I’m not sure yet what to say about our pilgrimage on St Cuthbert’s Way to Holy Island this week, so instead, I think I’ll just post some photos that help to tell the story of our three-generational, 63-mile walk.
I’m mulling over a couple of things that surprised me, though. I couldn’t quite believe it myself, but there was hardly any complaining on our walk, despite some very long days and some patches of heavy rain. That was, until the very last bit, the part of the journey I’d most been looking forward to, when we walked across the sands on the pilgrim’s path to Holy Island.
For some reason, in my mind, that part was going to feel mystical as we walked across where the sea had been, only a few hours before, to the island, following the ancient pilgrim route. But that was the very moment that the complaining set in – literally on our final 3 miles. Why?
The other thing that surprised me was how sad I was that it was over. I haven’t done 7 consecutive days of walking in a long time and there were moments when it was quite physically demanding. I was expecting to feel happily relieved as we made it to our destination. Instead, I didn’t want it to be over.
Perhaps part of what lies behind both of these things is that this week we were caught up uniquely in a shared purpose and that it felt good to be pulling together towards the same goal. When that began to disappear, we didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves.
We used a Celtic prayer this week with the words ‘from the crown of my head, O Trinity, to the soles of my feet, mine offering be’. Involving all of ourselves this week and doing so together has been amazing.