COP26 Pilgrimage Celebration event - 17th October

COP26 Pilgrimage Celebration event – 17th October

This was a stunning celebration of the Pilgrimage to Cop26, it’s so good to know that there is such support for sustainability among the community around Dunbar.

The walkers are now making their way across the county and beyond to Glasgow with many more celebrations along the way. The cloak made by members of the community and our Fellow Natalie Taylor, collected precious soils in a ceremony in Dunbar. The Keeper of the Soil is being worn by various walkers along the way to collect soil samples from each location.

We collected soil from the Scottish Parliament for the Keeper of the Soil cloak. At St. Mary’s Cathedral the Rev John Conway handed over a teaspoon of soil from the Cathedral grounds. They aim to be net zero by 2030.

Please join us on 17th October, 2-9.00pm in Dunbar

We are very excited to be hosting a special launch event on the eve of the start of the Pilgrimage to COP26

In November this year, Glasgow will host the COP26 UN climate talks, bringing together world leaders to make crucial decisions about protecting the future of the planet.

From 17th – 29th October, at least 100 people from a wide range of cultural, community and interfaith organisations are undertaking a 70-mile Pilgrimage for COP26. This journey, organised to reflect on the climate and ecological crisis in anticipation of the talks, follows The John Muir Way from Dunbar to Kirkintilloch and St Ninian’s Way from Kirkintilloch to Glasgow. Along the route, there are exhibitions, family-friendly events and talks. The Pilgrimage is open to anyone who would like to join the walk, for all or part of the journey.

The pilgrims, from organisations including A+E, North Light Arts, The John Muir Trust and Interfaith Scotland, describe the initiative as a learning journey, where they hope to build a community of people committed to climate justice, who will take creative action to resist the causes of climate change today and in the coming years.

The pilgrimage begins with a number of all age launch events in Dunbar on the 17th October. These include fun family activities in Lauderdale Park, a sensory walk to Dunbar Harbour followed by poetry, music and readings there, and an evening talk called ‘Pilgrims on the Storm: The Soil and Soul of Walking in to COP26’, by Alastair MacIntosh. John Muir’s Birthplace also hosts the ‘John Muir, Earth, Planet, Universe’ exhibition that focuses on John Muir’s legacy and his role as an environmental activist and successful campaigner, and his relevance for the situation today in addressing the climate crisis.

2 to 4 pm – Family fun in Lauderdale Park with Rowanbank Arts magical perfomers, craft workshops, storytelling, bike powered flour milling and make your own wood fired pizzas with Muddy Buddies. Grain and flour will be donated by the Mungoeswell Mill East Lothian

4 pm – A Slow Sensory walk led by Karen Gabbitas – starting from John Muir’s Birthplace on Dunbar High Street leading to a welcome to the harbour by Rownbank Theatre bringing us to the Battery

4.45 to 5.30 pm – Jonathan Baxter will say a few words to start the Pilgrimage to Cop26. Music will be by the Dunbar Youth Choir, poetry and song by Rita Bradd, readings by Battery Theatre – there will also be the Keeper of the Soils ceremony. The Keeper of the Soil cape has been made by the community, in workshops led by artist Natalie Taylor, and will receive samples of the East Lothian Soil to be taken on the journey to Cop26

5.30 pm – The lighting up of the Castle warning beacon

6 to 9 pm – Bookable through Sustaining Dunbar  (Some tickets may be available on the door please check with Sustaining Dunbar, – Pilgrims supper and talk by Alastair Macintosh “Pilgrims on the storm – the soil and soul of walking to COP26”. The meal of soup will be made in a Sunny Soups Workshop using left over produce and will be served by volunteers from the St Annes Church with sourdough bread donated by Stationhouse Bakery.

1 to 5 pm – John Muir’s Birthplace exhibition by Friends of JohnMuir’s Birthplace | Earth Planet Universe

1 to 5 pm – Dunbar Town House North Light Arts exhibition | Message to the Earth

2 to 5 pm – St Anne’s Church open for Creative Prayer and Contemplation opportunities

2 to 4.30 pm – Readings from IPPC report, St Anne’s Peace Garden.

The walk will then set off on the 18th October and arrive in Glasgow on the 29th. Along the way, the group will host free events for the public. Themes to be explored include conservation and rewilding, farming and food sovereignty, climate migration and climate justice. After arrival in Glasgow, there will be events on the 30th and 31st October, including a procession from Glasgow Green, where pilgrims from across the world will meet to express their hopes and demands for COP26.

The pilgrimage will follow the two well-trodden pathways from Dunbar to Glasgow (with minor diversions), with both routes passing through urban and rural landscapes. They include ecological Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as well as sites associated with the fossil fuel industry, past and present.

Jonathan Baxter, one of the organisers of the Pilgrimage for COP26 said: “We are undertaking this walk as a way to reflect on the socio-ecological crises of our time, bear witness to the impact of the fossil fuel industry, past and present, and be inspired by people and projects who are pioneering change in different ways. The pilgrimage is like a river with different tributaries flowing into it. We’re not walking with easy answers. We’re walking in humility. But with a fierce commitment to climate justice now and in the wake of COP26.”

Olga Bloemen, part of the pilgrimage support team said: “We’ll take time away from our daily routines to deepen our connection to ourselves, to one another and to the world we share. Through walking and resting, conversation and silence, planned engagements and unexpected encounters, we’ll deepen our awareness, expand our sense of time, and – most of all – practice our muscle of hope.”

More information, dates and times of events during Pilgrimage for COP26 can be found at and, or by searching #pilgrimageforcop26 on social media.


North Light Arts in collaborating with St anne’s Church, Sustaining Dunbar and Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace – Supported by East Lothian Arts Service