My Camino Diary

The story behind Timmy’s Camino adventure…

Timmy is the Cycling Artist, he cycles hundreds of miles a year and uses his cycling adventures to look for and paint inspiring scenes. If you ever see a colourful cyclist with his paints, it’ll be Timmy. You can see the work his cycle rides inspire right here.

Timmy’s cycled Coast to Coast, Hadrian’s Wall, East Coast of Scotland, across Northern Ireland, North Wales castles and coast, Hastings to Winchester, Chester to Chepstow, Canterbury Tales Pilgrims route and the Camino De Santiago.

With support from Giant UK and several other high profile cycling equipment clothing and technology suppliers and manufacturers, throughout March and April 2018 he cycled and painted the ancient Pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella in Galicia, Spain. For at least a thousand years pilgrims have made their way across Europe to the Cathedral and the tomb of Saint James the Apostle.

In the middle Ages 250,000 people a year made their way across Europe.  Like those ancient travellers, Timmy set off from his home to make his way across three countries. The difference is he was on his stunning Giant Explore 1 E-Bike carrying his paints with him to create a series of artworks that reflected the journey.

Click here to view Timmy’s letters of support.

A pilgrims prayer

Do I look nervous? Rev Nick Plant sent me off from Cookham church on the way to Santiago. I also…

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A pilgrims prayer
The day the chain snapped!

The day the chain snapped!

A mile into the adventure my chain snapped. Thanks Paul from Flat Harry's Cyclery in Cookham who came and fixed…

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Soundtrack to my Camino?

Every adventure needs a soundtrack. Billy said I have to have some music to cycle to. What should that be?…

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Soundtrack to my Camino?
Meeting the Bishop of Winchester

Meeting the Bishop of Winchester

I was delighted to be invited to meet Right Reverend Tim Dakin bishop of Winchester at his palace next to…

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Who’s that riding down the road?

Is that Mallett or the postman cycling into the village? You decide!

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Who’s that riding down the road?
Happy Hampshire

Happy Hampshire

It's one of our biggest counties and had such variety and riches to appreciate. On a cycle, you see it,…

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Ma bubba

Martin's name tags... We sew them onto clothes.  So they won't be lost.  So we know where they belong. Among…

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Ma bubba
From the Bayeux tapestry to Timmy on tour

From the Bayeux tapestry to Timmy on tour

Standing on the huge ramparts of Mont St-Michel I was reminded how dangerous the sands are around this island. The…

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Timmy finds his way to World heritage site

We all do this when we get somewhere impressive.  First thing we do is get out the camera, or in…

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Timmy finds his way to World heritage site
The way of the Plantagenets

The way of the Plantagenets

The Camino de Santiago or Chemin De Saint Jacques has many routes across Europe..... From Mont St Michel I chose…

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The cycling artist pedals and paints

Inspiration is everywhere.  It's not hard to see it or to register it.  It is hard to do and do…

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The cycling artist pedals and paints

Life is what happens while you are busy making plans

An air traffic controllers strike in France.  No flights, trains full, busy roads, I'm on my bike. Why would this affect…

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Life is what happens while you are busy making plans
No Apple blossom this year?

No Apple blossom this year?

I was saddened by what I saw.  Along a pleasant country lane I came to a crossroads with a bus…

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The cyclist in shining armour

It was brilliant cycling into the ancient medieval city of Vitre in Brittany.  The streets look like something out of…

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The cyclist in shining armour
Why are they called Plantagenets?

Why are they called Plantagenets?

Geoffrey of Anjou was a colourful character in the early 12th century. He was married to Matilda the empress, grand…

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The woodcutters and the beetles

It was a young sapling when Henry VIII met Francis of France in the field of the cloth of gold.…

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The woodcutters and the beetles
Eric and jumper the street entertainers

Eric and jumper the street entertainers

Well these are Street entertainers from another era, another century.... I saw them standing at the organ grinding machine that…

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The land of chateaux

The Loire valley is famous for its ornate Louis XIV style chateaux. I am surprised to round every corner and…

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The land of chateaux
Prince William supporting me

Prince William supporting me

In the middle ages you need the blessing of your lord of the manor before setting of across Europe on…

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Dead flies in Angers

I've been through parts of France before, never on a bike, or like this... Last time I was in Angers…

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Dead flies in Angers
Martin Mallett with Kings and Queens

Martin Mallett with Kings and Queens

I found a Good place for Martin, my brother, today. Next to King Henry 11 and Richard the Lionheart and…

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Brilliant new cycle path

It's been open a matter of days and it's a dream come true.  Investment in leisure is the mark of a…

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Brilliant new cycle path
Early start when the clocks go forward

Early start when the clocks go forward

We lose an hour as the clocks spring forward.  No time to lose. Up with the dawn and get out…

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Big skies, big adventure!

