Welcome to the Blue Mountains Camino Supporters Newsletter November 2019
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Upcoming Events
BOOK NOW!  This year the Camino End of Year gathering will be at Blackheath Golf Club, Brightlands Ave, Blackheath and held of Friday 29 November 2019 at 7.00PM.  Meals and drinks at own cost. Birdies Bistro Menu.
Tony Jacques and Graeme Bolitho will present their Accessible Camino.  But also, if you would like to be part of the evening storytelling with a 5-10min presentation please let us know especially if you wish to have photos on Powerpoint.   
Limited seating so please reserve early!   RSVP  HERE
FOR YOUR 2019/2020 DIARY

29th November, 7:00PM Camino End of Year Gathering at Blackheath Golf Club, Brightlands Ave, Blackheath. Meals and drinks at own cost.   Limited seated so please reserve early!   RSVP  HERE

30th November, Camino Training Walk. Meet at 8:50AM for a 9:00AM Start, at Glenella Guesthouse, Blackheath. 
30th November, Camino Meetup and afternoon tea, 2:00PM ~ 4:00PM at Glenella Guesthouse Blackheath, $5.00 Donativo (Cash Only)

Save the dates 2020:
25th January,
 Camino Training Walk. Meet at 8:50AM for a 9:00AM Start, at Glenella Guesthouse, Blackheath. 
25th January, Camino Meetup and afternoon tea, 2:00PM ~ 4:00PM at Glenella Guesthouse Blackheath, $5.00 Donativo (Cash Only)

29th February, Camino Training Walk. Meet at 8:50AM for a 9:00AM Start, at Glenella Guesthouse, Blackheath. 
29th February, Camino Meetup and afternoon tea, 2:00PM ~ 4:00PM at Glenella Guesthouse Blackheath, $5.00 Donativo (Cash Only)

24th March ~ 28th March, 5 Day Camino Style Training Walk Penrith to Blackheath (Details and Bookings TBA)

28th March, Camino Training Walk. Meet by 8.20AM for a 8.30AM start, this walk will be from Katoomba Station, joining the 5 day walkers who will be on their final day of walking.
28th March, Camino Meetup and afternoon tea, 2:00PM ~ 4:00PM at Glenella Guesthouse Blackheath, $5.00 Donativo (Cash Only)
The 5 Day Camino-Style Walk, 22-26 October 2019
How wonderful to have 32 walkers over the 5 days join us for the 2019 Camino-Style Walk from Penrith to Blackheath. There were 12 starting off from Penrith on Day 1 and 8 of these walkers completed the full 5 day walk.

Setting off from Penrith on the Tuesday morning, Chris Osborne our leader gave us a "Pilgrim Credential" as well as a "Pilgrim Shell" we had already been provided with our maps for each day which we could print or use on our phones via Google Maps.

Day One was to be the longest distance walk approx 24KM, we headed out through Penrith and crossed the Nepean River via the Yandhai Bridge. Crossing under the M4 that was the last of our "flat" walking, we headed up Lapstone Zig Zag which gives wonderful views of Knapsack Viaduct and evidence of the first railway cut through the mountains, many stairs later we arrived at what was the old platform before heading around to the RAAF Base. From here we headed to Blaxland for refuelling and foot maintenance. The next section was a challenging bush walk through Pippa's and Florabella Pass, these brought us out to a final road walk from Warrimoo to Springwood.  Just like on the Camino we had some Pilgrims having bags moved forward (in a car shuffle) and even a quick Post Office stop by one Pilgrim to post on unwanted weight. Some pilgrims also finished the day with an UBER or train ride.  Most of the group meeting up at the Royal Hotel, Springwood for a very well earned drink and dissection of an exciting first days walk.

Day Two we gathered in a small park opposite the Springwood Station, from here two groups were formed with the technical route going via Sassafras Gully Reserve, a beautiful bush walk, challenging with a steep decent in and out. The other group took the more direct route along the GWH.  Both then taking the same route near Faulconbridge Station following the GWH, trail walk and Cox's Rd to Woodford.  Meeting point was at 20 Mile Hollow Cafe at the end of the walk with some Pilgrims being collected to stay the night at the Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat, hosted by Donna and Martin, a special end to another good day of walking, indeed a place for Pilgrims and Peace.  Walking distance approx. 14kms.

