Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-guided walking tour on the St Cuthbert's Way
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Highlights

  • Walk a historic trail to Holy Island through Northumberland and the Borders
  • Soak in the abundance of religious and local history
  • Spend a night in Lindisfarne, Holy Island, after completing your walk
  • Stay in picturesque Melrose with its impressive abbey
  • Explore the fantastically situated Lindisfarne Castle and Priory

St Cuthbert’s Way is a historical self-guided walking tour through the Scottish Borders and Northumberland countryside. It finishes with a memorable walk across coastal flats to spectacular Holy Island, one of Europe’s most famous Christian sites.

During your adventure, you will visit places closely associated with St Cuthbert’s life. Pilgrim’s travel along the way-marked trail through rolling farmland, quiet woods, moorland and across a causeway. This route lends itself to visitors who are interested in religious history as it passes close to graceful ruins of Dryburgh Abbey (where Sir Walter Scott is buried) and the cave where St Cuthbert’s remains were stored. Finish with a walk across the sands to spectacular Holy Island and Lindisfarne, where St Cuthbert served as Bishop.

Alison Chino, an American writer living in Scotland, published this great article on walking the St Cuthbert's Way, read it for an insight into the experience.

We offer a number of different itineraries on the St Cuthbert's Way, each of which is made up of the following sections.


Arrival day in Melrose

Arrive in Melrose a pretty market town in the Scottish Borders, with more than enough interesting sites to keep you happy for a few hours. Melrose Abbey is the centrepiece of the town and operated by Historic Scotland, while the Priorwood Walled Garden and Trimontium Exhibition are also worth a visit.


Overnight: Melrose


Section 1: Melrose to St Boswells—7 miles, 11 km

The day starts with a steep climb of the Eildon Hills, which is rewarded by fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. You may also choose to climb from the saddle to the summit at 422m if you are feeling energetic. From the saddle, the way drops steadily through Bowden and then along Bowden Burn to Newton St Boswells, which has refreshments available. Shortly after leaving the town, you re-join the River Tweed and follow it to St Boswells. If you are staying in St Boswells, Dryburgh Abbey makes for a very pleasant side trip.


Overnight: St Boswells


Section 2: St Boswells to Harestanes/Jedburgh—8 miles, 13 km

Today, walk through the rolling scenery of the Scottish Borders which offers a touch of Roman history. Leaving St Boswells, you follow the River Tweed once more before diverting away from it, just before the hamlet of Maxton. After a short section of minor road, you then join Dere Street, an ancient Roman Road before reaching your destination.


Overnight: Jedburgh


Section 3: Harestanes/Jedburgh to Morebattle—11 miles, 18 km

Leaving Harestanes, you cross the driveway of Monteviot House and the River Teviot. Passing the junction of the Teviot and Jed Water, you once again join Dere Street. As the road rises and falls in its determination to keep in a straight line, pleasant vistas of the Cheviots open up and your path now leads you to the remains of Cessford Castle.


From here to Morebattle the route allows the opportunity to study the flora and fauna of the area, including the lovely little purple flower, meadow cranesbill.


Overnight: Morebattle


Section 4: Morebattle to Kirk Yetholm—7 miles, 11 km

A footbridge over the Kale leads you to a day's walking through fields and over stiles, with fine views back over Morebattle framed by the Eildon Hills.


At this point comes one of the steepest climbs of the whole walk to the top of Wideopen Hill, with more spectacular views towards Yetholm and its loch. You descend into the valley of Bowmont Water and into Kirk Yetholm. Here, there are fine thatched cottages, reminders of its origins as a farm township, and it is also home to the north end of the Pennine Way, which starts in Edale in Derbyshire, some 270 miles away.


Overnight: Kirk Yetholm


Section 5: Kirk Yetholm to Wooler—13.5 miles, 22 km

As well as crossing the border into England, today traverse the Cheviots which means negotiating some ups and downs as you travel east to Wooler. You will be walking atop the hills for much of the day and this means more great views. You will pass by Yeavering Bell, just to the left of the path. It is Northumberland’s largest hill fort, covering an area of over 5 hectares and said to have been one of the tribal strongholds of the Votadini, who inhabited this area in Roman times.


Overnight: Wooler


Section 6: Wooler to Fenwick—12.5 miles, 20 km


Wooler is the largest town in the Cheviot Hills area. It was founded in the 12th century and has been a market town since the 13th century and still has one of the most important livestock markets in northeast England. Today brings you closer towards the coast and the end of your journey. Enjoy the pleasant mix of farmland and forest and through Weetwood Moor, part of which lies between the nearby hills and the coastal plain. Crossing Weetwood Bridge and near the 18th century Weetwood Hall, continue on to Fenwick.


