For the last two years a group of us have spent a week walking with God. These pilgrimages were organised by Hazel O’Sullivan who has moved on to lead her own parish. But we wanted to carry on with this new tradition here at St Mary’s.
Soon after returning from the last pilgrimage to Winchester I was inspired to walk from Melrose, in the Scottish borders to Lindisfarne on the Northumberland coast. The initial idea for this came from a TV program called ‘Walking Though History’, presented by Tony Robinson. I had spent time in this part of the country in my twenties and knew it to be beautiful and wild but what I hadn’t realised was the richness of Christian history in the area. The walk is named after St Cuthbert who is one of our earliest British Saints. It goes past many Christian sites and churches both grand and hidden. If you want more information on what Tony Robinson found on his walk, click below:
So what does this include? The map below shows the route we will be taking.
The walk will start in Melrose on Thursday the 12th of August 2016 and ending at Lindisfarne (Holy Island) on Tuesday the 17th. This will be a fairly challenging walk. The itinerary is as follows:
Day 0 (Thursday 11th): Cyril, Monica and Fiona will arrive in Melrose
Day 1 (Friday 12th) : Full party arrives in Melrose
Day 2 (Saturday 13th): Melrose to Harestanes. 15 miles (24km)
Day 3 (Sunday 14th): Harestanes to Morebattle. 9.5 miles (15km)
Day 4 (Monday 15th): Morebattle to Kirk Yetholm. 7.5 miles (12km)
Day 5 (Tuesday 16th): Kirk Yetholm to Wooler. 13 miles (21km)
Day 6 (Wednesday 17th): Wooler to Holy Island. 17 miles (27km) – Causeway open after 18:35
Day 7 (Thursday 18th): Depart from Holy Island after breakfast. Causeway open until 13:30
I am planning to do all of this but, on each day, there will be an option to do a shorter, gentler walk. Some of the country is fairly empty but, if possible, we may be able to arrange for some people to be picked up half way and taken to the destination.
Each day will start and end with prayer and reflection and we will include this as we go along. But the important thing is to find God in the landscape and each other so we will not be praying long into the night!
I expect everyone will have their own questions but these are the ones I can think of.
How Much will it cost?
I currently have a quote for about £400 for accommodation, which assumes people will share rooms. As it is quite a long way there will also be the cost of travel and food.
Will I need any special equipment?
A good pair of worn in walking boots (buy them now if you don’t have any). A good waterproof coat and a backpack to carry sandwiches and spare food. Some people like to take waterproof trousers but I prefer a pair of quick drying walking trousers. You don’t need a lot of clothes, we will all be a bit grubby by the end!
Will there be any training needed?
Unless you are quite fit to start off with I would say yes. I will be organising a series of walks next year to encourage us all to get fitter. A bit of spiritual training is also a good idea and we will be meeting for prayer and reflection before the pilgrimage starts.
Will I need to carry everything?
Definitely not! Your luggage will be taken by car from one hotel to another. But there will be limited space so don’t pack too much.
When will I need to decide?
By the end of the year. Because of the limited accommodation on Holy Island and in some of the villages we will need to have numbers by the start of next year. I will be asking for a deposit to secure your place on the pilgrimage.
And what do I do next?
If you definitely want to come please let me know. You can contact me directly or through the comment form below. Also if you would like more information I’m happy to discuss any details.