We tried to visit every church building which was on our route or were in a reasonable distance in sight of our route. This did lead to us investigating buildings which had been sold and were now used for other purposes (beauty salon, financial consultancy, art gallery – as well as several private homes). Mostly the photos were taken of the interior when we could gain access and of the exterior when this was not possible – or when were were short of time or too wet and tired. So please browse and see if you can find your own church here.
The last two days have mostly been walked in glorious sunshine with welcomes at the churches matching those at the earlier churches in warmth and generosity. Again we were joined in worship at St Nicholas by Christine, Ken, Phillida Robert and John. The walk from Ganton afforded us our first glimpse of the sea as we climbed the chalk face to the high point at the Staxton mast (which, I discovered, is being dismantled – it has been a useful reference point for lots of walks in the past). The High Wold was at its best and we picnicked above a dry valley, in a welcome breeze, admiring the view.
Fordon is a beautiful small church and has a monthly service which has tripled in numbers lately. Pat and Stan were there to welcome us with fruit and drinks, along with Melanie and Julia from Heslington. Another four miles and Pat again greeted us at St Cuthbert’s Burton Fleming, but this time with a table spread with food. Barbara (their vicar) joined us and we had our evening prayers around the table. It was very fitting.
Our final day began with prayers at Burton Fleming chapel and we were sent on our way by Bob, Ann, Margaret, Jennifer and photographer Terry along with energy in the form of Mars bars!
We were joined for these final 10 miles by John and Kathy (bro-in-law and sister), Tish (from Baildon) and Pat (from Scalby). Some of the field paths before Boynton were a bit overgrown and an inconsiderate farmer had dumped a manure heap (large) across the path, but what pilgrimage does not have its difficult stretches of path. At Boynton we arrived minutes after the parallel group from Beverley.
There was great rejoicing and swapping of notes on our adventures and prayer together. We divided again for the last 2.5 miles before Bridlington outskirts and we were joined by Becky, Marie, Corinne, Pam, Avril, Julia and Judy.
The first glimpse of the Priory was hailed, and we re-joined the Beverley group to walk through the Old Town to the Priory. Belatedly the Priory bells rang out and a photo-call happened (though as I was in it I have no picture. After a rest and cups of tea, the Celebration Eucharist in the Priory which had all parts led by pilgrims (I was blessed in celebrating at it and preaching) and our badges were presented. Finally the Bull and Sun did us proud in food and drink.
Miles walked – 254
Churches visited – open 50 locked 35
Kissing gates – 173
Trip points – 3
Accompanying walkers 41 + Jet and Willow (+the Beverley group for the last mile)
Total Scrabble won – Nancy 14 John 14
Total money donated so far (some is still promised) £1092.50 + £126.45 Gift Aid
The four main pilgrims (Poppy, John, Linda and I) have now reached and passed the halfway point between York and Bridlington and we are well into the chalk scenery of the Wolds. The overwhelming positive feature of this walk has been the wonderful welcome we have received from members of the churches along our route.
Most of the churches we have passed along our route have been amazingly willing to come and wait in the church for our arrival with the kettle at the ready and the biscuits (often home made) on the plate and to join with us as we have prayed in their buildings. Each church has been different, but all have been lovingly cared for with their own distinctive hallmark.
Kirkham Priory was a moving place to pray in. They let us pray in the ruins last Saturday and we prayed Augustine prayer about ruins. That day was forecasted to be heavy rain, but the pilgrims, who included photographer Jane, miraculously managed to dodge the showers although nearby York had very heavy rain, where I had been as I had the wedding of a friend and colleague to assist at. Burythorpe Church had Beryl, Roger, Jackie and Elaine welcoming the pilgrims. Jenny Hill and the ladies who gave refreshments were at Birdsall with its stunning flower festival.
We joined Wharram le Street church in their Sunday worship. Andy, their vicar had welcomed us to the church the previous evening and Florence led the Sunday worship with Sue and Paul, Amanda, Dorothy, Bob, Joan and Ron.
The route to West Heslerton seemed a long way. Winteringham church was closed because of recent vandalism but there was an uplifting new sculpture after a steep climb up onto the scarp face.
We walked along the scarp edge towards West Heslerton where an angel in the form of Gillian awaited us on the road. Gillian, thank you for the help to Linda and Poppy at the end of the Sunday. More welcome there with tea and biscuits from Nora, Brian, Gillian and Denise at West Heslerton church which currently has a wonderful display of miniature historical scenes. Do go if you have not yet seen them. They are there until the end of September.
Today is Bank holiday and we have had more pilgrims join us. Ruth and Ian from Rawcliffe Goole, John from Wetherby and Yang from China (on holiday in UK).
Today was to be a shorter walk with the wonderful views across the Vale of Pickering to the Moors. We begin the day with the new friends, made at West Heslerton yesterday, and we finish at Ganton where we were received with tea and cake by Vicar Ken, Christine, Robert, Isabel and Sue; not forgetting photographer Julie
After a two day rest to re-gather ourselves we had a brilliant send off from York Minster with the dean, Vivienne Faulds taking us down in the crypt by the shrine of St William of York, to pray for us and send us out on our journey. The pilgrims for the day were myself and John, Poppy, Linda, Simon, Jennifer, Celia and two dogs Guiness and Willow. All received badges.
