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Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our 2023 "ABCs of Pilgrimage" &

"Expectations and Overview" columns below

(a suggested packing list can be found highlighted in red among the ABCs near the bottom of the page)

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Q: Where are the walks?

So far, the walks are from the following "four shores": The North Shore Way, The Annapolis Valley, The Gaels' Trail, and the South Shore Peace and Friendship Way.

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Q: Is every Trail walked every year?

This year - 2023 - we are pleased to offer guided group walks along ALL FOUR of Nova Scotia's beautiful coasts. In July and again on the Labour Day weekend, we will walk the Celtic Shores Trail in Cape Breton. In August we will walk sections of the North Shore. In September, our local Camino will set out from Grand Pré and walk the length of the Annapolis Valley. And in October we’ll sum it all up with a South Shore walk along the Lunenburg to Halifax Rum Runners Trail!

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Q: Do I have to be religious to go on pilgrimage?

Not at all! Although pilgrimages have been associated with all of the world's religions, they are also an opportunity to explore your spirituality, whatever it may be! Space is given in Camino NS's pilgrimages for meditation and for prayer, however pilgrims understand and practice it.

What to Expect on a Camino NS Pilgrimage

If you register for a pilgrimage, you'll receive a detailed itinerary and packing list, but here are some general things to expect on Camino NS pilgrimages. Many of these ideas are adapted from the book Camino Close to Home (Novalis 2023) by Rob Fennell, founder of Camino NS, which you can order HERE.

 

Cost: fees for most of our 2023 pilgrimages are $900 per person. Your $100 deposit paid through Eventbrite pays for initial program expenses and is non-refundable. We will send you a full registration form in the weeks following your registration, at which time the balance of the registration fee is due with your completed forms.

COVID-19 Measures: We continue to take COVID seriously. Regardless of Public Health mandates, we encourage taking precautions during the walks, including outdoor eating when possible, and supporting masking indoors. For sleeping in shared air, we will try to maintain various means of ventilation (e.g. open windows, additional portable filtration). We will work together to avoid endangering walkers and staff. Vaccination against COVID-19 is required. Please inform staff if you begin to experience symptoms during the walk.

 

Difficulty level: a typical day of walking can be anywhere from 15 - 29 km. The linear trails we follow are fairly flat their entire lengths (made for train tracks). However 20-30 km in a day is a significant distance for any walker, so training is essential. Start training as soon as possible with daily 1-2 hour walks, and a longer (3-5 hour) walk at least once a week. Build up to longer walks as your endurance increases. Pilgrimages are synonymous with blisters and aches, but training can help a lot, as can good footware (see below).

Ethos: While some pilgrimages are solitary affairs, Camino NS offers a communal experience. We share chores, keep to a schedule, and do group activities. Of course, time for contemplation and quiet reflection is also built in. Be open to transformation and growth! Pilgrimages never fail to surprise!

 

Food: Meals (and morning coffee and tea) are provided. Camino NS staff purchase and supply the food. Breakfast is set out for self-serve, along with the day's lunch fixings and snacks (to create your own lunch to carry with you). Supper is a common meal, prepared & cleaned up by the willing. (Part of camino communitas!) Evening snacks are provided too. If you have dietary needs, please advise Director Matthew Anderson well in advance of the walk. In a few places, we may need to honour nut-free policies of our host churches & community halls. If restaurant meals or cafe stops along the route are planned, we'll let you know in advance so you can plan accordingly.

Footwear: It is important to have comfortable footwear, ideally designed for hiking, that is already broken in, offers support, and is not too heavy. Particularly heavy boots will make for a long day. Some waterproof footwear has been known to accelerate blisters. Regular running shoes are usually not enough support. Many hikers find that wool, smartwool, or Merino socks help against blisters too. Bring extra socks with you each day to switch them partway through the day.

Garbage: As with any other time, but especially on pilgrimage, we aim to leave no trace. Please be prepared to bring out with you any garbage that you generate while walking (with one exception, of course. See "Washrooms" below.)

