Trudie's Camino de Frances Pilgrimage

During this summer our vicar, Rev Trudie Morris, is undertaking the 780km Camino de Frances Pilgrimage.

On this page you can follow her progress using updates and pictures sent by Trudie.

Follow this link to find out a bit more of the background and history of the Camino.


Trudie's update - Sunday 11th June

So, I am with Tessa and Terry, two of my sisters, in Saint Jean Pied de Port ready to begin the 780km Camino Frances first thing Tuesday morning. Tomorrow evening we will go to the Mass. This is followed by a pilgrim blessing. We met Mark today and shared lunch together. He is a priest in the American Episcopal Church and is away from his parish in Virginia on Sabbatical. Mark begins the Camino tomorrow but our paths may cross again along the way.

Before we parted we shared two pieces of advice from Ignatian spirituality. Mine was: put aside the bad spirits and focus on the good spirits. His was simpler: loosen your reins.















Day 1 before 10.00am.

Started at 6.30am, walking up through the cloud. Now at 900m. Very silent apart from 'Bonjour, where are you from. So far, Iowa, Sebastopol and Ireland.

















Day 3.

Other peregrines (pilgrims) now call us The Golden Girls. We walked into Pamplona early afternoon but have moved on South to a village called Zariquiegui where we have managed to get three beds in an eight bed mixed dormitory. I have a top bunk three nights running! Tomorrow morning we have a steep climb up to the famous windmills.

Today's delight was time in a little village church of St Stephen. The photo coming later is of the Camino Beatitudes.

Here are the Pilgrim Beatitudes, a pic of the altar and reredos and of the many arrow shaped prayers pilgrims have left. Mine was a prayer for all our people at St O and St E







We reached the windmills at 7.00am on Day 4. It was blowing a gale! You can see the famous peregrino sculpture that sits there between the endless line of wind turbines supplying electricity to the city of Pamplona.

Day 5
















 It was so hot when we reached our night stopped decided Day 6 needed to begin even earlier at 5.00am. Just as well as by the time we reached Estella the temperature was in the mid 30's. 


Day 6 

End of the day view from our albergue (pilgrim hostel) for the night at Torres. You can see the pilgrim way winding back into the distance. Today's joy was dancing butterflies soaking up the nectar from lavender, bergamot, cornflower and convulvulus. In myriad colours of sky blue, mottled brown, white and shimmering green they danced around my head and led me on.





Day 10

I am humbled by this Camino.

Humbled by craggy mountains, sea blue skies, bright sun and thick heat.

I am humbled by shifting stones beneath my feet.

The aromatic scents of southernwood, gorse, lavender and jasmine overwhelm my senses.

I am humbled by Matilde, on the way for four months from Munich, her 4000 kilometre Pilgrimage nearing its end yet mine has only just begun.

I am humbled by God's work in all of this and by the sadness of today's farewell to Derick, St Osmund's beloved Church Warden.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.












Along the way to Day 13

Terry has forged ahead. Tessa has bad blisters. I have not so bad blisters but swollen aching feet and ankles. I am learning to walk very very slowly and find I enjoy the Way of St James much more. I see more, savour more. We walk with our new sister, Danielle from Seattle. She has been walking alone but now we go together. Today we went to Mass together in Burgos cathedral before catching a train! Yes, we are way behind schedule so doing a jump to Leon. And our feet will rest!










We are footsore and weary pilgrims. Taking the train from Burgos to Leon has given us some time to rest and let the blisters that have formed on our blisters recover.

In Leon it is also fiesta time. We walk from our albergue (near our route out) the 3 km into the city. Enter to admire Gaudi neo gothic and the super sized puppet procession - particularly the bishop. We miss our Camino yellow arrows guiding us back and lose ourselves in Leon back streets. So, in total, our next day clocked up 8 more kilometres. Next morning in drizzle at 5.30am we began our Camino part 2, heading for Villar de Mazzariffe.  

