Day 6 Rowen to Abergwyngregin and the first cuckoo of spring!

I know today is going to be a strenuous one, but also one of the most beautiful and enjoyable. For me this is the day when we really begin to feel those thin places, where there seems little to separate earth from heaven. There are 10 of us today, including Derfel who is bound to keep us smiling all day with his wonderfully quick sense of humour. As we leave rowen we watch admiringly as a shepherd whisles his dog to round up several ewes and the tiniest of new born lambs. As we pass he coments wrily that it isn’t as easy as it seems on tv!  We are heading up now through the woods. It’s quite steep and Derfel stops frequently to admire the view…..which of course is not really visible through the trees, now in full spring bloom. And then it’s still uphill through an open track to the ancient church of St Celledyn at Llangelynin. For me this is a hard slog, but it’s a route that was used by coffin bearers….unimaginable now. The wonderful old pilgrim church provides a quiet resting place for us to enjoy a coffee break. And then we all join in together to sing the hymn He who would valient be……….Helen had asked earlier in the week if we ever sang this hymn, so we obliged! Then we head off across the moors, where the wild ponies are grazing;such a wonderful sight. Two walkers greet us, Helen and Gail, who tell us that they have taken 18 months to complete the pilgrimage, and they thoroughly enjoyed it.  Helen had been to a couple of our meetings, but it is sheer coincidence that our paths have crossed today.  This is the 3rd group we have met who are undertaking the pilgrimage independently which is a really good sign for the future.    each the stone circle and wonder at the extraordinary knowledge of the ancient people who created it. This really is a very thin place. The weather is now lovely and we are gently descending, but soon we will be climbing once more. The views are superb and we savour them before we climb once more. Apparently our total ascent today is 4000ft and it feels like it! We are rewarded by great views accross the bay. At the top of the rise we reach what Derfel calls The Wailing Wall!  I hear my first cuckoo of the spring!   And then we are on the homeward stage, but it’s  a long one. I am tired and this final stage sems to go on for ever. It starts to rain but doesn’t last for long. And then we are on the approach to Aber and the river below rushes and gurgles loudly urging us on A glorious day. Barbara finishes her pilgrimage today, as does Valmai so there are fond farewells. How many of us will there be tomorrow?

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