Imagine embarking on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual exploration, where every step you take leads you through a beautiful and historic landscape.
This is the allure of the Camino Ingles, a lesser-known yet captivating pilgrimage route in Spain on the famous Camino de Santiago.
But can a beginner walk the Camino Ingles ? Yes of course they can !
In this guide, we’ll explore whether a beginner can successfully walk the Camino Ingles, offering insights, tips and real-life stories to inspire your first pilgrimage.
Unveiling the Camino Ingles
The Hidden Gem: The Camino Ingles, also known as the English Way, is a gem waiting to be discovered. It’s a pilgrimage route that spans approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) in length, leading from Ferrol and 95km from A Coruña in Galicia to Santiago de Compostela, the ultimate destination for pilgrims.
What sets the Camino Ingles apart is its historical and cultural significance, making it a fantastic choice for first time pilgrims.
Historical and Cultural Significance: The Camino Ingles has deep historical roots, with its popularity stemming from the journeys of medieval pilgrims who arrived in Spain by sea and started their pilgrimage in the northern ports.
Today, it’s a route that promises pilgrims a unique blend of coastal beauty and ancient heritage, all while offering a sense of tranquility away from the busier Camino routes such as the Camino Frances.
Preparing for the Journey
The Foundation of Success: Any successful Camino Ingles experience begins with thorough preparation. While it may seem like a daunting challenge for beginners, rest assured that with the right approach, it’s a really attainable goal.
Physical Fitness: You don’t need to be a marathon runner to embark on the Camino Ingles, but a reasonable level of fitness is essential. It’s advisable to prepare by engaging in regular walking, gradually increasing your distances over a couple of months before you depart.
This will not only help condition your body but also allow you to break in your walking shoes effectively.
Packing Essentials: The golden rule for the Camino Ingles, and any Camino route, is to pack light. Essentials include moisture-wicking clothing, comfortable walking shoes, a well-fitted backpack, a sleeping bag, and basic toiletries.
Check out my recommendation for the best backpack for the Camino de Santiago.
Embrace minimalism to make your journey more manageable. Check out the packing list I have used for every Camino i have walked.
Training and Conditioning
Getting Fit for the Trail: The Camino Ingles is a trail that can be physically demanding, particularly if you’re new to long distance walking. To prepare, start with shorter walks and gradually work your way up to longer distances.
Aim for a daily walk of around 10-15 kilometers (6-9 miles), which closely resembles the typical daily distances on the Camino.
Building Endurance: The Camino is not a race; it’s about the journey. Take your time, savour the landscapes, and focus on building your endurance.
Don’t be surprised if you meet fellow pilgrims of various ages and backgrounds. The Camino is a journey for everyone.
Foot Care: Blisters can be a pilgrim’s worst enemy. To prevent them, invest in well-fitting, comfortable walking shoes and moisture-wicking socks.
Camino Ingles Route Details
The Stages: The Camino Ingles consists of several stages, each marked by charming towns, historic landmarks and unique features. As you walk, you’ll encounter picturesque coastal vistas, rural landscapes, and cultural sites.
Some noteworthy stops include Ferrol, Neda, Pontedeume, Betanzos, and Hospital de Bruma, each offering its distinct charm.
Terrain and Landscapes: While the Camino Ingles is generally well-marked and less challenging in terms of terrain compared to some other Camino routes, you’ll still encounter a variety of landscapes.
Coastal paths, farmlands and forested areas will accompany you along the way. This diversity adds to the allure of the Camino Ingles. The lush Galician countryside is a fantastic experience to be immersed in.
Accommodations: Accommodations on the Camino Ingles range from Albergues (pilgrim hostels) to guesthouses and hotels. It’s a good idea to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak pilgrimage seasons, to ensure you have a place to rest at the end of each day’s journey.
The daily life of a pilgrim on the Camino can be hard but if you follow a good routine you should be ok and it doesn’t take long to get used to it.
Camino Ingles Stage Details
Safety and Health on the Camino
Prioritising Safety: Safety is a paramount concern, particularly for beginners. While the Camino Ingles is very safe, it’s important to stay on the marked trail, exercise caution when crossing roads and remain in designated pilgrim areas.
