A spiritual journey

I’ve finally got round to editing all the photographs and writing a post for the stride-and-ride last Saturday. What an amazing day. I’m going to let the photographs tell the story with just a few comments.

Backpack at the ready, it’s off we go!

I started the day with the familiar walk to my place of worship. St John’s, Brightwell. This is my usual peaceful approach to the church walking from Martlesham Heath.

Second Leg

I’d not previously walked the suggested pathways so followed the given guide. It was lovely to meet and greet fellow walkers which confirmed I was on the right path.

Newbourne: A restored window

After signing in, I was treated to a guided tour of the church, and given the story behind the East window. The original was shattered during a storm in 1987. After the storm, as the rubble was cleared, the glazier found an undamaged part of the original stained glass, depicting Christ. As it was such an amazing find it seemed appropriate to use it in the restored window.

Third Leg

Along the way…

Waldringfield

Red brick church showing tower with decoration.
Waldringfield

For me, much of this walk is about meeting people and sharing stories. Waldringfield fulfilled this and more. Greeted and signed in by two wonderful people, I was treated to discussion of the importance of records and sharing the stories of not only our churches but the villages and people. Waldringfield has it’s own history group, as do many of these suffolk villages. Follow the link to delve into the past.

After a refreshing drink it was onwards to

Fourth leg Waldringfield to Hemley
Fourth Leg: Taking in some stunning views along the way.

Hemley

Hemley

Just a brief stop here. An invite to their tea held in the church hall at 15:00 was tempting but unfortunately I would be on to Felixstowe by then. So, a brief rest in the porch whilst signing in, then on to

Fifth Leg

Usually my timings were just about in keeping with those in the guide books. However this leg took longer due to getting a bit lost. However this was worth it.

Kirton

After signing in, the peaceful churchyard, bathed in early afternoon sunshine beckoned. A bench and church cat insisted I stay and have my lunch so I obliged. There was also the promise of a cup of tea and use of washroom facilities.

The big cup of tea was very welcome after my lunch and with a change of socks it was on my way again.

Sixth Leg: Straight route via the road

Falkenham

Of all the churches I visited this one was my favourite. I have no specific reason other than it just had a peaceful quietness. A sense of worship passed down through the ages. Even now, as I look back and reflect, it is calling again, stirring some deep emotion. For a place that I hadn’t even heard of until then, I feel I must return again.

Now it was the longest haul

Seventh Leg

Although it was the longest stretch of the walk, it was perhaps one of the nicest in terms of easiest to follow, a long stretch of gravelled pathway with occasional glimpses of the river. However, as I was to discover later, this was not so nice on the feet. I was relieved to finally get to the riverwall, and the comfort of softer turf pathways, and of course the river flowing with boats, yachts and other craft and the view of Felixstowe within sight.

I had wildly predicted it would take me less than the suggested 70 minutes. Whether it was the type of terrain, the end of the road or just the occasional stop to breathe in the fresh air and views I arrived at Felixstowe church at 16:05, making it somewhere around 75 minutes.

Felixstowe Ferry

Image of St Nicholas church in  Felixstowe Ferry
Lovely little church but closed so couldn’t go in or get signed in.

Final leg: Ferry across to Bawdey.

Image of the Felixstowe Ferry boat docking in Bawdsey
Felixstowe to Bawdsey Ferry service

This was another new experience which I enjoyed even with blistered feet!

I was happy to get to my destination where I was to meet my daughter for a lift home. Time for a rewarding cup of tea and a little something at the famous Boathouse Cafe

Tea and toast at Boathouse Cafe

The afternoon was still warm with autumnal sunshine so I chose to eat outside on the balcony; enjoying the tremendous view over the estuary.

Enjoying the view from the cafe balcony

Feeling physically nourished, it was time to reflect on the day as I limped along the beach to where I had arranged to meet my daughter.

A blistered heel was relieved by the removal of my shoes and the feel of the soft, cool sand after the walk along some unforgiving territory. I was reminded of the passage in Exodus: God attracts Moses’ attention by the burning bush and then suggests that he should take off his shoes for he was standing on holy ground. This day, for me, had been a pilgrimage of adventure, new experiences with an immersion into the past as recorded in the churches I had visited. As I walked I enjoyed the physical act of walking and breathing in space and openness. Yet, more, the emotional, spiritual act of pausing to wonder at creation, time to ponder deeper things and share knowledge and wisdom in communion with people was the greater. Places I had visited might be called holy ground and is it not up to us to continue that holiness by our beliefs? Beliefs which must be supported by our actions and attitudes. Perhaps we could all do well by a moments reflection and taking off our mental shoes from time to time.

Thank-you for all that supported me during the day, either financially or in other ways, thank you for spiritual and physical nutrition, thank you for emotional and physical lifts, thank you for safety along the way and the kind remarks in passing.

I cannot promise I will do it again next year but this I know I will walk somewhere and often as for me it is a holy exercise.

Click on the links for more information about the churches I visited.

Thanks for reading and following.