St Bega’s Way & Way Back

NW England, 4 day

St Bega’s Way – 40 miles – 4 days – St Bees Priory to St Bega’s, Bassenthwaite. Saint Bega was an Irish princess, who once lived a hermit’s life on the windswept coast of Cumbria, before fleeing inland for fear of pirates, but left behind a magical bracelet. Monks at the C12th Norman St Bees Priory once prayed to St Bega when they feared a miscarriage of justice would leave them bereft of their land. When the time came to perambulate around their estate, a heavy fall of snow covered the entire country except for their priory, revealing the land that was theirs.

This route connects the two churches in the Lake District dedicated to St Bega. From St Bees you travel inland through the beautiful West Cumbrian scenery and the breathtaking Lake District before reaching the simple C12th chapel of Bassenthwaite that has inspired countless literary figures, including Wordsworth and Tennyson. Along the way you will see the Cumbrian coastal plain; lakeland fells such as the Scafells, Ennerdales, Great Gable, Skiddaw and others; the rewilded lands of Ennerdale Water; lakes such as Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake; the shire-like Borrowdale and, of course, the beloved herdwick sheep.

St Bega’s Way Back – 50 miles – 5 days – St Bega’s, Bassenthwaite to St Bees Priory. This route swaps the start and end points but goes a different way, along which you will see some of the same landscapes as on the first route but from a different perspective, and new sights too. There are the lakes Crummock Water, Buttermere and Wastwater; fells Yewbarrow, Buckbarrow and Sale; the church and famous yew tree in Lorton Vale; Buttermere Church; the ancient farming landscape surrounding Wasedale Head Church; Gosforth’s tall Viking-age cross and nearby holy well and then, finally, St Bees Priory.

See also the new Kentigern Way, a 90-mile route connecting nine Cumbrian churches associated with St Kentigern.

Short but perfectly-formed routes
Dramatic joy-inducing landscapes
Luscious greenscape
Informative and practical guidebook

Holy Places along route listed in our book Britain’s Pilgrim Places: St Bees; Keswick.

Low-cost hostels along the route – YHA Ennerdale, Ennerdale, Ennerdale 2, YHA Black Sail, Warnscale Bothy, Dubs Hut, Seathwaite, YHA Honister Hause, Borrowdale, Bowder Stone Bothy, Newlands, YHA Hawse End, Keswick, Bassenthwaite, Buttermere, YHA Buttermere, Wasdale Head, YHA Wasdale Head and across region.

The guidebook for this route gives historical context to the route and much interesting information about what you are walking past, practical details such as accommodation, gives written instructions for navigation, and at key viewpoints it describes what you are looking at. Postal cheques only for payment.

Buy Guidebooks for St Bega’s Way and St Bega’s Way Back

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

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Summer sunset over Derwentwater, with St Herbert’s Isle.

A view over Borrowdale taken from Castle Cragg. Photo credit to SolStock, iStockPhoto.

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