At the end of May along with the Sisters of Hyning Hall, we hosted a weekend to celebrate consecrated life, based on the theme of Morecambe Bay to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life.
We invited young friends to join us, and Fr Paul Grogan brought a group from the Leeds diocese. There was a fascinating talk at Hyning given by Dr Mike Warren of the Arnside & Silverdale Landscape Trust on the wildlife, geography and rock formation of the area.
[CLICK HERE for more info on the Landscape Trust]
On Saturday morning there were more talks at Hyning on the charisms of our respective orders. We prayed together on the theme of ‘Crossing’ with its many spiritual connotations.
On May 30, we walked across Morecambe Bay after a delicious lunch provided by the sisters at Hyning.
The walk began at 3.30 pm from Arnside under the expert guidance of Cedric Robinson, the Queen’s guide. He holds an honorary position for all this hard work but does have use of the associated cottage.
He knows the sands like the back of his hand and can interpret them correctly. The reason for the late start of the walk was the position of the tide. The flood tide comes in faster than a man can run.
Cedric has said, ‘It is the River Kent that causes all of the problems. The river moves. Wherever the river is determines the route and what time you can start and finish a walk. It seems to have a pattern. For 35 years it was on one shore. Then 20 years ago it moved right across the bay. Overnight. This is the danger.’
It was an exhilarating feeling to step out across the sands on this blustery day. The guide had gone out across the sands the day before, as he always does, and placed laurel branches to mark the way. These regular markers were reassuring and the path created a sense of safety for everyone.
We were a crowd of about 500 people and every so often we stopped so that the stragglers could catch up.
As we walked on to the centre, we crossed channels of water and back on dry land the sand ridges formed by waves became hard under foot. The bay felt like a different world, remote from normal life. As we walked, we enjoyed views of woodland, fells and coastline with Walney Island to the North, its turbines visible.
A commentary reflects, ‘The space created by the massive vistas provides visitors with a chance to reflect and contemplate. Indeed, spirituality and inspiration have played a significant part in the culture and heritage of the area.’
People cheered as we entered the main stretch of water. Motivated by the same spirit the dogs in our party, some of them small terriers, plunged cheerfully into the sea. Unlike us humans, they were way out of their depth but they swam valiantly across, kicking resolutely, and they seemed to enjoy the challenge.
Back at Boarbank Hall we enjoyed a glass of red wine and hot supper, an enjoyable end to a superb day and from all reports it was appreciated by our guests.