We were very pleased to learn that the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum (SPRF) had sent someone to assess our Cowal Pilgrimage routes to see if we were eligible for their new accreditation scheme. And we were even more pleased to be awarded the Bronze level accreditation.
Daniel attended the Spring Forum Meeting at the end of April in Augustine United Church, Edinburgh. We were treated to a video address by the Scottish Minister for Environment and Land Reform; Mairi McAllan MSP. Mairi mentioned the Cowal Pilgrimage as part of her presentations, and afterwards, Daniel was invited on stage to accept the Bronze Certification award by the SPRF Chair, the Very Rev Dr Sheilagh M Kesting.
The Bronze Accreditation acknowledges that the Cowal pilgrim routes have some evidence of historical authenticity; are identifiable on the ground (with the help of directions provided on this website), and that they are managed by a local steering group.
We were encouraged to apply for Silver accreditation, because we also have a Pilgrim Passport scheme in place and interpretation information on this website. However, to achieve this we would have had to install physical accessibility structures such as gates and styles, and this is not in keeping with our current ethos of having the trails be as wild (and adaptable) as the landscape of Argyll. So we are very happy with our Bronze Accreditation!
The SPRF hope to roll out more awards to other pilgrim ways in Scotland (the Forth to Farne Way was awarded Silver last September) in order to help visitors understand what kind of pilgrim route to expect. This is part of a wider aim to raise the profile of Scottish pilgrim routes, and thus get more boots on the ground!