A SERIES of walks highlighting Scotland’s historic and contemporary links with Europe have been launched in the wake of Brexit.

The online routes have been ­devised by local groups of ­pro-EU body ­European Movement in ­Scotland (EMIS) to highlight ­landmarks and ­locations in Edinburgh, ­Glasgow, Dunfermline, St Andrews and ­Stirling.

The Eurowalks idea has proved so popular it is now being adopted by groups south of the Border – so far a walk has been created in York, with one being developed for Winchester.

More routes are also expected to be launched in time for a UK-wide Festival of Europe next year being planned by pro-EU group Stay European.

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Joanna Goodburn (inset), committee member of EMIS, which is a cross-party organisation, said the idea had come from discussions over finding a way to mark Europe Day in May this year during Covid.

She said: “It was still a bit too soon to have gatherings, but a group of reps from our different local groups meet every so often virtually.

“We shared the idea and got members of our groups who were interested to work on possible walking routes, which could take in local links to all things European, both ­historical and modern.

“The main idea is to keep the knowledge of how close our ties have always been with Europe quite high in people’s minds.

“It is also aimed at taking our links with ­Europe away from the ­arguments around Brexit – so that people who don’t want to be involved in discussions about Brexit can still learn how close and important our links with Europe are.”

The locations highlighted on the walks include the Norwegian Church in Junction Street in Leith. In the 1860s, at the height of maritime trade between Scotland and ­Scandinavia, thousands of sailors crossed the North Sea to Leith each year.

The Scandinavian Lutheran Church, which was funded by local Norwegians, was opened in 1868 and was the first of its kind in Scotland.

The links between Scotland and Ireland are also highlighted with the birthplace of Irish republican leader James Connolly in the city. He was born in 1868 at a ­building in the ­Cowgate which as since been torn down, with a plaque now ­commemorating the site.

Six walks have been ­developed for Glasgow, with locations including the city’s Necropolis, which is based on the model of the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

It also has memorials to several Europeans, including Joseph ­Gomoszynski who fought for Polish independence and German-born engineer Henry Dübs.

In Dunfermline, there is recognition of the role of Swiss technicians who arrived in the 1920s to help ­revitalise the town’s ailing textile industry by moving to silk production.

The current presence of two Polish shops in the town is also highlighted.

The sites along the way of the St Andrews Eurowalk include a cross of stones set in the roadway ofMarket Street, which is close to where it is believed Hussite emissary Pavel ­Kravar was burned at the stake for heresy in 1433.

He was a physician from Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic, and a blue plaque nearby ­commemorating the event was unveiled by the ambassador of the Czech Republic to the UK in 2012.

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St Andrews University is also noted as one of the most international in the UK, with more than 130 different nationalities represented there in 2020.

EMIS notes many are students from Europe, who have benefitted from the Erasmus+ exchange scheme which the UK is no longer a part of after Brexit.

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In Stirling the locations include the castle, where an Italian at the court of James IV, Giovanni Damiano de ­Falcucci, famously tried to fly to France in a winged contraption made of hen feathers.

A more modern stop on the route is Hermann’s restaurant – said to be the result of a Stirling girl meeting an Austrian catering student when on a European work placement.

EMIS said plans for the future include expanding the walks, which can be found at eurowalks.scot, to create a network across Scotland which help celebrate “our rich European heritage” and educate both local residents and visitors.