A New but also Old Pilgrimage Route


The Caithness Book Club boasts all of six regular members at its monthly meetings in St Anne’s church hall, Thurso. One of its books was ‘Together in Christ: Following the Northern Saints‘ by John Woodside. From this developed ‘The Northern Saints Trails’, listing 33 names and 32 sites linked to these names. The sites were organised into six circular routes, four starting in Thurso and two in Wick. For more information, see the web site at: www.wickstferguschurch.org.uk/page16 .

The Pilgrimage Trails Project

While doing the research for the Saints Trails, the group realised that there was enough historical evidence to re-create the medieval pilgrimage route linking the shrines of St Duthac in Tain and St Magnus in Kirkwall. So a second project was born. Much of the background work has been done and we are now planning some public events in the hope that this will encourage more people to come forward with offers of practical help and local folklore about the sites along the route.

Pilgrimage Events

We are launching this stage of the project with a ‘Pilgrimage Event’ in Tain on 29th May 2021. There will be an ecumenical service in St Duthac’s chapel followed by refreshments and information on the Northern Pilgrims’ Way.  This event will be jointly led by that the event will be led by our own Bishop Mark Strange and the RC Bishop of Aberdeen Bishop Hugh Gilbert.

Similar events will take place in Old St Peter’s Kirk, Thurso on 3rd July 2021 and in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall on 20th August 2021.

There will be more information in due course.

The Symbolism of our logo

  • The central cross is from the St Andrew’s cross on the Scottish flag.
  • The two lines represent the two saints – Duthac and Magnus
  • The pointed curves are copied from the Ulbster Stone, a Celtic carved stone originally at the site of an early chapel dedicated to St Martin at Ulbster, on our Braid Three and the John o’ Groat’s Trail. The site is now marked by a mausoleum.

One thought on “A New but also Old Pilgrimage Route

  1. Could you please contact me .
    I was in TAIN/TARBET DISCOVERY CENTRE last summer and picked up the joint Whithorn /Tain Pilgrimage route leaflet, but felt that a joint tourism/heritage link was missing. Namely the inclusion of Linlithgow where of course James IV held court and travelled to these two pilgrimage locations on a regular basis.
    Prior to formally discussing the production of a joint digital leaflet with Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Community Council. i contacted and obtained the approval of Whithorn Community Council to be engaged on a new digital issue of the previous leaflet.
    Could we ask Tain Community Council to also agree to jointly partake in republishing an update digital version of the existing leaflet and now link in with the Northern Pilgrims Way .
    I would then seek formal approval from our local community council where i used to be secretary and tie in with our Town Centre and Bids manager to discuss funding.

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