A Celtic Camino: Beyond Borders
The Camino Inglés, or English Way, begins in the northern Galician port city of Ferrol. This area of Spain has strong roots in Celtic history and culture, and this particular path to Santiago has long been walked by the Celtic people of Ireland and the UK. In this cohort, we will ponder Celtic Christian spirituality, especially the theme of finding our own balance and harmony with God in any environment. As we traverse the coastal cliffs and bay city sidewalks, ascend and descend hills, pad along the noisy industrial areas and meander through peaceful pastoral lands, we will open ourselves to experience God’s presence in all types of environments. This cohort will have self-guided exercises as well as topics for group discussion, with plenty of time for personal reflection and spontaneous conversations. Our experience of walking in active awareness of God’s presence with us through the differing environments will strengthen us beyond this spiritual retreat, so that we can live the everyday moments of our lives more thoughtfully in companionship with God. From this experience, we can grow to know the intimate presence of God beyond the borders that once made God seem far away.
A typical day will look like this:
Morning: Pilgrims usually rise shortly after daybreak to enjoy the crisp morning air. We will begin the day with a short facilitated meditation on the suggested theme for the day followed by an orientation for the hike ahead. Breakfast will be taken on your own, based on your own needs and desired departure time. The morning will be spent walking, with rests and lunch along the way.
Afternoon: After walking 4-6 hours, you will arrive at your overnight destination sometime in early to mid-afternoon. Everyone is permitted to walk at their own pace, with or without a companion. Afternoons will be spent showering, resting, journaling or doing laundry. Before dinner, you will have the opportunity to debrief the day with the group over drinks and tapas, if desired.
Evening: You may choose to eat dinner with our cohort, a smaller group, or on your own. Dinner in Spain is typically much later than in other countries (after 9 pm). However, due to the rigorous exercise of the Camino, most albergues will require lights out at 10:00 pm. So, we will aim to eat dinner between 7-8 pm. Afterward, there will be an optional brief meditation before bedtime.
The program above describes a typical day and the opportunities that will be available to you. While we hope you will participate in some of the group sessions to enrich the experience of others, it is not required because we realize that every person’s pilgrimage is unique. Each person comes with different questions, hopes and needs. We want to respect and honor where each person is at. The intent of the program is to provide a basic rhythm that pilgrims can follow as desired.
Camino Inglés Spiritual Retreat – Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela
This spiritual retreat on the Camino Inglés will pass through rural Galicia and can be easily completed in 5 days. Despite beginning in the urban area of Ferrol, the first stage offers quite a few breathtaking views, from blue coastline to green mountains. The second part is particularly beautiful as you pass through less trafficked areas such as the 38 kilometers between Miño and Hospital de Bruma, a mountainous rural area sprinkled with tiny villages dedicated to both livestock and agriculture. There are plenty of small, lovely villas where you can enjoy northern gastronomy and fresh seafood.
Despite being short in distance, the Camino Inglés is not short on historical sites. There are numerous medieval churches, chapels and ruins along the way to inspire your spiritual retreat. You can visit the monastery in Xubia and the church of San Miguel de Breamo in Pontedeume. Hospital de Bruma offers the medieval chapel of San Lourenzo, while Lambre is known for its medieval bridge.
Walking the Camino Inglés is mildly challenging. If we were to rank all the pilgrimages based on difficulty, this one would be somewhere in the middle, between the harder routes (e.g.; Camino Primitivo) and the ones that are less demanding (e.g.; Portugués). It is accessible all year round as the proximity of the ocean makes for mild winters and summers. However, since the weather is similar to Wales, you will likely have at least one day of rain.
Although the summer months of July and August are the most popular, the Camino Inglés is not overcrowded and can be a peaceful alternative to other more popular caminos like the Francés or the Portugués. Though growing in popularity, it is still one of the more solitary and authentic pilgrimages. If you prefer less demanding terrain and cooler temperatures, and your time is limited, the Camino Inglés might be just the route for your spiritual retreat.
Please read the tabs to the left for details about what is included.