Sasha and Madeleine (College II, pictured left) have returned from the Northern Schools’ Quaker Pilgrimage around Ingleton.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Sasha. “It was a good chance to meet students from other Quaker Schools. I learned a lot more about Quaker history and how Quakerism started which I hadn’t known before. Being in the landscape where it all happened also helped to make it all seem more real.”
“I hadn’t known before the story of Margaret Fell, who lived in Swarthmore Hall. Her husband was a Judge and therefore could not be associated with Quakerism. She is often referred to as “The Mother of Quakerism” because she was one of the first women of the gentry to support Quakers. She was very influential and when local Quakers were being persecuted she would write letters on their behalf,” said Sasha.
“The pilgrimage was quite intense,” says Madeleine, “the first thing we did was walk to the top of a hill, which can immediately take some people out of their comfort zone, but can also make you confront your own thoughts. The other people on the pilgrimage were all very nice. I do wish that we had a little more free time, or perhaps slightly less structure, so that we could have the opportunity to get to know each other a little better.”
As any Quaker school students know, there were sessions in silence. Both girls agree that anyone undertaking the pilgrimage in future should “approach it with an open mind.”
“Be open to new ideas, and to silence,” advises Sasha. “Don’t assume that it’ll be boring.”
The girls and their fellow pilgrims set off during Quaker Week 2019.