Friday, 18 December 2015

Gefrin is more than an anagram of fringe, Walk on with Hope in Your Hart to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.Dec 18th (Northumberland)

  There is a hill in Northumberland with the lovely name "Yeavering Bell." The name comes from the Welsh "Gafre" meaning goat.  On the top of the hill are the remains of a hillfort. There was a settlement here throughout the Roman period and in Saxon times the royal palace of Gefrin existed north of the hill. Today's walk is from Wooler Common, over Humbleton Hill to Yeavering and back along St. Cuthbert's Way. Except that when we got to Wooler for breakfast in the Terrace Cafe it was raining so we decided to stay low and walk up Carey Burn from the Harthope Valley. But when we got there it was raining so we headed for the coast and crossed the causeway to Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
 Be warned. If you visit the island check the tide tables carefully and ensure you are off by the time advised or:
                          You will have to spend time in the refuge and you will become a sad story on Look North. Won't do your car much good either.

  Because of the approaching holidays, injuries or the lurgi* we are reduced to four gadgies: Ben, Brian, Harry and me, all four happy to have a gentle stroll round the island.
 The walk: There is a large car park as you approach the village having crossed the causeway. There is a charge. As we arrived about noon we decided to eat in the shelter on the edge of the park before setting off. It meant two things; we were fed and there was no need to carry rucksacks on the short walk.

 In summer the car park is very busy but today we could choose a spot.
Leaving the car park we turned left and walked past several cottages to the main street, turned right and walked past St. Mary's Church, built near the ruins of the ancient priory. Possibly it has 10th C origins and may have been built on the site of the original church where St. Cuthbert lived and died. He was then taken around the north before he was finally laid to rest in what is now Durham Cathedral.
                   St. Mary's anglican church Holy Island.
  We walked down to the stony beach and, crushing mussel shells on the way crossed to the small island which has the ruins of a monastic cell, originally from the 7th century but what is left is probably medieval.

    St. Mary's church and the priory ruins from St. Cuthbert's Island. The priory dates back to the 12th century.
Back on the "mainland" we headed for the harbour. Not much was happening.
 The navigation towers built by John Dobson about 1820
                           Priory Ruins
                                           Lindisfarne Castle
We continued round the harbour area passing the upturned boats used as sheds and headed for the castle.
                                  Upturned boats used a huts by the fishermen
                                   Not a climber's rope I suspect
                                                     The castle. Built in the reign of Elizabeth 1 it was a garrison for centuries. In 1902 it was rebuilt as a home by Edwin Lutyens for Edward Hudson. Now a National Trust property.
Beyond the castle are what are described as the best preserved limekilns in Northumberland. Limestone from the island was mixed in layers with coal from the mainland to produce lime for fertiliser, mortar or whitewash.

                                                             The limekilns, inside and out
Close to the limekilns is a ridge of large stones that look as if they could be man made but the curious thing about them is the large number of cairns that have been built. Maybe by visitors, they do not appear to have a purpose.

Piles of stones!
Moving on we made a stop at the well built hide on the lough. There were few birds on the water, mallards and teal and a pair of swans. Having watched for a while we followed the footpath, went through a gate and turned left back to the village on a muddy lane between the fields and back to the car park.
Changed we headed for the Anglers Arms at Weldon Bridge which had its usual selection of quality beers, Taylors Landlord, Youngs Gold and Directors.
A shorter walk than usual because of the weather but a good day for the birders. Apart from the ones mentioned above we saw cormorants, turnstones, curlews a heron and, birdsof the blog, a little egret and a short eared owl that quatered a field in search of dinner.
                                                        Little Egret
                                                       Short eared owl.
                                                                            steps                              miles
NAK                                                                  15595                              6.64
LIDL3D                                                             12953                              5.86
Ben's GPS                                                                                                  6

Contains OS data Copyright Crown Copyright and Database right 2015.

* lurgi  A schoolboy term for feeling poorly. Originating with The Goons**

** BBC radio comedy programme, 1950/60s