In what has become an annual event – 2017 was our fifth Parish walk – a small group of us spend a week walking St. Cuthbert’s Way. It’s a 65 mile walk through beautiful, rugged and challenging landscapes as we move from Melrose in the Scottish Borders, through the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland to end our pilgrimage at Holy Island -Lindisfarne. There were eight of us this year and we enjoyed each others’ company, some glorious and some wet weather, lots of good food and plenty of opportunity to be quiet and reflect on God’s goodness. Once more Bamburgh was our base as we journeyed, learnt and grew together.
Here’s our blog from 2016:
Friday 1st July
We started at Weetwood Bridge and enjoyed almost being herded along with 200 bullocks by the farmer on our way towards St Cuthbert’s Cave. After a pastry break we travelled through short sharp bursts of rain and lots of mud and a field of cows towards our final collection point at Fenwick. After six days of walking; talking; befriending; praying; listening; eating and sharing, we’ve come to the end of the road and a warm shower and a final meal at The Castle pub in Bamburgh beckons this evening. Once again we’ve made new friends, gained new experiences, been surprised, renewed connections with the beauty around us and allowed God to minister to us in lots of new and old ways. Great Wyrley beckons tomorrow and we look forward to returning to our home.
Thursday 30th June
A lovely day for walking across the moors by Yeavering Bell with a strong breeze keeping everyone cool, although we nearly lost boots/walkers in some of the more boggy parts. After lunch on Wooler Common it was time for a well deserved coffee at The Terrace in Wooler, greeted by our friend and proprietor Steph, formerly of Little Bloxwich. If you’re ever in Wooler, make sure you say hello. After that break it was on to Weetwood Bridge for the end of today’s walk. Final day’s walking Tomorrow.
Wednesday 29th June
We knew it was going to rain today and went prepared. It was just as well! A tough walk up Grubbit Law and then on to Wideopen Hill and our halfway point. It was raining pretty heavily by then so a coffee in a warm cafe in Town Yetholm was a welcome break before the afternoon crossing into England and our pick up point at Hethpool. We may all be soggy but it’s still an exhilirating and rewarding time walking with friends amongst such beauty. Fish’n’chips for dinner did more to restore our good humour.
Another early start to avoid expected rain later. It’s been lovely receiving messages from people at home – mostly by text but the most creative from Diane & Phil Owen. They were in Melrose last week and left a postcard for us – Graham picked it up at Ancrum stores where each year he tops up his caffeine levels. A lovely walk by the Teviot River was made even more special by a flight of fifteen swans overhead – at the same time Graham saw a family of four herons on a gravel bank in the river. We walked Dere Street (Roman Road) through ancient woodlands and continued to try to figure out the names of the wildflowers using a little spotters’ book.
An early start to drive to Melrose for our first tougher day of walking. The Eildon Hills were beautiful ahead of us for the first hour until we crossed them transforming them into a rearward reference point for our journey on. The final four miles by the River Tweed had to be missed because of landslip on the route so we had an earlier than expected return to base which gave us opportunity to wander around Bamburgh. An evening meal at the Castle beckons tonight.
Because of the tide times, this is the day we walk across to Lindisfarne. Two ventured across the mudflats following the Pilgrims’ Way while the rest walked along the Causeway. Having a coffee later, we bumped into Glynn Watkin & family – Glyn is vicar in our neighbouring parish of Heath Hayes! We had a memorable Holy Communion on St. Cuthbert’s Isle (to the south west of Holy Island) watched over by some seals and some Cuddy Ducks which seemed appropriate.
Saturday 25th June 2016
We left Great Wyrley on time! That’s a first. We lunched in a thunderstrom in Durham. The skies cleared as we reached our base in Bamburgh. A paddle in the North Sea brought us views of the Farne Islands where Cuthbert had spent years in solitude before bing called back to church leadership.
Here are some photos from our trips over the years:
Cuthbert was a Bishop in England in the 7th Century and was respected and honoured.
The walk is part pilgrimage part challenge and part retreat- we hope and pray that we will sense God drawing us closer to Him as we walk.We would value your thoughts and prayers as we walk
and we will be praying for our families and our churches as we journey.