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Walking from UK to Santiago

OnCamino

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015)
Le Puy Route (2016-2019)
HWF (2019)
Gebennensis (2020)
Has anyone out there walked all the way from the UK to Santiago? I appreciate we need to cross the channel, but apart from that ....

I know people have done this, and it is something I have at the back of my mind when I retire from work, but what I was mainly wondering is, of those who have done so, did you pick the most direct route, the most scenic, the most religious? What were the motivations behind your choice of route?

TIA for any responses.
 
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MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Jacobspad 2017
I had this plan to walk from the south east of the Netherlands through Belgium, take a ferry at Zeebrugge or Calais in France, walk a few holy miles in the UK and take a boat to Ferrol to walk the Inglés.
The idea was to walk without having to walk too much. 😇
Another option would be to take the ferry to Bilbao from the UK and hike the Del Norte.

Turns out that in earlier times, British and Flemish pilgrims would travel by sea to the north of Galicia and walk what has become known as the Camino Inglés.

I'd love to include the sea in my camino, and if you travel anti-clockwise you can just do that.
 

OnCamino

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015)
Le Puy Route (2016-2019)
HWF (2019)
Gebennensis (2020)
I too have thought of walking or cycling from home to Santiago and have amassed a rough plan of much of the French route. Unfortunately cancer followed by Covid have thus far stopped me. If you would like to share what I have please PM me. It is rough and sketchy but is the start of a plan.
Thanks Stroller, will PM you.
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2000/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/2021
Has anyone out there walked all the way from the UK to Santiago? I appreciate we need to cross the channel, but apart from that ....

I know people have done this, and it is something I have at the back of my mind when I retire from work, but what I was mainly wondering is, of those who have done so, did you pick the most direct route, the most scenic, the most religious? What were the motivations behind your choice of route?

TIA for any responses.
Not the same as walking across France, though I have walked the Clarendon Way (Salisbury Cathedral to Winchester Cathedral) and then continued on the Pilgrims Way (Winchester Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral) to be followed by a flight that would take me to Galicia and along the Camino Ingles departing from La Coruña.

This might not take you across France by foot, but the UK was beautiful walking and highly recommended.
 
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OnCamino

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015)
Le Puy Route (2016-2019)
HWF (2019)
Gebennensis (2020)
Not the same as walking across France, though I have walked the Clarendon Way (Salisbury Cathedral to Winchester Cathedral) and then continued on the Pilgrims Way (Winchester Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral) to be followed by a flight that would take me to Galicia and along the Camino Ingles departing from La Coruña.

This might not take you across France by foot, but the UK was beautiful walking and highly recommended.
Nice route. I believe there is also The Old Way between Winchester and Canterbury, or similar, but it's lovely countryside whichever way you choose.

I suppose I was primarily thinking about a cross-France route, and also what motivations people used for route-building, when posing my question. But that's the beauty of sharing ones thoughts on a forum like this - so many ideas to ponder and words of wisdom from experienced Camino-ers.
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Has anyone out there walked all the way from the UK to Santiago? I appreciate we need to cross the channel, but apart from that ....

I know people have done this, and it is something I have at the back of my mind when I retire from work, but what I was mainly wondering is, of those who have done so, did you pick the most direct route, the most scenic, the most religious? What were the motivations behind your choice of route?

TIA for any responses.
Good luck in your preparation. I met a guy from Belfast who walked from there to Fisterra. He told me it took him 91 days. He got a ferry to somewhere in Wales and then walked as short a route as possible, taking into account hostels and campsites, to get him to south coast. From there he got a ferry to France and eventually connected with one of the French routes, the one furthest west I believe. Sorry, I don't have the details. I'll ask him if he has a blog or something of his journey, which was in 2019.

