Author Sally Welch
Publisher BRF £7.99
Welch takes the reader on an unexpected journey with this slim but thought-provoking companion to ten pilgrim routes in Europe and the Holy Land. Avoiding such practical details as can be found on the internet, she instead offers a themed meditation on the spiritual steps that lead on a walk towards holiness. The opening description of St Columba’s Way, from Iona to St Andrews, becomes an extended discussion of what it means to be called, including a heartfelt appraisal of her own sense of mission. Driven by a self-confessed feeling of restlessness, her attachment to pilgrimage has an authentic ring to it: the word pilgrim was first used to describe a type of perpetual wanderer, a self-imposed exile whose journey was far removed from the later understanding of a return trip to a holy site and back. She concludes by describing a talk about an expedition planned with almost military precision along a Norwegian pilgrimage route to Trondheim, which left the audience impressed but unmoved by its spiritual content. Instead her book offers a more reflective and profitable meander along pilgrim ways.