Before pilgrims set out on their journey to Iona from Craig Lodge some choose to come a day or so earlier and climb the Way of the Cross on the hill immediately behind Craig lodge.
The Way of the Cross is a very special form of prayer in which you accompany Jesus in spirit in reflecting on the agonies he underwent for our sake on his way to the Cross. It takes about 40 minutes to climb the hill and each ‘station’ is marked by a cairn of stones with an appropriate plaque. They may use this as a time to spiritually prepare themselves for their pilgrimage and also an opportunity for them to limber up before the real journey ahead. The Cross at the top the hill is at an altitude of just over 1000ft.
Some opt to stay the night in St Joseph’s Prayer Cell, a beehive cell structure which we built in 2011 and situated close to the Cross at the top of the hill. Although pretty basic with a simple bunk bed and a fireplace it is a formally consecrated prayer cell and many of those who have stayed a night up there have spoken of the peace which they experience.
Beehive cells were very much in use in the Celtic tradition and remains of them can be found in Ireland and in the Hebrides in Scotland. A very good example can be found on Eileach nan Naoimh, where St Columba’s mother is said to have been buried, in the Garvellachs which you can view on line.
Picture of St Joseph's Prayer cell at Craig Lodge just above.
St Conan's Pilgrim Way