I’ve cycled 2430 kilometres (1500 miles) from home to Santiago De Compostela. The target is the Great Baroque Cathedral where the cousin of Christ, James the apostle is said to be buried. Everyday they say a pilgrim mass for
Along the way pilgrims are supposed to get their pilgrim passport stamped to prove they’ve actually done what they claim to have done. I’ve filled up three passports cycling through England, France and Spain. I went along to the
“Make sure you follow the road right down to the bottom…..” Said my hostel host. Bellasar is worth a visit. I was enjoying a pleasant descent which became a 10 kilometre free wheel whizz down through the trees and
I stopped because of the carved figures in this glorious memorial. With clasped hands in prayer I am reminded of brother Martin….
There are lots of different routes to Santiago de Compostela. I’ve been on the way of the Plantagenets, the way of Tours, the way of Vezelay, and through Spain on the Camino Frances. But now at Pontferrada there’s a
There are lots of different routes to Santiago de Compostela. I’ve been on the way of the Plantagenets, the way of Tours, way of Vezelay, and through Spain, the Camino Frances. But now at Ponferrada there’s a choice. The
It’s 1500 metres up to the iron cross in the mountains of Leon. Higher than Ben Nevis. I cycled up it on my lovely Giant E-Bike. You pass by spiritual tributes in the fence and climb and climb. At
This route passes through lots of rural Europe so you can expect to see animals along the way. I’ve seen pilgrim donkeys, but this was a first. Sheep sharing the road with me. Lots of sheep! Unbelievable!
Every person you pass calls out: “Buen Camino!” Which translates as ‘good trip.’ It’s a really encouraging greeting and makes you feel like you are doing something special and worthwhile. “Buen Camino,” we all call to each other. I’m
I needed a cuppa and a piece of tortilla. I stopped at the bar and sat down to refresh. And standing at the bar were a group of friends putting the world to rights. It was such an easy
Today I met a pilgrim with four hooves, ‘Salome’ the donkey. She woke me up this morning braying and I just assumed it was a local donkey. A few hours later, she was with two French men walking the
It’s half way along the Camino, but only if you start at Roncesvalles in Spain. As I started at home in England I’ve already cycled 2000 kilometres…. Sahagun is an ancient Roman city and its gateway is truly astounding.
There’s a lot of pleasure in having your hair cut somewhere new. How about a different country where we don’t speak the same language? This barber is next to my accommodation and he’s just won the lottery! 50,000 euros.
The plains of Spain… That should be a song… Oh it is. And the rain in Spain falls mainly on where? So show me how plain the plains are and if they ever get wet…….
I came across a famous St Martin’s church in a place called Fromista. Looks just the place for a Martin Mallett moment. Let’s take a look…
I stopped and painted when I saw the distance church. It was a relief to know I was about to see civilisation again.
This is my favourite story along the way of St James. In Santa Domingo Cathedral is an ornate hen house with two live roosters in it! Why? It’s a story of sex, miracles, and incredulity. Santa Domingo was a
I am constantly thrilled to see the changing landscapes each day and over each hill. How could the world vary so much? But it does. As Navarre gives way to Castile the big ring of mountains surround an enormous
I was cycling the Camino track and enjoying the constantly changing landscape. One of the highlights is the Van Gogh yellow oil seed rape and it’s overpowering perfume. In the south of France I saw acres of it, here
Just out of Estella is a famous monastery with vineyard attached. I was reminded of the first miracle at the fountain… Water or wine?! Yes please!
This is a city famous for a mad week every July when the foolhardy take on the famous bulls to run the streets and try and escape death… Or worse! The great way to arrive in Pamplona is by
High up on the mountain is a string of wind turbines. You know you are in a windy spot when you see these graceful turning in the breeze. Or whirring like demons in the freezing rain and gale force
Every village has a church and on an adventure like this I find I can’t go past without taking a look. Is it the history? The special story? The architecture? It can be anything. Take today. I was just
It began with rain which lasted all day…. The Alberge team in St Jean Pied De Port gave me an encouraging send off through the gate and up the mountains. Kings and Princes and simple pilgrims have passed this way
I always ask the nice people at the tourist office what their favourite view of their city might be. In this case they did along the city walls… So that’s where I headed. I set up paints, brushes and
It is, as I keep telling people, not a jolly….There is always weather you contend with, to begin with snow and Arctic cold. Last week biblical rain that Noah would have loved. This week sunshine and wind.Full on in
The undulating rolling foothills of one of Europe’s great mountain ranges…. It’s a joy….. Until it rains biblical rain. This is a winter which doesn’t want to end and the weather has it in for the cycling artist.