Gear: Pack lightly! Bring a light day-pack for the walk essentials: lunch, water, TP, directions, extra socks, bug repellent, sunscreen, rain poncho. Consider investing in a pack designed for hiking, with vented back padding and a chest strap. Your overnight bag (e.g. a carry-on sized suitcase), sleeping bag, air mattresses, etc. will be transported by the support vehicle to the next destination.

Getting there! Well before the Camino starts we will work out with you whether you will meet the group at the Camino staring point, or if you require transportation (at a cost) from the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, to the trailhead where the pilgrimage begins (and back to Halifax/the Halifax airport again at the end).

Injuries: If you get injured, overheated, or tired, we can arrange a lift in the support vehicle. You may have to wait a bit, to be located and picked up.

Showers: pilgrimage is about simplicity, so be prepared to "rough it" a little. Most of our overnight accommodations do not have showers. That said, on at least 2 or 3 days of each Camino, we hope to have access to showers at campgrounds, municipal pools, or sportsplexes.

 

Sleeping arrangements:  to keep the budget low and provide a real communal experience, we sleep overnight on the floor of host churches and community halls. With rare exceptions, private rooms are not possible, but some walkers prefer to bring a compact tent! (Note that tenting may not be an option every night, as some venues do not allow it.) Bring your own sleeping bag, pillow, and camping mat or air mattress. (We can provide an air mattress if needed! Just let us know in advance).

 

Substances: To respect the regulations of our overnight host sites, and in the spirit of pilgrimage simplicity and contemplation, alcohol is not served at dinner. It isn't forbidden, and as occasion allows, you are welcome to avail yourself of local pubs, etc. along the route. Disruptive drinking and/or illicit drug use will not be tolerated and pilgrims may be asked to head home early. Some pilgrims have chosen to use a walking pilgrimage as a chance to quit smoking! This is difficult to do, and we don't require it. We do ask that smoking be done only outdoors and only at a safe distance from fellow walkers who may have medical reasons to avoid second-hand smoke.

 

Washrooms: While indoor plumbing (toilets and sinks) will be available to us morning and evening, we often will NOT pass a washroom or outhouse during the day. Bring toilet paper in your daypack for these festive occasions. Some professional outback hikers swear by carrying a hand spade with which to bury toilet paper and poo. We want to tread lightly on the Land, so please don't litter non-biodegradable items such as plastic tampon applicators (for these, bring along a Ziplock bag or some such, to transport them to the next garbage can).

 

Water: Do bring a water container; even if you don't normally drink much water, your body needs it walking over 20 kms in a day, because you dehydrate through sweat. Tap water in Nova Scotia is great, and you can fill up in the mornings. The Camino NS support team will also arrange water stops along each day's route so you can refill.

Camino Nova Scotia: Expectations and Overview

Pilgrim Virtues

 

  • serving others

  • accepting the generosity of others

  • contemplation, meditation, and prayer

  • reverence and care for creation

 

Walking Pilgrimage is more than just a hike! Pilgrimage is travel for transformation. It’s an opportunity to mindfully experience yourself in relation—to other pilgrims, to the Land, to history, and to the transcendent. Camino Nova Scotia is designed to provide times for personal growth and spiritual nurture, all while undertaking a physical challenge, within a group setting, all with an eye to appreciating Nova Scotia for its place, its peoples, and its past.

 

Nova Scotia is also Mi’kma’ki and Acadie. In this province we enjoy a heritage of Mi’kmaq Ceremony, of Acadian Catholicism, of Gaelic and Celtic Protestant & Catholic Christianity, and today of many other traditions of faith and spiritual expression. By its very nature pilgrimage is “religion-positive,” but Camino Nova Scotia will not expect or enforce any one faith tradition, even while incorporating some traditions of Christian pilgrimage or Mi’kmaq teachings local to Nova Scotia. We respect all journeys of faith or non-faith. Humility and openness to others is a hallmark of the pilgrim, and Camino NS pilgrims are expected to practice these.

 

Please note that Camino Nova Scotia is not designed to provide you with a personal holiday. It is not a trip or a tour, but a group pilgrimage experience. When you sign up for one of our walks, please be aware that you are joining a temporary intentional community. Pilgrims commit to simplicity, and even hardship. Negotiating differences, being patient with each other, and graciously meeting the challenges of inconveniences and discomforts are all a part of a pilgrim’s journey.

