London 2012: Artists' Cultural Olympiad Welsh pilgrimage

Llanthony Abbey
Image caption The pilgrimage from Monmouthshire to Pembrokeshire gets underway at Llanthony Abbey, Monmouthshire

A group of artists have begun a 22-day pilgrimage-style walk across Wales as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Crossing from Monmouthshire to Pembrokeshire, the group says it will take a snapshot of Wales in 2012.

The "pilgrims" will spend their journey collecting and telling stories, before the event culminates with a celebration at St Davids Cathedral.

The public is also being urged to take part, with walks organised by the Ramblers Wales.

"We wanted to have a celebration of what is great about Wales, but how we were going to get there was a bit of a conundrum," explained one of the organisers, Clare Williams.

"So about 30 artists gathered together two years ago and sat round the table and then this chap walked in - and initially I thought he was completely bonkers.

"He came in and said: 'Actually - I'd really like to walk across Wales, and tell stories on the way, and let's emulate the spirit of pilgrimage, collect artworks on the way'.

"It was a fabulous idea."

Walkers invited

Organised under the banner of the Welsh government's Cauldrons and Furnaces programme, the walkers will link the historic Cadw sites of Blaenavon Ironworks, Caerphilly, Laugharne and Kidwelly castles and St Davids Bishop's Palace, arriving in St Davids on 7 July.

"Everywhere they go they are going to give something to the people that they meet, and take something from the people they meet, said Ms Williams.

"They might take a cup of tea or they might take an anecdote, or they might take a photograph.

"The idea then is that all of these artworks, all these memories, all these anecdotes will be collected together to record a snapshot of Wales in the summer of 2012."

Andrew Dugmore, who was the original inspiration behind the idea, will act as the guide.

"We all come from different backgrounds. We'll start off at 11:30 and walk for 22 days as a small group of pilgrims, and as we walk others will join us," he said.

"If anybody is out there that wants to taste and experience what it is like to walk amongst pilgrims, the Welsh Ramblers' Association are organising public day walks to coincide with part of our journey."

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