Went for a drive and followed signs to St Cuthbert’s Cave, which we’d seen on our main road map and pondered over. Seeing the signs made us investigate! Initially, not being sure of the exact location of the cave, we walked up to St Cuthbert’s Way, where we looked down from the hills right over to the coast and Holy Island, above and beside St Cuthbert’s Wood. We’d come prepared for rain – but the sun decided it was time to come out and blazed down merrily. Skylarks rising frequently into the air as we walked, and at one point we were surrounded by fearless stonechats, ‘chat-ting’ away cheerfully around us – lovely. Lots of pipits also about. Suddenly saw a hare on the slopes below – and then another and another – at least half a dozen of them skipping around. Brilliant view through binoculars.
We then went down into the (coniferous) wood, where we discovered the cave itself. Since we came from the top of the wood, we actually walked over it before we saw it – I did say ‘do you get the feeling it’s underneath us?’ The cave was inscribed with names and dates – graffiti, I suppose. But along with ‘Ed, 1999,’ was a set of initials and the date 1752 chiseled into the stone. Lots of 1800s, too.
Saw treecreeper, chaffinch feeding young, willow warblers, robin. Beautiful sunshine despite forecast. Wonderful view of yellowhammer in gorse on the walk back – singing ‘a-little-bit-of-bread-and-no-chee-eese!’ – head stretched back as it sang, beak wide and throat trembling with the different notes. Swallows and house martins down near car park (Holburn Grange). Another possible willow warbler.
Buzzards in sky as we drove. Stopped in Chatton, sat on bench in Village Green then walked round churchyard (feeling rather weary now). Drove down through Wooler and then back to cottage. Planning to go to Edinburgh tomorrow.