Our April Camino Training Walk, the Camino Reconnect Workshop and the Blue Mountains 5-Day Camino.
APRIL 2021 NEWSLETTER.
Thank you to Narelle for this beautiful sunset photo from Govetts Leap Lookout.
Our Next Event
Saturday 24th April 2021 ~ Camino Training Walk @ Leura and lunch afterwards. There is no Camino Meetup today.
JOIN us in April for a training walk from Leura. Please note there will be no afternoon Camino Meetup in April, however everyone is welcome to meet at The Alexandra Hotel (next to Leura Station) after the walk for a casual lunch / drink instead.
You do not have to be a Camino Pilgrim, but you may aspire to one day walk the Camino or other pilgrimages. Walk with like-minded people who enjoy walking/hiking in the bush, an opportunity to do some beautiful walks in the Blue Mountains and share the Camino spirit.
Meet at Bloome Park, cnr 231 Leura Mall and Craigend St, Leura. 8:45am for 9:00am start.
Note: there are no toilet or drinking water facilities at Bloome Park, please come ready to walk.
There will be two walk options:
Walk 1 - Easy.
The route will include Olympian and Elysian Lookouts, The Lone Pine Peace Park, Memorial Gates and Sublime Point Lookout. The route will be mainly via road with some bush track. Please bring refreshments as there is no cafe' on route. At the end of the walk we will return to Leura where you may like to come to the Alexandra Hotel for lunch or a drink. The walk is 11.5KM. Approx. 3.5hrs.
Walk 2 - Medium.
The medium walk will be to Gladstone Lookout, Point Inspiration near the Fairmont Resort. The exact route will depend on track conditions and will be finalised closer to the day. It will be around 14 km, 4 to 5 hours, involve moderate climbs with steps and will include the Lone Pine Peace Park, Pool of Siloam and Lillian's Bridge. Please ensure you carry minimum 1.5 litres of water and snacks. At the end of the walk we will return to Leura where you may like to come to the Alexandra Hotel for a late lunch or a drink.
Lone Pine Memorial Gates and Mount Solitary from Olympian Rock Lookout.
Photos from Carlene and Tony (BM Camino 5-Day Walk, March 2021)
Calendar Of Events For 2021
SAVE these Saturday dates for 2021 Camino gatherings ~
30 May - Wentworth Falls and lunch, there will be no afternoon Camino Meetup
26 June - Lawson and lunch, there will be no afternoon Camino Meetup
31 July - Blackheath
28 August - To be advised
25 September - Blackheath
30 October - Blackheath
27 November - Blackheath
Camino Reconnect Retreat ~ Glenella, Blackheath
Glenella will host a 3-day Camino Reconnect Retreat from 5-8 May 2021.
More information and booking details below.
BLUE MOUNTAINS CAMINO 5-DAY WALK ~ Penrith to Blackheath. Spring Walk - Tuesday 21st to Saturday 25th of September.
Registrations open on the 1st of May. (Via Trybooking)
PLUS ~ We are planning several Camino themed events stay turned for more information on Camino movies, Camino Craft Days, Feast of St James and more. We may not be able to get to Spain anytime soon, but there will be lots of Camino Spirit here in the Blue Mountains!
We hope you will join us in 2021.
Camino Reconnect Retreat 5th - 8th May 2021
The Camino Reconnect Retreat is designed to allow each participant to reconnect with their own Camino experiences; get back in touch with the emotional experiences but also the resulting aspirations; rekindle enthusiasm for implementing aspirational life changes and build further confidence and resilience to do so; and develop an individualised support strategy to continue to walk and grow further on the journey towards their individual goals.
In addition to a short walk each day and observing a sunrise or sunset, we will be doing some individual and small group work. Organised and facilitated by Mark, Dieter and Margaret, this residential retreat is a joint initiative between the Blue Mountains Camino Supporters and Glenella in Blackheath.
Retreat cost of $375 includes:
3 nights accommodation (shared) at Glenella,
3 dinners + 3 lunches,
Welcome pack + workshop materials,
Workshop convenors, guest speakers, evening entertainment, walks and outdoor activities.
Bookings for the Camino Reconnect Retreat can be made HERE.
For this inaugural event we are limiting numbers to 20.participants.
We are only accepting those that have walked a Camino in Europe of at least 14 days.
