Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Day 45: Full Day on the Holy Isle

Woke up to another beautiful morning -- the birds singing and the sun shining! It is slightly cooler than yesterday, but still wonderful weather.

We had breakfast and met a couple from Scotland that have been here a few days -- he loves St. Cuthbert history and told us to go out to St. Cuthbert's island -- where he lived away from the Priory (which is VERY close!). He told us the tide would be lowest at about 1 today -- obviously he was "plugged into" the right times to go over there. He had been twice already.

A man came in late to breakfast -- he apologized to Jaime, our host, and told him he had been at the service at the church. I knew he meant St. Mary's. He had a beautiful Celtic cross on and I asked him if he got it here -- he told me he had gotten it elsewhere. I remember seeing him yesterday at the Priory after the crowds had gone back to the mainland before the tide came in for the night. He told me he was an Anglican Priest from Canada at the start of his 3 month sabbatical. We exchanged stories of interest and the other couple, also interested in Cuthbert, said that given who he and I were they felt they couldn't add anything to the conversation. We assured them that that wasn't true -- and we all talked about Cuthbert and Celtic Spirituality. It was joyous!

I told the Canadian priest -- his name is Lorene from Stafford -- about the former Episcopal Franciscan working at the Ship Inn -- Jaime chimed in with, "oh, you mean Robert -- it's hard not to call him Brother Robert anymore." Okay, now I've got his name! Yes, that's exactly who I meant.

After a delicious breakfast (the sausage was the best I've ever had!) Jaime told us about the tower by the Priory -- a great look out point. We also talked with Jaime about all the rabbits we saw yesterday. He told us that actually there used to be many, many more -- the rabbits have been decimated by a disease. I thought there were lots of them, though!

Steve and I headed to the tower and climbed up -- it was impossible to take pictures due to the glare through the windows. It was beautiful, though!

St. Cuthbert's island surrounded by water:

We went over to the Priory and bought tickets so that we could come and go throughout the day -- it's like a "fix" -- a bit of it, and a bit of it again. It is such a beautiful set of ruins, but yet it somehow feels so alive there!

Next was the hike up to the Castle. It opened at 11 so we queued up to buy tickets and get in line to go up.  First, we looked at the Lime Kilns -- really interesting! 

As it turned out the castle was more interesting than I thought it would be. Although re-made into a home, it was surprising how "homey" it was. Except possibly for the path up to it:

On one of the roofs of the castle a volunteer had a telescope out aimed at the seals across the way on a small island. I was able to see them, which made my heart happy. I had read a lot about them seals -- apparently this was just a small crop there due to people walking on the island around them, but still, it was good to see them (again, I thought there were lots of them!).

We left the castle and went for a bite of lunch at the Pilgrim's Coffeehouse -- a delicious panini sandwich (which we split) and we split a scone. We love the Fentimen's drinks -- I had ginger beer and Steve had Dandelion and Burdock.

Over to the Priory to see the exhibit -- which is very well done. It gives the history of the priory with some relics as well as information on Aidan and Cuthbert. I love St.Cuthbert's cross -- they had a picture of it there. We had our eyes peeled for that symbol all during the walk!

As it was nearing 1:00 we headed over to the shore to see about crossing over to the island. I was unsure about going on sand, but the sand was hard and wet, and didn't give way (I didn't sink in it). There were lots of shells and sea life that we tried to skirt around. We managed to cross mostly on the rocks, not really getting into much water.

It was very cold and windy over on the island -- it was hard to believe Cuthbert stayed out there by himself! I have heard the stories of his hermitage on the island, but just as hearing about the Garden of Gethsemane and the House of Pontius Pilate and then seeing how close those actually are/were to each other, the same feeling struck me about the distance between the Priory and Cuthbert's hermitage on this island -- really close!

And then looking back over at it when we crossed back:

I had wanted to pop into the scriptorium, the Celtic shop, the Lindisfarne Heritage Center, and, at some point, get a Doddington ice cream. I did finally get the ice cream -- double ginger! Quite often when we have been out it is Doddington's that served -- it is delicious!

I couldn't help but take a picture of St. Aidan's Roman Catholic Church -- I found their choice of door color interesting:

We also stopped by the Lindisfarne Mead store, where we found interesting kinds of names of drinks:

We went back to relax at the B and B and let the tourists leave the island (listen to me -- as though I'm not a tourist. Well, actually I'm not -- I'm a pilgrim!). 

A coffee in the late afternoon is usually never a good idea for me, but somehow here it works!

Another walk through the Priory -- I can't get enough of it. It is a thin place for me, as is St. Mary's Church.

Dinner at The Ship's Inn was wonderful -- I had the pan fried pork chop with apples and celery onion mashed potatoes. Yum!

We ended the evening as we did last evening, taking along walk on the island -- this time looking at the Gertrude Jekyll garden at the Lindisfarne Castle.

 We walked through the sheep one last time.

We walked back and saw where we had walked over to St. Cuthbert's retreat island now covered in water as the tide came back in:

It was a beautiful day in a place with many thin places. I feel a deep sense of peace here.

I remembered as we were walking around today various conversations I had with our inn keepers and others who live in this area. When I referred to this island as Lindisfarne they would correct me: "We call it the Holy Isle." It certainly is!

Although we weren't hiking today we still were able to get walking in:
Total steps: 20,304. 7.89 miles!

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if St. Cuthbert's Isle is a tombolo, like they have in the Shetlands. I believe they are defined as a small island connected to land by a narrow strip of land that is under water whilst the tide is in. I'll try to figure that out.