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Overtaking étiquette.

Time of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018) Portuguese (2017) Via Francigena (2019). Del Norte (2020)
I've been hesitating about posting this thread. The risk of sounding like a cranky old so and so is too high, stirring up the community and getting nasty responses, (even in capitals) but here goes nothing.
Deep breath.
My wife and I have just finished the GR65, along with the short Via Francigena section through Switzerland, they are our fourth and fifth "Camino" walks, so we have a few kilometres under the boots now.
One of the continuing annoyances we seem to strike daily is the overtaking étiquette.
We have a policy, if somebody comes up behind us, we stop, say hello, smile, make a bit of small talk and (this is the important bit) pause, count to 30 as they move off, then continue on our way.
It's amazing how far somebody can get ahead in those 30 or so seconds.
Certainly far enough that we can all enjoy our walks in our own space.
The etiquette issue arises when we come up behind somebody, a group or single walkers, and they don't follow the same courtesy of letting us past.
The extra physical effort needed of passing through and getting a comfortable distance ahead can be surprisingly high.
On the recent GR65 we had multiple times when we would slowly slowly slowly catch up on a group or a couple of walkers only to finally join up and have to add in some quite difficult exertion to pass through and get a decent gap.
On the worst case scenario's, we ended up in a dreadful conga-line of walkers, everybody jostling for position on the path.
There's always going to be somebody walking faster or slower than you, so please, for everyone's sake, if someone comes up behind, show a bit of courtesy and let them through, smile, say hello, count to 30, then continue on.
If you do it half a dozen times a day it's only going to cost you a few minutes.
🙂
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
There's always going to be somebody walking faster or slower than you, so please, for everyone's sake, if someone comes up behind, show a bit of courtesy and let them through, smile, say hello, count to 30, then continue on.
If you do it half a dozen times a day it's only going to cost you a few minutes.
Really? I am going so slow these days that I'm happy to let everyone pass. But slowing down and stopping? Perhaps on a narrow stretch of path for a cyclist. I believe that the onus is on the person or persons overtaking to be courteous and offer a greeting, not the other way around. I might also match their speed for a short distance to chat briefly and then fall back, but I don't see why I should constantly interrupt the flow of my walk every time someone wants to pass. That's not courtesy in my book, and trying to suggest it is doesn't wash with me.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I get your point, but If I had to do this every time someone wanted to pass me, I’d never get anywhere.

I like to be alone when I walk, and I do occasionally pause to let others get further ahead. On the GR65, stopping to chat was easy enough given I could go all day without seeing many people, but on busier routes, there are too many people to chat with all of them.
 

Arctic_Alex

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Primitivo Sep 2022 (planned)
Overtaking étiquette? I never thought there could be such a thing. I can be an extremely fast walker and often just rush past folk when I am in a speed rush (which I am not always). If it happens that I am just marginally faster, then overtaking takes a bit longer, no problem for me. I do not expect anyone to pause to give me time to widen the gap.
However, at times when I am not in the mood for fast walking and someone just keeps the same distance say 10 metres behind me, then I either let him or her get closer and start conversation, or pause myself to let pass.
But we are all different so I guess there is no right or wrong.
 

Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Boy, I have to say that this really seems like a non-issue. As a cyclist, I have always tried to be extremely courteous when passing walkers. As a walker, however, if I’m going faster than someone in front of me, I have no expectation of them adjusting to my speed or my Camino. One of the things that I enjoy about walking is the pace that I establish. Fast or slow, it’s all mine! To consider stopping and counting to thirty every time I’m passed seems rather odd to put it gently. When I have passed folks or have been passed, typically, pleasantries are exchanged and sometimes even more extended conversations. Just enjoy The Way. Having such etiquette expectations only seems like it will increase your stress and no one else’s. There’s plenty of room for all of us all the Camino without thinking new rules are needed.
 
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Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I walk slow on the Camino by choice and on the uphills I am slower than molasses (not by choice) so I stop often to take lots of photos and catch my breath.
Even on flat terrain everyone passes me, and I seriously never pass anyone. If I am aware someone is catching up behind me, I am more than happy to move off to the side of the trail if it's narrow, I smile, and let them pass. But stand there and count to 30 each and every time before proceeding? Sorry, but I'm not doing that.
 

Tassie Kaz

Sempre Avanti
Time of past OR future Camino
2023?
I'm a fast walker (except up hills, then I definitely fall into the molasses category with @Camino Chrissy) so I'm always catching & passing people.
As I come up behind them, I give them a few seconds to register my presence. If they don't realise I'm there, or do realise & just don't make any attempt to allow an overtake, then a simple 'excuse me, may I please pass?' is all that is ever needed.
I don't expect them to adjust in any other way; allowing time for me to get ahead is entirely unnecessary as that will happen anyway because I'm faster!
Even if we don't share the same language, an animated hand gesture conveys the message. People are more than happy for me to overtake...who wants a steam train breathing down their necks?! 😆
As for the chit-chat, that should be voluntary & spontaneous rather than policy & procedure. 😉
Happy shared trails one & all!
👣🌏
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
As I come up behind them, I give them a few seconds to register my presence. If they don't realise I'm there, or do realise & just don't make any attempt to allow an overtake, then a simple 'excuse me, may I please pass?' is all that is ever needed.

I usually just say "Buen Camino" when I am close enough for the other person to hear me. I may slow down for a moment to say hello and ask how they are, but not always.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
I think that to desire to be polite in a situation in which one is uncomfortable can be seen as a minor virtue. There are many situations where travellers may find themselves not quite sure what to do, especially in a multi-cultural crowd. I seldom find myself in the situation described here, because I know what I need on pilgrim walks, so I generally choose to walk alone on the less busy routes, and often out of the busier seasons. But walking long distances on routes where many others are walking can be a strange experience for those just beginning to do so; narrow paths can bringing one into contact with too many others for personal comfort. I am with those who suggest a polite greeting, "Buen camino" may be best, as you do not know what language they speak. Then just walk around them and go on. If you wish, you can be open to other ways of managing such encounters, as you become more comfortable with the context.
 

Heidismith

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plan to walk August 2017
I've been hesitating about posting this thread. The risk of sounding like a cranky old so and so is too high, stirring up the community and getting nasty responses, (even in capitals) but here goes nothing.
Deep breath.
My wife and I have just finished the GR65, along with the short Via Francigena section through Switzerland, they are our fourth and fifth "Camino" walks, so we have a few kilometres under the boots now.
One of the continuing annoyances we seem to strike daily is the overtaking étiquette.
We have a policy, if somebody comes up behind us, we stop, say hello, smile, make a bit of small talk and (this is the important bit) pause, count to 30 as they move off, then continue on our way.
It's amazing how far somebody can get ahead in those 30 or so seconds.
Certainly far enough that we can all enjoy our walks in our own space.
The etiquette issue arises when we come up behind somebody, a group or single walkers, and they don't follow the same courtesy of letting us past.
The extra physical effort needed of passing through and getting a comfortable distance ahead can be surprisingly high.
On the recent GR65 we had multiple times when we would slowly slowly slowly catch up on a group or a couple of walkers only to finally join up and have to add in some quite difficult exertion to pass through and get a decent gap.
On the worst case scenario's, we ended up in a dreadful conga-line of walkers, everybody jostling for position on the path.
There's always going to be somebody walking faster or slower than you, so please, for everyone's sake, if someone comes up behind, show a bit of courtesy and let them through, smile, say hello, count to 30, then continue on.
If you do it half a dozen times a day it's only going to cost you a few minutes.
🙂
I agree completely. I am on my 3 rd Camino and have brought my 16 year old son with me. We have just been following your practice as this is what I found worked for me (and he just followed my example). The other day he was the one who commented on the fact that some walkers do not seem to do this. Also commenting on how this can meddle with your pace and rythm if you are trying to pass on an uneven ledge etc. So its not only “old so and so’s” who share your sentiment 😉👍
 

danielle aird

La vie est belle
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2018; September 2018; May 2019; Sept (2019)
I've been hesitating about posting this thread. The risk of sounding like a cranky old so and so is too high, stirring up the community and getting nasty responses, (even in capitals) but here goes nothing.
Deep breath.
My wife and I have just finished the GR65, along with the short Via Francigena section through Switzerland, they are our fourth and fifth "Camino" walks, so we have a few kilometres under the boots now.
One of the continuing annoyances we seem to strike daily is the overtaking étiquette.
We have a policy, if somebody comes up behind us, we stop, say hello, smile, make a bit of small talk and (this is the important bit) pause, count to 30 as they move off, then continue on our way.
It's amazing how far somebody can get ahead in those 30 or so seconds.
Certainly far enough that we can all enjoy our walks in our own space.
The etiquette issue arises when we come up behind somebody, a group or single walkers, and they don't follow the same courtesy of letting us past.
The extra physical effort needed of passing through and getting a comfortable distance ahead can be surprisingly high.
On the recent GR65 we had multiple times when we would slowly slowly slowly catch up on a group or a couple of walkers only to finally join up and have to add in some quite difficult exertion to pass through and get a decent gap.
On the worst case scenario's, we ended up in a dreadful conga-line of walkers, everybody jostling for position on the path.
There's always going to be somebody walking faster or slower than you, so please, for everyone's sake, if someone comes up behind, show a bit of courtesy and let them through, smile, say hello, count to 30, then continue on.
If you do it half a dozen times a day it's only going to cost you a few minutes.
🙂
I just say 'Excuse me' and I pass. Sometimes people don't see that there is someone behind...
 
