Trek the pilgrim path for hospice

Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation is looking for walking and adventure enthusiasts to trek part of one of the world’s most famous and oldest pilgrim paths through the French and Spanish countryside as part of its Trek 4 Hospice campaign.

Trek 4 Hospice starts at El Camino de Santiago de Compostela on April 25 and will cover 100 kilometres through pictureque villages and spectacular countryside for five days to help raise funds for local palliative care services.

For centuries, pilgrims from all over the world have walked the Camino de Santiago, also known as the way of St James, to visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where the remains of the apostle St James are reputed to lie.

Today, tens of thousands of people still walk the route each year for religious or spiritual reasons or to simply take a break and connect with nature.

“The Camino is a trip of a lifetime, a unique experience that inspires many, even after the journey is over,” says the Trek 4 Hospice organiser Lorraine Toner.

“The unique element of this fundraising trip is that, unlike many other fundraising treks, you start the Camino at the beginning rather than trekking the last 100km. You can treat this trip as the start of a journey, continuing the Camino at a time and pace that suits you,” added Ms Toner, of Mayo Roscommon Hospice.

“We will spend five days walking The French Way or Camino Francés. This is the most famous route of the Camino de Santiago. The French Way starts in St Jean Pied de Port in France, crosses the Pyrenees and finishes in the city of Pamplona, world famous for its bull run, San Fermín.

“The first section of the French Way is the most challenging, particularly if you decide to take the 'Napoleon Route' over the Roncesvalles Pass. The views of the Pyrenees are worth the effort,” she continued.

“Although sometimes physically demanding, the Camino only requires a reasonable level of fitness, making this an ideal adventure for many people.

“Following Pamplona you will walk across the rolling hills of Navarra and La Rioja vineyards, passing medieval bridges, castles, churches, and picturesque villages along the way. We will finish our Trek 4 Hospice in Estella, where following a good night’s rest, we will leave from Bilbao Airport to Ireland.”

To be part of this adventure, participants must meet the fundraising target of €2,200. The proceeds will directly benefit palliative care services in Mayo and Roscommon.

A deposit of €300 is needed to secure a place on the trip. The Trek 4 Hospice package includes return flights, all internal transfers, twin sharing accommodation (a limited number of single supplements are available at an extra cost ), evening meals, travel insurance, Pilgrim passports, a T-shirt and training information.

Application forms are available from Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation. Further details are available from Lorraine by calling 094 93 88 666, or by emailing [email protected].

The Camino Trek will be fully supported by a licensed travel agent who specialises in the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Experienced guides will stay with the group from arrival until departure.

A Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation representative, who has travelled this route, will also travel as part of the tour.

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