The tiny old town of St Jean at the foot of the pass over the Pyrenees is small enough to fit in your pocket. It’s basically a steep cobbled street or two between three ancient stone gateways. It feels
It was a fun day fuming for Saturday night takeaway… I’m the armour plated Knight!
I caught a glimpse as I cycled past… Blue shutters, wisteria in full bloom. As I took a photo, the owners of the home fell into conversation. Their English was perfect and the conversation flowed easily. I was invited
It’s a city that dates back to Roman times when they discovered the healing power of the thermal waters. Today it’s the thermal capital of France. The cathedral had undergone some changes over the centuries. It’s a baroque wonder
Along the chemin de St Jacques there are Alberge for pilgrims. Inside is a kitchen, bathroom, great shower, and a beam lined dorm with sheets pillows blankets. They cost a few token euros a night, I arrived late into
The ride through the uniform lines of trees is extraordinary. All the pine trees in all the world appear to be grown in South West France. Black trunks, grey green pine needles, the smell of pine, it’s amazing… And
Thanks to the French press for their support of my Chemin De St Jacques. I see the Bishop of Winchester has suddenly become an Archbishop. And why not?! Billy asks what league is he playing in now? Click here
She’s my favourite heroine of history, Eleanor of Aquitaine. She married twice, to two kings! First the King of France at the age of 15, then at the age of 30 when he was more interested in being monk
All around France are ancient fortresses like this. Citadels they call them and they all have a similar look. Designed by the great military engineer Vauban they are a legacy of that French king who excites derision and admiration
Lorraine Kelly surprises fellow TV star Timmy Mallett on charity cycle challenge, as reported by Scotland’s Sunday Post. Click here to read the full article.
Great bridges inspire us. Down on the Dordogne at the entrance to Bordeaux there at four great bridges in less than a mile. I stood in awe of them. Majestic, everlasting, imposing. They are meant to be impressive and
The Bordeaux region is wine country. The best red wines in the world come from here and every field is given over to vines. I cycled asking looking at how the tired of vines were interspersed with yellow oil
Pons is a good place to stop and ponder. Fabulous castle. I could paint that! On the way out of town the usual little Chemin De St Jacques clues… The sign by the door. The circle on the ground.
Saintes is a dream city on the Charente half way between Poitiers and Bordeaux. The Romans liked it and built the usual, an arc de triumphe, and amphitheatre and a temple or two. Later the locals used the stone
They were ahead of me on the muddy track. Plenty of rain in recent weeks… I knew they were pilgrims immediately. The rucksacks, goretex gear, the scallops shells: “Bon Camino!” They jumped in surprise. As well they might. Pascal
In the village of St Leger I came across an extraordinary piece of new infrastructure. A pilgrim resting place, a shelter, made out of stone and huge timber Beams with maps and sculpture and a visitor’s book. On the
I was having a cuppa in Saintes in a rare moment of sunshine when who should come up and tap me on the shoulder. Steve my Wacaday cameraman and wonderful cycling pal and lovely Lorraine Kelly. Such moments seem
It seemed fitting to find myself at Fenioux – the lantern of the dead. This is a huge church with spire and a matching stone lantern nearby. The church has fabulous carvings around the door and nicely weirdly a spare
It’s a strange thing to wear at any time but cycling? Are you nuts Timmy? Of course I am. When I went to Christchurch Oxford to meet the bishop for his blessing for this trip, the Porters in the
It sounds like a military figure – the vicar general – turns out he’s the Archbishop’s fixer. It was a pleasure to spend an hour with Jean Paul Russeil at the Archbishop’s palace in Poitiers. We talked of St Hillary,
My friends Joan and John are getting married at the church of St James in Dorney. I am delighted to send them greetings from the way of St James.
