The pilgrims return

BEDAR’S pilgrims, Eileen, Sheila and Jackie, have returned home from their 320 kilometre walk along el Camino de Santiago.  Leaving Bedar on July 12 they walked from their starting point of Roncesvalles, arriving at Leon on July 28.

Starting at 5am most mornings, the ladies walked 20 to 30 kilometres each day through Roman pathways, vineyards, pine forest, lush green countryside, orchards of olives and almonds and fields of sunflowers. They walked in all weathers with temperatures between 14 and 20 degrees.

Sheila sent daily reports to Bedar so people could follow their progress. The walk was not easy, and the ladies often faced uneven paths, steep inclines and dangerous descents, but even blisters could not force them to cease their journey.

A welcome home party was held at El Paso in Bedar, courtesy of Javier and his family, with entertainment from local musicians Dennis, Clive, Doc and Lady Ellen.

A raffle was drawn with prizes donated by local individuals and businesses.

The mayor of Bedar, Francisco Collado Fernandez, attended and invited the pilgrims to a concert in their honour.

The concert was supported by a large crowd of local villagers. The final amount of €1,400 was raised from the fundraising events over the past few weeks and has been deposited in the account for the Bedar band to pay for instruments and uniforms for new band members. The mayor thanked the women in a public speech on behalf of the town hall and the band.

Unfortunately Jackie could not attend, but Eileen and Sheila were delighted with the event and the response from the village and the band.

Next year Eileen and Sheila plan to finish The Way of St James when they pick up the path at Leon and walk to the famous pilgrimage site at Santiago de Compostelo where the body of the apostle St James is buried. They will both be 70 years of age.

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