From medieval cities, to enchanted forests, you'll be surrounded by the beauty of ancient Northern Spain on this once-in-a-lifetime challenge.
6 - 13 May 2020
The Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain is more than just a trail. Its origins of an ancient pilgrimage carry through to modern day times, where, although the incentive may no longer be religious, the journey is just as spiritual.
No matter who you are, where are you are from, or your reasons for walking, whether it’s in memory of someone or it has always been on your bucket list, it’s hard not to feel moved by this journey.
Take up the challenge and join Willen Hospice for the journey of a lifetime.
About the Camino de Santiago
Stemming back from the 10th century, the Camino de Santiago is one of the most historic walks in Europe. There are seven ancient routes, all ending at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the supposed burial site of the apostle, St James.
There are two much-loved elements to the Camino that make it different to any other trek. The first is the Camino Passport. This is given to walkers at the start of their trip, and is used to collect stamps along the way to prove their dedication as they collect their certificate (compostella) at the final destination. The other is the iconic scallop shell - and it's not hard to miss, plotted as way markers and swinging from backpacks. It's said to be a metaphor, with its lines representing the different routes pilgrims travel from all over the world, all leading to one point.
About your Camino journey
Our expert guide, Julia from The Adventure Geek, will be leading the way along The Camino Ingles, also known as the English Way. This is the route pilgrims from England would have walked, with their ship sweeping into the ports of Ferrol where this trail begins.
The Camino Ingles is a 100km trek, split over seven days, travelling through historic towns, villages, coastal paths, and woodland trails. The unique calling of the Camino is its opportunity for self-discovery and reflection, but it's also a chance to immerse yourself in Spanish culture, eating the regional Galicia cuisine and meeting locals, as well as other peregrinos (pilgrims) along the route.
Willen Hospice need to raise £4.7million every year. By taking part in this challenge you’ll be helping us to continue caring for patients and supporting their families, when and where they need it most.
If you'd like to find out more, we'll be holding an information evening on Tuesday 7 January from 5.30 - 7.30pm at the Hospice in the Wellbeing Centre.
As this is a challenge, it's important to get training so you're prepared for it! To help, we'll be holding our own training weekend on Saturday 28 - Sunday 29 March 2020.
Day 1 - Travelling day
We fly into Santiago airport and then make our way by bus to Ferrol. Ferrol is one of Spain’s hidden gems, with excellent seafood and friendly locals. The evening is yours to do with as you wish however, make sure to be back at the hotel for a briefing to prepare you for the following day's walk.
Day 2 - Ferrol to Neda - 15km
We’ll be up early to take our first steps of the hike, starting at 8am by the Camino Ingles milestone. From here, the Camino arrows will lead the way. Today's walk is fairly easy, flat ground with the estuary as your companion. Much of the route is through lovely parks and on tarmac paths.
Day 3 - Neda to Pontedeume - 16km
Today's walk is less than ten miles, but it is quite challenging with a few steep hills. We walk through the historic town of Neda and onward over the hills to cross the Eume River before finding our way into the medieval town of Pontedeume. We will take our time today with lots of opportunities to catch our breath and take plenty of photos.
Day 4 - Pontedeume to Betanzos - 21km
From Pontedeume, the trail climbs up to give spectacular views over Betanzos, Ares, and Ferrol. The trail continues to Miño by way of a medieval stone bridge over the Baxoi river. We will then travel along the coast to the Lambre river, on a path that holds beautiful views of the Rias de Betanzos and the surrounding marshlands. The town of Betanzos has some of the most interesting and artistic, historical buildings in Galicia.
Day 5 - Betanzos to Hospital de Bruma - 28.3km
Today is one of the most challenging days, but also the most rewarding. The day starts along a moderate trail, and the second part of the day we will be walking up steep hills. Today we say goodbye to the sea as we start to make our way inland.
Day 6 - Hospital de Bruma to Sigüeiro - 24.8km
Today we will be walking through the beautiful Galacian forest, where we’ll pass a bizarre sculpture park which includes a life-sized dinosaur!
Day 7 - Sigüeiro to Santiago
Spirits will be high today as in a few hours we will be walking into the central plaza of Santiago De Compostella, feeling a real sense of achievement. Today, you will experience an enchanted forest stroll, and we will encourage you all to stop at the last church before arriving in Santiago. You will not see the Cathedral until you turn the final corner and this magnificent building then dominates its surroundings. You did it! You walked over 100 km! Now it’s time to collect your certificate and spend a few quiet moments reflecting on your journey during the last six days.
• 7x nights in Bed and Breakfast basis in accommodation 1*/2*/3* (this will be on a share basis unless otherwise noted on the trip itinerary)
• Transfer In from Santiago de Compostela to Ferrol
• Transfer out from Santiago de Compostela to Santiago airport
• Transfer by taxi/mini-bus from Willen Hospice to Gatwick airport.
Return Flights (15 spaces available)
• LGW-SANTIAGO - 6 May, 6am - 9am
• SANTIAGO-LGW - 13 May, 9:40am -10:35am
Do I need to speak Spanish?
Many shops, hotels and hostels will communicate in English, however, for a more enjoyable experience we would recommend learning some basic Spanish using an app such as Duolingo and to also download Google Translate to your phone.
How old do I need to be to take part?
18 and over.
What if I'm not fit enough?
We will give you a full training programme, but you really do not need to be super fit for this challenge. You just need to be able to walk the distances referenced in the itinerary.
What if I can't carry my rucksack?
If the thought of carrying your rucksack along the way fills you with dread, then we will show you how to use the baggage transfer service which is available at every accommodation stop along the way for a small fee.
£500 registration fee payable at time of booking
£700 trip costs due by 3 February 2020
£1,200 fundraising minimum which must be raised by 1 May 2020
Films and TV documentaries to inspire you
BBC’s The Road to Santiago - episodes are no longer available but you can still watch shorter clips.
Reading to inspire you
Willen Hospice Ventures Ltd is acting as an agent for Travel Counsellors Ltd (ATOL 6751). This flight-inclusive holiday is financially protected by the ATOL scheme (ATOL 6751), Travel Counsellors Ltd, Venus, No.1 0ld Park Lane, Trafford City, Manchester, M41 7HA. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. For more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate