Posted by: knitknigel | March 23, 2009

Knitting the Camino

The Camino de Santiago is a thread that stretches across northern Spain and back through time. Since the 8th century, when the purported bones of St. James the Elder were found near the site of the present day Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, pilgrims have made their way along the path to visit the holy site, a journey to ask a boon, or to pay for their sins; a holy quest to seek absolution.

It is this thread that I will walk in May and June 2009, on my second trip to the Camino. In 2004, I walked the Camino Frances beginning in Pamplona, Spain, with my husband Geordie Facey who himself has walked the route twice, as well as walking part of the Via de la Plata, the route which takes one to Santiago from Seville in southern Spain. Many of you followed us on those earlier journeys and we welcome you back for this one. Geordie will again walk the Via de la Plata, taking up where he left off during his last visit in Caceres. And I will walk the Camino Frances a second time.

packs3 g-and-n-with-santiago2

And there will be other threads with me too. There is the thread of messages I will leave on this blog, there is the thread of my own history, to celebrate the lives of family we have lost and there is the thread of yarn which I will take with me so that I can knit whenever I have the chance. On this journey I will take my knitting needles and yarn to knit socks, as a symbol of the way. My feet will carry me, and my feet will take the brunt of the journey.

I invite you to join me on this journey, to follow my route across the mountains and plains, to follow my progress on my socks, and to support a cause which is dear to my heart. Alzheimer’s disease has taken a toll on both my own immediate family and the family of my husband Geordie. As I travel I will be thinking of them. And I ask you to help, by supporting the work of the Alzheimer’s Society. I plan to establish a link so that readers here will be able to make direct donations when they are inspired to do so.

The route I am traveling is called the Camino Frances because it was originally the route taken by those walking to Santiago de Compostela from France. It begins for many at St. Jean Pied de Port which is on the French side of the Pyrenees. It’s only a day’s walk from the town of Roncesvalles in Spain, but it is considered one of the hardest days of the Camino because of the mountain pass which must be conquered. There are other mountain passes to come but this one, because it is the first, is probably the hardest because it is at the very beginning of the walk. The height gain is also the biggest of the entire camino for a one day walk. Nothing like a challenge on day one.

That’s where I plan to start my pilgrimage, knitting in hand. Perhaps I will spend a day enjoying St. Jean before I set off in the early morning. That will give me the chance to get my first sock started, casting on stitches in some café while enjoying a caffe latte or two in a comfortable bar. The bars of Spain are for me one of the wonders of the world. They are everywhere and they can provide you with breakfast, lunch and dinner, a great cup of coffee, a good glass of wine and the camaraderie of the customers, some of whom probably visit it every single day. I’ll be spending lots of time in bars along the way. The last time we did this, Geordie anointed our journey the Camino de Caffe, because we had to have our fix at almost every village we passed through. 

This is an introduction to my journey. Over the next six weeks as I plan the trip, train my legs, gather my supplies and consider all the things I have to know, I will share my thoughts with you. There’s much to consider so you will get a good idea of the processes involved in undertaking the journey. Stay tuned.


  1. Bravo Nigel! It’s a delight to read your posts, though I have had a bought of Leightonitis in my correspondance, I am reading reading reading. Love to G too! XO H

  2. I am so excited for you. Can’t wait to read all about your Camino.

  3. Thank you Nigel for such beautiful and inspired writing.Can’t wait to see you down here in Spain.

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