Camino guidebook author John Brierley dies

The well-known author of several beloved guidebooks to various Camino paths, John Brierley, passed away this week.

He regularly maintained and updated all his guides and was in Spain about a month ago for this reason, when it became publicly known that he was seriously ill.

John Brierley

His daughter Gemma released the following message following his passing.

“Dear all,

In this beautiful camino community I wanted to reach out to you, some of my dear dad’s closest camino companions, to let you know that he has now left us and is taking his first steps on his next great pilgrimage.

In the end his passing was as graceful and peaceful as any of us could wish for. Slipping away in his sleep at home surrounded by his family and fully aware of the love and blessings pouring in from his camino family and friends.

John was always adamant that death was not an ending, but instead the beginning of the next great adventure. The new days stage on a long pilgrimage that spans this world and the next.

With this in mind we will not be having a big funeral to mark his ending, he would be ticking us off if we did, reminding us this is not a goodbye but instead the beginning of the ultimate pilgrimage home. So we will have a quiet cremation in the coming weeks with just our immediate family. But anyone is welcome to remember him and send him blessings on his way in whatever way this feels most fitting. Be it by raising a glass of his beloved Glaician Albariño or Irish Whiskey, by collecting and clearing some rubbish from a path, by supporting one of the many pilgrim associations whose work he so respected or by helping a fellow pilgrim on their way.

Alongside his family the camino was truly the other great love of his life. His passion, his home and his purpose. It brought him so much joy and I want to thank all of you and the entire pilgrim community for the part that you played in this.

Please forgive me if I have missed anyone important in this message and please do pass it on.

With love and thanks,

Gemma and the Brierley family.”

The future of Camino Guides

John, formerly a Chartered Surveyor in Ireland, appeared on a recent podcast of the Camino Cafe dated June 6, with Gemma.

The podcast interview gives a Behind the scenes look at the work they do. In the interview, John mentioned what a wonderful privilege it was to have been involved with the Camino Path and pilgrims for the past 25 years. He had been inspired to create a guide during his first pilgrimage.

Gemma has been involved in the updating, maintenance and digitalisation of the guides for the past 15 years, working alongside her father.

She will continue his Camino Guides legacy going forward.