PILGRIMS’ PROGRESS – WEEK 5
A week of two parts, walking from Théouranne to Calais, then crossing the Channel by ferry to Dover and on to London. In Dover we were joined by Alice Carter, one of the Pluscarden 1230 Pilgrimage patrons, and author of “An Accidental Jubilee”, the diary of her pilgrimage along the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome. On arrival in Canterbury we were welcomed by the Dean for a private tour of the cathedral, after traditionally climbing the Pilgrims’ Steps on our knees. We enjoyed wonderful hospitality from the Benedictine nuns of Minster Abbey and Amanda Cottrell in Canterbury, then followed the Saxon Way to Gravesend where we boarded a Thames clipper for the short trip to Westminster Pier in central London. We were, to our surprise, met there by Harry Bucknall, another Pluscarden 1230 Pilgrimage patron and author of “Like a tramp like a pilgrim”, a tale of his experiences along the Via Francigena. We were also met by former pilgrim, Joe Staton, who arranged a private tour of Westminster Abbey for us, wonderful.
Sadly in London we had to say a huge thank you and goodbye to Father Giles, Pete and Tomasz, stalwart members of the support team who looked after us so well all through France, but were happy to welcome Father Martin and Brother Simon from Pluscarden, as well as new chef Ann.