Lindisfarne, England

Cruising Northern England: Lindisfarne (Holy Island)

If you're planning to go to Lindisfarne, first you check the tide tables. To get to the island, there is a window in time when the tide is out, the road across the flats is exposed and you can drive over. On Lindisfarne, there is a small town and the ruins of an old church. The original wooden monestary was built in 635 by Saint Aidan, from Ireland, who brought a group of missionaries to introduce reading and writing, as well as Celtic art to Northumbria. The Vikings burnt the original buildings in 793 but in 1066, the Benedictines started another monestary in stone. In this photo, you can see the village and the monestary to the left.

Further out on the headlands of the island, there is a castle built in 1550 on a natural volcanic mound using stone from the ruins of the monestary. Here you can see it from the ruins of the monestary. This was during the time of the Scottish border wars (Lindisfarne is right on the border) and the castle was built as defense outpost.

The castle was closed when we were there, but underneath, we saw huge lime kilns which provided the major industry for the island. The castle fell into disuse in the early 1800's, then bought in 1902, by the editor of Country Life. He restored the castle in the Arts and Crafts style and it was lived in until the 1950's, when it was turned over to the National Trust who now maintain the property.

The reknowned landscape designer Gertrude Jekyll was comissioned to design a walled garden to enhance the view outside the castle windows. The day we were there, an elderly couple were in the process of restoring the garden, using a xerox of the original design.

The field next to the garden was a sheep nursery was filled with mother sheep and their newborn lambs. I took lots of pictures and you can expect them to show up on a pot sometime soon!

From Lindisfarne, we drove to Scotland to the Fife Coast above Edinborough.

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No unauthorized reproduction. Thank you. Text by Nan. Photos Copyright ©2003 Nan Hamilton