Why I am walking the Pilgrims’ Way

Why I am walking The Pilgrims’ Way

Why a Gratitude Walk?


“Mine eyes have seen the glory………. of one step at a time”





One of my very special moments during the last five years was at 2.50 of the above clip when Mike Zito  (who is trudging a similar path to myself) looked up and smiled and nodded at me during this concert.    The special meaning to me of the words which he was singing are really the reason why I am walking the Pilgrims’ Way from Winchester Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral as a gratitude walk.


On day 3 of my 150 mile walk (September 14)  along the Pilgrims’ Way I will arrive in Farnham, hopefully happy, mentally healthy and sane – if somewhat tired!    Five years ago on this day I found myself in a very different place on my journey through life.  Two am in in the morning on September 14, 2011 found me sitting in a huddle at the top of Brighton Beach having “run away” from home.  In a bag beside me was a photograph of my son; a book of Thomas Hardy poems; bottles of wine and a small trowel, fork and pair of secateurs – my plan being to use these tools to build myself a shelter in the woods where I could withdraw from the world I found so difficult to live in.  However, also in the bag was a smart business suit and set of high heeled shoes, which I knew I would be needing when I walked straight back into an office and resumed my old career.



I was half sleeping when I was woken by an horrendous noise in the distance.  It sounded like a cross between a woman in labour, a howling wolf and a scream of pure terror.  It was like nothing I had ever heard before.  I tried to resume my sleep but the same wailing woke me again.  I realised eventually that the sound was coming from  inside of me.  All the anger, hurt, fear and despair came from deep in my soul out into the cold salty Brighton air.  This very stubborn, independent and fearful woman finally broke like a piece of glass shattering into a million tiny sharp shards.


Some call it “desperation point”, some “a jumping off place”  – for me it was just a complete and  horrifically  beautiful moment of surrender.  God put in my path some people who helped me find a whole new way of being.  My obsession to drink alcohol was removed once I took some actions  and I was handed a set of tools to help me deal with life.  Rather like a glorious stained glass window, those pieces of broken glass were put back into a wonderful new pattern.



My walk from Winchester Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral is to express gratitude for my recovery and the last awesome five years of my life.  I will also be using the opportunity to raise money for a Leighton Buzzard Mencap Summer Camp (see further post here). When I was a child I was fortunate enough to have a home-made kaleidoscope put together with bits of broken glass from my granddad’s workshop. When the end of the tube was turned the beautiful patterns changed.  Just like that childhood toy my life will no doubt  take twists and turns and make new patterns as I continue trudging… the Road of Happy Destiny

God Bless.

Further Posts:

To read further posts about my journey along the Pilgrims’ Way please click here.

To subscribe to my blog discussing both local walks and my trudgin. . along long-distance trails please subscribe to my blog by clicking here and entering your e mail address in the box at the foot or visit my Facebook page:  Jackie McAll “About the Journey”

My book “The Woman Who Walked Through Fear” will be published by Sitting Duck Press shortly.




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