The Borders Abbey Way

by Paul Taylor

I hadn’t been on a pilgrimage before; it was a personal experiment, both physically and spiritually. The plan was to walk forty miles of ‘The Border Abbeys Way’ with a group of sixteen ‘pilgrims’.

These seasoned pilgrims are drawn together from all walks of life annually by the United Reformed Church’s Northern Synod and each year a different route is chosen. I was a newly recruited pilgrim and a privileged member to be joining this group, many of whom had walked together for 10 years of such journeys. I was soon welcomed as a new friend and companion. The circular route of ‘The Way’ is 78 miles long but our plan was to walk between the monasteries of Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh along the Border Abbeys Way. This is a shorter and we hoped the most interesting part of the journey, as it criss-crosses St Cuthbert’s Way and the Roman road, Dere Street and follows a path which connects each abbey site. These abbeys were established from the early 1100’s by King David the First of Scotland, following his return from exile in England and France to be crowned king.

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