Forty days after St Swithun

Otford Church: Pilgrims can continue down the south side on a direct parallel path to Kemsing.

Tuesday 24 August is St Bartholomew’s Day and forty days after St Swithun’s Day.

It seems that global warming may have upset the old August pattern of consistent weather. Although the period which began in sunshine is ending in good weather there was a lot of rain in the middle.

However, there is a saying for today which suggests a dry autumn:

All the tears St Swithin can cry,
St Bartholomew dusty mantle wipes away.

Swithun is associated with rain for apple trees and at this time of the year you will walk across fallen apples in various places on the PW in Surrey and through a lovely Kentish hillside orchard on the last day into Canterbury.

Canterbury Cathedral’s attractions once included an arm of Bartholomew as well as Becket’s shrine.

There is a St Bartholomew’s church at Hyde Abbey as you leave Winchester.

Another is at Otford in Kent which is visited by pilgrims coming from both Winchester and London as the routes converge at the village pond.

The way ahead continues down the south side of the church to take in St Edith at Kemsing. Try Otford church in the morning for a pilgrim passport stamp.

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