Rothar Routes

Cycle routes & pilgrim journeys in Ireland and Europe …..

Archive for ‘February 2nd, 2013’

How do you prepare for the Camino?

The first thing to say is that almost anyone can cycle the Camino. Provided.

By training smartly it is very possible to cycle all the way from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago.

What does that mean?

Couple of pointers.

Cycle off road whenever you get the chance.

An hour a day is plenty.

Practice on hills. Somewhere like Killeshin or the Nurney Plateau is perfect.

It’s not about speed. If you average 12kms an hour on the trail that’s great.

Fit your bike out with panniers and fill them with anything that will equate to the load you will bring with you.

The easy part is turning  the pedals!

Don’t forget to exercise your upper body.

One of the hardest things is the constant seating position on the bike that leads to stiffness and cramp in the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders and back.

So pay attention to exercising the whole body – 10 15 minutes routine will work wonders.

To help avoid some of that soreness, add a set of bar ends to give you another position.

Take a break every hour on the trail.

Don’t worry too much about distance or speed; start early and you can go all day.

Be prepared for the weather and have some clothing such as a poncho to allow you cycle in the rain; work with others into the wind.

It’s all the simple practical things that will make it easy for you.

Wild Carlow

Water Pump at Tomduff Cross in the colours of Mt Leinster Rangers

Water Pump at Tomduff Cross in the colours of Mt Leinster Rangers

Ruins of Kiloughternane Church

Ruins of Kiloughternane Church

Mount Leinster on fire one fine summer's night

Mount Leinster on fire one fine summer’s night

Wild Carlow

This is not an established route but I aim to make it one!

I havent done all of this 135kms loop of County Carlow but I will in the summer.

This route has many outstanding features:

Route description.

Leave Carlow taking the Barrow towpath which you follow all the way to St Mullins.

This is obviously flat the whole way down but that’s no harm with what has to come later!

The Barrow Towpath is beautiful and differs from Canal walking as it is a follows the meanders of the River. It’s a gem of a mtb trail on a fine summer day. And there are significant places of historical and religious importance such as Leighlinbridge, Borris, Graiguenamanagh and the monastic site at St Mullins.

Leaving St Mullins talk a short road section before climbing up onto the ridge of the Blackstairs. This is a well known walking trail along the Carlow – Wexford border. Continue across the Scullogue Gap and rise up to the peak of Mount Leinster, the highest point in Carlow and Ireland’s fifth highest mountain.

Take the road down to the Nine Stones and follow it across to the t junction. You are now on the Sth Leinster waymarked Way. You will shortly go off road again and rejoin the trail which you follow to Kildavin. Take the road to Clonegal village and Huntingdon Castle.

Look for signs to the Wicklow Way, again on quiet roads. After about 6 kms you leave the road for a beautiful short section through wooded hillside on the famous Wicklow Way.

We leave the Wicklow Way to go to the ruins of Aghowle Church.

The area from the Blackstairs to here is where Columbanus is said to have been born.

After Aghowle we follow winding lanes to Ardattin and the bridge on the River Slaney at Agahde – a nice place for a picnic or a swim.

Time to head back to Carlow now and we again keep to the back roads and follow the route over by Kellistown Church ruins and into Carlow Town.

This has the potential to be a mega route with a little bit of mapping and signposting.

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