I wish I could say that my training was tapering and that I was readier than I’ll ever be ….. But I did my back in moving furniture around for our Pop-up Restaurant fundraising ‘do’ last weekend so have not covered the miles I had hoped for in the final week. So, feeling a little trepidatious.
The last time I did anything like this was over twenty years ago when I walked the Pilgrims’ Way here in the UK.
Back in early 1990s and studying German and Russian at university, I would never have imagined coming to work for the National Trust which cares for some of the beautiful places the Way took us to. But looking back, I do remember being very struck by the idea that feet had passed along this trackway for many centuries. I’ve always loved walking along green lanes and imagining our ancestors doing the same. Living history.
Parts of the Pilgrims’ Way have been in existence since the Stone Age but the route really came into its own with the canonisation of Thomas Becket in the 12th century. Pilgrims would arrive from the continent at the sea ports along the South Coast, converge on Winchester and the tomb of St Swithun and then continue to Canterbury to Becket’s shrine.
And we mustn’t forget the Canterbury Tales. When I was walking the Way, it would have only been a few years since I studied the Prologue at school and while Chaucer’s pilgrims took a different route from London their storytelling filled my youthful head with more romance. We spent ten days walking the 119 miles. A modest accomplishment but we were in no rush and some days walked very little.
I had always rather fancied the idea of a longer pilgrimage and what could be more appealing than St James’s Way to Santiago de Compostela or ‘El Camino’, perhaps one of the most unwieldy World Heritage Sites traversing 166 towns and villages, and including over 1,800 buildings of historic interest.
So when INTO members, Tesouros de Galicia (literally ‘Treasures of Galicia’) suggested we walk the Camino Inglés, beginning at the port of Ferrol on the Northern Coast of Spain on 15th September and arriving in Santiago on 19th, I jumped at the chance! Used mostly by pilgrims from Northern Europe, Britain and Ireland since the mid-12th Century, the English Way promises coastal views, pretty towns and green countryside. Sounds very much like a Galician National Trust!?
But it’s not all about stretching our legs. Along the way, we will be joined by community representatives to raise the profile of heritage and environmental issues in Galicia and around the world. We’ll also be planting around 2,000 trees! And we will also be using the walk to raise funds for – and awareness of – the global National Trust movement and INTO’s programmes around the world.
More about the whole English Way Project can be found here.
I am hoping to raise £1,500 and would be very grateful for your support. You can either pay a lump sum or so much per kilometre walked (total distance is 120km). Please help me reach my goal so that INTO can better support heritage conservation projects around the world.
You can read my latest training blog here.
Perhaps the easiest for UK taxpayers is by visiting the INTO Virgin Money Giving page or by sending a cheque to us at 20 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0DH (please ask us for a gift aid form to increase the impact of your gift). It is also possible to make a donation in dollars via the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the US.
For other countries, or if you prefer, you may use PayPal
Note: The thermometer is not automatic, but is updated daily.