Holly Thompson's 600km Spanish Trek - East Cheshire Hospice

Holly Thompson’s 600km Spanish Trek

Student Holly Thompson prepared for her graduation ceremony by walking across northern Spain in scorching temperatures.


Student Holly Thompson who raised funds in memory of her friend Alex Boyle.


The heatwave that affected Europe did not cool Holly’s enthusiasm for a trek in memory of close friend Alex Boyle, from Macclesfield.

Alex died from a rare form of bone cancer in 2019 and was a patient at East Cheshire Hospice.

Holly, with four friends, walked part of the Camino del Norte, a route along the Bay of Biscay from Santander to Santiago de Compostela.

A journey of almost 600 kilometres was crammed into three weeks as one of the group had to be back to work.


Holly Thompson on her Spanish adventure.


Holly, who raised more than £1,000 for the Hospice, said:  “The walk’s been popular with pilgrims since medieval times, ending at the cathedral in Santiago.

“We were walking in temperatures of 38 degrees some days, so started at 5.30 am when it was much cooler. Thankfully, there were water fountains along the route and one day the elevation was 1,800 metres.

“I really enjoyed the experience and all we did was wake up, walk, find shelter and food. But because I’m vegan that was challenging at times.

“My knees started giving away near the end and were pretty painful, but it was worth it in memory of Alex.

“He’d beaten cancer once and unfortunately it came back a lot stronger a few months later. He tried to stay at home as long as possible and then went into the Hospice.

“His family said how good the Hospice were and I know it runs on 80 per cent donations which is absolutely insane, so I decided I wanted to do something to help.

“Other families who’re going through the same thing will need their support and I know how important it was for his family.”


Alex Boyle who was a patient at East Cheshire Hospice.


No sooner had Holly returned than she was graduating from Lancaster University with a degree in physics. Further studies can wait as she is travelling to south east Asia and then Australia.

Holly said: “There are different walking routes in northern Spain and I’d recommend it to anyone. It was lovely meeting different people and we’ll  do it again next year, but another route.”

* The Hospice is organising a five-day trek on the Camino way in northern Spain from Oct 14-21 year.

For more details about the 115-kilometre walk visit eastcheshirehospice.org.uk/events/trek-2023

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