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Climate justice pilgrims enter Scotland after 100 days of walking across Europe

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The group has come together ahead of COP26

After more than 1,800 kilometres for some, a group of pilgrims walking to Glasgow for COP26 has entered Scotland on their way to the global climate summit.  

The group of 30 people have brought their energy and tired feet into Scotland, with some having walked as far as Sweden, Poland and Germany.  

The Ecumenical Pilgrimage for Climate Justice joins people of Christian faith with a common goal of holding those in power to account, and inspiring  them to take action at COP26. The group will continue walking through Scotland to Glasgow on 29 October ahead of the conference.   

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) is assisting the pilgrims on the final leg of the journey in Scotland, by helping arrange accommodation and food, with the support of local communities.  

Gustav Fredriksson quit his job to join the pilgrimage and has walked over 1,800 kilometres since 19 July from Sweden. He said: “I’ve been thinking more about what I can practically do and when you walk, you have more time to think. I thought, how could I have been so ignorant. I’ve become a vegetarian while on this journey and I’ve thought more about flying less within Europe, consuming less generally and living a simple lifestyle. We all need to think about changing our lifestyles. 

“It’s great to be in Scotland, the people are nice and friendly here, and there is so much beauty. The first day in Scotland was the best day so far of our journey.”  

Nikki Neesam, community engagement officer, SCIAF, said: “We wanted to make sure we gave the pilgrims a Scottish welcome and help spread their message here. With the help of our supporters and local parishes across Scotland, we’ve been able to support the pilgrims with their stay on the way to Glasgow.”  

Chris Böer, one of the organisers from Germany, said: “All along the way, we have met people who seen how far the group has walked, the energy they have, the important message they carry, and their hopes for climate change. Meeting so many people along the way, it’s been emotional and we feel supported to make it all the way to Glasgow.”  

Wolfgang Löbnitz, one of the organisers, has also travelled from Germany. He is a seasoned pilgrim – this is his fifth pilgrimage to a COP. He commented: “I am married, with children, grandchildren and a great grandson back home. I’m walking for my kids. The future generation must be saved.”