Join us on a pilgrimage and follow in the footsteps of saints!Best foot forward: Cyril Phillips and Revd Matt Webster are leading a 70 mile pilgrimage from St Peter’s Church, Carmarthen to St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.
Walkers looking to reconnect with nature and history while celebrating the beauty of creation are invited to join in a special pilgrimage along an ancient and holy pilgrim route.
The modern-day pilgrimage spans some 70 miles in seven days and covers some of the most scenic landscape from Carmarthen to St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire - walkers will quite literally be following in the footsteps of saints in some locations along the way. It will appeal to anyone who loves walking and who wants to escape the stresses and strains of fast-paced 21st century living, as well as deepening their connection with God.
The poignant journey through the stunning Celtic countryside is the brainchild of Cyril Phillips, a retired accountant from Carmarthen and himself a passionate rambler. Cyril has teamed up with Revd Canon Dr Matthew Hill and Revd Matt Webster of St Peter’s Church in Carmarthen and the three will be leading the expedition from May 19-25. The hale and hearty trio will be embarking upon the pilgrimage in its entirety, following a set route each day, and visiting some of the area’s most ancient churches and holy places.
The whole ethos of the pilgrimage is simplicity. Food and drink will be taken at stop points along the way and travellers will end the day either pitching a tent, putting their weary feet up at a pre-booked hostelry, or taking advantage of those who have offered overnight accommodation.
And, though many will relish the mighty challenge of trekking up to 14 miles a day, not everyone is expected to do the whole stint - happily, there is the option of walking just part of the route.
Cyril says the idea of the modern-day pilgrimage from Carmarthen to St Davids came to him when he read that this year marks the 900th anniversary of the declaration in 1123 by Pope Calixtus II that two pilgrimages to St David’s were equal to one to Rome!
Cyril, who has led some 300 walks for Carmarthen Ramblers, has carefully planned the route and tried and tested each stage of the pilgrim journey. Walkers can expect some tricky terrain – with a few rivers, streams, ancient woodland, coastal paths, and muddy tracks adding to the challenge.
“The route may not exactly match what the original pilgrims did, but it is largely accurate,” said Cyril. “My aim was to limit it to off road as much as possible. But do come prepared; you will need some good boots, appropriate clothing and food and drinks. If you plan to do more than a day, then ideally it would be wise to get some practice in first.
“Walking in this way is a wonderful way to get to know people. When you walk alongside someone for six or seven hours, you get to know them and usually discover common interests such as nature, the arts, and other interests.
Revd Hill believes the pilgrimage will offer a time and space for self-reflection, helping us deeply connect with ourselves, with others, with our surroundings, and with God.
The pilgrimage will leave St Peter’s Church on the morning of Friday May 19 and walk from there to Llansteffan (10 miles). The second leg will be from Llansteffan to St Clears (9 miles) and then onto Narberth (14 miles) on day three. The fourth day sees the pilgrims heading to Spittal (14 miles), then to Roch (9 miles, then to Solva (8.5 miles) and finally to St Davids (6.5 miles) on Thursday May 25. There will be a car to carry luggage from place to place. Each new day will begin and end with a prayer at one of the many churches along the way.
St Davids Cathedral is a popular centre for pilgrimage. During the medieval period, pilgrims would have travelled to St Davids for many reasons: to pray to the saint for help with life’s difficulties, for themselves or their families, or to pray for loved ones who had died. The landscape around St Davids was sacred to pilgrims. The cathedral contains the shrines of St David and St Caradog, as well as other relics, and there were chapels dedicated to St Justinian, St Non and St Patrick within two miles.
For more information and a full schedule of the pilgrimage, contact firstname.lastname@example.org