. Camino Cycle 2006 . Cockle shell

Diary Day 8

Stage 8 Sarria – Santiago De Compostela – 28/09/06 -100 km

Distance 73.7 miles (125km). Feet climbed 5,920. Cyling Time 6 hrs 47

The group photo was taken at about 9am and the team rolled out shortly afterwards. They were expecting a series of hills but were taken aback by the number and severity of the climbs they encountered all day. They visited a monastery where they were engaged in profound conversation in Spanish by a local monk and they had their passposrts stamped.

All set for the final stage, the yellow train prepares to go!


A final cheer for the road and they're off


And the condemned ate a hearty meal


Taking no chances after a 10 days experience of herding cats, Barney shepherds Paul Nolan to the start of the last day


Suzie recounts the number of croissants consumed at breakfast, Larry is bemused


Mairead and Suzie N discuss quarantine rules for chickens


There's a yellow train which runs between St John Pied De port and old Santiago...

Under way on day 8


Thronged with walking pilgrims


Horsing around at the coffee stop with an antique plough in the foreground and antique cyclists in the background


On the coffee break, David accepts a kind donation from Lindsay from Sydney


Not to be outdone, Mairead accepts a donation from Bob from Toronto at coffee time


Larry whizzes past a wooded area


Thinks"If Barney was here we would never have got this lost".
Having completely lost their way the group ascend a steep part of the walking camino to regain the road


David grins childishly as he sprints past a 90 year old pilgrim on an old bike just before lunch


Turlough shows the secret of his success: several helping hands and a couple of willing women to act as junior counsel


Shortly before lunch, a curious bridge spans the route


Such is Larry's telepathic powers that, shortly after he passed this van, the crew discovered that it had a puncture


The camino goes through some farmyards, giving Suzie N real hope in her chicken-search


Suzie N gets the scent of some chickens, hopes rise


And there they are, success at last


And another, Suzie is in absolute ectstasy


Turlough's dogs, having seen the web, get in touch to check that Suzie is bringing them a chicken!


Crossing a gorge on the way to lunch


After a very heavy shower, lunch was taked in Aruso. This was a welcome break and afterwards the group found the weather much brighter and indeed dry , at 10 km out. The final re-grouping took place at Lavacola and thereafter they proceeded steadily to their final destination in the Cathedral Square.

Having survived the only rain shower of the day, Oonagh zips in for lunch


Followed by Gerry dreaming of spaghetti Bolognese


Suzie H cuts up some walking pilgrims in her rush to get to lunch!


Turlough tackles mass in Latin during lunch break, a tired pilgrim tells him where to go. Turlough forgives her lack of understanding of the solemnity of the occasion


Suzie N takes off her helmet for a solemn bit, at the request of the holy man


Again, whose lunch-time ankle is graced by a chain tatoo?


First view of the cathedral spires of Santiago in the distance for the cyclists


Hands trembling with excitment, Turlough takes a picture of the train as it rolls towards the square in the distance


Frankie leads them into the square


David concentrates on the path ahead, Turlough daydreams


Suzie and Paul arrive in good cheer, note the dog following the scent of Suzie's chickens


Gerry, Oonagh and Suzie H finish in style


There is general disquiet over the chickens, something must be done!


Gathered around the scallop shell which is the finish point of the journey. A very elated and relieved team in the shadows at 7.15pm


The scallop shell, damp from earlier rain


Seamus joins the final group photo


Congratulations and jubilations all round


The van arrives too!


The Cathedral in the lashing rain, a few hours after the finish


After a series of photographs, they dispersed to the Parador Hotel which was nearby. The bikes would be packed up in the morning and the return flights were on Saturday. Larry and Barney also left on Saturday to drive the van home, arriving on Wednesday.


At the party, Larry finds Turlough's tuneless singing along hard to bear


Gerry is sent to the corner to occupy himself on the piano


Mairead displays the necklace she received for "Cyclist of the week"


St James himself in the parador has seen it all before


The walking pilgrim (Seamus)

Seamus walked on from the lunch stop covering 7 km (4.5 miles).

This brought his total to 82.5 miles, which was just over his intended target of 80 miles, and far in excess of any distance which he has walked in this time period previously. Mission accomplished for everyone.


Seamus in a happy group at the finish!


Here I hope to insert Gerry's performance data when it has been suitably massaged





Pilgrimage Finale


Traditionally pilgrims go to the scallop shell in the centre of the Cathedral Square where our group gathered for the photo.

Next they visit the cathedral where they place their hand on a special palm print on a column just inside the door.

They also go behind a statue of St James behind the altar, placing their hands on his shoulders, with the option of kissing the scallop shell on his back.

They can also see a crypt which reputedly contains the bones of Saint James (Santiago)

They then go to the pilgrim's office where their passport is reviewed and a certificate is issued.