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There is no such thing as bad weather...

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I recently walked the Augustine Camino over seven days, starting on 14th Dec. So a late autumn walk with the weather conditions that one might expect at this time of year. Preparing for that on the other side of the world in a different hemisphere was interesting.

Why do this as a pilgrimage? The first reason is that the route covers three major Christian sites that encapsulate the resurrection of Christianity in Britain. It starts in Rochester, the site of the second cathedral in England, proceeds to Canterbury, site of the first English cathedral, and ends at Ramsgate, where Augustine landed on Thanet Island with his missionary team sent by Pope Gregory I to turn the Angles into angels. It is steeped in the history of English saints great and small, and talks to the struggle that both Catholic and Anglican communities have as church attendance declines. Even if you are not religious, it speaks to the journey of Christianity in England as much as a Camino de Santiago does in Spain or the St Olav's Ways do in Norway.

Doing this in late autumn is a demanding endeavour, well worth rising to the physical and mental challenges. The route does take one through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but in late autumn the trees are bare, and the ground is somewhere between damp and treacherously muddy. Woodlands and copses offer some protection from high winds, but have laid an equally treacherous surface of rotting wet leaves ready to slip away at any hint of a soft surface or even the slightest slope. Maintaining focus on both pole and foot placement is a continual challenge, and it seemed any loss of focus or momentary distraction would see a foot or pole tip start to slide.

It did rain. Mostly short squalls that lasted 10s of minutes and rarely much longer. More often it would drizzle, when I was able to avoid wearing rain pants but still needed a rain jacket. Very occasionally it was possible to walk without a jacket when it was both fine and still, but that didn't happen every day.

I had to take some care that I didn't get chilled. I carried enough nut bars to have a mid-morning snack, but this wasn't always enough, and on several days I was aware of starting to cool down. I think this might have been aggravated by the overall slow pace I was walking at. The route uses footpaths - or what passes for a footpath in Britain. At best these were relatively smooth and relatively dry woodland paths. Sometimes they were deeply rutted farm tracks heavily imprinted by rear tractor tyres. At worst one faced an otherwise featureless ploughed field where there was no sign of the path alignment, no sign of the exit point as one started and having to walk on a compass bearing. My average speed on a couple of days was under 2.5 km/hr despite walking at around 4 km/hr when I was moving.

I met some wonderful people. People took time out of their day to show me around four churches I would otherwise not have seen. St Martin's in Canterbury was the earliest, based on the private chapel built by Queen Bertha of Kent before the arrival of St Augustine. The others were St Peter's and St Paul's at Boughton, the church at the Hospital of St Nicholas at the former leper hospital in Hambledown, and the magnificent Pugin designed Gothic style Catholic Church of St Augustine in Ramsgate built in the 19th C. And there were others who took the time to be interested in why one would undertake a pilgrimage like this.

The guide I used was written by Andrew and Paula Kelly, who also organised places to stay, provided a daily text message and arranging things like a very touching blessing at Canterbury Cathedral following Evensong in the Trinity Chapel. Standing for that on the spot long occupied by a shrine to St Thomas Beckett was a special moment on this journey.

Many of you will know that it was a slightly difficult personal journey. I had my knee replaced about six months ago, and there is still some recovery to go. And I have an arthritic hip that doesn't stop me walking but can disrupt my sleep. I took the view that knowing why my body hurt would make it easier to tolerate, albeit aided by appropriate analgesia. I am now hobbling a little more than I would like, but happy to have met the challenges offered by this short but wonderful pilgrimage.
 
Last edited:

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Excellent report. An English pilgrimage ... food for thought.
 

Ekelund

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
“It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” Rumi
Thank you for your report on your walk. Very inspiring. A walk, I like to do sometime - in the Spring.
 

Bella2017

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014,2015,2016.
March 2017 Oct 2018 Camino ingles june 2019 cancelled Camino Portuguese Oct 2019
Can you recommend any places you stayed at or ate at that were good.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Glad to hear it all went well.
I could relate with the walking on British footpaths In Winter 😁 and you seem to have avoided the sometimes treacherous stiles. Phew.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Glad to hear it all went well.
I could relate with the walking on British footpaths In Winter 😁 and you seem to have avoided the sometimes treacherous stiles. Phew.
They were there in various guises and states of repair. Kissing gates also varied in style, construction and repair.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Can you recommend any places you stayed at or ate at that were good.
Difficult. I didn't walk with a view to offering advice on this. Sometimes there was no choice in any case, and where there was I preferred to eat at a cafe rather than a pub.

