About Pilgrimage: St. Cuthbert’s Way
Mon., May 11 – Fri., May 22, 2015

The Program
We’ve been studying the life of St. Cuthbert, the history of the Christian tradition in northern England, religious and cultural differences in England and Scotland, and the spiritual journey involved in the pilgrimage experience. Participants are going on a walking pilgrimage along St. Cuthbert’s Way as the culminating experience of this program. Following the walking tour, participants will visit religious sites in Edinburgh.

St. Cuthbert’s Way
This 100km (62.5 miles) self-guided walking tour leads from Melrose in the Scottish Borders, where St. Cuthbert started his religious life, to the Holy Island off the Northumberland Coast, where St. Cuthbert’s final days were spent as bishop of Lindisfarne.

The trail is way-marked and features a variety of landscapes as well as sites of cultural, historical, and religious significance. The final destination — Holy Island and Lindisfarne — is cut off from the mainland twice daily at high tide, so the final section of the walk includes the unique attraction of crossing the ancient Pilgrim’s Path at low tide.
  • Nella Gray
  • Ryan
  • Sara
  • Kathryn
  • Josh
  • Hallie
  • Craig
  • Bryn
  • Paul

Nella Gray

Class of 2018

Nella Gray Schools hails from Charleston, S.C. She's planning to double major in psychology and leadership studies. In her first year on campus, she's become involved with Tri Delta, Greek InterVarsity, Orientation Advisors, and the leadership of Trick or Treat Street, an annual campus tradition. She grew up Episcopalian and loves architecture, traveling, and studying other cultures.

Ryan Lerda

Class of 2018

Ryan Lerda hails from outside Pittsburgh, Pa. He hasn't decided on a major yet, but he's leaning towards some combination of math and economics. Ryan comes from the Catholic tradition. On campus, he runs on the cross-country varsity team and is involved with Young Life and Kairos. When he's not in Scotland this summer, he'll be manning his own shave ice stand. For the pilgrimage, he's decided to bring his lucky sock monkey, Mo, in his trail pack. The rest of the team is excited to meet Mo.

Sara Minnich

Class of 2018

Sara Minnich hails from Mechanicsburg, Pa., and intends to major in international studies with a minor in Spanish. On campus, she's active with Young Life, the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, intramural soccer, and as a tour guide for the Spider Key Society. She grew up in the Southern Baptist and evangelical tradition. Sarah's also our resident animal-lover and a former aspiring marine biologist.

Kathryn Clikeman

Class of 2017

Kathryn Clikeman calls Richmond home. She's a rising junior majoring in Latin. On campus, she's involved with the classics club, sings with Schola Cantorum, and dances swing and ballroom with Eight Left Feet. She grew up in the Lutheran denomination. On the team, she's most likely to get us out of a Latin translation pickle on the trail. (It could happen in these parts!) She also will consider our mission a complete failure if we don't spot at least one wild goat.

Josh Young

Class of 2017

A rising junior, Josh Young is a Richmond native majoring in leadership studies and international studies with a minor in Arabic. He comes from the Baptist tradition. On campus, Josh sings with the Richmond Octaves, is part of our Army ROTC, serves as a senator for the Jepson Student Government Association, and is president of the Public Safety Auxiliary. Occasionally, he sleeps. After the Pilgrimage, he'll spend the rest of the summer doing research and preparing for a year studying abroad in Jordan.

Hallie Carroll

Class of 2016

Hallie Carroll hails from RVA and is an English major with a minor in secondary education. She wants to be a teacher and on campus she's involved with InterVarsity, teaching English as a second language to adults, and volunteering with the Youth Life Foundation of Richmond. She grew up nondenominational/Baptist and likes to buy a teacup or leaves from every country or cool city she visits. Hallie's other claim to fame is that she once broke her foot while walking around a corner on the last day of classes her freshman year. But she's sure she can take St. Cuthbert's Way.

Craig Kocher

University Chaplain

The Rev. Dr. Craig Kocher is University chaplain, Jessie Ball duPont Chair of the Chaplaincy, and lecturer in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies. Dr. Kocher is responsible for overall leadership of chaplaincy staff, programming, and campus ministries. Prior to arriving at Richmond, he served six years at Duke University, first as assistant dean, then acting dean, and subsequently associate dean of the Chapel and director of religious life. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in American History from UNC-Chapel Hill, a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary. Craig is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and is married to the Rev. Abby Kocher also a United Methodist minister. Craig and Abby have a daughter, Caroline, and a beloved, golden retriever, Maggie, who regularly assists Craig in his campus ministry.

Bryn Bagby Taylor, '00

Director of Spiritual Formation, Chaplaincy

Bryn joined the Chaplaincy staff in July 2010. She graduated from Richmond in 2000 and earned a Master of Divinity from the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. She also holds a Master of Education in student affairs practice in higher education from the University of Virginia. Her primary areas of interest are pastoral care, spiritual formation, and vocational discernment among college students. Her latest achievement is completing wilderness first aid training and learning to calculate tidal tables to ensure our safe passage on the trail.

Paul Brockwell

Writer/Editor, University Communications

Paul hails from Brunswick County in southern Virginia and is a writer/editor in University Communications, where he helps put together the University of Richmond Magazine, occasionally masquerades as the University on social media, and spends a lot of time in search of good food, coffee, and books. He graduated from William & Mary in 2007 with a degree in religious studies and received a Master of Arts in magazine, newspaper, and online journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He's a member and deacon at Grace Baptist Church.

Take a hike, or several

May 10 2015 09:00

We’re pilgrims. Not the kind with belt buckles on our shoes or fancy hats. No, we’re harking back a couple more millennia to when one of the oldest practices of faith began to take shape throughout the world. Abraham went out from Ur, and today we set out from UR. But rather than trouncing through ancient Mesopotamia, we’re hiking along the border between Scotland and England, following the life of a less-ancient Celtic saint named Cuthbert.

The next 100 kilometers — or 62.5 miles, if you’re not into the metric system — won’t be easy. People have warned us of that since December. The trails are gentle and meandering, but they are long, and at times steep. We probably have a thousand ways we could trip or twist our ankles. There will. be. blisters. We’ll also smell pretty bad by the end of each day. And the last leg of our journey includes the slight stress of having a very small window of time to beat the incoming tide and safely cross to our overnight lodging on an island. Did we mention the hills?

Wandering around in an area known for its generous rainfall might sound ill-advised. But that’s part of the draw. We’ve been training and studying this semester about everything from ecumenism to the rise and spread of Christianity on the British Isles. The Vikings even made a cameo appearance. We learned the word travel has roots in the word travail. And we talked a lot about the curious life of a saint named Cuthbert. (More on that later…)

You might you ask, besides the scenery, what is so enticing about a walk through the Scottish and British countryside? Well, there are layers to that answer. We’re back to the basics, to nature. Consider our experience a bit like Thoreau-on-the-go. We’re walking this way to live deep and suck at the marrow of life while wrestling with the profound questions of our own faith and character.

Regardless of background, everyone’s making the same journey — from Melrose to Lindisfarne (gorgeous scenery and all). But what happens in between those two points will be incredibly different for each of us. It will be a time when we’re far from the madding crowd, navigating the hills and valleys, and hoping to seize moments of peace and beauty.

We don’t yet know where this will lead, but the destination has always been small potatoes in our mind. The journey is far more interesting and exciting to us. The journey is, in our minds, the perfection.


P.S. – Just in case you’re worried: we do still plan to beat the tide. And there will be plenty of opportunities to shower along the way.

(Photograph courtesy of Ronald Turnbull, the author of one of our guidebooks)