At a time of growing interest in the reviving of ancient pilgrimage routes, the North of Scotland is playing its part. A national organisation, the Scottish Pilgrimage Routes Forum, is overseeing the development of a route from Tain to Kirkwall, linking the medieval shrines of St. Duthac and St. Magnus.
At a meeting of interested parties, held in Tain in April, the route was named the Northern Pilgrims Way. It will largely avoid roads, following footpaths and tracks suitable for walking and cycling. Much of it will provide the traveller with magnificent coastal scenery, as well as experience of the unique Flow Country in Caithness and Sutherland.
It is hoped that publicity will attract not only dedicated pilgrims, intent upon travelling the whole way, but will also provide the opportunity for visitors to enjoy walking a section of the route to add interest to their holiday in the area.
The Pilgrimage Church in the centre of Tain will be the focus for the start of the journey. It contains a medieval statue of St. Duthac, preserved by the people of Tain for nearly six centuries. Visitors to the Church are welcome when Tain and District Museum is open, all weekdays from April to October, plus all Saturdays in the summer.