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March 2022 Newsletter.
Camino Training Walk and Meetup March 2022.
Photos:  Resting at Norths Lookout and walking through Pulpit Hill track 
SATURDAY 26 MARCH 2022
KATOOMBA to BLACKHEATH

JOIN US for our regular last Saturday of the month walk - this month from Katoomba Train Station to Blackheath.  You don't have to be a Camino Pilgrim, but you may aspire to one day walk a Camino or other pilgrimages.  Walking with the Blue Mountains Camino group is an opportunity to walk in the beautiful Blue Mountains with like-minded people.  You will learn more about preparing for a Camino and why our walks are more than just a walk. 

Two options are offered for March's walk,  an Easy Walk and a Medium Walk.   A fee of $5.00 is charged to participate in the walk which covers the Blue Mountains Camino Supporters costs such as insurance, website and printing. 

This month we will be joining the 5-Day walkers as they complete their last day of walking.

Meet:  Katoomba Train Station. (Bathurst Road side, near the Station Bar & Woodfired Pizza)

Time:  Meet 8.45am for 9.00am start.

Walk 1 - Easy From Katoomba Station walk to Blackheath via road and firetrail, including a circuit around the Gully. The Pavillion Cafe, Hydro Majestic, Medlow Bath for coffee. This walk is approx 13KM and takes about 3 hours. There is also the option to take the train from Medlow Bath to Blackheath (subject to trackworks).


Walk 2 - Medium From Katoomba Station walk to Blackheath via road, firetrail and bush tracks, this walk includes The Gully and Norths Lookout.  Stopping at the Pavillion Cafe, Hydro Majestic, Medlow Bath for coffee. This walk is approx 14km and takes about 3.5 hours. 

Camino Meetup at Glenella, 56 Govetts Leap Rd, Blackheath 

You are welcome to join us and the 5-Day walkers for a gourmet bread roll lunch and Camino Meetup. 
Lunch served from 12.30pm $10.00 per person and the Camino Meetup starts at 2.00pm - 4.00pm at Glenella.
It is essential to register even if you are only joining in the Saturday walk.
Click Here To Register 

NOTE:  Afternoon tea at the Camino Meetup will be $5.00 pp cash donativo, payable on the day.

OUR FEBRUARY TRAINING WALK.
Photos:  Gathering at Carrington Park, Prince Henry Cliff Walk. Lady Carrington Lookout and descending stairs to Katoomba Cascades.   
27 February 2022.  On a very damp Saturday morning meeting at Carrington Park, Katoomba, 27 pilgrims braved the Mountains weather which was a great opportunity to test out their wet weather gear.  Over 40 had registered to walk today but due to a variety of reasons not all could make it.   Thankfully it wasn't too cold but it was a bit of a 'white out' so no glorious views of the Jamieson Valley to be seen today.  In hindsight we are grateful to be able to walk, little did we know how much more rain was/is to fall along the East Coast making conditions not too conducive to be outdoors.
Those gathered broke into three walking groups and routes - Easy, Medium and Hardcore.

The Medium group of 17 left Carrington Park to join the Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Echo Point (Three Sisters).  NPWS had recently restored the walking track, nevertheless in some places water was pooling and a bit muddy.  Despite the heavy mist as we descended along the cliff face track being amongst the ancient trees and foliage was still beautiful.  There were creek crossings, stepping stones, some wildflowers and a variety of fungi in the green lushness of the bush.  At the Honeymoon Lookout to the Three Sisters, alas only one was visible, one of the walkers discovered a leech on her hand.  The tip was to use a credit card to flick it off!  
Continuing onto Echo Point for refreshments and rest stop as the 3 walkers in the Easy group had arrived a little earlier.  The numbers increased to 21 with arrival of a 'lost' walker (had got to the wrong meeting point) we continued along Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Katoomba Cascades where the water was really pumping and onto Reids Plateau before the walk along the road to Katoomba for lunch.

Some of the group went to a cafe whilst others went directly to the 'end of walk meeting point' at the Mountain Cultural Brewery.  In time, the Hardcore group of walkers arrived quite drenched and so the stories of leeches began........ (see box below)
Carlene
Photos:  'Hardcore' group at Lady Carrington Tea House, Leura Forest, ascending some of the many 000s of steps, about to set off at Carrington Park
The Hardcore group of seven adventurous Camino pilgrims carrying packs and wearing colourful, purposeful rain gear set off keen for adventure.  We were considered ‘hardcore’ as the route and wet weather made this trail more challenging and technical than usual.  Raindrops dripped from trees and ferns, the fresh scent of the rain and damp fragrance of the forest filled the air; weeping mist and cloud embraced us as we made our way down the slippery stairs. Sure-footed and confident we descended the thousand steps down Fern Bower and into Leura Forest.    Verdant green moss cloaked the boulders, silvery lichen wrapped around the tall trees and the sound of rushing water filled the forest.  Equally confident were the en masse leeches who were keen for a warm and tasty meal. We took a short break under the only shelter available on the trail and commenced de-leeching.  I recited a brief gratitude poem I had written. I gave thanks for the indomitable Camino spirit, the gift of comradeship, the gift of how we walk together as well as the rain, cloud and nature. The irony of it made me smile, because nature was sending us some mildly uncomfortable challenges.
 
