WALKING EUROPE to raise money for Help for Heroes. In 2015 I am walking 600 miles from Seville to Santiago de Compostela.
Event: Walking the Pilgrim trails of Europe
£7,077.33 raised of £7,500.00 target
£7,077.33 raised so far
How to make a donation
Donate online at - www.justgiving.com/thepilgrim
By mobile internet Scan this code on your smartphone to go straight to Roger Mechan's page.
By text message to donate £10 Text AEEJ67 £10
To read my blog and see my video of my trek along the Via de la Plata click here: www.dartmoorwalker.blogspot.co.uk
For e-books of my treks read 'more of my story,'below.
THE STORY SO FAR. To 2015 -2000 miles walked
2011 I walked the 500 miles along the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela. Click here to see my e-book of photographs taken on the Caminohttp://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/379624-spirit-of-the-camino 2012 I walked the 200 miles of the GR 70, otherwise known as the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail through the Cevennes of southern France. To see my e-book about this trek click on http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/302501 2013 This year I intended to walk the Cather trail in southern France, until that is I fell and completely ruptured my quadriceps tendon. So, it's a flat walk this year - the 220 miles of the Nantes to Brest canal. For a flavour of this walk click here. http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/410307-walking-the-nantes-to-brest-canal
Plus 400 miles walked along the South-West Coast Path
For a flavour of trekking across Europe read on.It started out well, 7am through the deserted cobbled streets of St John Pied de Port, out through the old town gates and up the gently rising route Napoleon for the 27 kilometre trek over the mountain. The road eventually narrowed to the width of a Devon country lane. As I rose higher so did the sun until several hours later I was sweltering in thirty degree heat, with the town I had left hidden by the valley mist.Eventually the road gave way to mountain track and I was bent double with sweat pooling in my glasses and dripping down onto my shorts. As I hauled myself, exhausted, up the last of the 1440 metres to the top of the Col de Lepoeder I could see the abbey at Roncesvalles nestling in the trees some way below. I knew, having reached that goal, and put my boots into the specially constructed boot depository, that smelled like a dump for rotten Camembert, that I would make it the remainder of the way to Santiago de Compostela. Roncesvalles set the tone for the days to come. Up early, walk and then buy food for lunch. I quickly learned that taking a rucksack into a small shop in an isolated village was not a good idea as when turning to look at what was on offer I invariably set about demolishing shelves stacked with tinned food. Comments were made but I don’t think any of them were, ‘Good morning, how are you?‘ I would then complete the morning’s walk and have lunch. After I would walk away the afternoon before stopping at a hostel to get the prized stamp on the passport. I would need one from each place I stayed on route to show to the church authorities at Santiago de Compostela in order to get my certificate for completing the journey. Then it was wash that day’s clothes, complete my journal, check the photos and bed at 9pm and hope to get to sleep before the snoring started. Rows of bunk beds were the order of the day and, believe me, there were seismic grunts coming from some nostrils that made me mighty glad I had opted to take earplugs. There is no discrimination, men and women share the same space and those that are unmarried get a taste of things to come. The Basque country quickly gave way to the vineyards of Rioja and the wide gravel paths that meandered through them. I breakfasted on grapes straight from the vine, a deliciously sweet and juicy start to each day. I was soon to pass through the cathedral cities of Pamplona and Burgos where the trudge through the latter’s seemingly endless industrial suburbs proved a daunting task. It was worth it, though, as I later wandered through the massive Gothic cathedral where El Cid, the city's most illustrious son, is buried. Between Burgos and Lyon is the Meseta, a vast area of endless fields with no boundaries, hidden valleys, open plains, and tiny villages dotted along the way like carelessly sown corn seed. It is the place that many choose to avoid by taking the bus from Burgos to Lyon, for once you have accepted the challenge of this land you are open to all the elements can throw at you, and for me that was to be stifling temperatures and a headlong wind that seemed to push me back like a giant open hand. The stony tracks were long, straight, unprotected and seemed never ending, and when I thought I had got to the end of one another limitless horizon appeared. This is part of the Camino where stubbornness and determination are your allies, and timidity and self-doubt your foes. It took me four days to cross the Meseta and I’m glad I took it on. The region of Cantabrica is the penultimate challenge before entering the home straight that is Galicia. Throughout my journey I had to be aware that the sun was constantly shining on my left as I plodded westward, and afford that side of my body special protection. Once in Cantabrica the mountains to my right curled round toward me like a scimitar and I knew that these were the last real challenge before reaching my goal. By now I had left more villages in my wake than I had left to pass through, yet I still had soaring temperatures to contend with. As I struggled late one afternoon through the village of Trabadelo the thermometer on the wall of the church was registering 40C, I thought it prudent at that stage to cut short the day’s walk and seek shelter. At 1,300 metres the village of O’Cebreiro is usually clouded in mist and rain. Once more I was climbing in excessive heat, my back bent double and my hands supporting my pack as I struggled to the top. A few kilometres from the village I walked into Galicia, and the final leg of my journey. It rains a lot in Galicia which means its fertile soil is covered in a patchwork of greens of