St Cuthbert's Way April 2013

MY STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED:
Places:   [* :
Not worth stopping] [** : things to see] [*** : don't miss]
Accommodation & Food: [* : I'd find somewhere else] [** : OK] [*** I'd definitely stay here again]

Links to other descriptions: official website; website from Walking Support;

DAY PLACES Photos Notes miles
approx
total miles Walk Stay (for 2) B&B Review Food Food Review
1
Arrive
MELROSE ***
  Melrose is a small but lively Scottish border town on the river Tweed. It is surrounded by hills and has an impressive ruined abbey in the centre. We weren't aware that we had booked the same weekend as the Rugby 7s festival - best avoided if possible. - -

Worth visiting nearby Jedburgh and its abbey on your way.

There was snow on the hills when we arrived which didn't bode well.

***
DUNFERMLINE GUEST HOUSE

55 - twin room - reduced price if you stay for two nights. Excellent value.
 
En suite room with a view of the abbey. Excellent breakfast - porridge with a superb choice of fresh fruit. Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs was also on offer.

The Station Hotel ***

 

This unprepossessing pub, slightly up the hill from the main street, was a pleasant surprise. We had haggis, neeps and tatties for £ 6.50 and the service was both swift and friendly. (Vegetarian Haggis also available).
2

ST. BOSWELLS **

Don't miss DRYBERGH ABBEY!***

more photos An attractive little village on the Tweed - not to be confused with Newton St. Boswells which was decidely unattractive - although we did have a welcome cup of coffee at the Drybergh Arms there.

6.2

We took nearly six hours to do these six miles but we did make quite a few long stops.

6.2 We woke to mist on the hills and generally dank weather. The walk up between the Eildon hills was incredibly muddy and we chickened out of climbing up to the top. A short walk but we had two worthwhile detours - Bowden Kirk and the delightful Drybergh Abbey.

As above

We tried to book a room at St. Boswells for this second night but had no success (probably because of the Rugby 7s event that weekend) so we stayed two nights in Melrose and bussed in and out of St. Boswells.

As above Marmion's Brasserie **

Marmion's was very conveniently right next door to the B&B. We shared a plate of Mezze for £6.50 and indulged in the £15.00 spring offer of Sea Bass and a glass of wine.

We bought our tasty lunch sarnies in Dalgetties.

3 MOUNTHOOLEY * more photos Nothing much at Mounthooley except a golf club and a good restaurant - sadly closed for the one weekend in the year we were there.

10

almost 8 hrs - a long day

 

16.2 Cloudy with a cold wind but the occasional sunny interval. From St. Boswells we descended to a peaceful footpath alongside the Tweed then through woodland with several follies and a Waterloo Monument on the horizon. Stops at the Garden Centre and Harestanes Visitor Centre.

HOOLET'S NEST
**

£66 Twin room not en suite.

One of those B&Bs where you are very definitely staying in someone's family home complete with all their personal stuff lying around. But the landlady was very interesting and had lots to show and tell including her eight whippet puppies! On site **
Because the restaurant next door was closed our landlady very kindly cooked an evening meal for us and also made us a sandwich for the next day.
Tasty broccoli and stilton soup followed by fish pie, coffe and chocolates. £27 pounds in total for the dinner AND the packed lunch for the two of us and including one glass of wine as well. Excellent value.
4

MOREBATTLE *

N.B. No O2 phone signal from here on until Wooler!

more photos Small village on the Scottish side of the border

8.6

c. 5 hours

24.8 Rain, gales, bitter wind and a lot of ups and downs so that although it was barely 9 miles this was the most strenuous and draining day of the whole walk and with no spectacular views to sustain us. No other walkers!

TEMPLEHALL HOTEL **

£72 Twin room en suite.

Small, friendly village pub but we felt sorry for the landlady who seemed to be on duty 24 hours a day.

On site **

They also made us some very good sandwiches for the next day.

A pleasant meal - I can recommend the excellent Venison Liver and the starter of potted duck and pear chutney. The steak was not so great.

