Holy Island

Walk St Cuthbert’s Way

8 days
from
Loading...
Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Moderate
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
TSS
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
6–12
Ages:
16+

Discover a historical route through the Scottish Borders and Northumberland

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 links several sites associated with St Cuthbert, who began his monastic career at Melrose Abbey from 650AD and eventually became the Abbot at Lindisfarne. Viking raids forced the abandonment of the abbey but its importance in the history of Christianity on these islands should not be underestimated. 

A fascinating mix of landscapes unfolds as we walk along valleys, over hills and along rivers, stopping at lovely old towns and villages like Morebattle and Wooler en route to a dramatic tidal causeway and Holy Island itself.

Highlights

  • Holy Island with its fascinating ruins
  • Beautiful scenery of the Scottish Borders and Northumberland
  • Historic villages and welcoming, traditional, accommodation

Key information

  • 7 nights in local hotels and guesthouses
  • 6 days walking
  • Group normally 4-12, plus leader. Min age. 16 yrs
  • Low altitude throughout
  • Travel by private minibus and train
  • Countries visited: United Kingdom

What's included

  • All breakfasts included
  • All accommodation
  • Transport as listed in itinerary & luggage transfer throughout week

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & Vaccinations
  • Single supplement (available on request and subject to availability)
Call for general departures:
056 631 8671
Call for private group trips:
056 631 8671
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Days of Walking & Trekking
Day by day breakdown
Day 213.0km/8.0miles
Day 313.6km/8.5miles
Day 417.0km/10.5miles
Day 532.0km/20.0miles
Day 619.0km/12.0miles
Day 79.5km/6.0miles

Itinerary

Edinburgh Waverley Station
to
Berwick Station
  • Day 1

    Edinburgh to Melrose

    Around midday we catch the train from Edinburgh. The Borders Railway passes through historic mining villages and the beautiful rolling hills of the Scottish Borders. It takes just under an hour to reach Tweedbank, where a private transfer takes us to Melrose.

    The picturesque town of Melrose is a quaint border town, arguably one of the most beautiful small towns in Scotland. We have some time in the afternoon to explore or relax at the hotel.

    The area around Melrose has been inhabited for thousands of years. In AD 79 the Roman army built a major fort nearby named Trimontium, ‘Place of the Three Hills’. Around 3 miles west on the banks of the Tweed is Sir Walter Scott’s romantic mansion of Abbotsford (easily accessible by taxi for those wishing to discover it). Overnight in Melrose.

  • Day 2

    Melrose to St Boswells

    We start at the gates of the magnificent 12th century Melrose Abbey and walk up over the Eildon Hills for one of the best views in the Scottish Borders: Melrose, the Moorfoot and Lammermuir Hills, with the mighty Cheviots to the south! The route then descends to the village of Bowden, before gently winding through farmland and woods to Newtown St. Boswells. Following the banks of the River Tweed, with secluded views to Dryburgh Abbey, we end our first walking day in St. Boswells itself.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    St Boswells to Jedburgh

    Leaving St Boswells behind we follow the River Tweed and along Dere Street, one of the main Roman roads. This takes us to Harestanes from where we approach the River Teviot. The way across is via the Monteviot Suspension Footbridge, just below Monteviot House, from where it takes its name. We then follow along the banks of the river to Jedfoot to rejoin Dere Street which takes us towards Jedburgh. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Jedburgh to Morebattle

    Today's walking takes us through woodland to farm paths and tracks through rich agricultural land to Cessford and 15th-century Cessford Castle, once the stronghold of the Kerr clan, one of the most influential in the history of the Scottish Borders. The day ends at Morebattle, the site of human habitation as far back as the iron age, as is demonstrated by its iron age fort on nearby Morebattle Hill. 

    In Morebattle, we are picked up to rejoin our accommodation in Jedburgh for the night.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Morebattle to Wooler

    After a short transfer, we start our walk from Morebattle again, heading towards Wooler.

    We start climbing via Grubbit Law, along the ridge to Wideopen Hill. At 400m, Wideopen Hill is the highest point on St. Cuthbert’s Way and the halfway point from Melrose to Holy Island. Remember to look back and take in the view of the Eildon Hills before we begin walking on to Kirk Yetholm.

