Walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain is on my bucket list.
Despite my love of hiking I realised in 2016 that there was more to the Camino than hiking. Disillusion with a work life servicing blue-chip clients prompted a career break, time for reflection and the opportunity to walk the Camino. As I began to research the walk the spiritual aspect gradually registered with me as did the opportunity to recall the tragic suicide of my younger brother Eoin in 1985.
In the meantime I discovered the pleasure of cycling, took my bike on a cycling holiday in Irelands beautiful West Cork & Clare. Very quickly I realised that the sun in Spain is no match for the raw wildness of Irelands west coast.
Now I wouldn’t be known as a religious man however cycling by the ocean in the west of Ireland has a spiritual feel – engendered by the wild atlantic ocean, the light, the wind & rain, the treeless landscape, the music, the Neolithic, Megalithic and early Christian sites & monuments – all magnificent on those glorious days when the sun shines.
Describing my plan to family & friends led to the realisation that suicide, and the mental issues that increase the risk of suicide, touched the lives of many. The anecdotes are supported by statistics reported in the shocking “Suicides Statistic Report 2016” by the Samaritans.
It quickly became clear that cycling the Wild Atlantic Way was my preferred camino. The Ride Atlantic Way, and acronym RAW, seemed particularly apt.
RAW provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the mental health issues that lead to suicide by encouraging people to join the event. Everybody is welcome to join – in any capacity that suits – perhaps cycling a stage (or part of), volunteering with publicity & logistics or sponsoring & donating.
In addition to raising awareness we can support one of two charities that focus on mental health and contribute to prevention of suicide. The goal is to raise 25,000 euro. Donors can choose to contribute to Pieta House which supports people in Ireland or Mind
which supports people in England & Wales.
You can register to participate by clicking here
You can donate now by clicking here
See you on the road,
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking” – Arthur Conan Doyle