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Holy Island pilgrims achieve goal

Pilgrims crossing to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne for the Easter weekend said they were grateful the weather had improved from the blizzards they endured earlier this week.

More than 80 people, including some children as young as 18 months, set off a week ago from a number of locations in the north of England and the Scottish Borders for the Northern Cross Pilgrimage 2012.

Seven groups - known as legs - joined together on Friday on the Northumberland coast.

They included five legs which walked between 80 and 120 miles in the week and one family leg which did shorter, daily walks. The final leg walked unsupported coast-to-coast from Whithorn, near Dumfries.

Each leg has carried a life-size wooden cross as a sign of Christian witness and have stayed in church and village halls along their routes.

The legs came together as the 88 pilgrims crossed the tidal sands to Lindisfarne in Northumberland.

Michael Hanson, overall co-ordinator of Northern Cross 2012, said: "People might think of pilgrimage as a medieval concept, yet Christian pilgrimage is alive and well today, as demonstrated each year by the five million people who go to Lourdes, or the 200,000 who walk the Camino di Santiago, from the Pyrenees to North West Spain.

"Northern Cross is another example of this. Northern Cross, and any walking pilgrimage, is a chance to get away from the demands of the world.

"The destination alone is not solely important - it is a goal - but the important thing is to form a small Christian group of people, travelling together on the road, using each others skills, helping with each other's weaknesses, working as a team to achieve an aim."

He added: "It's been a very successful pilgrimage. It's been an interesting week with blizzards on Tuesday, but everyone's got here and we've crossed today in better weather."


From Belfast Telegraph