HISTORIAN Alistair Moffat has been on a journey, or perhaps that should be journeys.

His latest book, To the Island of Tides, is not only a passage through time to the days of St Cuthbert and early Christendom, it is also a travelogue through his beloved Borders, and, perhaps, the toughest journey of all, it is a timely reflection of his own existence as well as approaching death.

Walking from his home near Selkirk through the historical landscape of southern Scotland and northern England, the award-winning writer and historian finds himself in the shadow of our greatest native saint - the man on whose bones Durham Cathedral was built.

It was 14 centuries ago, that Cuthbert made the journey down the Tweed and across the moors of Northumberland that Moffat retraces to Lindisfarne.

Anyone who has read the former chairman of STV's fascinating historical titles will know he is an authority on most things down the centuries.

And, following some anonymous advice from a Berwick care home, he can now rivals Frenchman's Creek for imagery and poetic observance along each turn of the Tweed.

But perhaps the most striking pathway Moffat follows in To the Island of Tides is one that more and more of us will also face.

While St Cuthbert had his faith and God to draw comfort from during his final years on Lindisfarne and Inner Farne, our modern society's sway towards atheism has left many, including the author, to approach death on his own.

To the Island of Tides is undoubtedly a celebration of the wonderful history that surrounds us.

It is also a delightful reminder of the veneration and reverence bestowed on a holy man who walked, and sometimes rowed, the very countryside we call home.

And the continuity of people and place, that Moffat so treasures, is also beautifully portrayed within these pages.

But it is the honesty of Moffat's words - the confessions, the regrets, the fears - that takes To the Island of Tides to a different place.

His flowing narrative and his authoritative history and etymology regularly branch off into personal reflection and often grief.

And as with Cuthbert all those centuries ago, Moffat finally confronts his own demons on the wild, yet calming, destination of Lindisfarne.

These journeys are as much thought-provoking as they are a delight.

Next month Alistair will discuss To the Island of Tides at both ends of his walking journey.

He will be at Lindisfarne's Crossman Hall on Wednesday, September 11.

And on Friday, September 13 he is at the Corn Exchange in Melrose.

Tickets for both events are available at ticketsource.co.uk