Not long after I returned from my two months of volunteering with the Iona Community in 2012, I undertook a day of “quiet contemplation” walking around my adopted city of Bristol using Jane Bentley+Neil Paynter’s excellent book “Around a Thin Place – an Iona pilgrimage guide” as a resource for my “journey”. Well, after some months of finding myself back(!) in something of a “spiritual wilderness” (and with the prospect of a beautiful, sunny Spring day), I decided to repeat the experience yesterday.With my ongoing hip+knee issues, I decided to limit my walk around the city to just eight sections or stops (the last time I undertook this “pilgrimage”, I used twelve).
As before, I related my stopping points with pilgrimage stops on Iona:
St Martin’s Cross/setting out on the road was Vauxhall Bridge; The Nunnery was the old railway bridge over the Avon (near the Create Centre); Crossroads was the bench in Rownham Hill Wood overlooking the Avon and the busy Hotwell Road in the distance; High Point was, somewhat predictably, the Clifton Suspension Bridge; Columba’s Bay was the Green between West Mall+Caledonia Place (where I picked up two stones); the Machair was the excellent Farm Café, King’s Road in Clifton; the Hermit’s Cell was the graveyard/site of St Andrew’s church (destroyed in the Blitz) off Birdcage Walk; and St Oran’s Chapel was a harbourside bench (between The Cottage pub and Bristol Marina).
It proved another rewarding and thought-provoking time… and I KNOW I’ll be doing this again (choosing a completely different part of Bristol) over the coming months/years.
Photo: some photographs I took during the course of my walk.