Here we go again! A Holy New Year to you all. Pope John Paul has declared this the year of the Holy Spirit in the build up to the Millennium, so lets get that Holy Spirit shifting into top gear for this years pilgrimage. I have a strange feeling that we have got off to an extraordinary start already... almost as if the Holy Spirit has booked a place on the pilgrimage and is at this moment shining up his walking boots
Danny our Hall organiser, he just gets better and better, just when you think he has reached the accolade of hail organisers in what he achieved last year… he surpasses himself and this year has ended up with more halls with showers than there are without! Maurice our Chief Routeplanner is buried knee deep in Good Pub Guides and is trying to steer the Day Routeplanners to hostels of favourable repute.... allegedly? The route is looking excellent with two rest days by the sea. Fowey is having its annual yachting regatta while we are there and at Newquay…Surfs up!! You can hire a board and wetsuit for the day or maybe make another sand cathedral?
We are also in for a treat when it comes to the theological / historical content for this years pilgrimage. The Celtic Church has more saints per square inch than Rome! Cornwall is steeped in a colourful history with legends, myths and tales which should give our chaplains enough sermon material for ten pilgrimages. From when the Roman empire left Britain in A.D. 411 until A.D. 597 and the arrival of St. Augustine, those cunning old Celts had kept the Christian Faith going in the extremities of our land, in spite of the best efforts of the Saxon invaders. Saints such as St. Dubric, St. Cadoc, St. Illtyd, St. Hernan, St. Meugant, St. Petrock to list just a few, were all roaming around preaching the Gospel, setting up churches, monasteries and centres of Christian scholarly expertise through Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Ireland and Brittany. I have purchased a book on Cornish Saints… there are over 130 Cornish Saints in this book…130!!!! You just have to look at a map of Cornwall to notice that something strange is going on... St. Ives, St. Austell, St. Agnes... St. Mawgan.... check it out! St. Michael the Archangel, a champion of good in the battle against evil, was an important figure within that Celtic faith.
We will be staying at Launceston, the ancient capital of Cornwall and also the site of the martyrdom of St. Cuthbert Mayne. We will be visiting the ancient ancestral home of the Arundells at Lanherne, which is now a Carmelite Convent and was a stopping place for medieval pilgrims on their way to St. James of Compostella. Sir Humphrey Arundell led a thousand Catholic men of Cornwall and Devon in an uprising against Protestantism in 1549 and got thoroughly trounced by the Royalist forces at Exeter and Samford Courtenay. Cornwall pretty much dissolved into paganism as a result waiting for Wesley and Co. to rechristianise the area over a century later. I have never known so much material for a pilgrimage, I could go on and on with the details but hey… you want the rest, you come on the pilgrimage!
More good news is that Will Phillips has done an excellent job of spreading the pilgrimage information to twenty or so possible new youth type pilgrims at Youthgather. If you are one of those foolish young people who were silly enough to give Will your name and address at Youthgather and you are reading all of this gumf for the first time… Welcome to the pilgrimage family. I really really hope that you are even more silly and actually apply. I feel so confident of you enjoying the pilgrimage if you come, I will make you this promise: if you can honestly say at the end of the pilgrimage, that you did not thoroughly enjoy yourself I will let you throw Will in the sea at St. Michael’s Mount… it’ll make a change form him throwing himself into something!! and the sea shouldn’t smell as much as last years ditch full of stagnant yuk! If you want more information or just want to strangle Will for getting you into this, you can contact him.
Some of you may remember little Derek Webb from the Buckfast pilgrimage back in 1980. He was the one whose undercarriage gave way after two pints of scrumpy and had to be carried back to the hall at Buckfast. Well he isn’t little any more but he isn’t much higher. I had the pleasure of meeting him at work recently… and what is truly amazing after all of this time, is how many happy memories he has of that walk nearly 18 years ago. I met Andy Clark from the Norwich pilgrimage just before Christmas; again more happy memories were shared. It sometimes makes you wonder how many people the pilgrimages have touched over the years and just how much good they have done for so many people. I also had the pleasure of meeting Anne McFarlane on New Years Eve from the 1979 & 80 pilgrimages. She still keeps in touch with the Mottrams, the Parsons and Co. She is now living out in Hong Kong, living the life of Riley arranging management training courses in places like Bali, New Zealand, Australia etc why can’t I get a job like that? Pilgrimage to Bali anyone?
