In 2015 I retired from medical practice. Margie and I walked the Camino Francés from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago.
In 2016 Margie and I walked the le Puy Way from le-Puy-en-Velay to Roncesvalles. We finished on a high over the Napoleon Route, perhaps finished with our Caminos.
In 2017 we walked bits of the Jacobsweg around Berlin and Derek and I walked from Calais to Ieper (a pilgrimage to the grave of a relative).
I love France and Spain. I decided, selfishly, to have a (last?) long camino from Vézelay to SDC, thinking to do it on my own. I turn 70 in November. Joe Macky decided to join me and there are now others joining for bits of the walk. The entire route is: the Voie de Vézelay, a connecting walk from SJPDP to Hendaye/Irun, the Camino del Norte to Vilaviciosa, the Camino Primitivo to Lugo, the Camino Verde back to the Norte and then to Santiago. I hope to connect with the Francés at Lavacolla. It’s probably about 1900km, give or take. We are booked to start on the 8th April 1919.
My chronic renal failure has stabilised, with an eGFR around 30, and has been for the last 5 or so years. This leaves me outwardly healthy but weak and short of stamina. I haven’t read anything about walking with renal failure, so am making it up. On the Francés, we started slowly and built up to about 20km per day, but by the end I was wrecked, pains everywhere from the waist down and also in my back. I had trained for 18 months, but clearly not enough. I stepped it up for the le Puy, getting stronger through the walk. This year I have stepped it up again, lighter in weight, faster and longer training walks and a longer intense training period. I have no understanding of whether this will benefit me or not. Where is the law of diminishing returns?
I’ll leave behind a long-suffering wife whom I know I’m neglecting, but the compulsion to go is strong and for a variety of reasons, this might be my last opportunity. I hope to see Margie, Victoria and Evie in Périgord, in early May. I hope to make it to SDC in about 96 days, I hope I don’t break down, I know I’ll love every minute.
The only major change I’ve made to what I wear and carry is to substitute trail-runners for boots and add a few extra items of cold weather gear.
Read on and see how I got on.