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daveg6777

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francais
I've been hesitating about posting this thread. The risk of sounding like a cranky old so and so is too high, stirring up the community and getting nasty responses, (even in capitals) but here goes nothing.
Deep breath.
My wife and I have just finished the GR65, along with the short Via Francigena section through Switzerland, they are our fourth and fifth "Camino" walks, so we have a few kilometres under the boots now.
One of the continuing annoyances we seem to strike daily is the overtaking étiquette.
We have a policy, if somebody comes up behind us, we stop, say hello, smile, make a bit of small talk and (this is the important bit) pause, count to 30 as they move off, then continue on our way.
It's amazing how far somebody can get ahead in those 30 or so seconds.
Certainly far enough that we can all enjoy our walks in our own space.
The etiquette issue arises when we come up behind somebody, a group or single walkers, and they don't follow the same courtesy of letting us past.
The extra physical effort needed of passing through and getting a comfortable distance ahead can be surprisingly high.
On the recent GR65 we had multiple times when we would slowly slowly slowly catch up on a group or a couple of walkers only to finally join up and have to add in some quite difficult exertion to pass through and get a decent gap.
On the worst case scenario's, we ended up in a dreadful conga-line of walkers, everybody jostling for position on the path.
There's always going to be somebody walking faster or slower than you, so please, for everyone's sake, if someone comes up behind, show a bit of courtesy and let them through, smile, say hello, count to 30, then continue on.
If you do it half a dozen times a day it's only going to cost you a few minutes.
🙂
Per Shakespeare....Much Ado About Nothing
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Really? I am going so slow these days that I'm happy to let everyone pass. But slowing down and stopping? Perhaps on a narrow stretch of path for a cyclist. I believe that the onus is on the person or persons overtaking to be courteous and offer a greeting, not the other way around. I might also match their speed for a short distance to chat briefly and then fall back, but I don't see why I should constantly interrupt the flow of my walk every time someone wants to pass. That's not courtesy in my book, and trying to suggest it is doesn't wash with me.
I agree completely with you. I will always politely say perdoneme and (unless I know they are English speakers and say excuse me), Never have a problem and I continue my rhythm. If they don't respond I will sometimes touch their arm or shoulder and motion I want to pass. I will say my buen camino also. Unless someone tries to engage me in conversation which doesn't happen often I am on my way.
 

Anto

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2017 SJPDP to Pamplona
Hi,
I agree with most of the sentiment expressed here in that to stop ,count to 30 seems a very regimented way of doing things . If people want to pass out let them by if the path is too narrow to allow them to pass . The biggest issue I have noticed with some people (small number)is that they come up behind you ,you can hear them approach or see their shadow or whatever but rather than step outside you if the path is wide enough stay behind you in an intimidatory fashion hoping to force you to move to one side or the other as they don't want to break the line they are walking on . Sorry ,must be my stubborn way but I don't move in this scenario
 
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SabineP

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Sounds similar to the intimidating road rage experienced occasionally on the Interstate when traveling.🙄


Exactly! I must say that in the past I got very nervous and started to drive faster. Now I just keep my cool and keep to my speed. Really annoys the driver behind me. And then he overtakes me at a certain point, gaining only a couple of meters because at the next traffic light he is just in front of me. And then he has to wait of course because he can't overtake the garbage truck.

Sweet joy! ;)
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I've been both faster than everyone else, and slower than everyone else too. (and for avoidance of doubt, both of the everyones are quite literal)

It's not difficult - - when someone comes up behind you, just let them pass unless it's some weird narrow place where that's not feasible ; but if so, then do so at the first possible opportunity.

If you come up behind someone much slower and not making room for you, say nothing. Just wait for a wider place, and move on past.

Buen Caminos galore.
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
Exactly! I must say that in the past I got very nervous and started to drive faster. Now I just keep my cool and keep to my speed. Really annoys the driver behind me. And then he overtakes me at a certain point, gaining only a couple of metres because at the next traffic light he is just in front of me. And then he has to wait of course because he can't overtake the garbage truck.

Sweet joy! ;)
I could have written your post myself, but I still get nervous. I always keep to my speed, but if I can get out of their way I do, and breathe a sigh of relief when they wiz on by.
With your new E-bike, you may experience fewer road rage encounters.😃
 

Sheesh

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2009, 2013, (2022)
... I will always politely say perdoneme and (unless I know they are English speakers and say excuse me), Never have a problem and I continue my rhythm. If they don't respond I will sometimes touch their arm or shoulder and motion I want to pass...
Oh dear, I got a rush of unpleasant adrenaline just reading that. Please don't tap on the arm or shoulder if you want to pass. Touching someone else, especially when they don't see it coming, is likely to produce a fear response in many, and an anger response in most of the rest.
 
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Harland2019

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF April/May 2019, CF May 2022
As a slow solo walker then I can hear anyone coming especially as I don't have any earphones (if that is what they are called) stopping me from hearing the birds/nature. I will take pleasure in stepping to the side to let someone pass normally with a Buen Camino, a Hi, or just a raise of my hand in acknowledgment - they are happy and so am I. In the unusual situation where I am walking faster than the person in front, I will stay a reasonable distance behind until I can see a place ahead where it is possible to pass without inconveniencing the other person. If I stopped and counted to 30 I may cease up and never get going again!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
As a slow solo walker then I can hear anyone coming especially as I don't have any earphones (if that is what they are called) stopping me from hearing the birds/nature. I will take pleasure in stepping to the side to let someone pass normally with a Buen Camino, a Hi, or just a raise of my hand in acknowledgment - they are happy and so am I. In the unusual situation where I am walking faster than the person in front, I will stay a reasonable distance behind until I can see a place ahead where it is possible to pass without inconveniencing the other person. If I stopped and counted to 30 I may cease up and never get going again!
You sound like a real gentleman.
I hear ya on the "ceasing up"! The times I take a needed little break to sit with some chocolate, I am always surprised when I get back up that I often feel stiff until the chocolate kicks in.😅
 

Pilgrim1960

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/Frances 2021
Future- del Norte 2022
I think any slow walker should be shamed completely, asked to leave the path, drop the compostella, and return to the country they came from. Fast walkers deserve the same fate and everyone should go at my rate and there should not be any problems. 😜

