Ynys Enlli October 27, 2005Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
I wonder if it’s from having grown up on an island – Great Britain – that islands in general hold such romance for me, especially even smaller ones. I am not a religious man. I am not even a believer. But I find the holy islands dotted around the British coast deeply mythic. Bardsey is the latest to come to my attention after another heavenly programme on Radio 4. There’s also Lindisfarne or Holy Island, walk-to-able at low tide, I believe, and there’s another well-known religious community living on Iona. And I heard a fascinating programme about the monks on this island, probably also on Radio 4, some time ago. There’s an undeniable romance in cutting oneself off from the rest of the world and shutting oneself up in some monolithic building with open fires and chanting with the bleak British winter gusting outside (or bleak British summer, even, in the case of Papa Stronsay, no doubt). And some of the most mythic holidays I’ve ever taken have been – admittedly on the mainland – along the Northumberland coast, with endless ruins and mythic bleakness, and along the Welsh coast, taking in Machynlleth and Owain Glyndwr’s parliament, Cader Idris and looking out to the most mythic of mythic sights, the Llyn peninsula. I’ve often thought I could be a monk if only I had a drop of faith. In the meantime, I can just be grateful to them for creating such utterly beautiful and evocative places.