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Blog: Holy Island!
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We were staying in the Youth Hostel in Berwick, which was perfectly all right but very much NOT The Premier Inn. Call me SPOILT by fine living, but within MINUTES I found myself HANKERING for 24 hour news channels. It's a funny old place Berwick, like a small North Eastern town but one with MASSIVE bridges and GINORMOUS Elizabethan battlements. There's huge WALLS most of the way around it which are astounding, and make YORK look like somewhere with a fence, but neither of us had any idea they were there until we went. There's also a chronic over-provision of hairdressers (there were a LOT) and under-provision of places to STAY and/or to EAT - the YHA was the only place left with vacancies when we tried to book (several months in advance), and in the evenings the few restaurants/cafes that were still open had big FULLY BOOKED signs in the windows. What they need is a Premier Inn with a Thyme Bar!
There was also a LOWRY trail, which was dead interesting - we had a right good old stomp around the town looking at places that Lowry had painted, discovering along the way that he was very happy to change something to make it look better, irrespective of reality. That was the best bit about Berwick, I think. The worst bit was the 300,000 SEAGULLS outside our window all night!
The main reason for being there was to go to Lindisfarne, which we'd wanted to visit for ages. In my research beforehand I'd struggled to find a way to GET there - there seemed to be ONE bus which went at different times according to the tide, detailed on a timetable you needed a PHYSICS DEGREE to understand but, as far as I could tell, meant getting up at DAWN to catch. We decided to get a taxi, so headed off to the rank only to find all the roads closed for a MARCH by The British Legion! When that finished we waited AGES without any luck, until The Cabs On My Rank spotted a BUS at some nearby traffic lights, with "Holy Island" as its destination.
We dashed round the corner to a handy bus stop just in time to hop on. The Change In My Pocket asked the driver what time she'd be coming back, and was toldnthat the bus was turning round and heading back as soon as we got there. We got our tickets and sat down, and then approx 30 seconds later another couple sat in front turned round and said they'd booked a taxi for 7.30pm, and would we like to share it? We said "YES PLEASE!"
THUS we got to do the whole trip for CONSIDERABLY less than we otherwise would, and also met some nice people, James and Imogen, who we would bump into repeatedly for the remainder of our trip, for LO! neither Berwick nor Lindisfarne are particularly big!
The whole experience of being on the island was MAGICAL, right from the bus ride across the CAUSEWAY, with SEA on either side. As we approached the village of Holy Island the bus driver pointed out SEALS nearby, and then when we got there it was full of BIRDS. Man alive, I have never SEEN so many BIRDS being so TAME. At one point we sat outside for a cup of tea and were SWAMPED by them, flying around people's tables, nicking crumbs straight off plates, and feeding from hands. It was ACE!
The causeway was shut from approx 2.30pm to 7.15pm, which meant that most of the ATTRACTIONS closed by 2pm so that staff could go back. We hadn't realised this before we set off, so didn't actually get to go INTO any of them, but that turned out to be fine as we got to LOOK at them for FREE! HA! We looked at the Priory then went for a stroll up to the (ENORMOUS! IMPRESSIVE! ASTOUNDING!) Castle, before wandering along the beach until we found ourselves, accidentally, on a Nature Trail. This was AMAZING, especially when we saw a SEAL, and then a Mysterious White Pyramid which turned out to be a Mysterious White Pyramid That Is Also A Shipping Beacon and bumped into ... James and Imogen again!
It was all pretty idyllic, especially with SWALLOWS everywhere you looked (NB these are my favourite) and GLORIOUS sunshine. When we got back to the village we had the aforementioned, and well earned, tea, also GRUB, and then went off for another wander, this time finding ourselves in a series of sand-dunes that surrounded various AMPHITHEATRES, like naturally forming golf courses.
We ended up in THE PUB, where we once again bumped into James and Imogen, and sat feeling UTTERY KNACKERED. We had walked for HOURS!
Next day we headed home, though not before bumping into our new acquaintances AGANE - tho this time we were already in the cafe when they came in, so it felt very slightly LESS like we were STALKING them. The journey home was, again, a DELIGHT, although as it was a Sunday we did not get the BOOZE PLYING we had previously received. BOO!
In summary then: we had a lovely time and, despite all the BOOZE and GRUB consumed, I think all that walking meant I even lost some weight! RESULT!!
posted 2/8/2018 by MJ Hibbett
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