I remember watching an old Candid Camera skit- this was a US based show where a situation was created to see how unsuspecting people would react. At the end of the skit and after perhaps some embarrassment, the host would say 'smile you are on candid camera'. In one skit, a store told customers that they got tired of giving out change and would only return bills thereby short changing customers. One fellow walks up to a counter, buys something and it told the story. He cheerfully turns around and starts walking out. The host runs after him and says, Sir you have just been short changed and are you not upset about this? To which the man replied, Look I decided long ago that no one was going to rent space in my brain! Good advise I think!!
Buen Camino
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Oh dear, I got a rush of unpleasant adrenaline just reading that. Please don't tap on the arm or shoulder if you want to pass. Touching someone else, especially when they don't see it coming, is likely to produce a fear response in many, and an anger response in most of the rest.
I have never had an angry response but when you call out and the person doesn't respond especially listening to music I have no choice. I have never ONCE had anything negative occur. That is y experience.
 

Sheesh

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2009, 2013, (2022)
I have never had an angry response but when you call out and the person doesn't respond especially listening to music I have no choice. I have never ONCE had anything negative occur. That is y experience.
Well thankfully I've not experienced such insensitive behavior on the trail and I'm more than happy to step aside if I hear someone behind me. But that is not always the case. And since I do walk with poles, be it on the shoulder tapper's head if my visceral reaction is to swing one in their direction.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
I can honestly say on over 180 days on the Camino this particular thing is something I have never given any thought to, and I cannot remember a single occasion of passing people, having people pass me and how it was done or any of the particulars of it. I suppose that's because I find it that unimportant when walking the Camino. Also while there are narrow sections of the path, for the most part it's all wide enough for passing. I simply pass and whilst doing so say good morning or buen Camino or similar.
I've never been aggravated or bothered by slow walkers, or even fast walkers. Jesus, why would I be? I could care less what someone else's walking pace was.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
As we tend to walk remote routes this hasn't been much of a problem. We've had nice experiences when a bicyclist will stop and chat with us as they pass, usually because of the novelty of finding some one else out in the wilderness.

But have had a couple of odd times, typically in the last 100km. Passing large groups is almost impossible, they block the path and a conga line develops. If you are lucky the path will widen or they will take a break, otherwise it might be time for you to take a rest and try again later. The worst are morning starts when some stranger decides to tag along with you as they don't have a guide book / torch / water bottle and keep asking you to slow down, or carry their pack for them. I don't mind helping a fellow walker out and have carried an injured pilgrim into town, but I am at a bit of a loss as to how to politely handle someone who has decided to make you their tour guide / porter.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
I've been hesitating about posting this thread. The risk of sounding like a cranky old so and so is too high, stirring up the community and getting nasty responses, (even in capitals) but here goes nothing.
Deep breath.
My wife and I have just finished the GR65, along with the short Via Francigena section through Switzerland, they are our fourth and fifth "Camino" walks, so we have a few kilometres under the boots now.
One of the continuing annoyances we seem to strike daily is the overtaking étiquette.
We have a policy, if somebody comes up behind us, we stop, say hello, smile, make a bit of small talk and (this is the important bit) pause, count to 30 as they move off, then continue on our way.
It's amazing how far somebody can get ahead in those 30 or so seconds.
Certainly far enough that we can all enjoy our walks in our own space.
The etiquette issue arises when we come up behind somebody, a group or single walkers, and they don't follow the same courtesy of letting us past.
The extra physical effort needed of passing through and getting a comfortable distance ahead can be surprisingly high.
On the recent GR65 we had multiple times when we would slowly slowly slowly catch up on a group or a couple of walkers only to finally join up and have to add in some quite difficult exertion to pass through and get a decent gap.
On the worst case scenario's, we ended up in a dreadful conga-line of walkers, everybody jostling for position on the path.
There's always going to be somebody walking faster or slower than you, so please, for everyone's sake, if someone comes up behind, show a bit of courtesy and let them through, smile, say hello, count to 30, then continue on.
If you do it half a dozen times a day it's only going to cost you a few minutes.
🙂

I’m counting to 31 with neither smile or chit chat.

Too many variables.

Vaya con Dios.

And, buen camino.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Too many variables.
Yes. Every time the passing situation arises, one needs to do a lot of calculation and analysis - comparing the different speeds, the incline, the energy I have for accelerating, what language will they speak, have I met them before, will they want to talk, do I feel like talking, how long should eye contact be, etc. Every case requires a slightly different response. This social dance is part of the entertainment/challenge of the Camino - at least the Camino Frances!
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
This social dance is part of the entertainment/challenge of the Camino - at least the Camino Frances!
Indeed, and it was similar for me on the CP this year.

