The Reverend Kate Bottley is a priest in Nottinghamshire who is passionate about bringing stories of faith and belief to the widest possible audience. Kate is well-known for appearing on Channel 4’s Gogglebox, as well as for hosting Good Morning Sunday on BBC Radio 2 and appearing on BBC One’s Songs of Praise.
What were you hoping to experience travelling the famous medieval pilgrimage, Camino de Santiago?
I was hoping to meet some great people, have conversations and find out more about myself. I also wanted to understand something about why people would put themselves through something so physically tough in order to find enlightenment.
I wanted to understand why people would put themselves through something so physically tough in order to find enlightenment
What was your favourite moment of the journey?
Being on the horse, swimming in the river and laughing until I almost had an accident!
What was the most challenging aspect?
Without a doubt the walking. Especially the first three days - I hated it and still do!
Did the pilgrimage impact on your own beliefs about faith?
I was amazed by how many presumptions there are about people of faith and what I might believe. There’s a lot of misunderstanding.
What was the most surprising thing you learned - either about the people you met, the places you visited or yourself?
That people walk for fun and to meet God. Although I’m more likely to find the divine in my companion than in the view. I was also surprised that many people seemed to do the Camino after a major life change, such as divorce or retirement. It seems it is a dream for so many people.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to somebody considering the Camino de Santiago?
Pack your bag and then throw half of what you have packed away! Or do it the sensible way and get your bags sent on ahead.