 

That said, virtually every pilgrim has moments of soaring elation and personal growth. Walking pilgrimage is slow. Seeing the world at 4 kms an hour, over many kilometers, facilitates a kind of natural meditation. Sometimes the realisations that bubble up while walking long distances can be joyous; sometimes they may be difficult. Walkers should practice kindness and patience with fellow pilgrims who may be going through such times.

 

Pilgrimage caters to both introverted and extroverted leanings. We start our walk each day as a group. We leave together at the same time, and we find the trail together. After that, you are free to walk at your own pace and there is no rush. Please respect that other walkers may wish to walk alone for some of the day’s journey. It’s totally ok to let others know when you’re heading into “solo mode” and for the same reason it's only good manners to ask if it’s a good time to visit and chat while walking. We will build in some times of silence so that everyone gets a chance to benefit from quiet reflection.

 

Each morning begins with group ceremony  and each evening ends with group reflection. Attendance is optional, but you are encouraged to join. There will be built-in times for the group to check in and debrief about the day’s experiences, challenges, and discoveries, and some “prompts” along the walk for times of guided solo focus. The Atlantic School of Theology is an institution of Christian faith and background, and while many of our resources carry this heritage, please know that ALL forms of spirituality are respected.

 

Overnight accommodations for the most part will be in church or community halls along the way (unless you want to tent, which is possible in some, but not all, of our stopping points). In true pilgrim fashion, sleeping arrangements are rustic and communal. Bring your own pillow, sleeping bag, and mat (AND earplugs!). A limited number of air mattresses are available to borrow; book these in advance during registration. Each sleep-site has electricity, running water, and restrooms, but there are not always restrooms along the path. We hope to be able to run at least one air filter for additional health and welfare.

Fitness is important, but you don’t have to be an athlete. If you can currently walk 1-2 hours without needing a rest break, you can work your way up to the pilgrim’s pace of 6-8 hours of walking each day (approx. 20-25 km). Training ahead of time is important!

 

Chores and helping each other are part of intentional community. Everyone is expected to contribute to assisting with food prep, tidying up, loading the van, etc., to help to make the event go more smoothly.

 

Rest whenever you like. Camino NS is a mobile retreat: a time away from work and responsibilities, devices, stresses—a carved-out time to reflect and refocus on what is important. Taking care of our bodies is important too.

 

***COVID-19 continues to be a concern. Every participant must be vaccinated against COVID. We will eat outside and/or in well-ventilated places whenever possible, and ventilate our sleeping area (bring a warm sleeping bag). If you develop symptoms of COVID, test positive, or have a known exposure, let us know as soon as possible.

 

Thank you! Tapadh leat! Merci! Wela’lin! for reading through this overview. Please tick the box on the “detailed registration” form you return to us, to confirm that you consent to these expectations. Keep a copy of this document.

 

Camino Nova Scotia is a trademark of Atlantic School of Theology.

All materials related to Camino Nova Scotia are copyright

© 2023 Atlantic School of Theology.

The ABCs of Preparing for

Camino Nova Scotia 2023

 

Local Caminos in Nova Scotia:

What to Pack, How to Train, & More

 

 

Be a bright flame before me, O God

a guiding star above me.

Be a smooth path below me,

a kindly shepherd behind me

today, tonight, and for ever.

-attributed to Calum Cille/St. Columba

 

 

Please read through this entire “alphabet” for your packing guide and walking tips. Things to pack are below in red!

 

Adventure – Welcome to the adventure!  Pilgrimage is an ancient practice of taking an outward journey to the explore the inner geography of our spiritual lives … and receive a blessing. In this guide, you’ll find tips to help you prepare physically and spiritually for our walking pilgrimages.

 

Beginnings – Our local Caminos begin the night before the walk, with a gathering of the group at or near the trailhead to meet each other and to discuss expectations. The walk starts the following morning bright & early.

