The co-op bookstore for avid readers
Book Cover for: On This Holy Island: A Modern Pilgrimage Across Britain, Oliver Smith

On This Holy Island: A Modern Pilgrimage Across Britain

Oliver Smith

A lyrical and insightful narrative that presents a new approach to the idea of pilgrimage, traversing paths both ancient and modern.

Retracing sacred travel made across time, from murmurs of ritual journeys in the depths of Ice Age to new pilgrimages of the 21st century, On This Holy Island is an an epic adventure across sacred British landscapes. We follow Oliver Smith as he climbs into remote sea caves, sleeps inside Neolithic tombs, scales forgotten holy mountains and once even marrons himself at sea. Following holy roads to churches, cathedrals and standing stones, this evocative and enlightening travelogue explores places prehistoric, pagan and Christian, Smith also reveals how football stadiums and music festivals have become contemporary places of pilgrimage.

Though the routes walked are often ancient, the pilgrims he meets are always modern. But underpinning the remarkable book is a timeless truth: that making journeys has always been a way of making meaning. So often, Smith finds, "the unravelling of a path goes in tandem with the unravelling of the soul."

Book Details

  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • Publish Date: Mar 4th, 2025
  • Pages: 256
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.98lb
  • EAN: 9781639368419
  • Categories: Europe - Great Britain - GeneralSpecial Interest - ReligiousPilgrims & Pilgrimages

About the Author

Smith, Oliver: - Oliver Smith is an acclaimed travel writer who contributes mostly to the Financial Times, The Times and Outside Magazine. He worked for Lonely Planet Magazine for ten years. During his time there he won Travel Writer of the Year at the Travel Media Awards, was AITO Travel Writer of the Year on three occasions, and was nominated for PPA Writer of the Year.

Praise for this book

"Excellent.immensely well-researched and playful. Smith has written something special."-- "Patrick Galbraith, The Times"
"The overriding message is that every pilgrimage is unique and what is required is an open mind... as he puts it, "to break through the crust of the familiar to find the fantastical."-- "The Financial Times"
"A wonderfully original and engaging exploration of pilgrimage in modern Britain - with all its diversity of motivation and eccentricity of character. Oliver Smith trips lightly along pilgrims' ways both old and new, with a sharp eye and an open mind."-- "Tim Hannigan, author of The Granite Kingdom: A Cornish Journey"
"An illuminating, moving cross-section of past and present pilgrimages, exploring what transforms a trip into a journey of the soul. On This Holy Island is a window to enchantment for those searching for meaning in the modern world. Illuminating some of the holy rites and routes that we pass through unknowingly every day, giving our daily lives a renewed and much-needed sense of meaning. Reassuring the reader that, whatever the century, the possibility of transcendent connection with something greater might be just around the corner."-- "Jade Angeles Fitton, author of Hermit: A Memoir of finding freedom in a Wild Place"
"Smith is one of the best and most thoughtful travel writers working today. I loved this sensitive, astute, and delicately written account of his journeys to these most sacred places- standing stones and holy islands, crypt-like caves and sports stadia-disparate sites united by their profound effects upon the human psyche. Pilgrimage speaks to something soft and raw and yearning inside all of us, something powerful that goes so often unspoken. Smith bottles it on the page."-- "Cal Flyn, author of Islands of Abandonment: Nature Rebounding in the Post-Human Landscape
"Imaginative and engaging."-- "Country Life"