We met up by St Hedda’s – seven pilgrims and dog to start the day. Paul and John from York joined us. There was a steep pull up the hill to the Egton Mortuary Chapel which is our first stop today.
We were met by churchwarden Peter, who had opened up the chapel for us and gave us some history of the chapel and a look at some of the old maps and photos and papers.
After our song and prayer at the chapel we went on to St Hilda’s Egton (dodging a low loader which had come for the vicar’s broken down car!). This church has a good ministry to the next door school and children’s work was displayed for us to enjoy.
Here we mused on Hilda the teacher and thanked God for those who had taught us. After welcome refreshments at the vicarage we were joined by Christine the vicar and got as far as Grosmont for lunch.
The temperature rose in the afternoon as we walked on to St Oswald’s Pastoral Centre at Sleights and new made scones, tea, coffee and cool water were most welcome.
A final fillip for the day was a phone call from Radio 4. They want to come and record an interview with us on Friday for a programme in the autumn! St Hilda is to make National Radio.
The weather forecast was right. It was hot today. We had eleven pilgrims set off today plus one dog. The visibility was very good and so as we walked along to Lealholme there was plenty to see.
Lunch in Lealholme found us sitting thankfully under spreading coper beech trees with the church behind us. Then after lunch we found an unusual farm on route with the world champion Birmingham Rotating pigeons along with two families of kittens and unusual breeds of fowls.
Beggars Bridge found us sitting thankfully and drinking water in preparation for a walk along the ancient trods through the woodland.
Stepping stones over the Esk got us very near to St Hedda’s where we were able to view the Nicholas Postgate window and hear some of the fascinating history of the church in Egton Bridge from Fr Roger. Our hymn for today ”Father hear the prayer we offer, not for ease that prayer shall be’ seemed apt. Nancy
The second day was promising to be warm! The eight expected pilgrims met up again at the Scaling Dam Centre. The paths were dry and found to be where the book said they would be. We ascended to the top of Beacon Hill (with wonderful views north, south, east and west) and paused for a photo-opportunity. Downhill to Danby, making good time so that we arrived at Danby Church in time for a very welcome cup of tea from the welcoming people at Danby.
Once there we met up with four more pilgrims led by Paul Rathbone, who had followed down the hill from the Beacon and eventually caught up with us. They remained with us a short while longer and eventually we made it back across the River Esk only to be caught by a talking statue who lectured on the fish to be found in the river. The Moors Centre at Danby were selling welcome refreshments and we finished our second stage at the centre with prayer.
The Pilgrimage began at 11am at St Hilda’s Hinderwell.New Archdeacon Samantha was there as well as the Bishop of Whitby, Paul and Rural Dean, Barry. Bishop Paul reminded us of the great legacy left to us by St Hilda and urged us to think of the legacy we would leave for future generations ….. as well as a lot of other important stuff. The service was meant to be outside by the side of Hilda’s well, but rain stopped play and we had to be inside with some well water for the renewal of our Baptism Vows. However the sun came out in time for the blessing of the new ‘St Hilda’s Way’ and the rousing strains of ‘Guide me O Thou great Redeemer.’ We could also have our picnic by the well before having a photo shoot of all 29 people who
had come to start this new footpath off to a great start. The setting off was in sunshine. The grass and trees verdant and everyone in good spirits. Some found the going more difficult than others, which is always the case in the pilgrimage through life, but the group of pilgrims good humouredly waited, ate, chatted and generally seemed to have a good time.
We arrived at Scaling dam in quite a breeze but managed to pray the pilgrimage prayer at the end of the day before departing to eat and rest. As the next day is a Monday our numbers tomorrow is expected to be rather less than today.
This week we have received hot off the press, the copies of ‘Walking St Hilda’s Way’. The book will be available from TIC in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey, from churches in the Whitby area, from the NY Moors Centre at Danby and the Gateway Centre at Staithes. Hopefully there will be some Media interest and we are getting all geared up for the Launch on 28th June – 3rd July. We have been very pleased that those who have seen it appear to like it and it only costs £5 with profits going to Christian Aid and the Whitby Churches Mission Fund.
Soon the book will be available online at Amazon, so keep looking.
Announcing a new long distance footpath: St Hilda’s Way
St Hilda’s Way is a new 43 miles long-distance trail in North Yorkshire, starting from Hinderwell and finishing at Whitby Abbey. Nancy and John have lent their assistance in devising the route and writing the guidebook.
St Hilda’s Way is being launched on Sunday 28 June 2015 with a special service at St Hilda’s Well at Hinderwell Church. There is then a led pilgrimage and the full walk will be completed over the following five days.
Click here, or on the St Hilda tab above, for lots more information about the walk.
We have made it to Carlisle and been welcomed at the cathedral by the Dean and Canon Warden Jan. We had a very good Evensong at the cathedral, the girls’ choir sang superbly well and it felt a fitting climax to the walk. Just so you cannot say we have not done a ‘Corner to Corner’ we did manage to stagger northwards and cross the border to Gretna Green the day after by the shortest (though safest) route.
