Welcome to the Blue Mountains Camino Supporters Newsletter June 2020.
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Hola pilgrims and friends!  We hope you and your families have coped well throughout the 'lockdown'.  We are happy to have further easing of Coronavirus restrictions, however we are ever mindful of physical social distancing and wash, wash the hands! It was a fantastic roll-up of 21 walkers for the May morning walk, you all were very keen to get out in the Blue Mountains fresh air and walking again!  It was a perfect morning for walking too.  We thank you all for making the effort to join us for the morning walks, some of you who joined us came from Mudgee, suburbs of Sydney and from various villages in the Blue Mountains.

SATURDAY MORNING WALK  For June we are offering two walking routes for the Morning Walk departing from Glenella. As from 13 June 2020 groups of 20 will be permitted for outdoors activities. However, we still need to remain vigilant and maintain social distancing whilst walking. It would be ideal if you can carry some hand sanitiser in your pack.  It goes without saying, please do not participate if you have even mild symptoms of a cold - stay home and get tested for peace of mind.

The Blue Mountains Camino Supporters group experimented with broadcasting the Camino Meetup on YouTube in May, what a hoot and learning curve!  You can view the Meetup on YouTube, link in the box 'Our first Camino Training Walk since lockdown'.  Sue and Fermin from Casa Susi sent a lovely video and messages from their albergue haven in Trabadelo.  Sadly though, the Camino is still closed and at time of writing was to gradually reopen from July.  We have all been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and we spare a thought for all the albergue owners and businesses along the Camino routes.  At this stage, with no international flights from Australia, it doesn't look promising to do the Camino in 2020 for many of us.

CAMINO MEETUP in person!   We are excited to have our first Camino Meetup back since 'lockdown' on Saturday 27 June, 2.00-4.00pm at Glenella Guesthouse.  Hope you can join us and let us know how you have coped in iso and what training walks you may have been doing.  Glenella is able to host up to 24 people in the large dining/lounge area.

CANCELLED EVENTS  Due to coronavirus and uncertainties, sadly the following events have been cancelled.  The Tapas Dinner on 26 June 2020 and the Feast of St James Day dinner planned for 24 July 2020.  We thank Tony & Ce Jacques and Jerard & Enda Barry who were hosting the respective events.  Hopefully these events can be scheduled for 2021.  Until further notice, Jerard and Enda will not be hosting pilgrims at their Popup Albergue in Wentworth Falls.

5-DAY CAMINO TRAINING WALK  We are thrilled with interest shown to date in the 5-Day Blue Mountains Camino Training Walk scheduled for 22-26 September 2020.  We hope all or many of the walkers who registered for the March 5-Day walk, which had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions, can join us in September for the Springtime walk up the mountains. More details below.

Keep an eye on Facebook and website for planned events.  We shall publish an updated 2020 Calendar of Events in coming newsletters once the Government permits even larger social gatherings and we are certain we can maintain the social distancing rules.

Take Care, continue to Stay Well and enjoy this time to reflect and dream of what will be there when we are safe and ready to travel again.  We believe Spain is reopening its borders on 1 July 2020 to European residents.  BUEN CAMINO
Our First Camino Training Walk Since Lockdown!
A fantastic roll-up of 21 walkers on Saturday 30 May.   The HAT HILL CREEK WALK had 17 of us walk as two groups to ensure physical distancing.  The route took us from Glenella to the Soldiers Memorial Park and past the Blackheath Rotary 'Rocket', up steep Dell St hill to get the legs working and heart pumping then onto the flat of Hat Hill Rd before making our way to the Hat Hill Creek fire trail.  We crossed the small creek and wound our way on a "Camino like" trail, up the fire trail we continued to the Burramoko fire trail junction.  A right turn would take walkers to Baltzer Lookout and Hanging Rock, but we turn left to make our way to Ridgewell Rd and into the back entry of the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens walking tracks.

The Grose Valley bush fires in December had found its way up to this section of Hat Hill Creek Valley and also burnt the top area of bushland and some exotics in the Campbell Rhododendron Gardens.  Amongst the devastation of charred undergrowth and trucks of small and very large eucalyptus trees, the scenery had a special beauty about the landscape.  Five months on and with decent rains in February there are signs of emerging life and bush regeneration.  There are many fallen trees to make the area safe.

Once in the Rhododendron Gardens the initial landscape lacking vegetation is unfamiliar with the burnt bush and trees, until we see a familiar sight of the large anthill and Fox Cave rock shelf so we are able to follow the track to the lookout an the main entrance to the Gardens.  On the way back to Glenella, Rowan took us on a mystery route via some side streets and laneways and we popped out above the Blackheath swimming pool.  A nice diversion off the main road and to lengthen the route.  This circuit was approx. 8kms taking 2.5hrs but a great walk with mixture of flat roads, tracks and inclines.

