured the special moments. You see, memories tend to fade and the Camino is definitely not short on capture-worthy moments.

Camino Albergue

Bed Bugs on the Camino de Santiago

The Camino to Santiago might be a spiritual journey, but it’s not exempt from common earthly troubles like bed bugs. Who would have thought that such little creatures could be such a huge pain in the neck? In the past decade, bed bugs have infested some albergues along the Camino causing trouble not only to pilgrims but also hospitaleros.

Although bed bugs on the Camino de Santiago are inconvenient, the problem is being handled and should not be a reason to give this one-of-a-kind journey. In fact, bed bugs are not exclusive to the Camino or the cheap albergues. You can equally come across them in a five-star hotel. Their widespread reign was not brought about by uncleanliness as much as by the massive increase in international travel.

Great Glen way

Hiking the Great Glen Way

If coast to coast walks are your thing, and you want to tackle one that you could do in a week or less, then look no further folks.

The beauty of the Great Glen Way is that it’s long enough to challenge your endurance, but not so long that you have to train for months on end to be able to tackle it.

Take a look at what we loved about it, and then decide for yourself if it’s going to be the destination for your next break from it all.

Coastal path in Scotland

Hiking the Ayrshire Coastal Path

Located on one of the most beautiful coastlines of the British Isles, the Ayrshire Coastal Path is a fantastic choice for hikers who are eager to explore nature, wildlife, as well as memorable historical sites.

The path is part of the International Appalachian Trail, and it was declared one of Scotland’s Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage. It is considered a great adventure for excited walkers but, since some areas run alongside beaches, the middle and north sections are also suitable for horse riding. In addition, there are parts which cyclers can very well enjoy, in the northern section between Ayr and Largs.

Mountain peaks

Hiking the Arran Coastal Way

Unlike most long distance hiking routes in Scotland, the Arran Way is a circular route, and it can be walked in usually five days. When you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of back home, there’s perhaps nowhere better to do it than the quiet and peaceful island of Arran.

It’s often described as ‘Scotland in miniature’ and it’s a little corner of the British Isles that’ll sure not disappoint. The beauty of the place is that you can see the entire island in just a few day’s walking, and at just over 100 km in length, it still provides a real challenge for even the most seasoned of walkers.

Annandale way

Hiking the Annandale Way

Scotland is an area that’s known for the beauty of its walks, and perhaps none more so than the Annandale Way. By walking the length of the river bearing the same name as it makes its way to the sea, you get to enjoy the full range of Scottish terrain. The ground gently undulates, a calming breeze keeps you nice and cool, and you’re surrounded by amazing wildlife – the Annandale Way is certainly one of Scotland’s best walking holidays.

Fife Coastal path

Hiking the Fife Coastal Path

Fife is an area of Scotland that people have come from all over the UK and further afield to enjoy for decades now. The terrain is varied, the views are spectacular, and there’s so much to see and do along the way. To give you plenty of new ideas, we’ve put together a simple 5 minute read that will tell you everything you need to know about the local area. That way, all you need to do is read, have a quick think, and then book your trip. It’s just as simple as getting away for the week should be, isn’t it?

St Cuthbert

Hiking St Cuthbert’s Way

If you want to explore a route that’s steeped in history without having to go further afield, then St Cuthbert’s Way could be the ideal route for your next walking holiday, and is one of Scotland’s more popular hiking routes.

The scenery has largely remained untouched from the days of 650 AD when the legendary St Cuthbert himself would have traversed the route that bears his name. Just what you want when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle back home, and immerse yourself in a corner of the UK.

River Spey

Hiking the Speyside Way

When you want to get away from it all and enjoy the beauty of nature, there’s perhaps nowhere better to do it than on the 100 kilometres or more of the Speyside Way.

Tucked away in a quiet part of the country, it follows the River Spey as it twists and turns on its way to the sea. With acres of wild parkland to be explored along the way, you’ll have everything you’ve ever wanted and more from your next walking holiday.

Santiago de Campostela

The Pilgrims Road to Santiago

As I sat on the rustic Spanish bench alongside the Camino trail, I looked down at my two bruised and blue big toenails, free at last to wiggle in fresh mountain air from the containment of my Vasque hiking boots. Then I thought “how am I going to do this for another 5 weeks?”

Shell stones

Hiking the Camino for Charity

Have you thought about it?  

I know there are many pilgrims or future pilgrims out there that have had this idea. 

Is it possible?

Is it easy?

I’ve done it and I want to share my experience with you.  All the in’s and out’s.  All the up’s and down’s.  All the pro’s and con’s.  And my strategy to raise money also.   I hope this will help those who are thinking about walking the Camino for charity, because I know there are a lot of you out there, and I know that it is worth it. 

Camino with children

Walking the Camino de Santiago with Children

Walking the Camino is without a doubt an extraordinary experience – but what about walking the Camino de Santiago with children?

An escape, an adventure in time where too many things are planned out and controlled. But it’s not always easy to get away, especially if you are taking care of more than yourself. Perhaps you have been dreaming about this.

Pyrenees signpost

Reasons to Walk the Camino de Santiago

You have to be fairly motivated to walk the Camino de Santiago from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in North West Spain – as it is 800km.  Usually 800km with your rucksack on your back containing everything you need for a month.  Sleeping in hostels with strangers, communal showers, and no privacy.

Beldorado

Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado

12th August, 2017:  Leaving Santo Domingo at 7.45 am, we thought we had made a good head start on the sun.
Fools! We should have left at least an hour earlier. We walked 23 kilometers today on a fairly easy route of gravel paths, tarmac in places, which ran most of the way parallel to the N120. There were no major height differences;  240 meters in ascent, 100 meters in descent. Easy peasy, apart from the fact temperatures hit 38 degrees, and we were walking in an area with absolutely no shade.

