By Jo Cordell-Cooper*
I RECENTLY took part in the community walk ‘The Way to St James’, a two-day pilgrimage based on the famous ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain.
Although a keen wilderness walker, the appeal for this event was more about having a goal to work towards for myself and my personal training clients.
I have to say this walk, designed by Father Michael Tate and his dedicated group of volunteers, delighted on many levels.
Father Michael Tate described the walk as a moving meditation, a time to reflect inwardly and enjoy the company of one’s self and indeed, the friends, family and pilgrims around you.
The walk commenced at Mountain River with coffee and cake, before meandering along country roads and rural pasture.
Our destination on day one was Ranelagh.
It was delightful to see the miniature horses in foal, vineyards, rickety old houses and rather grand homesteads along our carefully selected route.
Day one concluded with a barbecue tea (catering was excellent), a sharing of stories from those who had completed the Camino De Santiago (a journey of some 800+ kilometres), as well as a service and music to give context to our experience.
I am not a religious person, but found these experiences well thought out, inclusive and enriching.
For our second day, our hike began after being bussed to Cradoc to walk along the Huon River before the hardest part of the walk, the incline of Silver Hill Road for some two kilometres.
One step at a time this was completed.
There is something healing that comes with walking slowly and taking in all there is to see at a slower pace.
Following another delicious afternoon tea, it was time to deliver the ‘Icon of St James’ to the church.
Here we were met by some folk festival musicians with a flair for Spanish music who accompanied us to the Spanish style church where we symbolically placed down our burden (carried in a rock from Mountain River) and completed our pilgrim journey with a service and songs learnt from the previous day.
This was a lovely expression of community, of sharing the journey, inclusion and participation and I encourage you, if you are able, to take part in future events.
Next event on the agenda is Tasmanian Iconic Walk, an annual event to be held on 2 March.
There is still room for teams of four in our long day wilderness hike from the Tasman Arch to Fortescue Bay.
Tickets cost $80 per person and there is a fundraising component – 100 per cent of funds raised goes to the Stroke Foundation.
The walk is 17 kilometres long of stunning coastal wilderness and takes six to eight hours to complete.
For more information, visit www.tasmanianiconicwalks.org.
*Jo Cordell-Cooper is the owner of award-winning business Jo CC Holistic PT and founder of not-for-profit charity Tasmanian Iconic Walks. Make contact at jocc.com.au/contact us or ring Jo on 0409 862 206.
Caption: The Icon of St James was carried to its resting place in St James Church, Cygnet.