Roof-beams from a Viking longboat


A number of websites make visits to places of worship, akin to Exploring Liturgy’s. The best known is perhaps the “mystery worshipper” column at Ship of Fools ( Visits to historic sites also remain popular among pilgrims, walkers and daytrippers. Here is St. Olaf’s, possibly the smallest church building in England, thought to employ beams of a Viking longboat in its roofing--though records date back only to 1550. At the remote end of Wasdale valley, next to the inn, it is dwarfed by England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike, and itself hidden by a grove of yew trees. The tiny churchyard shelters the bodies of walkers lost on the mountains, and Christian worship in the Anglican tradition continues on something like a regular basis. I visited on the Sunday of Epiphany 2018, when the next service was to take place at Easter.

(Photography on this page by Stephen Burns.)