The Camino Frances. (The Way of St James). From St Jean Pied de Port in France to Compostela de Santiago in Spain.My Charity walk. 500 Miles

Hi all,..as some will know from my picture I am ex British Army. I served for most of my adult life in the Scots Guards, from Guarding the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, The Tower of London & Windsor and Trooping the Colour..to Operations in Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Middle East and all over the world I have been active and supremely fit..and I don't need to tell anyone on here how much our lives have changed..and it will come as no surprise that I haven't handled it very well. However, the short time I have been on this forum and having read and took part in some threads and discussions it has gave me immense strength and courage to carry on which is down to everyone on here...Also with the support and help from my darling wife and kids I am starting to see a brighter future. So I have made the decision to do the CAMINO FRANCES COMPOSTELA di SANTIAGO which is a 500 mile walk from France to Northern Spain and should take me anywhere between 30 and 40 days to complete depending on how I feel on any given day. I am doing this in celebration of RD/RA and to prove it won't beat me or us it can try all it wants..and my charity's will be Arthritis UK and NRAS...I am not doing this untill 2015 as I will need to prepare ' a lot' this for me is something for myself and my own state of mind as much as it is for Arthritis and RD and any other Auto Immune condition :)..I want to beat this and my way of doing it is this and also to raise a lot of money for the fight against it. I will be setting up a Just Giving Page where all donations will be made and kept online untill the event is passed. I hope to gain the support of most on here and hope you will all be with me in mind and spirit. Here is a link for the walk if you want a wee look santiago-compostela.net thanks for reading this xxx

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  • Well done you! Let me know when your page is up and good luck with the training x

  • Well done Iain. I will sponsor you. Santiago de Compostela is a very beautiful and peaceful place to end your walk (well except for the tourists like me). Good luck with your training. Such a worthy cause. Angela.

  • Thanks Allanah and Angela preperations are already under way..this will be an epic journey for me x

  • Wow! That's absolutely amazing, good for you - go for it! Enjoy the planning and preparation, it's a fantastic goal and great sentiment behind it. I'll be letting other people know about it so they can sponsor you when the time comes.

  • Thanks Sailaway, really excited about it already

  • Well, that was worth the wait! How bl**dy exciting & I'm sooooo envious of your aspirations. Only just seen your news as it's been busy on here today & catching up. I know Spaniards who've done it, both for spiritual reasons (as they are apt to) & just for the sheer hell of it & the fact that they can (again as they are apt!) & each haven't regretted having done it. I admire your tenacity but a word of warning do not consider it in summer. It's hot, can be rainy as I can promise you that, very busy with other pilgrims & consequently not as much .... well, fun if that's the word! I don't know if you've read this francistapon.com/Travels/Sp... I did when one of our friends was doing it & although the title seems damning it's at times a little amusing (depending on your sense of humour!). It is a little long winded but as you're already interested & it may not seem such a tome to you as it could for anyone not considering this adventure. At the end of your journey if you feel you wish to you really must visit the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela. It's amazing & the botafumeiro (a huge thurible) is really something to behold. It won't be in place unless it's a high day or holiday such as Easter or other significant Catholic days but is on view in the Cathedrals library when not on high. It's because of folk like you going back years that it was necessary for it to be so large, Spanish tales would have it, as the pilgrims honked so much when eventually at the end of their journey to pay homage to St James that it was necessary to cover the smell of them!!!

    Let us know when you've set your page up & if at all possible can you think about blogging it, maybe giving us an update as & when you can? Meantime, keep us updated on your progress with your training.

    If anyone with RD can do it an ex British Army man with RD can. We're all behind you............way, way behind you!!!!

