👣 Three weeks in and we’re still going strong! We had loads of wonderful day walkers today including a strong contingent from the Cafod group of a local Catholic church.
We had a relaxing walk along the canal to the Quaker house in Newcastle-under-Lyme where we were warmly welcomed by Staffordshire Quakers and then had a great evening at King Street Studios organised by Extinction Rebellion Stoke including poet Gary Oliver and Cultural Zebra LTD!
Today the Coat of Hopes was worn by the amazing Sandie who is our named First Aider. She is always making sure we have enough blister plasters and sunscreen and keeping an eye on us!
👣 A relaxed day walking just ten and half miles through fields, country lanes and canals with lots of lovely people joining us for the day. As we entered Stone we were greeted at the Peace Pole by Peter and John from Stone Quakers which was lovely! We then headed to The Crossing Community Centre where we were warmly welcomed with tea and cake and conversation by members of the local Methodist Church. And luxury – we were finally able to get showers at the local leisure centre. Today’s picture is from a river crossing this morning as we left Baswich (we didn’t really need to use the bridge – we just love a photo opportunity).
👣 Another long 16 mile day through to Berkswich on the edge of Stafford. We all really enjoyed the walk through Cannock Chase Forest – Forestry England and saw loads of amazing wildlife including an adder and a toadstool (fly agaric?). We are relieved to have made it to Holy Trinity Church where we enjoyed a peaceful evening together. Apparently we walked over 45 000 steps today! 🐍
👣 We set off from Streetly with a spring in our step as it was only an 8 mile day! We met quite a few passers by along our route today through Little Aston and Footherley before stopping at the Letocetum Roman site in Wall for lunch. We were joined by some STOP HS2 activists from Lichfield and joined them for some outreach followed by accepting an invitation to Evensong at Lichfield Cathedral.
We are staying at Martin Heath Hall tonight where we once again had an amazing dinner cooked for us! 😋
💚Also, just a reminder that we are still fundraising! We have smashed our target for facilitating the pilgrimage and so now any more money we raise will be supporting activists in the Global South. If you would like to support us please take a look at our fundraiser: https://chuffed.org/project/caminotocop
👣 What an amazing few days! We’re all quite exhausted. After 10 and 15 mile walks respectively, the London and Bristol Caminos reunited at The Church at Carrs Lane over dinner before an evening event of creativity and story-sharing with local communities. After a peaceful night at Birmingham Friends of the Earth we had our briefing at Digbeth Community Garden and said farewell to some pilgrims before heading off up the canals accompanied by samba players from Birmingham and Telford with an ear-splitting finale underneath Spaghetti Junction! Our walk took us through Sutton Park where we were guided by a local to a sacred well, then on to Streetly Methodist Church where we met some Guides and Rangers! ☕
👣 Our rest day didn’t feel much like a rest but it was time well spent! We went into Birmingham and groups of walkers visited BPS – Birmingham Progressive Synagogue, Sultan Bahu Mosque (Bahu Trust UK) and a Zero Carbon House before regrouping for a fantastic meal at the Vegan Kitchen!
👣 The last full day of this part of the Camino was a peaceful one with time spent with Stourbridge Quakers in the park and time reflecting as a group as we join up with the main Camino tomorrow. It’s been a wonderful time! We also found time to wash our clothes and flags at the launderette.
👣 We were a bit surprised by very hot weather today which slowed us down a bit, but heartened by a good number of people joining us for the day including representatives of XR Muslims and Extinction Rebellion Birmingham! We’re so excited to join up with the Western Camino on Monday but for now we are making ourselves at home in Bickenhill.
👣 Our Friday 13th was not unlucky! We had a very short 6 mile walk into Coventry today meaning we had lots of time to chat to people as we entered the city and also managed some tourism at Coventry Cathedral! We are staying at Coventry Quakers and had a beautifully wholesome evening with Laura (a local artist/poet) and some people from the Walking Forest project and Coventry UK City of Culture 2021. Whilst our route today wasn’t super beautiful, it was very well planned as all our routes are by the amazing self-confessed map geek Helen (pictured below working hard)! Without Helen and the navigation team it would be much harder to get where we need to go and we really appreciate them!