Templar Lore

Kiwis set out on Crusader trail

Two New Zealand musicians are walking 5800km from Britain to Jerusalem – spending a year following the route used by medieval pilgrims.

New Zealanders David Delia, 21, and Max Evenbly, 20, set out today on the 914th anniversary of the first crusade, but told the BBC that their mission was not religious.

Rather, they want to be modern-day troubadours on the trek to Temple Mount.

“After 65 years of European peace, it is time for this path to be walked again,” they said.

The first crusade had the aim of reclaiming Jerusalem and holy sites for the Christian church following an appeal in France by the Pope.

The New Zealanders aim to visit 13 countries on the “templar trail”, the route to Jerusalem which the Knights Templar were charged with protecting.

The pair, who began a band when they were at school, aim to check out music scenes en route as part of a “travelmentary” they are making with a Cardiff-based production company.

Mr Delia, who plays guitar and harmonica, left New Zealand at the age of 19 and moved to Malta, and then Wales.

“It’s about travel and seeing new things and what’s out there,” he said.

“It’s about going to the border of horizons and experiencing new things and try and learn more about what’s going on.”

Mr Evenbly, who plays guitar and ukulele, said: “Me and Dave have always wanted to travel.

“We will definitely be trying to busk.”

The route planned by the pair cuts across eastern Europe and through Turkey to the Levant, and they are going to wear costumes representing both the Crusaders and the Saracens fought by the Knights Templar.

The pair sought advice on the route from Cardiff historian Helen Nicholson, who said that in the 11th Century there were well-established pilgrim routes from western Europe to Jerusalem, and some pilgrim hospices where travellers could stay.

“One major difference is that there are far more bridges now than in the 11th Century – the ‘Kiwi Knights’ will be able to cross Europe’s many rivers safely by bridge rather than paying for a ferry or crossing a ford,” she said. The dangers from bandits on the roads were also lower.