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Monday, 15 October 2012

More from Northumbria

On our journey down from Scotland to Northumbria, Linda and I decided to detour by way of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, where in the 7th century a monk arrived from the monastery on the west coast island of Iona, to bring Christianity to the area.  lindisfarne st aiden He was St Aiden, who founded the first monastery on Lindisfarne.  lindisfarne priory and castle The ruins of the much later priory built on or near to the original are visible and visitable on a site to the south of the village, with a new-ish visitor centre alongside.

holy island causeway Reaching the island itself has to be a well-timed event as the way across from the mainland is by causeway over the tidal sands.  There are two open periods each day, and if you choose the right times you can spend a decent time there, though of course you can stay longer in one of several B&Bs or hotels.   lindisfarne high tideYou really do have to be careful of crossing before the earliest and after the latest advertised “open” times as the tide comes in very quickly and stealthily and you can get caught out.  There’s a shed on stilts part way across – just in case!  You’ll be safe, but your car will probably be written off!

lindisfarne house However once you are on the island it is very wander-able, the village being very attractive. lindisfarne house2 lindisfarnen honeysuckleThere are pretty cottages and beautiful gardens that sometimes stray beyond the garden walls, and little corners where you don’t always expect to find something so pretty.lindisfarne cottage

lindisfarne green


.As well as the village and some lovely craft and coffee shops, not to mention the grocery store, lindisfarne mead you can visit the Lindisfarne Mead shop, and pick up a bottle or two of the stuff originally made by the monks, and still produced today, or some of the myriad bottles of Lindisfarne wines, a rather recent innovation.    I just realised these bottles look clear but the mead – made from honey – is a pale honey colour.

lindisfarne castle A shuttle bus runs from the village to the castle built on the highest point of the island, a volcanic feature of the landscape. Originally built in the 16th century it was redesigned in the early 20th century by Sir Edwin Lutyens.  We didn’t have time to visit it or the garden nearby, designed by Gertrude Jekyll but those can wait for another visit.  I’d like to visit the harbour too to see the upturned boats that are remnants of a local fishing industry.   Nowadays they are used as sheds.  Maybe in the spring or next summer I’ll book a few days at a B&B on the island and do some exploring. 

bamburgh castle Further down the mainland coast  at Bamburgh is another castle that you can see for miles.  Bamburgh was the home of an 19th century heroine who along with her father carried out an incredible rescue of shipwrecked sailors, whose ship, the Forfarshire, had gone aground on rocks off the coast.  A museum dedicated to Grace has been set up in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution near to her birthplace and grace darling grave opposite the graveyard where she is buried, the figure being portrayed with an oar lying alongside her.


 painting of grace darling on rescueIn this painting the wrecked ship is seen faintly in the top left hand side, while Grace and her lighthouse keeper father battle through stormy seas to reach the surviving sailors.

dunstanburgh and cow Further down the coast are the ruins of yet another castle, at Dunstanburgh.  It was the largest and most impressive of the Northumbrian castles, built in the 14th century but already largely ruined by the 16th.  I loved this view of it, even if I didn’t get the rest of the castle into the photo!

Along the coast which we explored a little, are a number of small towns, and I have to say I was sure I would remember which was which  Huh!  That’s what thought did!  bamburgh harbourAnyway this is Dunstanburgh Harbour, right,but I can’t remember where the next one is at.  I’ve looked at Googlemaps but can’t pin point it at all You’ll notice the concrete blocks along the beach.  I wrote about those before.  cvoastal defences northumbriaThey were placed all round the coast of Britain in WWII to hopefully prevent enemy tank landings. The next photo was taken at Beadnell Baykite surfing,

where we watched these kite-surfers.  So our short break was almost over.  We were glad we weren’t driving south as the rain of the last few days had caused a great deal of flooding.  Going north was fine, and we headed up to Berwick-upon-Tweed before returning home.  berwick upon Tweed

Berwick is an old Scottish town, that now belongs to England due to numerous boundary changes.  It has changed hands 13 times in its history!  On the right is the old bridge over the river Tweed - the same river Tweed that flows past my windows in Peebles, while the tower rises above the market hall in the town centre.

Strange to think that Berwick in England is further north than Peebles in Scotland – but that’s the way the boundary goes! Pop goes the weasel!  


Lorraine Wacob S. said...

I can't thank you, Katrina at "pining for the west" and Margaret at "booksplease" for the beautiful pictures I'm seeing of northern England and Scotland. I'm doing a personal Scotland Challenge in honor of my dad's family from the borders-somewhere. Thanks.

Katrina said...

It looks like you had a great time Evee. We hoped to get to Lindisfarne last week but didn't have time, now I want to go even more!

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

Hi Lorraine. I think your message was destined for Katrina but she will have seen it anyway.
Glad you are enjoying our photos. Would like to know what your personal Scotland Challenge involves?
Your dad's family came from a nice area!!

Katrina, you must have a look at Lindisfarne one of these days. It is so lovely.

Lorraine Wacob S. said...

The message WAS for you Evee.One of my first book blogs was Katrina's. I was curious about Scotland and her lovely pictures and travels. She got me interested in my Dad's heritage-Scot-Irish. The first day of school after the Smiths, Slovinskys, Cohens and Abruzzi's I always was questioned-What's Wacob?? Originally Wauchope.You were either Italian-Amer., Irish Amer., Polish Amer.Jewish Amer. or German Amer.I'm from NYC. Unfortunately Wacob was never mentioned with the clans until recently I found them with the borders clan.My challenge is to read books, mag.(Scottish Life), poetry,and of course travel. I hope I can use Katrina's picture in front of the Scotland sign for my first picture. Thanks for the lovely pictures and blog. Best of health to you and your family. LWS

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

Hi again Lorraine. How interesting to hear the origins of your name. You've certainly got quite a challenge in front of you with all the Scottish literature available. I recommend another Scottish Magazine - the Scots Magazine. It was first published in the 18th century, and contains loads of interesting articles, poetry and stories, not to mention lovely photos!

Peggy Ann said...

Evee you have to be brave to cross to that island! I would be scared to death! The pics are gorgeous and my favorite is the one with the cow in it. Can't wait to see all these places!

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

It's nothing to be scared about, Peggy. The tide times are well advertised on sign boards, and even on the internet, so as long as you time your visit in the safe period you are fine! There's a tarmac/sealed road all the way across so you can't get lost.
There were two cows originally, both with their heads over the wall, but unfortunately one wandered off and this one was on the point of doing the same! I was just in time.