The St Magnus Way is a new 51 mile pilgrimage route through Mainland Orkney, inspired by the life and death of Magnus, Orkney’s patron saint. Linking together existing paths and roads with some new lengths of path, it is in four main sections each offering a very different landscape and reflective space.
Each section will be launched at a different point in the year along with a website and smartphone app that provides resources for information and reflection along the route. By using bluetooth beacons, pilgrims can access resources relevant to the point in the route and their own interests, without needing a mobile signal. Together the blend of real world exploration and online resources allows people the opportunity to discover more about Orkney and themselves as they walk.
The first section from Evie to Birsay follows the route of Magnus’ body when his mother pleaded for it to be returned from Egilsay for a Christian burial in Birsay. Around twenty years later his bones were taken to Kirkwall, The second section follows this route from Birsay, through Dounby to Finstown. From there he was likely taken by sea to Kirwall, so we head up over Lyradale to Orphir, reflecting on Haakon’s penitent pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Round Kirk he built on return. Our final section journeys around Scapa Flow to Kirkwall, and the Cathedral that bears his name.
There is growing interest in pilgrimage in Scotland and internationally and the development of this pilgrimage path will be a significant lasting legacy of the Magnus 900 celebrations.
The St Magnus Way is being developed by Orkney Pilgrimage, a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. To find out more about the creation of the route and for the latest project developments visit the St Magnus Way Facebook Page.