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Windfall guide book reveals Northern Pilgrims' Way trail starting in Tain in Easter Ross


By David G Scott

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WITH funding from the Whirlwind Achlachan Community Fund (WACF), a guide book has been designed and printed which will not only guide people as they travel the Northern Pilgrims Way but also provide a modest income stream for the group behind it.

The Caithness Book Club applied to the Whirlwind Achlachan Wind Farm Community Fund in December 2020 and was awarded £680 to produce an almost 30-page guidebook.

The guidebook details the historic pilgrimage route between the shrines of St Duthac in Tain and St Magnus in Kirkwall, noting many interesting places such as historic churches, heritage centres, brochs, distilleries and suchlike along the route.

Guide book map.
Guide book map.

This group has now devised six Saints Trails that link various sites in Caithness associated with the early saints known as the Northern Saints Trail. This project has grown and a separate group has been set up as the Northern Saints Trail SCIO. The Northern Saints Trail is seen as preserving an important historical record of the men and women who brought Christianity to the northern Highlands.

Northern Saints Trail information board unveiled in Wick recently. Picture: DGS
Northern Saints Trail information board unveiled in Wick recently. Picture: DGS

Jane Coll, the book club's chairperson said: "Everyone who has seen our guidebook has praised it's appearance, the detailed maps and the clear directions.

"One of the most important sites on the route is the St Magnus Chapel, Spittal, Caithness, which is also part of the local Caithness Northern Saints Trails, devised by us to link the 32 sites associated with the early Celtic saints of Caithness. It is hoped that pilgrims will spend some time in Caithness exploring this history. The guidebook is now for sale directly and on our website www.northernpilgrimsway.co.uk"

St Magnus hospital at Spittal from a drawing dated 1815 by George Henry Hutton. Picture: National Library of Scotland
St Magnus hospital at Spittal from a drawing dated 1815 by George Henry Hutton. Picture: National Library of Scotland

Tain launch for Northern Pilgrims Way

Thomas Chappell, a representative from Whirlwind Renewables, said: "Whirlwind is proud to support this excellent project which we hope will encourage and enable more people to explore Caithness and the north of Scotland and its amazing landscapes."

The WACF is open for applications from community groups with the next deadline being December 15. Anybody interested in joining the Achlachan Community Fund Panel can get in touch at any time. Foundation Scotland administers a number of Community Benefit Funds in Caithness for seven wind farms including RWE Bad á Cheò, RWE Bilbster, RWE Camster, Greencoat Stroupster, Gresham House Wathegar 1 and 2 and Whirlwind Achlachan.

Northern Saints Trail information board unveiled in Wick recently. Picture: DGS
Northern Saints Trail information board unveiled in Wick recently. Picture: DGS

Further information on how to apply to any of these Funds can be found on the Foundation Scotland website. There are also current opportunities to join the decision making panels. Anybody interested should contact Eilidh Coll on 07801 530 218 or eilidh@foundationscotland.org.uk

Tain launch for Northern Pilgrims' Way

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