Porlock Weir – Lynton (12.3 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 21.8 miles / Distance from Poole – 611.7
If I am honest today has been a tough one. I am used to walking all weekend so I was not expecting to find today harder than a usual day’s walk. But alas it was.
I was walking on my own today and there were very few people I came across out walking, which for the 5 ½ hours I was trekking up and down the Exmoor coastline, it meant I was alone with my thoughts – not always a good thing! Due to a lot of landslides the path had been diverted quite a bit, often up the steepest, roughest tracks you can imagine. It wasn’t the ‘moderate’ stage the book had promised! I had left my walking poles in the car and I was battling against the wind. And as I puffed and panted up the hills I kept getting cross with myself for finding it so difficult – it was only day two and already I was having problems. Why was I not still full of energy? Why was I not waltzing along? I started to feel so pathetic and insignificant, and I started to focus on the fact that I have so much more walking in front of me, a lot of which is harder than today’s stage. Oh man, I was feeling sorry for myself and beginning to wonder what on earth I had let myself in for.
Then I came across St Beuno’s Church in Culbone.
It is the smallest complete Parish Church in the country at a length of just 35ft. At a push it seats a whopping 33 people! I am sure that at times the people of this church have felt small and insignificant. Culbone itself is made up of the church and 2 houses, and is only accessible by walking through the surrounding wooded coombe, 400 ft above the wild north coast of Exmoor. It has no electricity and no water. It is not heated. It is isolated and alone and in the grand scheme of ‘the Christian church’ or the world itself it is absolutely tiny.
Yet people have worshipped here for over 1000 years, and they still do. Fortnightly services still take place and are well attended by locals and visitors alike. It made me wonder how many people have set foot in St Beuno’s Church and have encountered God. It made me wonder how many positive things have happened as a result of people’s experiences here. It made me wonder how vital it is in the grand scheme of ‘God’s plan’. Not so tiny now!
I was humbled by St Beuno’s and by the commitment and dedication of those who enable it to continue to be a viable place of worship. And it made me realise that no matter how small and insignificant we feel we are in fact a vital piece of the story of God and the world. What a privilege to be necessary to God! Not so tiny now! Yay!