We’ve left the boat safely tucked up in Stafford Boat Club and made the trip up to Haltwhistle in Northumberland to do a bit of house sitting for friends of ours who are off to the Bahamas. It’s an absolutely lovely house in an incredible setting right on Hadrian’s Wall. All this and we’ve got the use of their car – a big old Volvo estate that is a touch heavy on the juice but is way better than shanks’s pony. No such luxury as public transport where we’re staying! Our only job is to keep it warm, aired and to feed Foggy the cat. Bargain!We dropped Michael and Andru off to the airport to catch their flight at 6am on the day before yesterday and decided to take the opportunity to explore the North East Northumbrian coast as far as Holy Island.
Our first stop was the fishing port of Seahouses where Gordon got an opportunity to check out some fishing boats.
The Farne Islands are just off shore from here and later in the season, Billy Shiels trip boats take visitors out to see the island and watch birds, seals or even dolphins.
Just a short hop up the coast you’ve got Bamburgh with its castle overlooking a lovely sandy beach. It was still only 9am by the time we got here and the castle didn’t open until 10 so we had a wander along the beach and got this impressive view. We were also lucky enough to spot a pod of dolphins just off shore.
The castle is even more imposing from the landward side.
Next on our whistle stop tour was the Holy Island of Lindisfarne which is accessed by a long causeway which I didn’t manage to photograph on account of concentrating on driving at the time. Despite the fact that it’s linked by road to the mainland Lindisfarne still has a very distinctive island atmosphere and put me in mind of a smaller version St Marys on the Isles of Scilly. If we’d had more daylight we’d have taken the 5 mile walk around the island but as it was we just took in the main sights. The castle….
The Abbey – which we only managed to view from the outside on account of it being shut.
These old boats have been upturned and used as storage sheds for fishing gear – very reminiscent of the Peggoty boat house in David Copperfield.
St Mary’s Church, which is built on the site of the original priory, has some wonderful stained glass and an apology from a Norwegian Bishop for the Viking raids on Lindisfarne in 793AD. It was sent in 1990 as part of the 1200 year anniversary of the raids. Better late than never I suppose!