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Gold Award for Orkney Pilgrim Route

Wednesday June 28 2023

St Magnus Cathedral


The first Gold standard Scottish Pilgrim Way accreditation has been awarded to the St Magnus Way in Orkney.

The 58 mile route, crossing the west Mainland of Orkney and the island of Egilsay, follows traces the journey taken by the body of St Magnus, the Viking earl and patron saint of the Islands martyred in 1117, for re-interment in the cemetery at the kirk in Birsay. Some years later his bones were transferred to Kirkwall and eventually placed in the shrine in the Cathedral that was built in his honour.

The route was created in 2017 and 2018, when all six sections were opened, waymarked and fully interpreted both on the ground and via the website and an app created with digital navigational aids, recently updated. Pilgrims walking or cycling the route can now experience a remarkable physical and spiritual journey, culminating in the Cathedral. A virtual route is also being made available including drone footage and other media.  

The St Magnus Way now joins three other pilgrim routes in receiving Scottish Pilgrim Way accreditation.  The route was physically assessed on the ground in 2022 by the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum (SPRF) Board of Trustees.  The Gold award certificate will be presented in Kirkwall Cathedral at a special event on September 30 during the 2023 Scottish Pilgrimage Gathering organised by SPRF, the first time the Forum will have met on the Northern Isles in its 11 year history.

The Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Chair of SPRF, said: “Over the past year, the Orkney Pilgrimage team has impressed us with their sustained and practical determination to improve what was already a strong application. The route now offers a unique experience to contemporary pilgrims of all backgrounds in conveying the rich Christian heritage of the Orkney Islands. We congratulate all who have worked so hard to realise this vision.”

Stuart Little, Chair of Orkney Pilgrimage, said “We are delighted to have been awarded Gold accreditation by SPRF. It is very affirming to have had a thorough assessment of the route, website, app, organisation etc, and this award recognises and validates the huge amount of work done by our Trustees and volunteers. Those now coming to walk the St Magnus Way have the assurance that it's not just us that think it is worth making a pilgrimage in Orkney.” 

For more information on the St Magnus Way, visit https://www.stmagnusway.com and on the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum, visit https://www.sprf.org.uk 


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