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Distance differences Gronze website/Wise Pilgrim Camino Norte

lt56ny

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#1
Hi all. I have been comparing the maps and distances on Gronze and Wise Pilgrim. Gronze has the basic maps with towns and distances. Wise Pilgrim gives you distances from one town to next in the book next to the names of the towns. There seems to be many discrepancies in distances. Sometimes Gronze shows longer distances between two points and sometimes Wise Pilgrim does. I don't know where they measure their points from. I know Brierley guides points are usually measured from the municipal albergues. Sometimes I look at many of these towns and their size and even if they have different starting points from towns, those towns are so small the distances shoudn't be as different as they are. I have also checked to make sure they are not different routes to take that can change distances. I am checking where the routes appear to be exactly the same. The differences of a few kilometers on short stages does not bother me. But when I see differences of 3 or 4k (once or twice it can be even more) I wonder which resource I should trust. I am 64 years old and i will start slowly and do about 18-20K a day. I know I can work into more based on being an experienced Pilgrim, but I really don't want 30K days if I can avoid it or back to back 27 or 28k days, especially early on with all the up and downs. Any guidance or any help from any of you out there would be greatly appreciated. Buen Camino to all!
 

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Saint Mike II

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#3
Hola @It56ny; congratulations. You have now actually read your guide book thoroughly. Now to answer your questions and here I will paraphrase St John Brierley where he mentions certain discrepancies & I think his response was it really depends upon where you are measuring from. In Brierley's case his starting point on day 2 is his stopping point (usually a named albergue) from day 1. I am not aware of which/what datum either of the above authors has used, so maybe a bit closer study is required.
As for walking 27 km on day 2 after 30 km on day 1, well may I respectfully suggest either do more training or do more route planning. Now to be a bit more polite after Pamplona unless time is critical do not worry about distances walked each day, stop whenever you feel you have walked far enough. Best wishes. Buen Camino.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#5
These days with GPS data and Google maps and the like, such differences are almost certainly down to different staring and stopping points within villages/towns

For the Primitivo in Galicia there is a difference of about 0.7km between the "official" stone markers and those from Wise Pilgrim up until Castroverde - but that is because Wise Pilgrim takes the complementary route as its base
 

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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#6
Distances change. I have walked three "official" routes out of Portomarin due to trail washouts and reconstruction. I am not even sure how I would know I had walked 17.3 km on a section that a book says is 17.1 km. Early guidebooks used a measuring wheel. Modern guidebooks use GPS or a map trace. Peter Robins old website was his tracking GPS tracing (you could see an occasional walkabout in a village on some).

As a practical matter, there will be two choices. Keep walking until you get where you want to be. Sit down and sulk because the guidebook is wrong. ;)
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#8
In my discussions with Michael (Wise Pilgrim guide author) he explained to me that he uses a GPS receiver mounted to his mountain bicycle. He follows established Camino trails and standardizes the distance at the steps of the church or town square, whichever is most located centrally at the destination.

This follows the standard for setting distances from Santiago. You may have noticed that smack in the center of Plaza Obradoiro there is a medallion set in an engraved plaque. If I recall correctly, it is a representation of a Compass Rose (but I might be conflating it with something else in the depths of my memory). Someone who is there can maybe corroborate this recollection. But it IS in the center of the plaza, of that I am certain.

Anyway, THIS is the 'official' log point for surveying or calculating distances from "Santiago." I do recall using the maps app on my iPhone to calculate the exact distance from that point in the plaza to my home in Florida. FYI, it happens to be 6,591 km. If I ever obtain a mojone / distance marker for my garden at home, THAT is what the engraved distance plaque will say.

Hope this helps. I rely on Michael to corroborate or correct what I said regarding his measurements in the Wise Pilgrim Guides.

NOTE: Last year, the previously held 'official' distance of 775 km from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago was amended to increase the distance to 799 km. No one moved anywhere. What changed is the METHOD for measurement.

Previous measuring was done with a rod and rope, or a surveyor's wheel. Both methods have significant built-in or human-induced errors. The current technique uses GPS positioning. It is infinitely more accurate.

I suggest that this might be the difference between Gronze and Wise distance accounting. The variation can be explained either by the tool used to calculate or measure distance, OR the beginning and end points for the subject measurement. I had learned that historical measurements from taken from the bottom of the church steps in each town or village. This discussion is an elaboration of that paradigm.

Hope this helps.
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
#9
I have not sat down and compared the distances as shown in various guides, but I doubt that in the long run they will amount to much, and that in the end the overs and unders will balance each other out. As others have stated, much depends on the actual start and stop points used in the calculations, and except perhaps for the larger cities, those points are likely not more than a few hundred meters apart. So if I happen to walk ten or fifteen minutes longer or shorter one day, will I really notice it when I get to Santiago?
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Aragones and Camino Frances (2018)
#10
So you’re saying that all the 100km pilgrims really don’t have to start in Sarria?!?!? (Okay okay, cheap shot and yes I know that Sarria is actually farther than 100km!). We actually stayed at a municipal albergue just before the 100 marker on the CF and thought it was hilarious that it was completely empty except us! Isabel the hospitalero says it’s often that way because no one likes staying “in the middle of nowhere”.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#11
Shhh! Dude!

