Before I start describing the travels of the day can I skip to the end?

The destination is Tyndrum – and it was in the Tyndrum Inn ….. Full of walkers, bikers and campers.

The Tyndrum Inn

Billy Connolly has a sketch about asking a perfectly normal question & getting the most unusual, unexpected answer.( hence the title)

I’m sat outside the pub at the end of today and get talking to 2 guys – One turns out to be a musician about 70 years old who worked at some stage with a couple of Billy Connolly‘s bands . Interesting enough – so I turned to the other guy and say “are you walking the way then?He replies “Gold Panning” – I snort my beer and say is that the wind up that you tell tourists around here? No seriously he says I still use traditional methods but today I’ve been “sniping” I spent the entire day in a dry suit with a snorkel in a shallow stream . I tell him I’m still being wound up – and a couple of the guys join in to a tell me that this is actually a real thing in the area. A major company has opened up a long closed goldmine and already taken £2 million worth of gold just from the”tailings” of a long closed goldmine – ie the waste that technology in those days could not extract gold . These guys are just hobbyist freelancers.

I say they need to prove it 😆 and they promise to meet on the trail and show me as I set off tomorrow as they start early as will I be doing for the longest 30k day over Rannoch Moor – let’s see !!

I just love pub chat.

….. otherwise this day is July 8th – and i’m doing the Falls of Falloch to Tyndrum .

A bit of a rest day at 19K – but it was not the geography of the people that make today special.

Yes of course we had a spectacular white water like the Falls of Falloch – quiet and tranquil today but …….

Which only a few months ago in full flood had taken out several of the bridges one of which still did not exist which meant a detour to find steppingstones upstream

And another temp-solution – rather worryingly a culvert had been dragged in to use as part of the West Highland Way – shouldn’t this be part of the drainage ! 😳

But the trail lifted from the floodplains and after a steepish climb started to give the traditional welcome views.

Heading eventually through dense forest to the famous Crianlarich crossroads . Famous for red coated soldiers, anxious drovers and nervous coach drivers finally crossing into bandit territory. It also happens to be the halfway mark on the West Highland Way! Yay 😁 !!

We moved through historical sites – bloody battles won and lost – famous names like Robert the Bruce, Edward the first ( The Cursed Longshanks) . Ruined priories once hundreds of feet long, the height of religious glamour and wealth , reduced by 360 degree fate to mere mossy shadows the size of the serf roundhouses they are previously oppressed.

Then to find this fascinating stone. Legend of the Lochan of the Lost Sword. It’s just lying there next to the trail !

Not so Lost 😆
Apparently it’s in this small Loch – possibly influential in the King Arthur legends – regardless of historical accuracy I’m just happy they could find the time to tell the tale.
The Trail is a lot gentler today – travelling through some really enjoyable Woodland tracks.

Eventually taking us into the busy little village of Tyndrum .

These are the rows of ex-lead miners cottages – I’m staying in one of them –the guy I was talking to last night – who looked after Billy Connolly‘s bands. Well His great great grandfather lived in one of them and he was making a four minute video for the BBC about it. Nice coincidence and one of the joys of travelling.

I’ve got no fitness tracker stats today as this is all I’m getting from my Fitbit – it appears to be making fun of me . No information just this annoying grin at my expense 😏

I’ll retaliate with Strava tomorrow!


⚔️ 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿The Clansman Bar to Beinglas Farm 🥇⚽️

…… otherwise known Rowardenan to Inverarnen . Luckily we have the weather because this is the most treacherous path I’ve experienced –described to me by a local walker & resident ( Iain # 2 ) as “ The most unrewarding days hiking of my life of which I gained zero satisfaction“ 😆– say that to yourself in a gruff , droll Scottish accent and you’ll get the idea of the gravity of this goat track. Mind you he did it in horizontal driving rain and we did it in glorious sunshine.

Here’s the elevation- looks ok – BUT !

Even when it’s slightly cloudy the sunsets are just astonishing – Luke caught this one beautifully.

