What do you think of when you hear the term Camino?
Could it be the French Camino or the Portuguese Camino or Santiago de Compostela? Or is it pilgrims and a long, long walk.
Well, there is another possibility – the Camino Salvado. That is, from Subiaco to New Norcia roughly tracing the steps of Dom Rosendo Salvado between Perth and New Norcia where he founded the Benedictine monastery in the late 1840’s. The trail is just short of 150kms and whilst nowhere near as long as its European counterparts it is still treated as a pilgrimage.
Our Camino was organised by volunteers from St Joseph’s Parish in Subiaco and has been going (twice a year) for the last 14 years. Fortunately for us it is not limited to those with a particular religious affiliation. They were even willing to take “heathens” like us.
So it was on Sunday the 21st August that we set off with a total of 24 pilgrims on a supported walk. Someone was being very kind to us, in that the week before we would have had torrential rain. But no, the sun was shining and that continued for the whole week of our walk.
The walk started through the city and along the river to Guildford though with the river levels being so high from the previous weeks rain we had a couple of small diversions. Reaching Guildford and after an arvo tea at St Charles Seminary we were bussed to our accommodation for the next two nights in the Swan Valley.
We could not do Day 2 of the walk which should have been from where we finished Day 1 along the river and through Walyunga National Park. This was because the river was 2 to 3 metres higher than normal and we would have had to swim most of the way. So an alternate walk was arranged near Kalamunda. Many of our group intend to revisit Day 2 when the river levels subside.
Day 3 continued as per schedule from Walyunga and into the Chittering Valley where we were able to walk into our accommodation for the next two nights. Day 4 was from our accommodation and into the Julimar State Forest and Day 5 continued through that forest into the Bindoon area and our farmstay accommodation for the next two nights.
Continuing on for the next couple of days through a mix of bush and farmland with incredible yellow canola crops often against brilliant green grain crops and/or dark threatening skies.
So as not to have to walk along Great Northern Highway we were bussed the last few kilometres into New Norcia and completed our pilgrimage with a short walk to the church, with bell ringing to welcome the pilgrims and a lovely greeting from Father Dominic, where we were seated around the tomb of Dom Salvado.
We spent the night in the nuns’ “cells” of the old convent which had been renovated and were very comfortable. Then along to Vespers with the monks and then dinner at the old Girls School – St Gertrude’s. A fun evening in the old convent with a roaring log fire in the lounge.
In the morning (Sunday) there were options to go to services at either 6AM or 9AM and then we had the opportunity to visit the museum and gallery and then a tour of the settlement and its major buildings.
What can we say, a great walk with great company.
P & K Adamson.