MacKillop-Woods Way Pilgrimage 2018 – Day Nine (25 April) – Batehaven to Surfside (via Batemans Bay!)

After a very restful night at Eileen’s home, I woke around 7am. Our plans were that we would leave at 8:55 for Mass, so I had about two hours to organise myself, shower, have breakfast, edit photos etc. Josh and Sean also took a more leisurely approach to the start of the day. Having a whole kitchen to ourselves, we organised our own breakfast, and met Eileen as planned. She drove us into town, once again pointing out the many attractions. We were planning to walk back to her home in Surfside after Mass, so she pointed out the way we would need to take. The main street was closed off for the ANZAC march, but otherwise we saw that we would have a pleasant stroll through the town.

It was a true pleasure to be able to join the parishioners at mass at St Bernard’s today. It isn’t often when we are on pilgrimage that our schedule and the local mass timetable coincide. Thinking back over the years that we have been walking, we made it to mass in Warragul, Moe, Traralgon, Bairnsdale, Bombala (which wasn’t a mass, but a Sunday liturgy of the word at which I preached), Eden, Narooma and today in Batehaven. So it is a special grace to be able to join a local community in their liturgical celebrations as we are passing through.

This morning’s liturgy was, of course, requiem mass with its own propers for ANZAC day (the priest wore violet), St Mark’s day being transferred to tomorrow in Australia. Fr Martins Aloga, a Nigerian priest, has been Parish Priest here for 10 months, and was conscientiously trying to address a national celebration of which he must have had limited experience. For what it is worth, he did well, and celebrated mass devoutly. After mass, we met Sr Carmel, one of two sister Carmels in the parish (!!) both of whom are Josephites. We had our picture taken with Fr Martins, Sr Carmel, Eileen and Rebecca (the parish secretary who did so much to help organise our stay here), and Fr Martins gave us his blessing. Rebecca stamped our Pilgrim Passes with the parish stamp, and then we were ready to head off on today’s shortened itinerary.

We set off down the road to the shoreline, and followed the path through Batehaven to Batemans Bay. It was marvellous not having our backpacks or our sticks with us. Again, as for the last week and a half, the sun was shining with a nice sea breeze and a temperature in the low twenties. We stopped at an unusual coffee shop that specialised in icecream and bagels. I could not choose whether to have the coffee or the icecream, so I had an affogato (which was both, with a biscuit added, and cheaper than having both).

We then headed into Batemans Bay, and Josh thought it would be fitting if we stopped for a beer at the RSL club. We figured that that was what the “Soldiers Club” was, and that did seem to be where the main ANZAC function was being held (given all the uniforms about), so we went in and found something like the RACV club in Melbourne: it was a mini shopping centre! Upstairs the bar and restaurant area was enormous, and looked out to nice views of the Clyde River. We ordered our beers – I had a very nice IPA made in Canberra by the Bentspoke brewery. Then Josh announced his intention to have lunch here – which I had not intended as there was plenty laid on by our hostess back in Surfside. However, they did a special on Beef and Bean Soup for $6.50, and that was cheaper than our beer, so I went with it. And I am very glad I did, as it was one of the heartiest and tastiest soups I have had in ages.

Finally back on the road again, we wandered down the main wharf to the bridge. At this point we decided that rather than take the Princes Highway route (spit, choke) we would go around the Wharf Road on the north side of the Clyde to Karoola Crescent and then up to Outlook Drive. This was longer, but very pleasant. Given how busy it is on the south side of the river, it is surprisingly quiet on the north side. We arrived back at Eileen’s home at half past two. We did our washing and I began writing up my blog while Sean had a nap. I had intended to spend time getting our finances all worked out, but it took me so long to finish the account of yesterday (and for some reason I can’t get pictures to upload to the blog, so there are no maps for today or yesterday), that not much got done in that department.

We had dinner with Eileen at 6:30pm – “Dinner is served!” came over a loud speaker calling us upstairs!! A lovely roast chicken dinner with a 2008 Chardonnay and again a lively conversation about life and family. Josh is planning not to do tomorrow’s walk which goes through some fairly remote areas. Instead, Eileen will drive him to Kioloa ahead of us, and he will take much of our extra luggage so our backpacks are lighter. It will be a hard day for Sean and me – we have been arguing about the route, but are now settled on the way. There will be major patches without phone reception, so we don’t want a repeat of our walk into Tathra. I’ll be heading to bed soon, after doing a bit more on my finances for the trip – it is just on 9:40pm now.

Today’s statistics
Planned distance: 5km
Measured distance by actual route taken (Gaia maps recording): 10.59km
Distance by iPhone Health data: 10.7km
Steps by iPhone Health data: 13,760 steps
“Flights climbed” by iPhone Health data: 10 floors
Up and Down (Gaia maps recording): 12m (-17m)
Highest altitude: 26m – starting point at the Church
Beach walking? No
Highway walking? Yes (but just over the bridge and there was a pedestrian path)
Hours on the road: 2.5 hours
Distance covered from Eden: 238.94km
Distance covered from Fitzroy: 928.94km

Click here for the the pictures for today on Google Photos, and here are the maps.

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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