“Rehabilitating” Pilgrimage in Scotland: Heritage, Protestant Pilgrimage, and Caledonian Caminos

Bowman, Marion (2020). “Rehabilitating” Pilgrimage in Scotland: Heritage, Protestant Pilgrimage, and Caledonian Caminos. Numen, 67(5-6) pp. 453–482.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685276-12341598


Caminoization and the heritagization of religion are significant factors in the development of “new” pilgrimage in Scotland this century, helping to produce pragmatic and distinctive reworkings of pilgrimage in what was, traditionally, a predominantly Protestant milieu. Here I review the pre- and post-Reformation context of Scottish pilgrimage, outline significant influences and agents in “new” Scottish pilgrimage ideas and praxis (including the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum), and give a detailed account of the development of the Fife Pilgrim Way (officially launched in July 2019) as an example par excellence of how pilgrimage currently is being operationalized and reframed, influenced by both Caminoization and heritagization. This analysis shows that Scotland’s contemporary “rehabilitation” of pilgrimage is driven by multiple agents and agendas (religious, civic, economic, and societal), and that its roots lie inter alia in Scotland’s complex identity politics, Celticism, sectarianism, pro-European sentiments, and a pragmatic reassessment of and reengagement with Scotland’s fragmented pilgrimage past.

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