May 1 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Getting on our bikes to say thanks

VAL MORGAN, media officer for SCIAF, explains how the charity’s director is leading a cycle pilgrimage to thank its supporters for their assistance throughout the years

In SCIAF’s 50th anniversary year its director Alistair Dutton (above is leading a cycle pilgrimage of Scotland to thank supporters for changing the lives of millions of people in some of the poorest countries in the world.

The pilgrimage will start on the north coast in Thurso on April 29, cover 700 miles, and finish in Iona on Saturday May 30.  The route will take in some of Scotland’s main pilgrimage routes and most sacred places including Pluscarden Abbey, Carfin Grotto and Iona. Mr Dutton and a small group of volunteers and staff will cycle for several hours each day before visiting schools and parishes, including more remote areas such as the Western Isles, attending Mass, and speaking at special events including a travelling exhibition of SCIAF’s history.

Speaking ahead of the cycle pilgrimage he told the Scottish Catholic Observer: “In our 50th anniversary year we want to go the extra mile to thank supporters face-to-face for the millions of lives that they’ve changed over the last five decades.  We hope to meet as many people as possible in schools and parishes, and at special events and Masses along the way.  If we’re passing through your area, please come and say hello!”

The cycle will also promote SCIAF’s latest campaign, highlighting the impact climate change is already having on people in developing countries and what we can all do to help.  The charity sees cycling is a healthy, low cost way everyone can reduce their carbon footprint.  Supporters are being urged to leave their cars at home for short journeys and enter the number of miles they’ve cycled or walked on their website.

“In addition to thanking people for their help, collecting people’s Wee Box donations and sharing the stories of people whose lives have been changed for the better, we’ll be highlighting how climate change is already hurting people in poor countries,” Mr Dutton added. “Hopefully our cycling pilgrimage will inspire more people to leave their cars at home sometimes, and walk or cycle so we can all do our bit to reduce climate change.”

Mr Dutton and the team will continue with their daily work throughout the pilgrimage, and answer emails and make calls each day.  Free accommodation is being provided thanks to priests and supporters along the route and cycling equipment has been donated by the Bike Station shop in Glasgow and Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative.  Outfit Moray and Bike Revolution are providing a support vehicle for northern sections of the route.

Supporters from parishes and schools will be joining Alistair to cycle short sections of the route and supporters are being urged to come along to the special events along the way.

— For more information on the cycle pilgrimage visit: To meet team en route or attend a special event contact Andrew Forsyth on 0141 354 5555 or e-mail:

Pic: Paul McSherry

Key stops along the way

—The Starting Line

1.30pm*, Wednesday April 29—Sir John’s Square, Thurso

—Blessing by Bishop Peter at the Abbey

5pm, Friday May 1—Fortrose Abbey, Fortrose

—Exhibition and  family friendly cycle

10.30am (after 10am Mass), Saturday May 2—St Mary’s Church, 30 Huntly Street, Inverness, IV3 5PR.

—Cycle departs at 12 noon

—Mass and exhibition in St Mary’s Cathedral

11.15am, Sunday May 3—20 Huntly Street, Aberdeen AB10 1SH. Teas and coffees served after Mass before Mr Dutton heads off to Stonehaven.

—Visit St Fergus Primary School

9.30-10.30am, Tuesday May 5—Scots Craig Lane, Dundee DD2 3TP

—The children will present Mr Dutton with money they’ve raised for SCIAF.

—Sharing lunch at St Paul’s Academy

12.30-2pm, Tuesday May 5—Gilburn Road, Dundee, DD3 0EH.

Pupils will present a cheque for SCIAF before sharing lunch.

—St John’s Academy pupils cycle with Alistair

11am, Wednesday May 6—St John’s Academy, Perth PH1 5BF

—Children and staff to start in North Inch and cycle to the school, arriving at 12noon.

—An afternoon at St Dominic’s Primary School

1pm onwards, Thursday May 7—Broich Road, Crieff PH7 3SB

—50th anniversary exhibition and workshop at St Dominic’s Primary School

4-5pm, Thursday 7th May – St Dominic’s Primary, Broich Road, Crieff PH7 3SB

—Everyone is invited to St Dominic’s Primary to see the

exhibition and join the Craftivist workshop.

—Pit stop at Abbot House

2.30pm, Friday May 8—Maygate, Dunfermline, Fife KY12 7NE

Join us for a Pilgrim Beer and chat.

—Mass at St Margaret’s Memorial Church, Dunfermline

10am, Saturday May 9—East Port, Dunfermline, KY12 7JB

Followed by tea & coffee

—Fair Trade Day Picnic, Edinburgh

1.30pm, Saturday May 9—One World Shop, St John’s Church, Edinburgh EH2 4BJ



—Climate change campaign photo-call at St Andrew’s Primary School

12noon, Monday May 18—Craig’s Road, Dumfries DG1 4UU

—Visit St Patrick’s Primary School

12noon to 2pm, Tuesday May 19—Academy Street, Troon KA10 6HR

—Cyclists welcomed by St Andrew’s Primary School and St Joseph’s Academy

10.30am, Wednesday May 20—Grassyards Road,

Kilmarnock KA3 7SL

—Pupils will line the road waving flags to welcome in the cyclists.

—St Bernadette’s Primary School pupils cycle with Mr Dutton

10.15am, Thursday May 21—Vickers Street, Motherwell ML1 3RE

—Children will join Alistair on their bikes in the adjoining fields to send him off to Carfin.

—Mass at Carfin Grotto

1pm, Thursday May 21—100 Newarthill Road, Carfin, ML1 5AL (See Come and join SCIAF)

—Meeting pupils at St Ninian’s Primary School

9.15am, Friday May 22—Douglas Rise, Livingston EH54 6JH

—SCIAF Story Exhibition and Craftivist Workshop

1.30pm, Friday May 22—Falkirk Library, Hope Street, Falkirk FK1 5AU

—People can learn more about SCIAF’s overseas, humanitarian and campaigning work over the last 50 years.

—Family friendly cycle/walk—Falkirk Wheel to the Kelpies

11am start, Saturday May 23—Lime Road, Falkirk FK1 4RS (See Come and join us!)

—Picnic at the Kelpies

12noon onwards, Saturday May 23—The Great Lawn at the Helix, Falkirk FK2 9EE

—Event in Portree (To be confirmed)

Tuesday May 26—Portree, Skye

Time, place and event to be confirmed.

—Mass in Garrynamonie

7pm, Wednesday May 27—Our Lady of Sorrows,

Garrynamonie, South Uist, HS8 5TY

Meeting parishioners in South Uist.

—Visit to Eoligarry Primary School

11.30am, Thursday May 28—Eoligarry Primary School, Castlebay, Barra, HS9 5YD

Alistair will cycle to Eoligarry Primary to meet the children.

—SCIAF Story travelling exhibition in Castlebay

2pm-4pm, Thursday May 28—Northbay Village Hall, Castlebay, Barra, HS9 5YD

In addition to the exhibition supporters will be able to add patchwork squares to SCIAF’s Craftivist quilt (see Patchwork).

—Craftivist — Workshop at Oban Youth Café

4pm-5pm, Friday May 29—Oban Youth Café, 4 Albany

Terrace, Oban, PA34 5NY

—Meeting with Iona Community

1pm-3pm, Saturday May 30—Iona Abbey, Isle of Iona, PA76 68N

The team will meet with the Iona Community for tea and a blessing.

—Mass and SCIAF Story exhibition at St Columba’s Cathedral

10.30am-12noon, Sunday May 31—St Columba’s Cathedral, Corran Esplanade, Oban, PA34 5AB


(*All timings are approximate)


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