Pilgrim Journeys

Pilgrimage for walkers and armchair travellers

Sally Welch

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Why do pilgrims walk so much?

What do they learn?

What lasting good does it do?

In Pilgrim Journeys, experienced pilgrim and writer Sally Welch explores the less-travelled pilgrim routes of the UK and beyond, through the eyes of the pilgrims who walk them. Each chapter explores a different aspect of pilgrimage, offering reflections and indicating some of the spiritual lessons to be learned that may be practised at home. This absorbing book shows how insights gained on the journey can be incorporated into the spiritual life of every day, bringing new ways of relationship with God and with our fellow Christians, offering support and encouragement as we face the joys and challenges of life.


  • A brief history of pilgrimage
  • The Routes
  • 1 Be true to your journey:
    St Columba's Way - Iona to St Andrews
  • 2 Carry only what is necessary:
    Via Ingles - Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela
  • 3 Be open to Go:
    Via Limovigensis - V lay to Limoges
  • 4 Rejoice in your companions:
    Pilgrim's Way - Winchester to Canterbury
  • 5 Inhabit the moment:
    St David's Way - Holywell to Bardsey Island
  • 6 Tread lightly upon the earth:
    Sentiero Francescano della Pace - Assisi to Gubbio
  • 7 Release your burdens:
    The Jesus Trail - Tabgha to Capernaum
  • 8 Trust yourself:
    St James Way - Worcester to Bristol
  • 9 Respect the community:
    Thames Pilgrim Way - Oxford to Binsey
  • 10 Rejoice in the journey:
    St Olav's Way - Stiklestad to Trondheim
  • A practical guide
  • Information for pilgrims

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Author info

Sally Welch is the Vicar of Charlbury and Area Dean of Chipping Norton. An active pilgrim for over 20 years, she has lectured and led workshops on the nature and spirituality of pilgrimage and labyrinth throughout the UK. She is the editor of New Daylight and author of several books on pilgrimage. She worked with Bishop John Pritchard on the establishment of the Thames Pilgrim Way and is currently working on a Cotswold Pilgrimage Network.


The Reader, Summer 2018

Review by Jeremy Harvey

Welch takes the reader on an unexpected journey with this slim but thought-provoking companion to ten pilgrim routes in Europe and the Holy Land. Avoiding such practical details as can be found on the internet, she instead offers a themed meditation on the spiritual steps that lead on a walk towards holiness. The opening description of St Columba's Way, from Iona to St Andrew's, becomes an extended discussion of what it means to be called, including a heartfelt appraisal of her own sense of mission. Driven by a self-confessed feeling of restlessness, her attachment to pilgrimage has an authentic ring to it: the word pilgrim was first used to describe a type of perpetual wanderer, a self-imposed exile whose journey was far removed from the later understanding of a return trip to a holy site and back. She concludes by describing a talk about an expedition planned with almost military precision along a Norwegian pilgrimage route to Trondheim, which left the audience impressed but unmoved by its spiritual content. Instead her book offers a more reflective and profitable meander along pilgrim ways.

The Julian Meetings Magazine (April 2018) Review by Anne Stamper

Sally Welch, Vicar of Charlbury and Area Dean of Chipping Norton, defines pilgrimage as 'a spiritual journey to a sacred place. For hundreds of years men and women have made these journeys, hoping for healing, revelation or spiritual insight. They go to places where it is felt the gap between heaven and earth is smaller, where the action of saints may break into the lives of ordinary people, transforming them.'

An active pilgrim for over 20 years, in this book she draws on those experiences of pilgrimages at home and abroad, for distances long and short, and travelling with others or by herself. This is not a travel book but at the end she gives readers practical hints and sources of information should they wish to undertake a pilgrimage themselves.

In each section Sally takes one pilgrim route and describes an episode from her experience of it; this then leads into a reflection. In some reflections she gives the reader, as an armchair traveller, a practical task (possibly using pencil and paper) that encourages thought about their own path in life and God's call 'to be a pilgrim'.

Some of her pilgrim routes are well known, such as the Via Ingles, to Santiago de Compostela, or the Pilgrims Way from Winchester to Canterbury. Others were new to me: St James Way, from Worcester to Bristol and The Thames Pilgrim Way, from Oxford to Binsey - one Sally helped to set out.

An excellent synopsis of the book is given by the chapter headings: Be true to your journey; Carry only what is necessary; Be open to God; Rejoice in your companions; Inhabit the moment; Tread lightly upon the earth; Release your burdens; Trust yourself; Respect the community; Rejoice in the journey. They are also not a bad pattern for life!

Review by Anne Stamper

Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857465139
  • Published: 21 July 2017
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
Bible Reflections for Older People - September 2018
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