Poppy’s Pilgrimage Diary: Day 5 – West Heslerton to Ganton

With thanks to Priory 900 co-ordinator Penelope Weston

The Priory 900 pilgrims outside St Nicholas Church on Day 5 (Monday August 26th 2013). Photo © Julie Folds MA.

The Priory 900 pilgrims outside St Nicholas Church on Day 5 (Monday August 26th 2013). Photo © Julie Folds MA.

Today we were joined by new pilgrims: Yang from China and Ruth, Ian and John from Rawcliffe near Goole. From my point of view, I was delighted to hear that some of our publicity had worked as intended: Yang had picked up one of the flyers I left in Malton church a few weeks ago, and Ruth had seen the pilgrimage in the article in the Yorkshire Post. Pity a few more hadn’t picked it up in this way, but never mind. It was great to have them with us.

As usual we began with worship, this time as yesterday evening in West Heslerton, with the friends we’d met then. Then we were off across the fields and up the scarp to re-join the Wolds Way. It was enjoyable to chat with the newcomers and learn a few bits of their stories. Yang (pronounced Yung) is 22, from north China, here for several months staying with her sister and brother-in-law in Malton where they have a restaurant. She is in the final year of a degree in English Literature and hopes to develop a career involving photography. She seemed very much at ease and clearly enjoyed walking. Partners Ian and Ruth had brought their friend John; this day was part holiday activity, partly commemoration of key life events.

All of today was using the Wolds Way which winds it track towards Filey along or below the norther scarp, with breathtaking views of the vale of Pickering and up towards the North York Moors. Linda pointed out the garage/workshop on the A64, Rayspeed, which sells and re-engineers Lambretta scooters and employs her son-in-law Ben. Demand is so great that they are incredibly busy. And we learned about the nearby Star Carr, generally regarded as the most important and informative Mesolithic site in Great Britain, situated not far away on the edge of the former ice-based ‘Lake Flixton’. The path alternated between open hillside and woodland, and apart from one rather tedious stretch of minor road near Sherburn was easy going with changing views, all in perfect weather. And we found some excellent blackberries!

No midway churches to visit on this stretch, so the main stop was for our picnic. I had managed to buy sandwiches at a garage shop this morning, but kind Linda and her daughter had made me some as well – which was perfect , as it turned out because Yang only had chocolate with her, but was happy to be persuaded to try some English sandwiches. Guinness did rather well too from small offerings. He continues to trot along with no complaints.

The total walk was only seven miles today so we reached Ganton about 2.30. A great welcome awaited us: the church warden who lives in the Old Vicarage, Ken the parish priest (86) and several others. Tea and a superb coffee and walnut cake! Ken told me about the making of theimpressive an very attractive Reflection Garden which is still being completed on the slope between the church and the road. Its creator is the son of a previous vicar who grew up in the house when it was still the ‘real’ vicarage. He became a gardener and now, in retirement, has developed this superb project, with support from a legacy – from his former teacher who ran the primary school from just after the war. Massive clearance of overgrown trees, ivy and debris was followed by the clearance of the ground around the five springs that rise below the church. Now there is a contoured wall, sweeping spread of lawn and bog planting along the watercourse, with a pool, stream and bridges.

Everyone stayed for prayers before we went our separate ways – a good feeling that we had all, walkers and locals, got something positive out of this Bank Holiday!

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