AFTER finishing a 1,300-mile solitary cycle ride across Europe, you could be forgiven for never wanting to see another saddle in your life, let alone sit on one.

AFTER finishing a 1,300-mile solitary cycle ride across Europe, you could be forgiven for never wanting to see another saddle in your life, let alone sit on one.

Last year, retired teacher Frank Burns completed a pilgrimage from his Kimbolton home to Rome, following a route first travelled by St Augustine in 590AD, and raising £6,500 for the Haiti earthquake appeal into the bargain.

This year his mission is a mere 1,100 miles from St Andrew's Church in Kimbolton, following the historic pilgrims' trail to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

"I have a long-standing interest in ancient routes of religious interest, and I will be riding in the footsteps of many other pilgrims who have gone before me," said Frank, 61, of Aragon Place. "Last year, I think my two wheels got me there a little faster than the four legs of Augustine's horse!

"This year I have chosen another ancient destination of pilgrimage that goes back to mediaeval times. It was established on the belief that the body of the Apostle James the Greater was transported there after his execution, and buried at the spot where the magnificent Cathedral of Santiago now stands."

Pilgrims follow many routes to reach Santiago, with the most popular being the Camino Francés - the French path - from Roncesvalles in the Spanish Pyrenees, while others simply start from their own front doorsteps to walk or cycle the entire distance.

That's what Frank plans to do, cycling from Kimbolton to Ports-mouth for a ferry to St Malo, and from there along the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border.

There he will pick up the ancient route along the north coast, a trail that was used until the occupation of Spain by the Moors in the 15th century, leading him to Santiago.

"There I will present my "credential" - a passport that has been stamped along the way - at the cathedral office, they will interrogate me to check that I have arrived under my own steam, and they will then present me with the Compostela, a document written in Latin declaring that I was a bona fide pilgrim to Santiago de Compostela."

But it doesn't end there for Frank, who then plans to cycle the 54 miles to the most westerly point of mainland Europe, Finisterre - believed to be the end of the world until Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas.

"I will pick up a scallop shell from the beach, the symbolic emblem of pilgrims across the world."

Frank will not be collecting sponsorship for his journey but a short service of blessing, led by Rev John Rawlinson, will take place at 9.30am on May 5 shortly before his departure.

INFORMATION: Frank will be writing a blog throughout the ride. To follow it visit http://frankburns.wordpress.com