Chris's second article
(The reason this is not in the grander* format of the other two is the Queen's
Golden Jubilee!!! The Sutton Guardian, clearly with an unsound grasp on what's
newsworthy, allowed QGJ coverage to squeeze out his report)
(* the 'grander format' was a direct link to the Sutton Guardian's website - but the link has now failed!!)
>Mon 27th May
>Over the Pyrenees and into Spain
>I am writing this as I try to dry out my wet clothes in a small Spanish 'hostal' just over the top of the Ibaneta pass which separates the French and Spanish sections of my journey. The pilgrim route is simply called the 'Camino' here in Spain. It has rained all but one and a half days since 21st of May and it is cold and windy. I am therefore mildly surprised that I have done 487 miles of my journey and have climbed a total height of nearly 30000 feet. The 2 and a half hour slog up the 22 kilometres of the Ibaneta pass this morning only represented about a tenth of the total height climbed.
>My journey would have been much more difficult had it not been for four friends- Martin, Joe, Mike and John - who joined me for three days in France. They rode with me from near Conques to beyond Lectoure and then returned by train to where they started, driving home from there.
>But what a three days. Torrential rain the first day for 3 hours made them wonder what they had let themselves in for as we floated into Cahors. But the meal we had there was a truly magnificent French affair. The sodden start the next day gave way to sun and a happy sharing as we migrated south. I found the whole experience both energising and humbling as the four had made great efforts to be with me and had helped raise over £1500 for the Marsden children's cancer fund.
>Now they are gone I miss them. But the strange part of this journey is that the 1000 years of other pilgrims doing just what I am doing (admittedly not on a bike), serves to give an added dimension to my own efforts. I never feel alone. I don't worry about getting food or accommodation, or distances or the hills or the rain. Instead I spend hours of time thinking about those I have met on the road and those at home in England. Apparently, the Camino does that to you.