Whithorn Way News & Events
Steering Group Meeting at Provan Hall
This meeting was held on the 13th June 2018 at the kind invitation of the
Seven Lochs Wetland Park team and the
Friend of Provan Hall.
During the meeting we were given a guided tour around Provan Hall and in the afternoon there
was a guided walk led by John Henderson to Bishop Loch, the location of the medieval Bishops'
Palace for Glasgow Cathedral.
There is a hope that between the developments associated with the Seven Lochs and Provan
Hall there may be an opportunity for some form of collaboration with the Whithorn Way.
St. Mirinís Pilgrims completed the final stage of the Whithorn Way (Mochrum to Whithorn) on
2 June 2018.
Teh group were led off from Mochrum by Sylvia Jenks dressed mediaeval costume. The group
finished walking at St Ninian's Priory (Church of Scotland), where tea and cake awaited
followed by a service at St Martin's and St Ninian's (Roman Catholic Church) and a much
anticipated fish and chip supper from The Central Cafe Whithorn enjoyed in the Whithorn
St. Mirinís Pilgrims completed their penultimate stage of the Whithorn Way (Auchenmalg to Mochrum) on 26 May 2018, the
final stage is on 2 June 2018.
St. Mirinís Pilgrims include walkers from the Diocese of Paisley and Paisley Abbey 850 Group. They began their pilgrim
walk on 4 March 2017 and continued at monthly intervals apart from a break over the winter period.
Pat Murdoch organised all the walks, made contact with church groups and local communities to arrange hospitality and
encouraged members of St. Mirinís Pilgrims to continue our pilgrimage. Gerry Murdoch planned the routes and Frank
Doherty (our Camino Amigo) and Pat joined Gerry on the recce walks.
To support the ongoing work of the Whithorn Way Steering Group, which has been from its formation a voluntary
non-funded operation, it has been agreed that we start to raise some funding to speed up and further our development work.
To that end we have introduced for interested individuals or groups the opportunity to make a donation to the work
of the steering group and/or to provide some nominal income through the sale of walking route instructions.
All money raise will be earmarked as a restricted fund designated to the work and development of the Whithorn Way
Pilgrimage Route. The funds will be held within a restricted account managed by
the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum (a registered Scottish Incorporated Charity).
To make a donation or to find out more about the purchase of walking route instructions
click on this link
The Steering groups most recent meeting (28th March 2018) was held at the
Milestone Christian Fellowship in Girvan.
The meeting proved to be most productive with the presence of representitives from the
Ayrshire Coastal Path (ACP), The Girvan
Town Team and the milestone Christian Fellowship.
Although not all of those at the meeting were able to remain at the end of the meeting for the photo we were pleased to have
Roddy MacDonald of the Girvan Town Team and Ron Ireland of the ACP included with several of the steering group members.
Walk the Whithorn Way with St Mirin's Pilgrims.
This is project that has been devised by the St Mirin's Pilgrims and targetted towards youth although it
is open to walkers of all ages. The walk will be in sections over a number of weeks following a similar pattern
to that taken several years earlier by Paisely Abbey.
The remaining walks are to be on Saturday 7th April and on Tuesday 24th April with the final section into Whithorn on Saturday
2nd June 2018.
The first walk was successfully held on Saturday 4th March 2OI7 leaving at 9am from St Mirin's Cathedral. The walk was from
Paisley to Lochwinnoch and photos from that walk and all subsequent walks can be seen on the Whithorn Way Facebook page.
A warm welcome will be given to all walkers, and SPRF and the Whithorn Way Steering Group would encourage anyone
with an interest in pilgrimage walks to come along and enjoy these day's walks.
Support vehicles will be available to provide assistance. Walking guides will lead the group.
Please register via e-mail to "firstname.lastname@example.org" with your name and contact phone number. Further
information will then be sent out to you by email.
Following closely the route of the Whithorn Way there is going to be a charity bike ride between Paisley
and Whithorn taking place on the 8th April 2017. This is to raise funds for "Classrooms for Malawi".
The organisers are keen to encourage as many riders as possible and are also happy for those who only
want to cycle a part of the 100 mile route to also take part.
The event is being set up by "Team Renfrewshire" and contact with them is best achieved by linking to their
The Whithorn Way Steering group wish "Team Renfrewshire" and all the riders every success in this charitable venture.
To assist with the awareness and promotion of the pilgrimage way we have just received a batch of attractive
double sided leaflets which can also act as a very useful bookmark.
Printed on a firm glossy card this will be a useful promotional handout at steering group meeting, exhibition
stalls and at many locations of interest along the length of the Way.
