Since my last post, I’ve mostly been “in transit” between Downpatrick in Northern Ireland and the next major stop on my sabbatical pilgrimage: the Isle of Iona. Of all the places I’ve been looking forward to visiting, Iona probably tops the list, largely because the Christian community established there in the mid-500’s played a significant role in sharing the gospel not only with Scotland but also with the rest of the European continent. I suspect that I’ll share a few things about Iona while I’m there or after I depart (depending on the availability of Wi-Fi). But before I board a ferry and then cycle the length of the Isle of Mull to reach Iona, I thought I’d share a few pictures of my most recent travels.
The ferry from Northern Ireland dropped me off in a little town called Cairnryan. Those of you who’ve been following my “official itinerary“ might be aware that my original intention was to cycle from Cairnryan to a community called Ayr. However, the Lord laid on my heart (or maybe “weariness laid on my heart”—I’m not sure which) that it would be better to take a train. So, rather than cycling all day to reach Ayr and arriving in the mid-to-late afternoon, I actually made it there by late morning and had the opportunity to do some sightseeing.
As you might be able to tell from the photos, visiting Ayr was an unexpected pleasure. The city is located on the Scottish coast, and so there’s actually a boardwalk of sorts. In addition, Ayr has a very “European“ feel, with multiple bridges that span a river running through the heart of the city, and with multiple churches and historic landmarks rising up above the narrow streets.
From Ayr, I cycled to Glasgow—a distance that should have been about 50 miles. However, after I was about 7 miles outside the city, I realized that I didn’t have some of my cycling equipment with me. So I had to turn around, go back, and pick it up; which lengthened my total ride that day to about 64 miles. Still, the route took me through some beautiful territory. And I got to ride much of the distance on dedicated cycling pathways, which made the ride much safer and much less hilly. The shots below are some of the scenes that I saw on the way.
This morning, I took a train from Glasgow to Oban. And while my stay here was meant to be just a “layover“ on my way to Iona, walking around this afternoon in this small but lovely port city showed me that it, too, has a surprising charm.
Now, some of the distant hills that you see in these photos might be obstacles that I need to cycle around tomorrow. So please be in prayer that my legs will be as fresh as they ought to be after a couple train rides. All of you continue to be in my prayers. And may the Lord give you opportunities to rest in Him and reflect on His activity in your life as we look forward to being renewed in Him for growth and ministry.
I’m praying your legs and strength hold out to allow you to do all the cycling you had planned to do. I also pray you continue to be safe and that your trip is all you hoped and more. You are missed but we are “holding” on, too for your safe refreshed return.
Love you …..God speed !