  • Aw thank you so much nomoreheels, it really is a chance in a lifetime for me to do this..not just for me but for all of us with RD and a chance for me to put something back into the organisations that do so much for us..the reason I chose this particular walk is because it's a pilgrimage and in a way I am paying homage to our disease but at the same time I want to beat it down....and will be my greatest challenge yet given my situation..I was going to do 2 charities Arthritis UK and NRAS..but since talking to my friends about it one of them has decided he is doing it alongside me....so now he is doing NRAS and I Arthritis UK that way we can maximise the output to our charity. I will definately blog it everyday..its something to look back on and can keep everyone upto date I wonder if something can be set up on this page?..something for me to look into for sure..as for going to see the Cathedral I think if I never I would be missing out the cathedral is the prize lol...I plan to take everything in in my month or so and catalogue all my pics and feelings..I really cannot wait and to be able to get the support of everyone on here will be immense and heart warming it will give me the strength to do it...preperations are already under way...long way off but Im sure it will be here before I know it x

  • Having looked at that link you sent me I have just reasessed and we are going to do di santiago del norte..its off track and more challenging rather than overcrowded tarmac lol..same distance..thanks for the support again x

  • Think you've got your wits about you on this one. It averages about 15 miles a day taking a month doing it & that's a good way. Also think it's a better idea doing the north route but read up well on it as it is considerably harder being hilly (to say the least) as it goes through the Picos de Europa (pick up some Picos cheese, valdeon, it's lovely if you like blue cheese but very smelly if it's left too long, we had some in the MX5 coming back to the UK once & had to throw it out half way through France as it matured quickly, & even protected with the vine leaves it ate away at the greaseproof paper it was wrapped in, was rank & ran all over the back shelf, only got the car a couple of months previously, sure got rid of that new car smell!) It's also rainy on & off even in summer (not advisable). When staying in San Sebastian for the first time we couldn't understand why in June people were in shorts & tshirts & carrying those poncho type plastic coveralls. We soon found out! The bars empty & fill depending on the rain. I wanted to take a photo of the hills at the back of our hotel & by the time I'd found the camera they were covered in cloud!!

    Glad you're blogging you're pilgrimage. It'll also serve as a reminder in later years of what you actually achieved in spite of RD. It would be great if you could get some coverage or sponsorship of your journey somehow, it is an exceptional journey with everything considered & would raise the profile even more. Maybe someone on here knows of people who work in the media?

    Anyway, I do think you're audacious taking on this route but admire you for it. That's ex servicemen for you, again we have a friend who was a para & went on to working as a diver on the rigs. It's the adrenalin hit & the "you won't beat me" attitude you miss no doubt since leaving the army.

  • Haha think my wits are the only thing that hasn't left me which is a bonus..still at the early planning stage with a long way to go..I still live with the 7 p's prior planning and preperation prevents p*** poor performance that was what I used in the Army and still now lol..think I will stay away from the stinky cheeses..maybe not all of them but deffo the runny ones..will be middle to end of May possibly start of June we go..rain wont bother me in the slightest as long as its warm..skins waterproof afterall lol...aslong as it isnt cold dont want to seize up lol...yeah we had a look at the Frances route and it just looks too overcrowded and too much on busy roads, still a challenge for sure but think I will be deffo more suited to the off track hilly terrain..plus the sites will be better..the blog I hope will raise sone awareness and I really hope to get some coverage as it would help raise funds but it isnt the be all I suppose..just glad to give it my best..and yes I miss the kick and buzz..maybe this will restore some...thanks for well wishes..hooe you are getting some relief x

  • Well done to even consider it. I am very envious, I would so love to be able to do something like that again. I have like you, found on this site so many people who really understand what we all go through and the positivity they give off, shames me at times. So please do keep everybody up to date, obviously you have my support and utmost respect and will very willingly support your cause. I'm sure many of us will be with you in mind and spirit. Good luck with the training!

  • Hi mate, the support on here is tremendous infact its out of this world...its the reason I decided to put the inspirations to the test, I just cant describe how supportive this site is..I will keep my training up to date and hope the blog is to everyones taste it will be full of pain and joy lol...thanks for the support its appreciated, I hope you are well

  • Hi Iain

    Fantastic news.........will really enjoy reading of your adventure......hope you will be blogging on the preparation too? You go for it and beat this disease down x

  • Hi Beaches, will keep all updated on my training, got a bit to go before that starts but looking forward to it..I will give it my best shot, thanks for support and hope you are well x

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