St. Olave’s Viking Heritage walk and Pilgrimage 2017
Part 1: Tuesday July 25 2017
- in conjunction with St. Bridget’s Church West Kirby, the Church of St. Mary & St. Helen at Neston, the Grosvenor Museum and the Municipality of Trondheim
Left: Tom Pinfold and Malcolm Leitch lead the way on a previous walk. Mid: Michael Wood & Steve Harding at St. Olave’s. Right: it’s not a hard slog at all!
Come and enjoy some wonderful scenery as we link 3 Churches with strong Viking links and some fantastic archaeology! The annual St. Olav’s Day Viking Heritage Walk commemorates St. Olav Haraldsson, patron saint of Norway. The walk was recently featured in The Norseman magazine & covered in Michael Wood’s BBC2 Series The Great British Story. All are welcome on the 2017 walk. Part 1 takes place on Tuesday 25th July and we meet at 9am for a 9.30 start at St. Bridget’s. Part 2 takes place on Saturday 29th July (St. Olav’s Day).
Please note, that though this walk is not strenuous, it is quite long. Please wear appropriate footwear and bring refreshments to last the distance. People who take part do so at their own risk. The walk is approximately 12km (8 miles) and starts at the St. Bridget’s Church at West Kirby (meet at 9am for a 9.30am start) – includes a description of the dedication to St. Olav in the church and a demonstration of the famous West Kirby Viking hogback tombstone – one of two on Wirral) and makes its way along the Dee coast to St. Mary’s and St. Helen’s Church at Neston, finishing with a demonstration of the magnificent Viking stonework (fragments of at least 3 crosses) and replica reconstruction of one of the crosses (the “Viking Lady” cross).
St. Bridget’s West Kirby was founded by Viking settlers coming to Wirral from Dublin – St. Bridget is a patron saint of Ireland – and the church is the home of the famous Viking hogback tombstone, dated to around AD 1000.
St. Mary and St. Helen at Neston: St. Helen is also associated with Norse settlers coming via Ireland and the church houses fragments of at least two 10th century ring headed crosses, recording events from the life of a Viking couple. One of the fragments includes the earliest depiction of a jousting contest.
St. Olave’s at Chester: Original church founded by Chester’s Viking community in the 11th Century. Now the building is used as an archive for the Cheshire Records Office. (This is Part 2 of the walk, on 29th July).
· Meet 11.30 for a 12noon start at St. Bridget’s Church West Kirby
· Along the Wirral Way to Thurstaston & the current Visitor Centre or “TJ’s” café bar for refreshments
· Continue along the Wirral Way to Neston
Stage 1: St. Bridgets, vestri Kirkjubyr – Kaldeyjar
St. Bridgets church is a short (10 min) walk from West Kirby Railway station
St. Bridgets Hogback tombstone
Stage 2: Kaldejyar - Thorsteinn’s tún
Stage 3: Thorsteinn’s tún – Hesliwella – Geittún
Stage 4: Geittún – Parkgata -Nesstún
This is the end of the walk: there will be a demonstration of the cross fragments and the replica and refreshments will be served at the back of the church.
The magnificent “Viking Lady” Neston cross replica/ reconstruction at St. Mary and St. Hilary’s – the end of the walk
Transport back to West Kirby
There are trains from Neston Station close by (change at Bidston for West Kirby)
Please note that, in common with the main St. Olav’s Pilgrimage in Norway, although we provide a guide, walkers are responsible for their own safety and come on the walk at their own risk.
from Program 2 “Tribes to Nations” of Michael Wood’s acclaimed 2012
BBC2 Series The Great British Story. – includes the 2011 St. Olav’s
Day walk with Michael
Olsok: St. Olaf's pilgrimage in Norway produced by Trondheim Kommune
Ólavsøka: St. Olav’s Festival in Faroe Islands
Enquiries: Steve Harding