The Ayrshire Pilgrims' Trail
The Ayrshire Pilgrims' Trail proposal is a new long-distance route following an historic trail to Whithorn in Galloway.
This exciting tourism initiative has the potential to bring many new and repeat visitors to Ayrshire. Obviously, medieval trackways have long since been replaced by tarmac or lost to farming; but that is balanced by new Core Paths networks, including the Ayrshire Coastal Path, ranked as one of the top 20 long-distance routes in Scotland.
Pilgrimage routes are an integral part of tourism in continental Europe. Efforts are now being made in several parts of Scotland to re-establish ancient trails, thereby bringing much-needed economic benefits, particularly to rural areas.
This development seeks to encourage visitors to linger in Ayrshire and to enjoy captivating natural heritage, local food and a wide variety of visitor attractions. Businesses and communities can share in this new/ancient form of tourism by being aware of the needs of travellers and ensuring a warm welcome awaits them.
The Ayrshire Pilgrims' Trail will follow several strands through the county and will be open to all forms of traveller: on foot, by bicycle or motorbike, car, coach and train. Use of path networks such as the Carrick Way, and public transport, will be particularly encouraged allowing pilgrims to select the best mix of travel to suit their own preferences.
Ayrshire has a magnificent heritage with strong connections to national heroes such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns. In more modern times, great figures including Robert Adam, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Loudon MacAdam and Charles Rennie Mackintosh have left their mark. There are many others, of course, who have contributed to Ayrshire's history.
It is that rich and proud story we would like the people of Ayrshire to convey to our visitors. We seek local Heritage Champions who will act as advocates for our rich heritage. As The Canterbury Tales have proved, storytelling is one of the delights of pilgrimage and we have a great story to tell! Let us know if you would like to join us.
Information in these pages have been provided by James Brown, of Cormack Brown Ltd, and Julia Whitaker, Rural Regeneration and Enterprise Manager of Ailsa Horizons.