We took the Federal Pass Junction.  Mud squelched and sucked at our feet; mushy puddles paved the route for us as we got into the rhythm of the walk while flicking off the leeches as we went.  The trail to the base of the Three Sisters was overgrown with ferns and narrow. The cloud was so thick it was impossible to see any views.  Having walked this trail before, I appreciated seeing it from a different perspective. We all kept a similar pace which worked well, and we looked out for each other. The trail ensured plenty of waterfall gazing as well as physical training with all the ups and downs. Lifting our feet over slippery exposed tree roots as well as navigating around rocks and fallen timber while staying upright in the mud was a great feat with packs on.
 
While continually chatting and enjoying our surroundings, we eventually came to the long  Furber Steps. The chatter stopped as we breathlessly climbed up winding sections of very steep and narrow stairs.  The steps gradually became wider as we got to the beautiful Witches Leap.  From Witches Leap we made our way up to Cliff Drive where the call of a late lunch beckoned from the Brewery in Katoomba.  We joined the other pilgrims and shared tales of our adventures.  It was a great day and I look forward to walking with you at the next meet up.
Rosie Edmonds
2022 Blue Mountains Camino 5-Day Walks.
5-DAY WALK DATES IN 2022

The Blue Mountain Camino Admin Team are this year offering four Blue Mountain Camino 5-Day Walks, this is due to the demand we experienced for the 5-Day walks last year.

We ask that you join the Blue Mountains Camino 5-Day Walk in the spirit of the Camino, this is not a guided walk, it is an opportunity to walk with like minded people.

The four dates offered in 2022:
  • March 22-26 
  • May 3-7
  • September 6-10 (Glenella Albergue is FULL)
  • October 25-29
Participant numbers are limited for each walk. To allow as many pilgrims as possible to join one of the 5-Day Walks in 2022, initially only one walk can be booked. Pilgrims can register on a waitlist so if space allows they may be able to join another walk.  Waitlists are opened 4 weeks prior to the walk. 

MORE INFO about our Blue Mountains 5-Day Camino Walk  Click Here

BOOK a 5-Day Walk in 2022   Click Here
2022 Calander of Events.
  • Tuesday 22nd March to Saturday 26th March
    • 5-Day Walk. Penrith to Blackheath. 
    • More info / book here:  MARCH 5-DAY WALK 
  • Saturday 26th March
    • Training Walk - Katoomba to Blackheath. 
    • Meetup at Glenella post the walk.
  • Saturday 30th April
    • Training Walk and Camino Meetup  - Wentworth Falls. 
  • Tuesday 3rd May to Saturday 7th May
    • 5-Day Walk. Penrith to Blackheath. 
    • More info / book here: MAY 5-DAY WALK 
  • Saturday 28th May
    • Training Walk and Camino Meetup  - Hazelbrook


Save the Dates..
  • Saturday 25th June, Training Walk and Camino Meetup

  • Sunday 24th July, Feast of St James Day Eve dinner

  • Saturday 30th July, Training Walk and Camino Meetup

  • Saturday 27th August, Training Walk and Camino Meetup

  • Tuesday 6th to Saturday 10th September, 5-Day Walk

  • Saturday 24th September, Training Walk and Camino Meetup

  • Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th October, 5-Day Walk

  • Saturday 29th October, Training Walk and Camino Meetup

  • Saturday 26th November, Training Walk and Camino Meetup


 
All our events are subject to the current COVID-19 situation.
If we cannot gather face to face, we will host virtual events where we can. 
Stay Well, Walk Well
 
We hope you will join us in 2022.
Camino Events around Australia and Beyond
Will you join the MARCH to SANTIAGO?  When Camino for Good started at the height of the pandemic in 2020 we always saw our ‘For Good’ mission to be raising funds to support albergues hurt by the loss of business. In what can only be described as a miraculous display of support, we were able to donate over $74,000 to fulfil our intended purpose.
 
Little did we realise that there was another component to our ‘For Good’ mission beyond the donation of funds to albergues.
 
We had an early interview with John Brierley, author of the Camino Guides, who told us that a virtual pilgrimage can have all the similar experience if one walked with a ‘Camino state of mind’. What we found is that many hundreds of virtual pilgrims throughout the world had what many described as an experience equivalent to the ‘real thing’. 
 
Even though we originally wanted to emulate a genuine experience given the technical and budgetary restraints we had, we weren’t really prepared for the heartfelt stories of genuine pilgrim-like transformation that people shared with us.
 