I am delighted to hear through the grape vine that the Duffield Duo, Duncan and Robert are going to return for a whole pilgrimage. These part timers haven’t done a whole pilgrimage for years but have often dropped in here and there… nice to see you back in force. So what about you reading this letter? What are you doing this summer? It would be great to see you again! See if you can manage a few days, a week or the whole lot. Or why not have a holiday in Cornwall at Newquay say and come and join in when you can? You are seriously going to kick yourself if you miss this pilgrimage! I would also advise getting your deposit in fast as places will go on a first come first go basis… and if you are anything like me it’ll give you less time to lose all the information!
For those with families who wish to come, the following halls have separate rooms! class rooms which can enable children to go to sleep earlier etc.: Liskeard, Fowey (2 nights), Bodmin, Wadebridge, Newquay (2 nights), and Camborne. If you want more details about this then give me a ring.
One final note, in this year’s February Mailing, you not only have the application forms for yourself and friends, you also have a poster. We would be very grateful if you could ask your priest or minister to put it up on a parish notice board. Thank you.
Jimmy Dean (Canterbury 2, Buckfast 1+2, Birthday, Bath, & Norwich) is getting married to Samantha Denny (Norwich) on Sat 14th February at 2pm.
Chris Bambrough (Buckfast 3 & Canterbury 4 Pilgrimages) is getting married on June 20th
Mark Sharp (Evesham, Wessex, Walsingham 2, Canterbury 3, St Richard’s 1&2, Glastonbury 2, St David’s, Norwich & Martyrs Pilgrimages) moved to Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne in October ‘97. Very shortly afterwards he got engaged to Triona Horrodcs. They plan to marry in the summer of 2000, when he finishes his B.Eng. in building services engineering.
Ruth Allanson (Glastonbury pilgrimage) & Alan Tilley (numerous pilgrimages) are getting married on Saturday, 4th April ‘98.
Jo Clearly (Evesham, Lindisfarne, Wessex, Walsingham 2, & Hereford Pilgrimages) and her other half Tim had a baby daughter ‘Hannah Francis’ born on the 19th October at Nottingham City Hospital, and weighing 6lbs 2 oz.
Marrietta and Joseph Bonnici (both Hereford & Buckfast 3 Pilgrimages) have had a baby ‘Chanell Lauren’ (6lb 7oz, 19.5 “) born at 12.22am on 21st August 1997
Edna Davies (St Richard’s 1&2, Glastonbury 2, St David’s, & Martyrs Pilgrimages) is recovering well after having a pacemaker fitted. All the best Edna and we hope you’re soon well enough to walk with us again!
Andy Ollard and John Bentley are both studying for the priesthood at St Mary’s College, Oscott
For those of you who feel it may be a good idea to get fit before attempting the hills of Cornwall, here are details of a few other pilgrimages this year
Student Cross (4-12 April)
This is a cross carrying pilgrimage to Walsingham, which is likely to be particularly crowded this year as it is celebrating its 50th anniversary. (Some extra routes are apparently planed for this year). Groups, known as Legs, generally of 15-30 young loonies spend the week before Easter carrying a large wooden cross from one of 6 locations (London Leg, Northern Leg, Midland Leg, Oxford Leg, & Kettering Leg) over a distance of about 125 miles. Meeting together in Walsingham, on Good Friday; for Easter. In addition for those who can’t manage the whole week there are three shorter options (Ely Leg, walking for 3 days, Easter walking for 1 day, and the family option of ‘Peg Leg’). Costs are Leg dependent but are in the region of £100 for waged & £50 unwaged. Details for 1998 are available from: General Organising Director (GOD) - Chris Awre 145 Kimberley Aye, Nunhead , London SE15
Northern Cross (4-12 April)
The sister pilgrimage to Student Cross, is much the same in format, but walks to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) from Carlisle, Newcastle, and Lanark in Scotland. Unfortunately I no longer have the contact details (I last walked Northern Cross in ‘85) but Peter Storrow should be able to but you in touch.
Easter Pilgrimage (13-18 April)
The Portsmouth pilgrimage this year walks from Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth and costs £80 (Special family rates available) Details from Richard House or Margaret Howells (Coordinator)
El Salvador Walk (27-28 June)
A sponsored walk in aid of Salvador and the Rural Library Project - Peru. This year’s route is from Shoreham (inland) to Chichester with an overnight stop at Arundel. For details see flyer or contact Jo Furze
A Celtic Reflection
Lord, we sense your presence in our daily life; from 'Rise' through the struggles to 'Lights Out’.
As we walk through this land we marvel at Your creation; We grow together in our sharing and strive to be united.
We recognize the cross of our Redemption and seek to share your love with others.
So, onwards to St Michael's Mount