Journeys 2024

(FULL) - St Cuthbert’s Way & Lindisfarne Highlights

Date

21st - 28th June 2024 (Nearly full - only twin/double rooms for double occupancy left)

Nights

7

Cost

£895 for single occupancy room, £825 each for shared occupancy room when booked with friend or partner. Please state the name of the person you will be sharing with on the booking form. (Please note places are going fast. Only Twin/Double Rooms for double occupancy are now available).

Description

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TRIP IS FULLY BOOKED. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GO ON A RESERVE LIST SHOULD THERE BE A CANCELLATION PLEASE CONTACT THE LEADER BELOW.

St Cuthbert's Way is a beautiful walk from Melrose in the Scottish Borders to Lindisfarne off the Northumberland coast. The Celtic saints were often long distance walkers and although not an ancient pilgrim path many parts of this 62 mile walk would have been known to Cuthbert and his contemporaries.

The Way encompasses diverse landscapes from the Eildon Hills which may be covered in bilberries, gorse or heather, to a riverside walk along the Tweed, through pastureland and woodland to the foothills of the Cheviots. Here the Way crosses grassy hills and high moorlands before descending to the small market town of Wooler. Meandering on through farmland we reach St Cuthbert's Cave before continuing through Kyloe Wood to Fenwick and then take field paths to the causeway and mudflats of the Pilgrims' Path to Holy Island, one of the most important early centres of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England.

St Aidan, the first bishop of northern Northumbria, founded the monastery on Lindisfarne in 635. The monastery rapidly became a renowned centre of learning and culture and, after Cuthbert's body was enshrined in the church in 698, a prominent cult centre in the north.

Walks and Excursions

Friday 21st June - Melrose to Maxton (9.5 miles)
St Cuthbert's Way starts in Melrose and we leave the town by heading up 133 steps through woodland to the Eildon Hills. The ascent (approximately 1000 feet) is the steepest along the Way but reveals fabulous views across the Southern Uplands and Cheviots. Cuthbert was born in 634 and is believed to have been a shepherd in this area before embracing religious life as a novice monk at Old Melrose (a little further east) under the guidance of Boisil. From the Eildons we descend gently through woods to the village of Bowden, passing the well and cottages around the green, and continue towards St Boswells to pick up the path along the River Tweed which we follow most of the way to Maxton.

Saturday 22nd June - Maxton to Cessford (11.5 miles)
Joining the Way at Dere Street, a Roman military road built around AD 79, and following grass tracks edging fields and woodland paths for approximately 3 miles we pass Lilliard's Stone. Originally erected by the monks of Melrose Abbey by 1372 this became known as Lylliot Cross, the site where English and Scottish crown representatives met to try and resolve border disputes by peaceful negotiation. Emerging from woodland near Monteviot House St Cuthbert's Way then crosses the River Teviot via suspension bridge and follows the River Jed to Jedfoot Bridge. The Waterloo Monument is one of many monuments and follies to be seen as we walk through the Tweed Valley on our way to Cessford Castle.

Sunday 23rd June - Morebattle to Kirk Yetholm (7.5 miles)
Land at Morebattle was gifted to the monks of Lindisfarne by King Oswy of Northumbria in 670. We leave the village heading towards Hownam, take the footbridge across Kale Water, crossing stiles and fields to join tracks passing an old quarry, hillfort and plantation on the way to Grubbit Law (1069 feet) before reaching Wideopen Hill, the highest point of St Cuthbert's Way (1207 feet). This is a beautiful part of the Way and after break to appreciate breathtaking views of the Tweed Valley and three Eildon Hills to the west, we follow the ridge wall downhill to the fields below, and continue alongside Bowmont Water until we cross the bridge at Town Yetholm, and take the field path into Kirk Yetholm.

Monday 24th June - Kirk Yetholm to Wooler Common (11 miles)
Leaving Kirk Yetholm the first two miles of St Cuthbert's Way is also the route of the Pennine Way. We'll cross the footbridge at Halter Burn and take the grassy path up and around Green Humbleton Hill before reaching the Welcome to England/Scotland sign at the border fence. We then descend through the plantation to Elsdon Burn and Hethpool. The paths become rougher and boggy as we climb slightly uphill to an old stone sheep pen, through plantations and along grassy paths passing Yeavering Bell hill fort and Tom Tallon's Crag on our left. Traversing moorland tracks, and catching our first glimpse of the sea, we pass Gains Law and Humbleton Hill on our left before descending to Wooler Common.

