Iona: Getting There Well

Image

IonaGettingThereWell_blog

The journey itself to Iona makes this place unique; it is long, quite complicated and even relatively uncomfortable for the urbanite who is accustomed to quick and easy travel. This distance provides the perfect pilgrimage process, for it truly requires a removal of oneself from all that is familiar and supplies a lengthy trek-full of obstacles, no doubt! Once there, one finds a sparsely populated island, with almost no cars and a large abbey, whose structure appears to have dropped from the heavens onto this topographically small and relatively insignificant place.

 

Sheep outnumber the residents and the sunlight plays on the hillsides in the most magical ways. One senses almost immediately Iona is indeed a “thin space” – that brushing up against the Divine is inevitable.

It takes time to get to Iona. To start your pilgrimage preparations, think about the itinerary in two parts: TRAVEL TO OBAN and OBAN TO IONA

By Train

 

Trains travel regularly from Edinburgh (Waverley Station) and Glasgow (Queen Street Station) to Oban. This spectacular journey (one of the top rail rides in the world!) takes approximately four hours and the train terminal in Oban is next to the ferry terminal for the Isle of Mull.

Rail Enquiries:
Tel: 08457 484950.
Scotrail (Trains)www.scotrail.co.uk

By Bus

Buses depart from Edinburgh (St. Andrew Square) and Glasgow (Buchanan Street Station) and go directly to the Station Road stop in Oban. The route takes approximately four hours-make sure to pack a snack!

Bus Enquiries:
Tel: 08705 505050 or visit www.travelinescotland.com
Scottish Citylink (Coaches)www.citylink.co.uk

 

About

By Car

From Edinburgh take the M9 to Stirling, then the A84/A85 to Oban.
From Glasgow take the A82 up the side of Loch Lomond to Crianlarich, then the A85 to Oban.
If you are travelling from the north of Scotland the A82 will take you from Inverness to Fort William, then take the A828 to Oban.

Disabled Passengers

For assistance on the railway ring Scotrail (Tel: 0845 605 7021).

 

Recommended accommodations for your overnight in this seaside town

Oban Youth Hostel

www.syha.org.uk/hostels/highlands/oban.aspx

Harbour View Guest House

A lovely and affordable B&B in Oban within walking distance from the train and ferry.

Dilys McDougall at dilysmcdougall@aol.com

Tel: 011-44-1631-563-462
Harbour View
Shore Street
Oban, Argyll
PA34 4LQ

Ferry Service to Mull

 

The ferry from Oban to Craignure on Mull takes forty minutes. Walk on passengers should arrive within an hours time of departure, and make sure to give yourself time to pick up a fresh seafood sandwich at a local fish monger booth near the ferry-delicious! Cars need to check in at least thirty minutes before departure and advanced tickets is strongly recommended during the summer season and public holidays.

Ferry enquiries: contact the ferry operators Caledonian MacBrayne (Tel: 08705 650000) or visit their website www.calmac.co.uk

Across Mull

Tour buses will pick up passengers in a lot just off of the ferry departure area and bring them to the ferry terminal at Fionnphort; these bus times generally coincide with the Mull and Iona ferries. There is a sweet little gift shop and restroom facilities to visit-if there is time before the bus departs!

 

About

 

It takes approximately one hour to drive across the Ross of Mull from Craignure to Fionnphort, where the ferry leaves for Iona. Visitors cars are NOT allowed on Iona, but there is free car parking at the Columba Centre in Fionnphort, minutes from the ferry terminal.

For bus enquiries: Tel: 01631 566809 or visit www.bowmanstours.co.uk orwww.travelinescotland.com or Tel: 01546 604695 or Email: public.transport@argyll-bute.gov.uk

 

Ferry to Iona

The bus will drop you off at Fionnphort. There is a ten minute passenger (walk-on only) ferry that crosses the Sound of Mull landing at the pier in the village of Iona. In the Winter some ferries need to be reserved the day before travel.

Telephone the CalMac Craignure office on: 01680 612343 or visit www.calmac.co.uk/destinations/iona.htm

Disabled Passengers

For assistance on the ferry ring your departure terminal: CalMac Oban (Tel: 01631 566688) or Craignure (Tel: 01680 612343).

You have arrived to Iona, the place that has called to you! Savor your arrival.

 

Advertisements

Connected Colors-A Gift from the Garden

Image

Connected Colors-A Gift from the Garden

This week has provided space for some much needed self-care. Seven weeks into my first term at The Seattle School and we have a week “off” to read, write, reflect and rest.

With most of my reading already caught up, I was all too eager to get my fingernails dirty and be outside! My spirit rejuvenates in the soil of my garden. It is where I get connected and find connectedness. It is where I engage awe and wonder in ways that only the natural world can provide. As I wrestled overgrown perennials and dug deep into the damp earth to plant promises of spring, I was struck with the diversity of color that still surrounded me, even as Autumn begins to shed her vibrant hues.

My youngest and I collected a rainbow today. And the colors gave me hope, that even whilst Winter is soon upon us (and my studies will require my attendance once again), there is sheer, inherent beauty in what we are created to be! There is connection and cohesiveness in creation, and we are a part of this great created community of things!

Michaelmas

Image

Michaelmas

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. -G.K. Chesterton

Michaelmas is almost here! How are you reflecting on the dragons in your life? Can they be tamed and turned into life-giving energy? Click through to read last year’s reflection on this wonderful festival!

Lavender Labyrinth

Image

I love lavender.  There is really no other way of expressing it: I. Love. Lavender.  Its fragrant heads have waved in the landscapes of my life since I was a child and for as long as I remember we have cooked, crafted and even healed with it.  How thrilled was I when my friend, Christine Sine (of Mustard Seed Associates), shared this Lavender Labyrinth in Kastellaun, Germany.  Thrilled because I also have a deep love and respect for labyrinths and the healing they too can facilitate.

This Saturday, May 5, is World Labyrinth Day–a day to recognize and celebrate this ancient practice as a means of present day prayer and centering.  Christine Sine compiled a very helpful resource list concerning the labyrinth practice.  Do check out her suggestions and resource links here.

And may you find a special place to participate in this experience; perhaps this sanctioned date will be an invitation for you to do so for the first time!  It may take a little research, but you’ll be surprised how many labyrinths are tucked in the quiet places of life around you.

If you are in the Seattle area, my personal favorite labyrinth is located at the Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island.  It is a bit of a journey (nay, I’ll call it a pilgrimage) to get there, but well worth the process; a stone lined labyrinth residing under the embrace of an old growth forest awaits you.

Taproot: Living Fully, Digging Deeper

Image

Taproot: Living Fully, Digging Deeper

I’m strongly compelled to interrupt my normal posting schedule to share with you a new magazine that crossed my mother’s counter top to mine over the weekend. Taproot is a dedicated printscape of stories; stories deeply rooted in the earth that tell of knowing our earthen HOME. These tales talk about urban chickens and soil under the finger nails, touching your food, and children in gardens. It is also ad-free and the kind of collection that calls you to make a pot of coffee or tea, and cuddle up for a read.

Please visit their site by clicking on their photo and consider subscribing to this beautiful new venture.