The GOURMET COFFEE WALK - Meanwhile 4 walkers opted for the regular walk from Glenella to Medlow Bath along the shared fire trail.  The walkers know the benefits of this route with the reward being refreshments at the Hydro Majestic and views over the Megalong Valley before the return walk to Blackheath.  Today the walkers found a new way to social distance - using their walking poles for good measure!  This mostly flat route is approx 11kms and around 3 hrs plus break.  
Morning Walk
Saturday 27th of June, 9.00am start
There will be two walking routes offered for 27 June.  Both meeting at Glenella Guesthouse, 56 Govetts Leap Rd, Blackheath by 8.50am for 9.00am start.  Please check weather forecast and dress accordingly, bring water, snacks and basic first aid.

1) Blackheath to Fort Rock and Campbell Rhododendron Gardens OR  Blackheath to Evans Lookout and return.  Depending on numbers and interest, we can decide on the morning!  These routes are 8-12kms with some steps and/or inclines.  The Fort Rock walk takes approx. 3 hrs,  there are steps and some uneven tracks but you will have great views over the Kanimbla Valley.  The walk to Evans Lookout takes approx. 4hrs with views over the Grose Valley (views on clear days).  On both routes you will see evidence of bush regeneration following the December bushfires in the local area.  Sadly, unlike the walk 2) below, neither of these routes have offerings of a coffee break until your return to Blackheath.  However, you can take snacks and water for half way point break.

2)  Blackheath to Medlow Bath return, the gourmet coffee walk!   This is a self-guided walk approx. 11kms and  takes approx. 3 hrs plus break along the fairly flat shared fire trail.  You can to get refreshments at half way point at the Hydro Majestic Hotel and take in the views over the Megalong Valley (on a clear day).   Take your Opal card if you need to get the train back to Blackheath (subject to no track works).
Return of the Camino Meetup
Saturday 27th of June, 2:00-4.00pm.
Due to Coronavirus lockdown we had to cancel the March and April  Camino Meetups.  For the May Camino Meetup we experimented with a virtual Camino Meetup with a broadcast on the new  Blue Mountains Camino Supporters YouTube Channel.  We had a bit of fun on the day learning along the way! 

CAMINO MEETUP 27 June will be the first Meetup back since 'lockdown' and we hope you can join us!  We are excited to be able to be gathering in person and sharing the Camino spirit. Hosted at Glenella Guesthouse 2.00-4.00pm.  Enjoy a delicious afternoon tea including Santiago tart.  Cost is $5.00 donation (cash only) .  
Camino Meetup 30 May 2020 was a 'virtual' Meetup due to COVID-19 restrictions and was broadcast on YouTube.  Our first time effort (it may show) but a learning curve and a bit of fun!.  You will see lighting of the Camino candle, wrap up of the Saturday morning walks, Kerrie's Blue Mountains Camino badge, Santiago tart and messages from Sue & Fermin at Casi Susi in Trabadelo sending news of life on the Camino during lockdown and heartlfelf thoughts from Margaret & Rowan,       Click here to view
Our Badges are Now Available to Order
Our new Blue Mountains Camino Supporters cloth badge now available to order!  Badge measures 8cm diameter.  The cost is $10 per badge + $2 postage for up to 4 badges in an envelope.  
Please  EMAIL US  once you have made your payment.  Remember to put your name in the details field. Thank you.
Money can be deposited directly into our new Bendigo Bank account:

Name:      Blue Mountains Camino Supporters
BSB:        633-000
Account:  173070897
Once you have attached your cloth badge (with glue or stitched) onto your backpack or hat, etc why not take a photo and email it or post a comment on our Facebook page or Facebook group.
Acknowledging the badge design concept by Jill Day with final design by Chris Osborne for Blue Mountains Camino Supporters
5-Day Camino Training Walk 
from Penrith to Blackheath.  
JOIN us for the Springtime  5-Day Camino Training Walk  22-26 September 2020

It was disappointing we had to cancel the March 5-Day Camino Training walk due to coronavirus lockdown, however the heath risk and warnings were too great to proceed.  With so much uncertainty about the Camino in Spain and Portugal and overseas travel in general, you have another opportunity to do the 5-Day walk in the beautiful Blue Mountains.

Members and friends of the Blue Mountains Camino Supporters  group will again be walking from Penrith, at the base of the Blue Mountains, all the way to Blackheath near the top, finishing with the Camino Meetup at Glenella Guesthouse in Blackheath.  The walking distance is approximately 68-81kms depending on the route chosen.

Why? This is a great opportunity to experience the Camino spirit right here in the Blue Mountains, NSW.  If you’re thinking of walking a Camino in Spain or Portugal, or other pilgrimages elsewhere, what better way to try out your gear and see if you like long distance walking?  And if 5 days is too long you can join the group for fewer days or just one day along the route if you wish.  

