Pilgrim Ways steering group is set up
AT A meeting in Oban on Wednesday June 21, local member organisations of the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum (SPRF) agreed to set up a steering group of local volunteers to develop and promote pilgrimage walking routes linking the many historic centres of Christian heritage in all parts of Argyll.
This important step follows an earlier meeting hosted by SPRF at Dalmally last autumn, and is part of the forum’s expanding work across Scotland.
The new steering group, comprising representatives of local faith tourism, heritage, churches, youth work and walking group bodies, plans to upgrade the status of existing routes like the Kintyre and Cowal Ways for pilgrimage use and to create others using existing core paths where possible.
In time, this network will create a distinctive addition to the western section of the coast to coast Iona- St Andrews Pilgrim Way, which is a recognised priority of the National Walking and Cycling Network promoted by the Scottish Government.
Jonathan Sheldrick, chairman of the Heart of Argyll Tourism Association and convener of the steering group, said: ‘ We are excited to be a partner of the broader Columba Way/Slìghe Chaluim Chille discussions along with partners Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Argyll and Bute Council, Argyll Long Distance Routes Forum and others which sets out to link communities in Ireland and Scotland, developing language and associated heritage as a basis for tourism, especially faith tourism, economic development and education.
‘We would invite all persons and local organisations willing to help to contact us at chairman@ heartofargyll.com.’
The steering group will operate under the auspices of SPRF in developing a new website and literature for the Argyll routes and will help promote essential local services such as accommodation, transport links and food outlets. Meetings will be held in different venues to engage with local people.