Camino for CAFOD and SJH: 276km walked, 518km to go…


The Camino for CAFOD and St John’s Hospice, Lancaster is now in full force. Dermot, Hugh and Peter are now 16 days and 276km into the adventure across northern Spain.

Here the trio share their experiences with us so far:

Biggest surprise: John (Hugh’s son) booking a flight on the Monday and joining us on the Tuesday for the first 6 days of the Camino!


Hugh, Dermot and John on a very cloudy day two of the Camino

Hugh, Dermot and John on a very cloudy day two of the Camino

Most memorable moment: Pyrenees views followed by Pamplona fiesta.

Most touching moment: The exceptional friendliness and helpfulness by locals in both finding a bus and rescuing one of our wallets that had been dropped.

Biggest challenge: Keeping going for 24km a day carrying injuries and little sleep from a dormitory full of snoring fellow walkers!

Toughest element: Definitely the tough paths on the walk which are a mix of gravel, grit and round stones. Two of three pairs of boots are nearly in shreds already. Our feet are also shredded but knitting together well. Every step is a hazard and causes havocs with our soles and feet. We’re struggling to do more than 24km a day as the feet start burning. On the upside the views are beautiful- if we could afford to look up and not trip!

Most surreal experience: Sleeping in a shed supported by decaying roof beams…


…and going to a restaurant and being rushed through their set menu of pasta, cod and chips and a pot of yoghurt in the space of 20 minutes before the next group of walkers arrived!

An insight into the day to day experience: There’s a real mix of weather and terrain. Some days are very wet. But some days can be as hot as 35°C. Typically we set off walking at 0700 which can be quite chilly and aim to arrive at the next albergue by early afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat and to reserve a bed. The terrain’s very rural and we’re generally in the back of the nowhere.

Overall impressions: Good company, good food and have met some interesting people.

The Way of St James- our discoveries so far:

A field planted in the shape of the world….


A free wine tap. However, we passed it at 8am so couldn’t make the most of it!

Wine on tap

Wine on tap

Burgos Cathedral- beauty you can actually touch…..



Snippets from our travel diary

23 May: Enjoying some lunchtime pintxos and a pot of tea in Santo Domingo. Pintxos, literally meaning ‘thorn’ or ‘spike’, isa small snack traditionally eaten in Northern Spain:IMG-20150526-WA0004


24 May: Started the day cold and wet, powered by bananas…



24 May …..and ended the day with sangria and a very welcomed wood burner! Unbelievably the Albergue is only €5. If only the feet were behaving better!


Thank-you to you all for your support and generous donations.

So far £364.47 has been raised for CAFOD and £457.00 for SJH.

To make a donation, follow the link and choose your charity:

By Lizzie Wignall, Hugh Wignall, Dermot Smyth & Peter Smyth

One thought on “Camino for CAFOD and SJH: 276km walked, 518km to go…

  1. Nearly there. Well done! and I don’t mean the feet. Mind you don’t get decapitated by the swinging thurible!

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