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Winter Camino Frances

Ian Salsbury

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
booked to do Lugo-Santiago June 2018
I guess this has been asked a lot but my circumstances are not necessarily exactly as the same some others.
Earlier this year I intended to go to SJPDP to start my 3rd Camino experience. I had planned on 7 weeks, 700 miles approx, Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia and the Ingles. Apart from the whole spiritual experience I also wanted to lose body fat, a lot of it. Anyway my plans went to rat when I awoke one morning, a week before my flight and I was taken into hospital and twice underwent eye surgery due to 2 x retina tears. My trip was put on hold but after having recovered I flew to Biarritz at the end of June, 2022.
I started from SJPDP in some lovely refreshing rain at 2am (why 2am - because i was the only person in the Alberge and the light was switched on at 2am and I dare not go back to sleep, and I was still the only living being there....). Day 1 to Roncesvalles sorted out my IT band pain which I had acquired whilst sitting doing nothing for a couple of weeks or so whilst my eye was repairing/recovering. After day 1 it was plain sailing but the heat wave started to get to me. The balls of my feet started to hurt (as they always do with multi day hikes) so on day 8 I stupidly tried some gel metatarsal pads (never ever again). One of them ripped the ball of my left foot and from thereon I suffered a severe blister which was almost the size of the contact area of the ball of that foot. By the time i had walked for 16 days - 296miles, I decided to give in and caught a bus from Leon back to Santiago and flew home. The heat at night in the alberges was unbearable for me (being used to UK temperatures). I also took too much weight, carrying somewhere between 14 and 15 kg. The up side is though, that the body composition scan showed 12lb body fat lost and only 0.4lb muscle lost. So this demonstrated to me that this is the best way for me personally to lose fat, high weighted pack multi day hikes.
Anyway i intend to return as soon as possible to complete this particular journey. What I want to know from people who have walked in the months of December, January, February between *****Leon and Santiago***( As I want to continue from where I left off). Is : what weather conditions, temperatures do they normally experience between Leon and Santiago during those months, also I like to go FREE and not book alberges, I like to find them when I am ready each day to rest. How likely is it that there will be sufficient alberges open during those months for me to find without too much difficulty.
Thanks again in advance.
Great forum.
Ian
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Ian Salisbury,

In earlier times I often walked the Camino Frances in winter. Of course the weather is never the same but the basic route has not changed. Difficult CF stretches after storms might be; the Valcarlos route up to Roncesvalles (the Napoleon route is closed from November to April), across the Montes de Oca from Villafranca, Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Monte Irago and, of course, to and from O Cebreiro.

Although all things do change this site
re albergues open in winter should help your planning. The list will next appear this November.


To further your research re Walking in Winter see these earlier threads filled with useful links and tips.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/logrono-to-burgos-in-january.50991/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/november-december-cf.50932/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/walking-the-camino-in-december-january.37261/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/why-would-you-do-a-winter-camino.44247/

Sillydoll who is a Forum member has in her blog compiled encyclopedic information on Winter Walking.
http://amawalker.blogspot.fr/2009/10/walking-in-winter.html?m=1

As for carrying simple food see
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...alk-the-camino-top-ten-tips.69300/post-896953

Happy planning and Buen camino
 
Last edited:

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
I’m a regular ‘off season’ walker. Colder after Christmas; often wet; snow at height in January and February.

I’ve little to add to Margaret’s comprehensive post other than that supply of accomodation usually matches demand; so you may have little choice but there will be sufficient open.

The winter albergue list usually starts operating in November IIRC.

The only tricky period I’ve found is right around Christmas / Los Reyes.
 

nilesite

Tumbleweed Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2020, 2021)
I love to walk in the winter - my all out favorite time. I can also recommend you look for municipal albergues in the larger towns which tend to be open year 'round, and for private albergues in the smaller ones which cannot support a large municipal. I try to stay off the suggested stops too. Weather can range from awesome, sunny and mild, to downright awful, sleet with 30-40 mph winds. But I don't walk a pilgrimage road because I'm looking for great weather. My book on winter walking is on Amazon.
 

Richard Smith

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016
Kumano Kodo 2014
Ian

>>So this demonstrated to me that this is the best way for me personally to lose fat, high weighted pack multi day hikes.
>>
I took a heavy pack and lost 10kg from a start weight of 93 or 94 kg, which pleased my doctor enormously.
Since my return I have monitored my walks/bushwalks and have found that carrying at least 5kg increases my exertion levels up one level (according to my Garmin). I do not believe it is necessary to carry too much in the pack, for me the secret is the long days/multiple days carrying a certain amount.
But don't carry too much - else you risk injury that will limit or stop your camino.

Good luck
Richard
 
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Nelda Diedericks

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016/2017
2019
We walked from Ponferada to Santiago starting on the 27 December 2019 and had the most amazing time, so much so that we are doing it again this year from Pamplona to Sahagun!
Yes, it is cold and the days are shorter, but the experience and adventure makes up for the cold. To prevent the stress of not finding an open albergue, we just booked rooms in private albergues or through booking.com. With it being low season we found the price of self accommodation very reasonable
 

TPop

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
February 2023
Hey all. Planning to hike the Full Chemin de Puy, from Le-Puy to Saint- Jean starting February. Does anyone have a good resource for maps? As well as other inside for hiking during that time?
 

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