Last week our two teams spent 4 days trail blazing the final off-road paths through stunning parts of the lower midlands and East Griqualand. If you have never driven (or walked!) from Centocow to Lourdes you have missed some of the most spectacular scenery in our beautiful province.
Two teams did the trekking whilst Finn and I provided vehicle support , clocking up over 900 km in 4 days. We would especially like to thank Fr Ignatius from Centocow who kindly allowed Fr Paul to walk with the team to Lourdes Mission after the planned for walking guide did not arrive. The people in the villages loved seeing the Father in his white cassock walking through their villages and Father blessed many, babies and children and octogenarians, as he walked.
The final test of the trail will be between 9th and 20th March, from Reichenau Mission to Mariathal Mission.
(We still haven’t finalised the way to walk from Mariathal, over the Umkomaas river, passing Einsiedeln and on to Mariannhill but hope to do this soon).
The proofs for the pilgrim records, the APT Trail certificates, and the artwork for the 9 self-inking stamps are at the Mariannhill Mission Press and will be ready by March.
We are thrilled to welcome four new accommodation partners on the ‘APT Trail’ list - Ashtonvale Guest Farm (Bulwer), Myddelton Farm (between Creighton and Donnybrook), Smithfield Guest House (Creighton) and King’s Grant Retreat (Ixopo). All have been added to our ‘Preferred Accommodation’ page on the website. We haven’t included any tariffs because we know that these could change in 2018.
Special thanks to Cheryl Biggs from Kings Grant who has offered a 15% discount on accommodation booked by APTTA friends. So anyone who wants to visit the historic St Isidore farm that belongs to King’s Grant, and have a look around, don't forget to mention that you are a friend of the APTTA. You can read about the Kings Grant retreat and the Trappist history here: http://www.kingsgrant.co.za/history
Trail finding news:
From 8 to11th January Jon, Jenny, Trevor and Anna will be bundu-bashing between Reichenau and Lourdes whilst Finn and I provide vehicle support. If you see a group of four seniors traipsing cross country in the Bulwer, Donnybrook, Creighton and Riverside areas, give them a hoot and a wave!
Trail signs and markers:
We have had a lot of discussions about marking the trail and realise that it isn’t going to be easy.
Top left: We thought of wooden stakes with the APTT symbol painted onto them embedded in strategic places. Problem – they could be removed to be used as firewood!
Centre: Painting a symbol directly onto rocks, trees, fence posts. Problem – if the route needs to be changed it will be difficult to remove these.
Top right: Painting a symbol onto a small slab of slasto or slate. These could be placed in strategic places and can be easily moved if necessary in future. If you have any ideas please share them with us!
The Bottony, or Budded Cross:
This is the Cross shape we have chosen as our symbol. The cross on the bottom left is the ancient Chaldean Cross from 550 BC. It appears in the 5th century AD Mar Saba Monastery 10km from Bethlehem. It also appears in many Catholic churches and you will see it in Trappist cemeteries all over the world. The cross on the right is that of Brother Edward in the Centocow graveyard.
Each bud has its own symbolism. The most common is three, which represents the Trinity: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.