Wayne Calvert has done some of the world’s great walks including Camino de Santiago and an 18-day crossing of the north of England. Now from his Charles Upham village home he continues to stretch himself in terms of fitness.
Training for Ryman’s Walking for Wellness challenge (A 60km virtual walk to be completed in the month of October) is another physical challenge and has been a great way to increase a sense of wellbeing, Wayne says.
Wayne, aged 79, has always been a great traveller. From the early 1970s, when travel was not as straight forward as even these post-COVID times, he and his then wife Lorraine, started travelling through Asia partly to connect and partly to take a holiday.
“I’ve travelled all my life. Even way in the ‘70s… with my first wife we did trips around… we started off in Singapore which was a big trip in those days, and then Denmark and Austria,” Wayne says.
“One of my hobbies was PenFriends. I had 27 PenFriends all around the world, in the days when you wrote letters. So, it was always a focus when we went overseas to meet up with them, stay with them, which we did.”
After his wife passed away, Wayne eventually took on a series of challenges including a seven-week Pacific/South American tour that included walking and being a tourist on Easter Island the Manaus/the Amazon Rainforest area, part of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, in Peru.
Malta, located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, was another enjoyable walking space, while Jersey, Africa Ireland and the Amalfi Coast and New Zealand walks like Milford Sound and Abel Tasman were other destinations.
Wayne says about five years ago he did more than half the 800 kilometres that make up the Camino de Santiago, sometimes known as the Way of St James.
He started his tour in Lyon. Being a pilgrimage-based route there were plenty of relics to discover along the way, he says. Since 2013 the Camino has attracted in the order of 200,000 pilgrims or visitors a year.
A particular challenge was the walk from the tiny town of Saint Bees on the west coast of England to Whitby on the east coast. He did this walk with an organised tour group. “We were walking right across, through the Lake District, the Fells… a lot of it was very steep...
“We happened to be (in Whitby) for the 250th year of Captain Cook leaving on a voyage. There was a big contingent from New Zealand there.” Sights at Whitby included a full-scale copy of Endeavour, the ship James Cook used to sail to New Zealand and Australia.
A highlight of the 18-day trip was staying in B&Bs and the smaller village pubs along the route. “We were so lucky with the weather. The whole time it never rained once,” Wayne says,
Like any Northern Hemisphere tour, there were logistics to the tour, he says. The group had a stopover in Singapore before flying on to London to spend a couple of days with a friend Denise. Denise, a Kiwi, organised his train travel.
Another great trip was an African ‘camping holiday’ starting from Cape Town, taking in Botswana, Namibia, The Kalahari Desert, Tanzania (including Zanzibar). “We’d put up tents each night, listen to the wildlife and often didn’t venture far from the camp at night.”
Wayne’s career included 40 years working at Timaru’s Smithfield freezing works as well as running his own market garden, which he misses. Nowadays Wayne and his partner, Christine Crossen, continue to walk, venturing around Canterbury and beyond.