We gathered outside for the photo and then set off through the holiday makers and sight seers in York to arrive at the cycle track where for a little way we were accompanied by Marjorie and Isaac.
Soon after they left us Sharon and Leia (on scooter) met us and were with us when we got to our first stop of the day at St Aelreds church where Fr Bill and Catherine made us most welcome. A further mile passed before St Thomas of Osbaldwick and members of Heslington church; Christine, Harry, Margaret, Peter, Peter, Sue, Angela, Bruno, Lucas and Grace prayed with us.
St James Murton gave us more support in the form of Rose Enid, Margaret, Bob and Sue and we were able to lunch there in the cool of the shadow of the church.
The sun got hot so it was a great blessing to find Ann Proctor at St Mary Warthill, who ministerd to us with drinks and rest and more welcome drinks were available from Sr Margaret Ann, Delyth and Michael at St Mary’s Gate Helmsley. We finally made it into Stamford Bridge, crossing the old railway viaduct and Fran was at St John the Baptist to welcome us.
The last few days have seen greater mileages per day and more people walking with us.
The 14 miles from Osmotherley to Thirsk were walked by ourselves and six other people which was a great help in keeping our minds off the aching legs and tired feet.
This day was sunny and became a little too hot as it wore on. Many of the hillside churches were unlocked and provided a welcome cool respite as we went in to pray. Some had printed out the poster I had emailed and it gave us a feeling of expectant welcome. Paul Rathbone has much local information and so it was a learning experience as well.
From Thirsk to Easingwold 5 others came and enjoyed cool cloudy, breezy weather in the morning but we had to cope with the rain as it came in the afternoon. Again open churches were a considerable blessing. We managed to make it to Easingwold in time for the walkers to get the bus back to their cars.
The stretch of countryside leading up to York was flattish and a bit nettley, a fact which was not appreciated by Steph’s dog Jet. Steph is the Christian Aid co-ordinator in York and the east Riding area. She and her husband Rob most kindly put us up for the part of our walk leading up to York and we accompanied them to Haxby Methodist church on the Sunday morning for their worship. This church runs a coffee shop (Aroma) in the main village street in Haxby selling delicious cake and coffees. Our coffees were on the house (Brilliant and great thanks to Katrina, Helen and Jackie and others we saw there.
People who cheered us on our way included: Gerry in the Oxfam shop in Northallerton, the two Coast to Coasters we met on the Northallerton to Darlington bus, Jean at the Chapel of Our Lady in Osmotherley, Sally and Hannah in Easingwold, Tony on his bike in Easingwold, Muriel Daniel tidying up the garden at St Mary’s Haxby, Joan Patton who parked on double yellow lines to greet us(!), Kath Campbell at St Margaret Clitherow church in York, Mavis and Buster in the park, Liz Piercy by the River Foss, Joy and Geoff Taylor at Trinity methodist Church, (also a Hi to Elizabeth Griffiths who was ill and couldn’t be there), Kinga from Poland visiting York for the day, Jim and John welcoming people at St Michael-le-Belfrey, Charlie Bridge and his assistant at ‘Fairer world’ (and Charlie’s wife Moyra) and then even John. Joy, Julie and Eva (whom I baptised some years ago now) in the Black Bull Hull Road. Lovely to see you all and thank you for giving time to talk with us.
Our journeying this week has been mostly river path along the Tees and field paths. So easy flat walking you would think. Some of the trouble has been that the field paths have been either overgrown or non-existent, which has meant we have had more road walking than we would have liked.
We began by walking from Bishop Auckland along the very straight route of Dere street. We had to divert because of a barking fierce dog and ‘Keep out’ notices. The field paths were not well walked and by the time we got to the Tees, the Teeside Way was a welcome relief. This path has much to recommend it with wild life aplenty and clear signposting.
However it did not suffice us for our journey south and we had regretfully to leave it and plunge once more into the confusion which masqueraded as field paths. The villages we passed through were trim and bright, with about half of them having open churches. Once we walked into York Diocese we began to see posters up about our walk, which was most encouraging.
Last Sunday we were at St Mary, Thirsk church. The congregation again were very warm and welcoming with interest in our walk. They had a collection for the Christian Aid project and also bought some of John’s books. It was good to meet up again with Ian Fox and Paul Rathbone and Elizabeth provided us with a delicious lunch. Some of them will be waking with us later in the week and so pictures in the next posting.
Nice to stop by and meet John Ryan, a builder hard at work finishing off a splendid dry stone wall, Paul the most helpful driver of the Arriva bus going to Darlington, John on his bike in Great Smeaton by the church, the two ladies we met on the Cleveland Way just above Osmotherley and all the staff at the Village Inn in Brompton who have been more than helpful.