Day Three from Woodford Station the walkers all gathered and headed along Railway Parade. The group again divided into two with some choosing the more technical bush walk through Bruces Walk after Lawson and others doing the road walk via fire trails to Wentworth Falls.  At end of the day the group met up at the Grand View Hotel, many of the walkers were hosted by Gerard and Enda at their Pop-Up Albergue for the evening. Walking distance approx 15Kms.

Day Four we gathered near the Wentworth Falls Station, heading across to Wilsons Park and the Charles Darwin Walk, this is a beautiful trail taking us down to the top of Wenworth Falls where there is fantastic views out over the valley. From here we all headed up to the Conservation Hut, a great place to stop for coffee and ice cream. We then divided into two groups with the hard technical walk being lead by Andrew Vilder headed down to the Valley of the Waters, Lillians Bridge and round to Gordon Falls for a challenging walk which also included Sublime Point Lookout for lunch break. The second group lead by Jerard headed to Leura via some of the Nature Track and road then on to Katoomba.  A scenic walk nevertheless and delightful lunch stop at Leura Park. Walking distance approx 14Kms.

Day Five a large group of walkers met at the Katoomba Station for our last day, many joining us were from the Central Coast Camino group.  Again we divided into two groups with one group taking the longer route via Stuarts Rd and the Clifftop Walk to the start of the Six Foot Track.  The other group taking the direct route along the GWH to the Explorers Marked Tree where both routes meet and continued walking along the shared walking/cycle track towards the Hydro Majestic Hotel before pushing on for the final trail walk to Blackheath.  At the Hydro for refreshment break, we met up with a 3rd group that had set out from Glenella to Medlow Bath. Walking distance 8-14Kms.

Ending 5 days of walking, talking, heat and with a bit of rain and wind on the last day. Just as on the Camino bonds were formed and Camino Angels flew, each Pilgrim experiencing the delight of challenging themselves and supporting others along the path.

Thank you to those that made this walk possible, especially Chris Osborne for his wonderful maps and leadership, Jerard and Enda for providing the Pop-Up Albergue, Donna and Martin at the Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat who went above and beyond as hosts to a number of the walkers and to Margaret & Rowan instrumental in organising and continuing to support the 5 Day walk.  A special thanks to the "Camino Angles" on any Camino individuals shine and make others days just that much better and our walks that much more pleasurable. Gracias!
Photos:  (top, L to R) Blue Mountains Pilgrim Credential;  Knapsack Viaduct; Pilgrims starting out on Day 1 of 5 Day walk; Chris Osborne & Margaret Bouttell; some of the 32 walkers on Day 5 at the Hydro Majestic.
5 Day Camino-style Training Walk 2020
Penrith to Blackheath 

Next year we are proposing a 5 day Camino-style training walk in March and October to test your endurance in different seasons.  The Autumn dates is  a great training opportunity for pilgrims planning to go on their Camino in September  whilst also allowing for returning pilgrims to participant.
The John Brieley Weekend, 25-27 October 2019
The weekend of events started on the Friday Night with a Story Telling Evening at Glenella Guesthouse, hosted by Rowan Bouttell. Pilgrims shared their personal experiences from the Camino, or perhaps BC (Before Camino) as Rowan likes to say. There was laughter, some tears and even some heavy rock as Les shared his favourite Camino walking music with us.

The Saturday Meetup was held at the Blackheath RSL with our very special guest speaker, author John Brierley presenting ~ "The Camino as a Path of Self-Discovery".  The event was hosted by Juliet Clark from the Newcastle Camino Group.  Julie-Ann Milne from the Pilgrims of Sydney Group gave us an overview of the Inaugural National Conference of the Australian Friends of the Camino held in Adelaide in October.  John explored his seven key messages, Camino:  Family, Alternative Routes, Ritual, Inner Journey, Awakening, Enquiry, Self Discovery and Back Home.  Each message was woven with stories from his travels both on Camino as well as previous and recent travels to Australia.  John had us all captivated with his moving presentation.  Q&A was followed by book signings and plenty of photo opportunities being taken with John, many attendees having been guided through their Camino with his book were keen to share their experiences with him.  John challenged us all to reflect on our intention in walking a Camino and to use the experience of space and time and silence from our Camino to live with intention on return to home.

