Reflections – Day 33

👣 A super muggy day in which we stumbled over at least 30 stiles and drystone walls! It’s great to see everyone lending each other a hand. We were welcomed into the lovely All Saints Church, Burton in Lonsdale for a break. We have been offered beds by an incredible couple near Kirkby Lonsdale who are taking care of all our needs! A few pilgrims have gone to the nearby church to meet with people from the community. We are three days into a 10-day stretch without a rest now and some of us are already quite exhausted! 😅

Reflections – Day 34

👣 Today’s weather and surroundings were absolutely beautiful! We woke up to an incredible sunrise and homemade granola, and had an easy day walking to the very picturesque village of Sedbergh. We were joined by some lovely local walkers as well.

Tonight we are staying at Cornerstone Community Church Sedbergh where we took part in an outreach event this evening! As we go further north, the places we pass through are often smaller and our routes are more remote, but we are still having really great conversations with the people we come across even if these occur a little less frequently. 🏡

Today pilgrim Tom wore the Coat of Hopes and twirled around the hillside. Tom is such an asset to the Camino team, helping with navigation and often being our ‘front marker’ making sure we cross roads safely! 🚦

Reflections – Day 32

👣 What a beautiful day! The contrast to yesterday made the sun even more welcome. We had a stunning walk through the moors, stopping off at a farm for coffee where we heard from farmer Malcolm about his efforts to work with his land and manage it sustainably. After a lunch stop at our highest point we walked ‘with intention’ on to Bentham Rock where we were filmed by the BBC for an upcoming programme! Finally we reached Bentham Methodist Church where we received a lovely welcome. 🌞

P.S. Just a little reminder that we are fundraising! We have long since covered our expected costs for the walk so any more money raised will support activists in the Global South. If you think we’re doing a good thing, please consider making a donation! 💚

Reflections – Day 30 to 31

👣 Our long-awaited rest day in Clitheroe (where we made it onto the front page of the local paper) did not disappoint! After a morning spent with the community including students from Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, we joined a procession into the town with XR Ribble Valley, XR Hebden Bridge, and XR Wirral including Red and Blue Rebels from these groups ! In the evening we joined a workshop at Clitheroe United Reformed Church – URC involving short films about the climate crisis (and some great jazz)!

Today we were so glad we’d had so much support and love from Clitheroe, as we needed it to keep our spirits up as we strode through mud, rain, wind and hail to get to Newton-in-Bowland village hall where we have been greeted with soup and tea! 🍵 A highlight (?) was crossing the Drakenhouse Brook on a very steep and muddy bank which gave us a great opportunity to show our community spirit and teamwork to get everyone across safely! So far Lancashire is definitely living up to its reputation 🌊

Reflections – Day 29

👣 Another 15 mile day! 😲 We had very variable weather with rain, sun, strong winds and several rainbows appearing including a DOUBLE RAINBOW! 🌈🌈 After having fun sliding up and down some very muddy paths and essentially walking through a stream, we stopped for snacks at Whalley Old Grammar School and then the last few miles into Clitheroe we were accompanied by very enthusiastic local guides. We were so ready for our rest day based at St Mary Magdalene Clitheroe and we could see that we were going to be really well looked after!

Reflections – Day 28

👣 We walked just under 9 miles today in pretty constant drizzle. We stopped for a break in Brooksbottom by a bridge that collapsed in 2015 due to flooding. Extreme weather events are increasing all over the world, and this is only going to get worse as the Earth continues to warm up. In our period of silent walking today we remembered all those who have lost their lives in extreme weather events. 🌫️

We stopped for lunch in Ramsbottom and were so grateful to be spontaneously welcomed to shelter inside St Paul’s Church, Ramsbottom even though they were about to host a wedding! We arrived at St Peter’s Haslingden Church and Community Centre to an amazing vegan afternoon tea and are looking forward to an evening of regen and getting to know the newer pilgrims who have joined recently. We also were delighted to get some laundry done! 🧦 

Reflections – Day 27

👣 Today’s walk started nicely along the river with a group of over 50 walkers (possibly the biggest group since Day 1?). We had the privilege of being joined by Lucy (pictured in the Coat), a committed activist who was determined to join the Camino despite having a brain tumour which has drastically affected her mobility. 

Our walk continued in the sun through the seemingly endless busy streets of Bury and some of us were flagging as we arrived at Seedfield Methodist Church Bury. Once again we received incredible hospitality and had a more relaxed evening with time for a debrief. We try to check in with each other either in small groups or as a whole every day that we can find the time, listening and giving people space to share their feelings so we can better support each other as a Camino ‘family’.

Reflections – Day 26

👣 A sunny start this morning (although it didn’t stay that way for long) and we were full of porridge thanks to The Upper Room!

Today’s walk was right through Manchester so not very scenic but we managed to stop off at Home Community Cafe for coffee and cake and then Whitworth Art Gallery before heading right into the city accompanied by XR Manchester’s samba band. 🥁

We took shelter from the rain to eat lunch in Holy Name Church, Manchester (where more Extinction Rebellion Manchester members greeted us) then stopped at St Peter’s Square to meet representatives from Christian and Sikh communities.

The final part of our walk was pretty soggy and we were relieved to arrive at St Thomas’ Church, Pendleton where the heating might be broken but there was so much warmth in the hearts and smiles of those waiting for us! The walls had been covered in inspiring messages and we met the Mayor of Salford as well as Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, both of whom were really encouraging. After an amazing 3-course dinner (what a treat!) we chatted with interested (and interesting) people from the area before finally collapsing into bed. 😴

Reflections – Day 25

👣 Today was not nearly as wet as yesterday fortunately!

A lot of our route to Cheadle went through the beautiful Bollin Valley with a lunch stop at St Chad’s Handforth where we joined in with the Diocese of Chester signing up to becoming an Eco Diocese! 💚 We then reached The Upper Room (confusingly across the street)of St Mary’s Church, Cheadle, where we’re staying, which is a wonderfully cosy space full of wonderfully friendly people! After dinner we hopped over to St Mary’s Church for an evening with Bishop Willie (pictured in the Coat) who shared moving stories from the Pacific island of Walande which has been devestated by climate change-related sea level rise. For more information on this issue you can check out Melanesian Mission. 🌏

Reflections – Day 24

👣 We knew the good weather wouldn’t last! Today we walked 16 miles in the rain but we still had smiles on our faces at the end.

It’s fun to see everyone’s waterproofs which are often much more colourful than our normal clothes! 🎒 As well as a packed lunch from Leek local Anne, we also stopped off for soup and a chat with primary school children at Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bosley!

We arrived dripping at St Michael & All Angels, Macclesfield in time for a fantastic dinner which was cooked using surplus food from FareShare and local businesses. 🥗 We then spent the evening in conversation with some amazingly warm and open people from Macclesfield including the local MP and the Mayor. 💚