Phoebe takes part in 90-mile St Patrick’s Way walk.. carrying baby on back

Phoebe takes part in 90-mile St Patrick’s Way walk.. carrying baby on back

8 September 2021

AN international travel writer and adventurer has conquered 90 miles of St Patrick’s Way on foot with her baby son on her back.

Phoebe Smith — whose exploits include travelling in the Australian Outback and the Arctic — completed her journey from Armagh to Downpatrick over five days.

The mum and her baby, known as ‘Baby B’, ended their journey at Saint Patrick’s Grave in the grounds of Down Cathedral before travelling to Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen, near Killinchy, on the shores of Strangford Lough to round off her pilgrimage with home-made soda bread and jam. 

Ms Smith grew up on the edge of Snowdonia National Park in Wales, where she caught the travel bug and hasn’t let becoming a mother interfere with her wandering spirit.

She intends to write about her experiences in newspapers such as The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.

On her last day of pilgrimage, she was welcomed to the St Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, by Dr Tim Campbell, director. 

She and Baby B were joined by pilgrim guides Martina Purdy and Elaine Kelly who led the pair along the the coastal route from Ballyhornan beach to St Patrick’s Well at Sheepland, finishing with lunch at Ardglass Golf Club.

“We were impressed with Phoebe and Baby B’s pilgrim journey,” said Martina. “Elaine and I had a great day with them on the coast. Phoebe is an amazing personality with a lot of energy and zest for life and Baby B is a very contented baby!”

“It’s quite a journey she took from Armagh to Downpatrick. I think she will have some very good ideas on how that particular route can be improved.

“We have started to see pilgrims from England show up in Downpatrick having walked the route and it would be great if it could be developed further.”

Elaine said: “Meeting Phoebe and Baby B was an absolutely joy. She was eager to delve into St Patrick’s Way and wanted to discover the authentic footsteps of Patrick. 

“Even before she arrived on our shores, Phoebe had caught the spirit of Patrick in her own journey of adventure and discovery.”

On social media, Ms Smith is known as “#wanderwoman” while her son has the title of “#wander baby”. Her books include Wild Camping and Extreme Sleeps.