Update: he has just replied. His name is Neal and he says if you go to his Instagram or Facebook pages, called "The big dander", then he'll be happy to help with any of your questions.
Buen Camino peregrino
 
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Tandem Graham

Every new day an adventure
Past OR future Camino
Bike: Mont St Michel-SdC. Budapest-Vezelay. Alicante-Burgos
Walk: Le Puy-SJPdP. Dax-(CF)-SdC.
Hi there,
In June-July 2017, my wife and I cycled our tandem from our home in Hampshire, via Portsmouth to St Malo ferry to Mont St Michel and (roughly following the Plantagenets Way as in the Lightfoot Guide), then from St Jean d'Angely to Royan, then down the Voie Litorale to Bayonne, from there up the Nive valley to St Jean Pied de Port and then the Camino Frances to Santiago. (And return via the Camino de Norte and the ferry from Santander to Portsmouth).
For much of the way we were cycling parallel to the official route, so as not to be on single track paths and not to be a danger to walkers. We aimed to pass through every Camino village though. In France the Plantagenets route and Voie Litorale often follow cyclepaths anyway.
It was a great adventure, taking 5 weeks there and just over a week back. For the first three weeks we met only two pilgrims going towards Santiago (though we may have overtaken others unwittingly) and a few more whose pilgrimage was to Mont St Michel.
I have walked from Le Puy to Santiago and have toyed with the idea of walking from home, perhaps via Paris and Tours. Need to keep an eye on the 90 day Schengen limit, thanks to Brexit.
If following one of the classic French routes, the Miam Miam DoDo guides are excellent for both route and accommodation finding. The Lightfoot Guide was bulky but effective for Winchester to St Jean d'Angely.
Good luck with your constructive dreaming. I would encourage you to go for it! Happy for you to direct message me on here if I can be useful in any way.
Buen Camino
Graham
 

STEPHEN FIELDING

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances April 2016, planing the Portugues for 2017.
I live in Devon, so my plan is to walk the south west coast path to Plymouth, ferry to Bilbao and then either walk the norte or bus to Pamplona and walk the French way. I have previously walk the french from SjPP and also done the Ingles so norte is looking the favourite.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
@OnCamino, great idea!

Have a look at @david1's Epicamino in this thread: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/epicamino.59661/

David started at St. David's cathedral in West Wales on Jan 10, 2019 and he arrived in Santiago on May 17, 2019. He crossed the Channel at Calais. Sadly, he is no longer with us as we learnt later that he had died last year.

It was interesting to read earlier in this thread that @Tandem Graham went via Portsmouth to St Malo ferry to Mont St Michel and then from St Jean d'Angely to Royan. The Mont St Michel is a fantastic stop for a pilgrimage from the UK to Santiago.

Don't forget the possibility of crossing from Newhaven to Dieppe. There is mention of a "green corridor" path from London to Paris that includes this crossing but I know little about it. Put avenue verte into the Search box, there are some posts on the forum. Most people do Dover/Folkestone to Calais. There's also Dunkirk.

The classic route for Santiago pilgrims from the UK is not doable. There are no passenger ferries to Vigo, Ferrol or Coruña, not even cargo ships are a real possibility (believe me, I did look for it) and the last resort, cruise ships, are also largely excluded - although they stop in Vigo and Coruña, most companies usually do not allow passengers to end or start a trip in these ports.
 
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Past OR future Camino
2019
Has anyone out there walked all the way from the UK to Santiago? I appreciate we need to cross the channel, but apart from that ....

I know people have done this, and it is something I have at the back of my mind when I retire from work, but what I was mainly wondering is, of those who have done so, did you pick the most direct route, the most scenic, the most religious? What were the motivations behind your choice of route?

TIA for any responses.
I too am planning a similar walk. Portsmouth to Canterbury; Dover to Calais; Calais through France to the Norte to SdC. Early days yet and I only have a rough plan for next year.
 
