On Foot to Canterbury

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On Foot to Canterbury

A Son's Pilgrimage

Ken Haigh


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“My father didn’t need this walk, not the way I do. For him it would have been a fun way to spend some time with his son. He had, I begin to realize, a talent for living in the moment… Perhaps a pilgrimage would help me find happiness. Perhaps I could walk my way into a better frame of mind, and somehow along the road to Canterbury I would find a new purpose for my life. It was worth a shot.”

Setting off on foot from Winchester, Ken Haigh hikes across southern England, retracing one of the traditional routes that medieval pilgrims followed to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Walking in honour of his father, a staunch Anglican who passed away before they could begin their trip together, Haigh wonders: Is there a place in the modern secular world for pilgrimage? On his journey, he sorts through his own spiritual aimlessness while crossing paths with writers like Anthony Trollope, John Keats, Jane Austen, Jonathan Swift, Charles Dickens, and, of course, Geoffrey Chaucer. Part travelogue, part memoir, and part literary history, On Foot to Canterbury is engaging and delightful.


Ken Haigh:
Ken Haigh has lived in China, Bhutan, and on Baffin Island. His memoir of life as a teacher in eastern Bhutan, Under the Holy Lake, was published by The University of Alberta Press in 2008. His second, and most recent book, On Foot to Canterbury chronicles Ken's walk along the Pilgrims' Way between Winchester and Canterbury, and was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Ken enjoys hiking, reading travel narratives, and playing the 5-string banjo.  He lives in Clarksburg, Ontario, Canada, on the shores of Georgian Bay, where he works as a freelance writer and librarian.