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travelling the camino by wheelchair

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by pipod, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. pipod

    pipod New Member

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    Hi.. I was wondering if anyone has or knows of anyone who has done the camino Francé from St Jean Pied de Port or Roncesvalles to Santiago in a wheelchair?.. or if there is a route available for disabled people to travel it? ...If there is not one then I would be interested to hear from people interested in trying to make one ..not just for wheelchair users, but also for the blind or people with other disabilities who would find the normal traditional route difficult or impossible to use.....Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated ...Kindest regards Phil

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  2. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    60 pilgrims in wheelchairs received the compostela in 2004 (not sure where they all started though).
    In 2006 11 pilgrims in wheelchairs finished in Santiago and last year 7 got the compostela.

    Ibermutuar, together with several Spanish companies, sponsored a guide aimed at pilgrims with handicaps. The guide was written by people with different physical, psychical or sensory handicaps. A major sponsor of this guide is ONCE an organization that represents the blind in Spain. It offers some background information on the Camino as well as describes each of the stages with the perspective of someone with a handicap. The guide contains information about accessibility and other matters of interest , including albergues, suggested stages of 8 kilometers per day and restaurants with special facilities.
    Three pilgrims that covered the French Way in wheelchairs participated directly in the preparation of the guide which, at present, is only available in Spanish, but which is being translated into French and German.
    http://www.ibermutuamur.es/camino_santi ... nsejos.htm

    http://www.ibermutuamur.es/camino_santi ... nicial.htm

    A member on this forum provided a link to a diary of a wheelchair pilgrim - Ad Hermans - who did 2 500 km from Akersloot, Holland to Santiago in a handbiked wheelchair in 2000.

    http://www.adhermans.nl/old/index.html

    In 2002 he went off again, this time to Rome, 2250 km:
    http://www.adhermans.nl/index.html
    He was accompanied by his wife, her sister and brother-in-law, and a couple friends, all on bicycles. On their way they camped. The second url has the possibility to make contact with Ad by email

    In 2004 I met a Spanish pilgrim in a wheelchair in Arzua who had started in Pamplona. His wife was following him in a campervan. At night they often parked next to the albergue so that they could use the shower and kitchen facilities but they always slept in the van. (I have shown this picture before but here it is for you to have a look at his chair.)

    Attached Files:

  3. Barbara

    Barbara New Member

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    I did try to raise some interest in a pilgrimage in a two horsepower cart, mixed disabled and able-bodied, wheelchair users and people who have a problem with too much walking. ABs to do the grunt stuff where needed, but no passengers, everyone helping each other, camping and albergues, but only got some tepid interest. Pity, because the cart is actually wheelchair accessible and the owner is keen on the idea.
  4. pipod

    pipod New Member

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    Thank you so much sillydol and barbara..Forgive me for not thanking you earlier, I have just finished the the camino Francé from SJPdP to Santiago and also I'm in the process of moving from London to La Coruna Spain so its not giving me much time on my pc :-/

    your links and imformation are just what I was looking for and I have Spanish friends who can maybe translate the important parts and also a German friend who can do the same..

    This was my second camino and last year I did it from Saint Jean to Muxia over a 3 month period so I saw and met many peregrinos and followed many flows of them so I probably saw more peregrinos than most would during their journey and I saw just one wheelchair user which concerned me, so when I finished I started a website called "caminoworld.com" ...Its not in compitition with this or any other site.. Anyone can use it, but we also want to concentrate on people with disabilities by giving them imformation about different routes, which albergues have facilities etc ...We also want to encourage people with disabilities who have done the camino to come on and share their knowlege and experience with us so's to help and encourage others ...

    Thank you again and if you would like to view my site I would be happy to hear your comments and feedback about it ....kindest regards Phil
  5. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    More than 30 members of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Toledo, including four with the disorder, are doing the camino with the aim of "sensitizing society" on such diseases and to "denounce the inaccessibility " of this route for people with disabilities.

    These pilgrims had to cover the stage between Arzúa Pedrouzo today on the road due to the "zero chance" of getting around in a wheelchair on the paths. They had the help of 112 and Civil Protection of the town of Coruñesa Arzúa that supported the pilgrims throughout the journey.

    With this initiative, according to Europa Press, the president of the association Francisco Garcia claiming that more research on these diseases and educating people because if it does not affect a family member or friend it goes unnoticed.

    Francisco Garcia was grateful for the support they are receiving from the rest of pilgrims. He also emphasized the help they are receiving from other institutions, such as the Red Cross, which provided them with a van to transport wheelchairs.

