Would You Like to Play a Part in this Ambitious, Unique and Historic Event in the Summer of 2017?
H.R.H. Princess Michael of Kent
from Abbey of Val-des-Choux, Burgundy
to Pluscarden Abbey, Elgin
5 June – 3 September 2017
12 legs each of approximately 100 miles in 6 days and a final leg (13) of 80 miles in 5 days
Pluscarden Abbey as we know it today owes its foundation to King Alexander II of Scotland in the year 1230. At the same time grants were made to two other sister houses, Beauly in Ross, and Ardchattan in Argyll. The community that served these churches was one of Valliscaulians, a little-known order that shared some of the strictness of the Carthusian discipline with the spirit of fellowship that existed among the Benedictines, and only at these three places was this order represented in Scotland or England. The parent house in France, the Priory of Vallis Caulium, had been founded just over thirty years earlier and the original brethren from France must surely have found in Pluscarden an echo of their own situation in Burgundy, nestling in a remote wooded valley at the foot of a densely forested hill. In fact an old name for the Pluscarden valley, the Kail Glen, is nothing more than a translation into Scots of the French Val-des-Choux or the Latin Vallis Caulium.
The pilgrimage of those early Valliscaulian Monks from Burgundy to Pluscarden will be repeated from 5 June to 3 September 2017 and will cover a distance of approximately 1230 miles. It will be broken down into 12 legs of around 100 miles and a final leg of 80 miles. Each leg, less the final leg, will have a maximum of 20 participants, walking from Monday through Saturday with Sunday as a day of rest and worship. The final leg with 40 participants will cover 80 miles over 5 days arriving at Pluscarden Abbey on the Friday, leading to a final weekend of worship and celebration. Each day will have a religious framework, with the opportunity for Mass and the Divine Office, together with some talks about the religious background of the pilgrimage and the sites visited along the way. However, the physical challenge of the actual walk, with the opportunity for quiet reflection and prayerful focus, will be the distinctive element. We hope that the walk will be a powerful spiritual experience, one which has been shared by many thousands of pilgrims down the centuries, continuing to our own day. A stone from the original abbey at Val des Choux will be carried throughout the pilgrimage and will constitute the foundation stone of the new South Range.
Because the impetus for the walk is to support the new building project at Pluscarden Abbey, we are hoping that each participant will be able to raise some of the funds required to begin the new work. The idea is that this be in the form of sponsorship, which each entrant would gather from friends and supporters during the year prior to the walk. Over the course of the year, we suggest that £1230 be an initial figure to aim at, with a realistic hope that this can readily be achieved and surpassed.