Unique 48-mile pilgrimage trail to be launched between Whitby and Hartlepool

Plans have been announced for the launch of a unique 48-mile pilgrimage trail between Whitby and Hartlepool, celebrating Saint Hilda.

Thursday, 27th February 2020, 12:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th February 2020, 1:03 pm
The sun sets as the Illumination of Whitby Abbey starts which runs over Halloween half term week. 24 October 2019. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Hild – in Latin, Hilda – was the Abbess of both Whitby and Hartlepool in Saxon times and was a significant woman leader.

The launch on International Women’s Day 2020 – Sunday March 8 – will celebrate the contribution women leaders have made to civic, community and religious life.

The day starts at 9.30am with a celebratory service at St Hilda’s Church in Hartlepool led by the The Rt Revd Sarah Clark, Bishop of Jarrow.

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Following this service, a number of walkers and runners will depart St Hilda’s Church, bound for Whitby, when a small number of guests will be transported to Whitby on HMS Example, an Archer-class patrol vessel of the Royal Navy.

This is fitting as it is believed St Hild herself would often have made the journey between Hartlepool and Whitby by sea.

A short service of reflection will be held at Whitby Abbey at 2.30pm and The Rt Rev Paul Ferguson, Bishop of Whitby, will lead a service at St Hilda’s Church in Whitby at 4pm.

He said: “Hild’s remarkable life came to a climax in Whitby and it will be very special to be part of the launch of The Way of St Hild on International Women’s Day.

“I hope many people will join in the celebration services at Hartlepool and in Whitby, where I look forward to welcoming Bishop Sarah to preach.”

The creation of The Way of St Hildwill use existing public rights of way and established National Trails.

The pilgrimage plans have been led by Hartlepool Borough Council and made possible thanks to funding from the Rural Payments Agency.