The 64-mile Fife Pilgrim Way route reopens to the public on Friday following extensive development and upgrading over the last five years.
The trail will be the first new long-distance route to open in the Kingdom since the Fife Coastal Path in 2002.
The Fife Pilgrim Way has been restored to make it easier for more people to enjoy the experience through a new website, a walking map, a Pilgrims Passport, an interactive trail, rest points and a smartphone app to share the scenery along the route.
The 64-mile inland trail is expected to take between five or six days to complete in its entirety, or users are encouraged to enjoy shorter walks and circular routes using Fife’s existing network of rights of way, paths and tracks.
The route can begin at either Culross or North Queensferry, crossing through the heart of Fife to St Andrews taking in a host of Scottish treasures including medieval landmarks, picturesque villages and stunning inland views of the Perthshire, Forth and Tay Estuaries and the Lomond Hills.
The trail follows one of the routes taken by countless pilgrims to St Andrews – one of the most renowned pilgrim destinations in Medieval Europe for over 400 years.
Stephen Carter, chairman of Fife Coast and Countryside Trust Board, said: “I would like to thank all involved in the completion of this new long-distance route for Fife, which underlines the position of Fife as The Outdoor Kingdom for the benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Fife, and many thousands of visitors who choose to spend their leisure time in Fife.”
The route is expected to attract 140,000 domestic and international users, rising to 200,000 after four years, while bringing additional tourism to less visited parts of inland Fife.
Travel and tourism have been a core element of Fife’s heritage and culture since medieval times, and now generate millions for Fife’s economy – £588m in 2018 – and supports around 12,000 jobs.
Fife Pilgrim Way received £399,000 funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland towards the route’s restoration, in addition to contributions from other partners.
Lord Thurso, VisitScotland chairman, added: “Scotland is renowned as a tourism destination with excellent walking trails and long-distance routes.
“This is reflected by over 3.9 million of domestic visitor trips to Scotland featuring walking.
“The new Fife Pilgrim Way offers a new route on Scotland’s walking map, giving visitors the opportunity to explore different parts of Fife on foot by delving into its past from medieval pilgrimage to modern industrial heritage whilst enjoying the great outdoors and the beautiful scenery which Fife has to offer.
“Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation in order to ensure that current provision meets future demand.
“The opening of this new walking route responds to the growing interest from visitors in health and well-being as part of their holidays as well highlighting the region’s commitment to spread the benefits of tourism across Fife”.