My gear selection was based on principles I have espoused before. I did carry a travel CPAP and added an extra set of underwear, a thermal top and wore a slightly thicker fleece than i have used in the past.

Base layer:
Underpants - Snowgum (x3)
Tee shirts - OR wool blend (x2) and Underarmour
Thermal LS top - Paddy Pallin
Liner socks x3 various brands
Trekking socks - Mont (x3) nb they are no longer available

Mid layer
Trousers (x2) - Norrøna Falketind Flex1
Shirts x2 LS trekking shirts - Mont
Shorts - Macpac

Warm layer
1/4 zip fleece - Helly Henson

Waterproofs
Jacket - Macpac event
Overpants - Macpac Goretex

Footwear
Boots - Asolo TP535
Shoes - Salomon Techamphibian

Headgear - Tilley 'Tec Wool'

Gloves (x3) Aldi (thin, sensor), OR Flurry (wool mix, sensor), fingerless trekking mitts (did not get used)
Sitting pad - felted square, Tuva Tov
Beanie
Neck tube (×3)
Handkerchiefs (×3)

Packing stuff
Pack - Osprey Levity 60
Raincover - Osprey
Packing cells - four ultrasil half cells, three for clothing and one for medication, multi-port USB charger, cables, boot waterproofing etc
Wet bag - Sea to Summit ultrasil
Other packing - two very noisy garbage bags
Laundry - small Scrubba bag

Hydration - 2li water bladder
GPS - Garmin eTrex 30 and pouch
Camera - Olympus SZ-16 and pouch
Light - Zebra light white and Kathmandu red
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
Thanks.
Well written and presented.
Good helpful information
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I have thought of taking two, one around my neck and one around my ears but then I simply zip up my fleece up to keep my neck warm if the buff is needed to protect my head....
Three seems OTT @dougfitz. 😁 But then you are probably more thorough with your daily washing than I am Ooops 😁
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I have thought of taking two, one around my neck and one around my ears but then I simply zip up my fleece up to keep my neck warm if the buff is needed to protect my head....
Three seems OTT @dougfitz. 😁 But then you are probably more thorough with your daily washing than I am Ooops 😁
Yes. I thought about 2 for wearing at the same time, but I noted that @dougfitz had two other hats!

Sorry @dougfitz - you know that we are just packing geeks who also go OTT with our list analyses!
 

Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
Hips and knees are a pest for Camino addicts - as a fellow sufferer, I know only too well!
 

samba

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francesca(2007),de la Plata /Sanabres ( May 2015),Mozarabe ( 2016) Norte (2018)
La Lana((2019)
I recently walked the Augustine Camino over seven days, starting on 14th Dec. So a late autumn walk with the weather conditions that one might expect at this time of year. Preparing for that on the other side of the world in a different hemisphere was interesting.

Why do this as a pilgrimage? The first reason is that the route covers three major Christian sites that encapsulate the resurrection of Christianity in Britain. It starts in Rochester, the site of the second cathedral in England, proceeds to Canterbury, site of the first English cathedral, and ends at Ramsgate, where Augustine landed on Thanet Island with his missionary team sent by Pope Gregory I to turn the Angles into angels. It is steeped in the history of English saints great and small, and talks to the struggle that both Catholic and Anglican communities have as church attendance declines. Even if you are not religious, it speaks to the journey of Christianity in England as much as a Camino de Santiago does in Spain or the St Olav's Ways do in Norway.

Doing this in late autumn is a demanding endeavour, well worth rising to the physical and mental challenges. The route does take one through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but in late autumn the trees are bare, and the ground is somewhere between damp and treacherously muddy. Woodlands and copses offer some protection from high winds, but have laid an equally treacherous surface of rotting wet leaves ready to slip away at any hint of a soft surface or even the slightest slope. Maintaining focus on both pole and foot placement is a continual challenge, and it seemed any loss of focus or momentary distraction would see a foot or pole tip start to slide.

It did rain. Mostly short squalls that lasted 10s of minutes and rarely much longer. More often it would drizzle, when I was able to avoid wearing rain pants but still needed a rain jacket. Very occasionally it was possible to walk without a jacket when it was both fine and still, but that didn't happen every day.

