Monday, 19 April 2010

Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

P1010116David and Shirley set off across the causeway DSCF8394The tide coming in 

For with the flow and ebb, its style
Varies from continent to isle;
Dry shod o'er sands, twice every day,
The pilgrims to the shrine find way;
Twice every day the waves efface
Of staves and sandelled feet the trace.
-- Sir Walter Scott

There is something exciting about a tidal island. The 3 mile long causeway is generally clear from about 3 hours after high tide until 2 hours before the next high tide and we checked the tide tables, but there is that little frisson of fear as you look out of the car to see the mudflats and the water lapping gently only inches from the road. Some people do get it wrong!

P1010106Lindisfarne is a small island and most of it is sand dunes but the tiny village (less than 200 people live there) has Lindisfarne Priory, at its centre.  Founded by St Aiden in 635 AD, it has long been in ruins but is a quiet and peaceful place, even with tourists wandering round. It wasn’t always so. The Vikings sacked the island in 793 AD and it was noted at the time that

“The heathens poured out the blood of saints around the altar, and trampled on the bodies of saints in the temple of God, like dung in the streets.”

In 875, the monks fled the island because of more raids. The priory was re-established in 1093 as a Benedictine Monastery but suppressed by Henry VIII in 1536. Some of the stone was used to build a fort, which is now Lindisfarne Castle.


We parked at the large public car park outside the village and walked the dogs before catching the little shuttle bus into the village itself.

Alan and I opted to visit the priory while David and Shirley visited Lindisfarne Castle which was refurbished by Sir Edward Lutyens early in the 20th century.

P1010140As we crossed at low tide, Alan and I went back again another day to see the tide come in, so the first two pictures were taken on different days – you’d never know!

DSCF8404There are more pictures at Picasa.

1 comment:

  1. I know it has been a long time coming, but I would like to first thank yoo for your comment on my post, I think your blog is most unusual and gives me a lot of information about places I will never get to see, I enjoy that very much. I hope you will continue and return to see me often.


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