Northern Way of St David – 31 miles – 3 days. In 1123, when pilgrims could no longer travel to Jerusalem because of the Crusades, the Pope suggested two other destinations instead – Santiago in Spain and St Davids in Wales. If you’ve done the Camino in Spain or only have a few days to spare, this pilgrimage will be just right for you.
The Pembrokeshire National Park Coast Path is described by Lonely Planet as the finest coast path in the world. The remote north coast route from Fishguard to St Davids has also inspired generations of poets, writers and musicians. It is this artistic theme that this route follows, and as one absorbs the beautiful Celtic landscape it is hard not to feel creatively inspired. The area was home to two Archdruids of Wales and famous poems such as Cofio, Melin Trefin and Pwll Deri were all inspired by the rugged coastal landscape.
Allow a day either side of the three days’ walking for travelling to Pembrokeshire at the start and end of the pilgrimage. Day One is from Fishguard to Pwll Deri. Day Two is from Pwll Deri to Porthgain. Day Three is from Porthgain to St Davids via the rocky summit of Carn Llidi at Whitesands Bay.
Each day takes in clifftop views, deserted beaches and sweeping vistas over the Irish Sea. A wealth of seabirds are on view, seals and maybe the occasional dolphin, along with 4000-year-old burial chambers, Celtic chapels, holy wells and the great Norman cathedral at St Davids, home to the shrine of the patron saint of Wales.
A local guide, Iain Tweedale, knows every inch of the route and is a wealth of local knowledge and stories, many of which can’t be found in the guidebooks. The northern route has been developed in partnership with the Ancient Connections project that is re-connecting the ancient links that existed between Ireland and Wales in the Age of the Celtic Saints, and the Cathedral will authorise Pilgrimage Completion Certificates for everyone who completes the pilgrimage.