My colleague, Jonathan Gilburt and I have just returned from an amazing 600-mile cycle ride along the Camino Santiago in Spain! Over 16 days I cycled over 550 miles (885Km). Jonathan took an extra day and cycled close on 600 miles. See maps below
2020 Update! My cycling companion, Jonathan has made a short video of the trip:
The video (13 mins) kick off on a lovely sunny day in Plymouth where we spent the day , mainly in the 19th C dockyard before getting the ferry to Santander, Spain The maps below sketch out our cycle ride along the Camino Frances and then the Camino del Norte. It is a great record of the trip, – many thanks Jonathan!
What was amazing was the amount of ascent covered on the journey. The total ascent in my 16 days of cycling was over 41,500 ft. (12, 670 mtrs). Or, put it another way, it was like going up Ben Nevis (from sea level) 10 times in those 16 days, – one and a half times the height of Everest! I must admit I had some help though. At the age of 73 I thought I deserved some ‘power plus’. I had an electric bike, but Jonathan deserves full credit as he powered the whole of the journey under his own steam! Well, he’s 16 years younger than me so I’m very happy with my achievement. For both of us it was tough going in many places. On the level we were equal, – the electric bike cuts out at 15 miles an hour. Much of the time on the first part of the journey I was only on pedal power.
As many will know getting to Spain with your cycle isn’t easy. There are restrictions on the Eurostar and on the TGV. We wanted to go by ferry to Bilbao, but Brittany ferries said they don’t take bicycles, so we decided on Santander. From Santander we took the train south to join the ‘Camino Frances’ just west of Burgos. We then spent 7 days cycling through some beautiful striking and mountainous countryside to Santiago de Compostela. Having rested for a day we took the train north to Corunna and then cycled to Ferrol, another major Spanish seaport. We then took a short journey on the narrow gauge FEVE railway where we joined the north coast of Spain at a small fishing port with a beautiful beach, Covas. We then took 9 days to cycle the ‘Camino del Norte’ back to Santander. A wonderful journey by some truly beautiful beaches and craggy cliffs, – much like Cornwall. We went inland to and skirted beneath the beautiful range of mountains which run along the north coast of Spain, – the Picos de Europa before returning to Santander for the ferry journey home.
Stage 1 of our journey: Camino Frances (click to enlarge of download)