Walking the Path

The Northern Saints Trail is a network of ancient pilgrimage routes which commemorate the 7th and 8th century Northern Saints and missionaries: St Cuthbert, St Aidan, St Hilda, St Wilfrid, St Oswald and The Venerable Bede.

Each route starts at a different point, but all of them finish at Durham Cathedral, the resting place of St Cuthbert and a pilgrim destination for centuries. Each Trail has its own title. We’ve chosen the Way of Love, which follows three saints whose influence helped establish Christianity in England: St Hilda, St Helena, and St Mary Magdalene.

The route begins at St Hilda’s Church, Hartlepool, where St Aidan founded Hartlepool Abbey in 640. The Abbey was unique for two reasons: it was a monastery for monks and nuns, and the person in charge was a woman – St Hilda.

St Hilda went on to found Whitby Abbey, one of Anglo-Saxon England’s most important and influential monasteries. Under her leadership, Whitby hosted a historic synod, bringing together Christians in England and the Church in Rome.

The Way of Love continues through Trimdon, where you’ll visit the 12th century Church of St Mary Magdalene. In Kelleo, it passes St Helen’s Church, before finishing at St Cuthbert’s Shrine, Durham Cathedral.

Find maps and trail information on the British Pilgrimage Trust website>>

Main image: St Hilda’s church, Hartlepool, by Stephen Craven

Share their journey

The Northern Saints travelled by road and boat to spread the Word of God across the north of England. And many missionaries still undertake unusual and difficult journeys to bring light and love to people today. 

Fr Michael MHM is an Indian missionary currently working in Malaysia. Many of his parishioners live in hard-to-reach places and he often has to travel by boat to see them. He says: ‘We have to travel great distances along the river by longboat to reach all the people living along the riverside… My biggest challenge initially was to learn the local language (Iban), and to travel in a longboat to the longhouses, because I don’t know how to swim! But I learned Iban and can communicate well with the people, along with celebrating Masses, praying and administering Sacraments in Iban language’.

As you walk, please hold Fr Michael in your heart and prayers. You can read more about him here>>

Share your journey

We’d love you to share your pilgrimage with us – keep in touch by sharing your photos, thoughts, prayers and progress via FacebookTwitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #MissioPilgrim, or by emailing us at info@missio.org.uk

Raising funds

Pilgrim walks are primarily a journey of prayer and there is no obligation to raise money as you walk. However, every penny and pound you share with Missio furthers our mission to share God’s love around the world. If you would like to fundraise during your walk, thank you so much! The easiest way is to set up a JustGiving page, or contact us for further help.