Pilgrimage By Peter Reason


What Is A Pilgrimage?

A pilgrimage is a journey of moral or spiritual significance, undertaken in response to deep questions and a yearning for answers from a realm beyond the everyday. A religious pilgrimage can be described as a search for a holy realm and a direct encounter with the sacred. An ecological pilgrimage can be seen as a search for experience of deep participation with the earth and her creatures. I undertook two major pilgrimages in my little yacht Coral to the west coast of Ireland and Scotland which I wrote about in Spindrift and In Search of Grace.

Spindrift: A Wilderness Pilgrimage At Sea

Spindrift was originally published by Vala Publishing Cooperative whose list was taken over by Jessica Kingsley Publications in 2016
Spindrift By Peter Reason
This is the story of a sailing odyssey, but also an inward journey into deep truths about who we are and how we belong in the universal scheme. A meditation on sailing and life, it is a hugely enjoyable and thought-provoking book for landlubbers, sailors, philosophers, and naturalists alike. Mostly sailing alone, Peter Reason invites us to share in the minute-by-minute challenges of seamanship and navigation on his journey in his yacht coral from Plymouth across the Celtic Sea and back again. Exploring far more than the seaways, the author successfully manages to tell the story of the journey with another dimension – that of investigating and reflecting on our human place in the ecology of the planet. Above all this book shows us that nature is not just a place to visit but is our home.

Rubery Book Award 2014 Non Fiction Winner

‘This is a beautifully presented book about a journey from Plymouth across the Celtic Sea and back again, partly a sailing story and partly a meditation on life and nature. The narrative is lyrical and thoughtful.’

What They Say About Spindrift

  • A wonderfully salty, sea-soaked voyage of discovery. Peter Reason shows us what it is to fall in love with the Earth all over again.
    Sharon Blackie
    EarthLines Magazine
  • We land lubbers who stand ashore and wonder about the sea and its wild mysteries may feel what Masefield called the 'call of the running tide,' but few of us ever answer it. This is not just a sailor's yarn but also a thoughtful, challenging, moving account of a pilgrimage. Confronted by Nature at it's most elemental, the intensity of the experience, the quality of the reflection and the humanity of the writing turns a journey into an exploration of what it is to be human in the wilderness.
    Paul Evans
    Guardian Country Diarist
  • A truly great reading experience that drew me out of myself into the turning world of the oceans and into the depths of ecological awareness.
    Stephan Harding
    Author of Animate Earth
  • This is an enthralling sea-journey which is at once thoughtful, provoking and unforgettably human. I was absorbed from the very first page, and in awe of the courage and tenacity of Peter Reason's quest. I'll never look at a sailing boat heading out into the Atlantic in the same way again. This is exactly the kind of writing we need right now; heart-stopping, mind-expanding, it will leave readers inhabited by landscapes of waves, sails and surf, and with a deeper knowledge of the visceral contours of the human spirit.
    Miriam Darlington
    Author of Otter Country
  • There can be few book titles as mouthwatering as this one, destined to appeal to the wild seeker in us all. Sure, Peter Reason decided to sail from Cornwall across the Celtic sea to the south-western coast of Ireland but the odyssey acts as a poetic framework for what is part memoir, part philosophical exploration, part reflection, all of it dipping and diving into one compelling theme: the sacredness of nature.
    Jiny Reddy
    Author of Wild Times: Extraordinary experiences connecting with nature in Britain
  • A profound and beautifully written meditation on our place in the world.
    Neil Ansell
    Author of Deep Country: Five Years in the Welsh Hills
  • I very, very much loved that book of your season at sea.
    Joanna Macy
    Author of World of Lover, World As Self
  • A wind-swept Peter Reason peers out of the back cover of this beautifully written account of his wilderness pilgrimage at sea. This book represents a new departure as an experiment in autobiography and travel writing. The deeper agenda of his journey is about how we experience ourselves as a member of the community of life on Earth, building on the work of other ecological thinkers such as Thomas Berry, David Abram, Brian Swimme and Gary Snyder.
    David Lorimer
    Scientific and Medical Journal
  • I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book, Spindrift. The book describes and evokes wonderfully the detailed personal experience of sailing and atmosphere it evokes as well as the issues around our place in the environment. I liked the way you create the connections. I ended reading the book slowly - sipping it in order to be able to extend the voyage. Thank you for providing several hours of real pleasure.
    Tony F
  • Part travelogue, part inner journey, part deep thought on our place in the world, this book is a delight to read, redolent of the sea which infuses each page. He has thought long and hard and deep on the relationship between human and environment and it is this that shines through in the writing. Overall – intense, thoughtful, meditative – this is a book that you'll want to read and reflect upon, and probably read again.
    Peter Sutton

