First steps on Pilgrim Way

St Andrews Cathedral will mark the end of the 70-mile Pilgrim Way.
St Andrews Cathedral will mark the end of the 70-mile Pilgrim Way.

The recreation of Fife’s Pilgrim Way, a walking route from Culross to St Andrews, came a step nearer reality this week with a major funding boost.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded £406,400 to develop the route which will allow walkers to retrace the steps of medieval pilgrims through the heart of Fife, passing landmarks including the Inverkeithing Hospitium, Markinch Church, Ceres and the Waterless Way. It will end at St Andrews Cathedral

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT) is developing the route in partnership with in partnership with Fife Council and other bodies, and its chief executive Amanda McFarlanedescribed the announcement as: “fantastic news.

“We have had incredible community support for this project and this funding will turn our plans into a reality. This route, once completed will enable people to walk from North Queensferry and Culross to St Andrews through the heart of Fife taking in over 50 medieval sites along the way”

Amanda added: “It will be some time before we can have a finished route ready for walkers, however this is a great step forward.”

The HLF funding is the first of two rounds of funding for the Pilgrim Way and means that FCCT will be able to appoint a project development officer to produce a full application to HLF for the creation and interpretation of the path and its heritage features.

Ken Patterson, FCCT’s inland team leader, explained: “There is still a lot of work to do as the stage two application must be submitted in 12 months’ time. However, we want to get local communities involved in the development and ongoing management of the route as well as with the heritage sites along the way.

“We will be talking to each community to find out how we can work together to make sure the Fife Pilgrim Way is a great experience for walkers, communities and a benefit to local businesses too,” he promised.

Commenting from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Dame Seona Reid, Chair of HLF’s Scotland Committee, said: ““Heritage is firmly at the centre of shaping and improving local quality of life. In practical terms, heritage projects can provide training and education, encourage tourism and kick-start regeneration, but heritage is also important in emotional terms.

“Towns and communities across Scotland are realising that far from being a dead hand on development and regeneration, heritage can be the catalyst that encourages both. And let’s not forget that this important investment is only possible because of the National Lottery players.”