Overnight: Beal, near Fenwick



Section 7: Fenwick to Lindisfarne—6 miles, 10 km


The final section of your walk is one of the most spectacular and unusual. The scenery is unique and although you follow the road for most of the way to Holy Island, the changing vistas and abundant birdlife will keep you occupied.



Holy Island is one of Europe’s most famous Christian places and it has a wealth of sites that relate to its eventful history. St Cuthbert’s name and life inspired the building of the Lindisfarne Priory which began in about 1120. There is also a castle which was ordered to be built by Henry VIII as Holy Island held great strategic importance centuries ago.


Overnight: Lindisfarne

Accommodation

One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. We specifically choose the hotels, inns, guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.


Single Rooms

This independent walking holiday is available to solo walkers but as all our holidays are priced per person based on two sharing, there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs we incur. If you require single rooms within your party we will, of course, try to accommodate your request subject to availability. Please note, that singles may not be of the same standard as twins.


Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning, while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively your guidebook also includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants and your info pack will of course have recommendations.

 

 

 



Dunfermline House - Melrose



Dunfermline House - Melrose

Bryan & Alison Bell will do all they can to make your stay at Dunfermline House memorable and comfortable. Located centrally in the beautiful Border Town of Melrose, all the communities many attractions and facilities are only a few steps away.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Old Abbey School House - Melrose



Old Abbey School House - Melrose

This comfortable family house is a converted school and a short walk from the town centre and River Tweed. Mrs O'Neill will get you off to a flying start on the St Cuthbert's Way with her warm hospitality and delicious breakfasts.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Buccleuch Arms Hotel - St Boswells

The Buccleuch Arms Hotel stands beside the village green in St Boswells. The hotel has recently been refurbished to high standard.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Allerton House - Jedburgh



Allerton House - Jedburgh

Allerton House has six spacious, uniquely furnished bedrooms, each with its own character, when you arrive you are met with a warm welcome by your hosts.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Airenlea Bed & Breakfast- Jedburgh



Airenlea - Jedburgh

Airenlea bed and breakfast offers a high standard of accommodation, friendly atmosphere and warm welcome to all guests. Airenlea is ideally located, just a few minutes from the centre of Jedburgh over looking the historic town.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Templehall Inn - Morebattle



Templehall Inn - Morebattle

The Templehall Inn is a cosy inn in the small village of Morebattle.Comfortable ensuite rooms and great home cooked food in this popular local pub make for a great eveings stay.


 

 

 


 

 

 



The Farmhouse at Yetholm Mill - Kirk Yetholm



The Farmhouse at Kirk Yetholm - Kirk Yetholm

Perfectly situated on the path of St Cuthbert's Way, the Farmhouse has been beautifully refurbished and renovated to a very high standard, with many of the old features remaining. You can expect a warm welcome during your stay at The Farmhouse at Yeltholm Mill.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Mill House - Kirk Yetholm



Mill House - Kirk Yetholm

A newly converted Grain Mill & Granary on the edge of the former 'Gypsy' village of Kirk Yetholm, stands proudly at the foot of the Cheviot Hills looking out over the Bowmont Water.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Tilldale House - Wooler



Tilldale House - Wooler

Tilldale House is a charming 17th century stone-built house with all the usual modern comforts.All of the spacious, comfortable bedrooms have en-suite facilities.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Lindisfarne Inn - Fenwick

Situated between the villages of Fenwick and Beal the Lindisfarne Inn provides a cosy night’s stay in newly refurbished rooms, and a hearty Northumberland breakfast. The pub uses local, seasonal produce and is the nearest mainland pub to the Holy Island.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Crown and Anchor - Lindisfarne



Crown & Anchor - Lindisfarne

The Crown and Anchor stands in the heart of the village adjacent to Lindisfarne Priory and overlooking the castle and harbour and has been recently renovated to the highest standard of accommodation and cuisine.


 

 

 

Availability 

This tour is available from April to mid-September, to start on any day of the week.


Borders Book Festival: In mid-June each year the Borders Book Festival takes place, and the area is very busy. Due to lack of availability, please avoid booking over these dates if possible. Thank you.


Solo Walker & Single Room Supplement

This walking holiday is available to solo walkers but as we incur additional baggage transfer costs there is a solo walker supplement payable. If you require single rooms in your party then these are subject to availability and a supplement is again payable.


Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival, alternatively, your guidebook also includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be collected from your accommodation each day and moved onto your overnight accommodation each day. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 15kg per person.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


Additional Nights

Many of our clients choose to add extra nights along the walk. Please contact the Macs Adventure office to arrange this for you. We would recommend extra nights in Melrose to enjoy the lovely Tweed Valley scenery and Lindisfarne to take in the many attractions and wonderful birdlife the island offers.

