Up early and on the road soon after 6:30 am we said our goodbyes to Sebastian and Silka (our overnight dormitory buddies from Germany) and began the climb in the dark out of Villafranca. It was ‘Ponchos on and heads down’ as we battled through the torrential rain – for the next 8 hours!

Whilst the conditions were clearly far from ideal, this is all part of the Camino experience…good character building stuff – if it were easy, it would not be worth doing.

Indeed , walking the Camino de Santiago is good for the soul; it not only stretches you physically but enables you clear your mind and make space to reflect on what is really most important in your life.

By midday we had covered almost 20 Km and reached the foot of the final peak. Ahead of us a 10 Km uphill climb to an altitude of 1350m towards Ocebreiro our final destination.

Geoff and Richard chose the natural pathway whilst John and I joined the cyclists on the so called ‘easier’ narrow road. With a 20% gradient, even most seasoned cyclists crawled by…barely faster than walking pace and struggling to steer. One very friendly Spanish rider lifted his hand up to wave to me – ‘Buen Camino’ and promptly fell in a ditch. Thankfully he was unhurt, just seemed a little embarrassed with his pride a little dented and colourful spandex now a darker shade of mud.

By 3:30 pm we had arrived and joined a gaggle of wet, hot and steamy Pilgrims in the local bar, feeling both exhilarated and exhausted.

So that’s it till next year now sadly, back to UK to start planning the final leg of our epic journey to Santiago.

Many thanks as always to our community of ‘Band of Brothers’ followers who have commented and left words of support via this blog and WhatsAp.