SPRING NEWSLETTER 2019 – A Pilgrimage To Santiago and Walking For Cornwall Hospice Care
WALKING FOR CORNWALL HOSPICE CARE
With lighter days ahead we look forward to many walks and sponsored challenges. Having successfully negotiating our first encounter ‘The St Pirans Walk’ derived from local footpaths taking in a course around Carharrack, St Day and Mount Ambrose, we now turn our sights to the greater challenge of Walking the Cornish Pilgrimage for Cornwall Hospice Care. The fortnight event commences after Easter when on St Georges Day we make our way to Morwenstow to begin the 200-mile route which will also include our local section known as the Gwennap Pilgrimage; this will be walked on the May Bank Holiday Saturday 4th May.
THE CORNISH PILGRIMAGE
ITINERARY Beginning at Morwenstow Church (Hawker’s Parish) – 24th April.
St Michaels Mount
The Gwennap Pilgrimage (Starting from the The Star Inn, Vogue For more information about the Cornish Pilgrimage please visit:
Those signing up to do any part of the challenge or The Gwennap Polgrimage will in effect be supporting the charity as their registration fee of £10 goes to Cornwall Hospice Care. In addition individuals can contact Judith Lawton at Hayle for a sponsor form. We also invite walkers to set up their own justgiving page or ask friends and family to donate at our fundraising link below.
We will supply participants with Passports to Walk; Certificates of Achievement and Fundraising for CHC on completion and an info leaflet about The Cornish Pilgrimage supporting CHC. The leaflets are part of our promotional campaign for the charity and contain our justgiving link which will also be built into my website and social media; the leaflets are delivered to businesses all around Cornwall and the tourist offices too. We intend to do a poster to promote the Cornish Pilgrimage as a National Discovery Walk and those subscribing to it will be helping a local charity; the walk registration is £10 and participants receive a passport to collect stamps and signatures from churches/inns and B&Bs.
To enquire about sponsor forms please phone Judith at St Julia’s Hospice, Hayle on:
Judith Lawton, Community Fundraiser, St Julia’s Hospice, Foundry Hill, Hayle TR27 4HW.
WALKING IN EUROPE (please use the justgiving page if you wish to sponsor this effort; all Spring walks will support CHC.
A PILGRIMAGE TO SANTIAGO
THE CAMINO INGLES – The Complete Story
A full updated diary about the pilgrimage is available below:
Having covered well over 30,000 miles in expeditions on foot around the world Robin Moore knows a thing or two about walking. This latest section which covers treks around Spain and Portugal largely include the famous Camino de Santiago routes. This one is known as La Camino Inglise which runs for almost 120km from the Galician coast at Ferrol. This location and also A Coruna became landing points for the ancient monks travelling from the British Isles in the early centuries. Read how his journey takes shape along this old route which remains popular among modern day pilgrims who travel here from many parts of the world in their quest to reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
A JOURNEY WITHIN A JOURNEY
Saturday 23rd March – The journey out to Spain.
Leaving around 5am I make a mini pilgrimage to the train station in Redruth before starting the longer journey to London and then Stanstead Airport. By the time we reach Exeter the train is packed and all else boarding have to stand up on the remainder of this leg to Paddington. A real downer for those who have paid the full fare which would easily make a three figure sum.
I make it to Stanstead an hour early and can’t believe the heat in the terminal which by now has reached full capacity. The flight is only 2 hours and a taxi sees me from Santiago Airport as far as Plaza de Galicia. The cab driver is not familiar with my hotel which is in any case situated in a pedestrian zone near to the cathedral. Eventually I find the location and check in around midnight with the hub of merrymakers still very much alive in Santiago where slim alleyways are now the corridors of fun. The sound of lively banter on bar stools blended with some gentle busking is the very essence of the night life here. Only after succumbing to sheer exhaustion does the buzz of activity begin to fade behind the closed doors of my room.
Sunday 24th March – Continuing to Ferrol (start of my Camino de Santiago) The day comes round quickly and after pre-booking my accommodation for next weekend, and then coffee, I find a bus to take me to the railway station. When I get there it is in fact the bus terminal; so I decide to purchase a bus ticket to Ferrol instead. After just 1 hour and forty minutes I am at the port and chatting with other pilgrims about where to start this walk; they have a place booked and won’t be venturing off until tomorrow but the day is young and so am I. With that borne in mind I set off along the coast route in search of another seaside location known as Neda.