Thank you to those we met yesterday – Kathie and Alice whom we met on our final mile; Carrie and Alex who walked with us along the main shopping street; Senga (who took a photo for us) at the Cathedral; Angela and Alan (who also took a photo); at the Cathedral Judith and Kath; at the shop in the Cathedral Irene and Barry. From today’s walk, Campbell and Alison (Christian Aid workers for the Annan district); another Alan who took our final photo at the border; and also Hi to Julian at the ‘News and Star’ in Carlisle.
Thank you to everyone who has followed this blog.
Final Statistics for those who might be interested in such things
Miles to Carlisle Cathedral 609 to the Scottish border 620
(John has re-checked all the mileage and now makes it 623.4 miles which is a tiny bit over 1000 km – he is dead chuffed!)
Total number of kissing gates 304
Scrabble games won Nancy 20 John 20 Draws 3 (one real and 2 stalemates)
Amount raised to date Online £1158 Offline £ 2950.05 Total £4108.05
Recognised Footpaths used
North Downs Way
Grand Union Canal Walk
Oxford Greenbelt Way
Heart of England Way
North Cheshire Way
Cheshire Ring Canal walk
Breath of Fresh Air Path
Lancashire Coastal Path
C2C cycle Way
Grand Union Canal
Weaver Navigation Canal
Trent and Mersey Canal
Cathedrals, Abbeys and churches
St Mary the Virgin, Hastingleigh
St Luke Charlton
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Mark’s Dedworth
Christchurch Oxford Cathedral
Wesley Memorial Chapel Oxford
St Mary Magdalene’s West Knighton
Wesley Church Chester
St Andrew’s Longton
St Mark’s Burscough
St Mark’s Natland
Border Kirk Carlisle
Our route towards Carlisle over the past few days, has been in two halves.
The first half was the ascent and descent over Shap. We mostly followed the Miller’s Way, which was named after John Carr who traversed this route to Carlisle before starting his factory manufacturing Carr’s Water biscuits. The majority of the Way is well marked, stony and wide and very reminiscent of the West Highland Way. The path is never very far away from the A6 and towards Shap the railway line surprisingly makes an appearance. The hills are majestic though seemed, to us, a little bleak as the skies were overcast. On the way down we followed the River Lowther. As wet approached Penrith we entered the grand Lowther estate founded by Sir Hugh de Louther in 1283. This contains a fairytale castle, its own estate church and family Mausoleum and acres of parkland. The castle and estate is now open to the public and very nice it is too. The most famous Earl of Lowther was another Hugh (1857-1944) who was known as the ‘yellow earl’. Yellow was the colour of the Lowther flag and all his carriages and cars were yellow. He was the first president of the AA giving them the distinctive yellow colour.
The second half of our journey took in the Eden valley. As we were blessed with sunshine, the contrast with the bleakness of the Shap hills was immediate. Part of our path was by the side of the river and we passed Lacy’s caves. These are artificial caves 6-chambered inter-linked, excavated by Lt Col Samuel Lacy in the eighteenth century. One idea (given to us by a fellow sight-seer) was that he paid someone to dress up as a cave man to startle his guests. Another idea was as an entertainment venue. A third was as a wine store. Whatever their original use they are certainly well worth a visit. Further along, the route passes through bluebell woods and for us, was boggy.
Last Sunday we were very well received by the congregation of the Border Kirk (in Carlisle, even though we had not yet walked to Carlisle) They were having one of their thrice yearly Communion services for Easter, and we felt very privileged to share in the worship with them. Their minister David Pitkeathley, was most welcoming, Janice looked after us very well and the congregation very generous in their support of the project. We came away feeling uplifted and ready for the last week of walking.
As always many people have encouraged us on our way, stopping and talking with us and giving us donations. So Hi to Peter the probation officer who helped us out with a lift from Shap; Peter we met on Kendal station; Paul and Sheena met in Lowther caravan site; Darren, Adam and Ian who gave us a rousing cheer near Maybergh Henge; Jan in Penrith near the bus station; Sarah from Ravenbridge met at Langwathby bridge; Paul the postie also met at Langwathby; Jim and Peter (St Helen’s Ramblers) and Mandy, Clare and Rosie, Lucy and Peter all met at Lacy’s caves; Anne and Jane in Kirkoswald village shop; Frances walking her dog in Coombs Woods; Gary and Christine (with the bike) all met on the Settle to Carlisle train; Terence, who rescued us when the train had failed; Pat and Jean the walkers met near Wethereal. Thank you to each and every one of you, for giving us encouragement and interest.
This week’s statistics
Amount raised so far Online £883 Offline £ 2928.05 Total £3811.05 (we have had more promised but cannot count it yet!)
Miles walked this week 60 total so far 608
Kissing gates 18
This week’s Scrabble Scores Nancy 3 John 1