Biddy’s Walking Guinea Pigs Complete the Via Beata

Biddy’s Walking Guinea Pigs Complete the Via Beata

Via Beata – The Blessed way – A pilgrimage in modern times 2017 – 2022 (With the Covid pandemic causing a two year gap) 

Four women from Norfolk set out to explore the route alongside their personal  journeys.  Five years of walking as a team has added a further dimension of joy to our lives, alongside the rich pattern of our family lives.  In that time we have welcomed  newborn children, shared the joy of weddings, and said sad farewells to close ones.  

The Challenge  

When we set off from Lowestoft, we hadn’t quite understood the nature of the  challenge we were taking on.  It became a journey which would stretch us in many  ways, physically and mentally. 

We learned to plan the logistics, ensuring we had the necessary transport available,  accommodation booked in advance, and provisions to sustain us on the hikes.   Without these plans the physical task could not have been undertaken, and  frequently we worked against the established infrastructure in rural environments..     

We collected the Maps and Route guidance from Via Beata’s website, together with  the Ordinance Survey versions to support our understanding.  We learned to use  these as tools to guide our direction, however it was often the teamwork that helped  us resolve the challenges we faced. 

We needed protection from the elements, so our hiking boots and poles, thermals and waterproofs and wind protection from the elements to arm our bodies for the  walk.   

The Rewards 

Walking the Via Beata provided a true purpose to our hiking activity.  We have  explored the beautiful countryside in England and Wales, and found the physical and  emotional space to be ourselves.  Our walking has provided time to reflect on life and  grow spiritually in the green pastures and by still waters. The way-stations have  helped keep us focussed on the spiritual side of the journey, 

We have celebrated the four seasons in our walks, each presenting its glory and  majesty, we have reflected on the beauty of each in turn. 

We have been grateful for the weather, yes, we did have wet days – one in  Northamptonshire and another in Powys, and an occasional shower.  Indeed we have  been blessed on our Via Beata.  

We have developed wonderfully deep friendships, sharing the opportunity to  consider and discuss the issues of the day, we have shared laughter and tears, and  grown in the quiet places along the way.   Our support networks at home have  provided essential encouragement for our journey.   

We have improved our personal fitness on our walking trips, together with stamina  and resilience.  The long distance walks have tested our determination but the team  project has encouraged us all to stay committed to completing the task.  

Our Achievements 

As we complete the journey from coast to coast, we reflect on the experience in  gratitude, feeling small and insignificant as we pass through the majestic countryside.   

However we have faced our fears and overcome challenges.  We have grown in  confidence and resilience.  We have grown as a team in wonderful friendships.   

We have connected to individuals and communities we have met on the way, and to nature, we have passed by hamlets and villages, town and cities, counties and countries, with diverse characteristics and style, each one unique and precious.  

In conclusion, we echo the sentiments of T.S. Elliott; these adventures have become  part of ourselves and we understand them more for having completed the journey.  

We shall not cease from exploration 

And the end of all our exploring 

Will be to arrive where we started 

And know the place for the first time. 

Little Gidding, T.S.Elliot 

Alison Seeley Sarah Adler 

Alison Glover  Carol Watson