SACRED STEPS: A PILGRIMAGE JOURNAL

Planning To Walk A Pilgrimage?

If you’re considering a walking pilgrimage like the Camino de Santiago, these overviews are a tremendous starting point for beginners and experienced backpackers alike. Looking for even more information on what to pack or how to prepare for the journey?  Visit Kevin’s pilgrimage and backpacking blog:  One Step Then Another. 

Via Francigena

Spanning more than 2,000 km, the Via Francigena is Europe’s ancient pilgrimage route connecting Canterbury Cathedral to the tombs of seven apostles in Rome. Crossing through England, France, Switzerland, and Italy, this historic route culminates at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

California Missions Trail

Born from historic footpaths between twenty-one Spanish missions, the California Missions Trail – El Camino Real (“The Royal Road”) as it was first known – connects missions, pueblos, and presidios over 800 miles of America’s Pacific Coastline.

England’s Pilgrims’ Way

Followed by kings and fabled in literature, the Pilgrims’ Way (also Pilgrim’s Way or Pilgrims Way) is England’s ancient pilgrimage route linking both Winchester and London to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at the Canterbury Cathedral.

Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across much of western Europe to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

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The last stop on my U.K. pilgrimage, a visit to the tomb of St. Edward the Confessor at Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of Darwin, Chaucer, Livingstone, Newton, and Hawking. One of my all-time faves!
Founded by Celtic St. Aiden of Iona around 634 AD, Lindisfarne Priory was perhaps the most important point of Christian evangelism and learning in northern Britain. Home to St. Cuthbert, the priory produced gilded manuscripts, the most famous of which is known as the Lindisfarne Gospels. The ruins of the priory date to the 12th century.
For months, thoughts of Holy Island have occupied my mind. And now, I have arrived. The walk across the sands during the receding tide at sunrise was powerfully moving and will stay with me for the rest of my life.
At the recommendation of my friend Kevin Considine, I hiked up the White Cliffs of Dover. Breathtaking!
Scenes from the Via Francigena from Shepherdswell to Coldred. Onwards to Dover!
From Canterbury to Shepardswell on the Via Francigena, including St. Mary’s Patrixbourne and St. Margaret’s Womenswold. Beautiful walk along the North Downs Way with a few run-ins with curious “locals”.
And so I begin… the Via Francigena. From Canterbury, the walk to Rome is 1,800km across England, France, Switzerland, and Italy. I will not complete the 3-month journey all at once; perhaps not at all. But setting out today, I have faith that i will arrive in Rome one day. Buen Camino! Buon viaggio!
Canterbury vibes in this charming Kent town
Upon arriving in Canterbury, I received a pilgrim blessing from the priest alongside Caroline, who had completed her walk along the Old Way.
After two years of planning, I have arrived in as a pilgrim in Canterbury to complete the Pilgrims’ Way from London.
From St. Mary’s in Chillham, across the fields and orchards of Kent, and on to St Dunstan’s, burial place of St. Thomas More.
Pilgrims Way updates: A bit of rain but quite the enjoyable walk on the Kent Downs. It dried out after a while and I made it for dinner JUST IN TIME before the biggest downpour of the week.