Any questions please contact the facilitators: HERE
Blue Mountains Camino 5-Day Walk, 23-27 March 2021
Our Autumn 5-Day Blue Mountains Camino, was again threatened by forces out of our control. In March last year it was COVID-19 restrictions that stopped us from walking and this year it looked like a major rain event was going to put a (pardon the pun) dampener on our 40 registered walkers. But no, that was not the case although we did have to cancel Day 1 from Penrith to Springwood due to rain and flooding of the Nepean River. After a flurry of email notifications, several walkers arrived at Glenella on the Monday as intended and on Tuesday instead of Day 1 walking they had a rest day and enjoyed the offerings of Glenella and Blackheath village.
Although there were some last minute cancellations, there were 35 walkers excited to be able to do the March 2021 Blue Mountains Camino 5-Day Walk with pilgrims coming from Brisbane, several from the Central Coast and the South Coast regions, three from Canberra including the Jennings on their 3rd attempt to join us, from many areas of Sydney and of course the Blue Mountains. After all the rain and flooding, the Blue Mountains turned on perfect sunny weather and ideal walking weather. As the walkers progressed up the Mountains, it got cooler but the layers soon came off!
Since the 5-Day Walk was officially reduced to 4 days, several Pilgrims were keen to continue walking on the Sunday from Blackheath to Mt Victoria to make it their 5-Day Walk. A few walkers instead chose to wake early and go to Govetts Leap Lookout to see the sunrise before heading home. The previous evening, many of the walkers again went down to Govetts Leap Lookout to watch the sun setting and reflect on their days of walking and time in the Blue Mountains.
The Organising Team had earlier on the Saturday a 'work bee' to prepare the Pilgrim Bags which contained maps and Camino goodies. Tuesday became the new Day 0 with an evening Welcome and Briefing followed by a shared Pilgrim meal of a hearty vegetable soup prepared by Tony and Johann and their team of helpers.
With all the rain, unfortunately Glenella had a water issue in the downstairs laundry area. Les quickly organised a roster of the early arrivals at Glenella to help Margaret and Rowan, it was a roster to empty the new 'indoor well'. Les also drove out to Bathurst to secure a new pump which made all the difference - no more bucketing duties. They can well sympathise with Susi and Fermin!
The Organising Team wish to thank all the participating Pilgrims for joining us to do the Blue Mountains Camino 5-Day Walk and making it the success the 5-Day Camino Walk has become. We hope you enjoyed walking in Autumn and the tweak's to the routes. Some of the changes to routes were out of our hands due to the heavy rains, however because many Pilgrims are up to their 2nd, 3rd or 4th Blue Mountains Camino we want to continually provide you with a varied walking experience. Buen Camino
Ann Pantiz offers us her highlights and reflections of the March 2021 Blue Mountains Camino 5-Day Walk. I had previously done the September 2020 Blue Mountains Camino walk and I thought I knew what to expect but in March the organisers had quite a few new surprises to visit on the route.
Day One – Tuesday 23 March 2021 - Penrith to Springwood – Due to the amount of rain we had the previous week and the forecast of more rain, Day One was cancelled. We had a Welcome and Briefing that evening at Glenella where Rowan helped us download the Avenza Map App for our walks. We also had a lovely meal of Vegetable Soup and bread. For dessert we had Santiago Tart baked by me.
Photo below: Welcome and Briefing evening at Glenella
Day Two – Day One walking – Wednesday 24 March 2021 – Springwood to Woodford. Using the Avenza Map App and paper maps we all left Springwood and walked at our own pace. My first stop along the route was The Corridor of Oaks celebrates former Prime Ministers of Australia and an enjoyable walk through the pretty trees. I really enjoyed walking through this beautiful park and looking at the names of the Prime Ministers.
We continued past Sir Henry Parkes Grave and then onto Eurama Castle Ruins at Faulconbridge. The Eurama Castle ruins was looking more overgrown than when I was there in September 2020 but despite the graffiti, I always enjoying visiting this place where Sir Henry Parkes used to go to dinner. Pics below: L - Corridor of Oaks R - Eurama Castle ruins
On our way past Woodford Railway Station, I found an old Railway seat labelled Buss’s Platform 1869. William Buss was my Great Grandfather and the last licensee of Kings Arms Inn now known as Woodford Academy.
