Camino Interfaith Peace Pilgrimage 2020

COVID 19 Update

Following government advice on travel during COVID19 outbreak this years Camino has sadly been cancelled.


Dates: May wed 27th  - June Wed 3rd

Location: Camino de Santiago, Spain

Photograph of students sitting together on the ground in a forest on a Camino pilgrimage

Deadline for Applications  24th of March 2020 at 9:00am

Experience Our 2020 Camino Peace Pilgrimage is  a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and the charitable foundation Heartbeat. It consists of 14 people (intergenerational) from many religious traditions and spiritual backgrounds walking 100 miles/160 km of the ancient Spanish Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route together. Each day will include various spiritual practices (yoga, meditation, and prayer), hearing each other’s stories, and about 10-18 mi/16-29 km of walking. There will also be short periods of time set aside for silence as we walk the Spanish countryside and northern coast. The group will eat breakfast and dinner at each hosting albergue and lunches will be in small-town marketplaces.

Pilgrims We are looking for people interested in the intersection of peace activism, religion and spirituality, and environmental concern, who want to engage in multi-faith dialogue. Because the group will be traveling from the U.K. to Spain, a valid passport and relevant VISA are required.

Details Wednesday  May 27th – Wednesday  June 3rd  2020 We will begin in Edinburgh on Wed 27th May with a meal at the home of John Philip and Ali Newell and fly to Spain later that day to begin walking the Camino Del Norte for six days, from Santander to Ribadesella, returning to Edinburgh on Wed June 3rd.  

Scholarship for University of Edinburgh Students Successful applicants will pay a participant fee of £150 (*see extra costs below). Please complete the online application and have a teacher, mentor, spiritual leader, or advisor fill out the online reference form.  Your airfare will be paid for, from Edinburgh to Spain (return). If you have any questions when filling out the form please contact Revd Ali Newell on

Successful applicants will receive the following: Airfare from Edinburgh, Scotland to Santander, Spain (and return) Sleeping accommodations for seven nights during the pilgrimage Breakfast and dinner each day Bus and train transportation in Spain Admission to Tito Bustillo Caves Tour in Ribadesella and Gaudi House in Comillas Guided navigation on the Camino del Norte (northern route of the Camino de Santiago) A complimentary copy of Listening for the Heartbeat of God by John Philip Newell (to be read before the pilgrimage)

Extra Costs: Lunch each day: £5 per day for a total of £35 for the week Equipment: each participant will be required to supply their own equipment (small backpack, sturdy hiking shoes, rain jacket, etc.). A packing list will be sent a few months before the pilgrimage

Photograph of Ali Newell

Expectations The Camino Peace Pilgrimage is a physically rigorous experience. Multiple days include walking up to 18 miles/29 kilometers in a day, often with challenging elevation changes and a lot of long and steep hills. Pilgrims are expected to train extensively in the weeks before beginning to prevent pain or injury while on the walk. While some of the accommodations are more  comfortable than others, some include a bunk bed in a simple hostel, and a few nights include a shared double size bed with another person of the same gender. During group sharing time, participants are sometimes sitting on the ground or the floor.

Interfaith Leaders The Pilgrimage will be co-led by Ali Newell, Associate Chaplain and PhD student Estifa’a Zaid. Ali lives in Edinburgh where she is Associate Chaplain at Edinburgh University where she leads eco-spirituality courses, coordinates interfaith work, co-founded the University Syrian refugee tutoring programme and offers weekly wellbeing practices. Ali is a co-founder of Heartbeat which celebrates the sacredness of life and looks for the Light within all people and deep within the earth. It has a mission to cross barriers of difference and seek healing for our world between religious traditions and for our planet in environmental crisis.  Ali is a Christian minister, and spiritual director. She has four children and 3 grandchildren and is married to co-founder of Heartbeat, John Philip Newell.

Estifa’a is a PhD student at Edinburgh University studying Physics. She spent a year of her undergraduate degree in Vancouver conducting research in particle physics. Estifa’a is an active member of the University Chaplaincy. She was president of the Islamic Society and is a cofounder and coordinator of the Syrian teenage tutoring program. She has been part of the widening effort to create support networks and representation for minorities in Edinburgh and more generally in the UK. Estifa’a is of Afro-Arab origins and identifies as a practicing Muslim. If you have any questions please contact Revd Ali Newell on

Photograph of Esti Ziad