How Tony made his pilgrimage

Those attending the February general meeting of Todmorden U3A were treated to member Tony Green’s illustrated talk The Pilgrimage to Santiago - Experiences of a Pilgrim and Hostel Warden.

Tony explained that St James the Great - the Apostle - is the patron saint of Spain and legend relates that he landed in the north-west of Spain and started the conversion of that country to Christianity.

There are a number of various routes comprising the “Camino de Santiago”, although the best known camino, or way, is the 800km route from Roncesvalles, in the Pyrenees, the Camino Francés.

To walk the camino, Tony first needed a “passport”, which gets stamped at every pilgrims’ hostel, called refugios or albergues, a pilgrim stays at. On reaching Santiago, this enables the pilgrim to get a certificate, verifying that he or she has completed the walk.

Cyclists may ride the camino but have to do twice the distance in order to get a certificate. Cyclists are always the last to be admitted to the hostels.

Tony walked the French Route of the Camino de Santiago from St Jean Pied de Porte in France to Santiago, a distance of about 500 miles.

His photos illustrated both the variety of the landscape and the people he encountered and it was the latter, he said, that made his experiences on the two occasions he was a warden so memorable.

l The short talk was given by Malcolm Heywood, giving feedback on the survey carried out by Malcolm and his wife, Freda, a year or so ago comparing the leisure activities of today’s 14-year-olds with those of U3A members and other older people, when they were 14.

Malcolm gave a taste of the contents, revealing interesting differences between the sexes as well as the generations.

The survey forms part of a book which is about to be published by Malcolm and his wife Freda, called “Cricket and Leisure in 20th Century Todmorden”. The book is launched tomorrow at Todmorden Cricket Club at 4pm.