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Discover the real meaning of Easter by walking on pilgrimage.
‘Find true meaning in Easter by walking a pilgrimage’ – the annual Northern Cross pilgrimage prepares to journey through the Scottish/English Borders for a 41st year.

PILGRIMS LOOK FORWARD TO A WEEK OF LAUGHTER, FELLOWSHIP, PRAYER, AND THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME. The annual Christian cross–carrying Northern Cross walking pilgrimage to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne takes place once again during the week before Easter.

Around 60 pilgrims from across the country and abroad are making final preparations before the annual Holy Week & Easter journey of the Northern Cross pilgrimage to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, in Northumberland, UK. Now in its 41st year, the walking pilgrimage is a reminder of the true meaning behind the Christian festival of Easter to all who see the pilgrims pass.

“Pilgrimage can be a breath of fresh air to my soul and a clearness to my mind .” [quote from previous pilgrim]

Taking place from the 23rd March to 1st April, up to 60 pilgrims will journey through various parts of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, in 2 groups, known as ‘Legs’. Each will walk around 80 – 120 miles during Holy Week, and the groups each carry, between them, a large wooden cross as a sign of Christian witness. They stay in church and village halls along the route, and join in with people of local churches for worship. The Legs will gather together on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne on 30th March, Good Friday, after crossing the Pilgrims Crossing to the island. The dramatic bearing of these crosses over the tidal causeway sands and the arrival onto Lindisfarne on Good Friday morning, mark the beginning of the pilgrimage’s unique celebration of Easter.

Nadia Coppola, Overall Coordinator of Northern Cross 2018, said: “Northern Cross is an extremely unique experience, a week of fellowship that can be tremendously rewarding as we share a common pilgrimage. Stepping away from their daily routine, making this time for Easter, participants come from many different backgrounds, denominations and ages; and walking together, are boosted in many ways through experiencing the beautiful countryside, local communities and sharing prayer, worship & song.”Northern Cross was founded in 1976 by a small group who walked from Penrith to Lindisfarne, and this year [2018] now marks the 40th anniversary of that first pilgrimage. Since then it has grown, and now typically consists of 3 to 5 main groups or ‘Legs’ as well as an occasional Leg focused on those with children. Included in this year’s pilgrims are walkers who will have traveled from various distant locations.

Nadia continued: “it might often be thought pilgrimage is a historic actvity, yet Christian pilgrimage is very much alive, demonstrated yearly by the 5 million people who go to Lourdes, or the 200 thousand who walk the Camino di Santiago. Northern Cross is another example of this. A combination of walking holiday and retreat; on pilgrimage we are removed from many trappings of modern living, and just require whatever can be carried in a small bag. Cut down to essentials – it is a chance to mirror life, to step back and look to see what is really important. You have time to look for meanings; work out things that trouble, or just reflect.”“Northern Cross, and any walking pilgrimage, is a chance to get away from the demands of the world. The destination alone is not solely important – it is a goal – but the important thing is to form a small Christian group of people, travelling together on the road, using each others skills, helping with each other’s weaknesses, working as a team to achieve an aim. That community is an important part of experiencing the Easter celebration and we share that community spirit with places we pass through.

There are still a few places available for the pilgrimage. Visit for information.
Email us at walk [AT] for more information, or to sign up, click here.


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For further information

For more information please contact us by email on press [at]

Twitter: or follow @northerncrossuk or hashtag #nx2015

High resolution photos for use by media

Click here for high-resolution photos available for use by Media organisations, subject to being credited to Northern Cross.

Photo and Filming opportunities during the 2016 pilgrimage

  • Opportunities to photograph, interview or film pilgrim groups during their journey are available between Sat 24 to Fri 30 March. Please contact us to discuss details for location and times.
  • Crossing to Holy Island on the tidal causeway, Beal Sands, south of Berwick on Tweed; pilgrim groups will start to separately cross anytime from 9:15 – 9:30am Good Friday morning, 30 March 2018. Details available to download, see here (PDF):
  • Easter liturgy, St Mary’s Church, Holy Island 8.30 pm. Easter Saturday.
    & Easter Eucharist service, St, Mary’s Church, Holy Island. 10.45am Sunday.
    (media photography inside the church must be confirmed with the local Vicar Paul Collins)
  • Procession of decorated crosses through the streets of Holy Island, Easter Sunday, (after 10.45am Easter Eucharist service). This year will be shortened due to tide times.

Facts & figures for editors

  • 2016 was the 41st pilgrimage, and the 40th anniversary for the event, which began in 1976 and has grown steadily since. Pilgrims in 1976 first walked to Lindisfarne from Penrith, and originally carried all their belongings. That route developed to become Carlisle leg (with support vehicles), and subsequently Lanark, Newcastle (then Hexham, Northumbrian & now Bellingham), Haddington (now Dunbar) and St. Cuthbert’s (now Melrose) legs were set up as the routes evolved.
  • On Good Friday morning, 30 March, the groups join up at the tidal causeway to Holy Island and cross the sands to Holy Island at low tide along the ancient pilgrim route, where they celebrate Easter together with the local community. This year it is expected 60 or more people will cross the two miles of sands with their wooden crosses.
  • Legs this year will start from Melrose and Lanark. The pilgrims are linked by their enthusiasm for walking through beautiful countryside (in all weathers), meeting new people, sharing prayer, worship and song – in pubs as well as churches, and having a really good time. Chaucer’s pilgrims were a mixed bunch – so is Northern Cross – young and old, from 0 to 80 and above, all walk with us. Most of the route is on small quiet roads, tracks or footpaths and avoids any main roads. Many have walked before and return time and time again. Others walk for the first time this year.
  • Lindisfarne, a tidal island, was an important centre for the spread of Christianity in the 6th to 8th centuries, and was the home of St Aidan and St Cuthbert. Today the ruined priory, Norman Church and other relics remind us of our Christian heritage, while pilgrims, visitors and the people of Holy Island join together in a joyous celebration of Easter.
  • Funding support is available to help pilgrims in need, to walk Northern Cross.
  • Applications to walk can be accepted until the week we start, so it might not be too late to join… contact us now, via the website

For further information

For more information please contact us by email on press [at]

Publicity material

You can download our general Leaflet (PDF, 1.7Mb)  Leg brief descriptions (A3, PDF, 961kb), or Route Map (A4, PDF, 658kb), on these links. Spread the word, and come to walk!

If you would like more information, see our FAQs here, or would like to speak in person to a representative of Northern Cross please go to our Contact page. If you are interested in walking with us next Easter and would like to sign up please go to our Registration page.