Pilgrimage – Journeying Forward to the Ancient Future

Pilgrimage has a very ancient history and has been an important feature of the major world faiths. We know that in the Middle Ages, many pilgrims would have walked between Chester and Lichfield. Some of them would have journeyed on to Canterbury or even as far as Rome, Santiago or Jerusalem itself. But pilgrimage is not just something about the long distant past.

In the last twenty years or so has been a revival of interest in the idea and practice of pilgrimage – spiritual or faith-based tourism is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry. The number of pilgrims of all faiths and none walking the famous Camino to Santiago in Spain has increased from a mere 2,491 in 1984 to over 150, 000 walkers annually now. A lot of those walkers are young people.

In the UK new and revived pilgrimage routes, such as St Cuthbert’s Way from Melrose to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, have been established and are proving popular as well as benefiting the local economy. The Two Saints Way ties in with the new mood of enthusiasm for the active spirituality of pilgrimage and will set the modern pilgrim on a contemporary quest for ancient wisdom.