 

In the weeks after you register on Eventbrite, you will receive a detailed registration packet, that will ask for more details about your needs (for instance, dietary needs, transport etc). At the same time, we will get more detailed information from you that we need, such as emergency contacts, cell phone numbers etc, and answer any subsequent questions you may have about the walk.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Participants who sign up in advance for shuttle service will meet on campus at Atlantic School of Theology, 660 Francklyn St., Halifax, NS, on your day of departure.  We will contact you in advance with the exact departure time.

 

Parking is available at AST (see Parking).

 

Blisters – Blisters are very common and can be agonising after a full day of walking.  Prevention is key. The best blister prevention is to break in your shoes/boots before attempting a long walk. Advance training is a must!  Invest in good footwear & wool socks (more under Footwear) and pay attention to any areas that rub. Cover those “hot spots” with bandages, gauze, tape, etc. as soon as they form. Stay hydrated. Changing socks part-way through a long day of walking can be helpful.

 

   Wisdom from a past participant about blisters

“For blister prevention, the 3 important things are shoes, socks, and hydration. Sweaty, wet socks make blisters. The good news with Merino wool is that they won't smell if you reuse them … at least the first week. Drink a litre or two of water after you finish for the day, and your skin will be tough and sturdy the next day.”

 

Calum Cille (St. Columba) – Calum Cille, whose Gaelic name means “the dove of the church,” was an Irish monk and missionary. Around 563 CE he set off in a small boat with a few companions from the northwest tip of Ireland, landing some time later on the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland. Their journey and the monastery Calum Cille founded on Iona were deeply significant in the early Christian history of the British Isles. Iona, “the holy isle,” is still frequented by thousands of pilgrims annually.

 

The legends & legacy of Calum Cille continue to be celebrated among the Gaels of Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Nova Scotia. He is the namesake of the St. Columba chapel at Atlantic School of Theology and his journeys of faith are part of the inspiration for Camino Nova Scotia. As we walk, we remember Calum Cille/St. Columba, the traveller who blessed strangers & companions, islands & people.

 

Cash – You won’t need much money once we are underway. But you may wish to bring some Canadian dollars or a credit/debit card to buy the occasional drink, ice cream, snack, gift, or souvenir along the way. 

 

Cellphones – Coverage is good in some places and (especially in Cape Breton) almost nonexistant in others. We will not have access to wifi in every place we stay overnight, though local cafes etc. may offer this. Some pilgrims choose to unplug and leave their phones and gadgets at home. The Camino NS staff do carry cellphones to be contacted in case of emergency.

 

Chores – Helping each other is part of being in community.  To build up our “company of pilgrims” – and to get things done! Everyone is expected to help with the daily tasks of setting out meals, loading the van, tidying up, etc. Staff will announce & coordinate chores but feel free to step up voluntarily as you see a need.

 

Directions – Most days, daily sheets with route info and directions will be distributed. Please use them. Keep an eye out for fellow travellers to avoid getting lost. If you stick to the directions, you won’t lose your way (most of the paths we follow are linear former rail-lines, so large and generally well-marked).

 

Distances – Closely estimated distances will be provided on the info sheets you will receive each day. Our shortest distance is ~15 km. The longest distance may be up to ~29 km.  NOTE: these are approximate measures! You can set your own pace and take rest stops whenever you’d like.

 

Diversity – Pilgrimage appeals to all sorts of people, for all sorts of reasons. You can expect the pilgrim group to include a diversity of ages, genders, sexual orientations, cultural backgrounds, and spiritual perspectives. Travelling together creates many opportunities to practice mutual respect & hospitality towards each other. 

 

Endings – The pilgrimages will wrap up with a short ceremony and farewell the morning after the final day of walking. If you have signed up for shuttle service, transportation back to the Atlantic School of Theology campus in Halifax will be provided.

 

Food – Meals (and morning coffee and tea) are provided. Camino NS staff purchase and supply the food or arrange for catering. Breakfast is set out for self-serve, along with the day's lunch fixings and snacks (to create your own lunch to carry with you). Supper, whether catered or made on site, is a common meal, prepared & cleaned up by the willing. (Part of camino communitas!) Evening snacks are provided too. If you have dietary needs, please advise Director Matthew Anderson well in advance of the walk (this is part of your detailed registration). In a few places, we need to honour nut-free policies of our host churches & community halls. As occasion allows, you are welcome to avail yourself of local pubs, etc. along the route. Excessive use of alcohol or other drugs will not be tolerated.

