The Camino Countdown for CAFOD & SJH is on!

In just 3 days, three parishioners from St Mary of the Angels, Bolton-le-Sands, will be setting off on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.

Hugh Wignall

Hugh, Dermot and their ever faithful training companions- the dogs!


On 12 May, Hugh Wignall, Dermot Smyth and Peter Smyth, will be travelling to St Jean Pied du Port ready to embark on the 800km walk, following the pilgrimage route ‘The Way of St. James’, across the Pyrénées and northern Spain. They will be carrying everything they need on their backs and will be staying in refugios and hostels during the 5-6 weeks.

Telma, a former refugee, who has now trained as a lab technician with CAFOD funding, and working at the clinic

Telma, a former refugee, who has now trained as a lab technician with CAFOD funding,    and working at the clinic

St Mary of the Angels Parish have been fundraising for the Guarjila rural clinic in El Salvador, comprising facilities including a paediatrics unit, laboratories and a specialist doctors. It has been described by the present government as a model for rural health care and is bringing confidence, motivation, self-worth and aspirations, which come hand in hand with good health, to the local community. Hugh, Dermot and Peter will be completing their Camino to raise funds for this CAFOD project and for our local hospice, St John’s in Lancaster.

With just days until they set off, and with 946km of training walks under his belt, we thought we’d ask Hugh a few questions:

The WayWhat or who inspired you to walk the Camino for CAFOD and SJH?
It was when my son John gave me a copy of the film ‘The Way’ which recounts the story of one man’s walk from St Pied du Port to Santiago de Compostela.
I’ve always enjoyed walking and have walked extensively in the Lake District, hiked in Scotland and been hutting hopping in the Alps.
I watched the Way almost two years ago and have been waiting for the opportunity to walk the Camino myself since and am delighted that Dermot and Peter will be joining!

What are you most looking forward to overall?
Having a bit of an adventure and meeting different people along the way!

And which stage of the walk are you most excited for?
The Pyrénées

What do you think will be the biggest challenge?                                                                             Getting to the end!

How have you prepared for the challenges you’ll be faced with?                                                We’re carrying everything we need for the 5-6 weeks on our back so have packed and repacked several times to try to get the weight down! The terrain we’ll be walking on is anything but easy. The first few days are in the mountainous Pyrénées and then it’s up and down for the next 500 miles with some potentially very hot days in the Mesa region so not carrying too much will be very important.

Shell from the Camino bearing the ‘Way of St James’ cross

Shell from the Camino bearing the ‘Way of St James’ cross

And how’s the final push of training going?
The training’s tailed off as I’m starting to get rather tired of walking in the same area in cold, wet and windy conditions. Really looking forward to some better weather in Spain!

We wish them ‘buena suerte’ –  ‘good luck’ in Spanish!

You can sponsor them on their JustGiving page:
All donations will be matched.

By Lizzie Wignall

3 thoughts on “The Camino Countdown for CAFOD & SJH is on!

  1. Der,Peter,Hugh,and John……We will be with you every step of the way,safe walk safe return….Happy Birthday Der…
    all the gang in Bulloch wish you well.. Eamon wishes he was with you.
    Dolores and the Harbour gang

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