Any faith or none. Pilgrimages in the UK.

What does the word ‘pilgrimage’ mean to you?

  • Dusty churches?
  • Kind strangers?
  • Flat-footed sandals?

If you answered yes to the above, you were probably thinking of the Camino de Santiago, which is a collection of routes that cross France and Spain to meet at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

Like me, you might have first heard of the Camino de Santiago whilst watching Emilio Estevez’s pilgrimage movie ‘The Way’.

If you did watch the film, you might have resolved, also like me, to one day walk the Camino de Santiago yourself (although probably not in sandals).

Once again like me, you probably haven’t found the time, the inclination or the right footwear in which to do so. Some people are obviously more committed to the idea however; according to Statista in 2022 around 439,000 pilgrims finished this particular pilgrimage.

For those of us who didn’t even start it, the good news is that we have a wealth of UK pilgrimage routes just waiting on our doorsteps for us to discover.

And no, I’m not talking about Pizza Pilgrims here, although I do love their story of driving a three-wheeled Piaggio Ape van back from south Italy, learning about pizzas as they went.

Which brings me to my second piece of surprising pilgrimage news.

Not all pilgrims visit churches.

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How to use snap-to-path in OS Maps 2023

What is snap-to-path?

If you know how to use the OS Maps app to plan a walking route, you’ve probably already used the snap-to-path feature. It’s a useful tool that can take some of the time (and clicks) out of creating an online route by automatically aligning it with existing roads, paths and tracks.

It’s useful but not perfect…yet!

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‘Hordes of locals’. What is it like to live in a seaside town?

I first heard the term ‘grockles’ from my Guernsey aunty. Visiting from land-locked Malvern, I did my very best to avoid being seen as one but of course, as anyone living in a seaside town will tell you,

If you’re not a local, you must be something else.

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UK long distance walks by train

Whilst here in the UK we do have some circular long distance walks, Derbyshire’s 97-mile White Peak Way and the Lake District’s 74-mile Lakeland Round being two impressive examples, most of our well known long distance walking routes are linear. Linear walks (that go from point A to point B) are satisfying because they give a great sense of journey.

But they can also make for tricky vehicle logistics.

Wikimedia Commons

If you leave your car at point A, will it be safe? Will the car park fees be expensive? And more importantly, how are you going to get it to point B? To my mind, the answer to all of these questions is obvious.

You find a long distance walk that starts and ends at a train station.

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Campsite or wild camping? Which makes the best UK campervan trip?

Okay. It’s a fair cop.

I don’t always travel by train.

Mr D and I also have a campervan, in which we enjoy road trips to interesting places near and far. Places which often seem include railway stations.

You can tell who plans our road trips! 

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Group train ticket booking can save you money

Next time you set off on an adventure or day out with a group of friends or family, why not think about travelling by train? Your group public transport travel will produce far less CO2 emissions than each of you travelling individually by car, and the train is the perfect place to start enjoying your get together even before you reach your destination.

For many people however, the cost of train travel is an issue, especially if you live a long way from where you want to go. One way to keep those costs down is to travel in a group. We’ve gathered together some information on group train ticket booking.

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Go to ordinary places. Find extraordinary things.

I’ve always loved exploring.

Mum will tell you I was off out of the front door minutes after I learned to crawl. But although I’ve been lucky enough to visit some amazing locations, for me exploration isn’t just about wild lonely places or long trips I have to wait for ages to happen.

Exploring is about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.

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Nearly mountains in England to climb from train stations

How many mountains have you climbed? If you’re anything like me, your mountain summit conquests aren’t numerous. There was Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) in Wales, Cairn Gorm in Scotland (although I started that one quite high up) and Te-taumata-o-Hakitekura (Ben Lomond) in New Zealand. Not a high score and I’m not sure my knees are currently up to increasing it.

But I have climbed plenty of hills.

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Five romantic ideas for a Valentine’s Day out by train

Sustainable romance

Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day can be pretty unsustainable. Plastic wrapped unseasonal roses, chocolates with more packaging than taste, underwear that nobody in their right mind would wear more than once…

The list is endless.

So this Valentine’s Day why not do things a bit differently. Why not choose to save the planet with the one you love.

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My 2023 new year adventure-by-train list

I was going to call this my 2023 bucket list but I’ve every hope I’ll avoid kicking any buckets (messy business) and make it through to 2024. As you might have noticed, I’ve become in 2022 slightly obsessed with outdoor adventures by train. Not only that but I’ve also been writing about train adventures for a few clients too.

Which has led to plenty of research.

Really fun research as it happens.

I now know where to find England’s highest and the UK’s most remote main line train stations. I know which out of the Ribblehead and Glenfinnan Viaducts is the longest, and that neither of these wins the UK-long-viaduct prize. I know that the Heart of Wales Line starts in England, and that the Settle to Carlisle Line has 14 tunnels.

I also know that I have a lot more train adventuring to do.

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