We are two months out from our return to the Camino and I felt I needed to write. The last time I put hand to keyboard, I was getting my pack in order and starting to get a training plan together. The last time I had walked in excess of 15 kilometres was in December 2021, some 3 months ago. I needed to get some kilometres under my belt. Before this was to happen, I was met with some good news.
Last Saturday, over coffee and cake in the seaside town of Malahide, I met my good friend Wallace. It was my first time I had met him since Covid kicked in, so this short coffee chat turned out to be quite a long one. Not that we minded. He is a pilgrim, like me. He has previously walked the Camino Francés over a number of years however he is eager to walk again. We met to talk about the Camino Portugués Coastal Route before he made any decisions. We talked about the terrain, the albergues, hey! I even threw in a few videos! So, at the end of the day, Wallace had made his decision and he booked his tickets and will be joining us in May. I’m delighted to have him along. I usually like to travel to the Camino solo but I am open to new experiences that I couldn’t say no. We may walk together, we may walk separately, but I’m sure we will meet each other at the end of each day.
In other news, my other pilgrim companion, Ray (my brother), joined me yesterday on our first prep walk of the year. We chose the Boyne Valley Camino which is about 40 kilometres north of Dublin. This was my 2nd time walking this Camino, having first walked it in November 2019. It has links to the Camino Inglés and A Coruna and is steeped in history. Many Irish medieval pilgrims sailed from the mouth of the River Boyne to A Coruna to walk to Santiago de Compostela. The Boyne Valley Camino is one of the few Celtic Caminos in Ireland. By completing this 25km looped walk, you will receive a certificate which you can bring to Spain as part of your Celtic Camino to Santiago de Compostela.
I found this walk perfect practice – even if it did tense a few muscles. There are ascents, and there are descents, there are a few sites to see and interesting places to visit if you have time. The starting point, St Peter’s Church, is not far from the train station – where we both travelled from Dublin. A quick selfie beside the church later and we were on our way. I couldn’t help notice that the light poles in the main street were covered in knitted designs. I wonder how long that took!
It wasn’t long before we were walking along the Boyne River and further along, into the woods at Townley Hall. The signage in the woods was super with arrows and shells – throwing me back to my times on the Camino in Spain. Leaving the woods temporarily for roadway made me want to turn around but it was only for an hour or two. The closeness between pilgrim and passing car was a concern but each driver seemed to aware that we were the walkers today and gave us space.
The weather was perfect and we were indeed the lucky ones – the sun shined bright for the whole day. I loved Townley Woods and the boardwalks along the Boyneside Trail gave me an extra spring in my step as I walked back into Drogheda. However, even with a map, there were times we did question where we were going. That said, we did meet people who would point us in the right direction. The kindness of strangers, eh?
We have decided to walk again on the 17th of this month on the Harbour 2 Harbour walk for Aware. I will write about that when I walk that. But about the Boyne Valley Camino, I might even return before I go to Portugal in May. Buen Camino!
About this Walk
Boyne Valley Camino, 25k Loop Walk, Drogheda, Louth
How to get there: Commuter train from Dublin Connolly
Map: Download here
Buy credential here: CaminoSociety.ie
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