View from the garden of the Clansman bar – “no bad eh? “
The path range from extraordinary fern fringed levels
Which were a joy to walk on but unfortunately were 5% of the time
Through immense blockades that dwarfed us as we passed beneath recent storm damage

To steep crumbling rock tracks that would be more suitable for Particularly agile goats –

But in itself the ups and downs delivered stunning montages – it’s the land of water .
Pathside falls every 30 m flowing into Loch Lomond– ……

Thankfully as the day got hotter the path dipped towards little beaches by the Loch at least 100 times as it undulated up the track and back down again –

We stopped for lunch near the pub at Inverade– the only building near the water on this stretch with a great dedicated picnic spot – and the by now traditional judging of the packed lunch took place – with nothing still beating that on day number one from the marvellous Braeside B&B 👏

Another short break but turned into a long one – I’d like to blame young strider for this – however I’m just as bad.👍😘

As we moved on towards the end of the lake the land eventually started to become more rolling

Past abandoned cottages with the most marvellous views – I wonder what their story is that no one has swooped in and saved it?

And it’s great to see after passing several permissible wild camping sites – and free to use cottage mountain Bothies that you can still enjoy the countryside on a budget

Just a basic bunkhouse with one single raised sleeping platform for 22 and a fireplace .
Final ascent before this rolling view leading down to Beinglas farm and our destination for the night

A really nice lodge had been booked for us and we managed to bag a seat for the match

Being in the minority of supporters at this event 😜– I asked how many here we are supporting Denmark – and was told after all that Denmark was closer to where we were in London – which sounded like a fab ( almost) reason to not sing 3 lions 🤣 however the result spoke for itself in the end 👏👏⚽️⚽️🥇🥇🏆🏆🏆

A view from our lodge – after the match which we watched in the bar.

Was made quite surreal by those who couldn’t get a seat inside and watched it on an outside screen – Luke said it looked like ninjas fans – But the reality was the incredible calm way people deal with trillions of midges here.

Bizarre Scenes

A challenging day – and one Luke and I will never forget – ending with an early retreat to our quiet – and Midge free lodge.

Leaving the days score to look like this – the last Fitbit reading as it’s packed in – shame really as I enjoyed collecting the stats.


Journey – V – Destination

On this walk , of course it all about what the day holds for us …. but the amazing scenery lead us to forget you really do need to get a move on …

Here’s what we faced today

……. a good early start with a breakfast of champions 😆

Right Fuel

And with the hotel recognising the needs of each athlete – ……..

Gen Z Breakfast Shake 🤣

To be fair Luke did also have a healthy selection in top of this x . We would need it 8 hours later …..

First though – a slow ascent getting gradually steeper of Conic Hill – that peak on the elevation profile above . A sociable affair as you exchange greetings with groups you’ll see again and again throughout the day.

The glimpses of our first Loch after 2 hours walking spur us on as the forecasted rainy weather fails to appear and we are blessed with an unexpected fine day .

And what a first Loch ! The largest fresh water lake in the UK – 27Sq miles – Loch Lomond reveals its gradually until after 3 hours ……

From the base of Conic Hill

To this spectacular panorama at the top !

You can understand why we let the Journey overcome our destination with views like this .

So without a care for route planning we spent a good hour and a half , chatting , early packed lunch , horsing about , some fab pics , Luke’s camera work …. like these ….

The best Scotland has to offer – loving that cloud pattern .
Dodgy picnic selfie from me 😆😆

And we messed this one up twice due to giggling …. but eventually 😆😆😆😆😆

Took us so long the weather changed between left and right sides 😎

What better place for Lunch 👍👏

…. Got to be the best Lunch on tour – 2 of everything for £6 ! …

Eventually we had to make a move – so behind schedule- but who cared …. we descended to Loch level – and pressed on .

2 hours later we were tempted by views like this – to make a short break into a long one 😆😆. The last of our vast packed lunches ….

As Luke made friends with the local wildlife
Soo Bold 👍💕
What a location ! – and a perfect skimming stones Loch xx

To get to our hotel for the night we now need it to cover 4 Miles 90 minutes of hot, sweaty, and undulating terrain . But we got there – overnight in Rowarden .

The clansmen bar – a renowned walkers meeting point is part of this hotel and a fabulous place for like dinner with more stunning views.

Through our detours we had turned a 23k day into this ! ( better planning tomorrow)


🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 West Highland Way 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

July 5th – Under way at last …..

Well , Well my fellow Sassenachs’ …… pleased to report that all went well on ‘warm up’ Day 1 – coupled with a teency, tiny amount of schadenfreude that Aged Stamina can still show the young Strider that headlong speed through the Shire – rarely pays ‘orf 😎

Striders feet will require a few medicinal slaps😜 but look good for the ‘morrow 🤣

In the meantime first aid is being administered via an ancient brew 😳

“Lager Lamp”

From what is the edge of Glasgow- unrestricted built up cityscape – weirdly you instantly enter green parkland and then countryside – at first dotted with imaginary sculpture …..

Within 2 miles passing almost unnoticed – a memorial to a fire . Unlike every other fire memorial I know – this was not to some disaster , this was / is a fire of hope . The Craigallian campfire burned continuously from 1920 to the eve of the Second World War – giving a welcome and and hope at a time of poverty& economic depression .

Still 10% sunshine and 90% ‘Dreich” …. Swollen rivers and rainforest humidity meant we stayed warm and soaked all day.

Naturally – Young Striders idea of wet weather gear differs a tad from mine 😏
Making ideal conditions for the Scottish nuclear deterrent – namely Midges !!

It was then that Young Strider Felt quite at home as we passed bizarrely into someone’s hobbit fantasy ??

We saw several signposts for the Shire before we made our first days end.

Considering the nature and climate around here I think it’s someone’s sick joke that the village & traditional first night stop is called ………

Because we certainly weren’t!

We had a great B&B with a lovely courtyard

Brea Side B&B …. super nice 👍

…….. and dinner was at this fabulous 300-year-old pub restaurant where we sampled some award winning local fayre – “ Cullen Skink followed by Haggis Bonbons anyone?“ – Totally fabulous.

Licenced since 1734 🍻🍺

……. tomorrow gets tougher

☔️ Misty Return 🌧


There’s never been a more appropriate description of today’s arrival at WHW ‘Basecamp’ - Milngavie (Pr “MillGuy” here) 

There’s an unpredictable nature about re-introducing mini adventures that I recall as very achievable – but just exactly how have these pandemic years given me a wishful amnesia. ? …..


Our hotel reception : They moved us to the 1st Floor !😳

🚦 Soooo ….. WHW …. the West Highland Way – I Get to walk and I don’t cross any red/amber borders 🚦 – The distance at 170 km is achievable – but I have no idea what the effect of the elevation will have .

Flatland I can do – but days like the 30Km day on day five after a couple of bumpy 23km’s give me pause for thought. 😏

I want to remind myself why I’m here . Here in my neck of the woods – it’s been ok or as my favourite TV lawyer says it’s “s’aul good man “ – my 4 babies and Ciara are daily rocks of inspiration & joy. Trying to think of an original analogy – for multiple things love & duty for extended family place in front of you – maybe “a storm inside a hurricane inside a cyclone “ – so this lil’ walk gets away from that 🙏

It starts tomorrow- I’ve had a great night in a Glasgow bar with Lukey Boy , watched a fave movie

…. introduction for Gen’ Z to what is amazingly songs they’ve not really heard of 😳

…. and scouted the start for tomorrow

Like I say ……. “DREICH ! “ 😜

🎥 Brief Encounter 🎥

Days start was in the stylish understated Cycle Barn . My themed room ? – door shown below had a vast wetroom and thick stone barn walls . Who knew it would also end in stylish 1940’s nostalgia?

SURELY ! This has got to be my old Yellow Pages typestyle ?

Next door to Mont Ventoux – I asked to move from this room as after my day I want nothing with the word Mont ⛰ or French for Very Windy 🌬 in it 🤣

…. Following my tested Lakes Pub / Restaurant theme I was originally going to head to Cartmel to the Cavendish Arms. A favourite when we had a ‘van on the nearby Holker Hall site . But the Estuary coast won and so the days route took shape below …………

A welcome lack of elevation 😏

…..the last Crags of the Lakeland , behind in the distance as I headed south

… Takes me to my first stop – an early breakfast at Levens Hall – one of the more stylish caff’s on my tour ☺️

Through Milnthorpe the flatland opens up onto where the Kent Estuary joins Morecambe bay – and on a day like this it’s idyllic .

Heading into Arnside

…. and into an surprising coastal scene at Arnside with neat Edwardian Villas , self conscious galleries and “Dog Friendly” Spas . Paddle Boarders lazily drifting in the early Autumn sun – soooo Nice .

On the road out I spot a run down cottage with that warm Cornish country lane feel to it – running down to Silverdale beach.

The views from the back door – priceless

….. and on across the border – Cumbria and the Lakes now firmly behind me

Shortly after this I had a puncture- oh Joy 😕

… The cycle routes round here are fab – my route takes me on the Lancs Cycleway as I’m heading for a Stylish end to my day …

Head left for A Brief Encounter !

