April has indeed been cruel. Humanity is humbled, we’ve retreated into our burrows, and charity is plugging the gap for struggling health and social services. All around us though, nature is rejuvenating and there are signs that our collective action is beginning to have an effect.

Our confinement to the home has certainly scuppered plans for pilgrimage in any meaningful sense but there are methods and practices available to those seeking a contemplative experience during the lockdown. Soon we hope to integrate a Virtual St Magnus Way into our website and app that allows pilgrims from further afield who cannot travel or who have mobility issues the opportunity to experience the route in a digitally immersive setting. This is part of a long-term plan, however, and progress on this project is intended to widen accessibility, not mitigate the limitations on walking due to social distancing.

Also occurring this month was St Magnus Day on 16th April, which despite the proposed launch of our new cycle route having to be postponed was marked with a video message from the minister of St Magnus Cathedral Fraser Macnaughton we posted on Facebook.

Cathedral minister Fraser Macnaughton's St Magnus Day message

The lockdown, while curtailing long-distance multi-parish walks, does not exclude exploring one’s local area, and daily outdoor exercise is being encouraged to maintain our physical and mental wellbeing. To help folk rediscover the Way on their doorstep we are running a series of columns in The Orcadian local newspaper on each section, which we will repost here in due course.

We successfully held our AGM on 15th April via Zoom. The accounts, online report and annual report were presented, Beryl Matthews will be stepping down from her role as secretary and Fraser Macnaughton will no longer be a trustee.

Published on April 25th 2020

This project is being part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme