Our final day of walking and yet another gloriously sunny day. 18 of us set off the, greatest number of this year’s pilgrimage. As we reach the coast we can look back to the Rivals that we crossed two days ago, and below us the sea glistens.
The prayers for today included
you are the calm of the sea………In that Peace I rest
You are the waves on the shore….Their sound is my hymn
You are the sea breaking on the rock…I praise you with the swell
You are the ocean that laps my being….In you I dwell
And the sound of the sea has a timeless quality. I am also reminded of the words of a song by Nina and Frederik in the 60s
Listen to the ocean, echoes of a million seashells for ever it’s in motion moving to a rhythmic and unwritten music that’s played eternally
There are so many of us today and the path climbs and descends the cliffs with great regularity. We become very strung out as each walks and climbs at their own pace in the warmth of the day. We all gather for coffee enjoying the views from a grassy clifftop
The flowers today are so beautiful. Pale pink Sea thrift, yellow primroses, purple orchids, blue spring squill, nature was never so splendid. And alongside this tapestry of colour, sheep graze on the cliff edge reminding me of a scene from Far from the Madding Crowd.
On we go, a long trail of pilgrims straddling the paths that will eventually bring us to Aberdaron which was the last rest stop for pilgrims heading to Bardsey (Ynys Enlli) the island of 20,000 saints. Four of the hardier walkers in the group split off to walk round the headland which has some rather precarious places to pass, the rest of us continue on a less arduous route to our next rest stop at Porthor, (Whistling Sands). We walk along the wide beach. There are footprints in the sand, some of boots, some barefoot, some very large and some tiny ones. They will only last for as long is the tide is out and will then be washed away. Leaving no footprints, a very evocative thought as we fight the battle of polluting our environment. And so to the café at the far end of the beach to relax in the sun and enjoy ice creams, scones, tea and so on.
We can see the hardy four approaching us so we decide to play a trick on them and shut the café doors (with the permission of the owner) and put the “CLOSED” sign up, and for a moment we had them!!
The final stretch always takes longer than we imagine. We climb up from the beach and cross field after field until at last we are on the homeward stretch along the muddy banks of the river and into Aberdaron. It is 6.45pm by the time we have all arrived all very hot and weary but so happy to have made it! We gather for our prayers of arrival at St Hywyns that dates from the 12th century.
Drawn as we may be by Enlli, and Lindisfarne, by Iona and Durham, by Cnaterbury and Jerusalem, by Santiago and Rome, let us take courage from our ancestors of faith, but let us now seek to make holy the places where we live, and to be made holy ourselves, by the God who goes before us.
We are modern day pilgrims who have been drawn for many different reasons to make our pilgrimage, but I hope that each one of us has been refreshed and renewed