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During my research of different pilgrimage routes in the UK and elsewhere, I came across this website http://www.greenpilgrimageeurope.net/ What interested me and encouraged me to read further was the mention of Canterbury.

Canterbury has been my final destination a number of times, it’s a fascinating city with an incredible history and I love visiting and exploring and especially passing beneath the West Gate at the end of my walks; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Way of St Augustine (In 597AD, St Augustine arrived on England’s Isle of Thanet upon the instructions of Pope Gregory to bring the good news of Christianity to Kent, as Queen Bertha was already a committed Christian) and The Pilgrim’s Way.

the west gate canterbury
the West Gate Canterbury

The 119-mile (192km) Pilgrim’s Way from Winchester to Canterbury has been trodden by pilgrims for more than a thousand years but the origins of the pathway date back much earlier, to 1800-1400BC. The route was probably used for trade but after the death of St Augustine of Canterbury in 604, pilgrims started coming to venerate his remains at the Great Abbey. Canterbury also became an important stop for pilgrims making the long journey to Rome; Via Francigena.

After Thomas Becket was canonised in 1173, his shrine at Canterbury Cathedral became the most important in the UK. According to Christopher John Wright, author of A Guide to the Pilgrims’ Way, Canterbury was ‘after Rome… the chief shrine in Christendom’, and drew pilgrims from far and wide. Henry II is also said to travelled this route – as part of his pilgrimage for atonement for the murder of Thomas Becket.

a choral evensong service to commemorate Becket’s martyrdom
a choral evensong service to commemorate Becket’s martyrdom 29.12.2018

Pilgrimage is one of the fastest growing movements in the world, with more than 330 million people going on pilgrimage every year.  The vision of Green Pilgrimage is that pilgrims leave a positive footprint on the earth, and that pilgrim places become models of care for the environment.

pilgrimage to canterbury
Pilgrims

Besides being the final destination for the walks I’ve mentioned above, Canterbury is often the starting point for those enroute to European Pilgrimage sites such as Santiago de Compostela in Spain and the Via Francigena to Rome.

I love what they say about the 7 stages of pilgrimage

Number 7 definitely resonates with me; although I’m not a religious or even pious person and believe in evolution rather than creation, I relish the challenges I face and find that yes, in ways that I sometimes don’t even notice immediately, I am always a different person at the end of each walk.

For me it’s the journey as well as the destination, and my stages of pilgrimage are:

1. Discovering a new pilgrimage that venerates a Saint I usually have never heard of and then learning more about them.

2. Researching and planning the route; usually gives me a series of headaches LOL but it is definitely enlightening.

3. Since I usually travel solo, my interactions are invariably brief and with strangers, yet each brings their own little story and memories of so many of these interactions linger for years, and I still think of certain people I met.

4. Understanding the story is usually where I am totally honest; I walk these routes because I love walking, adventure and discovering new places. If I’m not walking for a religious reason, does that make me less of a pilgrim?

5. For me this was about finding my ‘Camino’ eyes. A weird term until you realise it’s about suddenly realising you ‘see’ the signs along the way without having to search for them. This I have found on all my walks.

6. I definitely resonate with this; there is nothing I enjoy more than just looking around me and taking it all in – hence the number of photographs I take, and why my kms are way more than the stated distance – I have to explore.

7. I’m not so sure about the ‘should‘ recognise, but I definitely do recognise the differences. Sometimes they are emotional, or mental, but without doubt they include physical. With each walk that I do, along with the challenges they bring, I find I am more courageous and less fearful of what difficulties I may find along ‘the way’. I have overcome, and will continue to overcome the challenges.

There are so many different pilgrimages around the UK and Rep. of Ireland as well as Europe, and farther afield in Japan that I would love to do. I have added them to my vision board….and sent a telegram to the Universe.

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If seems there are still some mountains to be climbed. In a way its quite awesome to learn that not all mountains have been conquered, especially as it is a sacred mountain…some things should just be left alone…onwards and in reality when I reached stage 3 in was exploring Salisbury

Leaving Namche Bazaar, the trail was wide and level following the curves of the Khumbu Yui Lha mountain. The mountain is 18,900ft (5,761m) above sea level and considered sacred by the Sherpa people. With the exception of one unsuccessful attempt in the 1980s, the mountain has never been climbed.

As beautiful as it is, it just looks cold..

Winding my way up the trail, I could feel the climb in my legs as my muscles strained on sections of steep, stone steps then levelling out and just around the next bend it’d be another round of steep steps and on and on it went. Occasionally, I’d be rewarded with tiny peeks of Everest in the distance.

