More than 1,000 Ripon residents and visitors are expected to take part in Ripon Cathedral’s Boxing Day Pilgrimage this year.
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It’s become a much-loved Christmas tradition for many, following in the footsteps of a band of Cistercian monks who set out from Ripon the day after Christmas in 1132 AD to found a new monastery on the banks of the river Skell, which was of course Fountains Abbey.
The four-mile walk from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey will be led this year by the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, and the Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley.
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Bishop Hartley was previously a bishop in New Zealand, and says this year her Christmas will be a very different experience to previous celebrations.
The Bishop said: “Christmas Day last year was a barbecue by a friend’s swimming pool. After six years experiencing Christmas ‘down under’ I am really looking forward to getting the seasons back in the order I am used to.”
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After a short service of Holy Communion at 9.30am in the Cathedral, the walk sets off from the forecourt at 10.15am.
The Dean said: “Drawing on the lengthy history of both the Cathedral and Fountains, it gives a welcome encouragement to all of us to take some much-needed exercise after a day of feasting.
“The carol service in the abbey’s awe-inspiring cellarium is the climax of the whole event and is enjoyed by both those who have walked and those who have travelled straight to the abbey.” The walk and entrance to Fountains Abbey is free, and all are welcome to join.”