Newsletter > Newsletter archive > April 2016
Off on a pilgrimage!
Few of us set out on a proper pilgrimage these days, although you could argue that charity challenges and long-distance treks are in many ways the modern-day equivalent. The heyday of the religious pilgrimage in Britain was in the mid to late middle ages. Churches, abbeys and cathedrals all vied for the pilgrims' custom, enticing them with sacred relics or, better still, a home-grown saint.
Our image of pilgrimage is heavily influenced by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Thomas Becket's shrine in Canterbury was the most prestigious pilgrimage destination in Britain, almost on a par with Rome or Jerusalem. However only those with sufficient resources, health and leisure time could contemplate a pilgrimage of days or weeks. In fact most pilgrimages were short, perhaps just a few miles to the nearest minor shrine. Others were able to engage a proxy to go on pilgrimage on their behalf after their death, making suitable provision in their wills.
The Pilgrim's Way, featured in this month’s chapter from our Pathways book, was one of a number of routes to the Becket's shrine in Canterbury. The walk features a fascinating church porch in which pilgrims could gather before an open fire before venturing into the local wood. Pilgrims were, of course, easy targets for robbers, carrying money for alms, their own keep and for the trinkets they could bring back from the shrine. The walk today is much safer!
200 gardens to visit
Every year the British Red Cross promotes an ‘Open Gardens’ scheme allowing keen gardeners to share their passion while helping people in crisis. You can go along and have a good nose round and maybe get a cup of tea and slice of cake. Running from March until October, there are some 200 gardens in England and Wales to visit, including some never seen before by the public.
Just one example, at the grander end of the scale, is the Spring Gardening and Gift Fair in the grounds of Taplow Court (shown left) near Maidenhead, Berkshire, on Wednesday 18th May. This promises to be a superb day out, with plant and gift stalls, house and garden tours and delicious home made refreshments all day. You can find a garden near you on the British Red Cross website.
Nepal needs you
One year on from the earthquake in Nepal, and walkers are returning in increasing numbers as word spreads that Nepal (including all walking trails) is open and ready for business.
There’s still plenty of construction going on, but the people (who are surprisingly pragmatic about such events) are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to their mountain villages, while the colourful streets of Kathmandu are bustling once more with rickshaws, motorbikes, people and cows.
While staying at authentic community-owned houses in Solambu, Teksingh, Pãsiban and Kholãkarka, you witness at first-hand village life continuing as it has done for centuries. This isn’t just a walking holiday – it’s a chance to immerse yourself in the rich local culture and enjoy a truly unique experience.
For full details on Inntravel’s wide selection of walking holidays, see inntravel.co.uk or speak to their expert team on 01653 617034.
Nepal – Himalayan Panoramas
- Guided hotel-hotel walking holiday, in partnership with Village Ways.
- Prices from £1975pp, inc 10 nights’ B&B accommodation, 7 dinners & 7 picnics, return flights from Heathrow to Kathmandu via Delhi, return transfers to airport.
- Available 1 May-15 June; 15 September-30 November 2016, & from 1 March 2017 onwards.
On Inntravel’s walking holiday in the Sailung Valley, you walk with your own private guide, but at a pace you set. This land is home to eagles, vultures, deer, mountain goats – and even the elusive leopard – and all beneath a majestic backdrop of sweeping Himalayan Panoramas.
Hiking in the Ordesa National Park
The Ordesa National Park with its dramatic kilometre deep canyons topped by 3000 metre peaks has some of the best hiking in Spain.
Ordesa is a fantastic destination for hikers with routes of all lengths and difficulties. The famous 'faja' paths cling to the side of the high cliffs - perfect for those with a head for heights. If you prefer your feet on more solid ground there are beautiful walks in the park's alpine meadows that are filled with wildflowers.
Discover the best routes in Ordesa with Hike Pyrenees' dual level guided walking holidays with two hiking options each day - an easier and a harder route - just choose each day which you'd like to do.
Visit the Hike Pyrenees website or order their 2016 brochure to find out more.
Peak District Challenge
One of our favourite charities, Advantage Africa, is participating in the Peak District Challenge on 19-20 August. It's a team event (although there are options for individuals to enter a guided party) so it lends itself to a family or group of friends getting together to enter. There are five distances to walk, run or both. These range from the 'back before dark' 10km to the 25km Copper Challenge, 50km Bronze, 75km Silver and 100km Gold Challenge. There’s a friendly feel to the whole thing, which has environmental credentials second to none.
Entry starts at £19 and includes drinks and snacks, supper on Saturday evening, a technical t-shirt and certificate. There’s no minimum sponsorship but Advantage Africa hope that participants will do what they can to raise funds to transform the lives of vulnerable people in East Africa. More information
A great result from the Wainwright calendar
Walkingworld members who bought a calendar last year will be pleased to learn that sales of the 2016 Calendar raised £10,800. Further donations from the Society's Annual Challenge brings the total to £12,500. The money is being split between Animal Rescue Cumbria and Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs.
Animal Rescue Cumbria was the charity supported by Alfred Wainwright and his wife Betty. Royalties from sales of his books allowed the charity to purchase land for an animal shelter for stray and abandoned cats and dogs at Grayrigg near Kendal. The money will be used to upgrade the office and shop facilities. The donation to Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs will be used to buy radios to enable more effective communication between the dog handler and the 'dogsbodies' when training the animals on the fells.
Walkingworld contributor Jacky Rix-Brown has had a couple of her photographs picked to feature on the new Ordnance Survey maps. Her images can be found on OS Explorer 159 (Reading Wokingham and Pangbourne) and OS Landranger 126 (Shrewsbury & Oswestry/ Amwythig a Croesoswallt). Her beautiful picture on the left shows the Severn at Shrewsbury.
Another of our contributors, Peter Harper, has announced his latest fundraising effort and would hugely appreciate sponsorship of any order for his 50k South Coast Challenge on the 27th August. He’ll be walking from Eastbourne to Brighton with a team of ex-colleagues from Lloyds Bank, raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. You can sponsor him through his JustGiving page.