The first ever Diocese of St Asaph Youth Pilgrimage will take place next week (23 July) with 12 young people from North Wales journeying in the footsteps of Celtic Saints and pilgrims across the centuries.
The youngsters, accompanied by six adults, will be following part of the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way, an ancient way marked route which links Basingwerk Abbey to Bardsey Island, off the North Wales coast. During medieval times, Basingwerk Abbey, now a ruin, served as a hospital to pilgrims going to Holywell. The Christian community on Bardsey Island was founded by St Cadfan more than 1,500 years ago and continues to offer hospitality to travellers today.
For this modern-day pilgrimage, the St Asaph teenagers will start at Llanberis in Snowdonia and walk almost 50 miles over five days to Aberdaron, before sailing to Bardsey Island.
The event has been planned by the Under 25s officer for the Diocese of St Asaph, Tim Feak. He said: “The pilgrimage is not just a long walk. It intentionally sets out to help young people put aside social media, phones, technology and the business and demands of modern life. We want to create a week of simplicity, reflection, challenge, fun and friendship, experiencing some of the world’s most amazing scenery. Along the route, we will stop at many ancient churches visited by pilgrims throughout the centuries, with the young people stamping their Pilgrims Passport.”
Ahead of the pilgrimage, two 10-mile training walks were done. Fourteen year old, Elin Badger-Watts from Flintshire is looking forward to the real thing. She said: “I can’t wait until we start the pilgrimage. I’m excited about experiencing wonderful views and travelling the country. I’m also looking forward to listening for God in different ways; through wildlife, friendship and through my senses.”
The route leads through woodland and over rivers, up mountains and along coastal paths, through wilderness and into villages. It celebrates the heritage of the Celtic saints whose stories are lost in the mists of time but whose memory reverberates in ancient churches and at holy wells along the way.
You can follow the pilgrimage on twitter: @StAsaphDiocese