Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: holywell, nature, photography, pilgrimage, st winefrede, the cistercian way, travel, travel writing, walking
the idea was to walk from Shrewsbury Abbey where St Winefrede’s Shrine was
to Holywell where her miracle happened. About 60 miles, lots of good hills from Oswestry onwards, three long days and two short ones. For me it was a chance to get match fit for the Cistercian Way in a couple of weeks and to test and overhaul my kit.
We wild camped for all but one night when we stayed in a campsite
although one of those nights (with permission and invitation from the owners) was in a summerhouse
I am very glad I did it. I spent the first couple of very hot days struggling under my pack and telling myself I was a b*****y idiot and the Cistercian Way would be my last walk. Fitness kicked in and I loved the views and the country
Even in the heat and dryness we didn’t need to resort to dog milk (making coffee from a sheep trough doesn’t count, right?) and we were able to test the best cures for dehydration (a pint of water, a pint of light coloured bitter, and a bag of pork scratchings).
We ate well (here is Roland demonstrating how to cook with bleach).
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: bert wagendorp, cycling, mont ventoux, pilgrimage, travel, travel writing
Cycling is concrete and manageable. A bike, a road, a man: nothing could be simpler. In cycling you only need call on the top layer of your brain, and introspection is not immediately necessary. Sometimes exhaustion ensures that images rise to the surface that you had forgotten you were carrying with you, but you can always dismiss them as exhaustion-induced hallucinations
- Bert Wagendorp Ventoux
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: nick hunt, patrick leigh fermor, pilgrimage, travel, travel writing, walking
The simplicity of walking – the essential humanness of putting one foot in front of another – made a deep kind of sense. The more I thought about taking that first step, and following it with another, and another, the more fundamental it felt. What better way to know Europe than to expose myself to it completely, to be aware of each splatter of rain, each stone beneath my feet? How better to understand the processes of loss and change than to travel in the shadow of Paddy’s words? Above all, what better way to have an old-fashioned adventure?
.- Walking the Woods and Water, Nick Hunt
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: hill walking, pennines, pilgrimage, travel writing, walking, watergrove
I haven’t posted much about walking recently. It is happening. Just back from the joy of a couple of days in the South Pennines with Mark. The healing and deep relaxation of being up on the hills with a good friend.
Air and exercise, catching up, reflecting together, laughing, thinking things through, sharing silence
After coming down, a hot bath and then a trip to the pub for good beer and something to eat.
This morning we walked the hills around Watergrove Resevoir.
The Reservoir was built in the 1930’s to give men work. Underneath the 270 million gallons is the submerged village – Watergrave? I spent time listening for the sounds of it. On the hills we picked our way through the abandoned spoil heaps, taking care of shaft entrances. On the top of Rough Hill, a huge mechanical digger went about obscure work. Windfarms ringed us.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: feet, pilgrimage, travel, travel writing, walking
Thanks to Beverley for noticing that the first verse of Psalm 1 begins
“Blessed are they who have not walked”
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: jesus shaped people, pembrokeshire, pilgrimage, st davids, st gabriel's weoley castle, st govans chapel, the cistercian way, travel, travel writing, wales, weoley castle
I love how the journey circles and twists on itself, forward and back.
I spent this morning with the wonderful folk at St Paul and St Silas, Lozells, preaching at Mass and helping them prepare for Jesus Shaped People which they start next week. I went from there back to St Gabriel’s, Weoley Castle for the leaving do for Jenny Cavendish, who has been the Children’s Worker there for the past years. It was very good to be back with everyone there, to find them in good heart as they wait for a new priest, and to see how the life in that special place continues to develop.
On our holiday we visited pilgrim places I have not been to for a couple of decades. We drove through the narrow and twisting road towards the Pembrokeshire Coast. I’d checked that the army weren’t firing on the Castlemartin Ranges, and we went past the unmanned checkpoint to the carpark above the cliffs. We climbed down the stairs to St Govan’s Chapel and Well nestling in the inlet where Govan hid from pirates in Celtic times. Next year, when I make my pilgrimage round Wales I will divert for a couple of days and spend time here, walking along the Coast Path from Tenby. It is a place where heaven feels close.
Later, we spent a day in St David’s. Here is the Cathedral and the restored Shrine:
People keep telling me I need to visit St David’s on my pilgrimage. I have been hesitating, but I am persuaded now. I will probably leave the Coast Path at Neyland, soon after St Govan’s Head, and work out an inland path, as this will save a few days. There is such richness, such possibility ahead.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: footsteps, forest of dean, holiday, pembrokeshire, richard holmes, robert louis stevenson, travel, travel writing, wales, walking
A couple of weeks away in Pembrokeshire and the Forest of Dean was a real gift. Not spectacular travel, but a chance to rest, a break, time away from work to return refreshed, time to slow down and be, to sit quietly and read some good books, to potter around, to be outside, to do some walking.
I’ve begun Richard Holmes excellent Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer. Here he quotes from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Journal of his journey through the Cevennes:
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go; I travel for travel’s sake. And to write about it afterwards, if only the public will be so condescending as to read. But the great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of life a little more nearly; to get down off the feather bed of civilisation, and to find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.