Farne Islands

In addition to seeing Lindisfarne while staying in Seahouses, I also took a boat trip out to the Farne Islands. The Farne islands are a group of small islands (between 15 and 20 depending on the tide) located off the northeast coast of Northumbria.

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As with Lindisfarne, the islands recorded history goes back to the 6th century CE and were home to both Saint Aidan and Saint Cuthbert. A 14th century chapel dedicated to St. Cuthbert still exists on one of the islands.

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But, mostly, the islands are home to hundreds of species of birds. We saw cormorants, shags, various species of terns and puffins.

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I’m not much of a birder so I was very happy that the islands are also home to thousands of seals and they swam alongside the boat checking us out as we snapped photos of them in the water and lazing in the sun on the rocks.

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The Farne Islands are also famous for being the place where the shipwreck of the Forfarshire happened in 1838. Grace Darling, the 22 year-old daughter of the Longstone lighthouse-keeper spotted the few survivors who had managed to make it one of the islands. She and her father rescued 9 people in a strong gale and thick fog and she became a heroine who is well-known in British folklore.

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After returning to the dock, we enjoyed a large pile of fish and chips and then ended our day with a walk along the beach.

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Lindisfarne, the Holy Isle

Over the past few days, I have been hanging out in and around Seahouses, on the Northumbrian Coast in England. This gave me a chance to visit Lindisfarne, known as the Holy Isle.

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Lindisfarne, the Holy Island, is a tidal island. At low tide, it can be reached by a long causeway. At high tide, it’s an island. So, timing the visit was key! The island has a recorded history that dates back to the 6th century and it was a key location during Celtic Christianity. In 634 CE, Saint Aidan established a priory on the island and Lindisfarne became the base for Christian evangelising in the North of England. monks from the Irish community of Iona settled on the island and Northumberland’s patron saint, Saint Cuthbert, was a monk and later abbot of the monastery. The priory was re-established after the Norman Conquest (11th century).

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In 1550, a castle was built on the headland of the island. Originally built for defense, the Castle is fairly small (by castle standards) and has been used as a lookout and garrison over the years.

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In 1901, it became the property of Edward Hudson, a publishing magnate and the owner of Country Life magazine. He had it refurbished in the Arts and Crafts style by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It has been operated by the National Trust since 1944.

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I really liked the Castle and it looked like a great place to live! Lots of window seats with views over the oean. Indoor modern plumbing and a lovely garden. I was ready to move in!!

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