Thursday 24th. April, 2014 --- Rowan’s birthday 

Today Rowan is one year old – she has had treats all day (which Mix has enjoyed as well) and in the evening she came across with Mix and me to the summer house where I took this picture of her being coy

I was up very early this morning – as was Rachel as she ran me to the station to catch the train just after seven from Berwick to Glasgow (changing in Edinburgh).

As we left, and I was opening the gate, this sparrow sang us on our way. It was lovely

I arrived in Glasgow about quarter past nine and walked from the station to Glasgow Cathedral to attend the meeting of the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum which was being held at the St. Mungo’s Museum within the Cathedral complex.

I took this picture when I came out of the station:

It was good to be back in Glasgow but the wording on the banner really appealed to me, ‘People Make Glasgow’

The forum meeting started at ten and there was a very full programme in front of a large and appreciative audience.

After a welcome and an introduction, Catherine McMaster spoke of St. Mungo and Glasgow’s Pilgrimage Heritage. It was an interesting talk and I particularly noted two things. When she talked about Glasgow’s claim to be a pilgrimage city she based it on the twin pillars of faith community and secular authority working together which is of course exactly the same basis on which the Green Pilgrimage City network operates. Also she spoke about making something of St. Mungo in all of the places with which he was associated. That resonated with me – it might be a grand idea for Luss to do something similar with all of the Kessog places in Scotland: create a distinctive small interpretation for each place, have an event and in so doing create identity. It would be straightforward to raise the necessary funds for such a small project but it would be extremely effective.

Sylvia Jenks (with help from Susi Cormack Brown) then told the story of what had been known as the Ayrshire Pilgrims Trail – not a very good name as it started in Glasgow (or Paisley) and ended at Whithorn. To celebrate 850 years of Paisley Abbey, pilgrims had walked from Whithorn – and completed the walk this afternoon, arriving at Glasgow Cathedral while we were having our tour! Plans are afoot to involve Whithorn with the European programme, something which sounds exceptionally interesting as well.

The party of Paisley Pilgrims joined with some of the forum members for this picture to mark the completion of the walk from Whithorn to Glasgow Cathedral

John Henderson spoke about the route they are working on between St. Andrews and Iona. Progress is being made, not least now that a bridge has been built to replace a former railway bridge that had been removed. It’s not that they want to go on pilgrimage by train but that the disused track makes an excellent pathway.

Simon Hill with Neil Ramsay and Clive Willcocks spoke of the Fife Pilgrim Way – a walk from Dunfermline to St. Andrews, Simon concentrating on how things had been done, the comparative ease of raising funds to create something new compared with the difficulty of getting funding for the maintenance of what had been created. Neil spoke about an imaginative project to convert the Manse at Culross into a base for pilgrims to stay as they journeyed the pilgrim way, while Clive spoke of a plan to create something out of the remains of St. Catherine’s Chapel in Dunfermline. It is clear that when something happens, everyone gains: the churches and their congregations, the local communities, employment, pilgrims, tourists and so on.

At this point we had the formal business of the forum as we all agreed to move from our present unincorporated status to become a Scottish Charity. The decision has been taken and now the Management Committee has to work with OSCR to make this a reality.

It was time for lunch which I enjoyed with Robbie who was here representing Luss. I was delighted to see him and to spend some time with him – he was looking well and clearly noticed that much of what was being discussed reflected the things which we were doing in Luss over the last three or four years. I hope that at a meeting of the forum soon we will hear a report of exciting developments in his part of the world.

After lunch, and a brief report of an inter-faith music tour of Scotland to be held in September, we all went across to the Cathedral where we were given an excellent tour of the building, hearing again the story of St. Mungo and the building of his cathedral.

Our guide was excellent and made the stones live for us

As the tour ended, pilgrims from Paisley arrived, having completed the Whithorn to Glasgow Cathedral walk (not all at one go, but over several weeks, I understand). We had a group photo taken and they all joined us for the final discussions before the forum meeting ended. It had been an excellent get-together.

I walked back to the station with Robbie and met Laurence (the minister of the Cathedral) on the way. It was good to catch up with him, albeit briefly, before I caught my train and returned to Berwick, and from there to Mount Pleasant where Olive had a cheese and bean pie waiting for me (which I ate while watching the most recent episode of Rev).

Later, Rachel returned home and after a cup of coffee, we walked the dogs and went to bed.

I have two final pictures for today:

The Blackadder Aisle at the cathedral, named after the first Archbishop – I wonder if he had a connection with our river?

And Rowan:

Now so obedient and well-behaved, having achieved her first birthday

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