6 July 2019
The 64-mile Fife Pilgrim Way route re-opens to the public on Friday 5th July, following extensive development and upgrading over the last five years. The trail will be the first new long-distance route to open in the Kingdom since the Fife Coastal Path in 2002.
The route is expected to take between five or six days to complete in its entirety, or users are encouraged to enjoy shorter walks and circular routes using Fife’s existing network of rights of way, paths and tracks.
Walkers can begin at either Culross or North Queensferry, crossing through the heart of Fife to St Andrews taking in a host of Scottish treasures including medieval landmarks, picturesque villages and stunning inland views of the Perthshire, Forth and Tay Estuaries and the Lomond Hills. The trail follows one of the routes taken by countless pilgrims to Scotland’s sacred city, St Andrews – one of the most renowned pilgrim destinations in Medieval Europe for over 400 years.
As part of the wider Fife Pilgrim Way project, FCCT and Fife Cultural Trust are also launching a free, travelling exhibition named The Pilgrim Express, which has been developed in MAC, Fife’s Mobile Museum. The exhibition will tour the Kingdom for the next two years.
Travel and tourism have been a core element of Fife’s heritage and culture since medieval times, and now generate millions for Fife’s economy (£588 million in 2018) supporting around 12,000 jobs. The route is expected to attract 140,000 domestic and international users, rising to 200,000 after four years, while bringing additional tourism to less visited parts of inland Fife.
Commenting on the launch of The Fife Pilgrim Way Stephen Carter OBE, Chairman of Fife Coast and Countryside Trust Board said: “I would like to thank all involved in the completion of this new long distance route for Fife, which underlines the position of Fife as ‘The Outdoor Kingdom’ for the benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Fife, and many thousands of visitors who choose to spend their leisure time in Fife.”
Lord Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman, added: “Scotland is renowned as a tourism destination with excellent walking trails and long-distance routes. This is reflected by over 3.9m of domestic visitor trips to Scotland featuring walking. The new Fife Pilgrim Way offers a new route on Scotland’s walking map, giving visitors the opportunity to explore different parts of the Fife on foot by delving into its past from medieval pilgrimage to modern industrial heritage whilst enjoying the great outdoors and the beautiful scenery which Fife has to offer.
“Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation in order to ensure that current provision meets future demand. The opening of this new walking route responds to the growing interest from visitors in health and well-being as part of their holidays as well highlighting the region’s commitment to spread the benefits of tourism across Fife”.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “Fife Pilgrim Way is a wonderful celebration of our local history. The 64-mile long route is a memorable and inspirational pathway of religious significance which will only add to Fife’s attractiveness as a tourist destination.”
The Fife Pilgrim Way received £399,000 funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland towards the route’s restoration, in addition to contributions from other partners.
Jackie Hyland, Scottish Natural Heritage Board member stated: “We have been delighted to work with the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and other partners on the development of the Fife Pilgrim Way. As our newest Long Distance Route, the Fife Pilgrim Way is a key part of Scotland’s National Walking and Cycling Network and reinforces Fife’s place as one of the most popular destinations for outdoor recreation in Scotland. The Fife Pilgrim Way is a key economic asset for Fife and will help visitors and local people get out and about to increase their levels of physical activity and connect with nature”.
Original source: Fife Coast and Countryside Trust.