It must be about time I shared my plans for my next camino. What started as a vague commitment to walk in 2018 with a member of the camino forum, has snowballed into a multinational group of anything between 6 and 10. After my experience of walking with a group last year, I can say that I am looking forward to meeting some new people and getting together again with those I have met before. Walking in a group does not mean that we will all set off at the same time every morning and stay by eachother’s sides all day. Rather it means that there will be familiar company at the end of each day and if people so choose, they will walk together for part or all of each stage, or walk entirely alone, but with the security of knowing there are others hiking along a lightly travelled path. The main concern is accommodation, but we have been reliably assured that there is accommodation for 12 in all of the first 9 stages at least.
“But where is this lightly travelled path?” I hear you say. Well, it’s another one fairly close to home, but rather than travelling west to Málaga to start the Camino Mozárabe as I did in 2015, I shall be travelling east to Almería to set off on the Mozárabe once again from its furthest starting point. The route intersects with Granada and then Córdoba, by which time I will be covering already walked ground.
My first thought was to bus ahead from Córdoba to Mérida and then retrace my footsteps along the Via de la Plata, but then I discovered a new route that diverts from the Mozárabe around 175 km past Córdoba, and travels northwards through the city of Trujillo and then emerges on the VdlP at Aldeanueva del Camino, where I shall walk the remaining 100 km to Salamanca but probably stay in different albergues to which I stayed in 2015. This diversion cuts around 90 km from the standard Mozárabe route.
At Salamanca I have arranged to meet with another forum member who I first encountered in Lisbon in 2014, and we will walk the Camino Torres together which takes a westerly turn out of Salamanca and meanders through Spain and Portugal passing through some very historic sites and eventually links up with the Camino Portuguese at Ponte de Lima. At this point I will jump across to the Portuguese coastal route and then the Variante Espiritual, which will mean that on this section I will only cover one stage of already trodden ground, and that will be the final 25 kms from Padrón to Santiago de Compostela.
I have made my customary rough plan which adds up to 58 days, although only 56 of them on the move, as I will take an extra day in Salamanca to wait for my Portuguese friend and I will probably take one other day off whilst walking the Torres. My previous longest walk was on the Mozárabe from Málaga which took 52 days to walk to Finisterre. This year I won’t feel the need to walk on to the coast as I will already have walked from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic before reaching Santiago.
So there you have it folks. Start date mid-April. I’ve renewed my backpack this year (Osprey Exos 38 litre) and have purchased new boots (Asolo Thyrus) which have yet to be worn-in, but most other items still have some life in them and will remain the same as last year.
I’ve purchased the map shown above from the Wise Pilgrim website. It shows all of the caminos I have already walked and all elements of my 2018 camino. Just look at how many more routes there are for me to discover – I need to stay fit for many years to come!
The header photo shows my grandson on the beach at Weston super Mare, where I am currently babysitting for a few days.