I had to take some care that I didn't get chilled. I carried enough nut bars to have a mid-morning snack, but this wasn't always enough, and on several days I was aware of starting to cool down. I think this might have been aggravated by the overall slow pace I was walking at. The route uses footpaths - or what passes for a footpath in Britain. At best these were relatively smooth and relatively dry woodland paths. Sometimes they were deeply rutted farm tracks heavily imprinted by rear tractor tyres. At worst one faced an otherwise featureless ploughed field where there was no sign of the path alignment, no sign of the exit point as one started and having to walk on a compass bearing. My average speed on a couple of days was under 2.5 km/hr despite walking at around 4 km/hr when I was moving.

I met some wonderful people. People took time out of their day to show me around four churches I would otherwise not have seen. St Martin's in Canterbury was the earliest, based on the private chapel built by Queen Bertha of Kent before the arrival of St Augustine. The others were St Peter's and St Paul's at Boughton, the church at the Hospital of St Nicholas at the former leper hospital in Hambledown, and the magnificent Pugin designed Gothic style Catholic Church of St Augustine in Ramsgate built in the 19th C. And there were others who took the time to be interested in why one would undertake a pilgrimage like this.

The guide I used was written by Andrew and Paula Kelly, who also organised places to stay, provided a daily text message and arranging things like a very touching blessing at Canterbury Cathedral following Evensong in the Trinity Chapel. Standing for that on the spot long occupied by a shrine to St Thomas Beckett was a special moment on this journey.

Many of you will know that it was a slightly difficult personal journey. I had my knee replaced about six months ago, and there is still some recovery to go. And I have an arthritic hip that doesn't stop me walking but can disrupt my sleep. I took the view that knowing why my body hurt would make it easier to tolerate, albeit aided by appropriate analgesia. I am now hobbling a little more than I would like, but happy to have met the challenges offered by this short but wonderful pilgrimage.
Lovely report and makes me think about walking that route
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
OK, so a winter camino might require 3 - one around your neck, one being washed, and one still drying.
This was not intended to be an opportunity to discuss, but to illustrate how I have applied certain principles and lessons I have learned.

From my perspective, a neck tube is part of my base layer. It gets just as sweaty etc as any other base layer item, and needs to be washed. It might be that you are comfortable wearing a neck tube that has been repeatedly soaked in sweat and now contains the dried residue of salts, skin flakes and body oils, and only carry one that doesn't get washed. I am happy for you to discuss that and how many to carry if someone asks, but I'm not doing that here.

There was a comment that I had two hats. No! I did have a beanie, hat and a hooded rain jacket that together form a layered system for keeping my head warm and protecting it from rain and cold winds. I didn't need all three at once to do that this time, but I have in Spain in early spring.

Similarly, emergent properties were an important aspect for other groups of clothing items. This is more than just layering, but understanding how to make the design features work together to get a better outcome.

Take the trekking pants I used, the Norrøna Falketind Flex1. They are water and wind resistant, which meant that short of heavy and consistent rain or really driving winds, I didn't need overpants. But they also have a couple of really useful features. The first is a clip at the front of the cuff that can be used to stretch the cuff over the boot, acting as a gaiter might in sealing against things getting into the top of the boot. It can work with a shoe, but works better with a boot.

The second feature is some press studs on the cuff that decrease its effective circumference. This has some benefits on its own, but is really valuable when using overpants or gaiters. The cuff could be closed up but let sit over the top of the boot rather than tucked into the top of one's socks to keep the trouser cuff from poking out from underneath the bottom of the overpants. The emergent property is that if one does work up a sweat in the rain, any excess now drains down outside the boot, and not onto one's socks.

Previously, when I have walked in different trousers that I needed to tuck into my socks, my socks would get wet from sweat draining into my boots after working hard with all my wet weather gear on. My socks still got damp on this walk, just much less damp. But the important thing here is that it is the combination of items and how they worked together that gave extra benefits, emergent properties, that weren't down to just one item.

While I think we offer great gear advice, it's only when we bring it all together that we get a good idea about how well everything is going to work for us.
 
Last edited:

Finisterre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria 2001,
Porto 2006,
Valenca 2008,
Finisterre 2010,
SJdPP 2012,
Tui 2014.