The gendarme volunteered his own life for the hostage. In last week’s terrorist attack in the south of France this man was courage we exemplified. “You can die in your struggle against France. Well I can die for my
I came across this impressive building in a tiny village. It looks like one of those scary horror homes in the movies. It’s open briefly for a few hours a week. Today it just happened to be open hours.
“We have a friend who owns a castle, do you want to visit it?” “Of course I do!” Avantan Castle on the north of Poitiers was bought as a run down ruin. The owner had spent loads doing it up
There are four reasons for my Camino de Santiago: Historical. This pilgrimage route to the tomb of St James the Apostle has been around for a thousand years. And in another thousand years someone else will be doing this. Pilgrims
Each day I look for somewhere special to leave a Martin Mallett name tag. Actually that’s not strictly true. Each day my dear downs syndrome brother Martin comes into my thoughts and it becomes easy to spot the place
Daniel came to interview me for the regional paper. He arrived bringing macaroons and when asked what he’d like to drink said ‘Pernod please’. Crikey! The interview naturally went swimmingly….
It’s only another 45 mins away. But it’s in the wrong direction. Of course I went! I’m standing across the river in awe at one of the great fortress / palace of history. The yellow stone glistens in the
Theresa May came to my home to hear about the Camino and reasons for cycling and painting it. In my twin town St Benoit, my good friend the mayor, Dominique Clement, shared my story with former French Prime Minister
Navigation is always an issue in a strange place. I like maps. There’s a logic to them and browsing over them you can plan and dream and wonder… What would it be like going that way? Now with GPS, you can
How would you feel if didn’t go and see your hero 20km away? Never have regrets in life. Always pursue your dream. So I went out of my way to Fontevraud Abbey to the resting places of the giants of
It’s the mightiest river in France and flows through a valley of chateaux after chateaux. At Angers it meets the river Maine and they come together in an enormous sheet of water. I got to stay on an island
“Where will you stay?” That is a question I’ve been asked a lot and I ask myself each day…. I have a list of suggested accommodations from the Pilgrim Organisation in France. However it’s early in the season and things
What a welcome! 800Kms from home I rode into my twin town of St Benoit to be met by Dominique Clement the mayor. Thank you for a fabulous welcome and a spectacular banner! Are you sure it doesn’t mean
That’s all most know about the Cardinal. Except he was also a town planner! He also knew how to get other people to pay for it. He got the nobles of Louis XIV to buy a house each in
Coming over the brow of the hill into a new region – Haute Poitou – I noticed the big skies, tree less landscapes. Have a look and tell me what you think…..
We lose an hour as the clocks spring forward. No time to lose. Up with the dawn and get out the brushes. Inspired by my visit to Great castle of Chinon. The painter paints.
It’s been open a matter of days and it’s a dream come true. Investment in leisure is the mark of a courageous country. This old railway line had been converted to a voice verte, a green way, with wide smooth finished
I found a Good place for Martin, my brother, today. Next to King Henry 11 and Richard the Lionheart and alongside Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Like them, Martin more than reached his potential and that’s all we have to do
I’ve been through parts of France before, never on a bike, or like this… Last time I was in Angers was a football tour and we arrived by train to be greeted by a particularly spectacular fountain. The stunning
In the middle ages you need the blessing of your lord of the manor before setting of across Europe on pilgrimage. So I wrote to my lord of the manor, Prince William to tell him of me adventure. I’m delighted to
The Loire valley is famous for its ornate Louis XIV style chateaux. I am surprised to round every corner and come across another one. So many of these are slightly shabby and have seen better days but it doesn’t
Well these are Street entertainers from another era, another century…. I saw them standing at the organ grinding machine that had definitely seen better days. Eric started to turn the wheel, there was nobody else around. Jumper the dog looked
It was a young sapling when Henry VIII met Francis of France in the field of the cloth of gold. 500 years later this ancient oak tree toppled over a victim of the Capricorn beetle. I came across George
Geoffrey of Anjou was a colourful character in the early 12th century. He was married to Matilda the empress, grand daughter of William the conqueror. It wasn’t the happiest of marriages but it did produce Henry 11. Geoffrey preferred
