We are now walking the stretch of the route between Hexham in Northumberland and the River Tees which takes us into North Yorkshire through county Durham. It started with a service at Hexham Abbey entitled ‘Journeying without stuff’. We were welcome by curate, Phil Mellor-Smith and The Rector, Graham Usher. Graham interviewed us about the pilgrimage asking such searching questions as ‘Why put yourself through this?’ and ‘What are the essentials for your journey?’ and ‘How can the church learn from her heritage but let go of the past and journey in mission into the future? Not sure how well we answered but the congregation seemed to have their interest piqued and we were engaged in lots of conversations afterwards; Simon and family on holiday, Ralph and Jean, Chris and Dorothy and many more.
On our journey afterwards to Riding Mill we met two runners Hugh and Aria who checked our map for their run and had been in St James Riding Mill in the morning. Thank you both for your interest and generous donations for Christian Aid. Corbridge church was just about top host a concert as we arrived, but we were spotted as non-concert goers and given space to pray and leave our prayer card, thank you ladies. Karen and Fiona along the river Tyne stopped to chat despite the biting flies Karen had suffered. A warm welcome came when we got to Riding Mill from their vicar Alison.
As everywhere, the next day was very wet. We met Ted on the bus to the start of the route and he filled us in with all sorts of historical information about the locality. It was the first rain we had walked through and by the time we got to Consett the rain was bouncing off the streets and pouring off the rooftops. However, the next day dawned fine and we received a lovely welcome from Edward Knifton at Christchurch Consett to send us on our way. On this day we were joined by Peter Taylor and met his wife, Sandra, in Lanchester and also Celia and Judith, and Ian, a local preacher from Lanchester Methodist church. The good folk there had heard of the pilgrimage and hoped someone would be around to meet us on our journey.
Between Lanchester and Durham is an unusual sight – ‘Diggerland’ – a theme park where you can have a go or ride on various kinds of big diggers.
Our next stop is Durham where we hope to view the Lindisfarne Gospels.
Miles walked so far – 77
Churches visited – open 3 locked 6
Kissing gates – 7
Trig points – 0
Scrabble – Nancy 2 John 3