Suddenly, my trail began its descent to the valley floor and if I thought my muscles strained on the ascent, I now felt the strain on my knees during the descent. Reaching the village of Phungi Thenga, I traversed Dhudh Kosi river again and just as I made it into a gorge the trail took on another brutal ascent all the way to Tengboche. The highlight in the village is the Tengboche Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery for the Sherpa community. First built in 1916, the monastery has been destroyed and rebuilt a few times. Home to 60 monks, the prayer room is a kaleidoscope of colour with murals and paintings adorning the walls. A nunnery is a short trek away in Deboche.

Tengboche is beautifully located with its panoramic views of several peaks but the most outstanding was Ama Dablam and its imposing 22,349ft (6,812m) peak. Flanked by long ridges and a hanging glacier, it was first climbed in 1961 and it is the third most popular Himalayan peak for climbing.

The constant up and down trekking seemed a little self-defeating until I realised that since Lukla, I was an extra 3,280ft (1,000m) above sea level. I couldn’t ponder that for long as down into the valley I went again to cross Imja Khola river, a tributary of Dhudh Kosi.

Once I crossed the river, I left the woodland behind. The trail from here was in the open, no more trees in the way of my view presenting me with the enormity of this place. Up and down went the trail, yet progressively gaining elevation. The air had changed. A little thinner, a little colder, no trees to provide shelter from the wind.

Eventually I reached the tiny village of Phiroche. It is located above the Tsola River at an altitude of 14,340ft (4,371m). It is a major stopping point for acclimatisation and also an evacuation point. The village has a hospital that runs during the climbing seasons and is operated by the Himalayan Rescue Association with Nepalis staff and volunteer doctors from the US, Europe, Canada and Australia.

Rather than sitting in a lodge, I dug out my gloves and beanie and very slowly over a period of about two hours, I hiked up to Nangkartshang peak (also referred to as the Dingboche Viewpoint) with an altitude of 16,676ft (5,083m). I was wonderfully rewarded at the top with a glorious view of several peaks such as Ama Dablam, Imja Tse, Tobuche and Lobuche and further afield even higher peaks Cho Oyu, Makalu, Lhotse and of course Everest.

As dusk was closing in I retired to my lodge for dinner. Looking for a warm and comforting dish, I settled on a hot noodle soup with pieces of meat and vegetables called Thukpa, accompanied by hot momos, steam filled dumplings.

Amazing to learn about all if this. Certainly one of the highlights for me following these virtual challenges is the postcards, I really do find it ever so interesting.

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This is a really old article, but sometimes my random and accidental keywords take me to interesting places. I also tend to follow a string of articles, clicking from one link to another.

I recently read this article and thought I’d share it with you. It will be interesting to revisit this in what is now only 9 years time and see how much has transpired.

In the meantime, a couple of those predictions are already heading in the right direction, and one of those mentioned, teetered perilously close to the edge of an abyss – the prediction was almost too close for comfort.

I wonder what you think?

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I was watching a programme on Blaze this morning; Ancient Aliens, and they were talking about the discovery of a place called Gobekli Tepe. It was fascinating, so I decided to do a bit of research, and found this article.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/gobekli-tepe-the-worlds-first-temple-83613665/

I find I simply have to share it, its so amazing. Archaeology is such a fascinating career and I often wish I could be reborn as an archaeologist 😄😄

Maybe my next life eh!!

Meanwhile, I often wonder what we would find if we just dig up everything. If you take London for instance, its an ongoing treasure trove.

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Albeit dated from a few years ago, I recently read this article that offers advice from the elderly…

Advice from some old people

They offer some really great, albeit simple advice: I particularly like these 3.

