An academic has successfully completed her pilgrimage along the route taken by Scottish prisoners of war prior to being incarcerated in Durham Cathedral.

Megan Olshefski was given a warm civic and clerical greeting on arriving at the cathedral at the weekend having retraced the route taken by the young Scottish soldieres captured by Oliver Cromwell’s victorious English Army after the Battle of Dunbar, in September 1650.

About 4,000 of the defeated Scottish army, who were considered as still capable of posing a potential threat to the English, were forcibly marched the near 100 miles south from the battlefield, crossing the border near Berwick, heading via Belford, Alnwick, Morpeth, and Newcastle Cathedral to Durham.

While a number failed to make it to Durham, many perished through starvation and illness during captivity in the squalor of the 17th Century cathedral and, when “released”, some of the 1,600 survivors were sailed to the US colonies to work in indentured labour.

Read more: Scottish prisoners from Battle of Dunbar died in Durham

The remains of some of those who died in Durham were uncovered in a mass grave found during work on buildings near to the cathedral, in 2013.

Ms Olshefski, a 29-year-old US-born, but Durham-based post graduate researcher, has devoted several recent years delving into the story of the Scottish soldiers.

The Northern Echo: Megan Olshefski, with flowers, greeted back at Durham Cathedral's sanctuary knocker after retracing

In homage to them, she walked as near as possible to the route they were led by their captors, on the 373rd anniversary of the battle, and attempted to follow a traditional Scottish diet of the period, which included oats, peas, fish, brassica and kale.

Her walk was backed by the Rotary clubs of both Dunbar and Durham, the City Freemen’s group in Durham, the university and the Dean and Chapter, in Durham.

For more Durham news from The Northern Echo, read here.

Representatives of those bodies were on hand to greet Ms Olshefski, and her co-walker, cousin Alison Peiper, as they arrived back in sun-drenched Durham on Saturday afternoon (September 9).

Among those to welcome them at the cathedrals North Door were Durham’s Mayor, councillor Lesley Mavin, the Mayoress, Trish Sutcliffe, and the acting Dean of Durham, Canon Michael Hempel.

Posting her updated log on her Twitter (X) account, Ms Olshefski heralded her return to Durham.

Read more: Durham Beer Festival 2023 is at DRFC's Hollow Drift ground

“The city which means home and comfort to me but was far from home and meant uncertainty for the Scots.

“We did it! An absolute honor (sic) and challenge.

“Thank you to all who supported along the way.

Read next:

Historian to follow Scottish prisoners-of-war’ ‘death march’ route

Durham mass grave bodies are Scottish soldiers taken prisoner at one of the 17th Century's most brutal and bloody battles

Story of captured Scottish soldiers force march to Durham coming to city stage next month

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“Time to rest and process.”

Tantalisingly, she hinted at a potential further development in her research, by adding: “Stay tuned.”

She said the recorded final distance completed at the end of the walk as 94.5 miles.