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Camino Frances - travel during mid October questions

Camino(s) past & future
October (2016)
#1
Hi. I'm in the pre-planning stage and have several questions regarding the Camino. I realize October is not the busiest time and while I'll appreciate the lack of excess traffic I do not wish to be in complete solitude.
Is it safe for a middle aged woman to travel alone in October? What can I expect along the way as far as other pilgrims? Thanks.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#2
I went late October to early December.

There were several women at all ages traveling alone.

The crowd thinned out in Burgos after a couple of frosty mornings in mid November. The numbers went up again after Sarria.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#3
Is it safe for a middle aged woman to travel alone in October? What can I expect along the way as far as other pilgrims?
I have walked 3 times in October-November. At 68, I am no longer "middle aged"! I consider late fall to be an excellent time to walk, and I recommend it without any reservations about safety, solitude or weather.

If you type "October" into the Search box at the top right of your screen, you will find lots of information! To read about the many people who are planning to walk in Sept-Oct 2016, look at this thread. Here is some discussion of November.

Be sure to read about the experiences of @mspath , who responded to your post on the other thread.

This webpage has statistics on pilgrims arriving at the Office in Santiago. If you look at the arrivals in November 2015 (assuming that those people started walking in October), you'll see that 5229 pilgrims arrived in Santiago, of whom 40% were women and 14% were over 60 years old. I was one of them :).

You need to be prepared for any weather from hot and sunny to cold, wet and even snowy. That means several thin layers, gloves, good rain gear, and a sleeping bag if you are planning to stay in albergues. To be safe from any unusually wintery weather, be sure to heed advice of the hospitaleros, and don't walk in bad conditions. I never encountered any dangerous weather, but I did encounter a bit of snow in late November.

There will be plenty of other pilgrims on the way. However, since I tended to leave a bit later than most people, I was often alone on the path towards the end of November. If you don't like that, just be sure to leave at first light with everyone else. If you want to be sure to meet up with people, stay in the popular albergues. Starting in mid-October, some albergues close for the winter, particularly in the smallest villages. You should be aware of this possibility as you plan your route each day. Orisson, 8 km from SJPP, usually closes in mid-October.

Safety for women walking alone? It is at least as safe as most of the things we normally do. I walk with exactly the same cautions in Spain as I do in a park in my home town, even though crime is probably lower in Spain. The camino is not magically immune from the bad stuff that happens everywhere, but relatively speaking it is very safe!

So, carry on planning!
 
Camino(s) past & future
October (2016)
#4
I have walked 3 times in October-November. At 68, I am no longer "middle aged"! I consider late fall to be an excellent time to walk, and I recommend it without any reservations about safety, solitude or weather.

If you type "October" into the Search box at the top right of your screen, you will find lots of information! To read about the many people who are planning to walk in Sept-Oct 2016, look at this thread. Here is some discussion of November.

Be sure to read about the experiences of @mspath , who responded to your post on the other thread.

This webpage has statistics on pilgrims arriving at the Office in Santiago. If you look at the arrivals in November 2015 (assuming that those people started walking in October), you'll see that 5229 pilgrims arrived in Santiago, of whom 40% were women and 14% were over 60 years old. I was one of them :).

You need to be prepared for any weather from hot and sunny to cold, wet and even snowy. That means several thin layers, gloves, good rain gear, and a sleeping bag if you are planning to stay in albergues. To be safe from any unusually wintery weather, be sure to heed advice of the hospitaleros, and don't walk in bad conditions. I never encountered any dangerous weather, but I did encounter a bit of snow in late November.

There will be plenty of other pilgrims on the way. However, since I tended to leave a bit later than most people, I was often alone on the path towards the end of November. If you don't like that, just be sure to leave at first light with everyone else. If you want to be sure to meet up with people, stay in the popular albergues. Starting in mid-October, some albergues close for the winter, particularly in the smallest villages. You should be aware of this possibility as you plan your route each day. Orisson, 8 km from SJPP, usually closes in mid-October.

Safety for women walking alone? It is at least as safe as most of the things we normally do. I walk with exactly the same cautions in Spain as I do in a park in my home town, even though crime is probably lower in Spain. The camino is not magically immune from the bad stuff that happens everywhere, but relatively speaking it is very safe!

So, carry on planning!
C.Clearly - thank you so much for the information and for the advice. Congratulations for having completed your pilgrimage. I hope to join your ranks soon. I will most definitely read the response to my other post. Love the name C-Clearly. I'll be checking in and posting all kinds of newbie questions.
I went late October to early December.

There were several women at all ages traveling alone.

The crowd thinned out in Burgos after a couple of frosty mornings in mid November. The numbers went up again after Sarria.
Thanks - I'm starting to get some good responses about the being alone thing. I appreciate it.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#5
I walked the Camino Frances in 2014 and whilst I was technically walking alone, it was rare not to have/see another pilgrims close-by. Regarding closing down albergues, keep an eye on http://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/ which is updated regularly by volunteers that live on the way.
October/November 2014 the weather was very nice for the first part and then rainy-cold with even some snow starting just before O Cebreiro/Galicia.
Buen Camino, SY
 

PEI_Heather

Canadian Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 - Voie de la Nive
2012, 2016 - Frances
2013 - Portuguese
2012, 2013 - Finesterre & Muxia
#7
You'll start off by yourself but will never be alone, unless you want to be. There are lots of people walking, but the crowds have thinned by October. There is (great) company and companionship, if you want it, yet space enough for you to walk alone with your thoughts. I've only walked in Oct/Nov, partly by choice, partly due to happenstance! I've never felt at odds or unsafe (when walking solo, though I met up with people and walked with them often)!
 

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