Coming over the brow of the hill into a new region - Haute Poitou - I noticed the big skies,…

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Big skies, big adventure!
Cardinal Richelieu and the three musketeers

Cardinal Richelieu and the three musketeers

That's all most know about the Cardinal. Except he was also a town planner! He also knew how to get…

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Timmy in his twin town

What a welcome!  800Kms from home I rode into my twin town of St Benoit to be met by Dominique…

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Timmy in his twin town
Kindness

Kindness

"Where will you stay?"  That is a question I've been asked a lot and I ask myself each day.... I have…

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The mighty Loire

It's the mightiest river in France and flows through a valley of chateaux after chateaux.  At Angers it meets the…

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The mighty Loire
Eleanor of Aquitaine and a detour

Eleanor of Aquitaine and a detour

How would you feel if didn't go and see your hero 20km away?  Never have regrets in life.  Always pursue your…

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Thanks Komoot

Navigation is always an issue in a strange place.  I like maps.  There's a logic to them and browsing over them…

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Thanks Komoot
My second Prime Minister sends me support

My second Prime Minister sends me support

Theresa May came to my home to hear about the Camino and reasons for cycling and painting it. In my…

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Chinon Castle

Chinon Castle

It's only another 45 mins away.  But it's in the wrong direction.  Of course I went! I'm standing across the…

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The journalist

Daniel came to interview me for the regional paper.  He arrived bringing macaroons and when asked what he'd like to drink…

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The journalist
Martin Mallett moments

Martin Mallett moments

Each day I look for somewhere special to leave a Martin Mallett name tag. Actually that's not strictly true. Each…

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Reasons to undertake this big adventure

There are four reasons for my Camino de Santiago: Historical. This pilgrimage route to the tomb of St James the…

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Reasons to undertake this big adventure
The castle or the painting?

The castle or the painting?

"We have a friend who owns a castle, do you want to visit it?"  "Of course I do!" Avantan Castle on…

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The unexpected library

I came across this impressive building in a tiny village.  It looks like one of those scary horror homes in…

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The unexpected library
A minute’s silence

A minute’s silence

The gendarme volunteered his own life for the hostage.  In last week's terrorist attack in the south of France this…

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Wedding day greetings from the way of St James

My friends Joan and John are getting married at the church of St James in Dorney. I am delighted to…

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Wedding day greetings from the way of St James
Meeting the vicar general

Meeting the vicar general

It sounds like a military figure - the vicar general - turns out he's the Archbishop's fixer. It was a…

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Why do you wear a tie cycling?

It's a strange thing to wear at any time but cycling?  Are you nuts Timmy?  Of course I am. When…

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Why do you wear a tie cycling?
The lantern of the dead

The lantern of the dead

It seemed fitting to find myself at Fenioux - the lantern of the dead.  This is a huge church with spire…

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My lovely Lorraine surprise

I was having a cuppa in Saintes in a rare moment of sunshine when who should come up and tap…

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My lovely Lorraine surprise
The brand new pilgrim shelter

The brand new pilgrim shelter

In the village of St Leger I came across an extraordinary piece of new infrastructure. A pilgrim resting place, a…

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I’ve walked a long way then someone passes me on a bike

They were ahead of me on the muddy track. Plenty of rain in recent weeks... I knew they were pilgrims…

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I’ve walked a long way then someone passes me on a bike
Discovering new towns

Discovering new towns

Saintes is a dream city on the Charente half way between Poitiers and Bordeaux. The Romans liked it and built…

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Nearly halfway

Pons is a good place to stop and ponder. Fabulous castle.  I could paint that! On the way out of…

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Nearly halfway
Martin Mallett in a vineyard

Martin Mallett in a vineyard

The Bordeaux region is wine country. The best red wines in the world come from here and every field is…

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Bridges Bring Us Together

Great bridges inspire us.  Down on the Dordogne at the entrance to Bordeaux there at four great bridges in less…

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Bridges Bring Us Together
My Camino in Scotland’s Sunday post

My Camino in Scotland’s Sunday post

Lorraine Kelly surprises fellow TV star Timmy Mallett on charity cycle challenge, as reported by Scotland's Sunday Post. Click here…

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The Ancient Fortress

All around France are ancient fortresses like this.  Citadels they call them and they all have a similar look.  Designed…

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The Ancient Fortress
Imagine your face being seen and admired everyday for over 800 years

Imagine your face being seen and admired everyday for over 800 years

She's my favourite heroine of history, Eleanor of Aquitaine.  She married twice, to two kings! First the King of France…

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Has the Archbishop of Winchester been promoted?!

