Join the Camino information evening attracts enthusiastic walking tourists

A section of the crowd at the Join the Camino information evening in Portwest, Westport.

A section of the crowd at the Join the Camino information evening in Portwest, Westport.

There was a great turnout at the inaugural Join the Camino information evening in the Portwest Bridge Street store, Westport.

Guest speaker and veteran of the Camino, Derek Lavelle, gave a vivid and engaging account of his journey across the Pyrenees to the burial site of James the Apostle in Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain.

There are many different routes to choose from. Mr Lavelle spoke predominately about the French way, by far the most popular way through the Camino. The French way starts in a small town in the French Pyrenees, St Jean Pied de Port, and passes through some of the most magnificent landscapes in northern Spain, as shown in the images displayed in Portwest during the evening.

The Camino route has grown in popularity in recent years with many more Irish making the voyage. Speaking at the event in Portwest, Mr Lavelle explained that the pilgrimage provides some much needed “time out from our busy schedules and a chance to switch off” recommending that mobile phones are left behind.

The line-up was completed by Emer McDermot from Mc Dermot’s Travel Westport and Tom O’Dowd, Portwest. Ms McDermot gave a comprehensive outline of travel to the Camino and accommodation available along the route, along with an offer to tailor packages to individual pilgrims. Mr O’Dowd and the Portwest staff rounded off the evening by taking the audience through the essential kit required for a trip along the Camino, with emphasis on equipment that is light, quick-drying and packable. This is key, given that Camino travellers must work to be almost entirely self sufficient, carrying all their belongings on their back.

The Join the Camino information evening is part of the Portwest lecture series, with a session on a more local adventure, the Bangor Trail, to follow in the coming months.

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