Went to Lindisfarne the other day. We've been there many times, but we've never actually visited the castle before. It's a great place and it's owned by the National Trust (so if you're a member you get in free). Like most NT properties, it's full of paintings, old furniture, interesting books and suchlike, only in this case -for me- the most interesting thing was the place itself. I didn't feel moved to find out a lot about it (how it was once a castle, but was turned into a house by the architect Edwin Lutyens). Instead, I just wanted to climb the stairs, look out of the windows, walk on the battlements and admire the view.
The island was very busy. On pleasant Summer days a tide of people almost as overwhelming as the tide that covers the sands around it and cuts it off floods onto the island as the water recedes. Queuing anywhere that sells food and drink can be a nightmare. (We've found, in the past, that one of the best ways to enjoy the place is to stay there after the tide has come in - it's usually quieter then). Instead, hungry and thirsty, we drove up to Berwick. Neither of us knew the place really. I'd been fantasising about Italian food all afternoon and I was delighted to catch sight of an Italian flag as we drove over the long bridge into the town centre. As I suspected, it hung over the door of an Italian restaurant. After eating we headed back to Lindisfarne, knowing that the tide would soon be in and the causeway which joins the island to the mainland at low tide covered.
The incoming tide on a pleasant evening at Lindisfarne is something of a tourist attraction. People are drawn there and if you've ever been there and soaked up the atmosphere it's easy to see why. They park up and gather at the end of the causeway at the water's edge, watching the intractable line of the water as it trickles innocuously over the grit and through the grass, up onto the road itself. I always feel uncannily aware there that what I'm watching, at my feet, is the moon pulling at the earth. Hardly surprising, as Lindisfarne is an uncanny place all round. When we were there there were about fifteen swans there too, waddling over the sand and swimming up and down the deepening channels. If you're lucky, seals swim up to the road to say hello. Finally the road is covered and the crowd melts away.
4 years ago