St Cuthbert’s Way – 62 miles – 6-7 Days – Melrose to Lindisfarne. One of Scotland’s Great Trails, and a powerful avenue for pilgrimage. St Cuthbert began his religious life at Melrose; this picturesque town is therefore a fitting site for your beginning. You will visit three great Border abbeys – Melrose, Jedburgh and Dryburgh – and unspoilt villages; touch the Rhymer’s Stone; visit the home of a medieval dragon in Linton; a massive Iron Age hill fort at Yeavering Bell; travel through the sweeping Eildon and Cheviot Hills; stroll along the River Tweed; cross the border between England and Scotland; and find brief shelter in St Cuthbert’s Cave like the monks carrying his coffin did before you, before heading for Holy Island off the coast of Northumberland Coast, the eventual resting place of Saint Cuthbert and the site of his original shrine. By following Cuthbert from the hills to the sea, hopefully you too will find the serenity he discovered on the sands of Lindisfarne.
– ever changing variety of scenery and spectacular views;
– a unique and truly memorable finish along a causeway exposed only at low tide;
– chance to connect with one of our greatest saints;
– a 6-day route that does not require a lot of training or high fitness.
Holy places listed in Britain’s Pilgrim Places book: Holburn; Holy Island / Lindisfarne
Low-cost hostels along route – Kirk Yetholm, Wooler YHA, Berwick YHA and others nearby.
More Info on St Cuthbert’s Way
See map of ‘Independent Hostels’ along the route
Buy Ron Shaw’s Guidebook for St Cuthbert’s Way
Buy Rucksack Readers’ Guidebook for St Cuthbert’s Way
Click to download route/s in GPX file format for your smartphone’s map app
Instructions for using a GPX file to show you the route offline on your smartphone
I walked the route from Jedburgh onwards over 4 days. It is a beautiful walk, helped by some September sunshine. I walked with a friend and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It is way marked really well, but we also bought the guide book. Walking across the pilgrim route of the causeway to Lindisfarne in our barefeet was a very spiritual experience. The buses that run from Lindisfarne seem to have a law unto themselves, making it difficult to plan getting off the island during the safe period! I would recommend an overnight stay if you want to explore it more fully.
I walked the entire Way in September 2021 over 7 days, organised by a Scottish travel company. It was well way-marked, but you still need a gps app or good map for when you get confused.
It was a beautiful experience, including the walk across the mud to Holy Island (although my brother-in-law sank into a slimy mud ditch up to his knees!). You walk through amazing hills and countryside, along beautiful rivers and pass through lovely villages and hamlets.
This was my first “pilgrimage” and I have to say there wasn’t much “Holy” or “Saintly” about it – although it is a lovely walk and I would recommend it as such. Even the Abbeys at either end were sadly just commercialised ruined shells and Holy Island is full of hotels, shops, pubs and restaurants. The tidal nature of the island and its fabulous history are obviously great.
My Dad and I just walked the route at the beginning/middle of July during some pretty hot weather. I’ve been undertaking a set of pilgrimages as I’m writing a paper on the topic and how they can be used in modern spirituality.
The route was beautiful and there were plenty of places to stop and stay. We were moved by some of the beautiful churches and sites along the way but none more so than Lindisfarne itself. What a beautiful way to end the week.
The only downsides to it all was the sheer amount of tarmac road walking that was needed along the route as well as the very overgrown trail. We were expecting a much more well-worn path throughout the journey but I suppose the growth in summer does infringe on that.
I have and continue to recommend it to anyone.