British pilgrims rescued after five days stranded in Spanish wilderness

A BRITISH couple, who spent five days in the wilderness after getting lost while trying to walk a traditional pilgrimage route from France to Galicia, have been rescued by Spanish firefighters in the north-east province of Navarra. 

The married pair, whose identity remains unknown, had set out from the French border town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on Friday carrying only a picnic lunch and bottled water for an assumed 20 mile hike to Roncesvalles in Spain.

Having quickly exhausted their supplies, the two survived by drinking water from animal troughs and streams, only calling the emergency services for help on Tuesday evening when they realised the severity of their predicament. 

A helicopter rescue unit was dispatched and easily found the pilgrims, who had appropriately fashioned a large cross comprised of brightly coloured clothes, but decided against an air rescue, forcing the couple to walk a final stretch before they were picked up by firefighters. 

Described as “tired, rather dehydrated and hungry” by a local government spokesman, the Brits were given food and water and a lift to Roncesvalles, just five days off schedule.

The pilgrims were tackling the 500 mile Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St James, which features multiple routes all directed towards the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela. The city’s cathedral is believed by many Christians to contain the body of St James the Apostle, patron saint of Spain. 

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