The Ring Road, Middle-earth in Madrid

In the Sierra Norte de Madrid hides a path that bears a peculiar similarity with the pilgrimage of the hobbits through Middle Earth. Its 122 kilometers are an experience that brings walkers closer to the grandeur of Creation.

Paloma López Campos-January 13, 2023-Reading time: 4 minutes
Middle Earth

The Sierra Norte de Madrid bears a peculiar resemblance to Tolkien's Middle-earth (Unsplash / Henry Xu)

"The Way" allows you to travel to the mythical Middle-earth where dwarves, elves or orcs walked. The valley of Moria, Bree, Rivendell, the Shire, Hobbiton, the Top of the Winds and many more key places of the film and the book will make you feel the protagonist of your inner and outer journey while you will discover a fascinating nature and develop a sense of wonder, beauty and care of it". This is how the people in charge of the Camino del Anillo describe this pilgrimage in their web page.

Pedro de la Herrán, manager of this initiative, talks to Omnes about this project to which everyone is invited, whether they love it or not. Lord of the Ringswhether they are simply sports or nature lovers.

Where did the idea of doing this Camino come from?

"El Camino del Anillo" was born as a rural development initiative to promote the forgotten villages of the Sierra Norte de Madrid. When the films of The Lord of the RingsWe realized the extraordinary geographical resemblance between this peculiar Sierra and the scenarios created by Tolkien. That's how the idea of inviting people to visit Middle-earth in Madrid came up. In this way, in addition, people could experience the beauty of nature and the literatureof encounter with oneself and with others".

Why is the Archdiocese of Madrid involved?

"The initiative needed a structure to support it. The Archdiocese saw in this a possibility to do good for the Sierra de Madrid, while promoting a spiritual path of encounter with Creation. Today it is very fashionable to talk about climate change and sustainability. Although these are important topics, we forget that a true environmental ethic The starting point is to understand what nature is and who we human beings are in relation to it. The Catholic Church sees nature as a gift from God that we must take care of, as a common home where we learn to love each other and allow ourselves to be loved by God. In this way, admiration and care for nature arise on their own".

The map of the pilgrimage (Photo: El Camino del Anillo website)

How does doing this Path help people spiritually?

"When you do the Path you encounter the deep psychological fabric of Tolkien's characters, with whom you feel identified. Destroying the ring is a lifelong battle, it's about making a radical choice for good, which you can't do without the help of a company of friends (a ring community) who bet on you and help you destroy your ring forever. People who walk the Way of the Ring encounter their inner self, the ineffable potency of the beauty of the ring, and the power of the beauty of the ring. CreationI have the opportunity to be in the company of people who love you, even if they don't know you. It is a unique experience.

Can God be found by making this pilgrimage? How?

"God can be found through the beauty of Creation and the company of others. In every detail of nature we discover that we are loved by a Creator who has put everything in its place, and we discover ourselves as part of that almost infinite beauty that unfolds in light and life. Moreover, the affection and unconditional service of the people who accompany you invites you to understand life as a communion in which we all go together, in which each one is for the other and life acquires a new meaning".

What is most important in terms of preparation?

"The attitude of amazement. We prefer not to tell you too much about what you will find. We usually say that the Camino speaks, that the forests speak, that the light speaks. Of course you have to have a bit of fitness and desire to walk, but the most important thing is to open your heart to let yourself be surprised. On the Camino we make an experience from WOW to AH. "WOW, how wonderful". "AHH, I understand why everything is so wonderful.". You only understand this experience when you live it first hand."

What is the main spiritual benefit of doing the Ring Road?

"Most people find peace and serenity. These come from understanding that life is not about doing a lot of things or meeting society's expectations. On the Camino you discover that life is about letting yourself be loved. When you return home, you have understood new keys that open you to the community and to the Creator.

What are the rings or dragons we usually fight today?

"That's for everyone to find out. It's not about political structures or criminal plots. It's something inside. Faramir's greatest enemy was not Sauron, but his temptation to put on the ring of power and rule by manipulating reality. The real enemy is what you find in your life that doesn't let you be. free of the whole, is the temptation to do good by using evil. Only if you have hope that beauty and good exist will you be able to wish to destroy the ring. And you will only succeed in fulfilling that desire if you have a community of friends betting on you. Nowadays it is often said that you have to be good, but not foolish. It's an example of the attachment we have to evil. What if we managed to be truly good, to always choose good, and if we had a heart that didn't mind sacrificing our lives for the ideals that really matter?"

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