View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Wednesday, 7 June 2023

St Cuthbert’s Way…the rest, 24th April 2023

The previous night’s pitch on the banks of the R Tweed wasn’t the best, but it was good enough. I hadn’t realised that, across the river, was Dryburgh Abbey – it was just visible through the trees.

After my 2nd breakfast of cheese & onion pastie in St Boswells, I set off in the bright sunshine.

The long, straight track of Dere Street soon presented itself - although every time I looked over my should I could see the twin lumps of the Eildon Hills.

The stone at Ancrum Moor offered a very pleasant sit down, the sun was blazing down, and the birdies were tweeting loudly. It was all rather lovely.

I didn’t come across anyone else walking the route, although I did meet up with another backpacker out for a few days – he just happened to be on the Way, he was walking t’other way.

I left Dere Street at Monteviot House, where I crossed the River Teviot by a lovely footbridge.

I spotted a deer (not a Dere) in the distance, but it soon scarpered when it spotted me.

That night I camped by Oxnam Water, it was a really lovely spot: picnic tables and chairs, flat grass, running water, sheltered….not much not to like – apart from the barking deer that woke me up in the early hours!

I was packed up and away by around 9am, the sun was still shining, the birdies were still singing, and that barking deer had buggered off.

Heading east (east is good) across pleasantly undulating terrain, I came across the 15th century Cessford Castle. The Border Reivers weren’t at home.

Otterburn (not THAT Otterburn, another one) came next, followed by a lovely lunch stop at the Morebattle Community Shop. If walking through Morebattle this place is recommended.

Oh, and Morebattle has a quite decent public loo.

It was soon after leaving Morebattle that I cut trail. I was knackered and I really didn’t relish the idea of Wideopen Hill…so I cut trail and headed straight to Kirk Yetholm. I’d intended to camp just south of the village, but instead I headed straight to the Border Hotel where I followed the advice of all experienced walkers – I rehydrated. It was good.

I ended up, on the advice of some lovely local folk I fell in with, pitching on the green, opposite the pub. I slept rather well.

An early start was need the next day – I needed to get to Wooler, and the weather forecast wasn’t brilliant.

I was up at 6am, and away just after 7am. Then it started raining. This wasn’t just rain, this was seriously horrible rain, the sort of rain that wets nearly everything. The camera and phone were packed away in polybags. Both phone and camera survived.

Leaving Kirk Yetholm on tarmac, I was soon on wet, up and downy footpaths that coincided with the last mile of the Pennine Way at Halterburn.

The next couple of hours were dreary – not because of the route, but just because of the horribly wet weather. At Wooler I stopped in a bus shelter to get out of the rain and to grab a bite to eat.

As I left the town, the rain eased off, I crossed the bridge over Wooler Water, then a little later, by the bridge over the River Till.

Now regular followers will know that I’m a bit slow on the uptake, I hadn’t realised that St Cuthbert’s Way was a pilgrimage route, it was just a nice route that I’d had on my bucket list for rather too long. It was therefore something of a surprise when I came across a rather lvely bench seat, offering the opportunity of rest to weary pilgrims…..I was an unwitting, and certainly weary, pilgrim!

The rain had decided to make a brief return, so my (Mars Bar fuelled) rest was a damp one!

St Cuthbert’s Cave was next. Because of the wetness I had the place to myself.


My intended pitch for the night was recommended to me by Dawn – always a good source of information. Thanks Dawn!

I camped on lovely flat grass, with a water source close by, and it was well hidden from passing walkers – lovely.

The rain had stopped raining so I was able to hang my damp stuff out to dry (a bit) in a warm, gentle breeze.

A home dehydrated meal of Lamb Casserole, followed by home dehydrated stewed rhubarb + instant custard hit the spot.

I slept very well that night.

Next day (Sunday) was to be a short-ish walk towards the coast. I’d intended wild / stealth camping, but looking at the map, things didn’t look promising. My friend Greta, she of saxaphone, flute, and bagpipe fame, had stayed at the Lindisfarne Inn the previous Sunday. She paid £89 for B&B. I thought I’d treat myself – and take the opportunity to dry my kit out properly.

I phoned to check if they had a room, they did – at £143! No thanks. I ended up getting a lift in Berwick where I stayed at the Travelodge….for exactly £100 less – £43….although breakfast wasn’t included.

Next morning I hopped on the bus to where I’d left the route the day before, and walked to the causeway to Lindisfarne.

LTD and Mike were waiting for me, as soon as the tide receded we headed over to the island. It was a bit surprised to see a number of vehicles crossing whilst the water was still covering the road. apart from anything else, the seawater wouldn’t do their vehicles much good. Oh well.

We found a pub. We had crab butties. We had beer (I had two, Mike had one ‘cos he was driving).

We wandered around the island, visited the priory (the official end of the walk), took photographs, and then headed back to the mainland.

The tide was well out by now, so rather than return via the causeway, we followed the pilgrim’s route – over the sands, following the marker poles. Mike wore wellies, LTD didn’t bother, I wore by walking boots – although I did have my uber-stylish crocs with me, just in case.

That was it. Mike delivered me to Durham where I hopped on the train to get back home, Mike and LTD returned to Crook, all was well.

Thanks to LTD, Mike too, for their company, transport, laughs, and company.

Now to get my backside into gear to backpack the top half of the West Highland Way as a warm-up for this year’s TGO Challenge. I can’t wait!

PS: The photos aren't necessarily in the right order. Take it up with Google / Blogger - it's nowt to do with me.







  1. A bit of almost everything one may experience backpacking and your account brought it all to life - it sparked off many memories for me. I especially enjoyed my walk from Berwick through some of that terrain.

    1. I loved the terrain - it was made for backpacking! I'll be returning to the area before too long, there are a few routes I have in mind!

  2. Brilliant write up John, a lovely selection of photos too, several of which I recognise.

    1. I'm delighted you enjoyed it Dawn - I thought you may have recognised a few scenes!


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