 

Footwear – Good quality hiking footwear is essential! The terrain is mostly flat but you’ll be walking long distances, so trail/hiking shoes are great option. Running shoes won’t offer enough support and hiking boots add unnecessary weight for this kind of walking.  If you opt for waterproof shoes/boots, make sure they’re breathable (e.g. GoreTex).  Some walkers have had trouble with waterproof boots/shoes—the lack of breathability makes blisters far more likely. Many hikers find that wool, smartwool, or Merino socks help against blisters too. Some say “cotton is rotten”! Bring extra socks with you each day to switch them partway through the day. The staff at a good outdoor store generally give solid advice when it comes to the fit & function of different hiking shoes. Don’t start a walk with new shoes. Break them in well in advance!

 

Gaelic-themes – A rich Gaelic culture shapes much of Nova Scotia.  Between 1773 and 1855, an estimated 50,000 Gaels immigrated from the highlands and islands of Scotland to Nova Scotia. By the late 1800s, there were approx 100,000 Gaelic speakers in Nova Scotia, primarily in Cape Breton and along the Northumberland Strait. Though discriminated against for their Gaelic language and culture, many Nova Scotia Gaels persevered in maintaining their language, culture, and identity. 

 

Today, Nova Scotia is the only region outside Europe where Gaelic language, culture, and identity continue to be passed down through the generations, and where Gaelic is spoken as a community language.

 

In recognition of the special richness of Gaelic culture in this region, Camino Nova Scotia, working with the Office of Gaelic Affair of the Province of Nova Scotia, incorporates Gaelic themes, language, and history into its walks, especially in Cape Breton along the Celtic Shores Trail.

 

The symbol of the Gaels of Nova Scotia is a salmon in the shape of the letter ‘G’. The salmon represents the gifts of knowledge and wisdom in the Gaelic tradition. The ‘G’ represents Gaels as a people, and how their unique Gaelic language informs their culture, and identity. The ripples flowing out from the salmon reflect the manifestation of these through song, story, music, dance, foodways, lineage, customs, beliefs, and hereditary connections to place.

 

Gear - We encourage light and compact packing!!! Bring a daypack for your water, lunch, TP, directions & personal items.  Your daypack should be sturdy & comfortable, since you’ll be wearing it a lot. Consider investing in a pack with contoured, padded shoulder straps & an adjustable waistband and/or sternum strap. Your overnight bag will be transported for you to the next destination.

 

Recommended Personal Gear List

aim for a small carry-on size suitcase or equivalent for your gear

  • Hiking shoes or boots  

 (** **BREAK IN YOUR SHOES NOW – DON’T WAIT** **)

  • 3-5 pairs of socks (wool / “smartwool” /Merino is strongly recommended!)

  • water bottle(s) or hydration pack – 1 litre size is recommended

  • sunscreen and wide-brim hat

  • insect repellant

  • good quality rain jacket & pants (or waterproof poncho) – A MUST

  • small personal first aid kit, including blister care products (moleskin, Polysporin, gauze & tape, adhesive bandages)

  • towel & facecloth

  • personal toiletries (travel size)

  • earplugs (a must for group pilgrimage experiences)

  • facemask(s)

  • shirts/t-shirts/trousers/skirt/shorts (the weather in Nova Scotia can be ANYTHING: hot/warm/wet/cool)

  • sweater/sweatshirt

  • a bandana or hankie or 2

  • small roll of TP for the trail

  • comfortable footwear for the evenings (e.g. sandals, sneakers)

  • cell phone/charger (though many folks like to UNPLUG – it’s up to you)

  • Bedroll: sleeping bag; small pillow (if desired); mat or air mattress (or be sure to request an air mattress from Camino NS); single sheet (to cover air mattress)

** Please advise the Pilgrimage Coordinator in advance if you’d like to borrow an air mattress from CNS**

 

Optional Personal Gear

  • flashlight or headlamp (VERY useful for night trips to the lou)

  • camera/charger/batteries

  • personal journal & pens/pencils

  • painkillers/anti-inflammatories, muscular ache ointment

  • walking poles

  • swimsuit and quick-dry towel to carry with you for an impromptu dip (although, PLEASE never swim in the ocean alone, or before checking whether a beach is safe!)

