When you take some roads, you will see a cathedral in the distance and make a beeline for it.
Ely and Lincoln are obvious examples, however hidden in a hollow far beyond the motorways and fast roads in the most westerly point of West Wales is St David’s.
City and Cathedral interweave and without the cathedral, I suspect the city would be regarded as a charming little town, but it is elevated because of the stories of St David and the cathedral.
St David’s is a place of pilgrimage and whilst there it is worth going to see St Non’s Chapel, where St David was born on the coast less than a mile away. It gives you a sense of perspective, of distance and being away from it all.
When you get to the cathedral it really has a feeling of “whole” It feels warm and the message from the verger was clear
“You are welcome, sorry some of the chapels are closed, please stay in your socially distanced groups!”
With fewer pews and a one-way system you can appreciate the space, look up at the unusual 16th century wooden ceiling and you are staring at astonishing detail, you then walk up the nave in through the screen and are met by the most spectacular quire, look up again at probably the finest tower lantern anywhere.
It is at this point your pilgrimage begins to reach its crescendo. Relatively recently the shrine to St David in the Presbytery was restored and it has been done with reverent style but not ostentation. The Presbytery is voluminous and luminous with beautiful colours.
As you move around you will also pass the shrine of St Caradoc which is very different but again well kept, before passing the Thomas Becket Chapel, Lady Chapel and the Chapel of Edward the Confessor which is beautifully decorative.
On the current one-way system, you then pass through the Treasury and through to the cloisters which are pretty before emerging into the cathedral close.
In these difficult days of Covid, a building that stretches back through the centuries, holding the faith of Wales together is as important now as at any time in its history.
Nothing reminds you of the difference between the consistency the Cathedral offers and the temporary and passing nature of the pandemic, than the hand painted signs on the grass urging you to keep 2m apart!
He is a part-time management consultant focused on voluntary sector leadership. He is also the CEO of Action Pre-eclampsia. His photography has been widely published everywhere from the Washington Post to Vogue. In 2019, in advance of the Year Of Cathedrals, Year of Pilgrimage he decided to attempt to visit and photograph every Anglican and Catholic Cathedral in England and Wales.