varying hues. Small farms lie along narrow walled in dirt tracks which, in the early morning, as the sun breaks the dark veil of night appear as they must have to the Medieval pilgrim. As I made my lone journey through them only the snuffling of the cattle and lazy bark of a slumbering dog broke the eerie and mysterious silence. Farmers were praying for rain as the unusually hot weather continued and the incessant heat started to crisp the vast quantities of sweet corn that would serve as winter fodder. At noon on the twenty-second day I entered the suburbs of Santiago de Compostela after a hard morning’s walk. The signs reinvigorated my aching legs as they beckoned me towards my goal. Down a steep hill past the eccentric pilgrim’s shelters at Mont del Gozo to cross a wooden pedestrian walkway that traversed the motorway like some Middle Age afterthought. Along the pavement and through the jungle of car showrooms, bathrooms for sale and anodyne office blocks. The pilgrim signs and gold coloured shells embedded into the pavement were drawing me in like a fish on a hook and I found myself walking faster and harder. I was now into streets bordered by four story glass balconied houses. One last set of traffic lights negotiated found me in the old town surrounded by sombre and self important stone buildings. A last uphill march taken at a gallop, before I dropped down to walk under an arch where a lone piper was blowing a lament that only a bag of cats could make sense of. Descending a handful of steps I found myself in bright sunlight that illuminated the huge square in which the extravagant gothic spires of the cathedral of St James paid homage to a sky of deep blue. I punched the air and clapped in self congratulation, no one took any notice, they had seen it all before. Just another pilgrim arriving, but this pilgrim was me. I had sweated gallons, nursed sore feet and an aching back and stumbled through twenty two days of dark starts, and, in the process, had raised over £3000 pounds to help those that had made all this possible. As I entered the cool darkness of the cathedral I prepared myself to give thanks to them, for at that moment they were all that really mattered. When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today
Raising money for
Charity Registration No. 1120920
H4H offers comprehensive support to those who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses while serving our country. This support is provided at four Help for Heroes Recovery Centres across the UK and through support grants to individuals and other charities. Remember to Back the 100!
Raising money for
Run by Help for Heroes
Charity Registration No. 1120920
Fantastic support from the residents of Chippenham for my street collection on 15 th August 2015. Thank you
Donation by The residents of Chippenham, Wiltshire on 17/08/15
In memory of Grandad Thomas who went through the First World War but never spoke about it. From your loving Grand daughter, Monica
Donation by Monica Cundy on 12/08/15
With grateful thanks to the customers of Princetown stores, Dartmoor, Devon
Donation by The customers of Princetown stores on 24/07/15
Great achievement, Roger. Well done and I look forward to hearing more about your trip on the golf course.
Donation by David Harris on 01/06/15
+ £6.25 Gift Aid
Well done Dad / Grandad we are all very proud of you. XXX
Donation by Anonymous on 22/05/15
+ £5.00 Gift Aid
Well done Roger
Donation by Liz Ramsey on 21/05/15
+ £12.50 Gift Aid
What a fantastic achievement. I wish I could do It myself. I read your blog through Terry's piece on Cheltenham & Cotswold H3 site. On! On!
Donation by Val Jones on 21/05/15
Thank you to Mr & Mrs Crawley for your kind donation.
Donation by Anonymous on 20/05/15
Love the blog Roger. H for H are a great charity. At journeys end say a prayer for all those it helps.
Donation by Gerry on 08/05/15
+ £6.25 Gift Aid
Bon courage Roger... Nous serons de tout coeur avec toi ;) Nous attendons avec impatience de suivre tes aventures via Facebook ! Bizh...ous Babeth, Philippe, Yohan et Athos
Donation by Des fans français... (BZH) on 29/03/15
With grateful thanks the the patrons of Princetown Stores, Dartmoor
Donation by Princetown Stores, Dartmoor on 20/03/15
another great result from the generous inhabitants of Devizes, Witlshire
Donation by The residents of Devizes, Wiltshire on 28/02/15
With grateful thanks to the people of Chippenham, Wiltshire for their great contribution to my Christmas eve street collection
Donation by The people of Chippenham, Wiltshire on 29/12/14
A great result with thanks to the people of Devizes for contributing to my street collection on 24 October 2014
Donation by The residents of Devizes on 25/10/14
with grateful thanks from the visitors to Princetown Stores, Princetown, Devon.
Donation by The customers of Princetown stores. on 14/06/14
With thanks to the customers of Princetown Stores
Donation by .Princetown Stores on 25/01/14
From the customers of Princetown stores, Dartmoor with thanks
Donation by Princetown Stores, Dartmoor on 05/10/13
From my Swiss friend Magarit who I often meet on my Dartmoor walks. Thank you
Donation by Donated by Margarit on 10/09/13
From Princetown stores, Dartmoor
Donation by Princetown stores on 24/08/13
From my street collection in Chippenham, Wilts on 17/08/2013
Donation by The residents of Chippenham on 19/08/13
From my street collection in Plymouth City Centre on 10 August 2013
Donation by Residents of and visitors to Plymouth on 13/08/13
Donations from a street collection at Tavistock on 27 July 2013
Donation by Visitors to Tavistock on 29/07/13
Well done Rog!
Donation by J Cuthbert on 29/06/13
+ £5.00 Gift Aid
Will you stop looking in my box if I give you money? And you don't know the half of it!
Donation by Anonymous on 25/06/13
+ £5.00 Gift Aid
Best wishes and sincere thanks to you , Roger and to all at HELP FOR HEROES To all our military - sincere and respectful thanks Andy's Mum
Donation by barbara lister on 24/06/13
+ £12.50 Gift Aid
- * Online donations£7,077.33
- Offline donations£0.00
- Text donations£0.00
- Total raised£7,077.33
- Gift Aid£375.00
* Charities pay a small fee for our service. Find out how much it is and what we do for it.