We have completed the journey that began in Dover. In two and a half months we have walked more than 650 miles through 14 counties of England and 7 shires of Scotland.
In the latter stages we used ferries to reach the islands of Bute, Islay, Jura and Mull, arriving at last on Iona, an island off an island off an island.
Each day we met new people, saw new sights and slept in a new bed. We have listened and looked and learned all the way, and have documented just a fraction of what we’ve experienced through photography and audio recording.
So far we have shared a portion of that in the blogs below, but it’s been impossible to put into words all that we’ve seen and heard, and our journal is lagging a little.
In the days and weeks to come we will take time to reflect and organise our findings and will be sharing those reflections here. For now we just want to express our gratitude for reaching this point safely, for all the wonders we have been witness to, and for all the kindness and support that people have given us every step of the way.
First and foremost thank-you to Katrin Macmillan of Projects For All for her confidence in this Listening Pilgrimage and for the unflagging enthusiasm and support she has given us from day one. She has been inspirational and caring in equal measure.
Thanks also to Monika Hubbard from the same organisation for helping us to create our blog and for being our London rock and our chief advocate.
Thanks to Scarlett Maguire for editing and posting our audio recordings and to Iain Rawlinson of Crowdcaster for giving us a platform to share the voices and sounds we have recorded. Both have been enormously encouraging and Scarlett has spent many hours listening without all the benefits that we walkers have had.
Thanks to those who walked with us some of the way. Your company was precious.
Thank-you to the kind people who have spoken to us, giving their time and their stories with openness and generosity. We couldn’t record and share them all, but we listened to every one. Many have endured some very bad times, but none have been diminished or defined by their suffering, instead they live and speak with dazzling strength and optimism.
Thank-you to the many family members, friends and strangers-turned-friends who gave us accommodation, food or drink. We will write a full list in due course, in the meantime you have our undying gratitude. We hope we lived up to John Adair’s phrase ‘every guest brings a blessing’. You will all be welcome to stay with us any time you are near Horsham. Thanks to those who have listened to us when we needed a break from listening.
Thank-you to those who made financial donations to Projects For All: Alex Humes, Pat Wilson, Lowdy Brabyn, Bim Riggall and Stewart MacNeil.
Their contributions will be invested in future projects designed to help refugees and asylum seekers as they continue their journeys towards better lives.
If you would like to donate, you can still make a contribution here
Lastly thanks to all who have read our blog and our posts on social media, especially those who have sent us encouraging messages. Please keep reading and sharing, we’d love to spread these stories far and wide. They are stories of hope and resilience and generosity; stories of ordinary people rolling up their sleeves and doing something small to make a big difference in other people’s lives; stories of extraordinary people transcending their trials to keep hope alive.
When we set out on this listening pilgrimage we didn’t know what we’d find. What we found could take a lifetime to articulate, or it could be expressed quite simply. If you walk out of your door and go somewhere you have never been before, if you speak to strangers and listen to what they have to say, if you open your heart to new experiences and ways of seeing the world, you will be inspired.
Happy walking, and happy listening!
Christy and Isabel
June 17th, 2017