We are a couple, Rebecca and Barry who love hiking, wild camping and the natural world. It is our aim to live a simpler and freer life, where we can spend more time in the places that inspire us. We have worked for a UK conservation charity for several years, including 5 years working on a small island in Orkney. Our time spent out with the birds, sea and sky, gave us a different perspective and shaped our view of the things that are important to us. Leaving Orkney in 2013 we arrived back with a jolt in Cambridgeshire, and quickly realized that the world had changed, or maybe we had. Either way, our island life had given us a different outlook on the values and way of life around us. Walking and camping became a way of escaping and reclaiming some of the freedom that we had lost.
In early 2015 we decided we were ready for a change. Our blog ‘wildpilgrims’ is inspired by our love of hiking and wild places, so combing the two seemed natural and offered the prospect of adventure! We decided to embark on a ‘wild pilgrimage’, an extended hike on one of the world’s great trails, allowing the time to experience the wildlife and landscapes we travel through. We settled on an 500 mile hike along the length of the Spanish Pyrenees, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, on the mighty GR11. Over the 2 months it took us to walk it, we loved the liberation that came from being free to wander, carrying all we need on our backs, and the chance to step out of the current of ‘modern life’ to travel more slowly, simply and deeply. It was a journey like no other.
In 2016 our journey as long distance hikers continued. We hiked 1000 miles east-to-west across Spain on the GR1 ‘Sendero Historico’. By adding the Camino Primitivo and Camino Finisterre onto the GR1, we got the chance to walk into Santiago de Compostela as ‘proper’ pilgrims, and also walk a complete arc from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Long distance hiking is a way of travel (and life) which offers a rich seam of experience, and to date, it is the most perfect way we have found of being in the world.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away”
– Henry David Thoreau
7 thoughts on “About Us”
Hi, I found your blog as you were mentioned on the Skiddaw House newsletter.. Your project sounds like a lot of (challenging) fun, good luck with it! Is there a reason you decided to do a long distance hike through Europe rather than the PCT, CDT or similar, by the way?
Hi Rachel, thanks for your question..it is a good one! Apologies for not replying sooner, we have been on the GR11 for the last week high in the Basque hills. I have indeed wanted to walk the PCT for some time, and it remains an ambition of mine, but when I mooted the idea of a 2650mile hike to husband Barry, he was not convinced! So, to get the ball rolling I managed to convince him to do the 500 mile GR11 instead..which gelled well with his interest in the wildlife of the range anyway. Hopefully this will lead on to other wild wanderings and perhaps the PCT, but one step at a time. The irony is that the a GR11 is possibly a tougher trail, despite being much shorter, as it has far more altitude gain and loss and the underfoot conditions are tougher. We’ll see how the GR11 goes, I live in hope 🙂
Thanks for looking at the blog, we’ll be posting our pictures and experiences of our first week on the GR11 tomorrow.
Hi Rebecca and Barry. Hope you both well! It’s Dasha and Paul here. Glad to report that we made it – we hiked the GR11!! Here are some pictures: https://www.facebook.com/paul.bend/media_set?set=a.10154102050855100.1073741860.729900099&type=3&pnref=story btw: Thank you very much for the cartridge adapter but we have never used it. If you want I can post it to you. Are you planning any new hikes? Take care of yourselves. All the best! x
Hi Dasa and Paul, what a coincidence, we were only wondering the other day how you got on with your hike. It’s great to hear from you and congratulations on finishing an epic mountain journey! Did it fulfill your expectations? We very much enjoyed looking at your photos this morning, it brought back so many memories too. We are still lining-up to do the GR5 next year so, since you are veterans of both trails now, we would be interested to know how you would compare the GR11/GR5 in terms of landscape quality, how hard physycally, ease of camping etc. Any thoughts welcome. Since we are planning some more European hikes it would be great to have the cartridge adaptor back if you have no use for it. I do have Paul’s email somewhere, but can you send me an email address so I can then email you our postal address?- don’t want to post our home address on the public comments here. Many thanks for this.
So, after the GR11 are you keen on more long hikes and if so, any ideas on the horizon? We are still on the come-down from our 2.5 months on the GR1, adapting to a more sedentary, indoor life…and just being back in the UK full-stop….has not been inspiring. I am trying to resist planning another hike though until I have tried a bit harder to find a job 🙂
Best wishes, Rebecca and Barry x
Hi Rebecca and Barry. We think that GR11 was tougher than GR5 but fantastic. Already missing it! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Send me your postal address and we’ll post the cartridge adapter to you. All the best. dasa & paul
Rebecca and Barry, thanks for this blog -really enjoyed reading it and the GR1 is definetely now on the list.
We are both teachers with a similar outlook to yourselves on life.
We are going to stop working in the summer 2018 to concentrate more on walking and cycle journeys- need to do it before we fall apart.
We did the Gr5/52 last summer it was great, we are going back to do the GR11 next summer for the second time, we prefer it to the GR10.
Have you looked at the Lycian Way and the Carian Trail in Turkey, we have done 2 x 2 weeks on the Lycian Way and it was great.
There are just so many treks and trails out there and then for us there is also the bike – can’t wait to have more freedom. Keep up the writing !
Hi Ian, Thanks for your comment, you have certainly chalked-up some fantastic hikes….and the GR11 for a second time, fantastic! Glad to hear you are interested in the GR1, it is very different from the classic mountain hikes and is, by contrast, a long a subtle journey through the remote landscapes of Spain. It was a great way to see the country from the grass roots up and if I could, I would go back and do it all again this spring 🙂 I had considered the GR10 to complement our GR11 walk, but I think the GR5/52 is higher on our priorities, hopefully for 2017. Do you keep a blog of any of your hiking trips? Yes, the Lycian Way has caught my eye, the pictures I have seen are breath-taking. I know there is a guidebook available, but how did you find the way-marking as I have heard this is pretty poor in places? It is a good option for an early spring walk so I will keep it in mind. We are also interested in the GR221 ‘Drystone Route’ in Mallorca, which looks stunning, especially during the spring Almond blossom. Like you say, too many treks and not enough time! I wish you all the best with your up-coming freedom in 2018, it would be good to hear what you have planned so please stay in touch.
Thanks for reading the blog, I appreciate feedback from readers. All the best for an adventurous 2017!