The Kirk’s Moderator is setting out on a round-Angus Holy Week pilgrimage of his home county.
In his 90-mile journey, the Rt Rev. Dr Martin Fair will take in sites which have been used in Christian worship for more than 1,000 years.
Ancient Arbroath Abbey was the Monday start point for the trek, which will also take in the historic Aberlemno standing stones and Brechin Cathedral.
It will lead Mr Fair into the glens to complete the well-trodden Minister’s Walk between Prosen and Clova.
An enthusiastic Munro-bagger, Dr Fair will be updating the Moderator’s Facebook page as he goes, allowing for people to join in with the journey.
He said: “Pilgrimage is something that Christians have done forever – for centuries.
“In uncertain times it’s good to remember that we are part of a much longer, bigger story and it takes us along paths where Christians walked long before we showed up.”
His route will start and finish at Arbroath Abbey, which was first used as a place of worship in the 12th century.
“You begin to think ‘I wonder what it has seen in 900 years’,” he said.
“We think the last year has been all consuming, but what has happened in all those years? There’s been wars, the Black Death and all kinds of things.
“When we go to ancient places we’re reminded that we are part of a much bigger story, and that what we are enduring at the moment is a kind of passing phase but the long story is still there.”
Dr Fair will cover around 15 miles on foot each day.
“On the first day I’ll be going to Aberlemno, which has got standing stones of Celtic origins dating back to between 500AD and 800AD.
“It’s this reminder that the story is long before we were here and that will continue after we are here,” he said.
“Jesus says ‘come follow me’ and that by definition means to go somewhere,” said Dr Fair.
“Walking symbolises that we are called to be pilgrims, to be disciples and by definition that means we are going somewhere – Jesus is always leading us, ahead of us and we follow.”
For those who may feel unable to physically take part in a pilgrimage, Dr Fair is keen that they feel able to join via him.
“Some people might be at home thinking ‘I can’t do that kind of thing’, but it it’s about an inward journey too which why I’m doing it at Easter – so you can do a pilgrimage from your own front room.
“The early morning devotions at 8am in Holy Week, which will be on the Church of Scotland’s online channels, will help people to do this.”
He added: “I’ll be passing through the village of Eassie – there’s a stone there which is considered to be one of the best preserved Pictish era standing stones anywhere with Christian symbols on it and it dates to the 600s.
“I’ll also pass St Orland’s stone, St Fergus’ well – these are people who were bringing the Christian gospel to Scotland 1,400 years’ ago.”
The Moderator, who is Minister at St Andrew’s Church in Arbroath, said part of the appeal will be the chance to spend time outdoors, when so much of the last year has been indoors in front of a computer screen.
“In very basic terms it’s a very personal trip and a chance to spend a week experiencing and appreciating creation which will be a highlight,” he said.
Other destinations include Restenneth Priory, where King Nechtan had a church built around 710 AD.
He will also trek the six-mile long Minister’s Path linking Glen Clova and Glen Prosen, the route historically taken by predecessors to serve their congregations.