THE CAMINO INGLES
Day 1 – Ferrol to Neda – 17 km
With some idea about where I am going, I head off towards the port to find the starting point of my walk.
The route apparently begins at the Tourist Office by the port but as it is closed I collect my pilgrim stamp from a nearby restaurant. The Camino runs along the coast revealing panoramic views which today are set in brilliant sunshine. Even though it is barely Spring the breeze is welcome at times as I find some good form working my pace up to 8km per hour (I need to after a late start of 4.30 pm!). The light backpack I am carrying has made all the difference; even the bad knee that has plagued me for a while miraculously disappears and despite some tiredness from yesterday’s travelling I feel in pretty good nick. I pass other pilgrims along the way; some of whom were on the bus earlier. We exchange greetings as I disappear into the woodlands below feeling pleasantly surprised that the route so far seems very well marked and modernised. This Camino is possibly one of the more ancient routes to Santiago first used by the pilgrims travelling from England in the early centuries; hence its name ‘ La Camino Ingles’.
I see many leisure walkers and bathers too as the Camino takes in a beach section near Naria. Although mostly hugging the coastline it slants away towards the motorway eventually passing over it and then follows the railway for a km or so. Arriving back at the coast the train line spans the water via a huge bridge. As the wind gets up I reach the quiet waterside town of Neda where most people are enjoying their recreation in the grounds of a park. The Camino runs through the park and then back to the thoroughfare where I see a cafe and a yellow arrow indicating the way ahead. The next town is 16km but by chance I run into the guy who owns the Albergues de Periginos; he sends me back towards the water and bridge I have just crossed; then after sprinting down to the riverside I find him at the entrance where I pay 6 euros for a bed for the night. Once washed and changed I head back across the park to the entrance of the town for some tapas and refreshment to wind down from my first day on the Camino Ingles.
Day 2 – Neda to Betanzos – 40 km
Setting off from Neda the cool air is different from yesterday’s heatwave though I feel sure I will encounter some more sunshine later. Surprisingly there were several people staying at the Albergue last night which suggests this is still a popular route. Initially I feel good and I can almost feel a 50-miler coming on! This isn’t actually necessary on this brief tour which is aimed at experiencing a different, shorter Camino de Santiago; it is also one that resonates strongly with our own country when past pilgrims have completed their journey along this route. I also intend to complete the Cornish Pilgrimage between Morwenstow and St Michael’s Mount after I have finished here; the Mount was often the last place of refuge before the Celtic Monks made their way to Ferrol and ACoruna in Spain.
As the morning goes on I join a group of guys who were also at the Albergue last night. As we amble down towards the forest we ponder over a junction that isn’t waymarked. The technology kicks in and the smart phone soon has us back on course. I move on from the group enjoying a hilly section via the Camino de Viega and after a 2km run I stop briefly for a coffee.
Leaving the cafe I am greeted with another descent which gives a clear view of water ahead to my right. I cross a long bridge spanning the Eume River and am exposed to beautiful rushing water tumbling beneath its arches. I then make my way through the bustling town on a series of climbs eventually joining the woods where the altitude provides beautiful views atop the mountain. Beyond the woods there is a concrete table and bench where I stop to dry off my sweat-soaked kit and devour a tin of sardines (I couldn’t manage the tin though!).
After the interval I descend to the next community along this awe-inspiring journey.
There are only small villages from here and I’m soon back amid the forest enjoying the peace and tranquility it offers. After traversing a golf course the path ascends once more through the wooded glades and on reaching the summit I cross a motorway bridge. The journey continues briefly along a fenced track beside the road.
It is hot now as I lean into more hills trying to wipe the sweat from my eyes. The circuitous winding of the path runs close to the water, crosses a railway line as it interacts between road and terrain. I stop at a solitary residence to ask for water; I am fortunate to get both my bottle filled and a pint glass to follow; most people around this time of day are enjoying a siesta and even the lanes adopted by the Camino are devoid of traffic. I manage to pick an orange from an overhanging tree under the watchful glare of a dog which despite looking mean, doesn’t actually make too much fuss about my intrusions! Soon I begin the long final descent into Betanzos on the River Mandeo and before long I am crossing the bridge into town. I quickly find the Albergue only to be told it is full; I next visit the tourist office where the manageress gives me details of alternative accommodation. These places are all full too but after my third visit back at the Tourist Office one of the girls walks me to the Garelos Hotel where I purchase B&B for 75euros.
