Carrick’s religious reknown recognised

CARRICK could soon become a pilgrims’ paradise as a church group pledges to raise the profile of the area’s religious landmarks.

Scotland’s Pilgrim Journeys aims to link the country’s sites of religious significance into a series of trails, and bring to Scotland the renaissance of modern faith journeys in Europe and beyond.

The brainchild of Scotland’s Churches Trust, which aims to preserve and promote religious architectural heritage, the project was recently launched with funding from Scottish Enterprise, Historic Scotland and VisitScotland – and will include a Carrick relic as a key point of interest.

Carrick features on the St Ninian’s Pilgrim Journey – one of six inaugural routes following the travels of locally-significant saints – which encompasses most of south central Scotland in a 412-mile circular route.

Nine stages ranging between 18 and 106 miles in length make up the Journey, with the “impressive ruins” of Crossraguel Abbey near Maybole a focal point of the route.

Pilgrims are encouraged to make their way from Ayr and Alloway and “the culture that shaped Robert Burns” down the Carrick coast in the footsteps of pilgrims of old - who would forego the more direct route to Whithorn, the “cradle of Scottish Christianity”, for the Carrick views and hospitality.

Girvan and South Carrick councillor Alec Oattes, who chairs the Carrick Community Councils’ Forum sub-group on tourism, said he very much welcomed the new trail. “It is another attraction to enhance the successful Carrick Tourism Project,” he said.

Brian Fraser, Director of Scotland’s Churches Trust, added: “We are delighted to launch the Scotland’s Pilgrim Journeys project and look forward to working with our member churches and local tourism groups to promote the wealth of religious sites Ayrshire.”