The majority of our group decided to take the causeway across to Lindisfarne so the watch tower was the first encounter as a reminder of what it means to be aware of the tides that sweep over it leaving only about half a day in which to use this access to the island. For those who wish to walk the Pilgrim's Way across the sands there are one or two towers to climb up into if necessary! Pole markers show the safe way across the sands.
This is the view as the causeway road winds around with grasslands and sand dunes either side, the outline of the island village in the distance on the left and the mainland on the right. All this sand and grassland gets submerged during high tides, of course.
Two walkers are going back to the mainland after a visit.
The sands are strewn with pebbles and cockle shells. The view is across to the higher northern dunes and the causeway road.
Our weekend with our group was intended as a spiritual journey so naturally we focused on that aspect of Lindisfarne which is also called Holy Island.
The first monastery was built of wood and designed as a base for missionary work to the Anglo Saxons of the 7th century. Aidan and his monks from Iona came in 635 invited by King Oswald of Northumbria and later he was appointed Bishop of Lindisfarne. After his death in Bamburgh his body was returned to the island to be buried in the church. The second 11th century monastery, the ruins of which can be seen today, was occupied by Benedictine Monks.
A statue of St. Aidan stands in the parish churchyard. He holds his Bishop's crosier/crook
in one hand and a flaming torch in the other.
Cuthbert then came to spend some time on Lindisfarne in 664 although towards the end of his life he spent more time in prayer in a solitary place on a small island known as St. Cuthbert's Island. Later on he retreated out to the Farne Islands, but when he died the monks brought his body back to Lindisfarne where it stayed until the Viking raids of the 7th century. Eventually the monks left the island with the body and after a lengthy journey the final resting place was in Durham. They also took the beautifully illustrated Lindisfarne Gospels with them and they can be seen in the British Museum in London although they were brought back to be exhibited for a brief time this year. The last opportunity to see them in the north of England was 30th September.
St Cuthbert's Island
The shore near the Priory looking towards the mainland with Bamburgh Castle in the distance.
The ridge of rock is called the Heugh and is a good lookout point. It extends around the bay, which is a natural harbour, and provides a good outcrop on which the castle was built.
Our group had an appointment in the afternoon with a guide who was going to show us around the Parish Church, but beforehand there was an opportunity to wander around at leisure and have some lunch. My husband and I wandered off towards the village for lunch and then I went to explore on my own for half an hour leaving him to rest because of his difficulty with walking far. More about all that next time!