November 16th 2020

Northumberland - Bamburgh Castle

Come walk with us in the UK's north in 2021!

Imagine a Walk that offers stunning coastlines, moors and mountains, islands and castles. History, myth and mystery at every turn of the trail. Great food and drink too!

If that sounds appealing, then come with us to the UK’s north in 2021. Start off in Northumbria, where England jostles against Scotland, and then follow one wonderful week’s walking with another in either the Highlands or in Northern Ireland. Our fall 2021 departure dates line up perfectly for this. There are other wonderful combinations for spring. If that interests you, let us know!

We’re talking remote countryside and some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll find anywhere in the world. The towns in these parts are small and welcoming. Even the capital cities are friendly - and highly walkable - with excellent international flight hubs and short transfers into the centre. It’ll be hard to resist a couple of extra days in Edinburgh or Belfast to explore a bit more!

As ever, booking two or more Walks back-to-back means a great deal on price and we’ll take care of the night’s accommodation in between.

We all need something to look forward to at the moment and this combination is a real breath of fresh air to take us back out into nature. By the way, Northumbria and Northern Ireland are both easy Level 2 Walks and the Highlands’ Level 3 has less vigorous options; so they are perfect for all Wayfarers!

Read more below and please do contact us with any queries.

Northumberland - Dunstanburgh Castle

Northumbria – an ancient kingdom

The most northerly English county, Northumberland has a fascinating and unique history. We’ve named our Walk after the ancient kingdom of Northumbria as a nod to the ancient myths, legends and stories that abound here.

This was the furthest point the mighty Roman empire reached in the north and over the centuries many other invaders, including the Vikings, have tried their luck here.

Lindisfarne - Upturned boat sheds

In Tudor and Elizabethan times this wild landscape was the home to the notorious Border Reivers, the lawless clans of the Scottish border valleys, where a lifestyle of raiding and marauding was the only way to survive. We’ll have a foot on either side of the border as we take in the eye-popping views on this coast.

As a result, forts and strongholds pepper this region, with the Northumberland Coast Path touring impossibly long, golden beaches overlooked by castle ruins dominating the headlands. Some of the finest jewels are Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh castles, which stand guard on the coastline.

Northumberland’s coast is so precious and so dramatic it is safeguarded for the nation to enjoy as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Northumberland Coast

At low tide, we can make our way across a tidal causeway - The Pilgrim Way - to Holy Island to explore the extensive ruins of Lindisfarne Priory. In the footsteps of ancient saints, we’ll learn about the famous Gospels created in what is known as the cradle of Christianity in Britain.

This coastline is internationally acclaimed for its wildlife too. We’ll spend an unforgettable day on the Farne Islands, an internationally significant wildlife where a huge variety of breeding and migrating birds are attracted by the rich feeding grounds. Grey seals love it here too.

Northumberland - grey seal

And when it comes to castles, we’ve saved the biggest until last. We’ll walk St Oswald’s Way to Alnwick Castle (pronounce it “Annik”), a film star in its own right as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. The Percy family descendants have lived here for more than 700 years.

Jane Percy, the Duchess of Northumberland has created some truly wonderful gardens here too over the past 25 years – including one area dedicated to poison!

Alnwick Castle interior


Walk Level 2

May 23-29, 2021

August 29-September 4, 2021

Download the Northumbria itinerary

Scottish Highlands - snow-capped mountains

Scotland - The spectacular Highlands

If your brief step over the border tempts you to take in more of Scotland, our Walk in the Highlands (with a delightful taste of Edinburgh to finish) is the ideal follow-on.

Think of the Scottish Highlands and you conjure up images of craggy mountains, glassy grey lochs, mountainsides tumbling with cascades of purple heather or maybe topped with a smattering of snow.

Highlands - Golden Eagle

There are also great wildlife watching opportunities: with a bit of good luck, red kites and ospreys, otters, red squirrels, golden eagles, deer, wild cats and pine martens are all potential “spots”.

Culloden Battlefield marks the site of the last-ever pitched battle on British soil. On 16 April 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite Army took their last stand to reclaim the throne of Britain. But it took less than an hour for the Jacobite cause to come to an end and 1,600 lives were lost. The outcome of this short but bloody battle has changed life in the Highlands forever. It’s a memorable place to visit.

Culloden Battlefield - Clan Mackintosh

Nearby, the ancient Clava Cairns are a group of Bronze Age cairns and standing stones. They are about 4,000 years old, so this burial ground one of the oldest well-preserved sites in Scotland.

Then to Speyside, a glorious valley, where the salmon fishing and the malt whisky are highly prized. Here, the Cairngorm mountains loom on the horizon.

Blair Castle, ancestral home of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl, sits in a spectacular setting amid Highland Perthshire and we’ll explore within its walls and the extensive grounds.

Highlands - Blair Castle

The Dukes of long-ago planted a romantic landscape that remains today and the ancient forest is the home of the Birnam Oak, immortalized by Shakespeare in Macbeth.

To Edinburgh – and a chance to explore the Old Town and walk up Arthur’s Seat – an extinct volcano (yes, really!) that offers the very best views of this ancient royal capital.

Edinburgh - Calton Hill

Scotland – The Highlands

Walk Level 3

June 13-19, 2021

September 5-11, 2021

Download the The Highlands itinerary

Northern Ireland - Beach cows

Northern Ireland – a vibrant city and wonderful coast

Still in the UK, but on the island of Ireland!

We meet in the capital, Belfast, and a black taxi tour will give us a sense of the troubled history and the wonderful rejuvenation this proud city has enjoyed in recent years.

Vibrant Belfast

Then it’s out into the countryside. We stay in picturesque Ballygally, where, it just so happens, a friendly ghost may put in an appearance at our castle hotel! Lady Isabella Shaw came to grief there some 400 years ago, but still, it is said, walks the corridors…

Heading towards the coast again, we’ll find Glenarm Castle and wander through the fine gardens and estate.

The mythical nine Glens of Antrim surround us and the Queen of the Glens, Glenariff, takes us past waterfalls and woodland to the jaw-dropping Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge 80 feet above the sea. Crossing is optional – but never to be forgotten.

Carrick a Rede rope bridge

For sheer beauty, remote little Rathlin Island is hard to beat. Eight miles off the coast, it’s a magnet for birders.

The coast draws us on to see the magnificent clifftop ruins of Dunluce Castle (said to inspire CS Lewis’ Narnia) and then Portrush provides a wonderful, traditional seaside experience. Later on it’s Irish whiskey with an “e” and the chance to tour the renowned Old Bushmills Distillery.

Last but most definitely not least: The Giant's Causeway! Legend says it’s the remains of a causeway built by an Irish giant to meet a challenge to a fight by a Scottish giant. Or maybe the intriguing 40,000 basalt columns are simply volcanic. Either way, the place is quite simply epic.

Northern Ireland - Giant's-Causeway

Northern Ireland

Walk Level 2

June 6-12, 2021

July 4-10, 2021

September 5-11, 2021

Download the Northern Ireland itinerary

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