Pilgrims still like to be beside the seaside

The new pilgrimage route travels through coastal scenery from North Berwick in East Lothian to Lindisfarne, passing St Abbs Head on the way.
The new pilgrimage route travels through coastal scenery from North Berwick in East Lothian to Lindisfarne, passing St Abbs Head on the way.

A new pilgrimage route along the coast from North Berwick to Lindisfarne in Northumberland was launched on Sunday.

The Forth to Farne Way, one of five pilgrim routes being developed in Scotland, takes modern-day pilgrims along pathways and through places linked to Christianity’s earliest days in Scotland.

Celtic missionary saints associated with the route include St Aidan, St Baldred, St Cuthbert and St Ebba.

In medieval times, pilgrims travelled the coastal route from Lindisfarne to St Andrews, crossing the Firth of Forth by ferry from North Berwick.

The 72-mile pilgrim route follows parts of three designated footpaths – the John Muir Way and the Berwickshire and Northumberland coastal paths.

Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, patron of the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum, opened the new route at a service in St Mary’s Parish Church at Whitekirk, East Lothian.

The Rev Joanne Evans-Boiten, minister of Athelstaneford, Whitekirk and Tyninghame, said: “We are very excited to be launching the new route.”

Nick Cooke, secretary of the forum, added: “The route goes through some very important places with a strong pilgrimage heritage, from Whitekirk itself to Coldingham Priory, which was one of the largest Benedictine monasteries in Scotland in its day.

“The next stage will be to develop waymarking and interpretation to tell the stories of these special places, as well as providing accommodation for pilgrim walkers.”