10 Oct 2013

Lindisfarne (2)

Walking around the village near the harbour I wondered what life on this small island would be like? Surely the present islanders would be touched by past inhabitants, the beauty of the place and be influenced by the ebb and flow of the tides?

The stone cottages with the red tiled roofs are typical of those in the area.

Our sandwich lunch was at The Ship Inn.

The iconic image of Lindisfarne Castle. It was built in Tudor times as a military garrison high on the whinstone rock formation of Beblowe Hill.  It's now a National Trust property.  It was renovated by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Edward Hudson, owner of Country Life magazine at the turn of the 20th century and became a holiday home with a garden designed and landscaped by Gertrude Jekyll. Naturally I would have liked to have walked over to it, but it was too far, quite a climb up to the castle itself and there was a need to spend time with our group in the afternoon. 

The up-turned old boats in the harbour are now used as huts. 

On the Harbour Road is the important facility of the Holy Island Coastguard's Station.


On the same road is a new Education Centre called Window on the Wild with information about the National Nature Reserve on the island and a lookout window.

                                                                  White Campion

On the opposite side of the road is the harbour area.  Lindisfarne's geology of hard dark rock, dolerite, known in Northumberland as 'whinstone' formed back in 'the mists of time' and the thin layer of soil content means that many plants unique to Northumberland grow on the rocky outcrops.  Different types of protected flowers such as the wild orchid and marsh helleborine grow in the wet grassland area.
Even the white campion growing on the stone walls was interesting to see.

The silhouette of the 'rainbow arch' in the Priory Ruins also gave one a sense of history whilst walking around. It was also a reminder to return there to meet up with the group and the guide at St. Mary's Church. 

St. Mary's Church by the Priory is believed to be the site where Aidan built the first wooden church on the island. In this place of worship there are many reminders of his ministry, the radical spiritual life of the monastic community and of Cuthbert, the man of prayer and faith as well as the continuing ministry (together with the other island churches) to the small community of islanders and to visitors who come to Lindisfarne.


Contemporary Christian art

The illuminated Gospels (replica)

                  The monks' journey with Cuthbert's coffin on the way to Durham:
                   a sculpture made from 35 pieces of elmwood carved mainly with a chain saw 
                   by Fenwick Lawson.

Then it was time to leave the island and head back to our evening meal provided by the Franciscan Brothers in the Friary by the sea at Alnmouth. Our time away continued, but the visit to Lindisfarne remained a special part of that long weekend in Northumbria. 


  1. I love those cottages, the island must be a special place to live. The sculpture in the church is amazing.

  2. The chainsaw sculpture is amazing, it is so clever I think to be able to make something like that with something so unweildy as a chainsaw.

  3. Your posts have been an education Linda. It's not a part of the world I know at all well and didn't realise until recently that people actually live on the island. It does look like a special place.

  4. number 4 and 5 of that stone cottage with the blue trim is just fantastic... you know i love stone anything, from fence to wall to house or ruins. you have some of all of it today.... sweet butterfly to...the elmwood carvings are wonderful and the sheep those sheep I JUST LOVE...

  5. What a beautiful sojourn! I would have wanted to walk with you to the castle too. So intriguing, it just pulls at the heart strings.
    The church is gorgeous.

  6. Great post! Thank you so much for this lovely tour!

  7. Thank you everyone! I've enjoyed sharing some of what I saw on my visit to Lindisfarne. I hope you have a very peaceful day and weekend.

  8. Fabulous post Linda! I loved looking at all your photos :)

  9. Very interesting, Linda. I love those cottages and the sculpture of the monks' journey with Cuthbert's coffin is amazing. I think this i somewhere I would like to visit one day:)

  10. I can see why the visit was special, I love the stone houses and the upturned boats used as huts.

    The Christian art is so ornate and beautiful and it's difficult to imagine that the sculpture was actually carved with a chainsaw. What an amazing piece of art.xxxx

  11. Fabulous post with fabulous photos!! Love those cottages. x

  12. You are surrounded by such a sweet combination of beauty and history that your life always seems like one long extended vacation to me, and I always find myself envying you.

  13. You visit the most amazing places!
    Tammy x

  14. Thank you for taking me back to Lindisfarne, Linda. I have vivid memories of my one visit there and would love to go back one day. Cuthbert is a very popular northern saint and there is a St Cuthbert's Church in my home town of Darwen in Lancashire. I'm passionate about medieval art and illuminated manuscripts, so I too have a facsimile cvopy of the Lindisfarne Gospelsm, though only in printed book form.

  15. Such a great tour post with so much historic information...love it, that the Franciscans capped off your visit with an evening repast at the Friary...what a dream!!!