Pilgrimpace's Blog

sabbatical dreaming

Bishop David has granted me a Sabbatical.  It’s a little way off – September, October and November 2016 – but it is wonderfully refreshing to know that it is there.

I am planning to spend that time doing two things.  I’ll have time and space to take the research and reflection that I am doing on St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross and how I see their teaching and life underpinning the sort of ministry I do deeper.  Maybe an article or two.  Maybe the outlines of something larger.

And a long walking pilgrimage.  This blog began in 2009 as a way of letting me share my experiences on the Camino de Levante in Spain with people at home.  This time I am hoping to walk the Cistercian Way, a route that circles round Wales for 650 miles or so, visiting the sites of the Cistercian Abbeys there.

Here’s a rough map of the route:


Details of the route can be found here.  It’s definitely going to be a different challenge to Spain.  There won’t be much that is flat.  In fact, I’ve found this elevation chart of the route:


but it won’t be as hot.  There won’t be all the pilgrim infrastructure.  I’ll be carrying a tent and am planning to camp or bivi quite a bit.  I would like to finish at Penrys.  As I have written here, Our Lady of Penrhys has a particular importance for those of us of catholic tradition who minister and live in outer estate places.  It seems absolutely right to end the pilgrimage here.  This means I will probably start at Margam or Neath.

I’ve got the luxury of plenty of time now to reflect and think and plan and dream all this.  One of the things I will be doing is researching the route.  If any Welsh friends, or people who live in Wales or know about it, have ideas of places to visit on the way round – especially pilgrim places – I would be grateful to know about them. Also any offers of places to sleep on the floor will be gratefully accepted! – or if anyone wants to walk a day or two with me (although I want to make sure that I walk alone for some of the time too).  I should be walking for six or seven weeks in September and October 2016.


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

How absolutely fantastic. I was in the UK last May as my daughter is working there and I did a few short walks around Flintshire and Holy Well and loved it. I was especially impressed by how soft the ground is compared to Australian or even Spanish soil.

Lucky you.

Comment by belindacole

Thanks Belinda. I’m very much looking forward to it. I know bits of Wales, but this is a great chance to see much more and in depth. Although I’m hoping the ground is not too soft!


Comment by pilgrimpace

Hola John, just wrote you an email, and very happy to read about your new plans/dreams, Wales sounds amazing, and very different…ultreia, Billy

Comment by Billy

Sounds great. And, no danger of overcrowding!

Comment by ksam56

Thank you everyone. Really looking forward to it!

Comment by pilgrimpace

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