Pilgrimage 3 – Dundrennan Abbey and Pilgrimage 4 – St Queran’s Holy Well, attracted 15 walkers and assorted dogs who enjoyed great views over the Solway from Dundrennan and the bonus of an incredibly accurate Met. Office forecast: the rain poured down in biblical buckets as the heavens opened just as we reached the warmth and shelter of “The Crown and Anchor” and a welcome bowl of soup.

Pilgrimage 4 was blessed with fine weather after a week of rain and all present voted Mabie House Hotel scones the definitely ‘mabie’ best scones that they had ever tasted – with the exception of Max West Coffee Morning scones of course!

Pilgrimage 5 is at the planning stage and will take the Covenanting Times as its theme. This area played an important part in the history of the Covenanters and the hills around us bear testament to “the Killing Times”. People who signed the National Covenant in 1638 became known as “Covenanters”. Signing the Covenant confirmed their opposition to interference by Stuart Kings in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. And so began 50 years of suffering, transportation, torture and killings. Those ministers who supported the covenant were ousted from their churches and forced to leave their parishes, but many of them continued to preach at “conventicles” in the open air, barns and houses. Preachers and their fellow Covenanters were hunted down, imprisoned and often transported or executed. Persecution intensified under Charles II. Hundreds of Covenanter memorials are to be found in our area. Some are found in kirkyards, but many more are in the hills and woods where martyrs were hunted down by Royalist dragoons. “Halt passenger, tell if thou ever saw Men shot to death without process of law….” “The Covenanters: the National Covenant and Scotland” by D. Stevenson is an excellent introduction to the subject.

Our next Pilgrimage walk intends to visit the site of a “conventicle” and its Communion Stones. Further details of this walk will be posted in the Simmons Hall or telephone D J for further information.                DJ