Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum

A network of organisations and individuals committed to developing routes for off-road pilgrimage travel across Scotland

Telephone : 01786 841809 E-mail : info@sprf.org.uk
Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation - Charity No. SC045212





SPRF Activities

This section is under development and when completed it will have individual pages for each of the projects that are being undertaken.

We want to hear your views

Presently there is work looking at a walking route across Scotland from Iona / Oban to St Andrews and a further project to set up a Fife Pilgrimage Way linking Culross, Dunfermline and St Andrews. One further project is to look at an annual workshop and networking event.

Braided Routes
As the projects develop the small steering groups are beginning to come up with questions and options. to assist the groups in reaching a view that is most in line with the wider memberships' views we are encouraging all interested persons or organisations to enter into the debate and let us know your preferences and thoughts.

The first area where we would welcome comment relates to what we are calling "Braided Routes". This is best defined as a pilgrim route from A to B but where intermediary locations will exist. Not all the intermediary points will be on the same walking route so there will be options on what route to take at certain points.
Braided route example

In this example the principal route would be A-1-2-3-4-B. However between point 1 & 3 you might want to go via 5 & 6 or alternatively by 7. Similarly there could be options on the section 3-4-B.

Clearly the development of a "Braided" route will by nature be more complex and time consuming but it may well open up pilgrim points that are of added interest. The challenge however is to develop a pilgrim way that is still practical from a walking and an accommodation point of view and with perhaps initially limited numbers can a series of braided options be viable?

We would welcome your thoughts on this matter. If you have a point of view or comment please e-mail info@walkingsupport.co.uk in the first instance and we will certainly discuss this within the varying project groups. As the site develops we are likely to open up a discussion page where all views will be posted.

Branding of Pilgrim Routes
The Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum (SPRF) has been established on the knowledge that there is a present and growing interest in pilgrimage walking. This is both at a domestic and international level with walkers seeking inspiration and some form of spiritual experience through walking on routes that have historical links to early Christian routes and buildings or saintly persons.

Already established and used extensively is the St Cuthbert’s Way which starts in SE Scotland and travels into Northumberland.

There are also Pilgrim Walks that are undertaken by groups mainly during Holy Week and over the years Scottish Cross have headed towards Iona from various parts of Scotland. In the SW there are walks to Whithorn and more recently there have been pilgrimage events following a route from Edinburgh to St Andrews.

Presently we know of several more Pilgrim routes being developed or planned in Scotland especially in Ayrshire, Arran and Fife as well as the intention of an Iona to St Andrews pilgrim route.

With all this activity how should the Pilgrim Walk be recognised or branded? Is there the opportunity for a common logo that is used across all such Pilgrimage Ways? How should the pilgrim gain recognition for undertaking such a Pilgrim Way?

Firstly it needs to be recognised that already a route like the St Cuthbert’s Way has been waymarked and branded, this being based around a cross. Secondly routes that meet the SNH Scotland’s Great Trails standard can be branded with the Thistle logo and should there be success in establishing new Pilgrim ways to the desired standard they too could make use of this logo and branding. It should however be noted that many of the Scotland’s Great Trails do not choose to alter their waymarking / branding image and only use the Thistle brand as an additional accolade in the promotional literature and web based material.

It is this idea of an additional accolade that might prove to be the basis of any Pilgrimage branding. It would seem appropriate that existing and new routes that can be classified as Pilgrimage ways might earn the right to also add to their unique logo the secondary brand of a Scottish Pilgrim Way, provided the route meets a defined Pilgrim Way standard. Such an award could be given by a body such as SPRF. This would leave all the newly developed routes the opportunity to find their route’s own unique name and logo while also linking it into the wider range of Scottish Pilgrim Ways.

Another means of applying the branding might well come out of completion certificates that again SPRF could consider setting up and administering. If this were to be considered the certificate could be unique to each individual route but have commonality in design and elements of branding. This could also be a means of successfully promoting the wider network of Pilgrimage and hopefully act as an incentive for walkers to come back and experience another Pilgrim Way. I would envisage this form of certificate being additional to the routes standard completion certificate for in the development of a route such as, for example, an Iona to St Andrews way there will be many if not a majority of walkers that will undertake the long distance route as simply another coast to coast route or LDR and they might not be looking for the “pilgrimage” label.

The final point on branding is that I would hope that the SPRF website might become a portal for all pilgrimage ways in Scotland. The SPRF website would focus on the pilgrimage element of the route and be the source of any passport / log sheet that would be used to verify the award of the Pilgrimage Certificate. The portal would however quickly point to the routes own unique website where it is likely that most walkers and Pilgrims would find details and planning guidance about the way.

What is presented above is simply the view of one person and at this stage not that of SPRF. It would be good to receive the thoughts of others as to how they might like to see Pilgrim Ways in Scotland branded. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should be sent to John Henderson of Walking Support who is a member of the interim committee of SPRF.

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