Most Tuesdays and Saturdays I walk along B'mouth seafront on a weekly basis to keep hiking legs and weight/fitness in good shape. My wife drops me off at Hengistbury Head (she spends the day with her 95yr old mother) and I then head west along the Promenade, eventually making my way to my M-in-L's home. If interested in meeting up for a coffee and chat at any of the many places along the prom, let me know! Chris
Mark - Not posting on open forum. In Santiago, Pilgrim House (Nathan is one of the guys there) has a huge "stash" of walking poles donated at the end by walkers which they then give away to anyone asking ~ not rubbish stuff either. Returning to my suggestion, fly into Santiago with RA as Priority Boarding carry-on (Backpack)...collect a pair of poles then Renfe train or ALSA coach onto Salamanca would work for you. C
...Agree Stansted is a bit of a long haul from here, let alone Southampton. I use National Express to S to "take the strain" (especially off my wife/chauffeur 😉) but try to return via Gatwick, if possible -train back to Soton for £5 if booked early on Trainline. When I walked the VdlP I went along the Sanabres stretch to Santiago, rather than up to Astorga. Sanabres section was very beautiful and enjoyable.
Hi again. Yes, I'm off in March to walk my favourite part of the Frances Route -from Astorga to Santiago. I then train or bus back to Leon to walk the Salvador and Primitivo Routes, both of which are new for me. If the weather is really poor in the north, then after Santiago I'll drop down to either Salamanca or Porto instead of the S or P.....like you, I greatly enjoyed the Espiritual Variante on the Portuguese.
Saw your post Mark - I'm a Bournemouthian now living in Southampton, but walk along the Prom and over to Sandbanks regularly. I'm in Bournemouth twice a week and was born and raised there. I'd fly to Santiago and then train (Renfe) - Trainline EU show occasional discounted 2nd class train trips at around £20. ALSA show £17'ish. That second stretch of VdlP from Salamanca is fantastic....enjoy!
Just completed the Seaside Route from Porto to Santiago including the Spiritual Variation. The Seaside route was easier walking than the central one and well supplied with albergues. Lots of great seafood.