We were thrilled and excited to have John Brierley visit to the Blue Mountains in October.  In case you didn't know, John is the renown UK author of the most popular and used Camino guide book  A Pilgrims Guide to the Camino de Santiago, a Practical & Mystical Manual for the Modern-day Pilgrim covering the Camino Frances, Portugues, Ingles, Finisterre & Muxia routes.

John travelled to Australia to attend the inaugural Australian Friends of the Camino (AFotC) conference in Adelaide 11-13 October 2019.  Afterwards he travelled to Victoria, Queensland and NSW to meet and gave presentations "Journey of Self Discovery" to local Camino groups.   The program for 25-27 October 2019 for John Brierley’s visit to the Blue Mountains was a joint event together with Central Coast Camino and Pilgrims of Sydney groups and hosted by the Blue Mountains Supporters of the Camino.  His first visit to the Blue Mountains coincided with the conclusion of our 5 Day Camino-style walk from Penrith to Blackheath.

We thank John Brierley for his genorisity and being so giving of his time.  We hope he enjoyed his time in the Blue Mountains and meeting some of the many pilgrims who have used his books and wisdom to guide them through The Way.

Thank you to Margaret & Rowan Bouttell of Glenella Guesthouse for hosting John; to Tony & Ce Jacques for hosting the Saturday Camino Meetup at RSL Blackheath and to MC Juliet Clark from the Newcastle Camino Group.  Thanks also to MC Sharise Watson at the social dinner and the Sunday Camino Meetup.

With thanks to all the pilgrims and intending pilgrims for travelling from afar and staying in Blackheath as well as our local Camino supporters for attending the weekend events, especially those pilgrims who participated in the 5 Day Camino-style walk up the Mountains.  A big thank you for the team of organisers of the events and those who volunteered their time at the various events.  Last but not least, thank you to Chris Osborne of Chris Osborne Adventures who recorded the two presentations John gave at the RSL and Glenella. 

Chris has generously made available the recordings for your enjoyment and reflection.



John Brierley talk at RSL: part 1/3      John Brierley talk at RSL: part 2/3       John Brierley talk at RSL: part 3/3

Q&A with John Brierley at RSL Blackheath    

Photos on Facebook:

Saturday Camino Meetup at RSL & Social Dinner at Blackheath Golf Club

Sunday Grand Canyon Loop Walk & Camino Meetup at Glenella



Article written by Sharise Watson for the Blue Mountains Camino group November 2019 newsletter.


The weekend of events started on the Friday Night with a Story Telling Evening at Glenella Guesthouse, hosted by Rowan Bouttell. Pilgrims shared their personal experiences from the Camino, or perhaps BC (Before Camino) as Rowan likes to say. There was laughter, some tears and even some heavy rock as Les shared his favourite Camino walking music with us.

The Saturday Meetup was held at the Blackheath RSL with our very special guest speaker, author John Brierley presenting ~ "The Camino as a Path of Self-Discovery".  The event was hosted by Juliet Clark from the Newcastle Camino Group.  Julie-Ann Milne from the Pilgrims of Sydney Group gave us an overview of the Inaugural National Conference of the Australian Friends of the Camino held in Adelaide in October.  John explored his seven key messages, Camino:  Family, Alternative Routes, Ritual, Inner Journey, Awakening, Enquiry, Self Discovery and Back Home.  Each message was woven with stories from his travels both on Camino as well as previous and recent travels to Australia.  John had us all captivated with his moving presentation.  Q&A was followed by book signings and plenty of photo opportunities being taken with John, many attendees having been guided through their Camino with his book were keen to share their experiences with him.  John challenged us all to reflect on our intention in walking a Camino and to use the experience of space and time and silence from our Camino to live with intention on return to home.

The meetup was followed by an evening at the Blackheath Golf Course, a relaxed dinner with the 5 Day walkers celebrating their journey, John Brierley joined us along with members from the Sydney, Newcastle and Central Coast Groups.

On the Sunday Morning, Margaret Bouttell lead a walk to the Grand Canyon at Blackheath.  John Brierley joined the walk along with 10 other walkers. John was enthusiastic about the views and magnificence of the landscape.

The walk was followed by a casual lunch at Glenella with guest bringing their picnic style lunch and enjoying the garden and sunshine.

We then had a second meetup of the weekend at Glenella, this was hosted by Sharise Watson from the Blue Mountains Camino Group, all attendees introduced themselves and their Camino experience.  John then presented his The Camino as a Path of Self-Discovery talk, took questions and signed books.

John in his Ritual segment lit a candle at both his presentations, his candle has travelled worldwide, started out from France, Hungary, Ireland, Europe and to his Canadian trip this year and throughout his 2019 Australian cities stopovers.  At the end of the presentations we blew out the candle visualising all the pilgrims with their backpacks on currently on the Camino and to those past pilgrims, sending them light and love.. 

John was very generous with his time and his words of such wisdom, either in his presentations or in conversation with guests during the weekend. As one pilgrim declared  "John you have filled my heart".   We are sure all those who attended these events feel the same way indeed. 

Thank you to Margaret and Rowan Bouttell from Glenella Guesthouse for hosting John during his stay and to Tony and Ce Jacques for arrangements with the RSL and providing the delicious Santiago Tart.