14. Jun, 2021

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MONDAY 14-06-21

Oh dear best laid plans and all that.  Despite Google Maps showing bus stops outside the campsite suggesting we could catch a bus across the causeway to Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, the truth is they are almost none existent and we would have to walk all the way back up the road a mile to the A1 junction to catch it. We were tempted to take a risk and stand outside the campsite and flag it down as it approached, but we didn't need to do that because the next bus is WEDNESDAY. So that settled it, we would have to take the motorhome over to the island.

When we became the new owners of 'Freddie Fendt' seven or eight years ago, the first thing I had done was to have him fully under-sealed. This was because so many motorhome owners spend time washing and polishing their pride and joy unaware that out of sight the wooden floor of the habitation area is rotting away from the rain spray thrown up off the road. Today that investment stood us in good stead as the journey across the causeway involved going through a couple of puddles of salty sea water. According to the local authority's website, the safe period for crossing was between 09:00 and 16:30. For safety we decided to cross at 10:00, in the hope the road had dried out a bit, and would return to the mainland no later than 15:00.

The first thing we enjoyed today was a lovely hot shower, and tested the fix for the hair going down the shower tray plug holes. It appears to have worked a treat - only time will tell. We'd done our chores and had the vehicle ready by about 09:40 and so set off. Rather than go through the hassle of downloading the video images from the dashcam I decided to place the stills camera on the dashboard set to 'video'. I have to say it did bounce about a bit, especially in places where there was a rough road surface. In the end I drove along holding the steering wheel with my left hand and with my right, holding the camera steady.

Holy Island, or Lindisfarne is somewhere The Chef has always fancied visiting, so that's why we're here. We arrived at the public car park at exactly 10:00. So should we go for the £4.50 three hour ticket, or the £7.00 'All Day'? We decided to splash out on the 'All Day' rather than have to clock-watch.

So a bit about Holy Island/Lindisfarne:

The island of Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, is located along the northeast coast of England, close to the border with Scotland. It measures 3.0 miles (4.8 km) from east to west and 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from north to south, and comprises approximately 1,000 acres (400 hectares) at high tide. The nearest point to the mainland is about 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometres). It is accessible at low tide by a modern causeway and an ancient pilgrim’s path that run over sand and mudflats and which are covered with water at high tide.

In 793, a Viking raid on Lindisfarne caused much consternation throughout the Christian west and is now often taken as the beginning of the Viking Age. There had been some other Viking raids, but according to English Heritage this one was particularly significant, because "it attacked the sacred heart of the Northumbrian kingdom, desecrating ‘the very place where the Christian religion began in our nation’".

Warning signs urge visitors walking to the island to keep to the marked path, to check tide times and weather carefully, and to seek local advice if in doubt. For drivers, tide tables are prominently displayed at both ends of the causeway and also where the Holy Island road leaves the A1 Great North Road at Beal. The causeway is generally open from about three hours after high tide until two hours before the next high tide, but the period of closure may be extended during stormy weather. Tide tables giving the safe crossing periods are published by Northumberland County Council.

Despite these warnings, about one vehicle each month is stranded on the causeway, requiring rescue by HM Coastguard and/or Seahouses RNLI lifeboat. A sea rescue cost approximately £2,570 in 2019, while an air rescue costs more than £5,400. Local people have opposed a causeway barrier primarily on convenience grounds.

It was a very pleasant wander around the Priory ruins, church and surrounding area. We did all but the castle by about 11:30 before deciding to walk back to the motorhome for an early lunch. That done it was back down the road for a trudge to the castle.

As I write this, Boris the Clown is preparing to address the Nation to inform us that as he and his government had yet again screwed things up and allowed the 'Indian', now the 'Delta' (maybe it stands for Delhi) Covid variant in to the country thus setting us back weeks. Therefore we must remain with the current restrictions for another four weeks. I don't know why he's bothering. Firstly, and it may seem heartless but most of those now suffering from the variant have not been vaccinated at all, maybe because the witch doctor told them it wasn't good medicine, or the government were putting microchips in it or any number of any other ridiculous false information claims spread on the great evil of our society - social media. So they made their choices not to have the jab, the rest of the country needs to get off its knees and back to business. Secondly, folk  up here at least, have already decided it's all over. Nobody is making any attempt whatsoever to social distance etc, etc. As we walked back towards the village after lunch on a wide path, we were faced with a dog lover and her mutt on a long lead plus four other adults in the group, all spread out across the path, the mutt on a long lead having bagged the grass verge. They just kept coming towards us. As I was slightly ahead of The Chef I just stood still, raised my arms straight in front of me and said very firmly "And what part of the path is ours?" The group then woke up and without any apology, two of them moved to one side allowing us through, and as I passed them I shook my head and muttered "Ignorant Bast**ds" loud enough for them to hear.

Next then it was the castle. When we eventually arrived we didn't go in, firstly we never intended to, and secondly it was the usual online timed tickets for entrance. I have to say these government funded organisations have really got things sewn up around here. At the Priory Museum 'English Heritage' were taking the entrance fees and promoting membership, whilst up at the castle it was the 'National Trust' who had that territory for extortion. Once past the castle we had a very pleasant walk along the coastline before making our way back in to the village and the car park. If we'd had a crystal ball we would have just bought a three-hour parking ticket as it can all be done in that time. We spun it out by coming back for lunch and going for a little walk along the coastline.

We made our way to the campsite at about 14:00, and when we arrived back I hooked us up again to the electrics, put the TV aerial back on the roof via the front skylight and then went online. Reading the news headlines I noticed that Scotland had lost their first football match in the Euros 2-0. The team's physiotherapist needs to keep an eye on their goalkeeper during the tournament as he may end up with Repetitive Strain Injury sustained  by continually having to pick the ball up from the back of his net.

This evening we are to enjoy a light meal of delicious potato and leek soup with slices of bread from a tiger loaf followed by a cream tea, as, to support the local economy I allowed myself to be ripped off to the tune of six pounds from a roadside stall down the road for a couple of home-made scones and a very small pot of home-made strawberry jam . We still have one tub of Cornish Clotted Cream in the fridge, so it should be a very enjoyable meal.

Tomorrow I shall start a new 'chapter', but it will have to be entitled 'to ?' at this stage.