The St Magnus Way has been recognised along with three other pilgrim routes with Scottish Pilgrim Way™ accreditation.
The Gold award certificate will be presented in Kirkwall Cathedral at a special event on 30th September at 2.30 pm as part of 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 58 mile route of The St Magnus Way traverses the west Mainland of Orkney and the island of Egilsay, and its first section from Evie to Birsay was opened in 2017 by Orkney Pilgrimage SCIO. It 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.
During 2017 and 2018 all six sections of the St Magnus Way route were opened, waymarked and fully interpreted both on the ground and via the website and a new app created with digital navigational aids. 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 stunning drone footage and other media.
Commenting on the Gold award, 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.”
The other SPW accredited pilgrim routes are currently the Forth to Farne Way (Silver), the Cowal Pilgrimage, and Northern Pilgrims’ Way (both Bronze).