A NEW book documenting the experiences of an Edinburgh minister traveling the pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela is set to be released next month.
Reverend Dr Richard Frazer, the minister at Greyfriars Kirk, achieved a lifelong dream after taking part in the near-500 mile walk in 2012.
The “Camino de Santiago”, which was completed by more than 325,000 people in 2018, takes pilgrims on a historic route from St Jean-Pied-du-Port near Biarritz in France to Santiago in Spain..
And now, Rev Frazer’s diary of the journey, providing an insight into the spiritual and physical tribulations of the walk, is being published for the first time.
Travels With A Stick is described as an absorbing account revealing how the pilgrimage can be nourishment for the human heart.
The book sees Rev Frazer discover how a journey, wherever it is made, undertaken with an open and hospitable heart can provide spiritual renewal and transformation, filling what many people see as a spiritual void in 21st century life.
Rev Frazer said: “I learned so much when I was walking by meeting strangers coming together in their search for spiritual depth.”
Richard believes pilgrimage is an important spiritual pathway to Christianity.
He has been influential in reviving the tradition – which fell out favour in Scotland in the wake of the Reformation.
He said: “I would urge everyone to get outdoors and into nature.”
“While walking, it’s almost as if the landscape starts to read you and you become part of the landscape.”
A new Scottish pilgrimage route – the Forth to Farne Way, traveling from North Berwick to Lindisfarne, was launched in late 2017 after volunteers spent three years working tirelessly to develop it.
Earlier that year, a General Assembly deliverance called for the affirmation of the place of pilgrimage within the life of the Church.
It also encouraged congregations to explore opportunities for pilgrimage locally and how they can provide practical and spiritual support for pilgrims passing through their parishes.
The Church is also an active member of the Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum, which was established in February 2012 as a result of looking at the potential for growth and development in “faith tourism” and pilgrimage routes.
For those looking to embark on their pilgrimage journey, Richard says you don’t need to start with faith.
He told the Evening News: “It’s very accessible, it’s a physical experience which becomes spiritual.”
“A number of routes now operate, from Orkney to Lindisfarne and places in between.”
Travels With A Stick is released on Thursday, April 11.