As an aside on annoying overtaking practices there are those that must make some massive effort to speed up and pass, only to run out of puff and slow down as soon as they have got a little way ahead, and block the path as they now are going slower than I am.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
s an aside on annoying overtaking practices there are those that must make some massive effort to speed up and pass, only to run out of puff and slow down as soon as they have got a little way ahead, and block the path as they now are going slower than I am.
Yes, that must be factored into the original calculation, and updated as the plan is implemented :D !
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
It's not difficult - - when someone comes up behind you, just let them pass unless it's some weird narrow place where that's not feasible ; but if so, then do so at the first possible opportunity.
@JabbaPapa, absolutely agree with this. I find this to be the 'standard practice' for bushwalking and other walking activities I participate in. The very notion that the OP seems to want to reverse these well established practices to give priority to faster walkers seems most strange.
 

izabella_m67

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Past CF and future Norte
I've been hesitating about posting this thread. The risk of sounding like a cranky old so and so is too high, stirring up the community and getting nasty responses, (even in capitals) but here goes nothing.
Deep breath.
My wife and I have just finished the GR65, along with the short Via Francigena section through Switzerland, they are our fourth and fifth "Camino" walks, so we have a few kilometres under the boots now.
One of the continuing annoyances we seem to strike daily is the overtaking étiquette.
We have a policy, if somebody comes up behind us, we stop, say hello, smile, make a bit of small talk and (this is the important bit) pause, count to 30 as they move off, then continue on our way.
It's amazing how far somebody can get ahead in those 30 or so seconds.
Certainly far enough that we can all enjoy our walks in our own space.
The etiquette issue arises when we come up behind somebody, a group or single walkers, and they don't follow the same courtesy of letting us past.
The extra physical effort needed of passing through and getting a comfortable distance ahead can be surprisingly high.
On the recent GR65 we had multiple times when we would slowly slowly slowly catch up on a group or a couple of walkers only to finally join up and have to add in some quite difficult exertion to pass through and get a decent gap.
On the worst case scenario's, we ended up in a dreadful conga-line of walkers, everybody jostling for position on the path.
There's always going to be somebody walking faster or slower than you, so please, for everyone's sake, if someone comes up behind, show a bit of courtesy and let them through, smile, say hello, count to 30, then continue on.
If you do it half a dozen times a day it's only going to cost you a few minutes.
🙂
I somewhat agree with you. However, I will always shift over to the right or left (depending) to let the person pass. I can hear when someone is behind me, unlike some other people. I don’t use headphones as thats not safe, need to be alert. I won’t stop to chitchat as that would slow me down, but will just say “Buen Camino”. It is extremely frustrating when people pretend not to hear another person behind. I am a fast walker myself. Once I came upon a group of few people who refused to move over even after saying Buen Camino , etc ( said excuse me in Spanish, German, English , etc) they just turned to me and ignored and glared. That wasn’t the only time. I am trying to understand what the deal is with some people? Is it competition, is it jealousy or just pure mean? Or is it that some people come from culture that doesn’t emphasize manners and good will. In the end we are all walking towards Santiago, why not just be kind to one another.🥰
 

longwayhome

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
SJpdP to Santiago ( Sept-Oct 2018)
It's an interesting thought and thank you for raising it as I had not given this consideration till now. What do I do? Well I am often the over taker and I excuse myself and pass and do try and put a little distance between us by moving quickly ahead. But if I am being overtaken I voluntarily and unconsciously slow down a little to allow the overtaker to pull ahead, not as point of etiquette, not because I don't want to chat but rather to preserve a sort of comfort zone of personal walking space. I usually smile and mumble something in passing and in being passed. Overall it just works well.
 
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Richard Smith

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016
Kumano Kodo 2014
We have a policy, if somebody comes up behind us, we stop, say hello, smile, make a bit of small talk and (this is the important bit) pause, count to 30 as they move off, then continue on our way.
This is what I was taught for bushwalking on narrow tracks, it just makes it easier for everyone.
Also when meeting some coming in the opposite direction on a steep, narrow track - give precedence to the one going up hill (usually both are carrying heavy packs).
 
Time of past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
I finally got curious about this thread. It led me to look up etiquette when walking. There are many websites covering the topic, in many locations globally. I am glad to have incidentally found some outdoor shops in other parts of the country where I live, so either online or in person visits are ahead! I learned nothing new on the question of suggestions for good behaviour while out walking, but it is no harm to review them from time to time.
 

Lydia Gillen

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007/8/9, 2011 , 2012/13/14. C.F 2015
Camino Portugues 2017,2018,2019
volunteering
I often laugh as I claim to be 'the most past by pilgrim' on the Camino. I cannot go any faster than I can go, and year on year that is getting slower. However when I get into a rhythm, a bit like the pendulum of an old clock I don't like to have to stop , because I find it hard to get going again, so I tend to move to the left and take baby steps so the someone can pass me by. I greet everyone who passes me with 'Buen Camino'. If they answer that is really nice. If they don't, well may God Bless them anyway.

I remember a day in 2008 struggling up the Alto de Perdon., and every single person passed me and greeted me and I replied, except for one young man. When I reached the top he was there resting. I walked over to him and having greeted him, explained to him gently that it was the custom on the Camino to greet other pilgrims. I often wondered if he changed. I would not have the energy to do that now-a-days.

Also it seems that now-a-days many do not greet one another. Is it the rise of the 'It's my Camino' attitude that has changed things??. We used to think of ourselves as just one of the millions of pilgrims who have walked this Camino throughout the centuries. We did not have attitudes of entitlement.

Buen Camino to all who are planning to walk the Camino to Santiago this year.
 

Tony Lenton

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles (2018)
Camino Frances ( from Ponferrada 2019)
I've been hesitating about posting this thread. The risk of sounding like a cranky old so and so is too high, stirring up the community and getting nasty responses, (even in capitals) but here goes nothing.
Deep breath.
My wife and I have just finished the GR65, along with the short Via Francigena section through Switzerland, they are our fourth and fifth "Camino" walks, so we have a few kilometres under the boots now.
One of the continuing annoyances we seem to strike daily is the overtaking étiquette.
We have a policy, if somebody comes up behind us, we stop, say hello, smile, make a bit of small talk and (this is the important bit) pause, count to 30 as they move off, then continue on our way.
It's amazing how far somebody can get ahead in those 30 or so seconds.
Certainly far enough that we can all enjoy our walks in our own space.
The etiquette issue arises when we come up behind somebody, a group or single walkers, and they don't follow the same courtesy of letting us past.
The extra physical effort needed of passing through and getting a comfortable distance ahead can be surprisingly high.
On the recent GR65 we had multiple times when we would slowly slowly slowly catch up on a group or a couple of walkers only to finally join up and have to add in some quite difficult exertion to pass through and get a decent gap.
On the worst case scenario's, we ended up in a dreadful conga-line of walkers, everybody jostling for position on the path.
There's always going to be somebody walking faster or slower than you, so please, for everyone's sake, if someone comes up behind, show a bit of courtesy and let them through, smile, say hello, count to 30, then continue on.
If you do it half a dozen times a day it's only going to cost you a few minutes.
🙂
You sound like a very kind and considerate person to give so much thought to the well- being of others. Although I’m 70 I’m a pretty fast walker and don’t like people close to me when walking. Usually I just pass them with a greeting but sometimes we hit it off and May walk together some distance. The same applies when people pass me.
The most embarrassing thing is when, after, say, 20 minutes of pleasant chat I then want to speed up. I usually just excuse my haste and then speed up. Sometimes you meet that person again but you often never do.
I think the main thing when our walking is to say some kind of greeting to everyone you meet.
 

Arctic_Alex

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Primitivo Sep 2022 (planned)
As we tend to walk remote routes this hasn't been much of a problem. We've had nice experiences when a bicyclist will stop and chat with us as they pass, usually because of the novelty of finding some one else out in the wilderness.

But have had a couple of odd times, typically in the last 100km. Passing large groups is almost impossible, they block the path and a conga line develops. If you are lucky the path will widen or they will take a break, otherwise it might be time for you to take a rest and try again later. The worst are morning starts when some stranger decides to tag along with you as they don't have a guide book / torch / water bottle and keep asking you to slow down, or carry their pack for them. I don't mind helping a fellow walker out and have carried an injured pilgrim into town, but I am at a bit of a loss as to how to politely handle someone who has decided to make you their tour guide / porter.
I totally agree on that problem on the last 100 ... or in my case more the last 50 when really large crowds kick in. Especially schoolchildren and the like and it simply congests as often in these larger groups people walk "broad", e.g. 4 or 5 people side by side and several rows deep in formation ... and hence blocking the whole path. That even I thought annoying as these groups are often loud, play music and walk slowly. Squeezing past them always feels like an intrusion into their group.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
I solved the problem of the last 100 km for myself when I discovered the Invierno: an alternate route leading from Ponferrada to Santiago. It is somewhat longer than the direct route from Ponferrada, but avoids the difficulties of walking to Santiago with the crowds after Sarria by leaving the Frances well before arrival in Sarria. I plan on walking it again this year.
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I solved the problem of the last 100 km for myself when I discovered the Invierno: an alternate route leading from Ponferrada to Santiago.
I'm fairly sure that I will not walk the Camino Frances from SJPDP again - too busy for my tastes these days. But I have sometimes thought about starting from Somport, joining the Frances at Puente la Reina and then finishing on the Invierno. Maybe later this year.
 

Kev&Kath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Oct/Dec 2021
VdlP - Apr/Jun 2023
I solved the problem of the last 100 km for myself when I discovered the Invierno: an alternate route leading from Ponferrada to Santiago. It is somewhat longer than the direct route from Ponferrada, but avoids the difficulties of walking to Santiago with the crowds after Sarria by leaving the Frances well before arrival in Sarria. I plan on walking it again this year.
Funny you should mention that Albertagirl. I was only just having a look at Brierley's guide for both the Camino Sanabres and Camino Invierno (both addressed in the same guide). I purchased hoping he would cover the Sanabres from Granja de Moreruela, but his guide picks it up in Ourense. However, he gives very detailed coverage of the Invierno route...which looks very interesting, and would certainly appeal to those wanting something different on their approach to Santiago. Good luck with your walk this year. Buen Camino!
 

Kmvreter

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
August 2022
I have never had an angry response but when you call out and the person doesn't respond especially listening to music I have no choice. I have never ONCE had anything negative occur. That is y experience.
My 2 cents.
You have the choice to patiently hang back and wait to time your pass at the next available place.
Nothing negative... yet. Times are changing. I would never touch someone unbeknownst to them.
 
