Royal approval for Markinch stop-off

Rt Hon Lord Hope, Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland, centre, visited Markinch Parish. Pic: Mark Rodgers
Rt Hon Lord Hope, Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland, centre, visited Markinch Parish. Pic: Mark Rodgers

Members of Markinch Parish Church received a visit of royal proportions when the Lord High Commissioner came to view the historic place of worship.

The Queen’s personal representative to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (the Kirk), the Rt Honourable Lord Hope of Craighead, was welcomed by the new Lord Lieutenant of Fife, Robert Balfour, with Minister, Alistair McLeod, and other dignitaries, as part of a event to promote Markinch Church’s involvement in the proposed Pilgrim’s Way project.

Lord Hope was treated to a historic appraisal of the site by Bruce Mason from Markinch Heritage Group and an overview of the proposed 109 km Pilgrim Way – which will run from Culross and North Queensferry, through Fife to St Andrews, by Amanda McFarlane, chief executive of Fife Coast and Countryside Trust.

He then viewed some of the recent archaeological discoveries that will make Markinch Parish Church one of the key stop-off points along the ambitious Pilgrims Way trail, once it is completed.

Following the tour, Lord Hope told the Gazette he was both “intrigued and delighted” by the wealth of historic significance relating to the Markinch Church.

“It’s clear Markinch played a pivital role historically and its inclusion as a key attraction along the Pilgrim Way is beyond doubt,” he added.

John Wood, session clerk at Markinch, said Lord Hope’s visit represented a “huge boost for everyone involved in the research currently being carried out here”, while Mr Balfour added the Pilgrim’s Way would have a significant positive impact on tourism and the economic sustainability of communities across Fife.

Pilgrim Way will offer tourists a walk through the Kingdom’s history

The ambitious Pilgirm Way project is expected to provide a massive boost tothe Fife tourist industry when complete.

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, (FCCT), overseeing the plan, is putting the final touches to a bid for Lottery funding that wouldprovide around 60 per cent of the estimated £750,000 needed to make the historic route a reality.

“This is a massive opportunity for the region and will undoubtedly help bring much-needed extra business and tourism to many communities along the route,” said Amanda McFarlane, FCCF chief executive.

“The High Commissioner’s visit is a real endorsement for the project and for Markinch Parish Church,” she added.

The funding application is due to be decided in September.