Pilgrim Walking Routes
A PILGRIM’S PROGRESS
As purveyors of fine foot apparel and a range of socks dedicated to walkers, the staff at the Cambridge Sock Company are also keen walkers.
During a recent planning meeting, we were talking about various walks we have done or would like to do in the future, and came up with a ‘bucket list of walks’ and recommended socks that we thought we’d share with fellow enthusiasts.
Many are walks that started out as pilgrim routes, but have now widened their appeal to pleasure walkers, photographers, nature lovers and historians. Whatever your reason for enjoying the journeys, we’re sure there will be plenty to talk about when you get home – and your feet will thank you for choosing the best walking sock from our wide range at www.thecambridgesockcompany.com
One route that came immediately to mind, but which is actually a series of routes, is the UNESCO World Heritage site Kumano Kodo in Japan. Culminating at Kumano, a sacred Shinto site that’s home to the Kumano Sanzan Shrines, this collection of trails winds across and over Japan’s mountainous Kii peninsula.
Unanimously, the ‘Wainwright’, our mohair terry-looped sock with reinforced heel and cushioned sole, was chosen by all as the perfect travel item for these amazing trails as they keep feet dry, warm and comfortable. An added bonus is that your rucksack would be much lighter with room for other items, as you would only need to pack one pair - they wick away moisture ensuring no harboured bacteria and no lingering smells!!
Once travelled by people of all levels of society, including retired emperors and aristocrats as they undertook rigorous religious rites of worship and purification, today the Kumano Kodo is a great opportunity to experience up close this little-known part of Japan.
Camino de Santiago
Closer to home is the Camino de Santiago. The only other UNESCO World Heritage site walk, and probably the best known, the Camino de Santiago – or the Way of St James – refers to a series of pilgrimage routes that end at the shrine of James the Apostle at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in northwest Spain. Whilst the main part of the route lies in northern Spain, walkers begin their route from locations as far away as the Czech Republic, Germany and France.
From our wide selection of socks, you may choose the ‘Holkham’, our most popular walking sock, with its cushioned sole and reinforced heel ensuring exemplary comfort every step of the way, or perhaps our ‘Sidney’, a gentle top sock that is perfect for walking in the warmer months. The ribbed design of the Sidney ensures there’s no constriction on the leg whilst the design ensures the sock stays up whilst it’s thinner design is perfect for the spring and summer climes. Both mohair socks are ideal when trekking the many miles due to their similar properties – not only are they both comfortable and stylish (they come in over 16 colours) – but, more importantly, the natural fibres ‘wick away’ moisture ensuring your feet remain dry and odour free (unlike cotton ones) so ensuring dry happy blister free feet!!
Many follow the routes for spiritual growth, but they are also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and groups. Complete at least 100km on foot (usually by starting at Sarria) and you can request a certificate of completion upon arrival in Santiago de Compostela.
Whether hiking or cycling, your choice of sock is key to ensuring comfort throughout your journey. Choose a pair or two from our range of sports or walking socks, and we are certain your journey will be completed without any complaints from your feet!
Pilgrim’s Way, North Wales
In cooler yet no less beautiful climes, The Pilgrim’s Way runs for 130 miles from Holywell, the “Lourdes of Wales”, to Bardsey Island, off the Llyn Peninsula.
The constable will help you stride out on this walk – a knee length terry-looped mohair sock is ideal for the cooler climes. Coming in over 10 colours, this very warm and stylish sock will keep your feet happy for the whole 130 miles!
What was once a route for pilgrims in the Middle Ages, it was re-established in 2011 to link shrines connected with St Winefride, the 7th century daughter of a Welsh Nobleman who was decapitated by her suitor when she decided to become a nun.
According to legend, when her head and body were reunited by her uncle Saint Beuno, she came back to life. The walk follows parts of her pilgrimage through her life to find a place to rest. The Pilgrim’s Way starts at the ruins of Basingwerk Abbey and finishes at Llanfairfechan on the Conwy Bay coast, and takes around eight days to complete.
Your feet will be happily united with any pair of our socks on this route. Comfort, warmth, moisture and odour free – our socks will ensure 8 days of happy walking!!
Via Francigena, Umbria, Italy
And finally, who could resist a walk through the stunning scenery of Umbria? A long-distance walking trail, the Via Francigena begins at Canterbury Cathedral and crosses France before reaching Italy.
Whether you like a standard length walking sock; like the Wainwright, Holkham, Murray or Lucy, or prefer a slightly longer sock; like the Newnham, The Duke or the Constable, any one of these socks will be the perfect choice because they all will keep your feet dry, comfortable, moisture and odour free. Your hardest choice may be which colour to choose!!
The walk takes in the spine of Italy, ending at the Abbey of Farfa, from where the dome of Saint Peter’s in Rome approximately 40 miles away can often be seen. A key feature of the route is that it takes in many churches and shrines dedicated to St Francis, patron saint of ecologists - a title honouring his love of nature and animals.
While these are just some of our wish-list routes, there are many others across the UK and the wider world that take less time and may be more suited to the less experienced walker.
But, whatever walking you undertake, comfort is a key factor in whether you will stay the distance. Choose from our range of walking socks and you can be confident that they have been tried and tested for their comfort, durability and warmth. Couple these with a sturdy pair of boots and the right clothing, and its guaranteed that your attention will remain on the beauty of the walk and not on your comfort.