What is the Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James is an ancient pilgrimage with its roots in the 9th century, when a shepherd named Pelayo found remains of a body at a place in a field that he was led to by the stars of the milky way. The local bishop declared the remains those of The Apostle St. James The Greater and with this the Camino de Santiago was born.
The Camino de Santiago is more than one route. I was considering two routes the Camino Frances(French Way) and the Camino del Norte(Northern Way). The most well known of the routes is the Camino Frances from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago. It also has less roads than the Northern Way. On reaching Santiago, I plan to meet my wife Jo there and then we follow another Camino route called Finisterre to what was once considered to the edge/end of the world!
|The various Camino Routes|
If you would like to know more about the Camino Frances then there is a great film called The Way that shows many of they key parts of the route and also gives a feel for what life is like on the road for the pilgrims. There is also a great book called the Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho that looks at the spiritual reasons for why people travel the Camino.
The Distances and the challengeThe Camino Frances is 800 km (500 miles). I am aiming to run the Way in 12 days to meet Jo in Santiago de Compestella. We will then walk together to the end the world, which is another 90KM and is known as the Camino Finisterre.
I feel as though I have been called to travel along the Camino. So there is a big spiritual element to this journey for me. Ever since reading the Pilgrimage, I have hoped to take on the challenge of the Camino. Is it only since becoming a runner that I have wanted to combine the running challenge with the Camino. There are rumoured to be ley lines along the route. I also think the spirit of past pilgrims will be there with present day pilgrims as I journey along the same route that they also took. As someone who believes in God but not religion, the spiritual side of my life has sometimes been ignored, without the structure of religion to create a routine. So dedicating training time and the actual time to do the route is a way for me focus more on spirituality. So the Camino is more of a spiritual challenge, than a physical challenge. The reasonably tough physical challenge I have set, will possibly help with my spiritual connection. By pushing myself physically, I hope to enhance the spiritual benefits of taking part in the Camino. I hope those that know me will notice a change after I have completed the Camino. As for what the changes will be, I have some ideas. But I think the Camino has its own ideas on what to do with me :)
One of my current aims is to create closer links to members of my extended family. One of my cousins (Elizabeth) was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and bravely fighting through her treatments with a smile on her face and the sort of determination I will also need to complete my challenge. So I have decided to raise money for the Breast Cancer Care as part of my challenge. So please consider making a donation
I plan to write another 2 posts about the Camino before I set off. The next one will be one for all the equipment lovers out there. As I will be listing all the kit that I intend to carry, what it weighs. What I hope to do for food and water etc.