Today is packing day. The socks are washed and the gear is laid out. It is like the photograph in the last blog: Thanks to those who posted comments and e mailed me. The point I was making is that we all find our own things which are light and comfortable and through trial and error we know what quanities of toiletries etc to take.
For those who asked for specific information. For the bigger items I use:
Osprey Atmos 50 rucksack - light and comfortable
Rab Top bag - lightweight sleeping bag - fantastic even in deep winter conditions. Use with a bed or mat.
Patagonia R1 Jacket - doubles as a fleece or worn on its own for early mornings. Multi purpose.
Patagonia rain shadow jacket - excellent with full armput zips.
North Face waterproof trousers - full leg zips.
I experimented with boots and shoes and three years ago settled on Salamon Mid ankle shoes - from the Sensifit range. They have a gortex lining and are very comfortable. I was considering changing them recently but the shop had the same pair in my size at half price. I didn't resist.
I've worn these boots over a couple of thousand kilometres but I know they aren't the best in the hottest weather. I've looked at the 10 day forecast. There is no rain predicted. It is sun all the way.
Therefore I have decided to take a new pair of Merrell Ventilator shoes instead of boots. They are the lightest I have ever worn and with lots of mesh they should be cooler.
Teva sandles will be my backup/evening wear.
I've taken a huge decision to leave the rain gear behind too. It isn't going to rain! Being Scottish this goes against the grain. It rains in Scotland. Particularly in Summer! You know what they say, "How can you tell it is summer in Scotland?" answer "the people wear sunglasses and carry umbrellas."
But I feel quite strongly that kit should be taken appropriate to the route. The weather looks good for the 10 - 11 days walking from Madrid. I'll take the risk.
The sleeping bag is replaced with a silk liner. I'm going to use hostals mostly and if I'm cold I'll use the merino wool base layer which I always carry.
Whilst this trip is purely to scout out the route as the basus for a new guide in English the notebook etc has been replaced with a digital recorder which is featherlight and records 1000 hours of dictation. That's what I use to record the route as I go along.
I've discovered through experimentation that one charge of my camera battery let's me take 300 photographs - I'm sure time would be an issue but I already know the charge will last for two weeks. I'm not taking the battery charger.
Also because I am only en route for 10 or 11 days I'll only take 1 razor which should satisfy the more observant commentators.
All of this plus 2 pairs of socks and liners and 2 pairs of underpants instead of the traditional three. Two quick drying tops, one to walk in the other sleep in plus hat and sundries make up the list.
So there it is. I'll soon be off. I got an e mail from a pilgrim the other days saying, "this is the lovliest route I have ever walked." We'll soon see...