LINDESFARNE AND HOLY ISLAND
I had thought to go to Chillingham Castle next, but as I didn’t want to drive too soon after drinking my lunchtime beer it would have been dark so decided stay overnight at a caravan park just a mile or so from Holy Island
I was undecided whether to go over with the early low tide, but I had misread the timings, and I would be travelling over before sunrise, which would again mean missing the views approaching the castle, so I decided that even if it meant there would be more folk there I would wait for the late morning low tide.
I only recently discovered that the sea goes in and out every eight hours (told you I was a landlubber). The moon as everyone knows causes the tides, but how come there are more than one a day? Well for a quick resume follow this link which has a nice little diagram.
I arrived in plenty of time to cross over at the low tide, and imagined I would be either the first there or in a queue to go over. Not so. The locals with a devil-may-care attitude ploughed through the receding waters, totally ignoring the road signs telling you not to cross if water was on the causeway. I was behind a more timid tourist car, who waited and waited probably intending to wait until the last few drops had receded or possibly even evaporated, and in the end I reversed back, then inched cautiously past them as they were well away from the water on their nearside edge. Of course once I chanced it they followed suite.
The first problem on arriving on Holy Island was that the main carpark said Strictly No Vehicles Over 3.5 tons. And as Thebus is all of 7.5 I drove on following the signs for Coaches, and Disabled Parking. But on arriving there must have been at least fifteen signs saying Strictly Coaches and Blue Badge Holders Only, on penalty of a £70 fine. Now I am not strictly a coach, though Thebus is the size of a coach, and although I am definitely Disabled, they have changed the rules for a Blue Parking Badge and anyone who can walk for thirty yards no longer qualifies.
Now on some days I would not be able to walk that distance, but most days I can manage more, even if I suffer for it the day after. And on that basis, thinking I would not qualify I never applied, even though my doctor thought it might have been worth trying. In fact I feel since I have been travelling I am walking better, and can’t remember the last time when i had to use even one crutch, let alone two, though I usually take my stick just in case my knees suddenly decide to go wonky unexpectedly.
But - what to do now. I phoned the National Trust, and they though the carpark I was in would be okay. Not totally convinced I phoned the council - luckily it was a weekday - and after being passed around a few folk, it was decided that - No I couldn’t stay where I was and that the carpark saying Strictly No Vehicles over 3.5 tons would be fine. So back down the road we went
It was a lot further, but Super Scooter seems to be performing well just lately and took it all in his stride, even the bumpy cobbled bits as you approach Lindesfarne Castle. Leaving him at the ticket office I began the, for me, slow climb up the ramps and steps to the castle proper.
The castle was built in the 1550’s following the disolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. It was completed in 1570, and continued in service until decommissioned in 1893, when the keys were handed to a local landowner. Then in 1901 it was leased by Edward Hudson, the founder of the magazine Country Life, he instructed Lutyens to convert it to a holiday home for himself and any guests, and Lutyens worked on it for the next ten years, by which time Edward Hudson had bought the freehold. He sold the castle on in the 1920, and eventually the castle was gifted to the National Trust, but with the family still using it until the late 1960’s
Its interior is most attractively displayed, much as it might have been in the 1920’s with a lovely period flavour to the rooms,and of course fabulous views on all sides. The weather was beautiful when I visited, sunny and not too windy, and I sat outside for a while on the upper terrace where a telescope had been set up to view the seals on the sand bank opposite, but after my tour round Shetland, and then the Outer Hebrides I was rather spoilt for seal watching so left others to enjoy. Mind you I have still never seen a baby seal, and apparently the new season’s pups are just being born, with the first one just seen on Farne Island, so I shall have to see if I can get to somewhere for a bit of seal pup spotting