#5. People always say, ’’Make sure you get a job doing what you love!’’ But that isn’t the best advice. The right job is the job you love some days, can tolerate most days, and still pays the bills. Almost nobody has a job they love every day. – my comment on this is such; doing a job you love is one of the hooks developed by the personal development arena to sell their products. Because people hear this and believe it, they become dissatisfied with what they are doing and buy in to the message given out by people like Tony Robbins, Christopher Howard, Roger Hamilton and many many others. They then go on to buy the products that these people and others like them are selling, believing that their lives will change for the better if they find ‘a job they love’. In some instances this can be true, but even with a job you love, there are downsides and off days.
#14. Don’t take anyone else’s advice as gospel. You can ask for advice from someone you respect, then take your situation into consideration and make your own decision. Essentially, take your own advice is my advice… – I can add to this…..and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is…trust your gut instincts. My daughter has a very heightened sense of instinct. The only time she makes a mistake is when she has ignored her own beliefs and instincts and goes on the advice of other people. We are all different, we have different experiences and when we give advice it’s based on our model of the world, our values and beliefs. Advice, no matter how well meaning, is not the be all and end all. Seek advice by all means, but think about how that advice will work for you. Sort through it all and take from it what feels right or suitable for your situation. My daughter often asks me for advice (I treasure that she does) and I am very careful about what I say in reply because my experiences of the world have been and are different to hers. My Mother always said “think about what it is you need advice on before you go to sleep at night. In the morning, what is right for you will be what you first think about” whenever I’ve ignored my instincts is when I’ve gotten into trouble…
#18. Pay your bills and stay the hell out of debt. If I could have paid myself all the money I’ve paid out in interest over the years, I’d be retired already. – of all the points on the list, this is the one that resonates with me the most. And again I can add this: don’t fall for the lie the Personal Development community sells you on…e.g. ‘OPM’…Other People’s Money….e.g. use other people’s money; like bank loans or credit cards – they do this to ensure that you buy their product believing that you’ll succeed after using/doing what they say, that after doing their course/their way you would be able to pay it back because you’ve done their course. Don’t believe it, it’s a lie. If you need to borrow money from a bank or use a credit card to pay for a personal development course, then don’t buy it. The temptation to spend the money believing what they say is too great.

A few life lessons from someone who has been there and done that and burned her fingers….

Fortunately I have actually learned something in the process, albeit later rather than sooner. 🤪🤪👵🏻

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I was researching some carvings on the portico if a church I visited a couple of days ago and came across this article. Absolutely love this story. Clever man 😃😃😃

An Art Historian Discovered a Cheeky Self-Portrait That a Stonemason Left as an Easter Egg Inside a Famous Spanish Cathedral 800 Years Ago

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/art-historian-discovered-secret-stonemason-self-portrait-800-year-old-cathedral-spain-1920189

If you’ve walked to the Cathedral in Santiago you’ll know why this is such a fascinating find….

If you haven’t walked to the Cathedral in Santiago…..why not!!! Start planning 😉😄😄

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My daughter sent me this fascinating article about the Aboriginal society of Australia. I love reading this kind of information, and enjoy that science can be used for the good. I thought you might find it interesting.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/dna-tests-suggest-aboriginal-australians-have-oldest-society-planet-180960569/

The Smithsonian magazine have some really interesting articles, as well as tv programmes on the Smithsonian channel.

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Today’s blog, written by NatureScot agriculture officer, Kirsten Brewster, details a new trial in Scotland, which gives incentives to farmers and crofters to manage flower-rich meadows, help vulnerable populations of wading birds thrive, restore peatlands, and manage other nature-rich areas. Hawthorn hedge and ox-eye daisies growing on a field margin. ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot Piloting an Outcomes […]

A new way to benefit nature on farms and crofts

I enjoyed reading this article and thought I’d share it with you. I love the concept and applaud those farmers and crafters taking part. Hope it takes off across the UK

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I follow The Pilgrim’s Trust on Instagram and reading through their current posts I came across these two links that you may enjoy reading:

1. BBC Travel and pilgrimage – I didn’t realise that the Camino de Santiago was only recently given a boost by Franco.

2. 10 Pilgrimages you might enjoy walking – I found this article to be of great interest due to my love of ‘going on pilgrimage’.

Its amazing just how many pilgrimage routes there are in the UK and they haven’t even mentioned St Cuthbert’s Way, St Augustine’s Way and The Two Saints Way.

Have you walked any of these pilgrimage routes? Which was your favourite?

Follow The Pilgrim’s Trust on Instagram

I’ve started a new Instagram profile @overthehillstilltravelling for my travels if you’d like to follow. Give me a 👋👋 if you do….it’s relatively new, but I’m adding images as I go..

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I’m reblogging this because it’s an absolutely fascinating article. Castor oil!! Who knew!! Its funny how we take some things for granted without any thought as to where it came from. My Mother used to give us castor oil when we were kids. If we complained of feeling ‘sick’ and didn’t want to go to school, out came the castor oil. It was so vile that invariably we suddenly ‘recovered’ enough to go to school after all 🤣🤣🤣 But tobacco?? 5million deaths worldwide…..actively sold to people around the world, and we lockdown for Covid-19?? Bizarre.

1. Castor Bean, Ricinus communis With oversized, tropical-looking leaves and bizarre seed pods, castor bean is an exotic addition to the ornamental garden. The only member of the genus, Ricinus communis is in the Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae). The word ricinus is Latin for “tick”, used for this plant name because of the superficial resemblance of the seeds to a particular […]

5 poisonous plants found on planet

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