The walkers, left to right  John, Clare, Ernie, Marik, Mike, Madeleine.


Everyone was in high spirits, despite the somewhat grey Sunday morning, when we six walkers, our support driver, Terry Harvey, and Fr. Jean-Patrice were gathered together at 7.00am in the Marian Hall car park for a prompt start of the Walk.  Once the car was loaded with containers of water, bottles of fruit squash, cakes, biscuits and a tin of sweets, to keep us all going, Father very kindly gave us a blessing before we set out on our 19-mile route to Glastonbury Abbey.

 

We had left Yeovil behind when we reached Stone Lane, and for the rest of the route the only other towns through which we passed were Ilchester and Glastonbury. For the most part, we were walking along country roads and passing through some very old and picturesque villages, such as Ashington, with its duck pond, where we spotted a duck fast asleep on the grassy bank . Then, just before we reached Limington, our driver had a surprise when a blue car appeared and drew up alongside him before leaning his head out of the window for a chat; it was, none other than Fr. J-P.  A couple of minutes later, we had all caught them up, when Father checked with us that we were all still in good shape, which was a kind thought.

A few spots of light rain began to fall as we continued on our way towards Ilchester, our first stop, when we had walked about six miles. However, by the time we arrived, there was a steady downpour, so we had to resort to eating our breakfast whilst sitting in a nearby bus shelter. 

 

We had a similar experience before we reached the village of Charlton Mackrell, our traditional ice-cream stop, as rain had once again begun to lightly fall. So, on this occasion, there had been just one request for an ice cream, another for an orange iced lolly, whilst the rest of us had asked for coffee or hot chocolate. However, we were still able to sit on the long wall of the War Memorial, our traditional stopping place, under the shelter of the trees behind, and enjoy our break.


 Refreshed, we pressed on through the lovely, 1,000 year-old village of Butleigh, passing the16th century pub, The Rose and Portcullis.’ We then turned off the main road and dropped down to South Moor, with the Tor in the background. Anyone who has ever taken part in the Walk will tell you how tantalising it is to have the Tor always in view for that last three miles before finally arriving in Glastonbury!

When we arrived at the grounds of the Abbey and had made our way to our traditional picnic spot, it was good to meet up with Kath Brown, also Henry and Luisiella Macdonald, who had driven over to take part in the Pilgrimage. We were just in time to see the return of the procession of witness to the Abbey grounds, which had wound its way through the town. Some very beautiful hymns were then sung, with everyone joining in, followed by the Rosary and the Mass itself, all movingly led by the Emeritus Bishop of Portsmouth diocese, Crispian Hollis, who stood out in the open despite the rain that had, once again, begun to fall …

 

If you have never joined the Glastonbury Pilgrimage, I would definitely recommend it as a life and faith affirming experience and, of course, you don’t have to walk there!

Text by Madeleine Harvey.  Photos by Clare Allen & John Marsden.