It’s been a quiet week..

Hi folks. I am home from Santiago just over a week now and I have been hit with a bad dose of the Post Camino BluesI find myself waking up earlier than normal and also wondering what I was doing this time last week. My backpack is never far just in case I need to throw it on. I guess the only way to counter-act this dreaded condition is to meet with people who feel the same and keep writing.

In other news:

My 2016 Camino Finisterre in one page: I have just finished writing about my times on the Camino Finisterre. The link to each day can be found in the Camino Finisterre 2016 at the top of the page. I will be posting a more general post about that route in the coming days.

The LWIBloggies: The Littlewoods Blog Awards were held last night and the travel award was won by a smashing travel blog called WanderingOn.com. Check out their site if you can. Congratulations to all winners on the night, they can be viewed hereI have quite bit of work to do to reach their level but I am happy plugging away here, doing what I love. And I’m delighted to have reached the final with all your votes.

A little look into the future: I have started browsing through the Brierley’s booklet for the Camino Portuguese. I really want to walk the Coastal route from Porto to Santiago, and then on to Muxia. This should take up to 18 days. Plans are afoot! It is meant to be a beautiful trail with very few peregrinos. That said, I missed the social aspect of the Camino Frances on the Camino Fisterra. Hmm…lots of decisions to make before the start of the New Year.

Dublin Festival of History: And finally, Dublin City Council are holding a number of free events from September 23rd to October 8th during the Dublin Festival of History. One such talk is “The Irish and the Camino de Santiago: 800 years of history” and is being held in Cabra Library on the Navan Road on October 6th. You must book in advance. Full details can be found here. So if you are from the area, it would be great to attend.

Littlewoods Irish Blog Awards Finalist

Ok..ok..my previous post was meant to be my goodbye and the intention was there to not post until I flew into Santiago. Well, I needed to break this news to you.

For the 2nd year in a row, I have made the final list in the Irish Blog Awards, sponsored by Littlewoods. Big achievement, eh? I would definitely think so. I have to thank each and everyone of you who have voted for me and have shared the link with everyone. Muchas gracias a todos! You are all legends! The last year has been a watershed here having changed the blog’s name and inviting contributions from around the world. Everything I do here is for the budding peregrino.

This year I hope to make the Awards event itself and there are a lot of people I would like to meet. Blogging is a big deal to some people but I have limited time with work etc.

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I would also like to wish the very best of luck to every blogger who has been selected as a finalist. Even if I don’t win (and I probably won’t), it’s a great achievement to be listed and I appreciate the recognition.

Okay, now to pack my rucksack and get together the last few pieces for Santiago. My next post will definitely be from there!

So..the Voting has begun!!

Ok folks, remember when I said I would need your help? Well..now that time has come! 🙂

I woke up yesterday morning to an email saying I was shortlisted in the Travel category in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards. Those fabulous judges have been good to me this year. I am included with 34 other blogs in the Travel category and that just tells you that blogging and writing in general is nowhere near dead. It’s alive and well and so it should be. The Ireland Blog Awards, sponsored by Littlewoods, have been very good to me. This time last year I was selected as a finalist and getting that far for a Camino-related blog is a great achievement. I can’t take anything away from the other blogs but unfortunately, I don’t have the time or the finance to travel as much as they do. So I will continue to write about what I love and if I receive recognition for that..I’ll be delighted!

So..this is where I ask you for your vote. As I have mentioned, voting has started and I have unnamedpassed on the news to my Facebook followers. It ends on midnight on the the 23rd of August and it would be great news to know I am going to the grand final again before leaving for Spain on the the 1st of September. Just to let you know, the public vote will account for 20% of the total mark, while peer judging accounts for 80%.

To vote, click here and search for Clearskies Camino.

 

 

All the blogs below have been shortlisted in the travel section and I would ask you to visit them if you have some time.

 

  • Ali Bourke
  • Back Home in Ireland
  • Barrow Valley Guide
  • Before My Mam Dies
  • Bottlecap Travels
  • Clearskies Camino ­ – my times on the Camino de Santiago

  • Cosa gan Chompás
  • Dear Passerby
  • Diary of a style Hunter
  • Five Suitcases
  • Galavanting Ireland
  • HatsoffIreland
  • Irish Nomad
  • Irishconsumer.com
  • Jardin
  • Journalist On The Run
  • My Little Babog
  • Next Stop Who Knows
  • Our Crossings
  • Outdoorfitnesssligo
  • Pikalily
  • Spotted by Locals Dublin
  • Squidgy Moments Travel Blog
  • The Art of Exploring
  • The Geocaching Junkie
  • The Path To 100
  • The Start and The Bean
  • The Traveloguer
  • The Whole World Is a Playground
  • Travel Edits
  • Wandering On Travel Blog
  • Where Is Tara?
  • Where’s Clair?
  • Wild Star Landing
  • yogafootsteps

Thanks for your support and Buen Camino!

So I’ve made the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Longlist!!

Hi there folks!

It isn’t that long ago since I made it to the grand final of the Ireland Blog Awards. September 2015, to be precise.  I wrote under a different name – Lost for Words. I wasn’t able to make it to the event but even being selected was a massive achievement for me and my tiny blog. Some others who write do so on an almost daily basis so I was over the moon to have reached that far.

