Pilgrimpace's Blog


ahead
June 23, 2018, 4:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

wp-image-456459839jpg.jpeg

First proper day off for a while.  Had planned a decent walk with a friend but he cried off and I am tired – feeling better for a long sleep, a day pottering in the house and garden, a bath, a good book.

And the next best thing to a walk – planning pilgrimages over the summer.  A couple of days, I hope, to walk St Hilda’s Way in North Yorkshire and then later in the summer another week on The Cistercian Way, continuing to fill in the sections I missed through injury.  I am looking at Whitland to Machynlleth.

Lots to anticipate!

Advertisements


back on the way
May 27, 2018, 3:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

A great couple of days in North Wales visiting friends.  I spent Friday – in decent weather – walking part of the Pilgrim Way from Bangor to Llanberis, and then on to Waunfawr.

20180525_1555421950280876.jpg

Great to climb up high.  Hearing at least five cuckoos during the day.  Martens gathering nesting material.  Not looking closely enough at my map on Moel Ici.

20180525_142013863225443.jpg

Climbing down past the Anglesey Barracks – and I am in awe of the people who worked all week in the quarries at Llanberis and then walked back to their homes on Anglesey – down the Zig Zags through the slate waste, glad I was only carrying a day pack.

20180525_144139-1599312648.jpg

Down to the lakeside as the rain came in.

A great day for reflecting.  Thinking of the way ahead in the next months.  For refreshing and praying

20180525_102655-12067601162.jpg

and back in time for a bath, for a roast, and a couple of glasses of The Rev James.

I am looking forward to picking up The Cistercian Way again later in the summer.



looking back : looking forward

A year ago I was on Caldey Island, staying in the monastery for a couple of days as part of a pilgrimage walking the Cistercian Way around Wales.  That deep, strange pilgrimage where I began in torrential rain and almost no visibility in Penrhys above the Valleys, and walked west.  Where, when I turned north, I strained my knee and was sent home for a dark and inward journey.

wp-image-686204438jpg.jpeg

Caldey Island, September 2016

Where, after four weeks rest, I tentatively started again and, with a light pack, managed to walk for Abergavenny round to Penrhys.

wp-image-37799740jpg.jpeg

Our Lady of Penrhys

A time for looking back, asking what lessons – at this stage – have been learned, what gifts given, what the next steps on the journey might be.

I’m returning, briefly, to Penrhys on Sunday 24th September to give a talk about the pilgrimage.  I’d love to see you there if you are able.

Here is a video of the wonderful Llanfair Uniting Church

Llanfair-2-300x225



cistercian way talk

On Being a Broken Pilgrim: Walking the Cistercian Way

wp-image-1798704026jpg.jpeg

Thoughts on a Pilgrimage

Talk by the Revd Andy Delmege

Sunday 24th September 5.30pm

Llanfair Uniting Church

Penrhys, CF43 3RH

All Welcome!

Collection for the work of Llanfair Uniting Church



coast

We arrived in Aberdaron on the morning bus.  Time to dip into the Church to pray a blessing on the pilgrimage and to pay respects to RS Thomas.  Kneeling before an altar of wood in a stone church.  Waiting for the meaning to unfold itself.

And then time to walk along the coast, those first steps, to the landing for the Bardsey boat.  Go to Bardsey if you can. We were lucky with the weather, a flat sailing and no rain.  You need to contact Colin, who is wonderfully knowledgeable, and book the boat in advance.

20170710_134215Plenty of time to drink tea, wander slowly, look, climb the hill.

20170710_134154

A special place, island of saints, where people went to die.  Praying quietly in the Nun’s Chapel (does anyone have a photo of the inside of this and the icon?  The photo I took vanished).

IMG-20170718-WA0001

Sitting on the water’s edge listening to the chat of the seals.  Watching the puffins on the boat back.

After Bardsey we crossed the Lleyn and made for the northern coast.  We found a beautiful and isolated place to camp above the cliffs.

20170710_201919

A night of being too excited to sleep – the pilgrimage underway, the sound and smell of the sea, a worry about whether my knee would hold up, but most of all the promise of the week – except I did sleep, only to wake with a cry of shock when I found a slug crawling across my forehead.

Early breakfast and then beautiful but frustrating walking as we joined a new part of the coastpath (along from Whistling Sands) that keeps you right on the cliff edge with no possibility of cutting inland for a couple of hours of slow going.

20170711_065818

 



north wales pilgrim way – report

A few weeks ago, R, M and I walked the North Wales Pilgrim Way from west to east (Aberdaron to Holywell).  This is the ‘wrong’ direction (in that it is signposted east to west).  We did this as I am filling in the sections of the Cistercian Way which I missed when I hurt my knee last autumn.

20170711_065818

Maddy asked me to see how viable walking the route in this direction is, as a possible alternative route for people walking the Cistercian Way.  If you were walking the whole of the CW, you would pick up this route south of Conwy and follow it to Holywell and Basingwerk before turning south down the borders.

The route is advertised as being 134 miles.  We possibly walked a little less than this.  We missed a section from Penygroes to Waunfawr as we were staying with a friend in Waunfawr and arrived in Penygroes too late and with too little energy to get to Waunfawr (I’ll walk this section when I stay with my friends next).  We also bypassed Bangor in order to finish the route before I had to get back to work.

However, some re-routing of the Coastal Path near the beginning (you can’t get off of it for ages) and our working out our own route between villages (as the route is unmarked in this direction) meant some miles added on.

The route is no more difficult to follow than the rest of the Cistercian Way in this direction (ie you need to have a good map and to use it).

The North Wales Pilgrim Way website is helpful:

http://www.pilgrims-way-north-wales.org/

The Guidebook was not useful walking west -east.

20170713_103258

For me, it was a great route.  There is not much infrastructure so we carried camping equipment.  As there were three of us, wildcamping was more difficult (we did it once), but we mainly used campsites or got permission to camp in fields.  We stayed with friends, in the Youth Hostel at Rowan, and in a pub in St Asaph.

The route is varied and testing.  I think we averaged around 16 miles per day with full packs (my knee held up well).  There are some real pilgrimage highlights along the way:

The weather was good on our first day so we were able to get the boat across to Bardsey (you need to book this in advance).  We paid our respects to RS Thomas at Aberdaron.  There are ancient churches closely associated with St Bueno at Pistyll (the floor covered in rushes) and Clynnog Fawr – which also has a large, but very mucky, holy well.  High up, before Rowen and the steep descent to the river, you follow the Roman road.  In the Churchyard at Llangernyw is a 4000 year old yew; and nearby at Gwytherin is the mound where Winefrede had her monastery and was buried before she was moved to Shrewsbury, putting aside all the romantic legends about what actually happened, I found this a very special place; I want to go back.  And we finished on a very hot day with a plunge into the very cold waters at Holywell.

20170710_134154

Some reflections and stories to follow (this is, for example, the first time I have been on pilgrimage and helped someone turf a grave …)



fortune
July 24, 2017, 6:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

20170713_193147

The pilgrimage began with a very good Chinese dinner.  M and I received fortune cookies with the sort of message that you forget as soon as you read it.  R’s said “Never go back, never explain, never apologise.”  He put it meaningfully into his pocket …