Day 3 – Betanzos to Hospital de Bruma – 28 km Setting off at 8.40am I leave the Garelos Hotel and at the Tourist Office bear right to walk the thoroughfare which will lead me to the next stage of my journey. Soon I am climbing away from the town and into the steep woodlands ticking off more milestones along the way. The landscape is different to the previous waterside scenes of the coast trail as the camino heads inland towards Santiago; in these rural outposts small holdings and orchards prevail over the spirited seaside attractions of the larger towns seen so far. Within an hour or so I pass other pilgrims who have made the most of an early start with a view to getting a bed at the next Albergue and as the journey takes shape along a minor road I enjoy meeting the friendly local folk that inhabit these smaller communities. Just after 11am I stop at a Meson-Museo – a well-promoted pilgrim pit stop and here I make brief conversation with other travellers; most of who are of Latin origin. The temperature begins to rise and so do the climbs with terrain and road now seeking altitude; it’s by no means SAS and in any case most people can choose the smaller sections on offer each day which run between 16-25 km to each Albergue. I just double up on the sections to give myself an added challenge; though the Camino always provides a challenge even to the most seasoned athletes.
I am glad to find a cafe in the middle of nowhere and am joined by some Irish pilgrims who ask me about the Portuguese Camino which I walked some years ago (2007 and 2008). There are 2 other ladies sat enjoying coffee; they finished before me and marched off with their sticks. I later pass them wishing a ‘Bon Camino’ not realising our journey for today is almost complete. It is the hottest part of the day around 1.30pm and I am pleased to be only a few miles from my destination. At the Albergue at Hospital de Bruma there is a diversity in multinationals including French, Germain and Latin America; it is also a popular walk for the Spanish. At least tonight there is a place for me to rest and at 6 Euros compared to yesterday’s tariff I am happy. In addition there is restaurant across the road where I order a pork dinner – when it turns up it is in fact chicken but then that’s near enough for me! I stay in the restaurant and am joined by the 2 ladies I had seen earlier; then gradually other pilgrims filter in and we all sit and enjoy a beer together. Having the same goal of completing our pilgrimage to Santiago helps convey a friendly atmosphere and even though we struggle to understand our different tongues we respect each culture and appreciate how the Camino has brought us together.
Day 4 – Hospital de Bruma to Sigueiro – 25 km It is 6.35am as we prepare to leave the Albergue and it is still dark! The pilgrims I have met here insist we all need to get off to a good start to stand a chance of getting a dormitory room at Sigueiro tonight.
I am probably the most reluctant of these early birds but somehow manage to leave first and find the cool air to my liking as I hasten off in search of coffee. This of course is ridiculous as there is nowhere in ‘the middle of nowhere’ open at this time of day!
The first part of the journey is taken up along a country road where I see only 2 cars pass and later a tractor. Communities are small and people are scarce; however dogs are in good supply as I am savaged by two terriers not much bigger than a rat. After a few choice words and some arm-waving I win the stand off and am allowed to continue my quest. One can smell the ruralness of the journey which offers no sight of a main road or carriageway. On reaching the larger places cafes are aplenty but none are yet open for trade even as the temperature rises.
The concrete sign posts lead me through more wooded terrain and farmland occasionally rejoining the road and so the trend continues for the next hour. I have to say this route is well marked which for me is excellent as I don’t carry a map; I enjoy the added challenge of finding my way to Santiago by just following the signs.
Soon I hear traffic as the path comes out alongside a motorway which I assume also leads to Santiago as I see a sign for the airport too. It skirts the woods for further mile and leaves the line of the road bearing left towards what I hope is Sigueiro. After passing the industrial estates along the road I finally reach the foot of the town where the yellow arrows lead me through a park. Emerging by a police station I see a cafe that is open – a bit late I feel now as the bar seems more appropriate amid the heat of the day. In any case just around the corner I find the Albergue Real which transpires to be a luxury hostel for pilgrims; 15euros buys you full bedding, laundry facilities and breakfast; the showers were absolutely amazing. Even more surprising is that I have completed this gentle section of 25km in a oner and it took just over 4 hours. Eventually I am joined by my comrades as we all meet up again and go to the bar around the corner for a decent meal and a drop of vino. Photos are come thick and fast as tomorrow is our last day on the road together and the fact that many of us will not meet again means it is important to know that our memories will always live on.