How?  Please be aware this is not a ‘guided’ walk but rather a walk with a group of Camino friends travelling up the Blue Mountains.  Each registered person will be provided with the 5-Day Blue Mountains Camino Training Walk Information Package which includes PDF walking route guide and digital link with two optional routes; a technical route and the direct route.  The technical route can involve more bush walking and steep inclines up and down into some valleys whilst the direct route is no less scenic and has various bushy sections but may in parts involve more secondary road and pavement walking; it is a walk reminiscent of travelling a Camino in Spain.

Walking a Camino means you might walk on dirt tracks, concrete footpaths and roads as well as through paddocks and rural scenery.  You will encounter hills and steps as Penrith, our starting point is 25m above sea level, and Blackheath is 1065m.  Each days walk is a Station to Station walk for the convenience of start and end point.

Registration  Much effort and work had been made to improve all the tools provided to walkers for last year's walk, and following valuable feedback from pilgrims we have introduced a $25 donation at registration for 2020 walks.  This registration donation will go towards the ongoing development and mapping of the
5-Day Walk route.   To register for the Spring 5-Day Blue Mountains Camino Training Walk  via Trybooking

We hope walkers who registered to do the Autumn March 2020 5-Day Walk are able to join us for the Springtime September walk.

The 5-Day Blue Mountains Camino Training Walk Information Package will be emailed within a few days once confirmation of your registration has been received. 

NOTE  if you intend walking only on Day 5 (Saturday 26 September 2020) you are not required to register nor pay the registration donation, however you won't receive the information pack as this day's walk will be our regular last Saturday of the month walk.  You are welcome to join the 5-Day walkers on their last day from Katoomba to Blackheath.  Please be at Katoomba Railway Station before 8.30am near the Station Bar (pizza place) for 8.40am start.

Our Thanks to Chris Osborne of Chris Osborne Adventures and other volunteers in the prepartion and updating of the maps and walking route guide.  All due care has been taken to create the maps to be as accurate as possible, however there may be some inaccuracies and last minute changes due to the recent bushfires and heavy rains.

OTHER: Some walkers last year chose a mixture of staying in suggested accommodation whilst others based themselves either at home (if local) or at one village and used the trains daily at start and end of the day.   More information and enquiries   Click Here    Get on your boots and start training....     Ulteria!  

Pictured below Summary of the 5-Day Blue Mountains Camino Training Walk and elevations of the Direct and Technical routes (sample Day 3)  
Camino Links, Dream, Research, Enjoy!
* Ivar Rekve of Casa Ivar recorded a lovely conversation with John Brierley on 21 April 2020 during the Coronavirus lockdown  Click here to listen

* A video message from Sue and Fermin of  Casa Susi from their delightful albergue in Trabadelo, Spain.  This was included as part of the online Blue Mountains Camino Meetup in May 2020 during COVID-19 restrictions.   Click here to view

* Playlist for John Brierley's presentations during his visit to Blackheath and the Blue Mountains in October 2019  Click here to view
You will find regular updates on Events on our  Facebook Page  and  Website
We also have the "Blue Mountains Camino Community" a private group on Facebook,  CLICK HERE to join.    This is where you can post and discuss all things Camino with the Blue Mountains Camino Community.

You can also  EMAIL US  anytime with any questions.  We are always seeking Camino and walking stories/tips and photos you might like to share. 
The Blue Mountains Camino Supporters is a community group, we aim to support those planning to start a Camino and Pilgrims who have returned from their Camino. By coming together regularly we hope to enable & encourage the Camino Spirit here in the Blue Mountains. We hold monthly Camino Meetups held on the last Saturday of the month except December at Glenella Guesthouse in Blackheath, hosted by Margaret & Rowan Bouttell. Prior to the Camino Meetup there is a Saturday morning training walk.  Sharise Watson and Carlene Martin produce this Newsletter and manage the Blue Mountains Camino Supporters Facebook Page. Kerrie Girdo manages our Blue Mountains Camino Community forum on Facebook.  Tony & Ce Jacques co-ordinate and host the Tapas dinners & Camino movie events each year, Jerard & Enda Barry host an annual Feast of Saint James Dinner and also host Pilgrims at their Pop-Up Albergue in Wentworth Falls during our 5-Day Blue Mountains Camino Training Walks. Our website is managed by Mark Johnson and Carlene, assisted by Sharise.  
We could always use your help!  Can you assist in some small way such as leading or sweeping a monthly Saturday morning walk or with the Camino Meetup, baking a Santiago Tart?  Or perhaps you have a suggestion for an event or training walk? Have you read a great book about the Camino or perhaps seen an inspiring movie or listened to a podcast about the Camino then please EMAIL US and let us know.

The Blue Mountains Camino Supporters was founded in 2015 by Tony & Ce Jacques and Margaret & Rowan Bouttell.  

The Blue Mountains Camino recognises that Darug and Gundungurra Traditional Owners of the Blue Mountains region. We pay respect to their Elders past and present. 
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