New partnership for Isle of Man Walks and Rushen Heritage Trust

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Rushen Heritage Trust are excited to announce a new partnership with Pilgrimage Isle of Man – a walking trail group who will be using the Isle of Man Walks app to provide faith heritage walks across the island.

The app was pre-launched over the summer with a heritage walk from Port St Mary to the Sound along the Raad Ny Foillan, where special beacons have been placed at specific waypoints along the route. After downloading the Isle of Man Walks app to their smartphone, walkers are able to access photographs, films and audio pieces about the local area – from facts about wildlife and nature to memories of history and heritage.

Beacon technology has been around since 2013, when Apple first introduced it into retail stores but it has never been used outdoors in the same way. This means that Rushen Heritage Trust is leading the way significantly in using this kind of technology outdoors and the significant investment that has been placed into the development of the app will hopefully lead to wide interest across the island and encourage more visitors from overseas. The help and support we have received from our sponsors – the Donny Collister Trust, The Gough Ritchie Trust and the Manx Lottery Trust – has also been vital in helping us to achieve our goals for the app.

Pilgrimage Isle of Man is a collaboration between the Cathedral IoM, Manx National Heritage, Praying the Keeills, and Manx born geographer, Dr. Avril Maddrell, from the University of West England. The initiative builds on the now well-established annual week of keeills walks and ideas discussed at the 2014 Diocesan Faith-based Tourism workshop.​

Following on from research on the Praying the Keeills walks on the island, Avril secured funding from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to work with the partner organisations to develop pilgrimage trails which explore the island’s faith heritage. The trails use existing footpaths and heritage sites, including the keeills, and the first two walking trails to be launched on September 10th will be the Triskelion Way Pilgrimage which links Rushen Abbey, St Germans and Maughold; and the Raad ny Foillan Pilgrimage which uses the coastal path to explore keeills and Manx crosses. Road routes are also being developed for those who prefer to cycle or drive. Historical information, prayers and reflections will be provided via the Pilgrimage IoM website and on the Isle of Man Walks App, as well as print copies.​

“We thought that the Isle of Man Walks App would be a great way for people with smartphones to access the pilgrimage trail information because the app can be used offline,” says Dr. Maddrell. “The app can be downloaded straight to an Android or Apple smartphone, allowing users to access the information while walking, without needing a mobile phone signal.”

The launch of Pilgrimage Isle of Man takes place from 6.30pm on Saturday 10th September with ‘Journey of Reflection’ with Bishop Robert at Peel Castle, followed by a Pilgrims’ Walk across the harbour to St German’s Cathedral, where there will be refreshments and a ‘Journey of Discovery’ gig with the Ruth Keggin Band. To book your free tickets, call 844830 and look out for more details at on September 10th.

Rushen Heritage Trust are also holding a special event as part of Manx National Heritage Week where you will be able to meet the team who have created the app, learn how the beacons work and find out how to download the app for free. We will be launching two new town walks in Port St Mary and Port Erin, which will make our walks even more accessible to people of all walking abilities across a broad range of interests. Join us at the Bradda Glen Restaurant in Port Erin on Saturday 1st October between 11am and 1pm to find out more!​


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