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Journey Through The Holy Island Of Lindisfarne
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Journey Through the Holy Island Of Lindisfarne

Sitting in the North Sea just off the Northumbrian Coast of England is the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. It spans just 2 sq miles, however, it is rich in history, flora, fauna and birdlife (over three hundred varieties of birds visit each year). Northumberland is England's northern most county and least populated.

Lindisfarne acquired the additional name of Holy Island from the Christian monks living on Lindisfarne following murderous attacks by Vikings in the late 8th century, which is thought to be the beginning of the Viking era in England.

Today, Holy Island is a charming and tranquil island, a place to explore on foot or by bike and take in lots of fresh sea air.

Tidal island

The only road to the island is covered by the sea at high tide, which happens on two occasions in every 24-hours, so best to check tide times before visiting. The coastguard does not like being called out to the causeway for stranded motorists, but it happens every year, which must be embarrassing and costly for those stranded, and more importantly, time consuming for the coastguard.

Despite its small size and population of 160 inhabitants, the island is large in stature with more than half a million visitors every year.

What to see

The small 16th century castle, which was once a fortress, is a gentle (apart from the last bit) 1-mile walk from the village of Lindisfarne passing fields and coastline. When you reach the castle, you'll be rewarded with views of the Northumbrian coast, as seen from the high position of the castle on its craggy peninsular. The seascapes are tremendous, stretching to the Staple and Farne islands and across to the splendid Bamburgh Castle 6 miles distant on the mainland. My photo above right was taken in black and white for a different impression of the castle and immediate landscape.

Back in the village, you will see the remains of the Lindisfarne Priory built around 1150 AD and you can visit the Lindisfarne Heritage Centre, which houses an exact copy of the magnificent Lindisfarne Gospels created by the hand of the Bishop Eadfrith.

Stroll around the village and the small harbour to see lobster pots mended by hand and small fishing boats bobbing up and down in the small bay, and see the curious Lindisfarne boat sheds, which are old fishing boats turned upside down and converted into sheds.

Visit St Aidan’s Winery and try a drop of Lindisfarne mead, brewed from grape juice, herbs, pure well water and honey. It started out as a small family business in the 60s and has had great success. Mead is one of the oldest drinks in the world and could be where the word “honeymoon” originates. In Babylon times, it was gifted to the groom by the bride's father during the first month of marriage to increase fertility.

Place of pilgrimage

Owing to its religious connections, Lindisfarne has been a place of pilgrimage for millennia. As well as being the birthplace of the Lindisfarne Gospels, it was the home of St Cuthbert the well-liked patron saint of Northern England. St Cuthbert was widely credited with being able to heal people both spiritually and physically.

Look out for eider ducks while on the island, also known as “Cuddy’s ducks”. St Cuthbert introduced laws to protect the ducks, which could be the first ever bird protection laws. Eider ducks once provided the feathers for eiderdown pillows and quilts.

Use your imagination

On the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, you can walk in the present-day, become a twitcher if only for a day, and in your imagination recreate the island’s spiritual and ancient past. Make sure you have your camera with you, fully charged or with plenty of film to capture the natural beauty of Lindisfarne, the birdlife and your personal memories.


Street Talk

Interesting island! Reminds me of many pleasant memories.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

thanks for writing this great article...I have never heard of this place before...I love to hear about place like this....k

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Many thanks for your comment Sister Kaite. I feel sure you would enjoy the natural beauty of Holy Island.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Certainly sounds a great place to visit, love the idea of having to watch the tides for access...

Reply
  about 8 years ago
  

Stupidly, some visitors ignore tide times and warning signs and get stuck on the causeway. Rescue can involve coastgaurd, lifeboat services and helicopters. Afterwards vehicles may have to be written off (sea water and engines don't mix).

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Nice article G.S. Though I've was born and raised in England, I never visited this part but I've always liked the people from the North East, the Geordies. Wy-yiy man!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
  

A part of the UK often underestimated as an area worth visiting. I know what you mean by Wy-yiy man! but no idea if that's how you spell it!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Me neither man!

  
  about 8 years ago

Sounds fascinating. Would love to go there one day and now I know about it I probably will! Thanks for sharing!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
  

It can be a little on the wild side, but that's the beauty of the area. I'm sure you would enjoy it.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I have had several dreams of that road. it is quite baffling as I can tell you what the whole area looks like and last time I was in England i wanted to get there but time did not let me.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
  

It's worth a visit if you're ever in the UK again. I had not been there until last year and now I've been twice.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Barbara9  

nice educational, informative article

Reply
  about 8 years ago
  

Thanks Barbara.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I had no idea about that place. Nice article, thanks for sharing the information

Reply
  about 8 years ago
  

Thanks for the comment Maria. It's an interesting and picturesque place to visit.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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