It was brilliant cycling into the ancient medieval city of Vitre in Brittany. The streets look like something out of the 15th century. I expected to come across Baldrick and Blackadder at any moment…. Instead I came into the
I was saddened by what I saw. Along a pleasant country lane I came to a crossroads with a bus stop, a line of trees in the distance and a huge field of neatly piled logs in rows. In
An air traffic controllers strike in France. No flights, trains full, busy roads, I’m on my bike. Why would this affect me on quiet lanes? Mrs Mallett due to fly to Poitiers today to meet me for the weekend. That’s not going
Inspiration is everywhere. It’s not hard to see it or to register it. It is hard to do and do something about it. Sometimes I just have to sit in the moment and do it. Here I saw the
The Camino de Santiago or Chemin De Saint Jacques has many routes across Europe….. From Mont St Michel I chose the way of the Plantagenets which starts with the Normans and William the Conqueror’s grand church in Pontroson then
We all do this when we get somewhere impressive. First thing we do is get out the camera, or in my case the paints. On a bike tour/pilgrimage you find yourself in unusual places, and Mont St-Michel is no
Standing on the huge ramparts of Mont St-Michel I was reminded how dangerous the sands are around this island. The tide sweeps in at an alarming rate. It’s got a huge tidal bore that sweeps all before it and
Martin’s name tags… We sew them onto clothes. So they won’t be lost. So we know where they belong. Among Martin’s possessions are his name tags. I hold them and feel the threads, the threads of family, of how
It’s one of our biggest counties and had such variety and riches to appreciate. On a cycle, you see it, breath it, absorb it, love it. Amazing Stoke Basingstoke. Home to my lovely cousin Katy and her family. Blooming
Is that Mallett or the postman cycling into the village? You decide!
I was delighted to be invited to meet Right Reverend Tim Dakin bishop of Winchester at his palace next to the cathedral. “Nice tie” he commented “where you at Christchurch college Oxford?” Sadly not, it was a gift when
Every adventure needs a soundtrack. Billy said I have to have some music to cycle to. What should that be? So let’s ask Stephanie Hirst the Queen of vinyl!
A mile into the adventure my chain snapped. Thanks Paul from Flat Harry’s Cyclery in Cookham who came and fixed it. The adventure was rather delayed. But we came across flooded footpaths and lovely lanes. Made our way through
Do I look nervous? Rev Nick Plant sent me off from Cookham church on the way to Santiago. I also look over loaded!
#youme It was such a great start to the day.
I Love this message from USA. Do I feel supported? You betcha! There must be a term for a group of bishops? Any suggestions?
I rode my bike into church and got soaked! What else would you expect?!
I start today. It’s a fine grey soft English drizzle. My tummy is in turmoil. Should I take this? Will I need that? It’ll all be chucked away as I get going and down to the bare minimum. For
In the city where the American war of independence broke out, the bishop of Boston popped up to wish me well! Cheers Gayle Love the Timmy coloured vestments! The right reverend Gayle Harris shared Christmas with us in North
My good friend Wendy Craig, star of Butterflies, the Royal, and Nanny have me a sweet and gentle messagr of support for my Camino. Thanks Wendy. Always room on the bike for a friend!
In all the wonders of the universe I am thrilled to get this message of support from my great friend the star man Brian Cox. We first met when he did great little teenage jingles for my Piccadilly Radio
Got the gorgeous Giant bike, the great Daler Rowney paints, and my messages of support.. What have I forgotten? Now just a small matter of 2000kms and open to the possibilities along the Camino de Santiago. Wish me luck! Listen
I wrote to Emmanuel Macron to tell him of my Camino cycling and painting adventure. He kindly sent me this very nice response and encouragement: Translation: “The President of the French Republic has received the courier that you sent
Listen to Timmy’s interview on BBC Radio Berkshire, where he discusses his huge 2,000km cycle trip to Camino de Santiago and of course his dear brother Martin, who sadly passed away last week.
Thank you so much for the kind comments about dear brother Martin. We are greatly comforted by the support and condolences. Never doubt it is a great comfort like a warm blanket. We are touched to see how Martin’s
I’ve enjoyed the challenge of working on this portrait. Canon Michael Smith of York Minster is the subject and I’ve put him by the altar in his vestments. I presented it to him at whitewall gallery, York who framed
Had a great night at Flares party venue in York. It’s a top club with a great team led by Sam and DJ Jay. Thanks for the beers and good luck messages. Can’t wait to come back again!