Wednesday 10th. September, 2014 – An early start to Lindisfarne 

This is the view of Lindisfarne which many people think of when they hear the name Lindisfarne -- I think more immediately of the holy places, but there is no denying that this is a special view, and one which we enjoyed as we walked towards the castle this morning in the brightest sunshine you could wish for

Up and walked Mix before breakfasting and getting on the road (this time with Rachel as well) before eight o’clock. We arrived at Lindisfarne soon after eight-thirty and crossed safely across the causeway before making our way to the car park where we left the car.

I had anticipated that everything on the island would have been open to tie-in with the access times via the causeway, but no, nothing opened until ten. That’s not quite true, the Church was open – good for the Church – so we explored it first before making our way to the Castle, stopping off twice on the way, once to visit the National Trust shop (I’ll be open when you come back so you can buy your books then) and once at a little display centre which identified the nature we were seeing as we walked to the Castle.

Arriving at the Castle we set off on a tour, this time under our own direction (which was fine because there are good interpretative signs everywhere and because we were each given a good leaflet with information when we arrived). We had an excellent visit to this old castle which had been massively restored at the start of the twentieth century. It was really good. On the way back into the village we visited the Castle’s walled garden, again set out at the start of the twentieth century. It looked super. Eating ice-creams we made our way back to the Priory, now open, and which we explored in glorious sunshine. Again a ruin, but again, with the help of the literature and of the visitor centre which we fully explored, it was easy to understand.

Time was now running out but we made our way to a private exhibition centre to see the exhibition on the Lindisfarne Gospel. This was very, very good and we could have stayed longer watching the displays teaching us about how to make a medieval book, but time had run out and we returned to the car park by way of the National Trust shop to pick up some books: it was closed!

We drove off the island and made our way to the Barn at Beal where we dined on fish and chips and watched as cars continued to come off the island long after the final announced time for leaving.

Now we drove to Bamburgh where we considered afternoon tea but settled for ice cream before returning home to collect the dogs and set off for Duns where we walked along in front of the castle, returning home via Gavinton (where we saw Tom and our Church) and Fogo where we visited the ancient Church there.

We arrived home just in time for supper, followed by conversation and a (fairly) early night because we were all pretty tired after a day of gallivanting – but it was an excellent day and I have really enjoyed Ewen and Jane’s company. They are like the best kind of old friends – you don’t see them for ages and then you just pick up with them as if they had never been away.

Inside the Church on the site of the ancient Priory. There is a lovely feel to this working Church which clearly recognises the importance of its ministry to pilgrims and visitors

As we walked towards the castle we came across a small viewing booth which centred around a window onto the wetlands beyond with a great deal of explanations of what was to be seen in terms of local wildlife

I took this picture into the bright sun and so it looks very dark. It struck me that most people would always see Holy Island with the tide out because they came across when the tide went out and left before they got trapped on the island. Rachel told me, however, that she and her Mum used to come across just before the island got cut off and then waited until it was possible to leave again. Now why didn't I think of that?

The picture of our approach to the castle is at the head of today's entry. Now we are in the Castle kitchen when Jane and Ewen look quite at home

This picture was taken on the battlements -- it really was a glorious day

I loved the wild flower look of the castle garden. It had been carefully planned more than a hundred years ago and replanted to the original plans a few years back. I could have sat here for the whole of the day

My tour party relaxing on the side of the well in the Priory

We popped into the United Reformed Church and took in an exhibition of banner-making. The banners were quite striking -- they were also thought-provoking

And now we have arrived at the exhibition about the Lindisfarne Gospel. If you find yourself on Holy Island this exhibition is well worth a visit. I would have liked to have stayed longer

I took this picture from outside the Lord Crewe Arms, the hotel in which Rachel and I spent part of our honeymoon way back in 1969. The view of Bamburgh castle is quite wonderful


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