Tuesday 25th June - East Horton to Fenham via St Cuthbert's Cave (8.5 miles)
From East Horton we take the tarmac track through farmland, cross Hetton Burn and walk up the hillside to St Cuthbert's Seat and statue at Hazelrigg, a lovely vantage point from which to appreciate the landscape likely to have been traversed by monks making their way to Holy Island. We continue along the Way to the pine woodland surrounding St Cuthbert's Cave, a large natural sandstone cave with overhanging rock. On leaving the wood we bear left up to the ridge and are rewarded with our first view of Holy Island. We continue through Kyloe Woods to Fenwick and after safely crossing the A1 walk down the lane to reach our accommodation in Fenham.

Wednesday 26th June - Fenham to Lindisfarne via the Pilgrim Path (6 miles)
This morning we will walk from Fenham Farm along field tracks, cross the railway line when safe to do so, and then continue along grassy paths to the causeway. When the tide has receded sufficiently we will turn off the causeway and follow the Pilgrim Path across the sand and mudflats. Whilst most of the route is firm there are sections where we'll be paddling through shallow streams or pools of water ... and squelchy mud! Many pilgrims walk barefoot, others bring swim shoes or similar. After the washing of feet on arrival on Holy Island there will be time to explore, rest and have a celebratory ice-cream before returning to Fenham (by car) before the incoming tide.

Thursday 27th June - The Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Walking in the spirit of pilgrimage to Lindisfarne may for some be as much about the encounters along the Way: with God, with others and with self, as it is about reaching our destination. Travelling back to Holy Island (by car this time) we take a short pilgrim walk to St Aidan's RC Church, Lindisfarne Priory, St Cuthbert's Island, St Mary's CoE Church and St Cuthbert's URC Centre. After reflections at each site you will be invited to explore other areas of interest to you, alone or with others. These may include a walk to Lindisfarne Castle, a visit to the garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll, or a trip to the Scriptorium. Alternatively, you may enjoy some quiet time to ponder whilst wandering through the dunes, or sit watching and listening to seals singing on the sands whilst reflecting on the encounters on your journey.

Friday 28th June - Departure
We need to vacate our accommodation at Fenham Farm by 9.30 am, or earlier if requested by those requiring a lift to Berwick on Tweed station.
Please note: For you to experience the highlights of this pilgrim route at their best the sequence of walks may change in accordance with daily weather forecasts!

Accommodation

We will stay in self-catering accommodation at Fenham Farm, within the Northumberland Coast AONB, a beautiful location overlooking Holy Island. We will cater for ourselves in the fully equipped kitchen and share meals in the spacious dining room or sheltered courtyard. Our morning and evening gatherings will take place in the lounge from which sea views can be enjoyed. All bedrooms are ensuite but the number of single rooms is limited and we will therefore welcome enquiries from those willing to volunteer to share a twin room, thus truly embracing the pilgrim experience and joy of giving space to others. Whilst we are hoping for pleasant weather there is a drying room if required.

Please note: the walk on 21st June 2024 will start at 10.00 am from Melrose in the Scottish Borders. If travelling from some distance you may wish to book accommodation in/near Melrose for the evening of 20th June 2024 (at your own expense). If you are arriving in Melrose by public transport, you will be able to leave luggage in one of the leaders' cars on the morning of 21st June 2024 and will be driven to the accommodation at Fenham Farm at the end of the walk. There is plenty of parking at Fenham Farm for those driving, and you won't be required to use your own car during the holiday after arriving at Fenham at the end of the first walk. The leaders will transport the entire group to/from the start/end of each walk daily. If we can follow the planned linear sequence of walks the commute time will gradually decrease from approximately an hour on the first day.

Getting there

Please arrive at the Melrose Abbey car park at 9.30 am on 21st June 2024 to meet your fellow pilgrims and leaders prior to commencing the walk at 10.00 am.

By Car: The car park at the start of the walk is on Abbey Street, Melrose (TD6 9LG).

By Rail: The nearest railway station to Melrose is Tweedbank, which can be reached via the East Coast mainline from both Edinburgh and Berwick on Tweed. Bus and taxi services are available from Tweedbank to Melrose.

By Air: Edinburgh Airport is the most convenient and there are regular Border Bus services from the bus station to Melrose (journey time approximately 2.5 hours). If Newcastle Airport is used, there are coach and bus services to Melrose. Alternatively use the rail service to Berwick on Tweed and bus from there to Melrose.

Return Journey: If travelling by rail and air, lifts to Berwick on Tweed railway station on 28th June 2024 can be arranged.

Contact

Jo Reed (07928 590155) joannereed05@gmail.com
Karen Garrett (07624 415413) spyrrydys@gmail.com
Paddy Allen (07810 746121) paddyallen27@gmail.com