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Friday, 2 January 2015

New year's gentle stroll around the Island.. Jan2
  Other books I loved when I was a child were The Adventures of Professor Branestawm  by Norman Hunter. (No, not the one who played for Leeds United). The prof came up with some magnificent inventions and the stories were illustrated by Heath Robinson. Crazy collections of pulleys and wheels, driven by bits of string. The adventures were recently brought back to life by the comedian Harry Hill on BBC TV. As far as I was concerned it didn't work, give me the books with their drawings and the prof's glasses.
This has nothing to do with today's walk.
                                                                                                   Having failed to get to there on a previous occasion (see Call me unreliable October 24th) several of us carefully checked the tide tables and agreed to meet on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne before 10.40am as the causeway would then be under water and we would be an item on BBC Look North as we sheltered in the refuge watching cars float away.
To get to the island head north up the A1 until you see a sign at Beal pointing towards Holy Island.
The island appears on OS EXPLORER 340 Holy Island and Berwick   but it is not essential, just wander round or get a Nature Reserve leaflet from the box in the car park. The car park is just outside the village and costs £4.40 for the day.
Briefly: The Holy Island of Lindisfarne goes back a long way in church history. St Aidan, an Irish monk, founded a monastery there in 634. Later St. Cuthbert was abbot and bishop. After several raids by Vikings and Danes the monks beat it in 875AD, carrying Cuthbert in his coffin and finally settling at Durham, founding a monastery there and later the great cathedral. The Lindisfarne monastery was destroyed but rebuilt in 1093 and then closed by Henry VIII in the 16th century.  google Lindisfarne for the full story.
There are six gadgies out today, first walk of the year: John C, John H, Ben, Brian, Harry, Dave and me. All wishing to blow away the cobwebs and lose some fat.


                                            This week's car park is a stunner, plenty of 
                                            room if a bit muddy
Main Street, down town Lindisfarne.
Nothing open but the National Trust shop.
We left the car park and headed for the main street, passing the closed Oasis cafe and a couple of other tea rooms, all shut. So we turned round and headed towards the priory. Nearby was a pub, closed, and another, The Manor House, open but foodless. We ordered coffee for six and tea for one. My morning mantra had been "No bacon, no bacon," so I was not disappointed, but Brian clearly was, ("Can somebody send for a priest, the island is dead.") Coffee break over we headed for the west side of the island, passing St.Mary's church, possibly of Anglo Saxon origin, and the ruins of the priory, and after a short scramble uphill came to the observation tower converted from a coast guard look out and well worth a visit.
On the glassed observation platform of this circular building diagrams and notes make all the island features easy to pick out, it is also a good spot for bird watchers, especially on a cold windy day.
                      Observers observed. The little green patch behind the two central characters 
                         is the island where Cuthbert supposedly lived as a hermit before coming to Holy Island proper.
  On leaving the tower the group split up, accidentally. Dave and Harry wandered down the Heugh to see the remains of Osbourne's Fort, built in the 17th century to dissuade the Dutch from attacking. Hard to think that those peace loving Hollanders with there nice cafes and red lights, not to mention their telegram defence system, were once enemy number one.

                                                       The islanders recycle old boats as 
                                                      solid, interesting sheds.
The other five wandered off round the Ouse in the direction of the castle. Like the rest of the island it was closed, a bit like Philadelphia. Originally built in the 16th century it fell into disrepair  but was restored by Sir Edwyn Lutyens in the early 20th century for Edward Hudson, founder of Country Life. 
                                          Lindisfarne Castle
                                                  Distant Bamburgh Castle
Leaving the closed castle Ben and I wandered down to the Lime Kilns, some of the best preserved of their type in Northumberland. Limestone was quarried on the island, coal was brought in by boat and the lime produced was sold on as fertiliser as far away as Scotland, mortar and whitewash. Production ceased at the back end of the 19th century, thanks in part to the railways, which could haul the stuff from mainland kilns

                                                    Lime Kilns, inside and out.
From the kilns the two of us headed for Gertrude Jekyll's walled garden, built in 1912. Very pretty in summer but a little bare today and not containing the rest of the gang either.
                                            Gertrude's walled but bare garden
                                                      and her plaque
                                                    Great garden shed, better than mine
Following the footpath north along the east side of the island Ben and I came to the Lough Bird Hide, expecting the keen ornithologists to be tucked inside out of the wind and enjoying their sandwiches and gadgie offerings, but it was empty, as was the pond in front of it. So we carried carried on across the grassy fields to the dunes at Sandham. This bay is beautifully curved, covered in soft sand, an ideal picnic spot on a summer's day. We rounded the point at Nessend from where we could see the pyramid at Emmanuel Head, not realising that five gadgies had headed there.

Can you see the gadgies?
From Nessend we walked through the old limestone quarries  before heading across the Links on a well worn farm track. Eventually the track brought us back to the road to the isle and we strolled along to the car park, expecting the rest to be waiting for us. Nobody there so we sat in a car and ate sandwiches, ginger biscuits and an almond and peanut roca from www.cakepoppins.co.uk
We decided to look for the lost boys and headed for the village, the pubs were closed, they were not in the hotel where we had had morning coffee. We were not worried, they are big boys and can take care of themselves, but suddenly they appeared near the priory, looking for us.


The ruins of the Priory, built on the site of St. Cuthbert's church, probably.
                        St. Mary's church and a bit of priory.
Back at the car park we changed footwear at least and headed for the Lindisfarne Hotel on the A1 at the the point where you turn off for Holy Island. Some drank Black Sheep, some drank coffee. But for once we had serious conversations about the problems we may face as we get older, the cost of taking care of the increasing number of elderly  people the country has and what to do about it. Ben reckoned that in the near future medics would stick pins into gadgie dolls!

The Matrix MMXV A
My pedometer behaved so badly I refuse to print the results but Dave scored:

LIDL3D     15637 steps                                6.25 miles
USB           15476 steps                                6.1 miles
Outdoor GPS said 5.5 miles for the walk Ben and I did
Great day for birds, cormorants, redshanks, oyster catchers and the bird of the blog, an owl, possibly short eared.

Gadgie distance 6 miles
Happy new year to the people who read this. Mostly UK and US but a good number of Russians and Ukrainians. Give peace a chance.