Epic Camino trek for The Man Walk trio 

Published 7:00am 13 June 2024

Epic Camino trek for The Man Walk trio 
Words by Kylie Knight

Three members of The Man Walk Redcliffe have taken more than one million steps, traversing the Camino de Santiago in 33 days.

Dave Bosworth, 64, has walked the Camino 11 times and was chatting to Ray Kearney, 67, and Greg Arnold, 69, about it over coffee one day when they decided to tackle it together.

The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.

Greg has completed the Kokoda Track twice, but taking on the Camino was a first for him and Ray.

“Greg and Ray loved it. The further they walked, the stronger they became. They loved the idea of seeing a country through walking. Both were injury-free at the end and were physically and mentally strong,” Dave says.

“They enjoyed the physical challenge and the accomplishment of walking 33 days of approximately 25km. They enjoyed the mateship and friendship that developed as well as the love of walking.”

The trio set off on February 27, walking 23.3km and 32,644 steps from Lisbon to Santa Iria in cool and windy conditions.

Dave posted updates to an online blog each day for family, friends and fellow Man Walkers to follow their progress.

“The first few days of a long walk are often challenging as your back becomes used to the weight of a 9kg load and your legs adjust to consistent walking. It does take a few days to walk into a walk,” Dave says in the blog.

The longest stretch was on day four, when they walked 33.6km from Azambuja to Santarem.

“Sometimes it is hard to reduce the distances as we are governed by the towns and villages. It was a walk, where we had to think through, to organise where we would break. It was not ideal as it left us a 17km slog with a hill climb at the end,” Dave says.

They backed it up the following day, walking 33.4km from Santarem to Golega.

Breaks were often determined by the location of the next coffee shop, and challenging weather did not deter them.

“One of the great learnings on the Camino is about yourself. The Camino will test you in body and mind. We had thunder, lightning, hail, rain, mud, cold, sunshine and flooded rivers,” Dave says.

“It would be easy to just jump in a taxi and bypass the day and move to the next. It is a test of how you cope with barriers that are placed before you and how you work your way through them. We held strong and worked together.”

They battled rain, wind and the cold, particularly in region of Galicia, where there was snow lying beside the track. They also tackled hills and steep climbs, and managed coughs and colds during this stretch of the journey.

By the time they reached the end of their trek in Muxia, they had walked 772km and taken 1,065,410 steps.

“The experience of being away from my comfort zone and all the pressures and responsibility that comes with everyday life, is what draws me to walking,” Dave says.

“I enjoy the feeling of being in the wilderness, walking with my backpack. I am totally reliant on my own skills, knowledge and preparation.

“The challenge, the scenery, the camaraderie, the exercise, the lifestyle, is my aphrodisiac and I feel at ease.

“As you approach the end of a long walk, there is a feeling of accomplishment and completion. How many people can say they have walked across a country and walked continuously for 33 days and 800 kilometres carrying everything they need.”

Dave, Ray and Greg are already planning their next adventure, a ‘different Camino’, in March 2025.

“We will cross the Pyrenees that separates France and Spain. The walk next year will be around 1000km. It is called the ‘Camino Frances’,” Dave says.

Epic Camino trek for The Man Walk trio 

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