Monday, May 9, 2016

Day 43: St. Cuthbert's Cave: Wooler to Fenwick

Woke to a beautiful, warm morning. It was the first day that we didn't start out with wool caps, scarves and our jackets!

We met the man who has been picking up our luggage-- here is the company van:

We said goodbye to Wooler after buying our lunch at Cheviot Bakery.

The statues that are carved on top of the posts at the front of this elementary school were carved by Italian prisoners of war during WWII-- the site of the school was the internment camp:

I thought I was being a lazy person as we left Wooler and got on the Way -- it was all paves streets for almost 2 miles including this last long rise:

It kept on getting steeper:

When we finally got to the 'flat top' while the view was amazing it was a lot of work getting there! The nice English gentleman we met yesterday passed us again but stopped to talk. He is trying to make it to Lindisfarne today but was upset and slowed down by the 'lie' told in the book-- it wasnanhard climb up. Okay, I felt vindicated!

The day was spent walking in either open sheep fields with lots of sheep or through small wooded areas. Regardless there were lots of ascents and descents -- some tougher than others. I kept thinking to myself, "you are determined to get to St. Cuthbert's Cave, but don't skip paying attention to the beauty around you". My prayer was for patience and presence. My prayer was answered!

We kept walking and walking. Steve and I have the same rhythm while we walk when it comes to going up steep inclines-- walk 50 feet and stop and look around. I climbed Croagh Patrick in Ireland in 2007 the same way! We also have an easy way of being together including collaborating easily on which was to go-- whether crossing a boggy mess or determining which path is really THE path. I hummed, sang and prayed my way along the path.

We crossed a beautiful old bridge:

At one point we were in an area where it is believed that Cuthbert tended sheep.

Regardless as to whether or not Cuthbert actually tended sheep there, it was humbling to be in a place where just walking along some ancient paths and across fields you can feel the lives of the people currently living there but also feel the history all around you-- from Iron Age forts to Cairns to ruins of homes, churches and castles. I was overwhelmed at times. As I was in Italy, with walking through this history. I thought about all the lives, loves, feuds, wars, work, prayers, changes -- you can't help but think of those things during the hours of walking in silence.

We stopped in Horton, sat on a fence near at cattle farm, and ate a snack/lunch. It was good to sit in the shade and get off of our feet for a few minutes.

We headed up another steep incline (yes, really!) and headed in our way.

Some sheep were also traveling the path of St. Cuthbert ahead of us: 

We stopped at a converted old school house to have a rest on a bench after yet another ascent:

We saw that we weren't that far from St. Cuthbert's Cave so we had renewed energy:

We continued onto the Cave. 

The cave is so much bigger than we anticipated!

Regardless as to whether or not St. Cuthbert's body was placed there by the monks of Lindisfarne during the Viking raids -- tradition holds that it was here. As with other Holy Sites that can't be identified 100% -- does not matter? No. It is enough to know the story and to feel a bit closer to it in this space.

My only sadness here was that irbid literally the only place along the entire route that had graffiti!

Steve and I stopped here for a while -- we were the only ones there. Steve offered a beautiful prayer. We sat and ate a snack and took it all in. How did they know about this place? How much has the topography changed in over 1,200 years? We asked each other these questions and speculated the posssible answers.

Steve had a bit of fun with a felled tree:

On the other side of the cave area after having rejoined the route we found this marker:

On our way to Fenwick -- yes, yet more ascents and then a gradual descent:

It was a bit foggy over the water but in the distance you can see the island -- kinda:

We took a selfie as we sat on a bench looking at Fenwick -- it was good to be near the end of the day's journey:

It was a day that was magical, mystical and prayerful. Though we walked the longest distance yet, we weren't tired. I think walking this part of the Way was in some ways exhilarating for us. Let's see what tomorrow at Lindisfarne brings!

Total steps: 36.154. 13.97 miles 

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