|Distance (km)||Ascent (metres)||Number of days|
|100||2075||4 - 6|
|Start: Melrose||Finish: Lindisfarne|
Linked to other Scotland’s Great Trail(s):
Borders Abbeys Way Southern Upland Way
Linear, between Melrose and Lindisfarne.
Starting from Melrose puts the prevailing (south-westerly) winds behind you, and Lindisfarne makes a splendid destination, but it can be completed in either direction.
Follow the footsteps of St Cuthbert in this cross-border route from Melrose in the Scottish Borders to the island of Lindisfarne in the North Sea. It goes beside the banks of the lovely River Tweed, includes a section of Roman road and passes ruined abbeys, castles and hill forts. There is great scenery throughout, including lofty views from its highest point on Wideopen Hill. Its unique finale is a barefoot crossing of the tidal mudflats and sands of the Pilgrims’ Path. On arrival at the Holy Island, the route can be ended at Lindisfarne Priory. There are great chances of wildlife viewing throughout, from moor and mountain to river banks to the North Sea.
- views of and from the Eildon Hills
- walking beside the River Tweed with its pristine water and diverse wildlife
- scenery from the upland sections, especially Wideopen Hill (368m/1207ft)
- Roman hill forts, signal stations and roads
- Melrose Abbey and Lindisfarne Priory
- barefoot crossing to Lindisfarne by the Pilgrims’ Path
- reaching Lindisfarne demands careful planning around tide times, especially for the Pilgrims’ Path
- accommodation on Lindisfarne is limited and mostly expensive; camping is not allowed
- no B&Bs on the route near Harestanes: the Jedburgh detour adds several miles each way, and may need transport
The route is clearly and consistently waymarked, and there is little need for competence with map and compass unless low cloud or mist descends. The first day begins with a stiff climb and extends for 16 miles, but other sections are shorter and the terrain is mostly sound. However, there is a considerable altitude gain overall (2075m/6805ft), mainly on the Eildons, Wideopen Hill and the Cheviots, so fitness is required.
Most villages have a range of accommodation choices including B&Bs and hotels, and there are hostels in Kirk Yetholm and Wooler. However, some are closed out of season, most are busy in season and advance booking is essential. For online information and booking, try VisitScotland.
There are camping options, both at commercial and at free campsites (basic or no facilities).Wild camping is legal in Scotland subject to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, but the law in England differs, and camping is not allowed on Lindisfarne.
Getting away from Lindisfarne is much more difficult, and complicated by the tidal window for the road causeway. Local taxi firms may help, but mileage is normally charged from the taxi’s base location, so check before booking.