THE first steps along new pilgrimage routes to the shrine of St Cuthbert at Durham Cathedral were taken by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, in Holy Week, as he walked 29 miles over two days.
The Bishop and his wife, Rosemary, were joined by others for two days of walking along the route, named the Way of Life, from Gainford to Durham (Feature, 29 January).
Five other routes that make up the the North Saints Trail have been created by David Pott, who also co-ordinated the Two Saints Way between Chester and Lichfield. While the routes are new, they include parts of ancient tracks. Two routes — the Angel’s Way and the Way of the Sea — provide links to give pilgrims continuous pilgrimage routes between Lindisfarne and Durham.
The Bishop said that it was hoped that the new routes would encourage people to “discover more about themselves and more about God” as they walked the pilgrim ways.
“We have been praying for the communities we pass through each day. It’s been dry weather and breezy — lovely walking — and people have come out along the route. Wherever I have been a bishop, I have undertaken deanery prayer walks; so these walks are an extension of what I have always done.”
Bishop Butler will walk three more pilgrim routes next month, including camping for the night in St Mary Magdalene’s, Trimdon, as part of the Way of Love pilgrimage from Hartlepool to Durham.
Several other churches that have the necessary facilities will be offering camping to pilgrims along the routes.