….and on to the 75th Anniversary of one of my favourite moody B&W romantic dramas .. made in 1945 … in who could have imagined it Carnforth , Lancashire !

It’s a strange thought that this enduring Noel Coward / David Lean movie was made in this obscure Northern town – but it had the right Victorian / Moody Steam rail station . Also there was a war on – they could hardly go on location 🎥

Moody AND Steamy 😏
Just moody –

– 2nd puncture 🙄

…. as I drag my punctured bike the last Mile ( no way was I taking the back wheel / gears etc off 10 mins away from getting the train ) when I could do it at home ! – It was a nice surprise that the bike got its own studio flat on the train 👍

All told it’s been a great few days – in a strange way the Exhaustion is Exhilarating .

It’s been fun posting this stuff and world willing – it won’t be too long until I fire up this Blog again .

Bye for now 👋

XxXx 🙂

☔️ 10% chance of Rain ☔️

When applied to the Lake District: –

Any weather forecasting app needs to understand that the child’s slide rule calculation they use to forecast rain DOES NOT APPLY To any area with LAKE in the title! It’s simple enough!🙄

10% forecast – Thankyou BBC = Constant unpausing drizzle from 8.00am until 5.00pm . Please be more accurate next time.

Elterwater, Skelwith Bridge , Coniston, Hawkshead, Near Sawrey , Bowness, Bolland Bridge , Witherslack . Not a bad days work 😊

Nevertheless/anyhoo The tour must go on. Today’s tour was currently designed to take in as many scenic villages that I could remember that had classic Lakeland pubs in them.

I must say that after the combined fell walking and cycling day yesterday – that it was tough going today. I made it even more so by pushing the bike up any incline that was remotely above average. But the one thing I’m good at is walking –so all was well.

The calm almost ridiculously picturesque view from my bedroom window this morning

The day started with the usual good intentions. The Elterwater Park Guest House is a real find and I recommend it – they manage to run a full service – fantastic breakfast and great customer care – All within the most strict health and safety guidelines that we all have to live with at the moment . And with views like the above to wake up to it couldn’t be better.

The bike is holding up –and I’m pleased to say surprisingly so am I . Here we are fully loaded ready for the off .

The lowest tech bike in the entire Lake District today

The bike might be low-tech but the satnav on my phone by Komoot which links by Bluetooth to the helmet to give me turn by turn instructions – Even on routes you have designed yourself is – bloody fantastic.

So I was a tad miffed when I asked for a mixture of road and gravel bike tracks – that the tech thought this was appropriate! It’s appropriate if I was on a camel !!

And in whose flaming end of the world scenario does this look like a suitable track for a touring bike – and there was 3 miles of it! MORE PUSHING 🙄

This might be a Pint 🍺 and Lunch themed day , so it was with great restraint that I waited until I reached Hawkshead – and headed for the Village Square to “admire the rustic buildings“ 😜

…. yeah 😆 Nothing to do with recalling that the excellent Kings Arms Pub was located there – so an early pint was compulsory.

😊 happiness in a glass

Route planning now had to take into account the complexities of Sunday lunch and I recalled the marvellous Cuckoo Brow Inn at Near Sawrey where I had stayed with Ciara , Bel and Jess in June 2019.

My marvellous satnav was happy to cope with this detail …. I zoomed past Beatrix Potters house at Hill Top and at 2.00pm … was safely ensconced studying the menu.

Decisions, decisions

Considering I still had a third of my tour to do today I couldn’t let rip on the full Sunday lunch / “oh go on then just one bottle 🍷🍷more between us“ – but I was more than happy with the fact that it’s all downhill from here to the little ferry across to Bowness.

Top planning – all downhill route
postSunday lunch !

The kicker about downhill runs especially down to Lake level is there’s always the uphill torture afterwards. The Ferry’s always fun though .

The best value £1 you will ever spend

The huffing and puffing – getting off and pushing from Lake level Bowness onto the High level Bowland Bridge Road had to be seen to be believed. But it was more than rewarded by the absolutely best run of the day as once on the top the lanes ran 90% down – a thrilling – (almost too thrilling ) 30 mph downhill dash through stunning South Lakes scenery .

