I’m in the throes of planning my walking for the year. Not all of it, obviously as that would be somewhat mad, but none the less I like to have a walking plan for the year.
As I mentioned earlier, this year I’m looking to do at least a large chunk if not complete a train called The Pilgrim’s Way. Oddly enough although it is probably one of the better known long distance paths (and I appreciate long distance is a relative term for those in larger countries), but it is not a national trail. That said there is plenty of information available about it, including some very good guides both online and in book form for walking it. Possibly because of its fame this information is better than some of the national trails.
As you’ll have no doubt guessed by now, the Pilgrim’s Way is an old pilgrimage route that was taken between some of the major cathedrals in the south of the country. The destination is Canterbury Cathedral, the focal point for the Church of England and there are two starting points, the traditional one being Winchester Cathedral but there is also a route from Southwark Cathedral in London. The routes, as the name suggests, were taken by people wanting to undertake a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral given its status. To this day both routes are used as pilgrimages.
I’m not walking it as a pilgrimage as it will be split into a number of much smaller sections and done over the year (and possibly beyond, especially given I haven’t started it yet). However I am keen to be walking in the steps of those who have taken the route as a pilgrimage and I’m sure that on some of the nicer days I’ll meet up with people who are walking it for the pilgrimage. I’m hoping there might be some encouraging faith based conversations as a result as well.
I will be putting on a couple of requirements for the walking. Like last year with the South Downs Way, I want to have free parking for all the walks if at all possible. The second is a new one and is a result of the fact that this route is a pilgrimage. This time around I will be walking it in the official direction. The South Downs Way can be walked in any direction, but a pilgrimage can’t and I feel it would be a cheat if I was to walk it ‘backwards’ so to speak.
I’ll post updates and possibly a few photos once things get going.
Just as an aside, in the two days between writing this and posting it, the free download book I get offered each month just happens to be Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. That will make a topical listen to as I walk and I just love the way that these sort of coincidences happen.