Argyllshire Advertiser

In the footsteps of faith on the Cowal peninsula

- Photograph­s: subtlesens­or2020

A network of pilgrim routes has been created to showcase the rich religious heritage of the Cowal peninsula.

Fifteen historic sites, which all play a significan­t role in the birth of Celtic Christiani­ty, are included.

Intended to encourage visitors to explore faith and landscape, the walks offer a mix of forestry roads, woodland tracks and existing heritage trails as well as more challengin­g terrains for serious hikers.

Featured in detail at www. faithincow­ and collated by Faith in Cowal, the Church of Scotland-funded project promotes pilgrimage in the area with a network of walks covering 200 miles and 19 trails, divided into five loops that criss-cross the peninsula.

Dan Romani of Faith in Cowal explained: ‘The routes we’ve developed highlight the strong religious and spiritual heritage of Cowal as well as the stunning beauty of this part of Argyll. Each route takes visitors on a real pilgrimage to ancient Christian landmarks, through remote and impressive landscapes.

‘Whilst Faith in Cowal is a Christian organisati­on, the routes are open to people of all faiths and none, and provide the perfect way to connect with the wild beauty Cowal has to offer. Some of the sites that book-end each trail date as far back as the fifth and sixth centuries, as well as more ancient landmarks such as Auchnaha Cairn that are thought to be Neolithic in origin.

‘The walks take in locations close to the major settlement­s and population centres of Cowal including Strachur, Dunoon, Kilfinan and Colintraiv­e but they’re unlike any other path you’ll find. These are not all neatly manicured and waymarked trails. We have deliberate­ly kept them dynamic and wild by making use of forestry roads and ancient heritage paths. Many of the routes require short, improvised hikes between paths so you’ll feel like a real pilgrim forging your way through the landscape.

‘There are detailed guides on our website as well as downloadab­le GPS tracks. We hope as many visitors to Cowal as possible will take this opportunit­y to step in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims and travellers, enjoy the wonderful scenery of Argyll and explore fascinatin­g sites of genuine spiritual and religious importance,’ added Dan.

 ??  ?? Historic Kilmun church, on the shores of the Holy Loch.
Historic Kilmun church, on the shores of the Holy Loch.

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