Please note that the Iona and Ruthwell excursions are now fully booked, but delegates can still add their names to the waiting lists during online registration.
– Day Excursion to Ruthwell Cross and Whithorn (£50.00)
– Coldingham Place-Name Walk (£8.00)
– Post-Conference Excursion to Iona (£265.00)


Wednesday 5 August

Cost: £50 per ticket, maximum of 2 tickets per delegate. The price is inclusive of travel, entrance to Whithorn Abbey and lunch.

Ruthwell Cross (© visionarycross)

Ruthwell Cross (© visionarycross)

We will travel in two coaches, one going first to Ruthwell and the other going first to Whithorn. At Ruthwell, the attraction is, of course, the eighth-century standing cross, now housed in the church. The cross is richly carved with figures and vine-scrolls, and with quotations from ‘The Dream of the Rood’. The royal burgh of Whithorn is the location of the first known Christian church in Scotland, founded by St Ninian at the end of the fourth century, and of an eighth-century Anglian monastery. At the historic site, visitors can see an impressive collection of early Christian stones, including the fifth-century Latinus Stone, the earliest in Scotland. Other attractions include the twelfth-century cathedral / priory, the crypts, and an exhibition telling the story of the town.

Whithorn Priory (by Roger Ward)

Whithorn Priory (© Roger Ward)



Wednesday 5 August

We will be asking delegates interested in participating in this walk to sign up at the Welcome Desk during the first day of the conference. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Cost: £8.00.

St Abb

St Abb’s village and harbour

For delegates not taking part in the Ruthwell/Whithorn excursion, an alternative excursion will provide an opportunity to experience some of the stunning scenery on the coast of southern Scotland, as well as getting some vigorous exercise.

We will travel by minibus to Coldingham, a historic village described in Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica as ‘Coludi Urbem’, in the heart of the Scottish Borders. The walk will focus on the place-names of the area, predominantly coined in Older Scots, from the larger settlement names to the names of small coastal rocks to the lost place-names recorded in charters. The walk will commence down the Creel Road, a track over 800 years old, used by fishermen to get to and from the village, before meeting the coast at Coldingham Sand, a small bay. Coldingham Sand is one of the place-names first recorded in the Coldingham charters, a selection of medieval charters now held by Durham Cathedral Archives. The walk will then take delegates up the Berwickshire coast towards St Abb’s Head, where we will discover and discuss the layers of place-names found in medieval charters, early modern maps, sea charts, farm plans, and Ordnance Survey maps and Name Books. We will then pass the scenic St Abb’s village and harbour before continuing the walk along the cliff top pathway where world-renowned geological formations can be viewed. The walk will return via inland paths through rolling countryside to Coldingham where there will be a chance to visit the ruins of Coldingham Priory, founded on land granted in 1098 by Edgar, King of Scots. In an area known both for its farming and fishing communities, the walk will reflect on the relationship between inland and coastal naming.

Walkers are asked to bring waterproofs and sensible walking shoes (preferably hiking boots).

east lothian

The coast looking up towards East Lothian



8–10 August

Cost: £265 per ticket, maximum of 2 tickets per delegate. The price is inclusive of travel, accommodation and meals.

Please note that numbers are limited, and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. As hotel rooms are shared, it would also be helpful if you could indicate on the booking form the name of the person you wish to share with.

Iona Abbey (© Back East Photography)

Iona Abbey (© Back East Photography)

After leaving Glasgow early on Saturday morning, we travel past Loch Lomond and then turn west through the high mountains and over the pass called The Rest and Be Thankful. After a brief stop at Clachan on Loch Fyne, we continue to Oban, a holiday town and port known as ‘The Gateway to the Isles’. Here we will enjoy a buffet lunch of local produce in one of Oban’s best hotels before catching a ferry to the Isle of Mull. Our coach will then take us along the northern shore to our hotels in Tobermory, a colourful town with magnificent views. Please note that the hotels have no lifts.

Tobermory Seafront (© Dave Wilson)

Tobermory Seafront (© Dave Wilson)

On Sunday, we make an early start so as to catch another ferry on the far side of Mull. It is a brief crossing which goes from Fionnphort to the holy island of Iona. This small island holds an important place in the history of Christianity in Britain. St Columba founded a monastery here in the sixth century which became a centre of learning, and the home of missionaries who were largely responsible for the conversion of both the Picts of Scotland and the Angles of Northumbria. It is hoped that those who wish will be able to attend a church service in Iona Abbey at 10.30. There may be a charge for entry into Iona Abbey. There will also be guided tours of the historic sites by experts from Historic Scotland, of which the standing crosses of the seventh to ninth centuries will be a highlight. Please note that all sites are situated within close proximity, but there is a 15 minute walk from the ferry to the Abbey. We shall be entirely on foot on Iona, so bring comfortable, sturdy shoes and waterproof clothing as there is no shelter along the way and the island weather can be unpredictable.


Inveraray(©Daria Izdebska)

After lunch, we return to the little ferry, cross Mull once again and take the ferry from Craignure back to Oban where we stay the night. The next day, we leave Oban and, after a break in Inveraray, a charming town on Loch Fyne where the Duke of Argyll’s castle is located, we drive to Glasgow Airport, with an estimated arrival time of 12.15 p.m. Please note that this arrival time cannot be guaranteed, so if you are travelling that day, you should leave an ample safety-margin before your flight time. After those who wish to leave the coach disembark at the airport, we continue to the university area of Glasgow, arriving in the early afternoon.

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