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December and January

Magnara

Maggie Ramsay
Time of past OR future Camino
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
Hi
I'm trying to work out when I can walk that fits in with time I can have off work. Ideal would be December and January. I am concerned that it will be snowing / raining and impossibly cold - is there any information on this? I have looked up the daily max and min temperatures but can't find anything descriptive. If December and January are crazy, what would be the earliest in the year that people would recommend (I prefer cool weather to hot weather)?
Magnara
 
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Hi and welcome Magnara!

The weather-question is tough one... in December and January you can be lucky and get 10-15c and sun (even at higher elevations) or you can get -5c and 30 cm of snow (at higher elevations in Galicia).

As a Norwegian that has been out in -35c, this is not too bad... but I guess it depends what you are used to.

There are pilgrims arriving in Santiago all year around, so it is not impossible. The number of pilgrims really pick up around March/April. I think this would be a perfect time to walk if you want to avoid the hot weather and the big-crowds of summer.

Anyone else with some tips for Magnara?

Un saludo,
Ivar
 
Winter Pilgrimage

She could contact Sue Kenny who did a pilgrimage in winter.
http://www.suekenney.ca

also, a pilgrim who loved the winter pilgrimage

jsty(at)uwtgc.org

The CSJ UK has a paper by Alison Raju on winter pilgrimage:

http://www.csj.org.uk/bull-arts/a-raju-art.htm

This is what they say about going in winter:

What about going in winter ?
If you are thinking of going in winter, remember that the meseta is on average 800m above sea level, and that the passes over the Pyrenees, the Montes de León and O Cebreiro on the Camino francés, and the passes of A Canda and Padornelo on the Via de la Plata all reach about 1,400m. It can be very cold, wet, and windy, and you can meet deep snow. Two pilgrims died when they were caught in blizzards during the crossing to Roncesvalles in January and April 2002. Accommodation may be less plentiful, since not all the refugios operate in the winter. Don't be altogether discouraged, but do be aware of the risks: click here for a description by one of our members of making the pilgrimage in winter, and for some sound practical advice.

We have more recently (late March 2005) heard an appalling story about two pilgrims who neglected local advice in St Jean Pied-de-Port and attempted to follow the Route Napoléon in snow. They very nearly died. We cannot emphasise too strongly: MOUNTAINS ARE DANGEROUS and LOCAL PEOPLE KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. Disregard their advice about weather conditions at your peril.
 
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Hi
I'm so pleased to have received a reply! Thank you. However I have tried to email to jsty@uwtgc.org and it comes back us undeliverable mail. Do you have any other email address for jsty? What I am reading makes me a bit concerned about the winter walk idea, but I would still like to find out more. Is there anywhere that I can get weather data for the last few years about predictable snow fall - like how deep, how often? I can find rain info but no snow info.
Many thanks
Magnara
 

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