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  • Writer's picturePaul W Furmański

Tidings from a tidal island...

Updated: Jul 11

Lindisfarne, Holy Island; an area of just one and one half square miles with a big history that boasts a castle, a monastery, the relics of St. Cuthbert and a Viking invasion.

Accessible twice daily at low tide, the coastguards have their work cut out with visitors regularly sitting atop their waterlogged cars on the causeway but a relatively new, and curious, phenomenon are people who become stranded on the island itself - because they want to see the tide come in. Planning is such an underused strategy in life!

I had planned for three lazy days visiting my friend Steven who, having grown up in the northeast, was the the perfect host; full of knowledge about the area and its life.

Clear and sunny in the days before, the weather on the island had now turned mainly to cloudy skies and ethereal morning mists. At times, shards of sunlight would break through as the distant hollering of thousands of seals on the sandbanks in the North Sea punctured the silence. Nearer inland, a solitary cross silently marked St. Cuthbert's Island.

Sometimes the mist was so dense that the castle wasn't at all visible from 100 meters away, but when it enveloped the rotted jetty posts on the beach it delivered a scene of such dereliction that it conjured up poems from Siegfried Sassoon in my mind, albeit that the conditions and times were quite other to those which his writings inhabit.

More charming were the beached boats and upturned Herring Boat sheds which drew my lens and gave good return on my walks while, in clearer hours, the conspicuous might of Bamburgh Castle stood guard over the Northumberland coastline.

Better weather for a visit to Bamburgh one afternoon brought closer views of the Farne Islands from the beach, where people and their dogs enjoyed the enviable stretches of sand of England's most least populated county. Everywhere the castle, which dates back to the site of a first Millenium fort, dominated the views around town while Aiden, the Irish monk credited for converting Anglo-Saxon Northumbria to Christianity, lay in his tomb at St. Aiden's church.

All the while Lindisfarne Castle peeked through the sea mist towards the north and the following morning brought another cloudy day to roam the locale in. A fishing boat chugged across the bay in front of the low sun as the Farne Islands spread across the horizon like a locomotive underneath smoky skies. I ambled for a last look before it was time for Steven to take me back across the causeway, to catch my train back to Berwick.

From there the tracks carried me to Edinburgh Waverly where I caught the tram to Turnhouse, so as to complete my east-west island hop tour, before boarding the waiting A320 which delivered some wonderful views over London on approach to Heathrow.

I hope this blog has interested you and please do check out my other blogs from the Blog page and other images from the Portfolio page.

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