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Information on the village of Yetholm, near Kelso in Scotland.
Kirk Yetholm, or more accurately the Border Hotel, is the Northern end of the Pennine Way, the oldest British long-distance walk. At the Border Hotel, it was, for many years' the privilege of those who had completed the entire walk to collect a free half pint at the expense of that great walker, the late Alfred Wainwright. To encourage the purchase of his guide to the walk, he had agreed to supply a free half to those who completed the walk and were able to produce his guide.
Since the Pennine Way was set up, long-distance walks have sprung up all over the country. One of the newest is St Cuthbert's Way, a sixty mile walk, which was opened in 1996, and which also passes Kirk Yetholm. As with the Pennine Way, the facility of the Youth Hostel and the various hotels, make stopping in Yetholm and Kirk Yetholm a pleasant option. Thus Yetholm has been treated as one of the possible overnight stopping places for St Cuthbert's Way.
Starting in Melrose, the route follows the Tweed, via Bowden to Maxton, where it joins Dere Street which it follows, more or less, to Harestanes and Monteviot. There it aims for Cessford and Morebattle before heading for Yetholm. From there it crosses the Border and going via Hethpool, Wooler and Fenwick ends on Holy Island.
There is no suggestion that St Cuthbert ever walked that particular route from Melrose to Lindisfarne; it is a pleasant route which, staying off main roads as far as possible, allows the walker to travel through an area which was influenced by the monks of Old Melrose and later Melrose Abbey and which visits places reputed to be associated with St Cuthbert. A far easier route, in olden times, would have been to have followed the south bank of the Tweed through Maxton, Sprouston and on to Berwick, as indeed the Romans did, and then turn right down the coast to Lindisfarne.
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