AUGUST 23 – SEPTEMBER 4, 2023
Led by the Rev. Edwin & Laura Beckham
In the sixth and seventh centuries, northern Britain was re-evangelized by missionary monks who burned with a love of Christ shaped in what we now call the Celtic tradition of Christianity. From the arrival of Columba on the isle of Iona in 563, this mission gradually spread across the various kingdoms that make up what we now call Scotland and northern England, until the Synod of Whitby in 664 saw the suppression of Celtic practices in favor of Roman church life.
On this pilgrimage, which will trace the history of the Celtic mission in Britain from Iona through to the majestic cathedral city of Durham, built as the final resting place of the beloved Northumbrian saint Cuthbert, we will have the chance to learn the inspiring stories of these remarkable monks and evangelists. Starting with the chance to spend two whole days enjoying the peace and tranquility of Iona, our journey will follow the route of these devout and intrepid missionaries, taking us east across Scotland & the Borderlands to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, and to many of the principal Celtic sites of north east England. We will be able to worship at a number of holy sites where these saints lived, worked and prayed. As we journey we will learn something of their lives, and why their legacy is of such relevance to today’s church.
One highlight will be our visit to Lindisfarne on the feast day of St. Aidan, who founded its monastery. We hope to join with the local community in celebrating Aidan’s legacy, and of those he nurtured in the monastic community there.
Finally, we’ll be sure not to miss certain points of interest along the way, principally cosmopolitan Edinburgh, where two nights and days give us ample opportunity to enjoy this great city full of music, art, and life.
I invite you to join us on this pilgrimage, to travel in love, hope and faith, in the spirit of the saints of Celtic Britain and alongside your friends and fellow parishioners.
- All airport departure & passenger taxes
- Hotel Accommodations
- Breakfast & dinners on days 3, 4, 5, 8 & 12.
- Entrance Fees & local government taxes
- Modern air-conditioned tour buses
- Single Room Supplement
- Travel insurance
- Any item of a personal nature
FLIGHT INFORMATION & ITINERARY:
+ Scheduled flights between New York and Glasgow on British Airways
BA116 -New York / London - 8.10 pm/8.20 am (Aug 24)
BA1476 - London / Glasgow - 10.10 am/11.40 am
BA1329 - Newcastle / London - 3.10 pm/4.25 pm
BA 179 - London / New York - 6.05 pm/9.00 pm
(Please note the above flights and times are subject to change.)
+ Accommodations are:
-The Voco Grand Central Glasgow - a conveniently located hotel in downtown Glasgow
-The Argyll - a charming hotel in an excellent location on Iona
-The Kimpton Charlotte Square, Edinburgh - a highly acclaimed hotel in downtown Edinburgh
-The Delta Marriott Royal County, Durham - a historic hotel in the heart of Durham City
+ Meals: breakfast throughout and dinner on days 3, 4, 5, 8 and 12.
+ All entrance fees for sites listed in the itinerary.
Day 1: wednesday, August 23
We meet in the evening to catch our British Airways flight to London’s Heathrow Airport. Dinner will be served on board.
Day 2: Thursday, August 24
Landing in the morning, we change planes to fly on to Scotland, landing in Glasgow at 11:40 am. Once we have cleared immigration and Customs requirements, we will travel into downtown Glasgow, hoping to visit its cathedral and adjacent museum of religious life and art before checking into our hotel for the night.
Day 3: Friday, August 25
After breakfast we begin our journey to Iona, driving to the cathedral city of Oban on Scotland’s west coast. Here we will visit the Episcopal Cathedral and have lunch in one of the cafes in the town (not included in the tour price) before boarding the first of our two ferries that will take us to Iona via the island of Mull. We will arrive in Iona in time to freshen up before dinner. Dinner will be provided at our hotel each night we are on the island.
Days 4 & 5: Saturday, August 26 & Sunday, August 27
We have two full days to explore this unique island on which Celtic Christianity was first planted by St. Columba in the sixth century. During our time together, there will be the chance to visit the medieval abbey, and to take part in a walking pilgrimage on the island. In addition we will have times of worship and silence, and wonderful opportunities simply to explore the beautiful landscape of this enchanting place.
Day 6: MONDAY, AUGUST 28
We leave Iona after breakfast to retrace our journey across Mull and back to Oban. We will break for lunch again in Oban, before driving on to Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, arriving in time for dinner.
Day 7: tuesday, august 29
Today we will have a free day to explore this historic and beautiful city.
Day 8: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30
After breakfast we will visit the Episcopal cathedral and hope to meet its Provost and learn something of its mission and ministry, before leaving for the Borders, where we will visit the ruins of Melrose Abbey, close to where Aidan and Cuthbert first experienced the call to monastic life. After our visit, we continue to our hotel near Berwick, where we will spend the night before our visit to Lindisfarne.
Day 9: thursday, august 31 The Feast of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne
After breakfast, we make the short journey on to Holy Island, where we will join the local community to celebrate its patron saint. After an early lunch, we leave the island before the tide makes this impossible, and journey south to Durham, and check into the final hotel of the pilgrimage, to be our home for four nights.
Day 10: friday, September 1
Today we will learn of the end of the Celtic era of Christianity in Britain, as we visit Whitby, and learn of the Synod which took place there in 664. We will visit the ruins of the medieval abbey, set dramatically on cliffs overlooking the town, and also learn something of the ministry of the church in Whitby today. After the opportunity to have a classic British fish-and- chip lunch, we will visit the stunning medieval abbey ruins at Rievaulx, before returning to Durham in time for dinner.
Day 11: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
This morning we travel south after an early breakfast to visit the magnificent city of York, home of the largest gothic cathedral north of the Alps – York Minster. Founded by the Romans, York was the city in which Constantine succeeded his father to become Roman Emperor. During our day-long visit we will learn of its history, including a visit to Jorvik, a museum that tells the story of the Viking era in northern England. In the afternoon we will have a tour of the Minster, and attend Choral Evensong, before an early dinner and our return to Durham.
Day 12: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
Today we will experience Sunday worship in the majestic setting of Durham Cathedral, originally built to be the final shrine of Cuthbert, the most beloved of the Celtic saints of northern England. The afternoon will be free to enjoy last-minute shopping or a gentle wander around the wooded banks of the river Wear, and/or to attend Choral Evensong, before we have our final pilgrimage dinner together.
Day 13: monday, September 4
This morning we return to Durham Cathedral for a guided tour and a final act of worship together as a pilgrimage group. After an early lunch we drive the short distance to Newcastle Airport to catch our afternoon flight to London, where we change planes and fly onwards to JFK, landing home the same night.