Plans are being drawn up for a footpath ending in St Andrews which aims to allow people to recreate the journey of pilgrims making their way to the town hundreds of years ago.
The path, which has been christened the ‘Fife Pilgrim Way’, traces the route from Culross Abbey near Dunfermline (on the south coast of Fife) north east through the inland of the historic kingdom before arriving in St Andrews.
Along the path notable local sites of interest are passed, including Dunfermline Abbey and The Waterless Way. The pilgrims’ path ends, naturally, at St Andrews Cathedral.
There has long been discussion over the prospect of such a path, but these plans are the first concrete proposals. In 2008, SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament Roseanna Cunningham proposed the idea of an ambitious path which would follow the route of the St Columba’s monks from the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland through Highland Stirlingshire and Perthshire to St Andrews.
The plans have been developed by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCaCT) in conjunction with Fife Council, Fife Tourism Partnership, Scotways and the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum.
Speaking to Fife Today, Simon Phillips, business manager of FCaCT, said: “We are excited and optimistic that if we can secure the funding and support required to deliver this project, it will bring significant economic benefits and attract many new visitors to Fife.
“It will be a major challenge for the partners to secure the funding required to implement the route, its signage, interpretation and promotion. We also need to be aware of the costs associated with maintaining a path of this length and hope that local communities and businesses will support us to help to make this path a reality.”
William Campbell, Labour Fife councilor for Dunfermline North, told Dunfermline Press that he supported the plans: “This project spans the whole of Fife and is something we’d love to see happen. It’s a fantastic opportunity for local communities and businesses to get behind something which will benefit everyone in the area.