With clear detail of the Way's website and facebook presence the interested pilgrim can quickly find all the
information they need on the Way to allow them to get out and enjoy the experience.
The production of the leaflets/bookmarks was funded by
a walking business that is committed to
the development of pilgrimage ways and supporting walkers on many long distance walking routes.
January saw the Steeering Group back in action with a very full and interesting agenda. The meeting was held for
the first time in the Wynd Centre in Paisely, a very interesting and impressive centre offering meeting space,
councilling services and a cafe facility. This is a part of Oakshaw Trinty Church.
One of the main topic for consideration was a potential collaborative project with the Whithorn Trust (who are
active members of the Steering Group) and if this has success with funding applications we could see very
new and exciting promotional material and developments that would bring our collective interests into the 21st
century and accessable by smart phone and tablet technology.
The steering group meeting of the 26th October 16 was held in the Halls of St Mirin's Cathedral in Paisley. This was the steering group's second visit
to the Cathedral and on this occasion the new parish priest Father Oliver Freeney was able to spend a short time with group.
The steering group was also strengthened with two new members, these being Lynn Rew and Martin Bonar.
Progress continues within the group in terms of mapping, route information, marketing material and perhaps most
importantly working with groups and individuals in setting up and supporting pilgrim walks on this route in the
spring and summer of 2017. Also discussed in some depth was the matter of future funding to allow the steering
group to accelerate the awareness raising and development of the pilgrim way.
More detail and images from the meeting can be found on the
Whithorn Way Facebook page.
The most recent meeting of the Steering Group was held courtesy of the Glasgow Cathedral congregation on the 2nd September. The meeting being
held in their offices in the St Mungo Museum building adjacent to the Cathedral.
The group has expanded with the return of the Vice chairman of Kilwinning Heritage, Willie Robertson, and as with the
prior meeting his knowledge and input was much appreciated. We also had for the latter part of the meeting Adrian Cox
of Historic Envirionment Scotland who later provide us with a guided tour around the Cathedral.
Also present and updating the steering group about her forthcoming research and book publication was Valentina Bold of
For the first time the meeting was also conducted with a video conferencing link back to Whithorn where Alex Currie,
one of the group members, was able to contribute to the meeting without the need for a long distance drive to and from
the meeting. This second image showing Alex contributing via the screen link at the bottom end of the conference table.
Considerable progress in promoting and developing support information for walkers had been made and plans for further
develpment activity was discussed. The group had also received two requests from groups planning to walk this
pilgrimage route in 2017 and the steering group has agreed to work with them as they plan for their events.
The next Steering Group Meeting will be held in Paisley at St Mirin's Cathedral and is scheduled for Wednesday 26th
October. As with all our meetings, this is open to any interested person to attend.
The end of June saw the steering group meet at Kilwinning Old Parish Church locally known as The Abbey Church, another key point where the Whithorn Way
passes on its way south to Whithorn.
The group was joined by the Vice chairman of Kilwinning Heritage, Willie Robertson, and this proved to be most helpful
in forging new contacts from relevant organisations on the line of the pilgrimage.
Following a very productive meeting where important forward plans were discussed there was a guided tour given by
Kilwinning Heritage of the Abbey Ruins and the Kilwinning Abbey Tower Heritage Centre.
For much more information on Kilwinning Heritage link to
For more information on Kilwinning Old Parish Church link to
Early April saw the steering group visit Barrhill were a very successful meeting was hosted by the Barrhill Community
Council. This meeting was particularly helpful as there were several local representatives present at the meeting
and they were very helpful in providing a local perspective on this pilgrimage route development.
Following the meeting some of the steering Group were led by Celia Strain on a walk to the Martyrs' Tomb, this being
a grave for Covenanters from the 17th century.
The first meeting of 2016 was hosted by St Margaret's Cathedral in Ayr. This was kindly set up for us by the
Cathedral Canon and was attended by both the Canon and the Bishop of Galloway in whose diocesan Ayr resides.
Apart from a very hospitable welcome both Bishop Nolan and Canon Keegans participated fully in a lively two hour
meeting that looked at and planned for ongoing strategic developments, promotion and route refinements for this pilgrimage way.
Following the meeting some of the steering group took the afternoon to walk a part of the route in the Prestwick to
Troon section, this helping to firm up on what will become the defined route in this section.
The photo on the left was taken inside the cathedral sanctuary. For more information on St Margaret's Cathedral and its
congregation click on this link.
Images from the test walk looking at route options that link Troon and Prestwick.
Two options were considered, the Ayrshire Coastal Path which stays close to the beach
and the path that forms a combined cycle and walking route.
