One intrepid vet surgeon will be taking on El Camino de Santiago to raise money for Cancer Research UK. The incredible 900km journey will see her walk from France to Finisterre on the north-west coast of Spain.

One intrepid vet surgeon will be taking on El Camino de Santiago to raise money for Cancer Research UK. The incredible 900km journey will see her walk from France to Finisterre on the north-west coast of Spain.

Anna Borlase experiences part of El Camino de Santiago in 2007.Bristol graduate Anna Borlase aims to take on the tremendous trek throughout the month of May, and hopes to complete the route in just over a month. She said: “I’m going to be walking about 30km a day, which sounds quite manageable, but the whole distance is more than 21 marathons – a long way!”

El Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James, is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north-western Spain, where legend tells that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.

Anna’s decision to take on the mammoth trek came earlier this year when she lost her mother to cholangiocarcinoma – a rare form of primary liver cancer that effects the biliary system.

She said: “I really wanted to do something for Cancer Research UK as my mum felt passionately that research was the way forward for people with cancer.”

However, this isn’t Anna’s first experience of the trek. She told Vetsonline: “I actually did part of El Camino four years ago in the summer before my final year at university. I only did one week as I had to get back to uni, but was inspired by people I met who were doing the whole thing, and since then have always wanted to go back and do the whole trek.”

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.However, Anna hopes to be a little more prepared for the journey this time, which will see her cover the sacred route from Saint Jean Pied de Port (France) across the Pyrenees mountain range and across northern Spain to Santiago. She also intends to undertake an extension for modern-day pilgrims who wish to reach the ocean, ending at Finisterre.

Anna graduated from Bristol vets school in 2008.She said: “I have an idea of what to expect from my experience last time, when I was completely unprepared and ended up with my toenails falling off. I’ve got some really good boots and special ‘blister free’ socks. I’ve also been doing some practice walks along the South West Coast Path with a full rucksack.”

“I have to pack for pretty much all weather conditions as crossing the Pyrenees there can be gale-force winds and storms, then some of the inland sections can be extremely hot and exposed, so I’ll be taking waterproofs and fleeces, as well as a lot of sunscreen. Ibruprofen and plasters also feature on my kit list, as well as an iPod, which I’m trying to fill with ‘motivational’ tunes.”

Anna will be blogging throughout the trek so you can follow her progress online. Those wishing to donate towards her £3,000 target for Cancer Research UK can do so via her JustGiving page.

Cathedral image courtesy Yearofthedragon
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