Westholme’s Celtic Pilgrimage

An unforgettable journey into the Scottish Highlands aboard “The Leader”

For a select group of Westholme pupils, accompanied by Miss Worthington and Mr Beard, the 19th Century Brixham trawler ship ‘The Leader’ was to become home as they embarked on a trip of a lifetime.

The journey began at Holyhead where the girls were introduced to the skipper and crew.  The pupils were split into three watches: Bay Watch, Crime Watch and Watchdog.  Each group had to take it in turn to man the boat for three hours at a time – all through the night.  This meant that some had to get up in the early hours of the morning to crawl on deck in the dark – not easy on a tilting ship!  But with beautiful scenery, sunrises over the Scottish Highlands and seabirds and seals to spot, the time flew by!

Whilst on the voyage the crew visited the exquisite Loch Linnhe and experienced silence in a deserted castle as well as exciting rides across the waters in a high speed dinghy.  On to the holy island of Iona where St Columba landed so many years ago to set up a Celtic Christian community, the girls attended one of the services in Iona Abbey.  Visits to Tobermory and Fort William followed, and the final day was spent walking with views of Neptune’s Staircase and the magnificent Ben Nevis.

The pilgrimage was to explore friendship, community, teamwork, the elements, faith and attempting to see the world in new ways.   The girls also developed leadership skills in the specific roles they had been given: Environmentalist, Musician, Storyteller, Photographer, Entertainer, Artist, Astronomer, Human Rights Thinker, Poet and Diarist.  Along with this, they learned the need to appreciate and observe the sea and the winds, to work patiently with others and how important a sense of humour is!

The pilgrimage was an unforgettable journey.