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