Last edited:

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
You have the choice to patiently hang back and wait to time your pass at the next available place.
This is the bushwalking practice I am familiar with for narrow tracks, where you wait behind to allow the group in front to reach a place where that track widens enough for them to move aside. This practice is consistent with preserving the natural environment, in this case, by not widening a track by moving off it onto what might be sensitive vegetation. There are a few places on the various caminos that I have walked that might be that narrow. So while it is an option to hang back from time to time, it seems to me that most of the time there was ample room for me to move to one side of the path to let others pass without stopping.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 CF
After 12 years of walking Caminos I have found this a non-issue. I walk faster than most and I've always found that pilgrims step aside when they hear me coming from behind. If they don't hear me then I just say pardon or buenos días.
Absolutely! If I walk faster than people in front of me they usually step aside and I do the exact same if someone is coming faster behind me. I don’t understand the problem 🤨 As someone said earlier ‘much ado about nothing’ 😉
 

pinaxi

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Mozarabe
I'm so glad to learn that I'm not the only one to observe an overtaking ritual. I like to wait ten seconds and then shout "Hey. I think you dropped something." It prolongs the interaction in such a delightful way.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
but I am at a bit of a loss as to how to politely handle someone who has decided to make you their tour guide / porter.
I tell them, with a smile on my face, that I need to walk alone. If they persist, I stop walking, give them my undivided attention until they shut up, and repeat, ‘I need to walk alone’.

Has anyone else noted that our OP hasn’t been back?
 
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John Crawford Howell

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
The Camino was a solo enterprise for me. Purposely. Had I a companion, I would have been sensitive to that person's rhythms. I wanted the ability to leave when I wished, stop where I wished, travel at the pace I wished. In essence, callous though it may seem, I wanted the freedom to compose and indulge in my own song. I was in no hurry to finish the Camino. My goal was, simply, to finish it. I was happy to have people pass me; I enjoyed the brief exchanges that took place as they did. When I paused for a Zumo de Naranja I would see some of the folks who passed me and easy conversation would abide. Otherwise, I moved along the trail not with earbuds (never!), but just the music in my mind. Passages.
 

Shazenalan

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2018
An interesting topic - we just finished our 2nd CF. As on the road when I drive, I would not pull over just because the car behind wants to get past. On narrow paths it seems courteous to adjust my pace to circumstances - that means dropping back to a slower pace until the path is wide enough to walk past comfortably. We encountered someone on a narrow stretch who actually banged his walking poles on the ground to ‘demand’ space to overtake on a very narrow stretch. For me - part of Camino is accepting what lies ahead of us on the path…..surely that applies to being courteous to others too? 🤔👣😊
 

Paula TO

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF Sarria to SdC 2018
Finisterre/Muxia 2019
Ingles 2020
CF SJPdP to SdC 2021
My husband and I are very speedy walkers. It’s just our natural pace, so we often would pass by people, then we would stop for breaks, take photos etc, and they would pass us, then we would pass them again. It was always friendly, although I think some people secretly rolled their eyes at us because of our pace. Often people see that as our need to be faster, they think “It’s not a race”that we should stop and smell the roses. And we do stop, but we just happen to walk pretty quickly both on the Camino and here at home.

When we approached people to overtake them, we usually said “Hola, Bonjour, Hello” and wished them a Buen Camino as we passed. If we knew their nationality, then we often would try to say hello in their language.

If we happened to be walking slowly (particularly on our back to back 40 km days…ugh!) and people wanted to pass, we didn’t stop, just usually moved to one side.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
As on the road when I drive, I would not pull over just because the car behind wants to get past
Where I live you are expected and even required to pull over if you are driving slow and holding up traffic.

We encountered someone on a narrow stretch who actually banged his walking poles on the ground to ‘demand’ space to overtake on a very narrow stretch. For me - part of Camino is accepting what lies ahead of us on the path…..surely that applies to being courteous to others too?

The pole banging does sound rude, but courtesy does go both ways.
 
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If there is a shoulder to pull over on. I prefer to let vehicles pass if at all possible and it is not a compromising, dangerous situation.
Lol this is really getting off track but like a lot of threads just comes down to basic courtesy. What about those cyclists ?🤣
 

Shazenalan

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2018
Where I live you are expected and even required to pull over if you are driving slow and holding up traffic.



The pole banging does sound rude, but courtesy does go both ways.
Good points - I guess that would lead to having to define ‘slow’ on the path. We walk about 3mph on flat ground, about 2 mph uphill. In the situation I described we had already moved over to allow the couple to pass us once, they then stopped to take pictures, then caught up with us again on a narrow path with a steep drop to one side. This was the stick-banging stretch - but we continued at our 3mph pace until there was a safe space to pass. To stretch the analogy further - and with tongue partly in cheek - on our roads this tailgating behaviour is illegal. 🤔🤭😂
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
Lol this is really getting off track but like a lot of threads just comes down to basic courtesy. What about those cyclists ?🤣
I ring my bell, I loudly say “bicycle, bicicleta,” slow down to their speed, and slowly creep past them—and they jump as if I was a roadside bomb. Walking, I have never had any problem passing or being passed by cyclist or walker.

Only once have I encountered actual rudeness. That was a group of Italians side by side, enough of them for their row to go the full width of the path (which happened to be car width at that place). I was biking the other way, so it was obvious that they knew I was there but did not intend to make a gap. I stopped and waited until they were forced to make a gap to get past me. Refrained from saying anything. Maybe I should have (I’m A1 in Italian).
 
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Basso

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2021
The extra physical effort needed of passing through and getting a comfortable distance ahead can be surprisingly high.
Hi. You certainly know that everyone is different; for me, I have much more of a difficult time slowing down/stopping, then trying to regain my cadence thereafter--due to my age (64), asthma, bad knee, (carrying 10kg) etc., etc. Still, yesterday I did 21.1km in 2hr 51min (and 27 seconds!). When I do the same distance--adding elevation (650+ m), it takes (me) about 3 1/2 hours. I'm a VERY sociable person, but regularly pausing would be detrimental (to me).
IF you (or anyone else) would like a primer on 'patience to the nth degree', try getting stuck waiting for your one chance to summit Everest!
Buen camino!
 

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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Good points - I guess that would lead to having to define ‘slow’ on the path. We walk about 3mph on flat ground, about 2 mph uphill. In the situation I described we had already moved over to allow the couple to pass us once, they then stopped to take pictures, then caught up with us again on a narrow path with a steep drop to one side. This was the stick-banging stretch - but we continued at our 3mph pace until there was a safe space to pass. To stretch the analogy further - and with tongue partly in cheek - on our roads this tailgating behaviour is illegal. 🤔🤭😂
3 mph is definitely not a slow Camino pace. Those pilgrims sound annoying.
 

StuartM

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
I walk at a reasonable pace, a steady 5km/h over most terrain. It's fast enough that I'll do a lot of overtaking but there's still people faster than me. Unless the path physically doesn't allow passing then I wouldn't expect anyone to stop for me and especially not to stop to allow me to put distance between me and them unless they were the ones wanting the distance. And vice versa.

If it's a narrow path then a simple excuse me or por favor and a thank-you/gracias always seems to work, maybe a little small talk, maybe not.

I don't think it's fair to expect to have the perfect spacing of walkers along a route or for other walkers to adapt to what you think is the right way to do it. If you want to go past then go past, I'm not going to get in your way but I'm not stopping just so someone else can maintain what they define is the "right" distance between them and me. Your walk is your responsibility, it's not for other people to adapt to it. I'd feel awkward and a bit selfish if every person I passed thought they had to stop for 30 seconds. I'd feel a bit annoyed if I had to stop for 30 seconds every time someone passed me.
 

Shazenalan

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2018
I ring my bell, I loudly say “bicycle, bicicleta,” slow down to their speed, and slowly creep past them—and they jump as if I was a roadside bomb. Walking, I have never had any problem passing or being passed by cyclist or walker.

Only once have I encountered actual rudeness. That was a group of Italians side by side, enough of them for their row to go the full width of the path (which happened to be car width at that place). I was biking the other way, so it was obvious that they knew I was there but did not intend to make a gap. I stopped and waited until they were forced to make a gap to get past me. Refrained from saying anything. Maybe I should have (I’m A1 in Italian).
I am one of those who jumps out of my skin - most people over 50 have a degree of hearing loss - many wear hearing aids. The high notes, like bells, are generally lost first. Ears are not well designed to pickup sound from behind - often I have heard ‘something’ but by the time I look around the bike is right behind Me - I often wonder if some cyclists think a bell is a walker teleport mechanism…. it takes time to register the sound, understand what it is, and then to move. In that time most cuclists have caught up…. and so it goes on. 🫣😃👣👣😂
 

John Crawford Howell

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
I understand many folks have a limited amount of time to dedicate to their pilgrimage and, therefore, must travel at a certain pace. I have the advantage of time. I think of the Camino—and by extension, Spain—as a friend I haven't been with in a long while and there's some catching up to do. I touch the walls of ancient castles, fortresses, and cathedrals, and feel the reach of the centuries pass through me. I pause to anticipate the cuckoo's call; lie in a grassy field and gaze at white clouds drifting by; wait until I see a trout in the stream below before crossing the bridge to the other side. Each day's ultimate reward is the welcoming voices, kind eyes, and smiles from the heart of my hosts and the warm embrazos the next morning on departure. I share these sentiments because after a long corporate career, I can now choose the roses I want to smell and stop to enjoy them. I realize how fortunate I am. May we all one day be free to wander slowly and savor each bloom as a rendezvous with an old friend.
 
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Kmvreter

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
August 2022
I ring my bell, I loudly say “bicycle, bicicleta,” slow down to their speed, and slowly creep past them—and they jump as if I was a roadside bomb. Walking, I have never had any problem passing or being passed by cyclist or walker.

Only once have I encountered actual rudeness. That was a group of Italians side by side, enough of them for their row to go the full width of the path (which happened to be car width at that place). I was biking the other way, so it was obvious that they knew I was there but did not intend to make a gap. I stopped and waited until they were forced to make a gap to get past me. Refrained from saying anything. Maybe I should have (I’m A1 in Italian).

You are one of the rare cyclists who has a bell or actually slows down. Thank you.
The absence of such a useful and inexpensive safety device is glaringly apparent to us as we are currently on the CF.
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
You are one of the rare cyclists who has a bell or actually slows down. Thank you.
The absence of such a useful and inexpensive safety device is glaringly apparent to us as we are currently on the CF.
I've also (when walking) been passed by many cyclists. Maybe half give warning. The other half, it's (usually) where the path is wide enough for them to pass some distance away.
 

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