Tom and Julie are off to Rome – on foot!

Starting in February 2020, Tom and Julie are off on pilgrimage from Salisbury to Rome on foot. The route will take them via the Clarendon Way to Winchester; thereafter the St Swithun’s Way and Pilgrims’ Way to Canterbury. From Canterbury they cross the channel by boat via Dover and follow the ancient Via Francigena down through the Pas de Calais, Picardy, Champagne and Franche Compté; crossing into Switzerland at Pontarlier. They then head for Lausanne passing eastward around the Lake Geneva; up and over the Alps by the St Bernard Pass and down into Italy by the Valle d’Aosta. It’s then across the Po Valley, avoiding the heat of the summer, over the Apennines to the coast, and then on to Rome via Siena. The total distance to cover is around 2500 km.

The pilgrimage will be undertaken in stages, leaving time for respite and recuperation in between, but the hope is to reach St Peter’s in Rome by the end of 2020, which of course is the 800th anniversary of the founding of Salisbury Cathedral. 

The approximate route Tom and Julie will take from Salisbury to Rome

Although their pilgrimage is personal and for spiritual reasons, Tom and Julie want to use it as an opportunity to raise money for three Salisbury based charities, with which they have a connection. These are:

The Stars Appeal – for the Salisbury District Hospital from which Julie has recently retired.

The Salisbury Cathedral Choral Foundation – which supports music in the Cathedral and helps fund places for young choristers at the Cathedral School.

The Wessex Rivers Trust (formerly the Wessex Chalk Stream & Rivers Trust) – an environmental charity which Tom set up and ran after he left Rio Tinto, which works to conserve and protect the precious river habitats of the region.

Please consider supporting them in this venture by giving as generously as you can.

Donations will be split equally between the three charities. 

Yesterday someone asked them whether they are intending to walk home again afterwards. They didn’t seem to have an answer!

Saint Peters Square, Vatican City