Pilgrimpace's Blog

st hilda’s way 4 – whitby

I arrived in Whitby.  A walk through to the harbour, over the bridge, and the choice of the 199 Steps or of Caedmon’s Trod up to St Mary’s Church and the ruins of the Abbey.


The story of Hild and Caedmon is important.  Bishop Jill Duff writes, in the context of estate churches and evangelism:

You may have heard of St Hilda – she was abbess of a mixed monastery in Whitby that sent out bishops, evangelists all across Britain. You may not have heard of Caedmon. He was a cattle herd, tongue tied, he found it very difficult to make himself understood. But one night he had a dream that he could sing a heavenly song about the creation of the world. When he woke up he could remember the song. He told the steward who told Hilda. Hilda invited Caedmon to sing his heavenly song at the feast. This was the start of an incredible ministry – Caedmon would sing the gospel in the local language in words that the ordinary people could understand.

We talk of new approaches to evangelism. Here’s my top tip: let’s find our Caedmon’s – let them do it because the Spirit of God is giving them the ability to so that people can hear the wonders of God in their own languages. The Day of Pentecost today. Every day.


You can hear a version of The Song of Caedmon here and read it here.


So, Caedmon and Hild are of the greatest importance to my ministry as well as to this pilgrimage, as we seek to help people to find their voices to sing the song of God in their everyday language.  I spent a fair number of the miles praying this.

And I finished St Hilda’s Way.  I lit candles in St Mary’s Church, and made my way back to the bus station with perhaps a pause to wet my whistle first.

St Hilda’s Way is a decent little route.  If you walk it, you need to be able to read a map and navigate if visibility is poor on the moors.  The Guide, which is excellent, gives options for shorter day loops if you want to walk shorter stages than me.  It would be possible to wildcamp I think.  There are plenty of pubs and b&bs along the way.

Happy Trails!

st hilda’s way 3 -tracing the Esk

Dropped off at Lealholm, I set off to finish the Pilgrimage.  A day following the River Esk to Whitby.


The dry summer meant it was easy to walk through the fords and to enjoy the ancient bridges


Apart from a couple of miles where my route coincided with the Coast to Coast Path, it was another solitary day, enjoying my own company through the woods and fields, often on very old paths paved with trods.



The Way took me to Egton and a pilgrimage site.  This part of England remained strongly Catholic at the Reformation.  It’s most famous priest was Blessed Nicholas Postgate, the Apostle of the Moors, who was betrayed and martyred in 1679.  The part of the Mass House with the altar was quickly sealed up.  When a maid accidentally broke through the wall a century or more later, the vestments were still laid out waiting for a priest and for the Mass.


St Hedda’s Church contains some of his relics and possessions.  I was able to rest here, to contemplate persecution and to pray for unity.  I bought a Pilgrim Badge


The route continued through Grosmont and Sleights, crossing a now much bigger river, and into Whitby, the last miles along the old cinder track railway.

A – final – post on arriving soon …

st hilda’s way 2 – onto the moors
August 10, 2018, 1:52 pm
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I set off from Hinderwell using the excellent Guidebook by Nancy and John Eckersley


This is well worth using.  It is light, has decent OS 1:25 000 strip maps, manageable instructions and informative local and historical information.

I split the route into two days of around 16 or 17 miles each by cutting off a couple of the loops.

My first day was wonderful, the paths taking me quickly from the coast, through farmland and woods to the open moors


It was a real gift to spend most of the day roaming here, listening to the curlews, an encounter with peacocks at a remote homestead, lunch by the water at Scaling Dam.


(After the dam comes the only mistake I noticed in the guidebook – a track to the right not marked on it’s map – it is there in the current OS map – which would loop you back round to the dam instead of towards Beacon Hill.  Assuming you have visiblity, you should not make this mistake)


I followed the ancient tracks across the land, paths which once pack animals laden with fish to the cities, leading me inland.  A solitary day.  Precious time for praying and reflecting.  Pilgrimage.

Turning round, I had climbed enough to see the sea at Saltburn.


From Danby, I headed back up onto the moor.  The sun shone strongly.  For a moment it seemed as if I was back on the road to El Toboso


I descended to Lealholm in time for my lift home.

A reflection on the second day coming soon – which was a real pilgrimage …

June 17, 2018, 4:18 pm
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Walk to learn.

I and Path.

Long one is Camino.

Camino is one long path and I learn to walk.

That is the name of my story forward and backward.

– Barbara Kingsolver (adapted)


June 9, 2018, 8:30 pm
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the way ahead, early June


resting warm below the ridge


and a visit from a hare as we drank our water

April 20, 2018, 11:27 am
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estate churches



view …
February 22, 2018, 11:58 am
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… from the sickbed.  Have a nasty flu-ey bug.  Contemplating sky and silver birch

January 26, 2018, 10:33 am
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trees, winter
January 21, 2018, 9:47 pm
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January 15, 2018, 9:50 pm
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