A group of Spanish pilgrims with motor neurone disease are lobbying for improved access for wheelchair users on the Camino de Santiago. Source: The Tablet.
The 60-strong group, including volunteer helpers, have delivered a 30-page travel log, noting the places on the Camino where access for wheelchair users needs improving, to the Pilgrim Office in Santiago de Compostela.
At one point on their seven-day journey through Galicia, the group was forced to travel along a main road because a bridge on the official Camino route could not accommodate wheelchairs.
The organiser, Carmen Martin, told the Archdiocese of Madrid’s Alfa y Omega that she hoped Camino authorities “would at least take a look” at their complaints.
“Probably not everything can be fixed in one go, but things could be improved bit by bit. It would be very sad if we came back next year only to come up against the same hurdles,” Ms Martin said.
Most of those on the CompostELA 23 pilgrimage had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS – known as ELA in Spanish), the most common form of motor neurone disease.
The group is campaigning for a “Camino de Santiago that is universal, accessible and inclusive”, and gave a 40 per cent rating to the Camino’s current accessibility for wheelchair users.
Of the 344,969 pilgrims in 2023 to have obtained a Compostela – a certificate stating they have travelled at least 100 km to the shrine of St James – 150 have come in wheelchairs.
Wheelchair pilgrims call for Camino improvements (By Bess Twiston Davies, The Tablet)