St Cuthbert’s Way runs from Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne off the coast of Northumberland in England. The route climbs over the fringes of the Eildon Hills before following stretches of the mighty River Tweed and the Roman Dere Street. It then passes Cessford Castle before a fine hill ridge is traversed en route to the attractive village of Kirk Yetholm. The route then skirts the northern edges of the Cheviot Hills to cross the border and descent to the fine old market town of Wooler. The final stretch crosses the Northumberland countryside for the dramatic finale across the causeway to Holy Island and its dramatic castle and ruined abbey.
The route links several sites associated with St Cuthbert. He began his monastic career at Melrose Abbey from 650AD, and eventually became the Abbot at Lindisfarne. Following his death and beatification, in 875AD Lindisfarne was abandoned due to Viking Raids and St Cuthbert’s relics were rested at a cave whilst en route to safety – the cave is also visited along the route.
The walk passes through attractive and varied countryside throughout its length; it can be done in four days or taken at a more leisurely pace by building in additional overnights.
Cost per person: £650.00 per person.
Single supplement: £210.00
Included in the price:
Day 1: Arrival Melrose
Enjoy this lovely historic market town with St Mary’s Abbey,the partly ruined monastery of the Cisterian order, at the heart of the town. St Cuthbert was born in Melrose. Overnight hotel or B&B.
Day 2 : Melrose St Boswells 7.5 miles (12 kilometres)
The first day’s walk starts with an uphill climb of the Eildon Hills from where you get beautiful views, followed by a gentle walk to the pretty village of St Boswells on the River Tweed. Overnight hotel.
Day 3: St Boswells to Jedburgh 9 miles/14.5 km
Today’s walk starts out along the banks of the River Tweed and then follows the line of Dere Street – an old Roman Road – to Jedburgh, the scene d walk along an ancient Roman Road to Jedburgh, with the magnificent ruins of the medieval Augustinian Abbey, destroyed during the border wars with England in the 16th Century. Overnight B&B or hotel.
Day 4: Harestanes / Jedburgh to Morebattle 8 miles/12.8 km
The route continues to follow Dere Street. Enjoy good views of the Cheviot Hills as you walk though this border region to Cessford Castle, with its extensive defences owing to its proximity to the English border. Continue to Morebattle for overnight.
Day 5: Morebattle to Kirk Yetholm 7 miles/11 km
From the village of Morebattle walk up the the steep hill and down the other side of the Kale Valley. Walk past the ford over the Kale River, used by the locals to wash their cards in the flowing water. Cross the River Kale by the footbridge and walk up the hill, enjoy the fine views backwards towards Morebattle and the Eildon Hills on the horizons. Continue to Yetholm, linked to the Border gypsies and many of the locals have gypsy blood. Overnight the Plough Inn Kirk Yetholm, one mile from the English border.
Day 6: Kirk Yetholm to Wooler 13 miles (21 kilometres)
The start of the route today follows the Pennine Way as you walk from Scotland to England and into Northumberland. This area was famous in the middle ages for its sheep and fleeces, sold by Melrose Abbey to Flanders. The Hethpool Valley is the home to a large group of feral goats which roam the Cheviots. These magnificent animals, especially the males with their large curved horns are the descendants of goats who managed to escape to freedom during the middle ages. Walk past the lovely waterfall of Hethpool Linn before continuing past Yeavering Bell , thought to have been one of the major bases of the Votadini, the tribe which occupied most of the coastal land around here at the time of the Romans. Continue to Wooler and overnight.
Day 7: Wooler to Fenwick 11.5 miles/18.5 km
A beautiful walk today – the route starts along a Roman road known as the ‘Devil’s Causeway’. Leaving the road, the track takes you onto St Cuthbert’s Cave Wood (National Trust). Close to the wood is St Cuthbert’s Cave, a large natural sandstone outcrop, where the saint’s body is said to have rested after leaving Holy Island in 875AD when Vikings attacked Lindisfarne, forcing the monks to flee. From the cave, enjoy great views of the Cheviot Hills and the Northumberland coastline. As you work your walk uphill onto the skyline, at Fawcet Hill, on a good day you will have a panoramic view of Bamburgh, Lindisfarne Castle and the Farne Islands. Returning to the path, and working your way uphill over the saddle between Greenshaw Hill and Cockenheugh, down across the Middleton Burn, and back uphill onto the skyline, at Fawcet Hill, brings you on a fine day, a panoramic view of everything between Bamburgh and Lindisfarne Castle, including the Farne Islands. Continue to Fenwick for overnight.
Day 8 : Fenwick to Holy Island 5.5 miles/9 km
After a hearty breakfast, you will walk across either the sands on the Pilgrims Causeway or alternatively you can walk the causeway over to Holy Island, which can only be crossed when the tide allows. Check the tides as both the sands and the causeway are impassable during the high tide times. These times, which are different each day, are listed on a board at the roadside. The Pilgrim’s Path is marked by the line of poles, and crossing, without wading, is safest in the middle of the safe tide times. As the sands are rarely ever dry, be sure to take suitable footwear. The end of the Cuthbert’s Way is at Lindisfarne Priory. Overnight inn or B&B.
Day 9: Departure after breakfast
Standard accommodation in B&Bs and inns:
Melrose: Dunfermline B&B
St Boswells: Buccleuch Arms
Jedburgh: Airenlea B&B
Morebattle: Templehall Hotel
Wooler: Plough Inn or B&B
Fenwick: Lindisfarne Inn
Holy Island: B&B or Inn such as The Crown & Anchor
Upgrade: available in Melrose, Jedburgh and Holy Island.