Category Archives: Literary, artistic, spiritual

Trip Report: Pilgrimage to Iona

By Hut2Hut Pilgrimage Editor Amanda Wagstaff

Iona-Abbey-View

View of the abbey complex on Iona © Amanda Wagstaff 2016

I arrived in Glasgow and immediately realized that I was overdressed. It was only the first of June, but a spell of cloudless summer weather had overtaken the west of Scotland. As I walked across town with my backpack, I could feel sweat dripping down my face and the beginnings of sunburn on my neck. I was a mess by the time I reached Queen Street Station.

Continue reading

Virtual Pilgrimage on the Saint’s Road, Co. Kerry

Kilmalkedar church, Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Ireland - one of the sites along The Saint's Road © Deborah Wagstaff 2016

Kilmalkedar church, Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Ireland – one of the sites along The Saint’s Road © Deborah Wagstaff 2016

One of my favorite resources for information on Irish pilgrimages is Louise Nugent’s “Pilgrimage in Medieval Ireland.” Nugent is an archaeologist who specializes in medieval Irish history and culture, and she uses her blog to document her trips to pilgrim sites.

Continue reading

Pilgrim Path to the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne

by Amanda Wagstaff, Hut2Hut Pilgrimage Editor

The Pilgrim's Path to Holy Isle © Amanda Wagstaff 2016

The Pilgrim’s Path to Holy Isle © Amanda Wagstaff 2016

My pilgrimage to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne began on a RyanAir flight from Dublin to Edinburgh. I was seated next to a woman and her toddler, Molly. Molly was a very active little girl – standing in mummy’s lap, singing, and doing choreographed dances… Mum was very patient and calm with her daughter’s antics and was prepared with lots of potential distractions to keep the little girl from getting restless. One of these was a bag of small plastic figurines. While I sat reading Robin Davidson’s “Tracks,” Molly pulled toys out to the bag one by one, and told her mum their names.

Continue reading

Nan Shepherd featured on Five Pound Note!

Amazing!  Nan Shepherd, author of “The Living Mountain” — one of the finest books on mountains I’ve ever read — was selected by the Bank of Scotland to grace the five pound note. Not only is her beautiful visage featured, but several quotes from her elegant writings are included on the note.

What a testament to the literary culture in Scotland, and to that nation’s appreciation of mountains, walking and women!  When will this sort of thing happen in USA?!

Continue reading

A Festival of Walking Art & Ideas at Carleton

Walk! logo

Prof. John Schott of Cinema and Media Studies at Carleton College has organized an interdisciplinary celebration of walking and walking art called “WALK! A Festival of Walking, Art and Ideas”.  This Walking Festival, features art and media projects, wide-ranging lectures, and many public walking events.  

Continue reading

Tóchar Phádraig: Pilgrim Path in Co. Mayo, Ireland

by Amanda Wagstaff, Hut2Hut Pilgrimage Editor

The holy mountain Croagh Patrick

The Tóchar Phádraig path to the holy mountain Croagh Patrick © Amanda Wagstaff 2016

I left Dublin early in the morning for Castlebar. I was going to walk the Tóchar Phádraig, or St. Patrick’s Causeway, the pilgrim walk from Ballintubber Abbey to the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick. The bus ride through the midlands of Ireland was beautiful, cloudy with instances of sun, rain, and hail. (Yea, all of those.)

Continue reading

News: Great New Yorker article about Via Alpina and the hut-to-hut experience

Poet, writer and walker James Lasdun has published a wonderful exploration of the delights and challenges of the famous Via Alpina, and the experience of walking hut-to-hut.  Published in the April 11, 2016 issue of the New Yorker magazine, this is a delightful and serious essay on the Via Alpina, a trail that wends its way through 8 nations and has more than 300 huts spaced a days walk apart.  He describes parts of the trail, gives glimpses of hut life, and relates his own challenges and observations in walking a portion of the trail in the Triglav National Park in Slovenia.  Its not often that an American general interest magazine devotes space to describing the hut-to-hut experience, and this one — humorous, well-written, and informative — is an especially worthy contribution to America’s growing consciousness of the hut experience of long distance walking.

Continue reading

Gifts from Glendalough by Amanda Wagstaff

I left early in the morning for Glendalough to join a group of pilgrims on St. Kevin’s Way. Glendalough,”glen of two lakes,” is the site of a medieval monastic city in County Wicklow, south of Dublin. It was founded in the 6th century by the ascetic monk Kevin and has been a destination for pilgrims ever since. St. Kevin’s Way is the pilgrim path the leads from the small village of Hollywood, through the Wicklow Gap, to the doorstep of St. Kevin’s monastery. I was very excited to do my first pilgrimage in Ireland and impressed to see the parking lot full of cars and walkers, despite the rainy weather. And then someone broke the news to me: the pilgrimage was cancelled. The local mountain rescue team had advised the organizers against doing the pilgrimage because several sections of the path had been replaced by small but rushing rivers.

I was so disappointed.

Continue reading

Revival of Irish Pilgrimage Paths

by Amanda Wagstaff, Hut2Hut Pilgrimage Editor

View of the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, ancient pilgrimage site, Co. Mayo, Ireland, © Amanda Wagstaff, 2010

View of the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, ancient pilgrimage site, Co. Mayo, Ireland, © Amanda Wagstaff, 2010

March 22th-29th, 2016 is Pilgrim Paths Week in Ireland. This national event, which takes place simultaneously at various pilgrimage sites, first started on Easter Saturday 2014 in an effort to revive interest in Ireland’s ancient pilgrim paths. It’s been growing ever since. Not only do many Irish citizens walk these paths, but many foreign visitors, including myself, have been attracted to these ancient pathways, many of which date from prehistory.

Continue reading

Book Review: “The Hut Builder”, by Laurence Fearnley

Published by Penguin Books New Zealand, 2010

With 950 huts in a nation the size of Oregon, huts are a vital part of New Zealand’s landscape and imagination.  What I loved most about this novel, in addition to this it’s sensitive portrayal of the life story of a quiet poet-butcher named Boden Black, was an even quieter main character: the “Far-light hut”.

Continue reading