Two days before our Children’s Celebration at Llandaff Cathedral of the re-created Penrhys Pilgrimage Way, we went into Lockdown.
It wasn’t the start we had imagined!
So six months on, where are we now? Our website is up and running www.penrhyspilgrimageway.wales and behind the scenes we have continued to plug away at those things needed to make the walk top notch.
The six months have been like a curate’s egg, good in parts and bad in others.
The good, which is by far the most out standing and uplifting feature of this project, has been the goodwill and the support which so many organisations and communities have given us. More later.
The bad was the inevitable delay to things we really want to put in place, the waymarkers in Rhondda Cynon Taf (the Rights of Way Officer watched his team being diverted to help with the floods and then no sooner had he thought he might be able to send them out, Lockdown arrived and his team became part of the essential group supporting the community ), the stiles being replaced by kissing gates, all on hold until Lockdown is over. And the disappointed children from all the communities along the Way who had practised so hard to deliver a very special event at Llandaff Cathedral.
And what do we pray? “Thy Will be Done” and this year we had to face up to the fact that however much we wanted to put everything in place perfectly now, we had to accept “Thy Will be Done” and it is hard.
The good was and is amazing. The website was getting a lot of hits. It still is. People were obviously looking up the walks in their area and doing them. Quiet, leafy overgrown paths became busy with the steady passage of walkers keen to make the most of their hour of exercise. Thankfully, they stayed leafy and pleasant green, with dog roses flowering, billowing pink beauty through which we could wander. It was obvious from where I lived that we had answered a need in our community and that the Way was being enjoyed.
Random questioning of walkers on the route, brought exciting responses. One had walked all the way to Penrhys only that weekend and was full of the adventure and the struggle to find her way through the very last uphill stretch on the Way. She had loved it. And she was keen to take her friends to do the walk again. Another was a storyteller immersing himself into the atmosphere and the history of the Way. He worked a miracle for us, and under his guidance we held our first on-line event on MidSummer’s Night, with tales of Celtic saints and local legends.
Local communities and organisations along the route are trying for grants to get Information Boards in their patch. Behind the scenes, we are continuing to work on unglamourous needs of a Walking Route. Youngsters went up to Penrhys and did a litter pick. Huge thanks to Jack and Harri Hughes.
And the path is working miracles again. Only today we posted on Facebook David and Sue’s fantastic fund-raising effort. David to celebrate his 80th birthday has decided to walk the Penrhys Pilgrimage Way to raise funds for Christian Aid and Embrace the Middle East. Already he has raised nearly £4000
What better example could we offer of Faith Tourism at Work?