🐑 And SHEEP – Maaaaany SHEEP 🐏

Which brings us to the red-faced jelly legged finish today at another place I’ll be happy to recommend. The cosy bunk house at the Witherslack Cycle Barn . Again super H&S safe – cycle themed , log burning , haven you need at the end of the day . 🤗

As Someone who lives in a town –I’m always amazed at the silence in parts of the country like this – and as the sun goes down on this last picturesque little scene – that silence is flipping deafening! :-)🤪

If I can still walk 😜 I’ll see you here tomorrow xxx

Lakeland “Tri-athlon”

As long as the word triathlon is used in it ls loosest sense then we’re in business 👏😘. Maybe that should by TRY not Tri – as I’m utterly blessed with misplaced confidence not necessarily the ways to achieve it .

Stage 1 . BLENCATHRA- No it’s not a medical procedure it’s a great humpof rock. A Lakeland Fell – which takes five hours to walk / climb / scamble up over and round it.

Some great views with Si and Estee

It started out SO well 👍

A lot of Amazing early views even after 10 or 20 minutes the Vista opened up beautifully.

Had legs at this stage 🙄

Whilst the view from the summit and the saddle across to the second summit or vantage point – showed a view to Thirlmere and Derwent water is never seen .

With last night’s Barolo 🍷🍷having an unsurprising effect on my energy – (Happy BIG / HUUGE birthday Greg – we stopped for lunch – mine was a surprise made by my youngest Jessica – thanks for that Jess💕- anything that involves chorizo , cheese and beef hulahoop‘s is a winner with me!

During lunch seeing as we were sat on a huge drop-off we were discussing the three different types of vertigo – my view on it is it simply commonsense finally kicking in – as I never suffered from vertigo up until the age of 40!

Taking time to stand and stare

Here’s the Stats after that walk REMEMBER- its not the Km walked its the FLOORS – that kill you

So – this at 3.30 pm

TRY-Athlon stage 2 – Now I had a rush of blood to the head a couple of days ago and decided to make a bit of a tour of this – so as the sensible duo head back to Southport to watch Leeds play some obscure team . I have decided to make a weekend of it and –and take my bike off the rack on the back of the car – swap hiking boots for cycling shoes – Hook up two panniers and away we go heading from Blencathra- 5K outside Keswick – through to Elterwater .

Of course it took longer than I thought – it’s a heavy touring bike – (where is the motor when you need one?) – OF COURSE it RAINED ☔️ ☔️.

But I finally end up here . My legs are like jelly – too late for dinner – I’ve just enjoyed the entire contents of the tea and biscuit tray in the room – Yum 😏

Elterwater Park Guest House

But with views like this you can forgive anything – the showers were Gorgeously Steamy Hot – the bed is super comfy and the silence remarkable.

I’d still have liked dinner though 😠

Tri Stage 3 – TRY To get to the pub ( 10 mins walk they said – LIES ! 😆 and Fail miserably – had to turn back – Night fell like an Anvil through glass . Legs just wouldn’t do it .

I’ve just pre-ordered the largest English breakfast 🍳 – I’m just triple everything – that’ll teach ‘em . I’ll find a place for the 5000 calories I used today 👍🍳👍🍳

It’s been nice dusting off the CaminoRamblings Blog –never really done it for a UK tour before – but with the strangest of strange years – UK tours are really all I’ve got left until the world opens up again.

I hope everyone is well – see you here tomorrow xxx

🏃‍♂️Siguerio – 2 – Santiago 🕍

An unusual end to to the walking part of my Camino – Yes – Over too Soon ?

I suppose it’s because the Camino Inglés is the shortest complete Camino.

A lot compressed into one week

Adventure, Exercise , Physical ✅

Mental , Wellbeing , Meditative ✅

Spiritual , Religious , Supportive ✅


Groups formed , friendships made ,

Help given and received , open hearted support , shared goals and objectives,

Big laughs , deep conversations ,

Good food / just food ,

Good wine / hysterically bad wine ,

Achy feet / injured feet .

Good Sleep in a quiet room or So-So sleep in a squeaky , snorey , cramped and cut price Alberque .

IT’S ALL PART OF THE EXPERIENCE- and thank your “god” for that !


Following last nights first aid for Christiana ; we checked and re-dressed the most impressive 😣 open blisters she had been walking on for some days now. Stoic and very determined she shouldn’t have been walking at all for 3 days – but in fine Pelegríno spirit ……. Santiago beckons ….. so she walks ……. credit due 👏.

