The “Via Sacra” Walk is a 21-day walk along a large portion of the Western Front beginning on 22 June and ending on 12 July, 2016. The walk is being organized by a team under the leadership of Sir Anthony Seldon, author of over 30 books on British history and other topics.
“Inspired by the story of an ancestor who was wounded on the Western Front in 1915, Anthony has always been interested in the history of the First World War… The walk was first described a hundred years ago by Second Lieutenant Douglas Gillespie, the night before he died at the Battle of Loos, in a letter to his headmaster back at school. He wanted a “Via Sacra” (sacred road) to be established after the war, along which all would walk to remind them of the grief that war causes. The motive for the walk is to remind people about the consequences of war and to commemorate all those who fell. I will be fund-raising for Médecins Sans Frontières. If there is a message in the walk, it is that there is a danger to countries retreating into nationalism, as they did in the years leading up to 1914.”
For readers of this blog, three days of the walk are of particular interest:
Day 4, 25 June; a 19 mile, 7.5 hour walk from Pont-á-Mousson to Montsec
Day 5, 26 June; a 16 mile, 5.75 hour walk around the Verdun Battlefields
Day 6, 27 June; a 14 mile, 4.5 hour walk from Samogneux to Romagne
The team’s website, http://www.viasacrawalk2016.org.uk/, provides details, contacts, videos and donation information. Readers are encouraged to view the website, and those readers who will be in the area are encouraged to walk a portion of the “Via Sacra.”
The webmaster thanks Christina Holstein, who first alerted him to this unique commemoration event.