The meetup was followed by an evening at the Blackheath Golf Course, a relaxed dinner with the 5 Day walkers celebrating their journey, John Brierley joined us along with members from the Sydney, Newcastle and Central Coast Groups.

On the Sunday Morning, Margaret Bouttell lead a walk to the Grand Canyon at Blackheath.  John Brierley joined the walk along with 10 other walkers. John was enthusiastic about the views and magnificence of the landscape.

The walk was followed by a casual lunch at Glenella with guest bringing their picnic style lunch and enjoying the garden and sunshine.
We then had a second meetup of the weekend at Glenella, this was hosted by Sharise Watson from the Blue Mountains Camino Group, all attendees introduced themselves and their Camino experience.  John then presented his The Camino as a Path of Self-Discovery talk, took questions and signed books.

John in his Ritual segment lit a candle at both his presentations, his candle has travelled worldwide, started out from France, Hungary, Ireland, Europe and to his Canadian trip this year and throughout his 2019 Australian cities stopovers.  At the end of the presentations we blew out the candle visualising all the pilgrims with their backpacks on currently on the Camino and to those past pilgrims, sending them light and love.. 

John was very generous with his time and his words of such wisdom, either in his presentations or in conversation with guests during the weekend. As one pilgrim declared  "John you have filled my heart".   We are sure all those who attended these events feel the same way indeed. 

Thank you to Margaret and Rowan Bouttell from Glenella Guesthouse for hosting John during his stay and to Tony and Ce Jacques for arrangements with the RSL and providing the delicious Santiago Tart.

On our Facebook page we have an album of photos from the weekend, you can check these out HERE.
Chris Osborne of Chris Osborne Adventures recorded John Brierley's presentations The Camino: A Path of Self-Discovery.  We are thrilled Chris has made the Glenella recording available to us on YouTube.  Thank you Chris!
Playlist for John Brierley presentation, is in 3 parts and a Q&A at Blackheath, Blue Mountains  CLICK HERE   
The candle ritual at Glenella  CLICK HERE
The AFOTC Conference ~ Adelaide SA
The Inaugural National Conference of the Australian Friends of the Camino was held in Adelaide over weekend of the 11~13th of October. It was hosted by the Australian Friends of the Camino Group at the Nunyara Conference Centre in the beautiful Adelaide Hills area. 

The conference was attended by many members of  the 14 different Camino Groups from around Australia.  From the Blue Mountains Group, Margaret & Rowan Bouttell, Yvonne Reitsma, Sharise Watson, Marina Knowles & Bill Ivin attended the conference.

The aim of the conference was to identify how AFOTC and Support Groups can foster, coordinate & resource the promotion awareness & facilitation of the Camino within Australia for the next decade. To share information, fun & friendship with other pilgrims, new and experienced.

On the Friday after registration, drinks and dinner we were all delighted to attend a "Singing Workshop" with Jessie Vintila, we sung (well attempted) Galician Songs "De Colores and Ondinas Venen" Jessie leads "Sing The Camino" taking groups on various Caminos in Spain, if your interested in singing yourself a Camino you can find our more HERE.

On Saturday, we heard from the first of our guest speakers Senor Isaias Calvo de la Uz who had travelled from Spain to address us and to hear first hand from us our concerns for the Camino, Senor Isaias leads the Xacobeo 2020-2021 Project in Galithia. Excited by the attendees passion for all things Camino he expressed how important it is for the people of Spain for the pilgrims to come and how much they want to ensure a good experience for our Pilgrimage, especially they are preparing for the Holy Year in 2021! 

Next we heard from Rev Cameron West & Isobel Thomas a Salvation Army Officer about Spirituality & the Camino, this was a moving presentation by two pilgrims who shared a special bond, Cameron & Isobel met as part of a pilgrims group in Darwin. You can listen to Dan Mullins podcast with them  HERE.

Max Mastrosavas spoke to us next: Art on the Camino, there is of course so much art on the Caminos, the two special places Max wanted to described to us though were firstly the church, 23KM from Pamplona Santa Maria de Eunat. This is a special place, virtually in the middle of nowhere, it holds many fascinating design features it is beautiful and provides visitors with a sense of peace and serenity. Next Max described to us the magnificent Burgos Cathedral. Many of you may have perhaps visited these on your Camino.

The next session was a panel discussion with representatives from each of the Camino groups sharing what type of activities they do, it was great to hear all the different types of walks, gatherings, meetups and activities each group does and how they support new pilgrims and pilgrims returning from a Camino.