    The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Toledo began the pilgrimage in the town of Sarria and after five stages will arrive in the capital of Galicia on 29th July, where they have scheduled an offering at the Cathedral of Compostela on the following day.

    http://www.europapress.es/galicia/notic ... 50914.html
  6. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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  7. KiwiNomad06

    KiwiNomad06 Member

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    When we were in SJPP late May we saw a woman in a wheelchair, who had already come from Austria I think. We only had a brief conversation with her, as we never had much in the way of shared language. But it seemed like she was feeling more and more helpless and unwell at home, as people kept doing so much for her. Doing the Camino was a way she had been able to wrestle back control and independence in her life, and she reported that she was feeling more and more healthy. I think that she needed to take road and cycle paths rather than the walking track, as she had nobody to help her over rough sections. She had a removeable 'bicycle' type front wheel as part of her wheelchair, that she could power with her arms.
    Margaret
  8. Miketh4

    Miketh4 New Member

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    Great to see that some ppl on the wheelchair did the comino way. Last posts are from 2008 but maybe someone is planning to do the way in the nearest future...? Im wheelchair bound since last October (it will be a year soon (!)) i should get my offroad hand bike soon and next year will be devoted to training for that trip. In summer, 2014 i hope to complete that way.
  9. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    Pilgrim’s diaries

    Ad Hermans, a Hollander, did 2 500 km from Akersloot, Holland to Santiago in a hand-biked wheelchair in 2000. http://www.adhermans.nl/old/index.html

    In 2002 he went off again, this time to Rome, 2 250 km accompanied by his wife, her sister and brother-in-law, and a couple friends, all on bicycles. On their way they camped. http://www.adhermans.nl/index.html

    Walkabout Foundation launched a 500 mile walk on the Camino Norte in August 2009. http://www.thewalkaboutfoundation.org/event-1-2

    Internet articles

    2010: 24 paraplegics complete the Camino Frances from Pamplona to Santiago
    http://www.xacobeo.es/gl/perfil/ivar/search-solidarity

    2010: Four disabled pilgrims complete 400 km by hand cycles
    http://www.elcorreogallego.es/index.php ... cia=332581
  10. GunnarW

    GunnarW Member

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    There are some parts which are almost impossible to do with a wheel chair or hand bike without taking alternative road.
    For example the old medieval bridge after Lorca or just the road at km pole 101: during several hundred metres: plenty of huge rocks. A wheel chair needs at least two helpers to overtake this part. I just read a few parts of Ad Hermans' journal. I didn't find comments how he handled difficult or impossible parts. Off course on some difficult parts, there is always a possibility to follow the national road. But on other parts like the km 101 part, you will need to quit the camino for a while.
    So if someone knows how wheel chairs are handling difficult or impossible parts: I'm really curious!
  11. sillydoll

    sillydoll Active Member

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    I emailed Ad a few years ago.
    On the second link you can send him a message. It would be great if you could contact him - he is a really nice guy.

    For the section in Galicia, you can use the resources of Cogami:

    COGAMI (La Confederación Gallega de Personas con Discapacidad)
    This site has a lot (hundreds!) of photos for the stages between O Cebreiro and Santiago on the Camino Frances. If you are in a wheelchair, you will see what type of road/surface you can expect plus sections that might be difficult. The site is only in Spanish and Gallego. The photos and text have been collected/ written by people at COGAMI (La Confederación Gallega de Personas con Discapacidad) who have a lot of experience with this type of material. http://www.cogami.es/cogami/v09/es/default.asp

    Also, in 2004 Ibermutuar (a Spanish mutual insurance conglomerate), together with several Spanish charity organisations and companies, sponsored a guide aimed at pilgrims with restricted mobility. Three pilgrims that covered the Camino Frances in wheelchairs participated directly in the preparation of the guide. The site is in Spanish but you can copy the link into an online translator to convert it to your language.
    It breaks each day into small sections of 8 km per day and describes how easy/difficult they are with distances, facilities such as banks and shops, which towns offer repairs and more importantly, on which parts of the route you might need assistance. There is also information about the pilgrim credential and obtaining the Compostela.

    An outline of the guide
    The advice, suggestions, alternatives and remarks are the result of hours of efforts during the tour, which gives a look at the difficulties that face disabled pilgrims. The daily stages are not those suggested in other guides because it was considered that a person with disabilities would find it difficult to follow a pace of 25–30 km per day.
    Each stage is described according to the original path, with alternatives for people with reduced mobility where, due to its difficulty, it must be separated from the ancient route. The difficulties described in the different stages refer to those found by a disabled person in a wheelchair, with a reduced physical strength. It also outlines cultural sites, entertainment, basic services in localities where the stage ends and accommodation, describing their conditions of accessibility.
    http://www.ibermutuamur.es/camino_santi ... nicial.htm
    http://www.ibermutuamur.es/camino_santi ... esumen.htm
  12. ornarywomn

    ornarywomn New Member

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    I will be traveling with a cart,(22" wide) because of my disabilities and lack of ability to carry a pack. I was hoping I could do the whole original trail from Le Puy to Muxia. Is there any part of the trail that a cart will not work on? This is something I never assumed I should account for. Please help.

    Thank you!
    Leslie Edmiston
  13. falcon269

    falcon269 No commercial interests Donating Member

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    You should be prepared to divert from the path. There are good maps in France from IGN that will show alternative, nearby roads. Buy and use them! In Spain the route is often marked for bicycles and foot, so choose the bicycle route.
  14. ornarywomn

    ornarywomn New Member

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