Lindisfarne – the Holy Island
Our next day trip was to a place that we had been looking forward to seeing for over 10 years. We originally saw it on an episode of the British TV series that we enjoy – ‘Cold Feet’ – the characters stayed in this castle that was on an island that got cut off by the tides. It captured our imagination and went on our long list of places we wanted to see ‘one day’. Well, this was the day. We had to check on the website for the safe times to cross – as after high tide, the island was inaccessible. So we got up early to drive over and we could see evidence that, a few hours ago, the causeway was underwater. Then we were on the island itself which was windy and grass covered.
Our first stop was Lindisfarne Priory. These evocative ruins charged an entry fee (but you could walk up to the entrance and take photos) but were very atmospheric.
Next to the ruins was a cute little church.
Then we walked past some marooned boats before we came to the castle itself. Again, it cost money to enter so we enjoyed the view from the outside, including a surprise garden at the back of the castle.
We left Lindisfarne (before the water kept us there!) and started a scenic drive along the coastline.
We then stopped at the village of Bamburgh. Apart from the fact it was a cute village, it was the castle that drew our attention (we could even see it from Lindisfarne). Again, we observed from the outside (can’t afford $40 for every castle!). The coastline reminded us of the Sunshine Coast. On the way out we spotted an unusual mound – it was built in medieval times for pigeons – not to be nice – but to eat them!
Chillingham Wild Cattle
Our next excursion was to see the Chillingham Wild Cattle – this was an opportunity (you have to pay) to see the oldest wild cattle herd in the world – basically they have been in the same fenced off area since medieval times! After seeing more hay bales, we stopped first to see the church (the cattle are near Chillingham castle and its church), which had a very elaborately decorated tomb.
Then to the cattle! We had booked an organised tour – turns out there was only one other couple there – so it was almost a private tour! As we waited outside their paddock, three babies inspected the truck! Then we walked in with our guide – who was very informative and answered all of our multitude of questions. She was watching the herd (which was split into several mini herds) and she explained that the large ‘skid marks’ we were seeing in the ground were from the males who would paw the ground before charging each other – and sometimes disembowelling each other! The charity doesn’t interfere with the herd (hence the ‘wild’ name) and it was a fascinating tour that we highly enjoyed. Next stop = Scotland!