There were many times in the early days when it seemed like we were continually humbled by people’s stories and gratitude. The perception of our ‘For Good’ mission had expanded to include everyday mental and physical health benefits for participants.
 
Post pandemic, there won’t be a return to the way things were. The world moves on. The  pandemic has become something that we are learning to live with. The Camino opens up again. Albergues are back in business. The Camino for Good team have contemplated our next steps.
 
Our affiliation with the wonderful work of Patrick and Justin from Accessible Camino showed us that there is much more good to be done ‘out there’ and we have expanded our focus to support worthwhile camino related projects.
 
Our most successful fundraising initiative in 2021 was the ‘March to Santiago - a Journey in Hope and Healing’ campaign. From that core emerged a world wide family of virtual pilgrims who remain a vibrant and self supportive community. We have relaunched the campaign for 2022 to open up the opportunity for others to join with us.  March to Santiago!
 
Anyone interested can find out more here.    
Lindsay Teychenne, Camino for Good     
Who's On the Way!
To Inspire, To Share, To Connect.....    
Here are some of our Supporters with flights booked and plans well underway for their 2022 Camino. You can see the Virtual "On The Way Board" on our website:  HERE. 

Hospitaleros - Eileen and Richard, our Glenella Albergue hospitaleros for the March 5-Day Walk will be at Albergue El Brugo Ranero (near Leon),  14-30 April 2022.   

If you would like to share your plans or connect with one of these fellow Australian Pilgrims when you’re On The Way, drop us a line HERE.
 
We look forward to reading your blogs.  Buen Camino To All!
Blue Mountains Camino Supporters Pilgrim Record and Camino Badges.
The Blue Mountains Camino Supporters Pilgrim Record has been developed for pilgrims to record their walks here in the Blue Mountains or anywhere.  Collect pilgrim stamps each time you walk with us here in the Mountains, write your reflections, collect business cards or mementos to keep in your Pilgrim Record.

Each Pilgrim Record costs $8.00.  You can purchase these at our Camino Training Walks and Meetups.

Acknowledging Maggie Caffryn for the pilgrim design used in the pilgrim record and to the Blue Mountains  Camino Admin Team for their collective ideas inspired by Les.

The Blue Mountains Camino Supporters Cloth Badges have been developed for pilgrims to attach to their backpacks, hats, or clothing. The badge measures 8cm in diameter and can be glued or stitched.

Each badge costs $10.00. You can purchase these at our Camino Training Walks and Meetups.
Acknowledging the badge design concept by Jill Day with final design by Chris Osborne.

If you wish a Pilgrim Record or Badge to be mailed to you, please contact us for details.
 
Can you Help?
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.
About Blue Mountains Camino Supporters.
The Blue Mountains Camino Supporters Inc is a community group run by volunteers with the aim of:
  • Fostering the Camino Spirit in the Blue Mountains.
  • Bringing people together to share their interest and experience in walking a Camino pilgrimage
  • Supporting pilgrims in preparation for their pilgrimage
  • Connecting with other Camino Groups
  • Supporting Camino communities and organisations
 
There is a dedicated team of volunteers who plan, recce and organise the Blue Mountains Camino 5-Day Walks, monthly Training Walks, Camino Meetups and other events.   We hold monthly Camino Training Walks and Meetups on the last Saturday of the month except December. When available Glenella in Blackheath will host Meetups and the Blue Mountains Camino 5-Day Pilgirms. Glenella is owned and managed by Margaret and Rowan Bouttell .
 
                                              The Admin Team                                                     
                               
L-R Johann Saure, Rowan Bouttell, Rosie Edmonds, Tony Hodgson, Carlene Martin, Sharise Watson, Margaret Bouttell

Thank you to the volunteers:
This newsletter is produced by Sharise Watson and Carlene Martin, edited by Margaret Bouttell.
The Blue Mountains Camino Supporters Facebook Page is managed by Carlene Martin and Rosie Edmonds.
Margaret Bouttell manages TryBooking and related financial aspects.
Kerrie Girdo and Carlene Martin manage the Blue Mountains Camino Community Group Forum on Facebook.  
Rowan Bouttell and Bob Girdo are tech support, videographers and editors. 
Rowan Bouttell and Nick Batten are our Chief and Deputy Mappers extraordinaire.
Our website is managed by Johann Saure and Carlene Martin, with Nick Batten also assisting.

The Blue Mountains Camino Supporters was founded in 2015 by Tony & Ce Jacques and Margaret & Rowan Bouttell.  
 
Blue Mountains Camino Supporters acknowledges the Dharug and Gundungurra Traditional Owners have a continuous and deep connection to their Country. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.
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Blue Mountains Australia Supporters of the Camino · c/o Glenella Guesthouse · 56 Govetts Leap Road · Blackheath, NSW 2785 · Australia

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