In the afternoon we broke into groups, people who had completed a Camino attended a Workshop "Challenges for the next decade" and those who had yet to complete a Camino met with Julie-Ann Milne from the Sydney Group, Julie-Ann gave the group an overview on planning a Camino and what to expect.

We then heard from Fran West: Photography on the Camino, Fran was a fascinating speaker, leading an adventurous life Fran inspired us to use our photography to create our own memorable stories.

Commercial sponsors then spoke of the different Camino experiences they offer: Raw Travel and Big Heart Adventures. We also saw a snippet of the movie Camino Skies, which is now available to purchase on DVD.

Our speaker at dinner was Dee Nolan: Food & Wine on the Camino, Dee really got our taste buds going with her tales of the growers and farmers she has met and spent time with in Spain. Dee has written two books, A Food Lover's Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and A Food Lover's Pilgrimage to France. 

After dinner we were entertained by Dan Mullins: If you have not enjoyed Dan's wonderful song "Somewhere Along the Way" which he wrote while walking a Camino in 2018 make sure you check it out!  Dan has a new album "Duende" out now!  Dan also has a great podcast, interviewing people about their personal experiences on the Camino. Dan has a real passion for all things Camino, a beautiful voice and can spin a great yarn!  Well worth a listen! HERE.

On Sunday morning there was an Ecumenical Church Service in the Chapel. This was lead by Rev Cam West & Rev Christia Megaw.

After the service all attendees gathered eagerly to hear John Brierley, Author of the much loved and used Camino Guides. John presented: The Camino as a path of self-discovery and Guiding the Camino.

The final part of day was a Pilgrim Blessing and farewells, we all felt we had stepped away from the hum of life into an sacred space where the Camino was our focus, the joy of which was sharing it with a group of passionate speakers and  fellow pilgrims. 
Sharise and Yvonne bringing the candle 'home' to the Blue Mountains.
Who was on The Camino in 2019?
We are so thrilled to see so many of our supporters ON THE WAY board. Drop us a note if you are planning to start your Camino and which route and we will put you on the list. Also get in early and let us know if your are planning for 2020.  Email us 
Rosie finished Le Puy to SJPdP, there were several pilgrims doing the Camino Frances starting from SJPdP include Carmen, Kerrie & Deb. Michael & Barbara on the Via Francigena and David & Anne walking in Switzerland. Buen Camino.

Congratulations to Tony and Johann who have just completed the Frances, you can read Johann's wonderful blog  HERE.  As we write, Kerrie has just completed the Frances.  Great walking and congratulations to all the pilgrims.

Tony Jacques has completed his inspiring and heart lifting "Accessible Camino" pushing his mate Graeme from Sarria to Santiago, you can listen to Tony's podcast with Dan Mullins
Facebook:  We have a new Facebook 'Group' page for BMASotC.  You can request to JOIN the group, once a member you can post Q&As, photos, start conversations and be more interactive than our normal Page allows.  The new Group is - Blue Mountains Camino Community. To request to join HERE.
We still have the Blue Mountains Aust Camino Supporters Facebook page, where we continue posting events, articles and photos check it out HERE.
Hope you will check out the Group and ask to join. Thank you Kerrie for being an administrator. 
You will find regular updates on Events on our facebook and website.  We welcome you to share your Camino photos on facebook, search and LIKE us 
Facebook:  bluemtnsaustcaminosupporters  AND
a new Facebook 'closed group' for Q&A forum, you need to request to join 
Blue Mountains Camino Community 

 Camino Meetups, dinner events & newsletter organised by Tony Jacques, Margaret & Rowan Bouttell, Carlene Martin and Sharise Watson. Website by Mark Johnson and Carlene who also does the Facebook page.  Kerrie Mackaway-Girdo is joint administrator of the new Facebook group. There are  others making valuable contributions  enabling the Blue Mountains Supporters of the Camino group to keep with a Saturday Camino Meetup at Glenella,  bake a Santiago tart, etc. please contact us!

Your stories and photos are always welcomed contributions for the newsletters and Facebook posts.  Please send them in! 
We welcome your feedback or suggestions  email us

However, we could always use your help!!  If you can assist in some small way such as leading (or sweeping) a Saturday morning meetup walk,
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