For the majority of people walking long-distance trails, the experience is a bucket list destination, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The walk is often planned around a busy schedule, other commitments, usually being pushed back due to the hurry of life and shuffling of priorities.
But here you are, at the start of your long-distance walk. Nothing else matters, and several days of wonderful walking ahead, full of exhilarating scenery, relaxing forests, winding streams, stunning towns, villages and places to stay.
But there’s another purpose, one which runs deeper than a bucket list destination. A calling and perhaps even a duty.
You are embarking on a pilgrimage.
Long-distance walks, especially in Europe often follow the paths of Saints, and start, or frequently finish in holy places. These trails are for many Pilgrimidges, allowing hikers to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors, and to gain a deeper understanding of their faith.
And for those who do not walk these routes as a pilgrimage? Well, don’t worry because these routes make for some fabulous history and interest.
Heres a some of the best Great British pilgrimages
The North Wales Pilgrims Way
The North Wales Pilgrims Way stretches 138.5 miles from Holywell to Bardsey Island on the North West tip of wales. The draw for Pilgrims was Bardsey Island, known for its sunsets, and with only the vast ocean sat between them and the great unknown. However, now there is a route, fully waymarked which runs from Hollywell in Flintshire, passing mountains, ancient woodlands, villages and along the coast.
St Cuthberts Way
The St Cuthbert’s Way stretches 62 miles from Melrose to Lindisfarne. The route is a popular pilgrimidge for hikers coming from the UK and beyond.
Melrose was chosen as the start of the route as it was where St Cuthbert started his religious life. From Melrose, you will journey through the Cheviot Hills, crossing between England and Scotland before arriving at Lindisfarne on the Holy Island, just off the stunning sweeping Northumberland Coastline. Eventually, you will discover the resting place of St Cuthbert on the Island.
The Old Way
Closer to London, and therefore considerably more accessilble is the Old Way, which stretches from the port City of Southampton to the Cathedral citt of Canterbury. Some 250 miles of walking will lie ahead as you embark on this medieval pilgrimage which was rediscovered by the British Pilgrimage Trust, from the Gough Map (Britains oldest road map).