Monthly Archives: January 2015


Yorkshire Wolds

Yorkshire Wolds and other Ramblings

I have just posted an article on when to walk the Camino and made an aside about the dramatic change in the weather from the York side of Garrowby Hill to the other side the Yorkshire Wolds. It is a shame that a lot of visitors to Yorkshire go for the coast and moors but miss out the Yorkshire Wolds.

David Hockney has painted some fine pictures of the area. This is his picture of Garrowby Hill.

Garrowby Hill

If this interests you there are some more on  “That’s How The Light Gets In” along with some interesting ideas. I stumbled on the site, while searching Google for a picture of Garrowby Hill and wandered around his site for a good half hour. I could not find an “about” link but so I have no idea who (s)he is they are my sort of person, not only a post on Leonard Cohen who a lot of my generation like but a whole post on music similar to Officium  by the Hilliard Ensemble and Jan Garbarek, my ultimate de-stress music, it’s like sun light in a cathedral.

Wharram_Percy_GeographRudstonMonolith(StephenHorncastle)Apr2006Getting back to the Yorkshire Wolds, where I lived for many years and still miss the “Big Skies”, it is an area just packed with little villages and snug pubs. You you are interested in history and prepared for a bit of a walk, rather than neatly shrink-wrapped museums the Wolds can offer you a deserted medieval village at Wharram Percy and a round barrow monumental Duggleby Howe just 5 minutes down the road and The Rudston Monolith claimed to be, Britain’s tallest standing stone. And if you want a real adventure I know two places worth a visit. An iron age settlement tucked high in a forest and a perfect motte and bailey, once the site of a wooden castle, tucked behind a farm but you have to show a real interest, because they are not tourist sites and I would not want them to be spoilt by too many trippers.


Information Technology

Information Technology and Travel

Main FrameA long time ago, before I became grey, I encountered my first computer. That might be pushing the truth a bit because I was never allowed to touch it. It was a main frame locked behind a glass screen and guarded by geeks. I spoke to it with punch cards and it spoke back with reams of concertina paper. It was certainly not built for portability and the idea of using it to organise my backpacking never crossed my mind.

Today we have hand-held devices that pack more processing power than that first computer and the information they provide is delivered quicker and in full multi-media format. The User interface is graphical and at times a work of art in itself.

The skills of using Information  have not changed.

Data Cycle

What has this Got To Do With Travel?

 If you want to travel better and more cheaply you must go through these steps. It is not good enough just to type a few words into Google, and pick a website from the first page of Google’s search results. Knowing what you want from your travel means you can use Key words to search for information. the BBC has produced some really good videos to help with the practical steps in searching Click the picture. But for the “Thinky Bit” you should look at What? question to ask to get better and cheaper travel.




Camino de Santiago Planning

How long will it take to walk from one place to another?

A very useful tool to help in your Camino de Santiago Planning

First an Explanation of Walking Speeds

ArrowWalkingTimeKnowing how far you can walk in a day is an important part of Camino de Santiago Planning, it will determine where you can stay for the evening and we all know that not all albergues are the same. You might plan to meet-up with friends or plan a long or easy day. But most timings for walking between places on the Camino are inaccurate. They reply on an average walking speed of 5 kilometres an hour and even for an average person, they are still wrong.

Your walking speed is different from mine. Walking speeds depend on three basic things firstly you. Your height, weight, age, and general health and fitness will affect how fast you can walk but even those are not set in concrete(plaster even). When I walked the Camino last, I still smile, that I was overtaken by a young man with his leg in plaster. I like to look around and take in the sites, pop into a church, and have a chat to anyone whenever I can. I am a slow paced walker but just keep plodding on.

WindThe second group of factors are physical the terrain and the weather. While some of the Camino is flat or gently rolling countryside, an awful lot is up hill and there are some very steep climbs but a lot fewer descents! These add to the time it takes to walk a given number of kilometres. The weather will also affect your walking speed. The wind can push you along or drag you back and both rain and too much heat will impede your progress.

HeaveyBackpackThe third factor is up to you. What are you carrying? What you carry weighs you down and makes walking both slower, more tiring and a lot less fun.
TooMuchAccording to the Ministry of Defence, infantry soldiers carry around 145lb. On the Camino the received wisdom is that you should carry no more than 10% of your weight. My advice is really simple, carry as little as you possibly can and even then it will be too much.

There are some “Speed hikers” walking 40 km or more each day that can can make it in as little as two weeks and I think the record is 10 days. I saw one at a albergue. I had finished a day of eight hours plodding and was having a well deserved nap, having started a 6 o’clock in the morning. He woke me up, showered, slept for two hours, pack-up and was off again for the next stage. Everyone says “It is your Camino” and it really should be but I think for this guy it was a path, not a way.

