#5000colo Day 72: Pioneering Pilgrimage

Distance travelled: 27.39 miles
Cumulative distance: 1320.31 miles
Distance remaining: 3679.69 miles
Percentage complete: 26.41
Villages visited: Fulmodeston, Barney, Thursford, Hindringham, Great Walsingham, Little Walsingham, Houghton St Giles, North Barsham, West Barsham, East Barsham, Great Snoring, Fakenham, Hempton, Little Snoring, Kettlestone.

Firstly, I am delighted to say I am now a ‘Pioneer’ for cycling in North Norfolk on Komoot! If you haven’t used Komoot before, I wholeheartedly recommend it; it’s somewhere between Strava and social media, but with much better navigation and mapping than Strava. You can add photos and highlights, and there’s a real sense of community about it. It’s free to sign up, and you can unlock free mapping and navigation for one ‘region’. If anyone’s interested in joining up, drop me a message and I’ll happily talk you through it.

So anyway, after yesterday afternoon’s exhilarating ride, today’s was a bit more pedestrian. The wind was an absolute pig for large portions of it, and I think I had a little bit of cumulative fatigue from yesterday. As such, I struggled to even reach 14mph today, which is very slow by my new and improved standards.

I stopped at the shrine in Walsingham; I’ve known since I was a kid that people make pilgrimages there, but not being of a religious disposition I’ve never really investigated. I’ve seen it called ‘England’s Nazareth’, and apparently a local noblewoman saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary in Walsingham in 1061, in which she was instructed to build a house replicating one in Nazareth where the holy family lived.

This shrine existed until the Reformation under Henry VIII, when it was looted and destroyed. However, it was restored in the late 19th century, and remains an important pilgrimage site in both the Catholic and Anglican religions.

Coming out of Walsingham, I was lucky enough to see a short-eared owl out on the hunt; I’m pretty sure it was a short-eared owl, as it had black patches around its eyes and looked a bit too dark and mottled to be a tawny owl.

Then, around the outskirts of Fakenham, I saw a huge bird of prey circling right above me, which was quite spectacular. Further investigations lead me to be pretty certain it was a red kite. What a treat!

Got home in time to watch Norwich and England win in the football and rugby respectively; my beloved Canaries are now top of the league! 😀

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