Monday 23 August 2021

This week in Spain and on the Camino




Pilgrim arrivals - 10265 pilgrims registered at the Pilgrims’ Office in Santiago in the last 7 days.

Pilgrim Accommodation – pilgrims are reporting difficulty finding accommodation on a number of routes due to the reduced capacity of albergues. Pilgrims setting out are advised to plan carefully and whenever possible to book a bed in advance.


Infections:  Spain cumulative incidence last 14 days per 100,000 of the population: 345.18 (down from 462.23 last week, and from 591.14 two weeks ago).

Of the 17 regions of Spain, ALL now have incidence rates under 500. In Galicia the incidence is 374.53 (down from 494.89 last week, and from 605.78 two weeks ago). 

The 14 day incidence rate also continues to fall for all age ranges, including the two age ranges that had been causing concern over the last couple of months: it is 620 for 20-29 year olds (down from 931 last week, and from 1,332 two weeks ago) and 726 for 12-19 year olds (down from 997 last week, and from 1,315 two weeks ago). [Health Ministry update number 445, 20/08/2021]

Hospitals: There are currently 8,166 people in hospital with Covid in Spain (down from 9,308 last week, and from 10,015 two weeks ago). 1,818 of these patients are in ICU. This is 19.3% ICU occupancy (a small decrease - about 1.5% - on last week). In Cataluña the ICU occupancy is still the highest in the country, at 42.5% (again, a small decrease - about 1.4% - on last week).


74.7% have received one vaccine dose in Spain, and 65.5% have received the “pauta completa” and are fully vaccinated. In Galicia, 78.4% have received one dose and 78.4% the pauta completa (2nd highest of the 17 regions). [Health Ministry update, 20/08/2021]





Monday 10 February 2020

The Camino is church

The Camino is church

The Camino is the church where you just walk right in. Everyone is welcome, no questions asked. 

The Camino is the church where it doesn't matter whether you have faith, whether you are searching for answers or simply want to enjoy the experience. 

The Camino is the church where apart from walking to Santiago, respecting the way, nothing else is compulsory. 

The Camino is the church where everyone is equal. There are no bosses. 

The Camino is the church where you can pray, think or meditate when you want. Or not! 

The Camino is the church where every meal is a communion which includes everyone around the table. 

 The Camino is the church where the arrows will guide you, not tell you what to do.

The Camino is the church where to lighten the load you can forgive your own sins and those who have sinned against you. 

The Camino is the church where the choir is the dawn chorus of birds in the trees and sheep bleating in the meadow. 

The Camino is the church filled with people just like you where you can make life long friends. 

The Camino is the church where the only peals are peals of laughter from pilgrims.

The Camino is the church which is never full up. Come along there's room for you too. 

Friday 3 January 2020



 12 years ago, with a basic set of walking notes provided by the CSJ, I set out on the Camino Inglés. The route was badly waymarked and at points I couldn’t find the badly faded yellow arrows. “Why not write a new guidebook?” suggested Marion Marples the secretary of the UK pilgrim association. And so I did.  Then came writing a new guidebook to the Camino Portugués and then the Madrid Route… and the rest is history.

I decided from the beginning that this would be my way of putting something back into the Camino which has given me so much. Therefore over these years I’ve simply handed over my manuscripts for the CSJ and other associations to publish and sell. They’ve kept the entire proceeds with no deductions for expenses or royalties.  It has been my pleasure.

When I started out John Brierley was writing his popular guide to the Camino Francés but there were few other guidebook writers around. Some of my Guides were the first ever, such as the guides to the Madrid Route, the Via Serrana and, more lately, the Route from Lisbon via Fatima. However more and more commercial guides are being produced to the Camino routes and frankly some of them are better than mine as they use better technology with accompanying apps.

Also, as any writer will tell you, it is impossible to be on pilgrimage and write a guidebook at the same time. Whilst walking the routes most years to produce updates has kept me fit I badly miss just walking. To mark this change I am setting out next week to walk the Via de la Plata. This was my                                            very first Camino.

Therefore it is time to change and a few months ago I told the CSJ that I would not be producing any more guidebooks or updates. I’ll still continue to produce the other books published by the charitable publishers Redemptorist Publications.
Thank you to all of the pilgrims who used my books and sent me information about the routes. Thanks to the CSJ and other associations who provided them for pilgrims generating vital funds. Over the years 25,000 people have bought my guidebooks and Spiritual Companions. Thank you on behalf of the pilgrim charities who have benefitted.