I spent several Saturday’s ago enjoying a change of pace at the beautiful Lindisfarne, or Holy, Island. Having got up at the ungodly hour of 7 (yes, I am a student!) I was slightly worried that the day would just go downhill from there – I am not a morning person. I was right, however, as two of the other exec and I rushed onto the bus 5 minutes late to be greeted by EVERYONE staring at us in silence. Yes, that is right, I was organising the trip and everyone else got there before us. Talk about awkward.
As soon as I arrived at the island all bad feeling were swept away. Or at least they were once my somewhat uninspired first thought of ‘its surprisingly flat’ was aired. Slightly flat, however, does not describe the castle which rises into a craggy peak at one end of the island – the ruined Lindisfarne priory and the small village were on much lower ground.
The castle itself was originally a garison, although not one that saw action; even its two week moment of excitement was a completely peaceful takeover during the civil war. Now however it can be viewed by visitors in its last incarnation as an Edwardian holiday home. Its full of lots of interesting bits and bobs which were picked up by the owner in antique sales. My particular favourite was a wooden storage unit from a church with an iron kettle like pot for the wine, a cupboard for the communion bread and apparently a storage place for a cross on the back. There is also an absolutely gorgeous baramoter which I could have spent the whole day staring at. Although as the volunteer guide pointed out – they rather over estimated the amount of the Spanish armada, if there had been that many we would all be speaking Spanish!
After frolicking along the beach in the bitter winds and picking up shells in a beautifully hippy fashion we went over to the ruined priory. There I faced great laughter after I excitedly proclaimed that ‘this is where the gospels were written!’ Meaning of course, not that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John had gotten into a row boat and headed to Lindisfarne to write their gospels, but rather the Lindisfarne Gospel. This is an illuminated gospel written in the 8th century and is exceptionally well preserved – nowadays they only turn the pages once every 6 months – so good luck in seeing much of it in person. It is fascinating to be faced by such a tangible peace of history.
All in all a lovely day out and much recommended – just remember to check out the tide times before you head out!
Thank you to my friend Thea for the photos.