It is up to you whether you walk the whole of St. Cuthbert’s Way in one go, or whether you walk it in sections over a longer period. Either way, how long it takes will depend on how fit you are, how much time you have, and how much time you want to spend exploring along the way.
St Cuthbert’s Way crosses the Scottish-English border and as such there are two different countryside codes that should be adhered to. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code is relevant in Scotland and the Countryside Code relevant in England. We would advise that you should familiarise yourself with these two important pieces of guidance before you start the route.
Getting to and fro
Both the start and finish of St. Cuthbert’s Way are readily accessible by public transport, or by car. Regular buses run between Edinburgh, Kelso and the start of St. Cuthbert’s Way at Melrose, and between Newcastle, Berwick-upon-Tweed and the end of the route on Holy Island. Trains from Edinburgh to Tweedbank (a short distance from Melrose) take 55 minutes on the Border Railway Line. The nearest airport is Edinburgh. Trains from Berwick-upon-Tweed take only 50 minutes to Edinburgh, or just over 4 hours to London. The nearest airport is Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Local bus services run between Melrose, St. Boswells, Jedburgh, Morebattle, Yetholm and Kelso, and between Fenwick and Belford. For further information on all public transport contact Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or see www.traveline.info.
Some accommodation providers along the route offer transport to and from rail and bus stations, or will ferry you to and fro each day if you prefer to stay at the same place every night. Several private taxi services also cover the route and are only too happy to transport you and/or your baggage to and fro along the route, back to where you left your car, or to a bus or rail station. Details of taxi and baggage transfer services covering St. Cuthbert’s Way are available from the services section of this website.
Holy Island Crossing
The final section of St. Cuthbert’s Way across the shimmering sands to Holy Island is one of the unique attractions of the route, and a final challenge for walkers: Holy Island is cut off from the mainland twice a day at high tide. Both the Lindisfarne causeway and Pilgrims’ Path across the sands are safe and used daily by hundreds of people, but you need to plan your crossing carefully to cross at low tide. Only use the Pilgrim’s Path during the middle of the safe crossing times. Safe crossing times are posted at either end of the causeway and are widely available from visitor information centres, or from holyisland.northumberland.gov.uk. For a comprehensive guide on walking the Pilgrim’s Way to the Holy Island please visit www.northumberlandcoastaonb.org.
Links to other routes
St. Cuthbert’s Way links directly with various other long distance routes.
Southern Upland Way
212 miles (340km) from Portpatrick in south-west Scotland to Cockburnspath on the eastern seaboard north in the Scottish Borders
268 miles “chasing the Pennine mountain tops along the rugged backbone of England from the Peak District through the Yorkshire Dales and over Hadrian’s Wall to the Cheviots”
St. Oswald’s Way
97 mile (156 km) long distance walking route from Lindsifarne to Hadrian’s Wall linking places associated with St. Oswald.
Northumberland Coast Path
64 mile (103 km) from Cresswell in the south to Berwick upon Tweed on the Scottish border, part of the international North Sea Trail, linking directly to the Berwickshire Coastal Path.
Borders Abbey Way
64.5 miles (103 km) circular walk in the heart of the Scottish Borders, full of attractive countryside passing by four 12th Century Abbeys and through several Border Towns.