If the secret gets out, expect some enterprising person to offer rides to the literal 100 km mojone or the nearest drivable location to it. During the summer, you could make a mint just ferrying tourigrinos from Sarria to that point.

If it were me (just sayin...), I think I would would use something cool, like a vintage Land Rover with 4x4 capability and bring folks to the actual 100 km mojone, or as close it is as I could get without running down walking pilgrims. I figure that convenience should be worth about €10 per head... Make a trip every hour, or less, from 07:00 to maybe 11:00, and you could siesta the rest of the day.

Damn! I just gave away another business idea for someone else to profit by.
 

Saint Mike II

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#13
Wow, you guys are awesome! If you read this, let me know how it was.
Hola @JollyStarfish , Welcome to the forum. Thanks for the responses, but if you think these are awesome! Hang around and you will see "how" the real experienced camino pilgrims respond and quickly. Cheers.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#14
Hola @It56ny; congratulations. You have now actually read your guide book thoroughly. Now to answer your questions and here I will paraphrase St John Brierley where he mentions certain discrepancies & I think his response was it really depends upon where you are measuring from. In Brierley's case his starting point on day 2 is his stopping point (usually a named albergue) from day 1. I am not aware of which/what datum either of the above authors has used, so maybe a bit closer study is required.
As for walking 27 km on day 2 after 30 km on day 1, well may I respectfully suggest either do more training or do more route planning. Now to be a bit more polite after Pamplona unless time is critical do not worry about distances walked each day, stop whenever you feel you have walked far enough. Best wishes. Buen Camino.
Thanks for your response. I mentioned in my original post that Brierley uses the municipal albergues or the church in small towns for his measurements. I know that. I think you misunderstood me about distances. This is my 4th Camino and I have walked over 3,500k so far, loving all of it. I know how to train my body to be ready and listen to my body. I am 64 years old and, I hope I am being clearer now is the following. I have added up the distances from the same points in both guides and there are times that the differences are as much as 3 or 4k and sometimes even a little more. Early on in the Camino Norte I am trying to keep my distances at about 20k. Later I know I can do more. I live in a very hot humid and tropical climate so I cannot walk a really long distances at home to prepare. But I can sufficiently train. I just want to know if it is possible to determine which guide Wise or Gronze may be a little more accurate in their distances.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#15
Distances change. I have walked three "official" routes out of Portomarin due to trail washouts and reconstruction. I am not even sure how I would know I had walked 17.3 km on a section that a book says is 17.1 km. Early guidebooks used a measuring wheel. Modern guidebooks use GPS or a map trace. Peter Robins old website was his tracking GPS tracing (you could see an occasional walkabout in a village on some).

As a practical matter, there will be two choices. Keep walking until you get where you want to be. Sit down and sulk because the guidebook is wrong. ;)
No sulking just walking thats all. Part of the pleasure is the pain! Ha ha and the camino is the only experience I have had where the harder it is and the longer you walk, instead of feeling more tired and down, as we often feel in life, we get stronger and stronger! That is a great feeling.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#17
In my discussions with Michael (Wise Pilgrim guide author) he explained to me that he uses a GPS receiver mounted to his mountain bicycle. He follows established Camino trails and standardizes the distance at the steps of the church or town square, whichever is most located centrally at the destination.

This follows the standard for setting distances from Santiago. You may have noticed that smack in the center of Plaza Obradoiro there is a medallion set in an engraved plaque. If I recall correctly, it is a representation of a Compass Rose (but I might be conflating it with something else in the depths of my memory). Someone who is there can maybe corroborate this recollection. But it IS in the center of the plaza, of that I am certain.

Anyway, THIS is the 'official' log point for surveying or calculating distances from "Santiago." I do recall using the maps app on my iPhone to calculate the exact distance from that point in the plaza to my home in Florida. FYI, it happens to be 6,591 km. If I ever obtain a mojone / distance marker for my garden at home, THAT is what the engraved distance plaque will say.

Hope this helps. I rely on Michael to corroborate or correct what I said regarding his measurements in the Wise Pilgrim Guides.

NOTE: Last year, the previously held 'official' distance of 775 km from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago was amended to increase the distance to 799 km. No one moved anywhere. What changed is the METHOD for measurement.

Previous measuring was done with a rod and rope, or a surveyor's wheel. Both methods have significant built-in or human-induced errors. The current technique uses GPS positioning. It is infinitely more accurate.

I suggest that this might be the difference between Gronze and Wise distance accounting. The variation can be explained either by the tool used to calculate or measure distance, OR the beginning and end points for the subject measurement. I had learned that historical measurements from taken from the bottom of the church steps in each town or village. This discussion is an elaboration of that paradigm.

Hope this helps.
Thanks for that in-depth answer that did help.
 

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