(😱 Can you see from my expression to AnTonia just how bad this is ? – you’ll thank me for sparing you the details – : you’re welcome 😉)

Once finished and an amusing “Apodo del Camino” earned …….. thanks Sandra 👨‍⚕️

We start to measure our progress – from Spooky Pilgrim sculpture outside the still dark Alberque – and then from each Way Post …

As we count down the kilometres …… they take on an increasing importance.

Especially as we get below the magic 10k each stone sees a cluster of excited selfies 🤩 . Motivation is high – feet lighter – blisters forgotten. ( I hope 🤞)

And when you have energy – it’s no problem to jump into a nearby cornfield to visit the local Zombie-Rasta- Scarecrow…….. Bizarre 👻! – 😆

This leads to my favourite photo of the trip – at 9 k out – say hello to :- ( L to R )

Dr Bob , Chrissy , Joschka , Ebba , AnTonia , Christiana , Sandra . You would think they had known each other for ever ? Only 2 of this brilliant , close group had actually known each other before their Camino .

In the best traveller style , they had met on the plane or in the queue at the bus station; recognised a fellow Pelegríno , or a fellow adventurer , or simply just been open to the possibility that “hello” costs nothing , risks nothing but can enhance your life’s experiences in a thousand different ways.

….. it’s a new one on me – I’ve not approached Santiago from this direction before , new streets , new views , new glimpses of the Cathedral towers – is it or isn’t it ? Or just simply an elaborate church ?

(See the “we’re almost there” smiles ? )

And then – FOR SURE – NO DOUBT – the rain glazed streets reveal the famous imposing granite towers of the Romanesque Catedral Igrexa de Santiago

I’ve left out the more wonderful emotional scenes from the girls as we hear the famous piper . That’s for them to share 😘. I understand it’s just overwhelming to finally arrive for the first time after such a mental and physical trial .

Part of the strong Celtic / Galician tradition – I love this piper . Never met him before – so I thought I’d change that situation. What a top bloke ! 🤣🤣🤣

( There’s a video embedded here if you press ) 👍

Past him ( with one of the worlds most profitable busking sites ! 👏 ) and into Plaza de Obradoiro and there – the end :

………….. but also the start of Camino life as the girls will find out when they return home . Many things change from now.

Love these classic celebrations 💕💕

We part company until the evening – some in Hotels – especially Joschka in St Martin Pinario – an old monastery and also a living museum – 👍 very nice . Some in Hostels – one stage down – but still nice .

And me – in Alberqué land 😆 . I’ve wanted to try out this well known alberque called “Roots and Boots ” for some time as I’ve met people who loved it . A party atmosphere, classic camino people , a real melting pot of seasoned adventurers , first timers , hippys, 80 year olds , students and tech-strewn , lycra clad , muscular globe trotters.

Usual packed bunk arrangement BUT a rare garden to chill out , sleep , chat and drink beer 🍺 Yey !!

Except ( oh yes ) – it’s raining again so the alberque lounge is full instead , all drinking €1 chilled Estella Galicia from the vending machine 🤣 – by far the best end to this type of off-grid strole.

We meet up and grab some food – the Menu Pelegríno / Menu del Dia at a basic bar restaurant near the Pilgrims office .

I get a surprise phone call – I had previously added an extra stop-over in Vienna to my return home to have dinner and long overdue catch up with my good friends Brigitta , Martin and Carolina from the Camino Francés in previous years. They are spread across europe – Germany , Switzerland and Austria – so its a rare chance.

It’s an excited call to say it looks like Martin is with Devi still driving a camper van through Tuscany ( where else ? 😉) but otherwise they’ll all be there – but with a surprise .

Carolina has arranged to play with her orchestra , made it match my dates and the performance will be in Vienna – at the Opera house tomorrow night – OMG ! – Seriously ?? !!

Yes – it’s a “Camino Moment” – being a moment so far out of your normal life that you just have to laugh. It wouldn’t have happened unless you’d put yourself on the trail .

I go back into the restaurant and tell my friends ……….( One of whom AnTonia works at the Berlin Opera House remember ) ….. guess what ? I’m going to see 3.5 hours of Don Giovani at the Opera ! the Wien Oper Huis tomorrow . What ? !

A very elegant occasion I predict – and all I have is well worn hiking gear and the best I can do is zip the legs back on to my hiking shorts ! 😆🤣😆🤣 . Love it . Let’s see.

3 hours later , after a team tour of the city and the always moving moments in the Cathedral to visit the saint , hugging the statue , pray in the crypt , gently navigate the steps with 1000 years of wear from 30 generations of pilgrims whose travels and tribulations make mine insignificant.