No plans to return, yet.
Or an alternative to base layer management. Don't bother. No base layer = no sweat because you are cold all the time. Saves washing, weight and money. And should the worst happen, and you get smell anyway, then that is in the great tradition of pilgrimage too. :)
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Or an alternative to base layer management. Don't bother. No base layer = no sweat because you are cold all the time. Saves washing, weight and money. And should the worst happen, and you get smell anyway, then that is in the great tradition of pilgrimage too. :)
Not sure what the point is here. Unless one is naked, one always has a layer next to the skin - a base layer. Walking in late autumn, I chose a balance of slightly thicker warm layers, but still needing to layer to keep adequately protected from the cold, rain and wind. My posts in this thread describe the gear that I chose for this. If that helps others understand how to apply the advice we give in somewhat different circumstances to the summer Camino we more often imply in our discussions, that will make me happy.
 
Last edited:

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
While I think we offer great gear advice, it's only when we bring it all together that we get a good idea about how well everything is going to work for us.
Yes, that is very true. I spend quite a bit of time when walking on the Camino, thinking about how the functions of various parts of my equipment could be optimized.
 

cbacino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
I recently walked the Augustine Camino over seven days, starting on 14th Dec. So a late autumn walk with the weather conditions that one might expect at this time of year. Preparing for that on the other side of the world in a different hemisphere was interesting.

Why do this as a pilgrimage? The first reason is that the route covers three major Christian sites that encapsulate the resurrection of Christianity in Britain. It starts in Rochester, the site of the second cathedral in England, proceeds to Canterbury, site of the first English cathedral, and ends at Ramsgate, where Augustine landed on Thanet Island with his missionary team sent by Pope Gregory I to turn the Angles into angels. It is steeped in the history of English saints great and small, and talks to the struggle that both Catholic and Anglican communities have as church attendance declines. Even if you are not religious, it speaks to the journey of Christianity in England as much as a Camino de Santiago does in Spain or the St Olav's Ways do in Norway.

Doing this in late autumn is a demanding endeavour, well worth rising to the physical and mental challenges. The route does take one through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but in late autumn the trees are bare, and the ground is somewhere between damp and treacherously muddy. Woodlands and copses offer some protection from high winds, but have laid an equally treacherous surface of rotting wet leaves ready to slip away at any hint of a soft surface or even the slightest slope. Maintaining focus on both pole and foot placement is a continual challenge, and it seemed any loss of focus or momentary distraction would see a foot or pole tip start to slide.

It did rain. Mostly short squalls that lasted 10s of minutes and rarely much longer. More often it would drizzle, when I was able to avoid wearing rain pants but still needed a rain jacket. Very occasionally it was possible to walk without a jacket when it was both fine and still, but that didn't happen every day.

I had to take some care that I didn't get chilled. I carried enough nut bars to have a mid-morning snack, but this wasn't always enough, and on several days I was aware of starting to cool down. I think this might have been aggravated by the overall slow pace I was walking at. The route uses footpaths - or what passes for a footpath in Britain. At best these were relatively smooth and relatively dry woodland paths. Sometimes they were deeply rutted farm tracks heavily imprinted by rear tractor tyres. At worst one faced an otherwise featureless ploughed field where there was no sign of the path alignment, no sign of the exit point as one started and having to walk on a compass bearing. My average speed on a couple of days was under 2.5 km/hr despite walking at around 4 km/hr when I was moving.

I met some wonderful people. People took time out of their day to show me around four churches I would otherwise not have seen. St Martin's in Canterbury was the earliest, based on the private chapel built by Queen Bertha of Kent before the arrival of St Augustine. The others were St Peter's and St Paul's at Boughton, the church at the Hospital of St Nicholas at the former leper hospital in Hambledown, and the magnificent Pugin designed Gothic style Catholic Church of St Augustine in Ramsgate built in the 19th C. And there were others who took the time to be interested in why one would undertake a pilgrimage like this.

The guide I used was written by Andrew and Paula Kelly, who also organised places to stay, provided a daily text message and arranging things like a very touching blessing at Canterbury Cathedral following Evensong in the Trinity Chapel. Standing for that on the spot long occupied by a shrine to St Thomas Beckett was a special moment on this journey.

Many of you will know that it was a slightly difficult personal journey. I had my knee replaced about six months ago, and there is still some recovery to go. And I have an arthritic hip that doesn't stop me walking but can disrupt my sleep. I took the view that knowing why my body hurt would make it easier to tolerate, albeit aided by appropriate analgesia. I am now hobbling a little more than I would like, but happy to have met the challenges offered by this short but wonderful pilgrimage.
No such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices.
 
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