Pilgrimpace's Blog

in the blood

Thinking about The Extra Mile and also a discussion on the Camino Forum about why British people don’t do pilgrimages (I’m sure this is not true) has led me to remember my pilgrimages and to reflect that they and pilgrimage are deeply in the blood.  (A young Spanish man who took pity on me staggering around on an extremely hot afternoon in Xativa, brought me into his house, gave me water from his well, and contacted the albergue, concluded, “You must have many sins!”).  I think, though, that it is much more complicated than this – there is a strong and deep pull, I like pilgrim praying, I enjoy it.

Here’s a list of some significant pilgrimages.  Buen Camino to you all.

Parish pilgrimages to Walsingham travelling by coach for the weekend, from 1970’s boyhood, more recently with Birmingham Deaf Church and looking forward to going with St Gabriel’s next year.

The Student Cross pilgrimage to Walsingham, walking from London in 1980’s and 90’s Holy Weeks carrying a big cross, drinking Abbot Ale, eating cake, singing badly.

Iona by public transport, a student summer as Abbey Guide, parish weeks.

Student visits to Taize , including six weeks leading work teams.  This is not a pilgrimage destination in a traditional way, but I’m not sure how else to describe it.

And the chance to walk the Camino de Levante from Valencia to Santiago de Compostela last autumn, with a firm plan to walk the Camino Ingles with Meenakshi next autumn and deepening dreams for another Camino next Sabbatical.

And of course so many visits to the old centres of pilgrimage in this country – to the bare ruined altars of Holy Island, Hailes, Shrewsbury and so many more.  And many more to visit.


6 Comments so far
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Yes, many many more, that’s for sure.

I remember Walsingham vividly – though hardly a pilgrimage – we had a day trip by car! But I recall with sweet affection two Catholic priests rather the worse for wear in the pub…

Taize I’ve read about in that excellent book by Jennifer Lash – ‘On Pilgrimage’.

‘Drinking Abbot Ale, eating cake, singing badly.’ Sounds good to me 🙂

Comment by The Solitary Walker

It does sound good doesn’t it – although with heavy snow falling this morning, it is a good day to stay in the warm, nursing a cold with hot drinks, remembering the past, dreaming the future … and looking for Abbot Ale in the cupboard.

I haven’t read Jennifer Lash’s book, so will keep an eye out for it.

Comment by pilgrimpace

Oh, you absolutely must read that book. Jennifer Lash is the mother of the actor Ralph Fiennes. Her solitary pilgrimage was made after a painful operation for cancer. She died 7 years later at the relatively young age of 55. Amongst other places she visits Lisieux, Vézelay, Taizé, Le Puy, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Lourdes – and Santiago.

Comment by The Solitary Walker

It’s been ordered,


Comment by pilgrimpace

Greetings, fellow pilgrim! I walked from le Puy to Finisterre in 2001.
Peace be with you.

Comment by Camino Bill

Thanks Bill, and also with you!
Welcome to the blog,


Comment by pilgrimpace

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