    In Search of Grace: An ecological pilgrimage

    In Search Of Grace By Peter Reason
    To recover from ecological disaster we humans must transform the sense of who we are in relation to the Earth. In Search of Grace is the story of an ecological pilgrimage undertaken by the author in his small yacht Coral from the South of England, around the West Coast of Ireland to the far north of Scotland. It explores themes of pilgrimage: the overall pattern of separation from the everyday, venturing forth and returning home. It tells of meeting wildlife, visiting sacred places, confronting danger, expanding and deepening the experience of time, of silence and of fragility.

    What They Say About In Search Of Grace

    • The biggest takeaway for me after reading Peter Reason’s book, “In search of grace – An ecological pilgrimage,” is how to cope personally with the grief of an increasingly unhinged world around us. Not least, nature’s rapid ruin.
      David Burke
    • Peter Reason tackles huge themes with clarity and intelligence. Through his own private pilgrimage he asks how a modern citizen can live on good terms with the rest of nature's glorious republic. And what can we do to honour the four billion year old miracle that has given us the gift of life? This is an important and challenging work.
      Mark Cocker
      Author of Our Place: Can We Save British Nature Before it is Too Late?
    • Peter Reason puts to sea in a purposeful wandering. How do you explore a deeper connection with the wild, the more-than-human world? How can a spiritual response to Nature support the pragmatic prevention of those destructive impulses that are causing such a dreadful state of affairs in the natural world? How do you articulate an experience of those unexpected and spontaneous sacred moments? This account from the liminal edge between these notions goes much further than anyone contemplating a sightseeing voyage would dare.
      Paul Evans
      Author of Field Notes from the Edge: Journeys through Britain’s Secret Wilderness
    • In Search of Grace is a remarkable achievement. On one level it records an impressive adventure – a single-handed sail up the west coast of Ireland and through Scotland’s Western Isles. Peter Reason records with great clarity the journey’s perils and joys. But all the while he is thinking, contemplating the plight of the planet and his own involvement in its ecology, drawing on a lifetime’s reading. The result is a thrilling book – immediate, wide-ranging and profound.
      Philip Marsden
      Author of The Levelling Sea and Rising Ground
    • In an age of ecological crisis, perhaps humanity itself needs a pilgrimage. Perhaps we need to seek out the truth of who we are and what we have done, and leave a space for some kind of transformative grace to enter. Peter Reason’s journey may show some of us the way. His book is both brave and necessary.
      Paul Kingsnorth
      Author of The Wake and Beast
    • In his years at the University of Bath, Peter Reason rose to prominence as a brave pioneer of Action Research--a participative approach to scholarly and whole life inquiry, that refuted narrow reductionism. Now, in this meditatively written and rich interwoven account, he takes his inquiry further. Sailing his boat around the seas of Celtic lands, he gains insights into these our troubled times, as glimpsed through the cracks of a deeper grace belonging to this planet Earth.
      Alastair McIntosh
      Author of Poacher's Pilgrimage: An Island Journey
    • I’ve enjoyed reading In Search of Grace. It’s both a tale of a remarkable journey about our archipelago and a glorious reminder of the ways in which an ecological sensibility can be brought into our everyday lives. You’ve managed to convey something of the wonder and awe that we can have when we head out on grand adventures and how we might bring that wonder back into our more mundane daily existence. Really rather an essential aspect to living well.
      James Canton
      Leader of the Wild Writing MA
      University of Essex
      Author of Ancient Wonderings: Journeys into Prehistoric Britain
    • Peter Reason is a poetic storyteller, a courageous pilgrim, a questioning philosopher and an explorer of the emergent, who beautifully and generously shares his ‘moments of grace’ at home and at sea, in ways that can illumine our own journeys towards urgently needed new ways of thinking and being.
      Peter Hawkins
      Author of Leadership Team Coaching
    • What wondrous memories, to this old ex-mariner, you evoke with your truly glorious essay. And what a fabulous conjunction of pilgrimage, ecological appreciation and sailing you convey. Your essay greatly augments all that I recall from my own reflections while transporting me to waters unknown, sights unseen and an ecological odyssey unexperienced.
      Richard Bawden
      Emeritus Professor
      Western Sydney University