    The next section of St. Cuthbert’s Way coincides with the final stretch of the Pennine Way. Climbing up from Halterburn around Green Humbleton (287m), one of many hill forts along St. Cuthbert’s Way, we reach the border of Scotland and England, before crossing into Northumberland National Park. The Way then drops back down via Elsdonburn to Hethpool and onwards through woodland and a good track along the Cheviot foothills, heading for Yeavering Bell (361m), Northumberland’s largest Iron Age fort. A lovely path leads through the heather, over Gains Law, down to the small market town of Wooler and back to civilisation. Overnight Wooler.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Wooler to Lindisfarne

    The Northumberland countryside welcomes us today as we leave Wooler. After some time crossing farmland and woods our route takes us within reach of St Cuthbert's Cave. The remains of St Cuthbert, along with some of his relics, were removed from Holy Island for their protection following Viking raids that cost the lives of many monks and a good deal of gold and silver. The monks' escape took several weeks, and this cave provided them shelter and rest on their way to Durham, where St Cuthbert was reburied. 
    Our route will take us as far as the Lindisfarne Inn, just outside Berwick-on-Tweed, which is the nearest mainland pub to Holy Island. Popular for its warm hospitality and great food, it is also the perfect location for walkers hoping to head to the island, as it's only accessible on foot at low tide. 

     

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Holy Island

    The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is one of the most significant religious sites in the history of Christianity in England. The monastery was founded in 635AD by Saint Aidan but is also well known as the place the bloodthirsty Vikings first landed in Britain. It was this attack and resulting deaths of the monks that prompted the monks at Durham to remark that it was a "Holy Island, baptised in blood".
    It is home to just 160 people, and is a popular visitor destination as there is plenty to see. The original Lindisfarne Gospels, written around 700 AD are held in the British Library in London, however there is an interactive experience available to allow visitors to view them. 
    There is the National Trust property of Lindisfarne Castle (entrance optional) dating from 1550 and of course, the big draw, the ruins of the Priory that are still resisting the elements some 1400 years after their construction. Here you can also learn about the murderous Viking raid in the museum. If we want to get back to our hotel we'll need to keep to time today, as the only access is via the causeway which disappears when the tide comes in!

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End in Berwick Station

    After Breakfast, we take a transfer to Berwick Station, where our trip ends and we can make our way back home. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

United Kingdom

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts are included.

Lunches can be purchased from local bakeries, shops and mini-markets which will offer you the opportunity to try lots of local produce. Packed lunches may also be possible to organise with accommodation stayed at during the trip.

Dinners will usually be taken in the accommodation in which we stay, or in traditional local pubs along the way.

Weather

The Scottish borders and Northumberland's climate is generally mild between April – October with changeable days when it is entirely possible to have rain, wind and brilliant sunshine in a short period. 

Waterproof clothing is therefore essential and should be carried at all times as should a light thermal vest / jacket as coastal winds can be fresh. Temperatures rarely fall below 12 degrees but can reach the mid 20’s during the height of the summer.

Is this trip for you?

The walking itself is very varied, with some easy riverside and farmland stretches as well as some rougher going on modest hills. Distances will vary each day, with the longest day being 32km. A reasonable level of fitness is required. Equally, you must be prepared for inclement weather.

You will only need to take a daypack with you on the walks and luggage will be transferred between the accommodation during the trip.

Call for general departures:
056 631 8671
Call for private group trips:
056 631 8671
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

St Cuthbert's Way

Our route is littered with wonderful old pubs and coaching inns on both sides of the border. The very word pub comes from the name 'Public House' so it's no surprise to find they offer comfortable rooms for our intrepid groups. The coaching inns may not have space for horse-drawn carriages anymore however they are still ready and waiting to welcome travellers with hearty food, drink and a place to rest. 

From the King's Arms in Melrose to the Lindisfarne Inn, the last mainland pub before Holy Island, all provide a warm and welcoming touch to our journey. Moreover, they serve a selection of good, wholesome country fare best accompanied by a choice of local ale, glass of wine or drink from a well-stocked bar. 

All rooms will have private facilities.

Accommodation  used: 

Kings Arms Hotel, Melrose

Buccleuch Arms, St Boswells

Royal Hotel, Jedburgh

Tankerville Arms, Wooler

Lindisfarne Inn, Lindisfarne

 

 

Call for general departures:
056 631 8671
Call for private group trips:
056 631 8671
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

Please call one of our experts to discuss your private group requirements on +44 (0)20 8772 3874, or fill out the form below and we will give you a call back.

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Trips you might also like

Walking in Cornwall

2 reviews

Beautiful beaches, coves and bustling port towns, a wonderful introduction to the beautiful Cornish Coast.

Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Moderate
Ages: 16+
6 Days from CHF1’429
Guided (Excl. Flights)
View More Details