Day 21: Fenwick to Lindisfarne.
Distance: 11.3 miles (351.7 total).
Duration: 5 hrs 31 mins.
Lowest Temp: 5ºc.
Weather: Dry grey.
Highest Alt: I really don’t know, couple of hundred feet maybe?
Archdeacon Watch: Growing anxious about the pub situation on Lindisfarne – none found open thus far.
Its been a funny old day, as the saying goes. The Archdeacon and I started out, to his great disgust, headed in the wrong direction, all because I was keen to add a little detour to our journey. I’d like to tell you that those extra miles were to kill the time we had to wait until the tide went out, allowing us to cross the causeway to Lindisfarne, at around two o’clock. I’d really like to tell you that. Unfortunately there was nothing that sensible about my desire to add a few miles. Like the overgrown adolescent that every man basically is, when I realised that with the addition of an extra mile or two today I could reach 350 miles... well, I couldn’t resist. I know. It’s sad.
Although he was huffing and puffing with resentment every step of the way, I got The Archdeacon to the pub around midday, and then made him sit in the beer garden for midday prayer before he was allowed his pint of Black Sheep. Susie and my Dad joined us around half an hour later, and then a little after one we made our way down to the coast and then out to Lindisfarne. From leaving the mainland until we reached the Parish Church of St Mary’s we walked in silence, and then after saying afternoon prayer in the church we looked for a pub to enjoy a celebratory pint in. All shut. Not to be. Thankfully Susie had brought a hip flask with some Laphroaig, so we enjoyed a nip of that instead.
Three weeks ago and over three hundred miles away, I stood on the Mahair on the west coast of Iona and looked out across the Atlantic Ocean. Today I completed this pilgrimage, walking out onto Lindisfarne, a slender strip of land lying low in the North Sea.
As we made our way along the causeway to this holy island, with the sea drawn back on either side of us, I had a strong sense of the way in which the sea had surrounded my journey, as it surrounds the islands which the Celtic Saints so often made their pilgrimages to. For three weeks I have been walking from the ocean, walking to the sea – and although we give them different names, they are of course part of just one great body of water.
This journey is over. My pilgrimage continues, as does yours. And wherever we are walking, whatever direction we are headed, around us on every side there is always that great ocean, that great sea, which we can give a hundred different names to, but which I would call the love of God.
Thank you to those who have walked with me on this pilgrimage, the Pilgrim Driver, my Elderly Uncle, The Long Suffering One, The Archdeacon, and Young Tom; thank you to all those of you who have accompanied me through this blog; thank you to those of you who have prayed for me; and thank you to Mum for snowdrops.
Where shall we go next?