Reverend returns to complete last 100 miles of pilgrimage

Free Press Series: PILGRIMAGE: Reverend Michael Gollop at the Atlantic coast on his five day pilgrimage PILGRIMAGE: Reverend Michael Gollop at the Atlantic coast on his five day pilgrimage

A VICAR who raised £7,000 from a 500 mile pilgrimage has returned to the Spanish mountains to complete the last 100 miles of the journey.

Michael Gollop, 56, of St Arvans Church undertook the pilgrimage of the apostle St James across the northern Spanish Mountains last September raising £3,500 for Macmillan Cancer Support and £3,500 which went towards the £200,000 repair work for the church roof.

The Way of St. James was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times, finishing at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Coruña, Spain.

He returned with two parishioners from St Arvans Sheena Banfield and Barney Banfield, to complete the last leg of the pilgrimage from Santiago de Compostela to the Atlantic sea at the end of May.

He said: "We choose Macmillan because many of the parishioner's family members have been affected by cancer. This was a chance to give something back."

"The walk we did this time is an add on to the main part of the pilgrimage, it was around 100 miles from Santiago to the Atlantic. It is one of the ancient routes which was used in medieval times, they used to go to the Atlantic sea to pick up a shell as the scallop shell is the emblem of the pilgrimage."

The trio spent five days walking along the route and aim to raise a few hundred pounds to renew the porch of St James Church in Devauden.

He said: "It was very good, it was a little cold and wetter than last time - I think we had more rain in five days than I did in five weeks. It was quite a few serious climbs and descents to the sea."

He added: "We don't know how much it's going to cost to renew the porch until the work has started. I hope to take part in the English route of the pilgrimage next year - it is very addictive."

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