Day 5 – Sigueiro to Santiago – 18 km
After a serious social evening I feel in good form for Santiago and after breakfast I set off from the Albergue with my two companions from Valencia Natalie and her mother, Hortensia.
They will be going to Oporto after we finish the Camino so we are enjoying the last part together in the Galician Sunshine. The journey is only marred by the noise of the main carriageway into Santiago but unlike the French Camino at this stage, our passage is still rural without any steep mountains to climb; just plenty of woodland paths and pastures adjoining the minor country roads; so all in all a more relaxed day. We stop for coffee at the Hotel Castro and take a few pictures to use on Facebook once finished. Reaching the outskirts of the city we pass an industrial centre on the way into the city and later stop at a Catholic Church to receive a Camino stamp – the last before reaching Santiago. The amazing thing for me is that we didn’t see the Cathedral until only metres from the Plaza; yet St Peters Church in the Nene Valley on the Oundle Pilgrimage in the UK which runs for 50 miles, is present throughout the entire journey!
Once at the Plaza we celebrate with other pilgrims who have walked from Ferrol, collect our certificates from the Pilgrim Centre. Then we grab a beer amid the gentle background of music provided by the typically sophisticated buskers who frequent this iconic location. It is a social hub borne from a kindred spirit of endurance that makes friendship eternal; even when we have left this world many more will tread where we have journeyed on the Camino de Santiago.
Arriving at the Plaza yesterday we were greeted with a chaotic scene of jubilation; pilgrims running everywhere triumphant in their feat and celebrations accompanied by the repetitive blast of a bugle that seemed to go on for hours.
Only when walking to this iconic place deemed as a worldwide centre for all pilgrims can one embrace the true spirit of travel. Known to be the final resting place of St James its religious significance remains traditionally strong, and married with a natural multi-cultural influence of its pilgrim visitors, buskers and bartenders it has a friendly imbibing atmosphere. Today as I walk through the park to the tune of a didgeridoo and later a harp, I take photos of the cathedral overlooking the city, and when I return to the busy plaza enjoy tapas at Bar Charra.
I find the cathedral a bit disappointing because there is limited access due to the ongoing renovation this huge building needs; though I have seen it all many times before and can still view a significant part of the interior.
Later I go to the shops to buy a few little gifts; there are as many gift shops here as there are bars making it an event rather than a detour. Usually when I visit Santiago it pours of rain and yet today it is like summer; the streets are lined with people sat enjoying their coffees and beers. Having walked here many times in the past on the different Caminos de Santiago it seems unlikely I will visit here so much in the future; maybe it is now time to reflect on yesteryear and be grateful for all I have seen and done in my time walking around Spain and Portugal. Bon Camino Amigos!
PLACES TO STAY
The ultimate place to stay as a pilgrim seeking privacy or even as a couple at low cost in this city is definitely HOSPEDAJE SANTA CRUZ – Maria 630 058 885 – is a lovely person who keeps a clean perfect place for any traveller to rest their weary heads – I would not bother going to any other place as you pay so much more for less quality! Get real lol!
Also try Bar Charra for excellent taps and friendly bar staff.
After my Spring visit to the Continent The Cornish Pilgrimage is usually my first UK Expedition: please feel free to make a donation to Cornwall Hospice Care at our website or follow our progress on Facebook.
I have completed many great walks around Europe including 2,000 km along routes of WW1 in Luxembourg, Belgium and France. The Camino de Santiago routes I have traversed along the way are listed below:
La Camino Catalunya
La Camino Francais
La Camino Norte
La Camino Portuguese
La Camino Fatima
La Camino Finisterre
La Camino Inglise
ANNUAL PILGRIMAGES AND FUNDRAISING EVENTS The Oundle Pilgrimage can be walked any time of year and in the second weekend in August a group of us walk either of the 2 routes for charity. The Pilgrimage set in idyllic Nene Valley countryside was founded in honour of Thorpe Hall Hospice Sue Ryder Care; and we also support Cancer Research UK.