Thanks to the French press for their support of my Chemin De St Jacques. I see the Bishop of Winchester…

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Has the Archbishop of Winchester been promoted?!
Which way would you go?

Which way would you go?

Did you ever see the film Castaway starring Tom Hanks? He comes to a cross road and he stands and…

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Everlasting trees

The ride through the uniform lines of trees is extraordinary.  All the pine trees in all the world appear to…

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Everlasting trees
In the Alberge

In the Alberge

Along the chemin de St Jacques there are Alberge for pilgrims.  Inside is a kitchen, bathroom, great shower, and a…

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Delightful Dax

It's a city that dates back to Roman times when they discovered the healing power of the thermal waters. Today…

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Delightful Dax
The 10 second stop that lasts all day

The 10 second stop that lasts all day

I caught a glimpse as I cycled past... Blue shutters, wisteria in full bloom. As I took a photo, the…

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St Jean Pied de Port

The tiny old town of St Jean at the foot of the pass over the Pyrenees is small enough to…

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St Jean Pied de Port
Foothills of the Pyrenees

Foothills of the Pyrenees

The undulating rolling foothills of one of Europe's great mountain ranges....  It's a joy..... Until it rains biblical rain.  This…

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What’s the weather like on the Camino?

It is, as I keep telling people, not a jolly....There is always weather you contend with, to begin with snow…

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What’s the weather like on the Camino?
The day I dreamed big and lived the big dream

The day I dreamed big and lived the big dream

It began with rain which lasted all day.... The Alberge team in St Jean Pied De Port gave me an…

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Pamplona painting

I always ask the nice people at the tourist office what their favourite view of their city might be. In…

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Pamplona painting
Don’t miss the village church

Don’t miss the village church

Every village has a church and on an adventure like this I find I can't go past without taking a…

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The hill of forgiveness

High up on the mountain is a string of wind turbines.  You know you are in a windy spot when…

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The hill of forgiveness
Pamplona alona

Pamplona alona

This is a city famous for a mad week every July when the foolhardy take on the famous bulls to…

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Water into wine

Just out of Estella is a famous monastery with vineyard attached.  I was reminded of the first miracle at the…

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Water into wine
What does a bike ride have to do with Brexit?

What does a bike ride have to do with Brexit?

I was cycling the Camino track and enjoying the constantly changing landscape. One of the highlights is the Van Gogh…

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Rioja country

I am constantly thrilled to see the changing landscapes each day and over each hill.  How could the world vary…

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Rioja country
Roosters in the cathedral!

Roosters in the cathedral!

This is my favourite story along the way of St James. In Santa Domingo Cathedral is an ornate hen house…

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A relief to see civilisation again!

I stopped and painted when I saw the distance church. It was a relief to know I was about to…

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A relief to see civilisation again!
Martin in St Martin’s

Martin in St Martin’s

I came across a famous St Martin's church in a place called Fromista. Looks just the place for a Martin…

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What happens when the plains of Spain aren’t plain at all

The plains of Spain...  That should be a song... Oh it is.  And the rain in Spain falls mainly on…

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What happens when the plains of Spain aren’t plain at all
The barber of Carrion

The barber of Carrion

There's a lot of pleasure in having your hair cut somewhere new.  How about a different country where we don't…

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Martin Mallett and the legions

It's half way along the Camino, but only if you start at Roncesvalles in Spain.  As I started at home…

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Martin Mallett and the legions
Donkey ho tee!

Donkey ho tee!

Today I met a pilgrim with four hooves, ‘Salome’ the donkey.  She woke me up this morning braying and I…

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Blokes at the bar

I needed a cuppa and a piece of tortilla.  I stopped at the bar and sat down to refresh.  And…

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Blokes at the bar
Entertaining the pilgrims

Entertaining the pilgrims

Every person you pass calls out: "Buen Camino!"  Which translates as 'good trip.' It's a really encouraging greeting and makes…

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Animals on the camino

This route passes through lots of rural Europe so you can expect to see animals along the way.  I've seen…

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Animals on the camino
The guardian of the bridge

The guardian of the bridge

A great monument deserves a great story.  The longest bridge on the Camino is at Hospital D'Orbigo and the story…

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The iron cross – highest point on the Camino

It's 1500 metres up to the iron cross in the mountains of Leon. Higher than Ben Nevis.  I cycled up…

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The iron cross – highest point on the Camino
The winter Camino – The Next Stage

The winter Camino – The Next Stage

There are lots of different routes to Santiago de Compostela.  I've been on the way of the Plantagenets, the way…

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Winter Camino

There are lots of different routes to Santiago de Compostela.  I've been on the way of the Plantagenets, the way…

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Winter Camino
Why are roadside memorials so impressive?

