Had all been well, I would have been wandering down Italy soaking up the Mediterranean sunshine, eating gelato, drinking Peroni and swatting mosquitoes. Just about every footpath in Italy is a pilgrimage but there’s a good one from Padua to Assisi and all points south. Hopefully next year.
Instead, I’ve decided to walk up England to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne which is a proper pilgrimage destination. This is what it says on http://www.visitnorthumberland.com/holy-island
Experience the serenity of 12th century Lindisfarne Priory, the epicentre of Christianity in Anglo Saxon times and once the home of St Oswald. This peaceful setting was the birthplace of the Lindisfarne Gospels, one of the world’s most precious books. Ransacked by marauding Viking raiders in the 8th century, the evocative ruins of Lindisfarne Priory includes the famous ‘rainbow bridge’ which spirals skywards with the ghost of a long-vanished tower.
Holy Island remains a place of pilgrimage today. The island is the final destination of long distance walking route and one of Scotland’s Great Trails, the St Cuthbert’s Way.
Yes, those marauding Viking raiders. They ate a lot of chocolate almonds.
I’ve always wanted to walk to Holy Island but I never thought I would. After all, why tackle such a tough and demanding hike over wild and desolate moorland, steep hills and deep bogs without a soul to be seen and knowing that the weather will be truly awful?
The fact is, I live on the E2 European Long Distance Footpath so I only have to finish breakfast on Monday and step outside to start my journey. The E2 goes all the way to Scotland where I can creep along Hadrian’s Wall and then wade across the sea to Holy Island. That’s assuming I don’t give up or disappear into a bog.
There are other dangers too. I will have to walk through a big COVID-19 cloud which is hanging over the middle of the country, or “up north” as we say in Weybridge.
We’ll see a lot of England. My route along the E2 follows these National footpaths:
- The Thames Path
- The Oxfordshire Way
- The Heart of England Way
- The Staffordshire Way
- The Pennine Way
- St Cuthbert’s Way
I’ve put the schedule on the Holy Island page of my website where these blogs will accumulate (https://timgreig.co.uk/holy-island-2020/). I hope that as many of you as possible will meet me and take a little walk along the way. The schedule is driven by the low tide at Holy Island so if I make it, I’ll arrive with wet muddy boots at lunchtime on 21 September. If not, what’s one more failure in life?