Walking with others can provide an extra layer of safety, especially in more remote regions.
Healthcare and Emergencies: Minor injuries such as blisters or muscle strains are common on the Camino. Carry a basic first-aid kit and be prepared to seek medical help if necessary.
Spanish hospitals are equipped to handle pilgrim-related health issues. Having travel insurance that covers healthcare can offer peace of mind.
Mental Well-Being: The Camino is not just a physical journey; it’s a mental and emotional one as well. You may experience exhaustion, loneliness, or moments of self-doubt.
It’s important to have a support system, whether it’s the fellow pilgrims you meet or loved ones back home. I always walk with a couple of friends and we support each other the whole way.
Don’t hesitate to take a rest day when needed and remember that it’s okay to seek help or take a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Camino Ingles Tips for Beginners
Timing Is Everything: The best times for beginners to walk the Camino Ingles are spring and early fall. During these seasons, the weather is mild, and the trail is less crowded.
The summer can be scorching, and accommodations fill up quickly, while the winter months can bring cold and rainy conditions, making the journey less comfortable.
In fact a lot of the albergues close during the winter months so accommodation is scarce.
Budgeting Wisely: On average, budget around €30-€50 per day for your Camino Ingles expenses, including accommodation, meals, and miscellaneous costs.
Some Albergues are donation based, allowing you support the Camino community, but you should still pay for your stay which helps provide support for the Pilgrims staying the following night.
Cultural Respect: Part of the Camino Ingles experience is embracing local customs and traditions. Try the regional cuisine, learn a few basic Spanish phrases, and immerse yourself in the spirit of the Camino, which is about the journey and the connections you make along the way.
Real Stories and Testimonials
Inspiration from the Trail: To illustrate that the Camino Ingles is indeed accessible for beginners, let’s hear from those who’ve already embarked on this pilgrimage.
Sara’s Journey: Sara, a graphic designer from the United States, had never embarked on a long-distance walk before. She chose the Camino Ingles as her introduction to the world of pilgrimages. With months of training, gradual increases in walking distances, and a well-packed backpack, Sara set out on the Camino.
Her journey was an incredible experience of self-discovery, and she found a new sense of purpose.
Her advice to beginners? “Trust in the process, take one step at a time, and embrace the beauty of the Camino Ingles.”
Jose’s Adventure: Jose, a teacher from Spain, decided to walk the Camino Ingles with his family, including his young daughter. The Camino was a new adventure for them all, and the family took their time to enjoy the scenery and connect with other pilgrims.
For Jose, the Camino Ingles was not just a physical journey but a chance to bond with his loved ones and explore the history and culture of his own country.
His message is clear: “The Camino is an adventure that can be shared with family and friends, and it’s an experience that’s open to all.”
Conclusion: Can a beginner walk the Camino ingles
In conclusion, the Camino Ingles is relatively easy for beginners; it’s an opportunity for growth, exploration and self-discovery.
With the right preparation, a reasonable level of fitness, and a sense of adventure, you can successfully embark on this remarkable pilgrimage.
As you walk along the Camino Ingles, you’ll discover not only the beauty of the landscapes and the richness of the culture but also the strength within yourself.
It’s a transformative journey that’s open to everyone, whether you’re young or old, a seasoned traveller or new to the world of pilgrimages.
So, lace up your walking shoes, pack your backpack, and take the first steps on the Camino Ingles. Your journey of a lifetime awaits.
Camino Ingles Planner & Journal
It also helps to have a Camino Ingles Planner & Journal to record your training schedule ahead of your pilgrimage on the Camino Ingles.
Pilgrims can then record daily expenses, daily thoughts and lots of space to journal their reflections of each day on the trail.
Before you set out on your Camino Ingles adventure, here are some additional resources to assist with your planning:
- Official Camino de Santiago Website: Offers comprehensive information about the Camino routes, accommodations, and more.
- Camino Forum: A supportive online community where you can seek advice, share experiences, and connect with fellow pilgrims.
- Camino Guidebooks: Consider purchasing a guidebook to help you plan and navigate the Camino Ingles effectively.
Happy walking, and may your Camino Ingles journey be a memorable and life changing experience!