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Funding boost for virtual St Magnus Way project

The St Magnus Way sees walkers, runners and hikers treated to stunning views of Orkney.

A project to create a virtual experience and improve accessibility on the St Magnus Way has won a £2,500 award from the Calor Rural Community Fund.

The prize is a share of an £85,000 fund designed to improve local life in communities that are not connected to the mains gas grid.

A six-week crowdfunding campaign to create a virtual way for pilgrims unable to walk the, at times, challenging route and improve accessibility on the path itself raised £2,274.

The St Magnus Way is a 55-mile pilgrimage route through Mainland Orkney, inspired by the life and death of Magnus, Orkney’s patron saint.

The route begins in Egilsay and covers Evie, Birsay, Dounby, Finstown, Orphir, before ending at the St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.

Alasdair Flett, volunteer at Orkney Pilgrimage, said: We want to thank the Calor Rural Community fund, as winning one of the £2,500 grants allows us to explore a full range of options in developing a lasting and valuable resource for St Magnus Way.

“We will be looking into using aerial drone footage, 360-degree imagery and our rich library of pre-existing resources to build a digital experience that captures the essence of the pilgrimage for those who cannot currently walk the way due to barriers of distance and accessibility.”

The money will also allow new gates to be added to the walking route and the path widened to allow for larger amounts of walkers and hikers.

Andy Parker, head of strategy and corporate affairs at Calor, said: “We’ve been absolutely blown away by the response we’ve had this year. Over 600 community initiatives entered and the standards were incredibly high with some fantastic causes coming through.

“It’s great to see how passionate these rural communities are and how each of their projects will make such a difference for all those living in the local area.

“St Magnus Way’s development and repair is a great initiative and we very much look forward to seeing this stunning country walk become even more accessible to the public in Orkney.”

Each entry was judged by four impartial judges who had the extremely difficult task of choosing this year’s winners.

They based their decision on the potential impact the project had on the local community, its sustainability once launched, the originality of the project and the projects submission itself.

There were three levels of funding available: 11 £5,000 grants, six £2,500 grants and five £1,000 grants.

For further information on the Calor Rural Community Fund and to view the full list of winners, please visit: communityfund.calor.co.uk/leaderboards/winners-5000