Belford figure of eight
Tue 5th April 2016
After a wet start to the day it was dry when the group met in Belford ready for the start of the walk.
We soon came upon and past Belford West Hall Tower.
There may have been a motte and bailey here in the late 11th century, but the first recorded building was an unfortified manor house which Edward III spent the night in on his return from the Battle of Halidon Hill, 1333. By 1415 the manor house had been replaced by the 'Castrum de Beleford', a strong tower. A moat was dug at this time as part of the building's defence.
We continued along both St Oswald’s Way (97 mile – Holy Island to Heavenfield) and Northumberland Coastal Path (64 miles – Cresswell to Berwick upon Tweed) before reaching and passing through Swinhoe Farm Riding Centre, a family run business, on a 1750 acre farm.
A few miles on we gradually rose up to the stunning view over to Goswick Sands and Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle.
To the right of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne we could see Guile Point - The Old Law Beacons stand at the tip of a sandy spit on the south side of the entrance to Holy Island Harbour. Vessels entering the harbor lined up the two beacons on a bearing of 260° (just south of due west) before turning sharply northward as they approached the tip of the spit.
The beacons were constructed as a day range and no provision was made for lighting them, probably because it was considered too dangerous to enter the harbour at night. It appears that the towers were built in 1829.
After a well-deserved lunch we reached and visited St Cuthbert’s Cave
St Cuthbert's Cave, known locally as Cuddy's Cave or Cove is a natural sandstone cave formed by overhanging rock that has been associated with Saint Cuthbert.
In 875 as the Vikings ravaged Lindisfarne and destroyed all the monasteries it is said that the body of St Cuthbert was taken from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, as the ‘wandered about for seven years’ even though St Cuthbert is thought to have been dead for nearly 200 years.
According to legend, these caves might have been among the places in which either the monks took shelter with their holy relic or where Cuthbert himself lived as an anchorite hermit before moving to the Farne Islands.
Then it was a short walk back to Belford, a truly great walk.