ColumbaFest 2021

COLUMBAFEST 2021: Roots, Roads & Rivers

Trees, water sources and walking itself have been associated with the sacred since the beginnings of human experience. How much more so have we been glad of them this past year.

ColumbaFest 2021 invites us to get up close with the ‘Roots, Roads & Rivers’ in our outer and inner landscapes, exploring how they resonate with contemporary faith, culture, politics and creativity. Join one, two or many parts of the programme, for some walking, discovering and debating for all levels of age, artistry and agility.



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Local Walks Resources

Downloadable resources for focused walks in your own locality, with activities, facts, questions, and prayers for encountering the land where you live. With the chance to submit photos and other creative contributions to share with the festival community. Can be used at any time.

Columbafest ROOTS walk-where-you-are

Columbafest ROADS walk-where-you-are

Columbafest RIVERS walk-where-you-are

Sacred Clyde Sound Walk

A guided audio pilgrimage from St Enoch’s Square – burial site of St Thenew – along the River Clyde to the Iona Community’s base in Govan.

Created by Luke Devlin, who explains,
The Clyde river catchment forms a bioregion with a specific hydrological cycle that recursively shapes it, and in turn influences the other components of landscape, culture and religious experience. What does it mean to ‘pray like a river’? A waterscape perspective draws attention to the co-existence in the same place of past, presence and future.
Along the way, we’ll explore both interior and exterior space, with a sense of deep time exploring Glasgow’s religious, natural and industrial heritage, how the Atlantic slave trade built Glasgow’s prosperity, and reflecting on COP26 this year when the the world’s focus on climate change will be Clydeside.
The guided walk will be in the form of a sound file that can be played on your smartphone or downloaded to a digital music player. Headphones are required.
The walk is around 3 miles and should take around 2 hours including stops for reflection along the way.

Columbafest 2021 Sacred Clyde Sound Walk audio file

Wednesday 9th June, 7-8pm:
Trees in Faith and Fable.’
Ever since humans have recorded their story, trees have been afforded a spiritual and religious significance. A look at the ways in which trees have become intertwined with world faiths, the Biblical narrative and popular folklore. Led by Bob Gilbert, environmentalist and author of ‘Ghost Trees’. (Zoom)

Thursday 10th June, 7-8pm:
The Road of How and Why.’
Join EcoChaplain Rev David Coleman on a reflective off-road retreat with water, rocks and sky. (Zoom)

If you missed David’s session, or would like to view again his video diary presentation, follow this link…

Friday 11th June, 7-8pm:
Tenx9 Storytelling. Hosted by Paul Doran & Pádraig Ó Tuama (Zoom)
Our friends at Tenx9 are back for another storytelling event at Columbafest 2021. The theme is ’Trip’ and they’re looking for folks to tell a true story from their own lives about a trip they took. If you’ve got a story, get in touch with them via or email them at

NOTE: please register separately here to receive the Zoom link for this event.

Saturday 12th June, 10-11am: ‘Unprotected World.’ 

Led by Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts. (Zoom)
This session will consider the common misconceptions and dangerous assumptions underlying public discussion of migration and the Refugee Convention. Drawing on the recent response to the UK Government’s New Plan for Immigration and Asylum and the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s working group report, which Alison convened, the workshop will ask some questions of a practical nature about how best we might offer protection in a world where protections are being removed: RSE Response to UK Asylum System Proposed Reforms

Saturday 12th June, 2-5pm: Clydeside Walk

Central Glasgow to Govan, with Pilgrim Stations to mark your way, refresh you and bless you with Pilgrims’ Rewards! Start from 2pm St Enoch Square, onto the riverside and head west. Pilgrim Stations at – the Ferry before Kingston Bridge; the pagoda before Bell’s Bridge; the Science Centre Tower; riverside benches near Napier Terrace (take the pedestrian path off Govan Road after Napier Road and the bus stop!) 3 miles, an hour’s walk. Festival planning team and friends will be stationed with placards along the route and at end point from 2-5pm!

Saturday 12th June, 7-8.30pm: COLUMBAFEST Ceilidh

with Andy Thornton, David Heavenor, Margaret McLarty, Suzanne Butler and more. Live music, rhythm and poetry, home to home. Bring your glass and enjoy! (Zoom)

Sunday 13th June, 6-6.45pm: Sunday Papers.

Prayer & Politics. Open minds and all opinions welcome at our final, fabulous programme addition and ColumbaFest favourite.

Sunday 13th June, 7-7.45pm:

COLUMBAFEST Closing Liturgy (Zoom)
Christ, Columba and scriptural stories of humanity’s origins and completion. Celebrating and Recommitting.


We’d love to see Columbafest through your eyes! Snap a picture on your walk, take a photo of a written prayer, recite a poem on video – however creativity strikes you, use #columbafest21 to share it on Instagram.
Follow the hashtag throughout the festival to see what other pilgrims are up to.


All events in ColumbaFest 2021 are free, but please register your interest in the programme by selecting the image below, and ‘purchasing’ the registration, so that we can send you more details and Zoom links. You are welcome to join as many sessions as you like!

If you would like to make a donation to help cover costs and build funds for next year’s festival, you can do that here.