A 475-mile pilgrimage in the footsteps of Lichfield’s first bishop, St Chad, is making good progress as it approaches the Midlands.
It is part of a range of activities – including the unveiling of the St Chad statue in the new Hope Garden at Lichfield Cathedral – to mark the 1,350th anniversary of St Chad’s death in 672.
The trek spans the two ancient kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia and is being walked in stages. The first group of pilgrims left Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island at dawn on Sunday 4 July. Since then they have covered almost 350 miles. The walkers are carrying with them a portable reproduction of part of the 8th Century Lichfield Gospel which they have been leaving at various destinations at the end of each stage, giving a sense of continuity, as well as helping to build connections with churches and communities along the way. The gospel facsimile is currently in the safekeeping of St Mary’s Church, Barton upon Humber.
People are warmly invited to join the final 125-mile distance which is set to enter the East Midlands in February, arriving at Lichfield on 1 March – the day before St Chad’s Day.
Walk organiser Ann Fisher said: “We have walked through wonderful and varied landscapes, including empty expanses of dunes and sandy beaches on the Northumberland coast; industrial and post-industrial landscapes around the Tyne, Tees, Wear and Humber; leafy river valleys and misty and desolate moorland between Whitby and York.
“We have sought rest and sanctuary in a variety of places - cathedrals, minsters, churches, ruined abbeys, woodlands, garden centres, golf clubs, ice cream parlours and even a bird hide; experienced a lot of "weather" (this is England after all); made some wonderful connections with people and places, past and present; walked, talked, laughed, sung, wept, prayed, contemplated, endured aches, pains, blisters and damp feet, sunk deep into ourselves, received blessings, and let go of things that were ready to be released. And we have learned so much - about Celtic saints and spirituality, geology, botany, zoology, engineering, technology and archaeology.
“Thank you to everyone who has been part of the journey so far, whether by walking stretches of the route in person, or through your support and encouragement via emails, texts, prayers and phone calls - it is hugely appreciated.”
Walkers are encouraged to join one, some, or all (!) of the remaining stages below. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
10 - 12 December 2021
10th Barton-upon-Humber to Saxby All Saints 13 miles
11th Saxby All Saints to Hibaldstow 12 miles
12th Hibaldstow to Northorpe 7 miles
21 - 23 January 2022
21st Northorpe to Gainsborough 10 miles
22nd Gainsborough to Torksey 10 miles
23rd Torksey to Fledborough 7 miles
10 - 13 February 2022
10th Fledborough to Norwell 10 miles
11th Norwell to Southwell 8 miles (allowing time to visit the Minster)
12th Southwell to East Bridgford 10 miles
13th East Bridgford to West Bridgford 10 miles
25 Feb - 1 March 2022
25th West Bridgford to Trentlock 9 miles
26th Trentlock to Melbourne 12.5 miles
27th Melbourne to Burton 11 miles
28th Burton to Alrewas 10.5 miles
1st Alrewas to Lichfield Cathedral 6.5 miles