Even with the renovations for 2021 celebrations – it’s such a monumental destination. It’s time to leave .

In my time I’ve 🔥 lit a few ( hundred) votive candles for people on my mind – In chapels , temples , shrines , edifices large and small across multiple faiths and the act of lighting a candle holds true across them all .

Not surprisingly after that suitably pensive moment the evening leads us to a bar for a farewell drink – hugs all round to this lovely walking group brought together by the trail . Each one has brightened my days , shared thoughts , stories and blisters.

Got to go ! …… Early is too small a word for how achingly , crushingly , guaranteed to forget somethingly early I have to get up tomorrow……….


Gear & Travel

Yesterday I responded to an interesting question on the premier Camino Forum https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/ run by Ivar out of Santiago 🇪🇸

I’ve had a few questions after my initial response and said I’d post some additional details here. Happy to 👍:-

Hieudovan wrote :-

I was fortunately enough to be able to buy a very cheap ticket through an Iberia Airlines sale. LAX – Madrid RT with direct and non-stop flights in both directions for only $310. As the ticket is so cheap, there’s no allowance for check-in luggage. If I were to check in my backpack, the cost would be $120 if bought online ahead of time. Instead paying to check-in my current backpack, I plan to buy a new backpack that can qualify as a carry-on. If you have or know of a backpack that fits my needs (carry-on size that can be used on a Camino), I would love to hear from you. Buen camino. /Hieu


My reply :- with pics this time 😁

Hey everyone!

I’m a bit late to this thread but I’ve just got back from the Camino Inglés – I had to consider exactly the same “Carry On Conundrum” – so here is my solution :- even though my flight was from Manchester to O Corunna – I was taking five short hop and cross border flights as meeting Camino Pals.

That’s Ryan Air 1 , Iberia 3 , Austrian 1 – ( £315 – Yeah Kiwi.Com ! ) .

One of these connections was a narrow 40 minute transfer time – so absolutely no time for the baggage carousel tango. X

These airlines have the same measurement for hand baggage 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm.All have a limit of 10 kg except for Austrian with a very tight 8 kg.

My Lightest frame pack is an Osprey Talon 44 L at 900 grams

On its own with all its lumps , bumps , straps and harnesses it gets challenged as hand luggage and frequently catches on the hand luggage measurement cages. Plus from an airport operative point of view – it looks large.

So this trip I put my loaded pack into an ultra-light hold-all from “Roamlight” – Cabin baggage specialists –“guaranteed to fit” they claim. It did.

Actually looks smaller – less conspicuous.

Robust – which is important to hold a bumpy pack to the correct carry-on shape. Precisely 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm . ( U.S. 21.5 x 16x 8 inches )

An extra 400 g ( I know 😕 ) but worth it. I’m only at 1300 g for bag and a backpack together, that’s lighter than some packs on their own and I haven’t had to compromise on the long walk , eight hours a day, Multi day properties of the backpack – which you so often have to do with the cabin baggage style backpack specialities.

( BTW – I have the Osprey Farpoint 40 which is a great self-contained carry on / backpack alternative here . It’s very good but it’s Multi Day trek capabilities are as yet untested by me . I have a feeling it’s a compromise- but I hope to be happily surprised in the future )

Result – (see pics below ) – easy transfers – no questions- it turns a Loaded Talon 44 that looks LARGE into a protected non-descript black carry-on that actually has a label stating the measurements with an airplane “carry on” luggage logo . THAT LOOKS SMALL .

Turns this :-

Into this :-

To be honest – I was a little pushed by 2cm on the 20 cm width but it was okay after I sat on it for awhile at the airport in the queue to check-in 😆. Elegant.

So you put your bag – in a bag? – Is that what you’re saying? – Yep – I suppose it’s the same principle where you put your backpack into a custom cover before you commit it to hold luggage . But this time it’s a corset that constrains an unruly backpack into the precise three measurements you’re looking for for cheap , quick travel.

Magic 🤩

Refs and Sources below – they will be different in the U.S. .

The UK 🇬🇧 link :-

Roamlite Hand Luggage Holdall for Ryan-air and Easy-Jet Carry-On Bags – Exact Size and Shape Travel Duffle – 55 cm x40cm x20cm 40 Litre Flight Baggage – RL56K Black https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005ITOVV2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_lMAKDbR1JR54W

Buen Camino 🙏