The Walking Speed Calculator

The calculator is to help you work out how long it will take to go from one place to another as an aid to your Camino de Santiago Planning. It is not intended to be a way of calculating the whole Camino but rather “How far can I walk today?” Or “Have I got time to get to the next albergue before it gets too late.”

The distances and altitudes are given in a lot of guidebooks but as I said their timings are just too average. Fill in the distance, the climb in meters and your no-walking time. As you do it the calculator works out the time in minutes, no buttons to press.

The Theory behind the Walking Speed Calculator

William W. NaismithThe calculations are based on the Naismith’s rule Allowing 1 hour for every 5 kilometres forward, plus 1 hour for every 600 metres of ascent but I have built in some corrections suggested by the Walking Englishman and converted his ideas to kilometres. I hope it helps.


when to walk

When to Walk the Camino

When to Walk the Camino?

when to walk

It may well be that you have no real choice. When I first walked the Camino, the question “When to walk the Camino?” fitted into the time slot between the start of the school holidays and the start of the school term” which in reality meant August. The weather was hot and the walk a popular holiday time for many young people seeking a cheap adventure.

If you have a choice about When to Walk the Camino

CompostellaThere are some things you need to think about when making a decision about when to walk and I will go through those but first, let me just stress again, it will be your Camino you have got to be happy with the way you walk. There are several routes you can take, the most popular is the  Camino Francés, the French Way, from St Jean-Pied-du-Port to Santiago de Compostela. It is one of the best supported routes in terms of accommodation and facilities. Success breeds success and the more people that walk it the more incentive there is to provide support for them.

The other thing you should remember is that while the French Way, starting in St Jean-Pied-du-Port is over 750 Km you do not have to start there you can start wherever you want. I started in León and walked about 340 km because the school holidays that year were only four weeks and I needed to get some preparation done for the start of term. If you want to get the Compostela, the certificate to prove you have walked the Camino you need to walk at least 100Km Which means starting in Sarria.

The Two Main Things to Consider

Before you start worrying about When to Walk the Camino, you need to think about how far you can walk and your general level of fitness, and where you want to start from, how far you want to walk.

The WayThings People Worry About

Most potential pilgrims worry about what the weather will be like when they walk and will the Camino be so crowed that they won’t get a bed for the night. Last thing first, even at the hight of the season you are very unlikely to have to sleep in a field. You might have to walk for another 30 minutes or even splash-out on a hotel but unless you want to you will not have to spend a night under the stars. Interestingly, some say Compostela is a corruption of the Latin Campus Stellae, “Field of Stars.”

The weather is another matter. Unless you are regular and fit walker do not consider walking in the snow. A long time ago, when I was fitter, younger and less wise I took a short 5 mile walk in the snow across some fields in Scarborough. I was only 50 yards from the main road but it suddenly occurred to me if I slipped and injured myself, no-one would know I was there and it could have been very dangerous. In the winter months there will be some walkers on the Camino but they will be few are far between.

Camino Climate

The Camino Camino Francés is over 750 Km and the climate changes from mountain clime to a continental climate back to a mountain climate and ends as an oceanic. The climate is the general pattern of the weather over a long period and a large area. The weather changes month by month, day by day and even hour by hour and can even be very different over a short distance. I have travelled from York to Scarborough. I left York on a sunny afternoon, twenty minutes later I went over Garrowby Hill and entered a winter wonder land.

The weather should be an important factor in deciding when to walk the Camino. Again it is all about you, do you like to walk in the heat, prefer it cooler or are you a fan of blustery winds and rain?




El Camino

Camino de Santiago de Compostela

Are you looking for Inspiration to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela?

El Camino

I can understand why you are thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, I walked it in 2007 and it is an experience I have never forgotten. But this blog is about planning for my next Camino in 2015. I learned a lot from my first walk and I thought I would share some of this with future fellow travellers. Before I set off I had no idea what to expect and I too searched the internet for “Camino de Santiago de Compostela” and got some useful information and as it turned out, a lot of rubbish advice.

The one really important thing to remember is that it is your Camino. You must do it in your time and pace your walk in a way that makes you comfortable. Having said that, there are some practical bits that are common to us all. I am a retired Information Technology Teacher and I can help you sort out some of the practical issues you will face by showing you how to use the internet to make your trip easier, more fun and hopefully cheaper.

If you are still undecided that’s OK do some more research, watch a few Youtube videos, read a few blogs and come back here when you are ready to start planning. Just do not let the poor comments put you off, the people who wrote then had their Camino and yours will be different and better.