St Andrews Cathedral
St Andrews, from St Rule's Church tower in the grounds of St Andrews Cathedral
The harbour area of St Andrews
St Andrews
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You know, it's not easy being a saint. Saints often carried the burden of an eager entourage, most of whom, it appears, were simply waiting for them to breathe their last. For no sooner did you pop your saintly clogs than they were hacking you to pieces and distributing your mortal remains hither and thither throughout the land. At one time in our past there must have been a huge industry involved in the distribution of saints' bones. One can imagine all sorts of religious types gathering like vultures, waiting patiently for flesh to be stripped from bones so that what remained could be divvied up and distributed. Perhaps they had to fill in forms and put in requests, as in, 'We at St Andrews wondered if we might have a knee-cap, although we don't wish to be too much bother and would quite happily accept a finger.' For once you had acquired some saintly bones, it was guaranteed that folk would travel for miles to see them. It was, I suppose, an early form of tourism, and if you didn't have any pious remains then you were probably not worth visiting. The town of St Andrews managed to get quite a bit of Saint Andrew. It got his knee-cap (always a crowd puller), three finger bones, an arm bone and a tooth. Goodness, that's almost enough to resurrect the man. Sadly, the box in which Saint Andrew's bits and pieces were kept was destroyed during the Reformation. And so, is the St Andrews of today worth visiting? Might you, as a pilgrim, be a tad disappointed at not being able to ogle at a knee-cap? Today, St Andrews is a fine historic town with plenty in the way of old crumbly buildings. So don that knapsack, and set off an a pilgrimage.
ST ANDREWS CATHEDRAL
VIEW FROM ST RULE'S TOWER
ST ANDREWS HARBOUR AREA
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How to
GET THERE
You can get a train to Leuchars from Edinburgh. St Andrews is just over 4 miles away, and a short hop on the bus.
Scotland’s online tourist guide – tartan hippo logo