Boxing Day pilgrimage returns for another successful year in Ripon

Boxing Day pilgrimage. Oliver and Francesca Westwood with their dog Sylvie.  (1612261AM11).
Boxing Day pilgrimage. Oliver and Francesca Westwood with their dog Sylvie. (1612261AM11).

More than 1,000 people took part in this year’s Boxing Day pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey.

The walk was led by the Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Rev James Bell, and the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson.

Boxing Day pilgrimage.  The Dean of Ripon , the Very Rev John Dobson, and The Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Rev James Bell, lead the pilgrimage through the streets of Ripon.(1612261AM12).

Boxing Day pilgrimage. The Dean of Ripon , the Very Rev John Dobson, and The Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Rev James Bell, lead the pilgrimage through the streets of Ripon.(1612261AM12).

The pilgrimage was especially welcomed and appreciated after last year’s was cancelled due to heavy rain and flooding.

The Canon Precentor of Ripon Cathedral, the Rev Paul Greenwell, said: “We had beautiful weather, and there were lots of people walking with us and singing God’s praises.
“It was very special going to Fountains Abbey, I think people are very hungry spiritually.

“In today’s world, I think people are looking for hope and light at a time when it is dark for a lot of people across the world, and I think the pilgrimage gives them that feeling of hope and a sense of continuity each year.

“The atmosphere was fantastic, it was just absolutely electrifying.”

The walk traditionally follows in the footsteps of a group of Cistercian monks who set off on Boxing Day in 1132 AD to found a new Cistercian monastery at Fountains on the banks of the River Skell.

The day started with a service of Holy Communion at the cathedral, then the pilgrimage led those taking part along the river, through the Studley Royal Deer Park, and into Fountains Abbey.

Mulled wine was served and Christmas carols filled the surroundings.

The Canon Precentor added: “The carols and all of the singing created a lovely atmosphere. It was fantastic to see so many people taking part on the day.”

Did you take part this year? See if you can spot yourself in our special picture gallery: http://www.ripongazette.co.uk/news/offbeat/spot-yourself-were-you-at-the-2016-ripon-boxing-day-pilgrimage-1-8309113