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.
Low-cost hostels along route – Malham YHA, Malham, Kettlewell YHA, Kettlewell and across region.
This route was conceived by Kathleen Kinder, who has written this guidebook, available for purchase.
Official Website of St Alkelda’s Way
Click to download route/s in GPX file format for your smartphone’s map app
Instructions for using a GPX file to show you the route offline on your smartphone
Sounds well worth it but a long trek, just as well there are plenty of rests along the way. Do we know where she was actually martyred was it somewhere near Lindisfarne or the east coast?. She sounds like St Hilda, whose shrine was supposed to be at Hartlepool or Warburg who is the patron of Chester cathedral. There ought to be one for St Wilfrid but what routes must he have taken in his lifetime, we would be walking forever following in Wilfrid’s steps… or hoofprints!!!!
From Kathleen Kinder : By studying the historical records, I found support for the tradition that Alkelda was martyred near. her Middleham home.. The Danes never got into the western dales These people had nothing to do with the Vikings who destroyed Lindisfarne. .Please see the Guidebook for full sources.. Since much of the St Alkelda story is told in the stained glass and other artefacts in both Middleham and Giggleswick Churches, it is best to visit in day light..
St Mary and St Alkelda’s church Mixdleham closes at 5.00pm,
St Alkelda, Giggleswick at 6.00pm, summer, dusk in winte. For queries about access etc, contact clergy in charge.
Middleham- http://www.jervaulxchurches.co.uk/ contacts.php
Giggleswick – giggleswick church.uk / aboutus /meet- the. – team