You remember the post not so long ago in which I described the paperwork pilgrims carry with them as proof of their journey? (here’s the link ) I thought that it may take some time to get hold of these so I was ready to apply early. Well it’s arrived! To recap I thought getting a credential before travelling was necessary due to the time restrictions when we arrive. The day we start I didn’t want to spend any time obtaining this paperwork when I could be climbing that mountain. So I did some internetery hunting and came up with the Peterborough Pilgrims to Santiago. (More about them later!) The alternative was on arrival in St Jean Pied de Port a credential could be obtained at Accueil (home of) St Jacques, 39 Rue de la Citadelle, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France.
However, this mountainous section has claimed the lives of pilgrims and Firefighters from both sides regularly save the lives of people uninformed and unprepared for the journey over to Roncesvalles . Registering with Accueil St Jacques (home of St Jacques) means someone knows you are on your way over. So the fact that I already have a credential only means that if I feel it’s perfectly safe we’ll be off first thing. If the weather is doubtful then either we’ll be taking the low road, making a point of calling by Accueil St Jacques or both.
I mentioned before that I’d be applying to the Confraternity of St James. Based in London, UK. They run Refugio Gaucelmo on the Camino francés and the Refugio de Peregrinos de Miraz, on the Camino del Norte. The confraternity has a charity status dedicated to providing information through the bookshop, guides and library to its members as well as undertaking research into the history of the pilgrimage. The credential is free to members, but not available to non members. I actually ended up applying to the Peterborough Pilgrims to Santiago, a group who’s Spiritual Director Rev. Ian Holdsworth sends lightening quick email replies, matched by the speed you’ll get your credential. On their website they advertise them free. They also offer free and automatic membership as an “ordinary member” which means I’ll get invites to feasts to celebrate St James, Advice, the free credential and most touching was inclusion in their prayers whilst on the Camino. I’m a little religiously challenged but every little helps!