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roving_rufus

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
Technically I am walking from the UK given it is from Northern Ireland. Walked the Irish section this summer the Leitrim Way and Royal Canal Way which while longer meant I was mainly off road. I have the rest of my route mapped out, and will walk sections over the next 2-3 years. From Ireland any ferry will land me in Cherbourg or roscoff, and so I am following marked routes via Mont Saint Michel. Then heading on Voie Littoral to Bayonne, then Via Bayona (Tunnel route) to Burgos and CF, and then maybe switching to Invierno. Much of the route is because I am already so far west in France. My big choice comes reaching Bayonne about which route to take in Spain, and I kind of liked the sound of the less travelled route Via Bayona/tunnel/ vasco Interior with its rather unique tunnel in the mountains.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
Has anyone out there walked all the way from the UK to Santiago? I appreciate we need to cross the channel, but apart from that ....

I know people have done this, and it is something I have at the back of my mind when I retire from work, but what I was mainly wondering is, of those who have done so, did you pick the most direct route, the most scenic, the most religious? What were the motivations behind your choice of route?

TIA for any responses.
Hi.
Although I have been 4 times on the Camino, I have always walked the prescribed routes. However, in 2022 I am planning to walk the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome which also involves a Channel crossing. I think this is about 2200 kilometres and I only mention it as a possible alternative if you so desire.
Buen Camino
Vince
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Has anyone out there walked all the way from the UK to Santiago? I appreciate we need to cross the channel, but apart from that ....

I know people have done this, and it is something I have at the back of my mind when I retire from work, but what I was mainly wondering is, of those who have done so, did you pick the most direct route, the most scenic, the most religious? What were the motivations behind your choice of route?

TIA for any responses.
I live in Devon, so my plan is to walk the south west coast path to Plymouth, ferry to Bilbao and then either walk the norte or bus to Pamplona and walk the French way. I have previously walk the french from SjPP and also done the Ingles so norte is looking the favourite.
Yes there are several members who have walked from the UK. @TerryB walked from Exeter to Plymouth, ferry to Santander then Norte-Primitivo to Santiago.
Note that unless they have made a change recently foot passengers were not accepted on the Bilbao route due to lack of foot access in the port at Bilbao.
 
Past OR future Camino
Sarria-SdeC(2010) Newark,UK-SdeC via Portsmouth & Santander (2014-17) CF SJPP-Sarria (2018-19)
Has anyone out there walked all the way from the UK to Santiago? I appreciate we need to cross the channel, but apart from that ....

I know people have done this, and it is something I have at the back of my mind when I retire from work, but what I was mainly wondering is, of those who have done so, did you pick the most direct route, the most scenic, the most religious? What were the motivations behind your choice of route?

TIA for any responses.
Yes a few years ago I walked from where is was born in Nottinghamshire down various trails (including he Mid-Shires Way) to Portsmouth from where (the next year as I live in Canada) I took the overnight ferry to Santander. Then I continued west along the Norte. At some point outside Villaviciosa you can turn onto the Primitivo and go down to the Frances at Melide. I stayed on the Norte joining the Frances to enter Santiago at Arzua. It was a wonderful camino mixing the coast with fascinating places once I turned inland.
 
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OnCamino

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015)
Le Puy Route (2016-2019)
HWF (2019)
Gebennensis (2020)
Hi.
Although I have been 4 times on the Camino, I have always walked the prescribed routes. However, in 2022 I am planning to walk the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome which also involves a Channel crossing. I think this is about 2200 kilometres and I only mention it as a possible alternative if you so desire.
Buen Camino
Vince
Thanks Vince. Yes, this is a possibility, as is another idea we are floating of a route between Santiago and Rome. I suppose all options are open at the moment.
 
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OZAJ

Member
Past OR future Camino
Mozarabe/VdlP/Sanabres (2008) Norte (2009) Vezelay/Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2010) etc.
Thanks Vince. Yes, this is a possibility, as is another idea we are floting of a route between Santaigo and Rome. I suppose all options are open at the moment.
I walked Canterbury to Rome in 2011. The route I took was just under 2000 km. The following year I walked Rome to Santiago, around 2700 km. I have "as walked" itineraries for both. The information about accommodation and prices is of course out of date now. If you have time, Rome to Santiago is well worthwhile.
 

