Pilgrimage to COP26

For this one day family celebration that was part of Message to the Earth and launched the Pilgrimage for COP26, we collaborated with ELC Arts Service to bring Rowanbank Environmental Theatre and other attractions to Dunbar.

Beginning in Lauderdale Park there were Rowanbank performers, Dance Discovery, Muddy Buddies; pedal powered grain milling and a Rebellious Threads workshop. People then made their way to the harbour with Rowanbank guiding them to the Battery.

From John Muir’s Birthplace to the Battery, 45 people took part in a sensory slow walk led by artist Karen Gabbitas. Along the way, whilst passing St Anne’s Church the walkers and public could listen to a reading from the IPCC report (in collaboration with the Eco Churches together).

In the Battery, the audience gathered as Rita Bradd played her harp and gave poetry readings. Philip Kingscott and Kirsten Maguire of the Battery Theatre followed with readings that reflected on the environment and John Muir.

In celebration of soil, artist Natalie Taylor then used a Soil Ceremony with stories told of some of the donated soil samples (part of the Is Soil Alive? Residency). The associated soil stories were read by Chris Yule and passed on by his young daughter, Kathleen to represent the next generation: She then presented the small packets of soil to the Keeper of the Soil – the wearer of cape, made by Natalie and the local community, protecting the soil samples in its pockets.

Jonathan Baxter, the organiser of the Pilgrimage for COP26, talked about the reasoning and learning they hoped to gain from the pilgrimage and the need to act. Youngsters of the Dunbar Sings choir finished off the programme with a rousing rendition of Enough is Enough, the especially composed song for COP26 by Oi Musica and Karin Polwart, getting all the crowd involved with the actions.

In the evening, in collaboration with Sustaining Dunbar, there was a meal at Belhaven Church hall with soup donated by Sunny Soups (made from waste food) and bread donated by Stationhouse Bakery. This was followed by a lively talk and conversation with Alastair Macintosh: Pilgrims on the Storm: The Soil and Soul of Walking to COP 26 which was also live streamed.