Why are roadside memorials so impressive?

I stopped because of the carved figures in this glorious memorial. With clasped hands in prayer I am reminded of…

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Vineyard Valley

"Make sure you follow the road right down to the bottom....." Said my hostel host.  Bellasar is worth a visit.…

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Vineyard Valley
Hard at work in his slippers

Hard at work in his slippers

He was sharpening a blade.  A massive blade.  Done sort of machete.  And he was sitting there in his slippers! …

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Gorgeous Galicia

It's the bit at the top end of Spain that is utterly different from the rest of the country.  It…

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Gorgeous Galicia
The Latin certificate

The Latin certificate

Along the way pilgrims are supposed to get their pilgrim passport stamped to prove they've actually done what they claim…

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The hand of St James and the cathedral of Santiago

I've cycled 2430 kilometres (1500 miles) from home to Santiago de Compostela. The target is the Great Baroque Cathedral where…

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The hand of St James and the cathedral of Santiago
To the end of the earth

To the end of the earth

The Romans called it finis Terra the end of the earth.  To them it was clear there was nothing out…

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Farewell Santiago

Most pilgrims first glimpse of Santiago is from Mont Gosso where the status of two grateful pilgrims point to the…

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Farewell Santiago
Mallett in Muxia

Mallett in Muxia

It's the other end of the earth.  They are 20 miles apart.  And pilgrims tend to have a favourite. Finisterre…

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How popular is the camino?

In the middle ages something like a quart of a million people walked the Camino from their homes.  They would…

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How popular is the camino?
The boomerang bottle

The boomerang bottle

I want to do a message in a bottle. Send a Martin Mallett name tag out into the sea. I…

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Inspiration. Where does it come from?

I was on a quiet winding road through the hills.  No traffic.  Around every corner and hair pin bend there…

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Inspiration.  Where does it come from?
Life is what happens while your are busy pedalling…

Life is what happens while your are busy pedalling…

I got a puncture.  No surprise there.  Bikes are always getting punctures. Except this bike. In seven weeks of cycling…

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Football fabulous

Visited Lugo FC stadium #forzaLugo Very welcoming club in league two.  The pitch and stadium look terrific and the interview…

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Football fabulous
The power of relics today

The power of relics today

In the middle ages every church or monastery of any importance had a relic.  A fragment of the true cross.…

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Martin in the cathedral

I can hear brother Martin saying: "nice church!" as we stare at the altarpiece.  Indeed it's one of the gems…

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Martin in the cathedral
Martin and the moo cows

Martin and the moo cows

We all love a field of cows, munching, mooing, pooing, and grinding those teeth on the grass.  I stopped at…

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The man with the scythe

I enjoy people watching.  Especially in other countries where they do weird stuff.  Like scything the grass.  What's wrong with…

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The man with the scythe
How do you leave when the hostel is shut?

How do you leave when the hostel is shut?

It was an odd sort of place and I wasn't entirely convinced I'd made a wise choice.  But I arrived…

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I looked at these mountains from both sides

There's nothing like it for realising the distance travelled.  Weeks ago coming out of Burgos I stood and stared at…

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I looked at these mountains from both sides
Painting on the cliff tops

Painting on the cliff tops

The track led through the village. There was a stile and a footpath.  I followed it carefully over rocks and…

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What to take on the Camino

 The general rule of thumb is take less.  Whatever you think is essential cut it in half. You are…

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What to take on the Camino
Memorable meetings along the Camino

Memorable meetings along the Camino

Cows and pilgrims.  The herd were unhappy to be moved.  But understood the cow hands command.  Off they went with…

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Sunny Santander

Half way along Spain's North coast is the port of Santander. Famous for its beaches and it's bank, it's an…

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Sunny Santander
How do you plan an adventure like this?

How do you plan an adventure like this?

It's been in my mind for some time. I've been pondering it for a number of years.  It was only…

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Blow holes and beaches

Coast lines always deliver secrets.  I was following the narrow gauge railway line and it went alongside the beach.  There was…

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Blow holes and beaches
Day to day meetings

Day to day meetings

You don't always need the local language. I know it helps but..... I met the local herdsman and his herd…

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Titanic Message in a Bottle

Titanic was my Downs Syndrome brother Martin's favourite film (along with the Sound of Music and Crocodile Dundee.)  Every Christmas…

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Titanic Message in a Bottle
The finish…

The finish…

 My friend Terry joined me at Reading. We met at St James church where father John stamped my pilgrim…

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