The Banstead 5 Pilgrimage 2005

Cornwall - 2005 Saints & Saltwater
Cornwall sketch 2005

It was always going to be an adventure - and it lived up to anything we might have hoped or expected. Rushing on to the platform at Exeter St David’s at 12.07 for a 12.08 train, yet managing all to get aboard thanks to its delayed arrival, started us off on the right foot. Despite deluging rain and poor visibility spoiling our views of West Penwith, we were able to be flexible, change plans and enjoy ourselves at the Wireless & Telegraph Museum instead.

St Michael's Mount
St Michael's Mount

Our day on St Michael’s Mount, when fine weather was essential, was balmy, warm and calm for the two sea crossings in the ferry boats - like large coracles, seating a dozen passengers. We felt blessed. Equally the people we encountered were living treasures, and we felt blessed again. There were some disappointments for David and I when our pilgrims missed things we had hoped to show them. Perhaps this was inevitable from the beginning as we had, on this occasion, taken them "HOME".

We asked pilgrims to write about one memorable moment for us. Here are some:

" I came as a stranger and found warmth and helpful friendliness."

" Our faith was tested rushing through Exeter to catch the train, for a marvelous journey. At times the train was so close to the coast it felt as if it were travelling in the sea. Crossing Brunel"s bridge built in 1859 across the River Tamar was impressive - some of us were so excited as we crossed that we leapt out of our seats for a better view."


"Meeting people who continue the work of pilgrims who brought Christianity to these shores was good. We felt close to people who gave wonderful hospitality and praised together in churches and chapels. Joining in the Eucharist at St Petroc’s Church in Padstow, hearing the combined congregations’ voices belting out the hymns, was uplifting. The anecdotes, stories and information from Fr Barry and the country folk were fascinating. Ending our traveling Eucharist in Truro Cathedral made a fitting end to a very good day. Meeting an artist painting a group portrait of the choir in the Cathedral crypt was intriguing. Our Cathedral tour emphasising the religious significance added to our understanding - we were not treated as tourists but as pilgrims."

Cornwall 2005 - Gwennap Pit
Gwennap Pit

"Gwennap Pit was impressive. In this tiered grassy hollow one could imagine John Wesley preaching here eighteen times between 1762 and 1789. It was strangely moving to stand in the drizzle at Gwennap Pit hearing Fr David reading about Jacob’s Ladder from the Bible… The custodian, a gentle man, stepped aboard the coach to bless us. His message was pure, genuine, straight from a Christian heart."

"Such different architecture! The stained-glass window of St Mary Star of the Sea in Penzance - stunning. The Norman carvings, all done with an axe, at Morwenstow. The fonts at Padstow and Bodmin, the windows at St Neots."

Cornwall 2005 - St Endoc's Church
St Enodoc's Church

"The achievement of walking to St Enodoc’s Church in the sand hills on the banks of the Camel estuary, or climbing St Michael’s Mount on a glorious October day to the chapel - a wonderful “house near heaven” - the laughter on the way up, and the other visitors joining in our service or just walking through. Everything running so smoothly. How brilliant the sun shone when we really needed it.’ ‘The driver, Jerry, who could get us out of almost any tight spot, with the assistance of David directing traffic with a Cornish flag, or climbing the occasional tree to make room for the coach on a too narrow road. A sight to behold!"

"The sunshine and rain, sand, sea and sky, fields, hills and rivers, the clergy and welcoming folk, the birds, animals and flowers - all God’s creation. The beauty of hedgerows, palest mauve periwinkle, and pink tamarisk covered in raindrops like cobwebs overhead. Thanks for the gift of sight to enjoy the detail of God’s creation. The power of the sea at the ‘Blow Hole’ near Constantine Bay. A rainbow of spray above breakers at Mawganporth. The sun setting over the foaming sea."

"St Enodoc was the place of magic - a walk down the lane and across the golf course with views of the beaches and a dog-walking hillside, where around the corner nestled a church… what a trek for John Betjeman’s pallbearers. There he lies in a simple grave in utter peace with his childhood memories - and that is where we were asked to recall ours. No wonder there were tears."

"WE ARE HEAVENWARD LOOKING PEOPLE" - this thought will stay in my mind forever.

Article collected and edited by Andrea Chance
Photographs by Anne & Ken Preece

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