Our gathering place after the walk was at the Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat with Donna and Martin. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea while Donna told us about the history of the Labyrinths. I walked around the Chartres Labyrinth and the Celtic Tri-spiral Labyrinth. I also walked up to the cave where there is Aboriginal art.
A few of us went and had dinner at the New Ivanhoe Hotel at Blackheath. Our evening activity at Glenella was an evening of Poetry and Story Telling.
Pics below: L - Ann at Buss's Platform 1869 bench dedicated to her Great Grandfather. R - Chartres Labyrinth
Day Three – Day Two walking – Thursday 25 March 2021 – Woodford to Wentworth Falls. I really enjoyed today’s walking because it was different to the previous 5-Day Camino walk. With Margaret and Rowan in our walking group we went down to the beautiful Terrace Falls/Victor Falls. With Margaret’s encouragement, I took my shoes and socks off and crossed the creek, walking in mud down to see the beautiful falls. We then continued walking in bare feet, crossed another creek and walked up to Lawson village.
Photos below by Ann and Carlene: Terrace Falls firetrail, starting Day 3 at Woodford Station, creek crossings
After a lunch stop at Ben Roberts Café at Lawson, we continued our walk towards Wentworth Falls. A highlight that I enjoyed on the Day 3 walk is a visit to Willson Park’s Map of Australia and the water feature. This time I saw a pretty waterfall at the back of the garden.
With Rowan guiding our little group we did gully number 1. In the previous Camino we had done all 3 gullies. Gully number 1 was very pretty with plenty of water. Our afternoon walk finished at the Grand View Hotel, Wentworth Falls. In the evening we shared a group dinner of vegetable pasta and bread with the evening activity guest speaker, Will Boag telling us about his Pilgrimages and walking with Parkinson’s Disease. An inspirational talk, thank you Will for sharing. Photos below Map of Australia and waterfall at Wilson Park, Lawson
Day Four – Day Three walking – Friday 26 March 2021 –Wentworth Falls to Katoomba – Day 4 is always one of my favourite walking days due to the stunning scenery. The organising team had a special treat for us today because they had added in the stunning views to be had from Elysian Rock Lookout, Leura. Today I was lucky enough to be walking with Terry (my husband) and friends Choon and Meng. I had introduced Choon and Meng to the Camino group in January and they had been walking since Day One. On this Day 4, I enjoyed visiting Wentworth Falls Lookout, Gordon Falls Lookout and the Lone Pine Memorial Avenue. We finished our day with a drink at the Mountain Culture Brewery in Katoomba. In the evening we had a Zoom catchup with Susi and Fermin of Casa Susi in Tradbadelo.
Photo below by Ann and Carlene: Group briefing at Wentworth Falls Stn, Wentworth Falls Lookout, with Terry, Choon & Meng, Pool of Siloam, Elysian Lookout
Day Five – Day Four walking – Saturday 27 March 2021 –Katoomba to Blackheath. We left Katoomba on our final day of walking and along the way there were some special highlights and scenery to see. We walked along the boardwalk and into The Gully which was once the Catalina Park (raceway). There were some interesting information boards about the history of The Gully. The boards pointed out the Aboriginal significance of this beautiful location. During our walk, Rosie led us in a 10-minute silence mediation which gave us time to hear and see our bush surroundings. We walked to Norths Lookout which has a stunning valley and escarpment views before continuing walking up past the turnoff to the Six-Foot Track. We saw where the Explorers Marked Tree used to sit (recently removed). Walking along the dirt track at Pulpit Hill we came across some unmarked Convict Graves. We stopped at Tournament Café, Medlow Bath for a café con leche before arriving at Glenella.
Reflections by Ann Pantiz, Blue Mountains Camino 5-Day walker Sept 2020, March 2021 and 2 day in October 2020.
Photos below by Rosie and Ann: 5-Day walkers at Katoomba Stn, the Gully and Catalina race circuit, North's Lookout and 'Convict Graves' at Pulpit Hill.
Day 2 - an Afternoon at the Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat
Donna our host welcomed everybody to the Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat and gave an introduction to labyrinths whilst we enjoyed afternoon tea in the Earth Room. A tour of Donna and Martin's new sustainable home which is still under construction before walking around part of the property.
The Blue Labyrinth is a special place of retreat for groups and individual pilgrims to gather and explore wisdom teachings and contemplative practices with a focus on meditation, using the Labyrinth as a spiritual tool, sustainability and Permaculture as a way of life.
