Convention volunteer James Adams is tackling the famous Santiago de Compostela walking challenge to raise cash for the Derwent Project.

The gruelling walk starts in Saint Jean Pied, in France, and will end in Santiago, in Spain. James expects the challenge to take more than one month.

He has been joined by fellow Convention volunteer Ray Smith for six days of the journey.

James has kept in touch with Keswick Ministries during his trip. This week, he said: “The Camino continues to be a fantastic, emotional and spiritual experience!”

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James' route includes: Roncesvalles, Pamplona, Estella, Logronno, Castilla Y Leon, Burgos, Leon, Astorga, Ponferrada, Arca and finally in our destination of santiago de Compostela. The highest pint of the walk will be on day 23 on the Monte Irago (which is 1,530m above sea level).

He has previously spoken about why he is doing the walk. He said: “First and foremost, it is a Pilgrimage and as such I want to commune with God and to find out what He has in store for me on the next stage of my life. Second, I hope and pray that people will respond in a positive way to raise funds for the Derwent Project.”

Joining James on the walk was Ray Smith. He has written about his experiences, saying: “each day was special, the scenery was stunning and God’s presence almost tangible on occasions.”

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                                                                           Ray’s Story:

With some 19 miles to walk along the Camino de Santiago on day on (James' 8th), despite being 15 years the junior, I had certain trepidation as we set out from Logrono duly attired in walking shorts/boots etc…. Within minutes the clouds descended and the rain burst forth. Initial thoughts were to thank God that we had packed our waterproof ponchos etc…, which changed to praising Him as we walked in the open countryside and thanking Him for the beauty of his creation - mile upon mile of vineyards with snow covered mountains in the background. Amazing!

With stops at enroute village cafes - duo café con leche por favor - being the usual request, we completed my day  in good shape (no blisters) and high spirits as the sun tried to shine. Accommodation was adequate and meals were plentiful - often stew, followed by meat and veg, then ice cream / rice pudding each evening.

Above was pretty much replicated each of the five following days, albeit slightly shorter walks. With the route being travelled for centuries going back to the early pilgrims, the sign-posts were excellent, and the cry of ‘Buen Camino’ - have a good walk along the Camino - was often exchanged with other walkers / cyclists.

There were many (Catholic) churches along the way and a number of strategically (at the top of never ending hills) placed crosses, all of which kept our focus on the reason for our walk - firstly, time /prayers with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; secondly, some ‘bonding’ between two very imperfect Christian brothers; thirdly, to encourage others on the walk, and where appropriate impart what knowing and being known by Jesus Christ meant to us.

Over the six days we walked together, travelling some 90 miles (145 kilometres) we met people of many Nationalities - Spanish, Americans (North and South), South Koreans, French, Dutch, Australians and even a handful of other Brits! Youngest being about 8 up to 79 (our James), all ‘looking for something’!

People of various faiths, or little or none, but ‘out on the open pathway’ most people could sense ‘something special’.
Being someone who works predominantly from an office in the city of London, each day was special, the scenery was stunning and God’s presence almost tangible on occasions.

I thank God for all the travel/accommodation arrangements during those six wonderful, but more importantly I thank and praise Him for the precious gift of time - time with Him, and also with a dear 79-year old Christian brother, James.

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