Bardsey Island Pilgrimage
Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli) – the ‘Island of 20,000 Saints’ – has been an important site of Christian pilgrimage since medieval times. It was said that two pilgrimages to Bardsey Island was equivalent to one pilgrimage to Rome. Our route begins in Clynnog Fawr, the traditional starting point for medieval pilgrims and makes it way to Aberdaron through the remote and beautiful Llyn Peninsula. Following perhaps the most spectacular section of the magnificent Wales Coastal Path we will travel through unspoilt mountain, moorland and coastal scenery. From Aberdaron we take the ferry to peaceful Bardsey Island, the two mile crossing providing opportunities to spot dolphins, seals and puffins. With four hours on Bardsey Island we will have plenty of time to soak up the tranquillity and reflect upon our own journey.
The maximum group size is 8 and during this beautiful walk we will have time to relax, marvel at the stunning scenery, visit ancient standing stones, Pilgrim Churches and Holy Wells.
What to Expect
Our itinerary includes 4 days walking and 5 nights accommodation. A brief route is provided below with an estimate of the miles walked each day. We will stay in simple accommodation, spend time together and have a great time.
- Start – Meet at St Bees where the first night’s accommodation has been booked
- Day 1 – St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge – 10.5 miles (16.5km)
- Day 2 – Ennerdale Bridge to Honister Pass – 11 miles (17km)
- Day 3 – Honister Pass to Portinscale – 9.5 miles (15km)
- Day 4 – Portinscale to St Bega’s Church – 6 miles (10km)
- Finish – Depart from Keswick after breakfast
Fitness and Experience
During this pilgrimage we walk 6-11 miles per day (average 9 miles) on good paths and tracks. Generally there is one steep climb per day otherwise the gradients are generally flat and gentle The hill climbs are non-technical of between 200-500m and never steep for long. This is not a strenuous walk and no mountain experience is necessary. We will walk at a comfortable pace with plenty of time to visit sights and enjoy the magnificent lake and mountain scenery. If you are walking fit and healthy and can carry a 15-18kg rucksack with your food, water and camping equipment you should be able to complete this walk.
Transport and Meeting
The walk starts from St Bees and finishes in Keswick. We will all meet in St Bees in the afternoon at our pre-booked accommodation. Here we will get to know one another, discuss the walk and talk about the days ahead.
The nearest international airports to the start and finish of the walk are Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick and Manchester.
There is a railway station at St Bees and it is possible to get a train from London (Euston) to St Bees.
The nearest rail stations to the end of the walk (Keswick) are Aspartia (about 13.5 miles away) and Penrith (about 17 miles away, mainline London to Glasgow).
A bus service runs between Keswick and Penrith.
Return to St Bees – it is possible to take a bus or taxi from Keswick to Aspartia and a train service runs between Aspartia and St Bees.
During this walk we will use a range of different types of accommodation and it may include camping, hostels, bed and breakfasts and small country hotels
The cost of this fully guided walk will depend upon the accommodation selected.
We require a deposit of 50% at the time of booking and the balance is usually due 2 months before the walk starts.
We are currently working on our 2020 programme. However, if you would like to book a private group trip please contact us using the links below. It would be helpful if you could provide preferred dates and group size. The maximum group size is 8. Young people are welcome but under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
St Cuthbert’s Way
Melrose to Lindisfarne
62 miles in 6 days
St Bega’s Way
St Bees to St Bega (Bassenthwaite)
40 miles in 4 days
Bardsey Island Pilgrimage
Clynnog Fawr to Bardsey Island
47 miles in 5 days
Mary Jones Walk
Bala to Llanfihangel-y-Pennant
28 miles in 3 days