  • book

  • personal music player & earphones

  • small, compact 1-person tent (OPTIONAL) – if you prefer to sleep outdoors **Some, but not all of our overnight venues/hosts may allow tenting

 

 

Green your camino – You’ll be packing a lunch & snacks every day.  To reduce your lunchtime trash, you’re welcome to bring reusable containers.  Also, be sure to bring one or two sturdy water bottles – you’ll be able to refill them throughout the day.

 

Insurance – For Nova Scotia residents, please ensure that your provincial health insurance is in good standing.  For all participants, the purchase of additional personal insurance is at your own discretion and is your responsibility.

 

Laundry – Clothes washing in machines will NOT be available.  You may wish to bring a small amount of laundry soap to hand-wash a few items along the way, although it is likely easier simply to pack a few essentials in your luggage and do your laundry following the Camino.

 

Leadership – The Camino NS Director is the Rev. Dr. Matthew Anderson. Matthew walks, publishes, teaches, and podcasts about pilgrimage and about settler-descendant - Indigenous relations in Canada. Matthew is an ordained Lutheran minister, a longstanding member of the Canadian ecumenical movement, and an avid long-distance walker. He also teaches part-time at Concordia University and St Francis Xavier University.

 

Each walk has a dedicated team of support staff, along with volunteers, friends of CNS, & guest presenters on Gaelic, Acadian, or Mi'kmaq culture along the way.

 

Meals - Breakfast is set out for self-serve. Lunch fixings and daytime snacks are also laid out in the morning for a pack-your-own. Supper is a common meal, prepared & cleaned up by the willing. Evening snacks are provided. We do our best to accommodate food restrictions. 

 

Parking – For those who sign up for the shuttle service, parking is available at Atlantic School of Theology (660 Francklyn St., Halifax).  Please note that there is NOT 24-hour security of the parking lot.  AST is not responsible for any theft or damage to vehicles. Please park in the large lower parking lot, near the water, and place a sign in your dashboard: “Camino Participant.”

 

Path - The paths we walk will generally  be gravelled, not covered in roots and rocks; and any inclines are very slight. The route is divided between (1) trails (dirt, crushed gravel, rough gravel, or asphalt) and (2) secondary roads. 

 

Prayer – We meet for morning and evening reflection each day as a whole group.  Attendance is optional, but you are welcome and encouraged to join in. Opportunities for meditation throughout the day are plentiful...it kind of happens naturally when one walks!

 

Price – Participant fees cover approx. 80% of the costs of providing the CNS experience. The balance is funded by grants from the Province of Nova Scotia and individual donors. Donations can be made here (scroll down to Camino NS in the drop-down menu): https://www.astheology.ns.ca/home/giving/donate-now.html

 

Rest – Rest whenever you like. Camino NS is a mobile retreat: a time away from our ordinary work and responsibilities, giving us time to reflect and refocus on what is important. Taking care of our bodies is important too.

 

Route – Daily instructions giving kilometrage and routing will be provided to walkers. As well, CNS staff will be on the route with pilgrims and reachable by phone in case of problems.

Schedule – a typical daily routine – We try to keep it simple.                   

7 am                Rise, eat, prepare a packed lunch

8:30 am           Morning meditation

9 am                Begin the day’s walk as a group; individual speed will vary as the

                         day unfolds      

Lunchtime       Take a break in a beautiful spot

2-4 pm             Arrive at our evening destination

6 pm                Share a common meal

7 pm                Relax, reflect with a guest speaker or musician…or….

8:30 pm           Group conversation about the day’s experiences

9:15 pm           Compline (evening prayer, together)

10 pm              ... ZZZZZZZ

 

Showers – We will only have access to showers at campgrounds, municipal pools, etc. about 2-3 times during a normal week's walk.

