St Cuthberts Way 2008

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My first long walk in 2009. I looked at my calendar for the year and busy as it is (my daughter gets married in August) I have managed to pencil in two long walks – although at only 62 miles this one would be a nice starter for the year to come – a short long one - it’s more of a middle distance walk. I was attracted to this walk not by its holiness, but rather by its earlier history and to have a good look at the many hill forts along the way. The priory’s and abbeys were just an added bonus to me – “Heathen” I hear you say – and you’d be right! I planned this trip one day sitting at my desk in the middle of the North Sea with gale force winds blowing, and the rig rolling around in the heavy lumpy sea. I checked the tide tables and would have to arrive on the island before 17:30 or wait for a boat to Lindisfarne. I have an opportunity to go and locate some Neolithic rock art to the north of Wooler on Doddington Moor, before walking to the end of my journey at Holy Island – maybe by the pilgrim’s route across the sand if the water is not too cold. Route planning for this walk was made easier by the fact I have Memory Map and recently acquired a Satmap Active10 GPS. This made it easy to follow the path and to be honest I could have walked the whole route without it as it is very well way-marked. As for the map – I bought a Harvey’s strip map, which went into my pack in Manchester and only came out again when we got back to Manchester. The map itself is OK, but you do have to get used to the different colouring than on the OS maps. If you like high moors and hills then this walk would probably bore you as the highest point is only 1207ft / 348m. But if like me you enjoy looking around when out walking, then this walk has many and varied facets to take in. The wildlife is wonderful and plentiful on route, and the walk carries you across and along minor roads, farm tracks, field paths and some moorland and coastal routes – it even crosses the A1 and the high speed East coast railway line. It also helps the enjoyment when the weather runs in your favour, as it did for me. I carried an umbrella with me for 3 days and it provided good protection so I didn’t feel the need to don full waterproofs. One of the joys for me was seeing all the birdlife along the way, it really is plentiful. So sit back and enjoy the read.



Day Zero: 26th April Leave Manchester early and drive up to Melrose in the Scottish Borders.

Day One: 27th April Melrose to Ancrum. 16 miles.

Day Two: 28th April Ancrum to Kirk Yetholm 17 miles.

Day Three: 29th April Kirk Yetholm to Wooler 13 1/2 miles plus 3 more on the moors.

Day Four: 30th April Wooler to Lindifarne Castle. 20 miles (had a short detour!) Causeway OPEN – 10:05 to 17:40 and 22:40 to 06:10 on the 30th, then 10:45 on the first.

Day Five: 1st May Lindisfarne Castle & the Abbey. Then a meandering drive down to Manchester  

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