Various trails make up the Cornish Pilgrimage though this ancient and modern route between Morwenstow and St Michaels Mount was established in 2010. Walked every year by Robin Moore and members of his team for charity, the pilgrimage has also become popular as a tourist attraction to visitors. All subscriptions and funds raised go to Cornwall Hospice; some participants walking this pilgrimage have also raised funds for other charities too.
Setting off Tuesday 23rd April I decide to break up the journey to Morwenstow by staying in the Railway Hotel at Exeter St David’s. The train journey is only 2.5 hours and so I have ample time to complete my admin while enjoying food and drink at the Wetherspoons Imperial – probably the largest pub I have ever been to.
Wednesday 24th April – Bude to Morwenstow back to Bude – 20 ish miles Unfortunately I have hurt my back during a weekends toil on the garden and although I try warm up exercises and yoga it is having none of it; so I now this nagging pain for the next two weeks!
In addition there is bad weather setting in and the bus to Bude is delayed. After a painful 2-hour journey it is raining when I arrive at Bude and as usual there is no bus to Morwenstow.
I now have to walk to Morwenstow to begin the actual pilgrimage; this I do along a paved road section to Stratton; then taking a back road (left turn) towards Stip and Coombe Valley. The hilly journey of about ten miles takes until 2pm and I stop at the Bush Inn and Rectory Farm Tearooms to deliver my flyers; then enjoy a coffee break. The lady who serves me remembers my face and the Pilgrimage which in the past was walked in August/September and occasional from the Mount to Morwenstow.
Initiating the event from ‘Reverend Hawker’s church’ I walk down towards the coast where I find the preachers old hut which he built from driftwood. Here he would write poetry, smoke a pipe of opium and look out for shipwrecks. It was Reverend Hawker who took responsibility for burying the dead Mariners washed up on this brutal Atlantic Anvil; there is a large section dedicated to the sailors at the parish church.
Continuing along the coast path my journey takes shape along undulating terrain with steep climbs around Stanbury Point where the huge satellite dishes take Cornwall into the 21st century. The flat path gives little respite and I am soon staring down sheer drops of many hundreds of feet – not for the faint-heart and yet awe-inspiring beyond imagination as one glimpses the ferocity of nature. Eventually the wind calms down as a sunny Eve approaches and after Sandy Mouth the flatter pastures supersede the steep rocky footpath. Not a bad tab in the end – only 2.5 hours from Morwenstow to Bude across some of Cornwall’s most exacting terrain and altogether a round trip from Bude of about 20 miles in about 6 hours. A good initiation, if not a fierce baptism; an ideal start to the Cornish Pilgrimage. You can do this walk at any time and as a personal quest though this week mine is about helping raise awareness and funds for Cornwall Hospice Care. Please visit my website to find out how you can donate and help this worthy charity provide palliative care to those in need. Thank You.
Wednesday 25th April
Setting off from the Globe Hotel I first visit the Tourist Office to drop off a poster and some flyers. The lady is interested in my quest and the general idea of the Pilgrimage which she feels is an excellent alternative for walkers who usually come here to walk the coast. This route zig-zags throughout Cornwall linking with some coastal routes; by enlarge offering a greater diversity based on ancient and modern Cornwall derived from industry and tradition.
Initially I walk along the Bude Canal taking the second exit via a bridge which leads to Route 3 cycle route which I walk to Marhamchurch. On arriving at the village I visit the church to take photos and drop of the usual paperwork associated with the walk. As cloud looms above I prep up for more rain; then head off in the direction of Week St Mary.
The same distinct smell reminds me of the rustic charm of this village route to Launceston. Week St Mary is typified by its village green, shop and Norman Church. Whilst visiting the church the heavens open up and I take refuge here for a short time. On leaving the place I buy some sweets and walk on through this rural paradise. Its harmony is a far cry from the coastal resorts where even the wind is loud; all that disturbs the peace here is the motion of a tractor and occasional vehicle using the cycle route as passage between communities. So on we go to North Petherwin – quite literally too as I lost my way in an oncoming storm (downpour actually).
The normal pilgrim route bypasses this small community but on this occasion my poor geography allows a delightful excursion via the Otter Sanctuary and eventually a steep climb brings me back on track to Langdon Cross where I arrive earlier than expected but still able to check in at the Countryman Inn. My new acquired fitness of the last few months has enabled me to trim off a couple of hours for this journey compared to recent years despite a couple of extra miles resultant from my detour!