My pal John Brierley, who has died of most cancers aged 75, was the creator of bestselling guidebooks to the pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.
John believed that the Camino de Santiago expertise may remodel people for the higher and that they in flip may remodel our world. His guidebooks give strolling instructions and particulars of lodging, and supply inspiration for what he known as “the interior, non secular journey”. The books have been written from his personal expertise that strolling lengthy distances on pilgrimage might be a time for private reflection, renewal and alter.
The second youngest of 4 youngsters of Martin Brierley, managing director for a automobile producer, and Betty (nee Martin), John was born in Wolverhampton, though his household subsequently moved to Eire, the place he was educated at St Columba’s faculty, Dublin. He certified as a chartered surveyor, and arrange in follow as Brierley & Co. In 1977 he married Jill Hollwey, with whom he had a son and two daughters.
By his late 30s he was to all appearances profitable. Nonetheless, more and more he felt that his life lacked which means and that he needed to change. The household house was bought to fund a travelling journey in a camper van. Throughout this journey he found pilgrims strolling from France to Santiago de Compostela the place, it’s stated, the tomb of the apostle Saint James lies.
He was deeply drawn to the idea of pilgrimage and determined to stroll the Camino to Santiago, however first he had different adjustments to make to his life. He resigned from his agency, then he and his household moved to stay within the Findhorn non secular neighborhood in Moray, within the north of Scotland.
Two years later his ambition to stroll from the small French city of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port throughout the Pyrenees, and onward to Santiago, was fulfilled. This proved a life-changing expertise.
Nonetheless, he had discovered little details about it, and was impressed by the concept he ought to write a guidebook. His first information to that very route from France, generally known as the Camino Francés, was revealed in 2003. It proved to be massively profitable, and different guidebooks to the Camino routes from Portugal and past quickly adopted.
I first met John after I interviewed him for a pilgrim publication in 2010. By that point his books had bought 40,000 copies in seven years. Now, 1m copies have been revealed in a number of languages. John needed to share his success together with his beloved Camino, and made beneficiant donations to many pilgrim causes – the Confraternity of Saint James within the UK; the pilgrim albergue (hostel) in Rabanal del Camino, Spain, to purchase new beds; the albergue in Alpriate, Portugal, to restore the roof; and lots of extra.
Latterly John was seized with the concept of creating the Camino Portugués, from Lisbon to Santiago, to create a viable long-distance strolling route as a substitute for the more and more busy Camino Francés. Within the weeks earlier than he died he presided over the formation of a collaboration between pilgrim associations the world over to attain this, and supplied a big donation to determine the venture.
Lately his daughter Gemma grew to become concerned in producing the guidebooks.
John is survived by his spouse and kids, Benjamin, Georgina and Gemma, and his three sisters.