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Exploring Celtic Spirituality – A Pilgrimage to Scotland and Northern England, 2007

Led by:
William G. Edwards, M. Div., D. Min
Sheryl L. Shenk, M. Div
Jonathan D. Shenk, MD

May 26 – June 6, 2007


Day 1, Saturday, May 26, 2007 – We will depart from Washington’s Dulles International Airport for our transatlantic flight.

Dinner and Snack on board the aircraft. DS

Day 2, Sun. – We will arrive in Glasgow, Scotland and our pilgrimage adventure begins. We will be met by our driver and guide and board our motor coach for the ride through some of Scotland’s most beautiful country. We will be heading north along the shores of Loch Lomond and will arrive at Oban where we will take a ferry to the Island of Mull, our home for the next 3 nights. We will have a “welcome to Scotland” dinner and overnight on the Island of Mull. BD

Day 3, Mon. – After breakfast, we will take a ferry the short distance to the enchanting Island of Iona. Iona is the preeminent historical site for Celtic Christianity. A monastery was established here by St. Columba in the 6th century and St. Columba died here on Iona in 597. The island is a true “thin space” where pilgrims have sensed the nearness of the Holy throughout the ages. We will make our way to St. Oran’s Chapel morning prayer and singing. Afterwards, Rev. Bill Edwards will introduce us to Iona pointing out the many different offerings of the island. There will be time for quiet prayer and reflection. You can wander, shop in the many quaint shops on the island or spend your day in quiet prayer and reflection. We will have dinner on the island and join in evening prayers before returning to Mull for our overnight. BD

Day 4, Tues. – We travel back to Iona by ferry for worship and then singing in St. Oran’s Chapel. At noon, we will meet in front of St. Martin’s Cross and begin our hike around the Island with the guide from the abbey. We will hear about the historical as well as spiritual significance of the island. The remainder of the day, you will be free to explore the island on your own. We will return to Mull for dinner and overnight. BD

Day 5, Wed. – Again, we ferry to Iona for morning prayers or quiet reflection. Those who wish can book a one half day boat trip to the Island of Staffa. We will return to the mainland by ferry in the afternoon and have dinner and overnight at Oban. BD

Day 6, Thurs. – We travel to Kilmartin for a visit to the Kilmartin House Museum and the prehistoric stones found here that predate those found at Stonehenge. We will continue across Scotland to Edinburgh, Scotland’s 2nd largest city. There will be some free time for exploration on your own this afternoon and you will be free to find one of Edinburgh’s many restaurants or pubs for your dinner this evening. B

Day 7, Fri. – A day of exploration in Edinburgh. We will visit St. Giles Cathedral, the historic City Church of Edinburgh which is located on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, home to the royal family when they are in Edinburgh. We will explore Edinburgh Castle where the views from the Battlement are breathtaking. We will see St. Margaret’s Chapel, Queen Mary’s Apartments and the Crown Room. There will be some free time in the afternoon before we go to Sandy Bell’s Pub for an evening of entertainment. Dinner on your own. B

Day 8, Sat. – Today we head south to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The island has been inhabited since the Iron Age and Christianity was brought to the island by St. Aidan when he established a monastery here in AD 635. St. Aidan came from Iona where he was a monk in the monastery founded there by St. Columba. St. Aidan was not the first person on Lindisfarne, but his is the first known name mentioned in relation to the island. Under its greatest Abbot, Cuthbert, Lindisfarne became one of the greatest centers of learning in Christendom. The Rev. Bill Edwards will give us an introduction to the island. We will visit Lindisfarne Priory, Lindisfarne Castle and have time for reflection and prayer in this quiet, holy place. We will attend Evensong at the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, the Anglican church on the island. BD

Day 9. Sun. – Those who wish can worship at the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin and then continue exploration of the island. We will visit the Lindisfarne Heritage Center to see an interactive exhibit of the famous Lindisfarne Gospels.

The Gospels were painstakingly worked and lovingly crafted over 1300 years ago here on Holy Island “in honor of God and Cuthbert”. We will have dinner and overnight on Lindisfarne. BD

Day 10, Mon. – We travel by coach to Seahouses where we will take a boat trip to the Farne Islands. The islands are owned by the National Trust and house huge colonies of seabirds and gray seals. We hope to see nesting Puffins while on the island. It is here at the island known as Inner Farne that St. Cuthbert, the great abbot of Lindisfarne, died in AD 687. We will see the small chapel dedicated to his memory. We return to Seahouses and then travel to Whitby where we will visit Whitby Abbey. The Synod of Whitby was held here in 664 for the Roman and Celtic 

churches to discuss their respective religions. The abbey was founded by St. Hilda in AD 657. Our activities today will 

be governed by the tides at Lindisfarne. Because of the tidal causeway, our coach can only cross at low tide. Therefore, we hope to have time to stroll the streets of Whitby before traveling to Durham where, time permitting, we will attend Evening Prayer at Durham Cathderal. Dinner and overnight Durham. BD

Day 11, Tues. – Today we will explore Durham Cathedral, a Norman architectural masterpiece. Cuthbert’s body was brought here during the Viking raids of 995. We will see the delicate and intricate stonework in the Shrine of St. Cuthbert and the simple tomb of the Venerable Bede, the scholar and saint whose body was brought here in 1020. There will be some time to wander the streets of Durham and do a little shopping before we continue back into Scotland. We will visit Hadrian’s Wall as we make our way back to Glasgow. We will worship together in Glasgow before having our gala “farewell to Scotland” dinner and overnight. BD

Day 12, Wednesday, June 6, 2007 – We return to the USA arriving back into Washington’s Dulles airport this afternoon. Lunch and snack on board the aircraft.