Winter... the rides might be slightly shorter, but this leaves more time to plan cycle touring for the year to come. Planning some long distance cycling brings with it the motivation to keep riding through the winter - foregoing the extra portion of sticky toffee pudding to keep the waistline under control.
I'm planning a pilgrimage of Celtic Christian sites; a long distance cycling experience / cycle tour from Durham through Holy Island to Iona.
"Pilgrims were inspired by a wide range of motives. Some sought help for themselves or for others; some wished to fulfill pilgrimage vows which they had made in times of crisis; some went to give thanks for blessings received, while others went to do penance for their sins; and there must always have been those like friar Felix Fabbri... whose primary reason for going on pilgrimage was a love of travel." - Bernard Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West.
I want to combine my enjoyment of cycling with an investigation of early Christian sites around northern Britain, so I'm looking at a range of Celtic sites I can ride between. The purpose of this cycle touring experience is to;
- journeying in my own physical strength, share in some of the hardship experienced by early Christians who brought the Gospel to Britain - Celtic Christians - the British equivalent of Desert Fathers.
- learn more about Celtic Christianity by visiting sites which were important in the spread of Christianity in northern Britain.
- learn about sites which are considered places of pilgrimage so that I can lead others on their own pilgrimage; hopefully helping them to develop a deeper understanding of their faith and grow in the knowledge of God.
- not least to spend a couple of weeks cycling round northern Britain - and through cycling in difficult conditions learn about how much I actually rely on God for strength when I reach the limit of my own abilities.
The goal is to ride in the first few weeks of March, and at the moment I only have a vague outline. I know that I'd like to start in Durham at the Cathedral, where Cuthbert and Bede are buried. Then go to Chester-le-Street and the site where Bede spent much of his time translating the Bible into English. After this I know I'd like to spend a night trapped by the tide on Holy Island. I would also like to go to Iona, and the site where Aidan was commissioned to travel in Britain, spreading the Gospel. Currently the route looks a little like this (but there is much more planning to do).
Labels: Aidan, Bede, celtic, christian, Cuthbert, cycle touring, Durham, gospel, Holy Island, Iona, Long distance cycling, pilgrimage