The St Cuthbert’s Way is a long-distance path that was established in 1996. The route reflects the life of this 7th century monk, extending from Melrose Abbey in the Scottish borders, where he became bishop to the island of Lindisfarne just off the coast of Northumberland in northeast England, where he was buried. So the ‘Way’ links places associated with his life. It includes a variety of delightfully unspoilt countryside: the Tweed Valley (origin of the famous woollen cloth), the Eildon Hills, the Cheviot Hills (origin of one of the most famous breeds of sheep), and the Northumberland coast with its broad horizons, sandy beaches and dramatic contrasts between high and low tide. The small historic towns en route - Melrose, Kirk Yetholm and Wooler - are equally unspoilt and offer a pleasant contrast with the thinly populated countryside. There is an abundance of historical features, including ruined abbeys at Melrose and Lindisfarne, the battle site at Harestanes Moor and old castles. The standard route is intended to be walked in 4 long days, but we have made several modifications to make the day stages slightly shorter and perhaps more interesting. The tour ends on Craster/Dunstan, which takes you back to the mainland and the beautiful village of Bamburgh overlooked by its grand castle and further down the coast, past the magnificent ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle to near the ancient kipper producing village of Craster/Dunstan.
Moderate graded walk, with some steep ascents and descents and some boggy, muddy terrain. Daily distances vary between 5 miles / 8.5 km and 14 miles / 22.5 km.
An opportunity to explore the town and visit the Abbey church, a 12th century foundation that is now a magnificent ruin. Recent discoveries at the site include what is thought to be the heart of Robert the Bruce, buried in a lead casket. Dependent on your time of arrival it may also be possible to visit Sir Walter Scott’s former home at Abbotsford 3 miles away, using taxi or local bus service.
Accommodation: Our 4 star guesthouse is set within its own wall in a quiet location close to Melrose town centre.
Straight into the walk with a long rewarding day. Walk over the steep-sided Eildon Hills (402m and 404m), which provide panoramic views of the Tweed valley. Descend to Newtown St Boswells and follow the banks of the Tweed. Just across the River Tweed and accessible by a footbridge is Dryburgh Abbey, another superb ruin and the site of Sir Walter Scott’s grave. From St Boswells continue along the riverbank footpath for about 4 miles to Maxton, and then strike off along Dere Street (an ancient Roman roadway) towards Harestanes, visitors centre where we have organized for a taxi to collect you and take you to your accommodation in Jedbergh, (included).
Accommodation: Our 5 star guesthouse is situated in two acres of private land parallel to the High Street and offers fantastic views in a quiet location.
Return by taxi to Harestanes (included) and then cross the River Teviot. At Jedfoot bridge join the old Roman Road of Dere Street for a few miles until fairly near to the hamlet of Crailinghall. Next the trail passes the tower of Cessford Castle, which was built in the 15th Century by the Ker Clan and abandoned in the 17th Century. You reach the neat Borders village of Morebattle for your overnight stay.
Accommodation: Small town inn. Ensuite rooms and a bar
Today is only a relatively short day, but has a steep ascent. From Morebattle the route crosses the Kale water river before ascending steeply to Wideopen Hill 369m where the views are literally wide open! Shortly descend to stroll alongside and then cross-attractive Bowmont Water. You then come to our next night’s stop at Kirk Yetholm, just at the northern end of the Pennine Way, Britain’s first long distance trail.
Accommodation: Stay at a very pleasant traditional 3 star hotel offering a warm welcome.
Today cross the border into England. The terrain becomes hillier, the trail steeper and the views wider as you traverse the northern sector of the Cheviot Hills within the Northumberland National Park, crossing the beautiful College Valley, before descending to Wooler, a market town since the 13th century.
Accommodation: We use a small family run guesthouse on the high street in this pleasant market town. The property dates back to the 17th century but offers up to date modern comforts.
The route crosses the rolling terrain of Westwood and Football Moors, passing St Cuthbert’s cave, where the saint’s body was taken during the flight of the monks from Lindisfarne in 875AD after a Viking raid. You then descend through forests and agricultural land to reach Fenwick near the main road. There is a phone box here to enable you to phone the Inn where you are staying tonight in order to transfer you to Lowick.
Accommodation: You will stay in an Inn that was originally built as a farmhouse in the early 18th century.
In the morning you will be transferred back to Fenwick, from where you cross the main roads before taking the appropriately named ‘Fisher’s Back Road’ down to the causeway across the sands to Lindisfarne. The causeway is covered by the tide for up to 5 hours in every 12, so correct timing is essential. This should be preplanned when you book your holiday and we can inform you of the timings. While exploring the island you should visit the Priory ruins (12th to 16th century), and between April and September, the 16th century castle, which is filled with Flemish furniture and featured in the films ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Cul-de-Sac’ by Roman Polanski.
Accommodation: Lindisfarne (Holy Island). In the only village on Holy Island, your hotel is situated in the centre.
The next stop of the tour is back on the mainland at Bamburgh, in the designated Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Castle of Bamburgh looms large on the coast and is very well preserved. Henry VI tried to rule his disintegrating Kingdom from here for some time.
Accommodation: Our stay tonight is in a 17th Century farmhouse (all rooms ensuite).
Follow the coastal path past the impressive ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, which got wrecked in the English Civil War in the 1640s. You then head to the village of Dunstan near to Craster, famous for its kippers (smoked herrings). If you are staying an extra day in Bamburgh or if you want a change from walking you will have the opportunity for a boat trip from Seahouses to the Farne Islands National Nature Reserve (price not included and dependent on the weather and tides), a haven for seals and seabirds. Then get a bus or taxi from Seahouses to Craster and walk to your hotel at Dunstan.
Accommodation: Near Craster - Good quality country house hotel.
Depart after breakfast.
Per Person, Twin Share