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Bellingham Leg - this route has been mothballed for the moment (see notes below) but you can still book a place on another Leg, click here for details
Exploring the beautiful county of Northumberland
[update; January 2017] Due to problems in securing a leadership team for this route in 2017, the Northern Cross Steering Committee meeting in late 2016 decided to mothball the Leg for the forthcoming year - Holy Week 2017. This was a hard decision taken after much consideration, but ultimately it was the most appropriate choice for the moment. We express sincere and grateful thanks to all the communities we have been a part of along the way, through all the variations of Newcastle, Hexham, Northumbrian and Bellingham Legs, and hope to return once again another year.
Starting in the friendly little town of Bellingham, close to Kielder Water, we spend six days exploring the varied countryside of Northumberland. Our route takes in the Simonside hills with their spectacular views, the county town of Alnwick and its famous castle, the beautiful Heritage Coast, and the castles of Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh. We visit the lair of the Laidley Worm (watch out for dragons) and St. Cuthbert’s cave. The highlight of our tour is our destination, the lovely island of Lindisfarne, where we join with other Northern Cross pilgrims for the spectacular Pilgrims’ Crossing on Good Friday morning.
This leg is a day shorter than other Northern Cross legs, though that doesn’t mean easier – most days are 16-18 miles and terrain can be difficult. We arrange transport from Hexham to Bellingham so that we can all meet together for a meal on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning we join the Catholic parishioners of Bellingham for their Palm Sunday procession and mass, before setting off on the first day of our pilgrimage – about 12 miles of gentle walking to the village of Kirkwhelpington, where the villagers give us a warm welcome.
Monday sees us heading over the Simonside hills to the small town of Rothbury, where we are guests of the Rector and parishioners of All Saints Church. On Tuesday we leave Rothbury along the lovely River Coquet, stopping for lunch in Longframlington before heading north uphill along small roads and cycle tracks to Alnwick.
Leaving Alnwick early on Wednesday morning, we enjoy a panoramic view of Alnwick castle across the river before heading out on small roads and paths to the little fishing village of Craster on the Heritage Coast. From Craster we pass by the ruined Dunstanburgh Castle, then on along Northumberland’s beautiful white sand beaches to the jolly seaside town of Seahouses, from where we can see the Farne Islands.
After a pleasant stay in Seahouses; on Maundy Thursday we continue our journey on footpaths to Bamburgh, where we pass by the castle before walking through the lair of the Laidley Worm on our way to our night stop in Belford, stopping by 4pm to prepare for our final meal together as a Leg group and also to join the local community for a quiet contemplative evening service remembering Jesus’ last hours with his disciples, with foot washing and prayers.
On Good Friday morning we walk our final ten miles to reach the Holy Island causeway, where all the Northern Cross pilgrims will meet as the groups carry their crosses across the sands.
[note] Tthis Leg was relaunched after a period of consideration in June 2014, as Bellingham Leg; to reflect its starting place, and to accord with the general naming of all Northern Cross Legs. In this way this Leg and route developed onward from its forerunners of Newcastle, Hexham and Northumbrian Legs and it has now successfully walked this beautiful region again.<<< back to short description