However, 2015 becomes 2016 and I’ve again made it onto the Long List of the Blog Awards Ireland 2016, sponsored by Littlewoods Ireland.

After this comes the Short List stage (80% judged and 20% public vote) and then the Finalist judging and the awards ceremony is sometime in the autumn. Hopefully, I will be home from Spain before the next round of judging. I will let you know of any updates as I will be counting on you, dear readers!!

A big shout out to all those on the Travel Long List (Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 – Longlist) – I recognise some of these great people from last year.

 

 

2015..Waving Goodbye

2015 was a fun year…not a funny year, but it was eventful.

2015 logoThis blog grew in so many ways and so did my love for the Camino de Santiago. The name of the site was changed to ClearskiesCamino.com when I realised that I had much more to offer. This, in turn, gave me the motivation to write more.

The blog was also nominated for “Best Travel Blog” at the Irish Blog Awards. I didn’t win but I didn’t expect to. The fact that I was listed as a finalist (with 9 pretty impressive websites) gave me enough reason to continue what I have been doing for the last 3-4 years. After the Awards, I had an amazing banner created for me and everything was fitting into place.

So what were the highlights and low lights of the year? What made 2015 stand out? There were a few, other than what I have mentioned above.

1) My return to the Camino Frances in 2015
This has become an annual event at this stage, but I don’t plan it to be. May saw my return to Spain (for the 5th time) when I walked from Belorado to Molinaseca, over 320km. I flew to and returned from Bilbao. The weather was ideal and I met great people. I mostly walked alone so that was different to my previous Caminos. However I did damage some ligaments behind my knee which left me unable to walk properly for a while when I returned. The gear I used remained the same and I didn’t buy much else. However, I bought a new backpack in the Christmas Sales in January, a Lowe Alpine AirZone. It was perfect. I had intended to blog while on the Camino, but after two days, I threw that promise out the window. Instead, I wrote about my times there when I returned.

2) The Lough Derg Way
In April, I visited some Camino friends in Limerick and walked part of the Lough Derg Way. It was great preparation for my upcoming Camino in May and their Camino in June. The Lough Derg Way is one of the many trails in Ireland and takes you from Limerick City to a little town called Dromineer. It is very close to the River Shannon and all in all it is 30km. There is an issue with signage with this trail and we needed to ask directions a number of times, however the weather was great and it was just what I was looking for before I headed off a few weeks later. I returned in August to walk another stage.

3) A Lack of Decisiveness – 2016
From the time I returned from Spain, right through the year, there has been an eagerness to return in 2016. Where and when, or if I am returning at all, I don’t know. I had dabbled with the idea of walking one of the less populated routes, the Camino Ingles or the Invierno, but I prefer company so the Camino Frances is ideal. In the end I decided to choose early September from Ponferrada to Finistere, which is over 300km. It should take 2 weeks, more or less. Another reason for my lack of decisiveness is that I have an incurable condition called “Santiago-phobia” (in jest). I haven’t walked in Galicia since 2011, preferring the meseta and La Rioja. I often wonder what the crowds will be like. I will find out soon enough.

4) I Gave A Talk About the Camino
In May, I was asked to give a talk about the Camino along with two other friends. It was due to be given in September in Limerick and I was given the task of talking about the different routes, a bit about the history, and how to get there from Ireland. When the night came, a crowd of over 60 turned up. I was nervous to say the least but once I got going, I was fine. I hope, in the future, to be asked to give future talks.

5) The Introduction of the Weekend Watch series
Back in July, I decided to introduce a series on the site called “Weekend Watch” with the aim of posting a Camino-related video each Saturday. At present, we are at Number 22. There is no shortage of Camino videos on YouTube, Dailymotion and Vimeo. There are some people who post entire vlogs from the Camino or wait until they return. Give them a watch when you get a chance.

6) Denise Thiem
This has been a very sad year in the Camino community. Denise Thiem went missing in April of this year but her body was found in September. It is important to be extra vigilant now, especially around the Santa Catalina region where she was taken.

7) The Camino Through My Eyes
I decided to introduce this series to the blog back in October and it has been a tremendous success. I have asked 4 bloggers who have walked the Camino de Santiago a series of questions with the hope of passing on valuable information to those planning. What struck me is no two answers were the same. The most popular post of the year was belonging to Maggie Woodward in October. I hope to continue this series in 2016.

8) 40,000 hits
Just before Christmas, the site hit 40,000 views. This is a massive achievement and I only have you, the reader, to thank. I go into 2016 with confidence that this blog will provide future pilgrims with essential information.

If you could share my blog with your friends and “like” my facebook page, I would appreciate that.
Happy Christmas to you all.

Irish Blog Awards – Finalist…

Screenshot_2015-09-29-17-52-43So the voting and counting is over since the 23rd of this month and the results have been released today. Major excitement ensued. I received an email shortly after 5pm today giving me the news I was hoping for… but not expecting!!! I had reached the final in the travel category of the Irish Blog Awards. I’m not sure what to say but I might as well start by saying THANK YOU to all of you who have voted for me.

Now that I am a finalist, I have joined 9 other travel bloggers, each with some amazing blogs. There will be another round of judging now, using expert judges. The decision process is out of my hands now, so  I will leave it up to the blog-gods! I have to say it’s a great experience however. The night of the awards is on the 22nd of October but I’ll keep you in touch with any further news in the meantime.

A full list of the finalists can be found here.