Coastal path heading north from Prestwick : Beach walk with Troon in the distance :
Views west over to Arran : Ruins of St Nicholas' Church Prestwick
While on the coastal route we came across the "Appalachian Trail" Waymarker shown on the left.
This was not the only waymarker passed, there were ones with the Rotary logo and on the cycle and walking path there were the usual good signage that identifies national cycle route 7.
The Appalachian Trail at this point carries the Saltire flag and the wording "Land of Burns, Bruce and Wallace".
For more information on the Appalachian Trail link to www.iat-sia.com.
To learn more about the Appalachian Trail activities in Scotland click on the saltire flag on the above linked website.
Meetings and activities of the Steering Group held in the last quarter of 2015 have been as follows:
- Attendance and presentation to the St Ninian's ways review meeting chaired by Historic Environment Scotland - Friday 6th November at 11 am
- Steering Group Meeting at the Whithorn Trust Offices - Wednesday 28th October
- Trial walk from St Ninian's Cave to the Isle of Whithorn - Wednesday 28th October (for more information in this
walk link to St Ninian's Cave to St Ninian's Chapel.
The September 2015 meeting was held in the offices of Renfrewshire Council in Paisley. This was kindly
hosted by the Tourism Development section of the Economic Development Department.
This meeting followed a longer interval to that intended but with many of the group heavily committed over the
summer period with work demands, and the group having used the summer days to work on route testing and development
this was inevitable.
The meeting was a very full one with some interesting opportunities and developments to discuss. The fact that
this meeting was hosted by Renfrewshire Council gave a clear indication that this council is very enthusiastic about
the Whithorn Way passing through its area.
The photo on the right was taken inside the meeting room and shows all but one of the steering group present on that day.
Since the initial meeting there have been further meetings at Whithorn held within the Whithorn Trust premises and at
St Mirin's Cathedral in Paisley.
Significant progress has been made at each of the meetings and the steering group now has a plan to meet on a
six weekly basis with hopefully each meeting being held in different locations along the length of the Way.
The photo on the left was taken outside St Mirin's Cathedral in Paisley where our March 2015 meeting was held.
May 2015 saw the steering group meeting moving out into one of the communities that are on the line of the Way.
It also saw the meeting taking on an added activity when following the business meeting the group went out onto the
walking route to both check the route and to help to raise local awareness.
The meeting was held at the Lochwinnoch RSPB reserve and the manger of the site along with other staff and volunteers
gave the group a warm welcome and greaat hospitality. There was a clear recognition that both the Steeribng group and the
RSPB reserve could support one another and with time help to work to bring more visitors to the area, centre and the
The picture above shows RSPB and Steering Group members at the entrance to the reserve and viewing centre. If yoy are
looking for more information on the RSPB reserve and its activites click on this
Following the formal meeting there was a further meeting with the Senior Countryside Ranger who covers the
Centre on the western shore of Lochwhinnoch. This was also a very helpful conversation and as the route passes directly past
the centre all coudl see the benefits of working together and promoting the facilites that the Centre and the Clyde
Muirshiel Regional Park can bring to walkers on the pilgrim route.
There then followed a walk by some of the group on the defined Whithorn Way as it passes on the western side of the loch.
Clear signage on the route : Interpretive panel at Parkhill Wood : Castle Semple Collegiate Church : Lochside path
The Steering Group is made up of some individuals and organisations who may be outwith the membership of the
Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum (SPRF). As such the Steering Group is independent of SPRF but it does maintain
close links with SPRF and its work forms a key element in the Forum's plans and long term vision.
The Whithorn Way as with other routes such as the Fife Pilgrimage Way, the Three Saints Way (a part of a
larger Iona to St Andrews pilgrimage route) and the Forth to Farne all are identified as priority
pilgrimage routes in varying stages of development and all plan to adhere to the standards that SPRF are
developing in terms of what makes for a successful and recognised pilgrimage route.
Whithorn Way Leaflet
One of the first tasks of the Steering Group has been to develop some early promotional information on the Way
along with information on the
work and objectives of the Steering Group. This has resulted in an informative leaflet that is being used to introduce
the trail and its opportunities to the many local communities and church congregations along the length of the
This leaflet contains
This leaflet can be downloaded by simply clicking on this link.
- Route map
- Route Description
- Places of Interest
- A brief history of pilgrimage
- Modern day pilgrimage
In this section we are showing cuttings that have been identifed as relating to the work of the Whithorn Way and
its Steering Group.
Click on the cutting to read or download a PDF copy.
Wigtonshire Free Press - 24 September 2015
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