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- A Long Walk from Whitby
A hundred years since the creation of the Suffragan See of Whitby in the Diocese of York, today’s Bishop of Whitby Paul Ferguson and Archdeacon of Cleveland Amanda Bloor set out to walk over four days from Whitby itself—the historic home of St Hilda—to Lastingham, across the North York Moors and near the southern edge of the Archdeaconry of Cleveland within which the Bishop of Whitby ministers, and the historic home of St Cedd.
Accompanied at times by friends old and new, with local clergy, church members and even a number of Diocesan Office staff, the band was largely blessed with good weather for their scenic autumn walk.
Bishop Paul said, “We know that there was close contact between the abbeys at Whitby and Lastingham in the 600s, so there was a real sense of tracing the journeys of our forebears. There were particular moments when we could sense being in the same landscape that they knew, and it’s always special to see places that aren’t visible from roads.
“We were a fair-size and different group each day, and we met a few other walkers who were interested to hear what we were doing. Special thanks must go to the people who gave us hospitality and prayed with us at our waypoints of Whitby, Egton, Goathland, Newton-on-Rawcliffe and Lastingham — and to the children of Egton CofE Primary School who prayed for us in a brilliant Collective Worship and gave us beautifully-wrapped flapjack to send us on our way. We even managed never to get lost!
“The most demanding part? — Day 3 (Goathland to Newton-on-Rawcliffe over Wheeldale Moor): longer and more exposed with some hills to climb, boggy ground, and a bright but at times very breezy day — demanding maybe, but like the rest very enjoyable.”
Archdeacon Amanda adds, “You look at things differently when you walk.
“Over four days, I appreciated afresh the beauty of our North Yorkshire countryside and had wonderful conversations with people who joined in the pilgrimage – when we had breath to do so!
“We began by remembering Saint Hilda and ended with Saint Cedd; we wondered if our paths had been trodden by earlier pilgrims or even the saints themselves.
“Beginning each day with prayer located this as pilgrimage rather than just a walk in the countryside and it was lovely to finish with Evensong which was joined by several of those who’d walked part of the route with us.
“The four days were marking a centenary, but they firmly located us in a much older story, that of Christian faith in this part of the country.
“Here’s to the next hundred years!"