Saturday, 25 October 2008

The story so far.

'What book are you reading?' an innocent enough question to ask, but one that has brought me and my wife here, halfway through preparation for the longest walk we are ever likely to do.
"El Camino Frances" the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela from St Jean Pied de Port in France across the breadth of northern Spain a distance of 780km, that's like 500 miles in real money.
The book was "Spanish Steps" by Tim Moore, a good book but hardly one to make you follow in his footsteps. but more research and we were hooked plus it seems the Camino is the new black, everybody and his brother we meet seem to have done the walk or plan to do so in the future. Most seem to dip in and out doing the walk in stages, it can take up to a couple of months doing it slow walking, a walk for people with time on their hands, the young or the old.
They say that the moment you plan to make a pilgrimage you become a pilgrim - a term known to me only through John Wayne films and a song sung at school, as it was never my vowed intent to be one I'm quite surprised to find myself thus.
Approaching 25 years of marrage and our children reaching maturity ( lol) we were looking for a big challenge, something to mark this new chapter in our lives, something for us!! So pilgrims we are.
We started slowly having not done any serious exercise for years, I'm from the north of England and did a lot of walking in my youth (Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District) while Rosie is from South London and did no walking.
So 3 days a week we walked a circular route from our house just short of 6km. If it rained we didn't go.
I discovered the pain of splints and that playing lots of sport in my youth-rugby-cricket-badminton can play havoc with your knee joints plus maybe smoking doesn't help.
I was soon outstriped by Rosie who started running the course and entering us for 10k runs, or walks in my case, culminating in Rosie doing a half marathon while I watched with pride from the sidelines.
Due to the pain and maybe the need of a hip replacement, Rosie's plans of a London Marathon are now on the back burner, but nothing Rosie does surprises me. Two years ago she applied to go on "Extreme Makeover UK". No chance, I thought, but gave my support and had to continue giving that support during 5 weeks of filming and £36,000 worth of plastic surgery laser eye surgery and new teeth!
So now the training got serious - walks most days including packs and the distances got longer - now 12km. I gave up smoking, put on weight and lost it again.
We got a tent and then a caravan so we could travel to places with more rugged terrain than Norfolk where we now live.
As a publican I never got out of the pub unless to go to other pubs to play darts, dominos, pool, crib. So discovering Norfolk for the first time and rediscovering other parts of England was a sheer pleasure. King John lost his treasure in these parts while crossing the Wash so who knows - can't be that hard to find. In the meantime what we have found is a new zest for life and each other, and we look forward to what the future holds. It's not training for the Camino any more, but a way of life. "We're on a road to nowhere. There's a city in my mind Come along and take that ride and it's all right, baby, it's all right And it's very far away But it's growing day by day".


  1. It only takes a book on the Camino to get you going. Your preparation seems to be progressing well and your first blog entry is excellent. Wonderful scenery. I would say you are well on the way to somewhere - Santiago de Compostella here you come

  2. You're at a good start... it actually held my interest.{g} We will probably be reading more of your journey. Have a great walk.

  3. Yeee-haaa!! Can't wait to see what the camino has in store for you! If your blog name is 'Sag-a-lout' you are going to get firm and trim: if it is 'Saga - lout' you are going to have a saga to retell here in a few months time! If it is 'Sagalout' - the boozy pensioner - then you are going to love the cerveza and vinos in espania!!
    Can't wait for the next installment.
    Strength to Rosie.
    Buen suerte!

  4. Sounds like you're off to a great start! Buen Camino! I've added your blog to the blog links on mine:

  5. I'm new to this but it sounds exciting. Best of luck and blesing's!

  6. Hi Ian, it,s Sandy. Am in the aqrtic circle at the moment looking for the northern lights. Will be back in Spain 29th March if you want to vist. Sorry if I was a more than a bit grumpy in Santiago. I was in a lot of pain, once the high of getting there had worn off the pain really hit. Took a month to get right. Still hoping to walk the via de la Plata this year. Keep in touch....Sandy