Today (day 15) we have reached Estonia, with its fine cathedral and more Gaudi neo gothic. Still footsore we prepare for what previous pelegrinos describe as the most spiritual part of the Camino: the Cruz de Ferro. Over the next two days we will climb and climb until we reach a pilgrim sacred place - a pile of stones. Stones carried from all parts of the world by pilgrims and laid to rest here.



















Day 17

Reached Cruz de Ferro, the most sacred part of the Camino. We left our overnight albergue at 6.30am for the 8 km trek up the mountain. It was bitterly cold in wind and rain. Most of the way I wrestled with God about whether I was ready to lay my small stone on the heap of millions left at the foot of the cross as pilgrims before have passed this way. We all have our stones. Failures, resentments, insecurities, guilts. 


In my wrestling I recognised God's presence. We yearn for spiritual moments don't we? We think of them as cosy and comfortable, leaving us with a warm holy glow. But God is there always in the challenging times when we question and fight back. God always surprises. So God carried me up the mountain and I laid down my stone. The weather didn't improve, it got worse. But the trek on to the next overnight albergue has brought hot soup, a warm bed and time to reflect upon that cross and those stones.









Today we began the last 100 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela. You can only earn a  compostela at the end of the pilgrimage if you have walked, cycled or ridden a horse for at least the last 100 and collected two shell stamps per day along the way. We have not seen horses, would struggle with our full packs on a bike, so we are still reliant upon our poor feet.  

Many pilgrims begin at Sarria, the town that marks the last 100. We learnt yesterday that in June the 100,000th pilgrim this year had arrived in Santiago. There is an increase of 13% compared with this time last year. It is expected that the figure for 2017 will top 250,000. There are pilgrims of all ages on the Way and from all over the world. Just today I have met walkers from the US, Switzerland, Australia, France and Spain of course.

People really feel called to walk the Way of St James, many inspired like me by a film released s few years ago. It wasn't big budget, didn't go out on general release but I have heard many pilgrims talk of it. The film is called The Way. Martin Sheen plays a father whose son dies just after beginning the Camino. The film is directed by Martin Sheen's son and it is inspirational. The story follows the father who walks in the place of his son but I am not going to say more. Just watch the film!

Today has been a perfect day and I am writing this whole lying on a sun bed looking at the beautiful landscape before me at the hillside albergue where we are spending tonight. One photo shows the view and my feet. Still walking!





Day 23 and only 2 days from Santiago where the Camino Frances, Way of St James will finish for us with a Pilgrim Mass at the cathedral. We will have our pilgrim passports vetted and receive our Compostela. 


Around us on the Camino people are getting excited. Not far now! For many their Camino began at Sarria: 100 km fro Santiago, so as to eligible for a Compostela. For others this is the end of a Pilgrimage that began in Germany, Holland, Belgium, or like us, in France. Everyone's emotions will be different. I am now so enjoying the walking that I don't really want the Camino to end. It will be very strange not to just rely upon the contents of my back pack to live and not to have all the time I have been given to walk with God. 

Day 24

Our overnight stop is 8 kilometres (5 miles) from Santiago cathedral. Tomorrow we will set off as usual at 6.00am. As usual we will walk a few km before breakfast. I expect my choices will still be coffee, orange juice and a croissant. We will then walk on just like any other day. Only it won't be. We will arrive at the end of the Camino Frances.

Santiago de Compostela

I walked into Santiago de Compostela on Friday morning to end my Camino Frances. In total I walked 516 kilometres but covered a total distance of 799 kilometres. I went first to the Pilgrim Centre to have my pilgrim passport vetted and the receive my Compostela - a credential in Latin to confirm what I had done. Even my name is inscribed in Latin. Next I spent a long emotional while in the beautiful pilgrim chapel. Then coffee and into the cathedral for the Pilgrim Mass at noon. It was packed! At the end of the Mass the great incense burner: the Botafumero, was swung, pulled by six men. It rose higher and higher filling the cathedral with its scented smoke. The sight was awesome. On Monday I am walking the Camino Finisterre to the Atlantic and the end of the world. Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes during my journey on the Way to Compostela.