OnCamino

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015)
Le Puy Route (2016-2019)
HWF (2019)
Gebennensis (2020)
Thanks everyone for your responses so far. I perhaps shouldn't be by now, but I am constantly amazed by what people set out to do and achieve as Caminos, and their willingness to share their experience, expertise and advice.

What a wonderful group this is! :)
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
In theory, the Camino Ingles is supposed to start where the boats would arrive from England (hence the name) and represent the route of English pilgrims who were doing exactly what you describe. It seems that the boats from England don't tend to arrive there any more, and most who are taking the boat then walking end up on the Norte.
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
In theory, the Camino Ingles is supposed to start where the boats would arrive from England (hence the name) and represent the route of English pilgrims who were doing exactly what you describe. It seems that the boats from England don't tend to arrive there any more, and most who are taking the boat then walking end up on the Norte.
Also the Voie Littoral down the west coast of France is known as Voie des Anglais, the Way of the English, as many also landed in the ports of the French Atlantic coast. But again not too many options to land in these ports either these days
 
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Helen1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
I've cycled it. Followed one of the traditional/historic routes as much as possible (Calais, Amiens, Paris , Chartes, Tours, Poitiers, Saintes, Bordeaux, Ostabat) because I like history. It's a long way to walk and pretty lonely in places. If you're walking with a purpose I am not sure which route really matters but I would have thought some routes are going to require a bit more camping and carrying food/water than others (which might be good or bad depending on your perspective!). There are quite a few French groups that help pilgrims and some areas have more support for pilgrims than others.
 

Helen1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
Thinking about this reminded me that there are a couple of Meridian walks through France (can't easily find info with a quick google). I met a couple who done one of these (probably the Paris Meridian as they were French!) they said it was very beautiful but they had a tough time finding food/water/accommodation in places. Obviously nothing to with a pilgrimage but might make a quirky route. I think the Greenwich Meridian walk goes through Lourdes where you could pick up various pilgrim routes.
 

Tandem Graham

Every new day an adventure
Past OR future Camino
Bike: Mont St Michel-SdC. Budapest-Vezelay. Alicante-Burgos
Walk: Le Puy-SJPdP. Dax-(CF)-SdC.
Thanks everyone for your responses so far. I perhaps shouldn't be by now, but I am constantly amazed by what people set out to do and achieve as Caminos, and their willingness to share their experience, expertise and advice.

What a wonderful group this is! :)
I share your amazement! I have cycled across much of Europe, originally believing this was the only feasible way to cross several countries under my own steam.
Then in 2016 in a simple guest house in Fontenay-le Comte, over breakfast, an otherwise ordinary, 60-something gentleman told us he had walked 400km from Paris to La Rochelle and was now walking back.
When I congratulated him on his fitness, he shrugged and told me that in the previous year he had walked from Paris to Jerusalem, and back!
Now I know. With the benefit of good health, some time, a little money, a degree of determination, and a licence from fate or God, almost nowhere is too far to walk!
 

Tandem Graham

Every new day an adventure
Past OR future Camino
Bike: Mont St Michel-SdC. Budapest-Vezelay. Alicante-Burgos
Walk: Le Puy-SJPdP. Dax-(CF)-SdC.
There is mention of a "green corridor" path from London to Paris that includes this crossing but I know little about it.
There is a former railway line, now a greenway, from Mont St Michel to Paris, called the Veloscenic, which is also intersected by various paths from St Malo, Caen, Le Havre and Dieppe. I have cycled the stretch from Domfront to the Mont and then to St Malo. It would be suitable for pilgrimage walking, grading the hills and offering plenty of shade and wind breaks, though it tends to skirt around most towns and villages, so accommodation and refreshment opportunities would require research beforehand.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Here is more info re the Veloscenic.

 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
This might not take you across France by foot, but the UK was beautiful walking and highly recommended.
So true, I walked a small portion of the Cotswold Way and and the SW Coast path in England in recent years. Both were awesome in their own way. I think many countries have great long distance walking paths. I love the GR paths in France and especially the Le Puy Camino was definitely a highlight. When I started on that path I met a few who where going to do the Robert Louis Stevenson trail.
 

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