On Foot to Canterbury: Ken Haigh’s pilgrimage

Ken Haigh, resident in Canada, has written an account of his walk from Winchester to Canterbury.

Those who have walked the Pilgrims’ Way from Winchester will find this book an enjoyable account. So might those who come from London joining the converged way at Otford.

It is interesting that at Otford Ken chooses to take the lower path to Kemsing (as in the latest edition of the Cicerone guide) rather than the main road. This alternative is not only more pleasant and direct but also ancient and known to earlier pilgrims.

The author’s reading ahead is thorough and includes the Cicerone guide so his asides are mostly relevant. He highlights some connections usually forgotten such as early PW guidebook writer Julia Cartwright living on the Pilgrims’ Way and the Wetherspoons pub in Canterbury having a tenuous link with the PW.

Is there anything worrying in the book? it is maybe the number of times he finds a church locked. He was walking in summer before the pandemic.

It is important to get churches as well as pubs and b&bs open as soon as possible next year.

The book is a Hilary Weston WT Prize for Nonfiction finalist.

On Foot to Canterbury: A Son’s Pilgrimage by Ken Haigh (University of Alberta Press; $26.99/£20.99)

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