5 KIRK YETHOLM ***
more photos Twin "towns" of Kirk and Town Yetholm lie either side of a burn and Kirk Yetholm is famous for being the end of the Pennine Way.

6.5

4 hours to Town Yetholm - including a lunch stop

31.3 Very windy, occasional sunshine, thick cloud and some drizzle on the descent from Wide Open Hill. Surprisingly it was easier walking than yesterday. Only two other walkers.

CROSS KEYS HOUSE
***

£70 Twin room en suite

Lovely large room, interesting landlady. BORDER HOTEL**
Just across the green to the pub.

Sadly, I didn't make notes about this meal but suffice it to say I don't recall it being exceptionally good or bad.
6

HETHPOOL ***

College Valley - walk down it if you have time.

more photos Hamlet at the head of College Valley in the remote border fastnesses of Northumberland.

5

2 1/4 hrs

36.3 Fierce wind (60 mph) which pushed us along and once knocked me right over. We had intended to walk down College Valley in the afternoon BUT the wind defeated us.

HETHPOOL HOUSE ***

£75 Large twin room en suite with view.

An opportunity to stay in this gloriously situated house. Gorgeous large room but with a noisy en suite loo.

On site **

£40.00 for two of us including packed lunches and one glass of wine.

Lentil soup followed by salmon. Excellent porridge for breakfast. And our landlady very kindly transported our bags over to Wooler for us as the weather was so dicey.
7
WOOLER **
more photos Wooler is a lively little town on a hill above the river. The first place since Melrose with high street shops and a choice of places to eat and drink.

8

5.5 hrs

44.3

Wet and very windy but not as fierce as yesterday. Low cloud so we took the easy alternative via Commonburn House farm. Good moorland views when visibility permitted.

TILLDALE HOUSE ***

£70 twin en suite

Comfortable room, enthusiastic and interesting landlady. All very spick and span.

MILAN**
evening meal

TROTTERS ***
Lovely sandwiches for our packed lunch on day 8


Garlic prawns were good but bread was lousy. Service was over-efficient and kept trying to take our plates away before we had finished.
8

FENWICK *

DON'T MISS:
St Cuthbert's Cave

more photos Nothing to see at Fenwick as it is just a small hamlet with nowhere to eat. However, our hosts had arranged a lift to a nearby pub.

11.5

6.5 hrs

55.8 Windy plus some light showers. Undulating terrain followed by 4 miles of well signed and delightfully grassy woodland gently descending on broad paths accompanied by lovely views of Holy Island.

MANOR HOUSE GUEST HOUSE **

£70 Twin room en suite, guest sitting room downstairs.

Comfortable room although I had expected something a bit more manorial of the house.

THE WHITE SWAN, Lowick **

 

Good value meal of sausages accompanied by a very nice glass of Pinot Noir which was also very good value. Pub was almost empty which was a shame as they were trying hard and the food was not at all bad.
9

HOLY ISLAND ***

UNMISSABLE!

more photos A "must see" British location with a unique setting, a castle, a ruined abbey, pubs, tea-rooms, and singing seals. 7.0

1 1/4 hr to Beal and about the same across the sands on the Pilgrims Path.

62.8 First really nice weather - sunny with an almost clear, blue sky and a breeze rather than wind. Easy path down to the causeway and back up to Beal to await tides and have lunch. Then it was boots off and a wade across the sands to Lindisfarne.

ROSE VILLA ***

£75 Double Room

Comfortable room overlooking Fiddler's Green and the sea.

THE BARN AT BEAL** for sandwich lunch - superb situation but food was only so-so.

Again I didn't take notes on Holy Isand but we dined at The Manor House Hotel and I do remember they served us bottle of wine which was already opened and although it had a similar name, it was not the one we had ordered!
10 As above REST DAY - a day walking around the island and visiting the sights. As above   The Ship Inn As above, no notes, sadly but I do remember prefering the meal here to the one at The Manor House Hotel.