Storytellers – Walks

The Story Tellers evening for August was themed as WALKS.

Started off with a presentation by Ian Booth and occasionally prompted by his wife, Pru who has accompanied Ian on most of the walks and including KUMANO KODO

There are 2 World heritage Pilgrimage Treks. The Camino de Santiago, which most people have heard about, and the Kumano Kodo, which hardly anyone has heard about. It is in the Kii Peninsula in the south of Honshu Is., Japan.

The Kumano region is where Buddhism started in Japan, by a Shinto Priest, named Kukai, who was commissioned by the Emperor of Japan in 804AD to bring back Buddhism from China.  Approximately 400,000 pilgrims  (almost entirely Japanese) now hike some part/s of the Kumano Kodo various routes every year. Pru and Ian travelled from Osaka to Katsura, a tuna village on the East coast, hiking, self guided, over 240Km, up and down the difficult mountainous ridges of the Nakahechi Route.

It included stays with the Monks in Koyasan, which was founded by Kukai, and still has 117 amazing temples, plus a mausoleum housing Kobo Daishi (as Kukai is now called) resting in eternal meditation.  The 2 week trek was a fascinating, very moving, highly spiritual experience, including the 3 Sanzan (sacred shrines) of Kumano and the oldest and smallest (Yunomine) Onsen in the world (only 2 people at once) and arguably, also the largest, the 1,000 man pool in the Oto river at Kawayu Onsen.

A fascinating adventure and one, which was helped by their ability to understand Japanese to a certain extent. Ian did a great job with the photos and offered if anyone interested also had a short video on the walk that he had compiled over the 2-week walk. Just email to the facilitator and this request would be passed on to Ian.

IAN BOOTH in action describing part of the walk with background of Pru and Ian on trail.

IAN BOOTH in action describing part of the walk with background of Pru and Ian on trail.

Jan Davies presented the second part of the evening.  Jan was the organiser behind the THREE CAPES WALK in Tasmania in April with 11 other women, mainly BBC members.
A very well presented talk of each day’s walk with accompanying pictures depicting the walk, the flora, occasionally fauna and most topically, pictures of happy trekkers sharing the newest walk in Tasmania’s wilderness.  A programme that so far has cost about 25 million dollars.
This promises to be one of the epic walks of Southern Hemisphere.

The walk started at Port Arthur by boat across to the peninsula and then a 4 -day walk camping in new ecco-lodges.  The walk finished in Fortesque Bay with a well deserved swim.

Food has to be carried in along with own clothes and sleeping bags.  Any rubbish was walked out.  The integrity of the project was protected to the point where the toilet refuse was air lifted out by chopper back to the mainland for disposal.

Jan Davies with Totem Pole in background on screen

Jan Davies with Totem Pole in background on screen

Jan explained that to build the track, 17,400 helicopter drops of equipment, building material and such was required over a period of a couple of years.

The accompanying photos of the track aligned with Jan’s description were extremely well presented and well received by the group.

Great shots of the scenery along a very rugged coastline.  A place well worth to visit.