Talks pave way for pilgrim route

The meeting in Whithorn to discuss pilgrim routes
The meeting in Whithorn to discuss pilgrim routes

A new project aims to attract thousands of pilgrims a year to Whithorn similiar to the world famous shrine at Saintiago de Compostela.

The Whithorn Trust recently met with representatives of the Scottish Pilgrimage Routes Forum’s special steering group on the Whithorn Way, to discuss development of long distance walking routes along the lines of the mediaeval pilgrimage route from Glasgow to Whithorn.

A spokesperson for the Whithorn Trust said: “We’ve been working with the Whithorn Way group for many months, as they map and walk the historic route which went from Glasgow all the way to Whithorn.

“They are have been an active and committed group, which developed out of the Paisley 850 anniversary walk, and have cartographers, pilgrims and tourism representatives amongst the steering group members.

“ Pilgrims would have rested and worshipped at numerous churches and monasteries en route, and the idea is to contact all those communities which were historically involved and to discuss with them the benefits of a long distance walking route.

“This is in fact only one part of the several pilgrimage routes to Whithorn.

“There is an eastern route coming from Edinburgh and Dumfries, which will be included in a larger St Ninian Ways project, which is also being considered for European funding.

“We’re having a round table meeting in November, chaired by Historic Scotland and with representatives from stakeholders all the way down the route from Glasgow, and including national agencies such as VisitScotland and Transport Scotland.”

Aileen McLeod MSP has also been very supportive of the initiative, said the Trust this week.

“We know that faith and eco tourism can greatly develop the economies of communities en route and particularly the destination, at Whithorn in our case, as well.

“This has been seen most significantly at Santiago de Compostela, where the Camino is now a major route attracting thousands of walkers per year.

“We’ll hope to be in touch with community councils within Galloway, as well as Ayrshire, in the coming months to discuss our next move forward.”