Donna lead the walkers past the Celtic triple spiral Labyrinth, the ancient caves, the Classic 'bush' Labyrinth, the Chartres Labyrinth whilst enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat and taking turns to walk one or more of the Labyrinths.
Thank you so much Donna & Martin for hosting us, a perfect end to the first day's walk for our Blue Mountains Pilgrims.
An Evening with Will Boag
WILL TO WALK - Will Boag who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2010. Will and his wife Corrie walked with us all 5 days of the Blue Mountains Camino in March. They have walked many Caminos in Europe since 2014. We asked Will to share some of his experiences and poetry with us on the Thursday night of the Blue Mountains Camino.
The evening started with Margaret sharing a letter form her father who passed away last year with Parkinson's, the letter was written to his family and friends so that they might understand his condition a little more. Margaret's family also joined us for the evening via Zoom from South Africa.
Will took us on a journey, through the different stages of his diagnosis and his travels together with Corrie and the strength walking has given him. Will shared some of his poetry from his walks in Europe. Will walks not only for his own health and enjoyment but to raise awareness of Parkinson's and to raise funds to help find a cure for Parkinson's which is a progressive neurological condition with no cure at this stage.
Will walks 5-10 kms daily (all at a fast rate) He also does voice exercises while walking and writes each day. These are the activities Will has taken to alleviate his symptoms, his symptoms are low to moderate.
In Spring of 2014 their first walk (over 800kms) across Spain on the Camino Frances. The following Spring of 2015 they walked another 800 kms on the French part of the Camino, the ‘Chemin du Puy’, from Le Puy-en-Velay to Pamplona in Spain. In the scorching heat of mid September 2016 they walked from the Italian Alps to Rome on the Italian leg of the ‘Via Francigena’ (over 800 kms). In 2017 in Switzerland (650 kms) from Rorschach to Aosta (in Italy) via Lausanne. In 2018 in Northern France they walked (around 900 kms) from the commencement of the Via Francigena in Canterbury U.K., to Pontarlier on the Swiss border. In 2019, they walked and trained from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela along the ‘Camino Portuguese’.
Will has published his poetry and reflections of his caminos online, these give an insight into their journeys. There are 6 small books available. The writing has been of benefit to Will as it produces a neuroplastic experience and are a good challenge for his brain. He hopes they will spark ideas and give enjoyment to the reader. You can download the books and make a donation to Shake it Up. Donations are matched by the Michael J Fox Foundation and all funds go towards finding a cure for Parkinson's Disease.
Thank you Will and Corrie for joining the March Blue Mountains Camino and sharing your amazing story with us.
To read Will Boag's books and make a donation to Shakitup or find out more about Will and Corrie's Caminos Click HERE.
Photo below: Ann Pantiz with Corrie and Will Boag. An evening of Poetry, Story Telling and guest speaker Will Boag
A poem from Will Boag
It's special, just to be with other walkers
Especially when you've a certain 'project',
The young and old, the quiet and the talkers
One of those times that I will never forget.
A chance to chat and get to know each other
Or reminisce with those already known,
Here on this land, first nations know as mother
Where fires have raged and many winds have blown.
We jumped her streams or barefoot waded through
And climbed her cliffs but had the use of stairs,
The lookouts showed her beauty in full view
Where some looked to the sky and offered prayers.
The mountain birds did sing their favourite tune,
The Lyre bird, was singing to the moon.
Our March Camino Training Walk and Meetup
Even though the March last Saturday of the month Camino Training Walk coincides with the last day of the 5-Day walk, we keep the walking groups separate and chose two other walking routes to do from Blackheath. A smaller group of 5 headed off for the Easy graded walk to Fort Rock along an uneven dirt track, some steps, a small creek crossing and when at the top we enjoyed great views out to the Megalong and Kanimbla Valleys. The group headed back past the Blackheath Community Gardens and over the highway to the Rhododendron Gardens where it was great to see the recovery work and growth from the fires of last year. Wandering through narrow laneways admiring the homes and gardens, the group arrives back in Blackheath village.
The second and larger group of 12 headed to the Medium graded route of Braeside Track to Evans Lookout. Again, there was a creek crossing with lots more steps on the return route back to Glenella; once they found the elusive bench marker denoting which side track to take!
