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Pilgrims arrived at Pluscarden Abbey on Sunday to celebrate 70 years since the re-establishment of the abbey. Dozens of walkers and their dogs braved the rain at the weekend to march from Grantown to Pluscarden Abbey. The 28-mile pilgrimage was part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the reformation of the monastery, which had crumbled to almost ruins in 1948. Now campaigners are trying to raise £2million for the next phase of its refurbishment, which will include a female retreat and new library.
Pilgrims left Grantown on Saturday on the scenic journey, stopping on the Dava Way overnight, before they arriving at Pluscarden on Sunday. Benedictine monks from the abbey joined the pilgrims, including appeal director David Broadfoot, for the first day of the scenic trek. Mr Broadfoot, who was joined by his Jack Russel Beth, said: “It’s been amazing to get everyone back together. A lot have come from the pilgrimage we did last year, which has formed some strong friendships. “It was an amazing journey to make. Some of the scenery is the best that you will see in any part of Scotland. This wasn’t a big fundraiser for us, just a way for everyone to get together and contribute. We’ve got some dinners in London coming up which we’re hoping will generate support for the campaign.” The pilgrims were greeted by the monks when they completed the trek before being treated to a hot snack.
Pluscarden Abbey was originally established in 1230 by monks who moved to the north of Scotland from France.
A Stone from the ancient home at Val des Choues, in Burgundy, was carried to Moray last year as part of a separate pilgrimage which recreated the journey of the first residents of the abbey. The monastery become dormant in the 16th Century and descended into ruins until it was occupied again in 1948. About 20 monks currently live at the abbey, which attracts roughly 15,000 visitors every year.