Day 22 and 23 Holy Island and Richmond

Day 22: Holy Island, Lindisfarne

Today was a early morning once again as we headed north to visit Holy Island. Our drive would take about 2.5 hours north past Newcastle and into Northumbria. When we were there in 2019, we managed to see the road leading to the island refuge completely submerged due to high tide. Yes, you read this right, the road actually fully submerges twice a day so minding the tide charts is crucial.

Here’s the roadway in 2019 when we arrived at the crossing for Holy Island during high tide
Here we are following our friend Nigel and Laura over the same road… we were able to cross it this time!

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew there was a church on the island, but apart from that I was here to learn and discover. We got over to the island and then parked the car and began our walk into town. After a short walk we came to the abandoned priory.

Small town of Lindisfarne, located on the island. As it turns out, this is a pilgrimage destination for those walked the path of St Cuthbert. Pilgrimage means a need for food and rooms to host the pilgrims…and this a town is born!
The priory. Established in the 7th century by monks sent from Iona, this monastic settlement was there to convert those people who were worshiping Norse gods. You can see a statue of St Aiden, the founder, in the foreground looking out to the priory.

Once at the priory, we turned and entered St Mary’s church, the destination for the pilgrimage. Originally a wooden church back in the 7th century, the church has been accepting pilgrims for centuries.

A view looking inside to this peaceful church
An interesting carving of “The Journey” depicting 6 monks carrying St Cuthbert to his final resting place in Durham Cathedral. This carving was done in 1999 from 7 elm trees.

After we toured the little church we went to see the Lindisfarne Castle. It was once a Tudor fort, and later ( 1903) converted to a private country home. Rather remote and desolate place…and windy!!!

Lindisfarne Castle. This photo was taken from a walled garden beside the sea.
A photo of Dan, Glenn, Gwen, myself Nigel and Laura. All mugging for a windy shot in front of the castle.
Taken from the shores in front of the castle, this photo shows Bamburgh Castle on the far shore.
A fun picture of Gwen showing the immensity of the lime kiln’s under Lindisfarne Castle.

After a walk back to town for a coffee to warm up, we headed back out along the causeway. We needed to be off the island by 1pm, and beat the rising tide. We went on to Alnwick from here to have lunch and do a walkabout in this lovely town.

We passed fields of sunshine (canola) which helped to brighten the cloudy windy cold day!

Our first view of Alnwick was the Castle from which a number of scenes from Harry Potter as well as Downton Abbey have been filmed. Also included in the film set locations are features of a church used in Downtown Abbey.

The castle at Alnwick upon approach to the city
We parked just inside the walls of the castle to get to our lunch spot
St Michael’s church where the hall was used in the filming of Downton Abbey

As we strolled the town after lunch we came across an interesting pub called the Dirty Bottles. In the window, permanently sealed, lie some dirty bottles. Legend has it they have remained there since 1725, when the landlord dropped down dead after touching them. His wife believed them to the cursed and had them locked up, unmoved, to protect all who pass by.

Dirty Bottles!
Continuing our walk, here’s a view of one of the castle wall gates.

It was soon time to bid farewell to our friends Nigel and Laura and head back to our home in Richmond. Driving through Newcastle on Tyne I snapped a quick shot of the Angel of the North.

The Angel of the north has 3 functions – Firstly to remind us of the coal miners working in the dark, down below for 200 years, secondly to bring us through the transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age and lastly to be a focus of our hopes and fears for the future. Sitting high on a hill looking south from Newcastle, this is quite an impressive site.

Once safe back in Richmond we settled in for a quiet evening with thoughts of preparations for the upcoming Coronation and the many local events that would be going on to mark the occasion. Tomorrow we explore a little closer to home. Until then.

Day 23, Richmond and good friends

Today was a slower start to the morning. I got up and did a short walk to the bakery where we have ordered special food for the coronation, and then a few other stops to get last minute supplies. When I returned, we got ready to meet up with Chris. Chris is a friend of Glenn and Gwen’s who they got to know quite well in 2019 when they were here for 8 weeks.

After coffee and a lovely chat at Chris’ home we headed off to The Bolton Arms, in Downholme, a village just a few miles outside of Richmond. They served delicious homemade food and the service was superb!

Here we all are at the pub. A fabulous meal was had by all! You can see a sample of the festive decor that is all over the country as everyone prepares for the coronation.
View from the patio behind the Bolton Arms. If that doesn’t sooth the soul, I don’t know what will!

After lunch we said our goodbyes and headed back to Richmond. The skies were quite dramatic on our way home.

What a setting!
I can’t get enough of these views!

Our way back took us on a single track road much of the way. As we drove by farmer’s fields with the requisite sheep, we were surprised to see a number of platoons doing field exercises…we felt like we were under attack! Clearly the way back took us through Catterick Garrison’s training grounds. I’m just glad I wasn’t hiking through those fields!

We were soon home, and Gwen and I decided to go for a short walk through the town and around the castle. The Richmond Castle itself was originally called Riche Mount, or “the strong hill”. Construction started in 1071 following the Norman Conquest of England by William the Conqueror. Now it stands as the best preserved Norman Castle in England.

The imposing castle stands above the River Swale and is located in the heart of Richmond.

We walked along the Swale and then back up through the town…you don’t go anywhere in this town without going either up or down!

A city street leading up to the market square next to the castle.

The rain kept threatening, so we decided to head back to the house. Tomorrow we head to the bakery for coronation treats and will then watch the coronation on the TV along with 6 billion others! Then off to a coronation street party. Should be a delightful day! Until then.

Categories: Hiking in Iceland and the UK

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