Getting to Melrose

By Air: Edinburgh and Newcastle airports are the closest options. Onward travel is by rail and /or coach.


By Coach: Melrose and Jedburgh are both served by National Express as well as Berwick-upon-Tweed.


By Rail: Tweedbank is the main line station used to connect by bus on to Melrose.  Tweedbank station is just an 8 minute bus journey from Melrose.


By Road: We generally recommend using public transport as parking is generally not available in Melrose.


Getting from Lindisfarne

By Air: Edinburgh and Newcastle airports are the closest options. Travel by rail and/or coach from Berwick-upon Tweed.


By Coach: For most services you will need to get to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Please note that bus services are limited and a taxi may be required on certain days to reach Berwick-Upon-Tweed.


By Rail: You will need to get to Berwick-upon-Tweed for connections to Edinburgh & Newcastle. By Taxi: There is a local taxi service which provides the most convenient way to transfer to Berwick-upon-Tweed and further a field.


Please visit Travelinefor further information.

Included

  • Hand-picked accommodation in B&B's, guesthouses and country inns on a bed and breakfast basis.
  • Daily door to door baggage transfer.
  • A detailed pre-departure information pack, route notes and map for your party.
  • Emergency telephone support from our office.
  • Transfers to your accommodation if part of the itinerary.

Excluded

  • Travel to the start or from the finish of the walk.
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.

Extras

  • Single room supplement.
  • Additional nights.

Planning a trip on St Cuthbert's Way can be daunting, especially if this is your first long distance walking holiday. We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.

How fit do I need to be?

We offer a range of itineraries so you can choose your preferred daily distance so hopefully, you will find an itinerary that suits your preferred level of activity. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as St Cuthbert's Way is extremely popular especially over April/May and July/August. You will find up to date availability on our availability and dates tab and we will always try and accommodate your plans.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.

When is the best time of year?

Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better. Although I believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.

Should I check the tides for the walk to the Holy Isle?

For the WSSSCW1 and 2 we will need to keep an eye on the tidal charts to make sure that you can cross the causeway to the holy isle. Please check the tide times before you book any of these walks.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.  In an emergency please contact the office or the B&B's if you need assistance.

Wonderful variety

5

St Cuthbert's Way is relatively 'short' for a long distance trail but it punches well above its weight with such a variety of walking and scenery. There is just the right amount of gradient, it was very quiet in early October, the distances are challenging enough for a four day walk and the accommodation was just what was needed. We were lucky with the weather, not having a drop of rain in four days in October, so that obviously helped but the walk was wonderful with such a range of terrain from muddy riverside paths to large open moorland views. It was capped off with a bracing barefoot crossing of the Pilgrims' Path to Holy Island on a cold blustery day and a rising tide. I heartily recommend this walk to anyone fit enough to take it on. My only regret is that doing it in four days didn't leave much time to take in any sights off the path itself.

RCMA

Sussex

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Fantastic walking tour!

5

I really can't find any negative comments to leave. Everything we experience was positive, well organized and super enjoyable. The hikes were in some amazing places, and just the right amount of challenge.

Teri

Newport Beach CA

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Great Walk!

4

My husband, sister and brother in law and I thoroughly enjoyed the walk. We were fortunate with the weather most days with the afternoon of the first being the longest and having steady rain. In hindsight, Melrose to Jedburgh at 18 miles was too long the first day for us and we should have broken up or taken the bus at St Boswells to Jedburgh. The scenery was outstanding, the trails were pretty boggy in spots, the elevation was challenging but doable. The accommodations were all fine and very comfortable, but the Fauhope House in Melrose was the cream of the crop.

Doglover

Germantown, TN

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I have already enquired about another trip

5

Good maps, mostly good accomodations, well organized, well followed up. All information given in advance giving us a good opprtunity to prepare ourselves.

Haege

Norway

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Excellent adventure

5

Easy to book, excellent support, reliable organisation. High standards in accommodation.

