Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Simple Pilgrim's Progress!

Thank you to everyone who has been following this blog. It was encouraging for us to know that those of you at home, could make a "virtual" pilgrimage with us on the Camino. It also helped compensate for some of the pain of the blisters, and the aching joints! The pics from the Camino have now been loaded onto our Gallery. Just click on the Gallery button on the top right hand side of any page of the website, or at and enjoy!

I am hoping that the pics might encourage more of you to join those who have already booked, on the footpaths of Britain, when we walk "In Search of the Somerset Saints". Although the places that we are visiting are practicably on my doorstep, I have already learnt much about the Celtic Saints that inhabited the Avalon Marshes. Liz Rees, who will be speaking to us on the pilgrimage, has made the study of these Saints her life's work. I can't wait to hear her talk, as I know that I will learn even more about these mysterious figures.

We will also have a personal encounter with the relics of St. Oliver Plunket, the last Martyr of the Reformation. His Shrine is located within Downside Abbey, and the monastic library, that will be made available to us, contains the actual letters that he wrote from his prison cell. It will be a rare treat for the group to experience life in an active Benedictine Monastery, and I am grateful to the Prior, Dom Leo Maidlow Davis, for giving me special permission to offer this opportunity to you.

We will be doing much more on this Pilgrimage, and full details can be found in the British Pilgrimages part of the website at top left of any page or at

I only have a limited period to confirm our accommodation, so if you would like to join us, please reserve your place. All the information that you need to do so, can be found in the "Booking" Section of the website. Please just press the button on the top right of any page or at

The Somerset Saints Pilgrimage will be the first in our British Saints Series, and, believe me, there is much more to come! As soon as I have finalised the details of these other pilgrimages, I will let you know. 

Don't forget, that if you are interested in a pilgrimage to one of the pilgrimage sites abroad, I can also help with this. The website details the places where I have already taken pilgrims, and gives you an idea of what can be done there. My hope is that more people will make a pilgrimage, and my intention is to keep prices down for you in the hope that more people can afford to go.

Well, that's all the news for the moment, and I hope to hear from many of you soon confirming that you too will be joining me "In Search of the Somerset Saints"!



Sunday, 16 October 2016

I am sad to say that this will be my last post from here in Santiago de Compostela. We are taking a coach back to Porto Airport tomorrow, and it will be quite a change getting up in the morning, and not having the pressure of training for the Camino upon me! I have, however, already resolved to keep up the training in preparation for the Simple Pilgrim Walking Pilgrimages that are being planned. Keep in touch with the blog, or contact me, as I think we are in for some very exciting times!

As promised, below are some 'photos out and about in Santiago. There seems to be a problem uploading 'photos at the moment as the broadband is weak, so there are not as many here as I would have liked. I will put all of the 'photos that I have taken during the pilgrimage on the Gallery when we return, so you will be able to look at them then.

The front facade of Santiago Cathedral, sadly covered in scaffolding

The square in front of the Cathedral

 Pilgrims outside the Pilgrim Hostel of the Catholic Kings and Queens, now a Parador
As you can see, it is quite busy here, much busier than when I last visited a couple of August's ago. The appearance of the market stalls in front of the Cathedral itself, does impact on your sense of arrival as a pilgrim. Also unfortunate is all the scaffolding on the front of the building, and over the altar, but this is essential maintenance, and to be expected, I suppose.

We have not yet "hugged" the statue of St. James above the altar, or visited his relics, as the queues have been enormous. We are waiting for a quiet period, as it would be lovely to say a quiet prayer or two there.

The Pilgrim's Mass Sunday morning attracted a huge congregation, and we were standing at the back of the Cathedral. There are monitors to the side, so you can see what is going on. Despite warnings about people taking 'photos during Mass, this was not too much of a problem, as people were asked before Mass not to do this. The very large incense burner was only used at the end of Mass for a short time, so it was not too much of a distraction.

For me, it was the preparation and journey, rather than the arrival here in Santiago that was more important. I have been surprised at the sheer number of people undertaking the pilgrimage. It was difficult to be silent, as other pilgrims were continually overtaking, and wishing me "Bon Camino!". I suppose the answer to this is that I just need to speed up!

Strangely enough, a good proportion of the pilgrims in my group thought that our experience in Padron where St. James preached, was the highlight of the trip. We were the only ones there, and, somehow, we felt more in touch with St. James in that lonely, and mystical place. How unfortunate that so many pilgrims miss this experience as they are focused more on reaching their destination, than exploring along the way.

Thank you for following us here on the Camino Portugueses, and keep following the Simple Pilgrim blog, to keep up with all the latest news. We have lots of exciting plans!