Folklore’s Footprints: Legendary Walks For St Patrick’s Day

St Patrick as we all know was a busy man. He not only banished all the snakes from Ireland, turned his Ashwood walking stick into a tree and spoke to spirits; he also invented the shamrock and corned beef.

To celebrate his big day in style, we are looking at walks and landmarks that focus on remembering myths and saints from across the UK. From Sherwood Forest to the Isle of Man, why not spend your St Patrick’s day outdoors on the moors this year?

Points of interest:

- Take a look at St Mary’s Church which is dated back to the 13th century

- Look out for the copper steam train made from local copper to reflect Beddgelert being part of the copper mining heritage area

- Take a break at the Cae Gel picnic area created to commemorate Alfred Bestall who illustrated the famous Rupert the Bear cartoons

Pendle Hill Walk, Barley

Nestled in the heart of Lancashire surrounded by cheese and pies, Pendle Hill stands tall with a summit of 1,827ft (557metres). Providing fabulous views and amazing real ale pubs, the search for the Pendle Witches begins at Barley.

~Pendle Village Walk

The walk is a 5-mile steep climb from start to finish with some rocky trails and off-road terrains. We recommend sturdy, comfortable footwear and supplies for all kinds of weather.

Trail Breakdown:

- Part 1: Barley to Mirewater Trout Fishery

- Part 2: Mirewater Trout Fishery to Pendle House

- Part 3: Pendle House to Pendle Hill Summit (The Triangulation point)

- Part 4: Pendle Hill Summit to Barley Moor

- Part 5: Barley Moor to Bear Clough

- Part 6: Bear Clough to Ogden Valley Greenway

- Part 7: Ogden Valley Greenway to Lower Ogden Reservoir

- Part 8: Lower Ogden Reservoir to Barley

If you’re wondering where the Pendle Hill myth comes from, legend has it during the 16th century most of Lancashire was contaminated with the presence of witches, ghouls and beasts. For many this explained the increase in sickness, lack of crop yield and even the overflowing River Ribble.

Your Grandma is sick? Blame the Witches!

The yeast in the beer isn’t fermenting? Blame the Witches!

Your cow died? Must be the witches!

The villagers decided to capture and try the witches in the autumn of 1612. They underwent strange tests to confirm their witching powers including throwing them, bound into a pool of water. If they managed to float they were witches.

Points of interest:

- Take a look at the brooks running round Barley village. They once powered 200 cotton looms in the Barley Green Cotton Mill.

- On the drive home make sure to stop off at the statue of Alice Nutter in Roughlee (one of the accused Pendle Witches)

~Pendle Hill

Gelert’s Grave, Beddgelert

Covering a distance of just over 2km, the Gelert’s Grave walk is an ideal family day out. Set in the Snowdonia National Park, there is chance of rain, snow and sun all in one day so make sure to pack those layers.

Trail Breakdown:

- Part 1: Footbridge over the River Glaslyn to St Mary’s Church

- Part 2: St Mary’s Church to Gelert’s Grave Stone

- Part 3: Gelert’s Grave Stone to Beudy Buarth Gwyn

- Part 4: Beudy Buarth Gwyn to Ynys Dol-leian Island

- Part 5: Ynys Dol-leian Island to the River Glaslyn banking

- Part 6: River Glaslyn to Cae Gel (Alfred Bestall Picnic Site)

The legend of Gelert’s Grave started in the 13th century. A gift from King John of England to Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great, Gelert was a faithful hound who lived with the prince in the palace at Beddgelert. One day with the Prince away on a hunt, he noticed ‘The Faithful Hound’ to be missing. Never normally apart, the Prince returned home immediately in search of his trusty companion.

On his return the Prince was alarmed that his infant son was also missing from his cot and the bedclothes were covered in blood. When his hound immerged also covered in blood the Prince presumed the worst and killed the hound with his sword. On doing so he heard a child’s cry and discovered his young son hidden behind next to the body of a dead wolf. The hound had actually been protecting the infant and to commemorate this the Prince had Gelert’s grave built.

The moral of the story? Stick with goldfish or a cat!

~Beddgelert Village

~Beddgelert's Grave

King Arthur, Tintagel, Cornwall

Passing by Camelot Castle, the legend of King Arthur comes to life on the Tintagel walk. Stroll your way from one round table to another with fantastic tourist stops along the way and a one to many cream teas to be had. The 3.4 mile walk tackles the coastal path which gives you views across to Ireland and beyond (if you really squint). From historic quarries and enchanting castles, to cliff edges and cafes, the King Arthur’s Walk has it all.

~Tintagel Castle

Trail Breakdown:

- Part 1: Footbridge over the River Glaslyn to St Mary’s Church

- Part 2: St Mary’s Church to Gelert’s Grave Stone

- Part 3: Gelert’s Grave Stone to Beudy Buarth Gwyn

- Part 4: Beudy Buarth Gwyn to Ynys Dol-leian Island

- Part 5: Ynys Dol-leian Island to the River Glaslyn banking

- Part 6: River Glaslyn to Cae Gel (Alfred Bestall Picnic Site)

Supposedly the birthplace of King Arthur, Tintagel Castle is full of legend. Along the road, Merlin’s Cave remembers the King’s right hand wizard who helped him disguise himself as the Duke of Tintagel because he had fallen in love with the Duke’s wife.Sat alongside the 13th century Tintagel Castle is the statue of King Arthur holding his sword Excalibur. He stands facing away from the sea looking in land and remembers all the myth and legend surrounding Tintagel.

Points of interest:

- The Museum of Witchcraft is a great stop off point if the weather is bad

- Try and spot the face of Merlin carved into one of the rocks on the beach

~King Arthur's Statue, Tintagel

St Patrick’s Way (The Pilgrim’s Walk), Downpatrick

For those of you looking to stretch your legs beyond the day in question, you could take on the multi-stage St Patrick's Way. Spanning approximately 132km (82miles), The Pilgrim’s Way walk takes you from rolling hills and town trails, to coastal views and quaint Irish streets in just 10 days.

Trail Breakdown:

- Day 1: Navan centre to Armagh (5km)

- Day 2: Armagh to Scarva (20km)

- Day 3: Scarva to Newry (20km)

- Day 4: Newry to Rostrevor (15km)

- Day 5-8: Rostrevor to Newcastle (38km) (Not all at once!!)

- Day 9: Newcastle to Tyrella (18km)

- Day 10: Tyrella to Downpatrick (16km)

Starting out in Navan, after a swift 5km trek we arrive in Ireland’s oldest town, Armagh. Here it’s time to stock up on the sugar, caffeine and positive vibes at The Craic’d House Coffee Shop just off the high street. Once we’re full to the brim it is on to Scarva on a 20km route covering just about every bit of countryside before the real pilgrimage begins!

Re-tracing the life of St Patrick, the walk gives you everything from breathtaking views and tough terrain to souvenir shops and pub lunches. Finishing at Downpatrick Cathedral, you can visit the final resting place of St Patrick before you join in with the festive celebrations. Make sure to try the corned beef, the green beer and an Irish dance or two!

~Armagh Walking

~Scarva Ireland Walk

Points of interest:

- Don’t miss the 4000 acres of Armagh apple orchards (return in May to see the pink blossom in full bloom)

- Take part in the Saint Patrick Festival (March 17th)

Whatever you get up to this St Patrick’s day, enjoy!

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