News and Views from Scotland

A Caledonian Camino to Attract Pilgrims to Scotland?

Sculpture of St Andrew in St Andrews

People have been the trekking the Camino de Santiago - the Way of St James - since the 9th Century. Now moves are afoot to establish a pilgrimage route form Iona (graphic on the left is ©Tom Richardson via Wikimedia Commons to St Andrews (cathedral ruin pictured on the right below). Walkers would be required to trek 185 miles following a route which goes back to medieval times, although a number of less challenging routes are under development.

The Deeside Way, for example, follows the line of the old railway track connecting Aberdeen to Ballater and is only 39 miles. Nick Cooke, secretary of Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum said that the Caledonian Caminos' time had come.

"We're knocking on an open door. People like combining outdoor exercise and a degree of personal spirituality; it taps into a lot of different agendas. By setting up routes we are also helping to regenerate communities socially and economically. It enables more than just the spiritual."

Mr Cooke explained that the surge of interest in established pilgrimage routes is not just a Scottish venture, but part of a revival of pilgrimage routes throughout Europe..... we've got the destination but not the infrastructure yet.'

The Camino de Santiago attracts around 200,000 people every year, so even a small proportion of that number in Scotland would be significant. The idea is being discussed with the Scottish Government which appears to be supportive.

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August 2016

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