 

Sleeping arrangements – To keep the budget low and provide a real communal experience, we sleep overnight on the floor of host churches and community halls. Private rooms are (usually) not possible, but some walkers prefer to bring a compact tent! (Note that tenting may not be an option every night, as some venues do not allow it.) Bring your own sleeping bag, pillow, and camping mat or air mattress. (We can provide an air mattress if needed! Just let us know in advance). We will pay close attention to ventilation. We are also providing a Corsi-Rosenthal box (air filter) for the common area.

 

Speed – CNS’s 2023 Caminos are not a race. Travel at your own pace. Speed up, slow down, rest, take a break, enjoy the world around you. Walk alone, walk with others. It’s up to you. Our evening meal, cold drinks, friends, and a place to sleep will be there whenever you arrive. 

 

Substances – To respect the regulations of our overnight host sites, and in the spirit of pilgrimage simplicity and contemplation, alcohol is not served at dinner. It isn't forbidden, and as occasion allows, you are welcome to avail yourself of local pubs, etc. along the route. Disruptive drinking and/or illicit drug use will not be tolerated, and pilgrims may be asked to head home early. Some pilgrims have chosen to use a walking pilgrimage as a chance to quit smoking! This is difficult to do, and we don't require it. We do ask that smoking be done only outdoors and only at a safe distance from fellow walkers who may have medical reasons to avoid second-hand smoke.

 

Support vehicle – If you are tired or injured, getting a lift in the van is not hard to arrange. However, you might have to wait a little while to be located and collected. The van is also used to purchase each day’s supplies and we use it to transport your overnight bag/gear to the next destination. You need only to carry a daypack for water, lunch, etc.

 

This Isn’t Spain – Although we are pilgrims like the Camino de Santiago pilgrims, we adopt more communal practices on CNS. See (for example) Schedule, Chores, Meals, Prayer. Be open to what this experience can be!

 

Ticks – Ticks are a reality in Nova Scotia, so please be prepared with insect repellant, proper clothing, and awareness.  Read up ahead of time on how to avoid and remove them: https://novascotia.ca/ticksafety/

 

Training – Training is essential.  START TRAINING NOW!  Daily 1-2 hour walks are a good idea, with longer walks (3-5 hours) at least once a week.  As your endurance increases, try back-to-back days of longer walks. You will be fit and ready!

 

Washrooms - While indoor plumbing (toilets and sinks) is available to us morning and evening, we often will NOT pass a washroom or outhouse during the day. Bring toilet paper in your daypack for these festive occasions. Some professional outback hikers swear by carrying a hand spade with which to bury toilet paper and poo. We want to tread lightly on the Land, so please don't litter non-biodegradable items such as plastic tampon applicators (for these, bring along a Ziplock bag or some such, to transport them to the next garbage can).

 

Water – Do bring a water container. Even if you don't normally drink much water, your body needs it walking over 20 kms in a day, because you dehydrate through sweat and breathing. Tap water in Nova Scotia is great, and you can fill up in the mornings. The Camino NS support team will also arrange water stops along each day's route so you can refill.

 

Zero trace – On pilgrimage, we aim to leave behind only footprints and pleasant encounters. Please pack out your trash.

 

Testimonials from past participants

 

“A wonderful space for intentional community & spiritual growth

—more meaningful than I ever imagined”

 

“I have been inspired and shown how to begin a ‘walk’ with the Spirit.”

 

“It was a terrific experience… The team did a great job of anticipating needs

and offering appropriate support.”

 

“I liked roughing it. Sleeping on church floors really makes one appreciate

hot showers and clean clothes.”

 

“Knowing that each day would be threaded through with the company of others meant that even when I was alone on the trail, I felt safe because others were at either end of the trail.

An ease developed, in which people drifted together and apart.”

 

“An incredible experience.  I feel blessed to have been a part of this lovely group of people.”

 

 

 

Camino Nova Scotia is a trademark of Atlantic School of Theology.

All materials related to Camino Nova Scotia are copyright

© 2023 Atlantic School of Theology.

 

Source: https://gaelic.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/inline/documents/gaelic-nova-scotia-a-resource-guide.pdf

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