Belfry Bulletin

Search Our Site

St Cuthbert's Cave

by Kangy

I'm a bit of a St Cuthbert fan. He might even be my patron saint. My wife Janet has made a good recovery from two new knees and as a Munroist and ex skiing instructor she ensured I got the message that we were to walk the St. Cuthbert's Way. Once it had clicked that she was serious and that not only was St Cuthbert involved but there was a St Cuthbert’s Cave to visit on the way I was sold on the idea.

Being Old and Decrepit we took advantage of ‘Contours’ a walking outfit which takes your request and organises B&B’s and delivers your bags for you to the B&B ready to be used that evening. No more sniffy shirts, disgusting drawers and having to put up with wet clothing — nice.

The Way follows an imaginary route which connects two important influences in St Cuthbert's life, Melrose Abbey and Lindisfarne on Holy Island. We walked the 60 miles from Melrose to Holy Island in an easy(ish) 6 days and had reasonable weather particularly on the highest point "Wideopen Hill" with good views and on the Cheviots where we had sunshine, mountain views and a 14 hour day which we hardly noticed in such spectacular surroundings.

The eagerly awaited St Cuthbert's Cave did not disappoint. Seeing it from the approach it is impressive.
It is really a shelter under an overhanging sandstone roof. I liked the red earth - St Cuthbert's red. It has graffiti scratched into the back wall, some of which are in copperplate and ancient which is a bit like ruins everywhere. St Cuthbert (635 - 687)) was carted about the place to keep his body safe from the Viking raiding parties (C 875) and his cave or rock shelter was one of the places where they likely rested overnight.

BB548 056
On the hills

BB548 057

St. Cuthbert’s Cave

BB548 060

Inside the cave

BB548 030

Then on to Holy Island. Worth a visit in its own right. The causeway is fun because it is underwater for 6 hour periods (the tide you know) .We just about made it with a quarter of an hour to spare. Tension, incentive to walk at top speed and exhilaration when we made it to Lindisfarne Priory. For the rest of the visit we loved walking the island from beach to beach. For info go to http://stcuthbertsway.info/