St Alkelda’s Way – Giggleswick to Middleham – 33 miles, 3 days. Walk through the spectacular Yorkshire Dales National Park amongst the Swaledale sheep, following a Roman pathway that St Alkelda must have taken on her journeys between the villages of Middleham (Wensleydale) and Giggleswick (Ribbesdale) around 900AD, both of which she is now the patron saint. Alkelda is remembered in these two localities as a saintly lady famous for her use of nearby holy wells for baptism and for her martyrdom at the hands of Danish women.
St Alkelda’s Way wends through the beautiful, exhilarating and sometimes challenging scenery of the Yorkshire Dales National Park – a landscape of “hollow mountains”, caves, ‘shake’ and ‘swallow’ holes, and appearing and disappearing rivers. The Dales are full of the contrasts of limestone and millstone thrown together by the upthrusts of the Craven Fault – a scenery fashioned by the dynamism of water and long-gone glaciers creating intriguing land formations and different plant life, trees, forests and vegetation. There is deep history both within the human-fashioned stone churches and their enigmatic ‘cross shafts’, and, of course, the rocks of the Dales. Stone crosses line the route, at which pilgrims of old would have prayed for safe passage, maybe even Alkelda herself.
Dramatic land formations of Yorkshire Dales
Sense of walking an old track
Thoroughly researched and practical guidebook
Route inspired by a nature-loving saint
Holy Places along route listed in our book Britain’s Pilgrim Places: Middleham.
This route was conceived by Kathleen Kinder, who has written this guidebook, available for purchase.