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It shouldn’t happen to a pilgrim


Morning, we wake up and therefore presume that we must have slept, though it can only have been for about ten minutes.  As we unzip the flaps of our sodden tent, the girls stare back accusingly through a cloud of vapour, but they are still there and unharmed.  Our wonderful, amazing horses.

‘Still want to quit?’  Paul asks with immaculate timing.

‘Give me today to think about it.’ 

Searching for parking-space in St Peters

Actually, I did not quit and after three months and too many adventures to recount here, we rode into Rome with our horses and our dog.  On the way we had a Road to Damascus moment (though I think it was actually on the hateful SS2, a tarmac travesty of what used to be the ancient Roman via Cassia), with the outcome that we decided  to do it all over again in 2007, but this time with more than just our spiritual development in mind.

Since returning from Rome, we have created Pilgrimage Publications, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the identification and mapping of pilgrim routes all over the world, regardless of religion or belief.  Our first project will be to cycle the entire via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, with the aim of producing a detailed guidebook that will make the route accessible and enjoyable for everyone – not just masochists like us.  From there? Who knows? But any pilgrim worth his staff has to reach Jerusalem and Gwendolyn’s camel features may be just what we need to do it.

Most of the above is an extract from our most recent book, Riding the Roman Way, due out in May and available either through our websites or Amazon.

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