Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Squelching in the Footsteps of St Michael

The weather has not been totally conducive to walking in these parts over the last few weeks but when there have been small windows we have been eager to get out there and brave the mud and dodge the showers. One particular walk we have been enjoying is that of Saint Michael's Way, down in west Cornwall.
Starting in Lelant, near St Ives on the north coast and finishing on the south coast in Marazion, near Penzance, this 12.5 mile pilgrim route dates back to prehistoric times. It is part of a network of pilgrim routes all over Europe that lead to one of the three most important places of christian pilgrimage in the world; the Cathedral of St James in Santiago de Compostela, north west Spain. Pilgrims and travellers from Ireland and Wales would jump ship on the north coast of Cornwall and walk across this relatively short coast to coast route rather than chance continuing the journey the ships took around the treacherous waters of Lands End. Once on the south coast they would rejoin a ship and continue their journey and pilgrimage across to Spain.
St Michael's Way is not as glamorous as its Spanish long distance counterpart, the Camino de Santiago. Neither are we religious pilgrim material. However, there is a lot to be said for travelling in the footsteps of so many ancient and dedicated travellers. So if you too decide to follow in St Michael's footsteps, follow the shell signs (but take a good map too as the signs sometimes disappear in true Cornish style), enjoy the views (but watch out for the puddles), prepare yourself for some ups and downs (I'm sure the 12.5 miles doesn't take that into account) and take your time crossing any land near shooting parties (as we managed to delay their killing antics for a time whilst doing so)!

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