Mintymum

Gateshead

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Planning is everything

4

My St.Cuthbert's Way experience was a birthday present to myself after I requested some peace and quiet from my young family for my big fifty tenth birthday! I chose the four day option due to time constraints rather than common sense. Day one over the Eildon Hills out of Melrose and along the Tweed was great. Day two I got drenched climbing over Wideopen Hill and Grubbit Law outside of Morebattle. I'm guessing the views from the top would have been fantastic but I was there in a cloud with barely a view of the next way post. By day three my feet were wrecked . . my fault due to lack of preparation in the run up to the walk and the soaking on the hills didn't help. Given the state of my feet I gave the day three section from Kirk Yetholm to Wooler a miss in preference for a rest day. I'll have to go back and repeat that section another time. However, I couldn't miss the final section from Wooler out to Lindisfarne on day four. Obviously crossing to the island is dependent on tide times so the earliest I could cross on that day was 7.30pm as the sun was setting. Very atmospheric but once across the causeway it's a very, very long way to the village at the far end of the island. The sun went down, the wind picked up and I had an hours long walk in the dark, in the cold and every step was painful. In hind site I would not recommend doing this walk over four days in September. To really enjoy this walk do it over five days, rest up on the mainland in Fenwick and do the crossing on the following day so as to enjoy Lindisfarne to the full. Also beware that on the island the hotels won't even consider serving food out with very strict time limits. No chance of anything to eat after 8pm and similarly lunchtime stops at 2pm precisely . . . regardless of the crossing times to the island over the causeway.

Patrick the lone walker

Edinburgh

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Tough but Rewarding Walk

4

A few things stood out. First, we took only four days which was too short. The distances were long and combined with wet weather and wet trail conditions this made for long days with little recovery time. Also, taking another day or two would have allowed us to see some things off the trail (like Dryburgh or Jedburgh). Second, accommodations were excellent and we always felt welcome and well looked after. Third, the last day into Lindisfarne needs to be planned to fit with the tides. Because we had too long a day on the last day, we couldn't get to the Coast in time to fit with low tide. So we took a taxi part of the way. I think Mac's could provide a bit more information on the need to plan this and provide tidal times to help with planning the number of days. Finally we did the Cheviot high walk from Kirk Yetholm to Wooler, as suggested in the guide book, instead of the lower normal route. This turned into a very long and difficult day because of trail conditions. Some caution could be given about this route as it is challenging and somewhat understated in the guide book. All in all it was a great time and we enjoyed it a lot, but in retrospect we would take five days and stopped at Fenwick for a night.

YukonHolmes

Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

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Wonderful accommodation

5

Despite some muddy and soggy patches a relaxing walk through beautiful countryside with visits to Borders Abbeys and small friendly towns. Accommodation was wonderful and good choice of food -even for a vegetarian. However to really appreciate it you need to do St Cuthbert's way over 6-7 days -not 4 as some guidebooks suggest.

Mollie

West Yorkshire

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This

5

I walked St. Cuthbert's friend with an old friend of mine in June 2019. We researched different walking tour companies and Mac's was personally recommended by someone who lived in Scotland and also seemed to have good reviews online. We had a great time! The walk was well organized, the staff at Mac's Adventures was prompt in answering email queries, accomodating and very helpful. There had to be some rescheduling at one time and they worked hard to accomodate us. We loved the quiet days of walking through beautiful countryside, by rivers, with animals and birds and wind the only sounds we could hear. It was very restful and re-energizing. It was a great treat every night to arrive in a new village and see where we would be staying; we enjoyed the inns and found them clean and good quality with only one exception (the first night in Melrose was average). I would definitely do another walking trip with Mac's Adventure and in fact, right now, am looking for another walk for next year!

Jenny

United States

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My First Trek

5

This was the year I turned 60; if not now, when? These were some of the thoughts that motivated me to take a long distance trek, a walking holiday. My husband and I were planning to be in the UK this summer, so after finding Macs Adventure by searching for "UK walking holiday," I filtered for "easy to moderate." We chose St. Cuthbert's Way and prepared ourselves with long walks, good boots and other gear. The first day was the roughest, I think maybe we had a bit of a cavalier attitude. The uphill was tough, then at the saddle between two of the Eildons we decided to go up to the top of Eildon North, which added to the journey of course. By the time we dragged our butts to St. Boswell's I was discouraged. Next day went MUCH better, we decided to just focus on the walk and I think that helped. The Eildon Hills remained a point of reference for much of the walk, and I found that one of the most rewarding things was to look back on those recognizable hills and realize that I'd walked up and over them and far beyond, all under my own foot power. Favorite day of the hike was the longest, from Kirk Yetholm to Wooler, FANTASTIC scenery up over the Cheviots. Holy Island is such a lovely place to end the walk, the island has a rhythm all it's own with the tides, the town emptied out before the unsafe crossing time. I shed a few tears at the completion of our journey, this was sort of emotional for me as I never thought I could so something like this! While we made a few friends along the way, most days we saw very few people along the trails, which made it extra special.

Nancy

Maui, Hawaii, USA

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Der Trockenmauerweg durch die Tramuntana

4.6 101

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