MindSpace Stamford volunteer Julie Lunt has begun training to walk 400 miles on The Portuguese Camino de Santiago Trail to raise funds for MindSpace Stamford later this year.

MindSpace Stamford volunteer Julie Lunt has begun training to walk 400 miles on The Portuguese Camino de Santiago Trail to raise funds for MindSpace Stamford later this year.

18 May 2022

Julie’s epic walk will begin on August 25th and will take almost seven weeks, finishing on October 7th. She’ll be taking part in a centuries old pilgrimage, known in English as the Way of St James, which leads to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great, in the cathedral of Santiago in Galicia, Spain, where tradition holds that the remains of the apostle are buried.

“I have always been someone who’s enjoyed walking and more recently started to do longer walks,” says Julie, who lives in Stamford. “I have known about the Camino walk for quite a while and in 2018 a friend and I walked a short part of a route. I loved it – it was so interesting to do, and the landscape was beautiful.

“After completing that 100 kilometres I thought I’d like to walk it all in one go and get the feeling of what it’s really like walk it as a pilgrim.”

Julie, who many of you will know as the talented and enthusiastic leader of the Makers Group, went on to research the famous historic pilgrimage and the various routes that can be taken to reach the end point, the city of Santiago de Compostela. Having found out about other people’s experiences through books and YouTube blogs, she says she has a good understanding of what she’s let herself in for – and that it will be tough.

The planning for this challenging walk began over a year ago and Julie has chosen to tackle the Portuguese route (Caminho Português de Santiago), starting in Lisbon and walking to the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region via the Portuguese town of Fatima, also an important pilgrimage site.

Julie has decided to do some of the walk with friends and some on it some of on her own so she can get that sense of walking with others and of walking alone. She says: “I am not religious person, but I do want it to be pilgrimage of sorts for me, to take time out to think about my own life and consider other things and reflect. It’ll be an opportunity to take time away from normal life and all the usual day-to-day chores.”

Training regime

Long walks are now part of Julie’s weekly routine. “I have set myself a target of 18 miles a week to build up to the long distances I will be walking each day. At the moment, ten miles is quite comfortable for me. On the Camino route some days will be 18 miles or and there’s a few long 15 to 18-mile walks quite close together. On average though, my daily walks will be an average of 15 miles.”

“Thinking about health and mental wellbeing, it feels more important to carefully prepare for the walk and make sure that I am doing it in a way that suits me. Thousands of people embark on the Camino routes every year and some don’t put any preparation into it and end up with blisters and painful shin splints, and as a result are forced to give up after a matter of days.”

As part of her training programme, Julie has joined The Stamford Ramblers group and has been walking regularly with them, although she has also been walking a good deal on her own, getting her speed up to 5km an hour. Recently she has been taking 3 litres of water in her daysack on her local walks and she intends to build it up over the weeks and months until she can carry a hefty 8 litres! It’s important that Julie gets used to carrying a weighty load as along the route she will be carrying a 35ltr rucksack that will weigh between 8 and 10kg.

Show your support

Julie says: “I like working for MindSpace and it will give me such pleasure to raise funds for the charity and the work it does.”

To support Julie on her epic walk this summer, you can donate via her Go Fund Me page at gofundme.com (search ‘Walking the Caminho Portuguese for Mindspace’).