The 5-Day walkers arrive at Glenella and are drifting in at their own pace with big smiles, having just finished their last day of walking. They are greeted at the Welcome Table, have their Blue Mountains Camino Credential stamped and receive a small Camino stone memento. Many will later write some reflections in the Blue Mountains Camino Journal.
There is plenty of time for walkers to have lunch and the 5-Day walkers to have a shower and a change if they are staying at Glenella 'Albergue' before the 2.00pm start of the Camino Meetup.
Photos: Welcome Pilgrims to Glenella, Blue Mountains Camino Credential with swatch of Les Simons hair, 5-Day walkers arriving at Glenella,. Alex travelled from Brisbane to do the 5-Day Walk and encouraged his sister Mary who lives in the Blue Mountains to do the walk with him. She wasn't disappointed!
Mary who joined us for her very first Camino (along with her brother Alex) was given the privilege to light the Camino Candle. After Welcoming everyone and an Acknowledgement of Country, each had the opportunity to introduce themselves and reflected on their respective walk from this morning or over the last four days; sharing their reflections on what has been (although cut short by one day) successful Blue Mountains Camino. We finished the Meetup with Angela blowing out the Camino Candle, this has been Angela's fourth Blue Mountains Camino.
Photos below: Camino Meetup 27/3/21, Jenny from the Central Coast, in red, did the 5-Day walk. Jenny met Sandra who is a local Mt Victoria resident on the Camino Frances and met up again for the last day of walking.
Les Simons Hair Raising Fundraiser for Casa Susi.
Les with his new Camino Arrow Hair Style!
Just after the Camino Meetup, Les Simons Hair Raising event took place, with support from Ruchira and Bruce from the Central Coast Camino Group (Bruce & Sandra drove especially for the event), Margaret and Narelle, there was lots of cutting, shaving and colouring and styling all in a great cause for Susi and Fermin of Casa Susi Albergue in Trabadelo, Spain which is in urgent need of roof replacement/repairs.
The final hairdo being a Yellow Camino Arrow, sure to light The Way for weeks to come!
Les raised over $2000 for Casa Susi and he promises to wear his new 'hairdo' for a month. Thank you Les for your brave idea of having your hair cut and coloured in a Camino fashion. Swatches of Les's old hair tied with yellow ribbon were sold adding a further $90 to the donations. Thank you to everyone who made a donation and to those who helped with the Hair Raising event on the day. True Camino spirit, thank you for being part of ourCamino Family.
If you would like to make a donation to Casa Susi GoFundMe, you can still be a part of Les's Hair Raising Fundraiser and donate HERE.The target is $2,500 and there is only $272 left to reach this target!
Special thanks to Rowan for filming the event. To watch Les's transformation , condensed to 5min, watch on Youtube HERE.
Camino Swap Table
Thank you to Diane for hosting the Camino Swap Table at our Monthly Meetups.
The swap table is an opportunity to pass on Camino gear you may no longer want or need and to find a new pilgrim for the item. A great way to get 'new' gear for a small donativo with proceeds going to BMCS. Donations of gear are welcome, bring them along to the next Meetup.
Blue Mountains Camino Supporters Badge
Our Blue Mountains Camino Supporters cloth badge are available to order or purchase from Margaret or one of the admin team at Camino Meetups and save on postage! The badge measures 8cm in 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
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
Be a part of Blue Mountains Camino Supporters Admin
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.
Blue Mountains Camino Supporters is a community group run by volunteers, 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 Training Walks and Meetups on the last Saturday of the month except December usually at Glenella in Blackheath, hosted by Margaret & Rowan Bouttell. 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. Bob Girdo is our video recorder and editor. Diane Cousins hosts the Camino Swap Table. Tony & Ce Jacques co-ordinate and host the Tapas dinners & Camino movie events. Jerard & Enda Barry host an annual Feast of Saint James Dinner and host Pilgrims at their Pop-Up Albergue in Wentworth Falls by arrangement. Our website is managed by Johann Saure, Mark Johnson and Carlene. There is a dedicated team who plan and organises the Blue Mountians Camino 5-Day Walks and events.
The Blue Mountains Camino Supporters was founded in 2015 by Tony & Ce Jacques and Margaret & Rowan Bouttell.
Blue Mountains Camino Supporters recognises that the Dharug and Gundungurra Traditional Owners have a continuous and deep connection to their Country. We pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.