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Friday, 1 July 2011

Frank Burns cycled the Camino Norte earlier this year.

I met Frank at a meeting of the Pilgrims to Rome earlier this year, so I have put a short video about this route in the next post..

Kimbolton – Santiago:    some reflections
On May 5th 2011, following a short service of blessing by Revd John Rawlinson at St Andrew's Church in Kimbolton, I cycled out of the churchyard in the direction of Santiago de Compostela, and ultimately to Finisterra on the west coast, which was the end of the known world until Columbus sailed across the horizon in 1492. This 1400 mile journey was to take me 21 days, much of the time following ancient medieval routes that had been used by pilgrims for hundreds of years. After a ferry crossing from Portsmouth to St Malo, my route took me through Celtic Brittany, picking up a coastal itinerary, including the Voie Littorale, down to the Spanish border. Once at the border, I picked up the North Coast Way (Camino del Norte), the most ancient of routes to Santiago, used by northern Christians while Spain was occupied by Muslims for over 5 centuries. This journey was momentous not only for its hilly terrain and stunning coastal views, with a backdrop of the Picos de Europa, but also for the huge number of people I met walking, cycling or horse-riding to Santiago. It was a truly international experience. The Camino has a magic that draws people from the four corners of the planet. From the east I met Japanese ,Koreans and Singaporeans. From the west Brazilians, Mexicans and Argentinians. Not to mention people for almost every European country, some of whom (like me) had set out from their own doorsteps in Germany, Estonia or Poland.

To arrive in the Praza do Obradoiro (Cathedral Square), to witness the huge censer being swung in Santiago Cathedral and to share this with hundreds of others who have toiled for weeks along the Camino, is an unforgettable experience. Then to follow the Celtic route out to Finisterra and see the sun set over the western horizon is a magical conclusion to this most historic of journeys.

For a fuller account of the journey, please visit

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