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Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen joins six other celebrities for new series of Pilgrimage

Will Bayley, Scarlett Moffatt, Monty Panesar, Louisa Clein, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Shazia Mirza and Nick Hewer, who are all undertaking a 15-day pilgrimage through the UK (BBC/PA)
Will Bayley, Scarlett Moffatt, Monty Panesar, Louisa Clein, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Shazia Mirza and Nick Hewer, who are all undertaking a 15-day pilgrimage through the UK (BBC/PA)

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen says he has never “walked so far not wearing Cuban heels” ahead of his 15-day pilgrimage with six other celebrities.

The three-part BBC Two show consists of 60-minute episodes and will show seven celebrities undertake a challenging journey through the UK in the latest instalment of the Pilgrimage series.

Left to right: Shazia Mirza, Louisa Clein, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Scarlett Moffatt, Will Bayley, (Bottom) Nick Hewer, and Monty Panesar, who are all undertaking a 15-day pilgrimage through the UK (BBC/PA)

The celebrities all have different faiths and beliefs but will undertake the same 1,600km journey on foot and by boat in the aim of finding spiritual awakening.

Llewelyn-Bowen said: “I think pilgrimage is about clearing out your mental closet by physical exertion and by spiritual conversation with yourself or, if you believe it, then conversation with your God…

“I know I come across as all sort of flouncy and floppy and rather cavalier, but I am capable of existing in the real world.

“However, I don’t think I’ve walked so far not wearing Cuban heels.”

The 56-year-old interior designer, who describes himself as a non-conforming pagan, will be joined by ex-England cricketer and practising Sikh, Monty Panesar, 39, actress Louisa Clein, 42, who is Jewish, and TV personality Nick Hewer, 78, an agnostic with Catholic roots.

Hewer said: “I’m doing the pilgrimage because I’m very curious and I want to know whether what the others believe in is genuine and how they got there and am I missing out on something?

“I’d hate to think, at the age of 78 with only a few more years left, whether I’m actually, short-changing myself.

“My greatest fear is the walking… I want to do it in the right spirit because like so many old men, I can be awkward, sometimes…”

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Nick Hewer is among seven celebrities taking on a 15-day spiritual pilgrimage (Ian West/PA)

Also undertaking the challenge is 31-year-oldTV star, Scarlett Moffatt, who is a Christian, Muslim comedian Shazia Mirza, 39, and Paralympian Will Bayley, 34, who describes himself as a lapsed Christian.

The 15-day pilgrimage follows the footsteps of sixth century Irish monk, Saint Columba and runs through Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Columba is known as a key figure in early British Christianity and helped to spread the faith from Ireland to Scotland and beyond.

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Scarlett Moffatt is among seven celebrities taking on a 15-day spiritual pilgrimage (David Parry/PA)

Moffatt said: “I believe in God, there has to be something that started all this, I would describe myself as Christian, but not a strict Christian.

“I don’t go to church, but I definitely believe and religion to me is security.

“In my head somebody on a pilgrimage is in a loin cloth and they have really long hair…and they look a bit dehydrated like they need a good moisturiser mask.

“I’m doing the pilgrimage as I want to know what my religion is, I want to be able to answer that question with confidence.”

Summer weather July 4th 2018
Rossnowlagh beach in Co Donegal, Ireland. The pilgrimage will begin in Donegal and end in Iona, an island in the Inner Hebrides (Archive/PA)

Beginning in the Republic of Ireland, the celebrities will walk through Northern Ireland then take a boat to western Scotland.

They will then continue the pilgrimage towards the Highlands and explore the Hebridean Isle of Lewis and Harris before travelling to Stornaway and to the Calanais Stones.

Their final destination is Iona, a tiny island in the Inner Hebrides and the site of Saint Columba’s most revered monastery.

Pilgrimage: The Road To The Scottish Isles will air on BBC Two and online streaming service BBC iPlayer in spring.

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