Lindisfarne to Iona: Coast to Coast and Holy Island to Holy Island
It's my pleasure to share news of this trip with you, undertaken in aid of the Samaritans. My plan is to hike the 419 km between the ancient Island of Lindisfarne on the Northumbrian coast, across country to the Island of Iona, on Scotland's west coast....
This trip was completed in May 2022, after 24 days of walking. The eventual distance was a bit further, at 523km (325 miles). It took me through the hills of the wonderful Borders area (St Cuthbert's Way) following the River Tweed to the picturesque town of Peebles. Here I turned north, crossing the River Forth at Queensferry and then west, to amazing Culross (home of St Serf). Next, it was north again through the Hillfoot villages of Fife to Dunblane ('Fort of St Blane'). Picking up the River Teith took me to the town of Callander and following a section of the Rob Roy Way, on to the lovely Highland village of Killin (famed for it's collection of healing stones gifted to the community by St Fillan.) Then it's north and west, through the hills of Glen Lochy and Loch Lyon to Bridge of Orchy. The final stretch on the mainland cut through the hills of the Bkackmount to Taynuilt and Oban. From there it was onto the ferry to the Isle of Mull. Crossing Mull lead me to my final ferry crossing and the short sea journey to Iona.
Over the two years of the global C-19 pandemic, lives have been shattered. This disruption and fragmentation of lives has affected us all in different ways. Some lost their income while others lost loved ones and were unable to say goodbye.
I think we'd all agree that it's been awful. But the remarkable thing is that groups like the Samaritans are there, at the end of a phone line, for all of us no matter who we are. Founded in 1953, their volunteers have done incredible work in the decades since. I'm sure their phone lines are ringing as much as ever but there's someone there, just to listen. I think that's pretty amazing. The link to my donation page is now closed but the generosity of friends and family lives on.
I'd like to thank Kenny Gibson (route planning & mapping, Peebles to Edinburgh), Alan Wright (route planning & walking from Stirling to Callander), Janice McKinlay (walking from Callander to Strathyre), Lorraine McCall (logistical support) and Wendy (lunch and great company in Callander). Thank you all.
And thanks to all those who made donations, offered moral support when it was needed and gave congratulations at the end. Without you, it wouldn't have meant as much.