Meseta Camino

The Meseta on the Camino de Santiago Spain

‘Many people avoid the Meseta, catching the bus from Burgos to Leon’, I heard on my first day on the Camino de Santiago. I was shocked. I thought most people were keen to walk the full route, either in stages or as a single pilgrimage. Whilst setting out to walk and enjoy the whole 800km, the Meseta was the section I was looking forward to with anticipation. I became curious as to what my experience would be.

Women at Camino

Najera to Santo Domingo Commando on the Camino

11th August 2017 – The title of this blog post came about as one of us, whom shall remain nameless, wore ill-fitting shorts which became very uncomfortable as the kilometers clocked up.  Today the only comfort gained would be from wearing a skirt and going commando. So for any ladies reading this a walking skirt could be a useful addition to your Camino attire.  Your dignity will be kept intact while your nether regions can breathe.  However, just be careful the skirt is of a decent length, as you don’t want to be arrested for flashing.

Camino Frances

Why You Need to Walk the Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago is one of the most popular pilgrimages and general hiking destinations on the planet. That’s no coincidence. There are some great reasons to walk Camino de Santiago. We’ll get into some of them, but remember, there are even more.

Camino group

Blisters, Bedbugs and Backaches – Finding Clarity on the Camino

In May 2012, I clicked SEND and put in play a turn of events and a journey that would change my life forever. In my sixth decade and in good health, I knew this was the time. With that SEND, I purchased my air ticket to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago. While I had heard a little about the Camino over the years, it was a book by Guy Thatcher called A Journey of Days that really whet my appetite. I thought “I can do this!” and I promptly began reading and researching everything about the Camino. With each new piece of information, I knew my fate was sealed and I was compelled to go.

Shoe shelf for hiking boots

A Sense of Community on the Appalachian Trail and Camino de Santiago

“Hey man, is there any way you can come hike with me on the Appalachian Trail?” I anxiously asked all my close friends.

“No, I’ve gotta’ work,” was the response I invariably received.

“Well, how bout’ just going for a week or two,” I virtually pleaded with most of them.

I was distraught. Fortunately the story has a happy ending. For the minute I stepped foot onto America’s most popular footpath, it became clear that the Appalachian Trail Community runs wide and deep. Approximately 3,000,000 hikers per year hike some part of it each year. Amongst that three million are approximately 2,000 thru-hikers.  These are people attempting to hike the entire 2,181 mile trail from Georgia to Mount Katahdin in northern Maine in one hiking season. Thru-hikers usually begin their hikes in late March or early April. Anybody beginning in that time frame is virtually assured of being in the midst of a ‘bubble’ of hikers for the entire fourteen states.

Camino route

The Days before arriving at Santiago de Compostela

It’s easy to find out how to start off on the trek along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. There are lots of inspiring pictures showing happy pilgrims making those final steps toward the Cathedral’s double stairway at the end of their pilgrimage. What happens between those two milestones?  I’d like to tell you how to handle that intermediary period, the days when you are working toward your physical, mental, and spiritual goals.

sunflowers field in spain

A Pilgrims View of Santiago de Compostela

It was where I was heading, as was everyone else on this pilgrimage across northern Spain. Each city was different, Leon is a pleasure, Burgos has a dreadful 9km walk through the industrial part of the city. Pamplona was too early to take much notice of, I was only walking a few days and my legs were sore, my feet had blisters, and my rucksack was far too heavy. Before leaving Pamplona I made sure my backpack was lighter.

Sunset Muxia

Camino Finisterre Walking Towards the End of the World

Since the Middle Ages, the roads that lead to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain have sustained their popularity.

I undertook this journey in July 2015 setting out from St Jean Pied du Port in France. After four weeks, I arrived into Santiago to a glorious fanfare.

Santiago is a city steeped in history and beauty. The buzz here is infectious. Pilgrims are in a high state of elation having completed their Camino. It is easy to lose oneself here for a few days among the meandering old streets, outdoor restaurants and simply soaking in the atmosphere of this beautiful city.

It is easy to lose oneself in Santiago for a few days among the meandering old streets, outdoor restaurants and simply soaking in the atmosphere of this beautiful city.

The Pilgrims

Camino de Santiago Statistics (2004 – 2016)

Every person walking the Caminos has a different story. When walking it is enchanting to listen to the tangled, exciting or boring stories of other people. In fact, there is no usual story.  Equally interesting it is to have a look at the Camino de Santiago statistics.

Who is actually walking the route? Has it changed over the years? Why are people walking?

Statistics used are from the Pilgrim’s Reception Office in Santiago. It doesn’t include people who did not register and people who did not collect the Compostela after arriving in Santiago de Compostela.

Sculpture of Santiago

What is a Pilgrim?

The first thing that comes to mind when I ask myself what is a pilgrim is Canterbury Tales and Chaucer’s partying crowd, or of Homer in the Odyssey.

I associate the words pilgrim and pilgrimages as belonging to a bygone era.

Going on a pilgrimage in the middle ages was often the only form of travel that was acceptable, therefore, those seeking adventure could legitimately travel across countries.

Cirauqui Villamajor de Monjardin 26 Fuente de Irache

Transitioning from Camino Life to Real Life

After a couple Camino’s and seeing dozens of pilgrims having a hard time with the Camino Blues, I think it is worth a writing an article about.  I am certainly no professional, but someone who has experienced the transition back to “The Real World” after the Camino twice.

Oviedo

Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino Primitivo

Yes, our feet still hurt and at the end of the longest day of the whole trip, (41km, a choice so I didn’t have to stay in a dormitory…), I thought I would die. But the next day our bodies were as good as new. I was the fittest I had ever been, no knees problems, bunion issues or back complaints.

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