Pilgrimage to Iona

Led by Bishop Karen and Karen Hutchinson

25 April- 2 May 2025

Where is Iona?

Iona is a tiny and beautiful island off the southwest coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. It is only 1.5 miles wide by 3 miles long.

Why do people make a pilgrimage to Iona?

Iona is often referred to as the cradle of Christianity in Scotland. In 563AD the Irish monk Columba established a monastic settlement that evangelised large parts of Scotland and the north of England and became an important centre of European Christianity. In the Middle Ages it became the site of a Benedictine abbey, and over the centuries it has attracted many thousands of people on their own pilgrim journeys.

Today Iona Abbey is home to residents and guests of the Iona Community, founded in Glasgow and Iona in 1938 by George MacLeod, minister, visionary and prophetic witness for peace, in the context of the poverty and despair of the Depression. From a dockland parish in Govan, Glasgow, he took unemployed skilled craftsmen and young trainee clergy to Iona to rebuild both the   monastic quarters of the mediaeval abbey and the common life by working and living together, sharing skills and effort as well as joys and achievement. That original task became a sign of hopeful rebuilding of community in Scotland and beyond. The experience shaped – and continues to shape – the practice and principles of the Iona Community.

What will we do?

Alongside the daily pattern of Iona Abbey prayer we will offer a programme of led sessions, talks and reflections. These will be programmed to fit around the daily services at Iona Abbey which are at 9:00 am and 9:00 pm, except for a Sunday when the morning service is replaced by a Eucharist  at 10:30am.

We will offer sessions each day before dinner, which will take place in the hotel. That will leave several hours free for walking, quiet reflection, visiting the historical sites, relaxing in the peace and tranquillity of Iona and perhaps even enjoying a cream tea! We will lead a pilgrimage in two stages around  the Island and there will be an opportunity for an excursion to Tobermory on the island of Mull.


How will we get there?

It is a long and varied journey to get to Iona: all part of the pilgrimage! We will meet in Glasgow where we will have an overnight stop. The next day we will travel by coach from Glasgow to Oban where we will get a ferry across to Mull. Then back on the coach to travel across Mull and then a passenger ferry across to Iona. We should arrive on Iona mid afternoon. We will do the same in reverse on the way home, and the group disbands in Glasgow to allow you to choose to extend your stay, or travel further afield as you please.

All pilgrims will need to be capable of getting themselves and their luggage on and off the various coaches and ferries, unaided and to manage their luggage  from the ferry to the hotel.


Where will we be staying?

We will be staying in the St Columba Hotel (www.stcolumba-hotel.co.uk) which is just a couple of minutes walk from the Abbey. The price includes a cooked breakfast and a three course evening meal, which we will eat together as a group. For lunch people can chose to buy sandwiches at the local shop or eat at the hotel.

We will also stay overnight at a Premier Inn in Glasgow on the journey there and back, where people can enjoy food at the hotel or elsewhere in the city. 

What is included?

Five nights at the St Columba Hotel on Iona, where a cooked breakfast and three-course evening meal are included. Two nights bed and breakfast in the Glasgow Premier Inn. Excursions and lunches are not included in the prices given. You will need your own travel insurance. You will also need to arrange and pay for your own travel between home and Glasgow.

How much will it cost?

The rooms at the St Columba hotel have different prices depending on the view and size of room. There are nine single rooms and the rest are twins or doubles. On the whole, a single sea view is the most expensive and a shared twin back view the least expensive, giving a range of £1070 - £1415 per person for the total trip cost. You will be able to indicate a first and second preference on your booking form so that places can be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Previous trips have sold out very fast, so act quickly to avoid disappointment! Update: All single rooms are now booked!

Please note, Clergy may use their CMD allowance towards the cost.

An immediate deposit of £200 per person will be required.

To request a booking form with detailed prices please email venetia.tucker@salisbury.anglican.organd if you then have questions you are welcome to contact Karen Hutchinson on 07917 912179

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