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Scotland, Northumbria and movements

May 22, 2013

It has been brilliant to take a week off to wander the footpaths and byways of southern Scotland and northern England following in the steps of St Cuthbert. We have a fantastic week (well except 1 day) and I feel really refreshed. I also feel I managed to get inside the head of the man who lived thousands of years ago. Blogs this week will begin to unpack what I have learned.

First up was Melrose, a quaint little Scottish town with wonderful hospitality from the slightly overpriced B&B. The walk starts at Melrose abbey – or what is left of it as it was “dissolved” by King Henry and the money put into the Kings coffers! At one time it must have been a particularly imposing Red Sandstone building that dominated the town – but this was not the place that Cuthbert rode up to when he became a monk, it would have been the previous wooden structure.

Cuthbert lived in the early 600’s – about 200 years after the Romans had abandoned these islands and when the Angles and Saxons from Northern Europe were carving out little kingdoms along the Eastern coasts. It is assumed from the fact he had a horse and spear that he was descended from a nobleman.

Evidence of the Romans is encountered in the very straight section of path – not sure it was ever a road being well to the north of Hadrians Wall – called Dere Street, it is easy to imagine the soldiers marching along it to keep the peace, and indeed there has been much conflict since. We were in border country – the home of the reivers!

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