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walks in scotland, St Cuthbert's Way across Scotland and England

St Cuthbert’s Way across Scotland and England

Overview

St Cuthbert’s Way is a 100-kilometre long-distance trail bridging the national border between Scotland and England. The walk is named after Cuthbert, a 7th-century saint, a native of the Scottish Borders. The route links Melrose Abbey in Scotland, where Cuthbert began his religious life, with his resting place on Lindisfarne (Holy Island) off Northumberland, England.

The St Cuthbert’s Way across Scotland and England is one of the most beautiful, varied and enjoyable long-distance walking routes in the UK, and one of Scotland’s designated Great Trails. You will follow a historic pilgrimage trail in the footsteps of generations of walkers. The itinerary is not too demanding, giving you time to explore the many historical sites of interest scattered along the route.

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Melrose

Enjoy Melrose’s historic market town, the birthplace of St Cuthbert, in the Scottish Borders area. It is full of interesting places to see, an example of which is St Mary’s Abbey, the partly ruined monastery of the Cisterian order, at the town’s heart. The Priorwood Walled Garden and Trimontium Exhibition are also worth a visit.

Day 2: Melrose to St Boswells | 12 km

Soon after leaving Melrose, you climb into the Eildon Hills with great views on offer as you gain height. From the hills, it is a pleasantly gentle descent through the village of Bowden and then on to Dryburgh Abbey’s ruins, sited on a meander in the River Tweed, and site of Sir Walter Scott’s grave. Then you follow the line of the River Tweed into St Boswell.

  • Walking for the day: 7.5 miles / 12 km
  • Accommodation: Buccleuch Arms or similar

Day 3: St Boswells to Jedburgh | 14.5 km

Starting today following the River Tweed, you traverse the undulating hills of the Scottish Borders. Soon leaving the banks of the River Tweed behind, you continue along the ancient Roman Road of Dere Street to the village of Harestanes on the River Teviot and then to Jedburgh, a historic market town, where the 12th Century Abbey is well worth a visit.

Day 4: Jedburgh to Morebattle | 13 km

From Jedburgh head out to rejoin the St Cuthberts Way, still following Dere Street. There are pleasant views of the Cheviot Hills as you continue through the border region to Cessford Castle, built in the 15th century by the Ker Clan. The extensive defences were due to the proximity to the English border. Continue to Morebattle for overnight.

  • Walking for the day: 8 miles / 13 km
  • Accommodation: Templehall Inn or similar

Day 5: Morebattle to Kirk Yetholm | 11 km

Shortly after leaving Morebattle, there is a climb and descent into a valley to cross over the River Kale. Then it is a climb with excellent views back towards Morebattle and the Eildon Hills. The walk continues towards Yetholm, with a demanding but rewarding climb to Wideopen Hill’s summit. From here there are some great views towards Yetholm form here. Descend towards Kirk Yetholm via the banks of Bowmont Water.

Day 6: Kirk Yetholm to Wooler | 21 km

Today is the most challenging day on the route as you continue across the wild and remote Cheviot range slopes. Following a short section of the Pennine Way, the route crosses into England from Scotland. Soon you enter the Hethpool Valley, and you may see the feral goats that live here and free to roam the Cheviots. You then pass the waterfall of Hethpool Linn and Yeavering Bell, a historic base of the Votadini people who lived in this area at the Romans’ time; shortly after you arrive at Wooler, your stop for the night.

Day 7: Wooler to Fenwick/Lowick | 18.5 km

Today’s walk is a scenic one, with the first section on a Roman Road stretch known as the ‘Devil’s Causeway’. Leaving the road, you enter St Cuthbert’s Cave Wood which gets the name from a large outcrop of sandstone where the saint’s body is said to have rested after leaving Holy Island. There are wide-ranging views to The Cheviot Hills and the coastline of Northumberland. Continuing uphill between Greenshaw Hill and Cockenheugh it is then across Middleton Burn to head up Fawcet Hill. From here, you will be able to see Bamburgh, Lindisfarne Castle and The Farne Islands. Overnight in Fenwick or the surrounding area.

Day 8: Fenwick to Holy Island | 9 km

On this final day of walking, you’ll be heading for the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, either via the sands of the Pilgrims Causeway or via the road causeway. Because the island can be cut off at high tide, then it is vital tide times are checked for this day as the sands and causeway would be impassable at high tide. Crossing without wading is the safest option and coincides with the middle of the safe tide times. You can check crossing times here. The route ends at Lindisfarne Priory.

  • Walking for the day: 5.5 miles / 9 km
  • Accommodation: Manor House or similar

Day 9: Departure

Departure or extra nights upon request.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodations on this tour include a mix of superior 3 and 4-star small hotels and guesthouses. They have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere, cuisine and/or unique services. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at the guesthouse you are staying at or at the village pubs and restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

This itinerary is not too demanding, giving you time to explore the many historical sites of interest scattered along the route. The trail follows well-maintained footpaths, bridleways, open fields and some minor roads (read more about difficulty grades). The trail is generally well maintained and is well-marked throughout. A comprehensive guidebook and map are supplied. You can also call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from April until end-October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season. Note that in mid-June each year the Borders Book Festival takes place; the area is bustling, and hotel availability is limited, so please avoid booking over these dates if possible.

Getting there

Up-to-date travel advice on the United Kingdom is available here (for Canadian citizens) and here (for US citizens). Some funny but useful travel advice about Scotland is available here 😊

Click to view travel options and route planner

By plane

Recommended airports: The nearest airports are Edinburgh and Newcastle.

By train or bus
  • We recommend using public transport as parking is generally not available in Melrose. Melrose and Jedburgh are both served by National Express as well as Berwick-upon-Tweed. Tweedbank is the main rail station used to connect by bus on to Melrose. Tweedbank station is just an 8-minute bus journey from Melrose.
  • On departure, we recommend taking a taxi to Berwick upon Tweed. You can take a bus, but the timetable is unpredictable due to the tide over the causeway. Once in Berwick upon Tweed, you can travel by train on the east coast mainline.
  • Please check the Traveline website or the Omio planner above for timetables.

Inclusions

Included

  • 8 nights in twin/double rooms with an en-suite or private bathroom (3 and 4-star hotels and guesthouses as listed in the itinerary)
  • 8 breakfasts
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information: personalised trip notes and maps (emailed before departure and a hard copy provided at the first hotel; one set per booking)
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel – up to 20 kg per person
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights are available upon request

Gallery

Reviews

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Rating

     

Average rating:  5 stars  from 1 reviews

janice5 stars

Well organised. I would have preferred the 'official' guide rather than the Cicerone provided.