About the Bicycling Buchans

We are a 60-something couple living in East Anglia, England, who discovered first cycle touring, then pilgrimming, was a good way to be together, and escaping the demands of home life with growing up children.
Now (2017) all five are independent, (generally!). Four are married and three have produced our nine grandchildren. Peter is mostly in recovery from CFS/ME which he has suffered for seventeen years .   Bridget was retired from social work seven years ago after much struggle with depression. Again, the traveling seems therapeutic for both of us.

Quite some time ago we developed a latent interest in the Camino,  the making of a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, in North West Spain. This quickly became a plan to do it ourselves, bit by bit and starting out from home, and it is the rough and ready accounts of our journeys which you will find in this blog.

August 2008 contains our journal from 2007, when we traveled from home to Harwich, and later from Hook of Holland to Rheims.  We stayed in hostels or B and Bs, mostly, and were surprised by the sense of peace that came from taking a day at a time without worrying too much for the morrow, and by how much stronger we both felt afterwards, because we had travelled under our own steam a considerable distance across three foreign countries and had met with all the welcome and support we needed.

In September 2008 we continued our journey from Rheims. We  bought a new lightweight tent, to save us some Euros when there is no pilgrim accommodation, which there will be as we travel further south.  We headed for Vezelay, the starting place of one of the four traditional pilgrim routes across France, the Via Limoviencis. We reached just south of Limoges before it was time to go home.

March 2009: we walked the Camino Ingles with our daughter Kate. This account is complete with photos.

September 18 2009: The two of us returned to Limoges (by train and with our bikes) and reached Guernica on the Northern or Coastal Camino route in Spain.

In April 2010, Bridget being off sick again with depression, we took the opportunity to ‘get away from it all’ and returned to Guernica, this time equipped with walking boots and backpacks instead of our bicycles, to walk as far as we could.

We returned home to face the imposed decision for Bridget to retire early, necessitating the sale of our family house of 27 years and finding somewhere much smaller to downsize into. For the next two years we were adjusting, as far as we could between a daughter’s wedding, various new grandchildren, and other family crises, events etc.

But eventually the camino called us back (in March  2012) but we managed only one week’s walking (San Vicente to La Isla) before having to return home as my very elderly mother had died suddenly.

In September and October 2014 we finally completed the Camino del Notre, from La Isla to Santiago de Compostela, still on foot.

The blog covered all this as far as Gontan in Galicia – but there are plenty of photos to add and further details from our daily written log to add – sometime! Even so, I hope what IS here will give a flavour of our journey, and maybe inform or inspire other potential pilgrims!

In March/April 2017 Bridget made a wonderful solo cycling pilgrimage on the Camino Frances. Photos and updates were published on Facebook – maybe one day that will also be posted on here!


6 Responses to “About the Bicycling Buchans”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    This is great! Let me know if you’d like to link exchange.

  2. Nigel Pottle Says:

    Ok, Bridget and Peter – here you are writing about the camino and commenting on my knitting, and suddenly I discover your last name is Buchan!!!! I grew up in the town of Buchans Newfoundland which is named after David Buchan, an English explorer who spent time in the Newfoundland interior. My school’s year book (which I edited in my grad year of 1967) is called The Buchaneer. I do love synchronicity.


    • buchaneers7 Says:

      And Peter’s father was called David – more synchronicity! Isn’t this world wide web stuff fun! I hope you admired my Golden Shrugs.

  3. roxanne1944 Says:

    I think I found your website from the Camino Forum. I’m hoping/planning to travel the Camino Ingles in 2010 or 2011 and have just found the bit in your blog where you say you took that route too. Looking forward to reading about your adventures.

  4. Andreas Says:

    Hello Bridget, hi Peter,

    Kind regards from Andreas, we shared 2 nights in Mussidan and St. Foy la Grande. Saw you last time at the abbey of St. Ferme. What a splendid time we had, hadn’t we?. There’s a beginning of a James Salter novel in my mind: “September. It seems these luminous days will never end.” Exactly! So, you made it to Santander. I crossed the Pyrenees on Oct. 4th.
    It was marvellous, not a single cloud in the sky. Then Pamplona, Navarra, the widening landscape – it’s a sky’s country somebody said. After that Burgos and la meseta. Outstanding, nothing but wind, sun, endless horizon – and the fellow pilgrims. I mean, crossing France, it was pleasant, pleasant, but in a way – the forests and fields, the rivers – it was like walking in Summer-Germany. Spain is so different.
    However, the way, the camino frances, it’s really a bit like a highway. So many people down there, even in October. And in every tiny hamlet you find your one or two albergues, a hostal or bar or at least an automate with cold soft drinks. The pilgrimage as business.
    I know it’s silly to complain when you’re part of a development yourself. It’s just… again: Spain is so different. Whereas in Germany and France I was so light-heartedly walking, in Spain it gradually changed into the single interest to arrive. When you are too many, it is nearly impossible to get into closer touch with everything – the people, the land.
    Anyway, the camino del norte, the route you chose should be significantly less frequented.
    On Oct.31st I arrived in Santiago, exactly 3 months after I had left home. I added the loop to the sea, Muxia and Fisterra. On Nov. 8th I flew back home.
    What about you, will you continue next year?

    Best wishes

  5. nowixfamily Says:

    I found you through a Camino website and was hoping you could help with a few questions…Our family is planing to walk Camino Ingles in March. I saw you did the walk at the same time of year. We are planning on splitting the walk into 9-10 days as we are walking with our 6 kids 🙂 Would you encourage us to plan on…or rather to plan otherwise? I appreciate your input and any additional advice or resources.

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