Annual Pilgrimage To St Helen’s Today

Canon Peter Walker

Locals and visitors will have a chance to visit the uninhabited island of St Helen’s today to celebrate the life of a monk who once lived there.

Today is the feast day of St Elidius.

The annual pilgrimage will begin with prayers on the rocks as soon as boat passengers step ashore. The party will then move to the monk’s cell for another short service.

After that there’s a chance to swim or explore and stop for packed lunches before heading back to St Mary’s at around 3.30pm.

Around 65 people visited last year. Canon Peter Walker says everybody is welcome and you don’t have to be Christian or attend the religious service if you don’t want to.

The number of trippers have fallen over the years but part of it could be because there are so many other events on.

Peter said the monk lived alone on the island when water levels were lower and people could walk across the St Helen’s with food. And he says this represents one of the only chances people have during the year of visiting the island.

Peter also warned people to keep an eye on their watches. Last year, because of the tides, six “slow coaches” including himself, got stranded and had to find an alternative landing point for the boat home!