Day two on the Holy Island….

Another absolutely stunning day for us today and we’re back off to the Holy Island. Today we are bound for the ‘Holy’ and inhabited bit of the Island and having decided that walking along the causeway would not infact be very pleasurable as surprisingly there is only a rough roadside path which is very (unsurprisingly) boggy in places and is about two miles long. So at great expense (ok so only £3.50) we parked in the official car park just at the end of the causeway and the edge of the village. Apparently there are about 200 people living on the Island and it is clearly well loved, with tidy little rows of cottages all bedecked with flowers.

We wandered around the outskirts and mmade for our first beach, a smallish sandy beach below an old lifeboat station – we shall call it Chapel Beach…

From there we crossed over to the little island with the ruins of a former Chapel from which a wooden Cross proudly stands, overlooking a thin strip of sea and the vast expanse of Holy Island Sands before the mainland.

Back on the Island we clambered up the small hill on which stands the starkly modern Coastguard Lookout Station.

This mound gave us great views down onto the Abbey….

And out across to the sandy Islands of Lindisfarne Nature Reserve….

And the twin towers on Guile Point of Old Law Dunes (a place we are very much looking forward to exploring)…

Not forgetting this fab view of Lindisfarne Castle through a little window in a ruined hut…

From here we walked back down to Harbour Beach, clearly also a busy working harbour, though most of the fishing boats were anchored on the seaward side of the harbour wall, I guess using smaller craft to ferry crew backwards and forwards when the tides are out.

Next stop the castle, though we were not able to visit the castle itself as it isn’t dog friendly.

A 16th century castle, marking the much fought over border between England and Scotland (though the current border is about 10 miles further north), it was notably renovated into a holiday home for Edward Hudson, founder of the Country Life magazine and is now in the care of the National Trust. I could have left Poppydog in the care of the NT at the gate but figured it would not have been a quiet and patient wait! So instead we went to look at the small walled garden.

Enjoying our view of the castle from there.

This is one of those photos I had to share….

From the castle we wandered around the top end of the island, where access to the shore is difficult and if you do get down to it, it is stony and craggy, with not much of it sitting above the tide. We then returned across the island for a mooch around the village, a further look around the Abbey….

A dip into St Mary’s Parish Church….

And a look at the sculpture, depicting the removal of St Cuthbert’s body (from raging Vikings)….

Wow – what a day and what a beautiful place! Still our day is not over yet, I wanted to see the tide covering the Causeway, so we made our way back to the mainland with a good half hour to spare and found safe (dry!) roadside parking and we watched the tide creep in. From this…

To this…..

As the sun went down behind us – absolutely stunning, though I can’t help ffeeling a little bit disappointed that some smart Alec didn’t risk a last minute dash!!!

Day one on the Holy Island…

How lovely, the day dawned bright and sunny and stayed that way, nice and warm too! Today we are bound for The Holy Island, a tidal island a couple if miles off shore, linked by a causeway though cut off for 4.5 hours over each high tide. We had intended to walk across the causeway (a couple of miles) but were on it before finding somewhere to park the car. Instead we parked up on the Snook a section of dunes sitting above the high tide line, partway across the causeway.

From here we cut across the dunes onto – well miles and miles of sand – how amazing…

In the distance is Goswick Sands, but closer to us Snook Beach…

The odd person just visible in the distance but essentially all ours!

It was quite wonderful standing on this beach, looking around and the only things we could see were the dunes, sand and sea, the only sounds, the sea and birds a truly magical moment. Just look at this beach, the colours and patterns….

Oh and Poppydog has found her own little oasis….

Time to move on and so we wandered through the dunes, heading around the island clockwise (we like to do things in a clockwise direction), Poppydog still free as a bird as there doesn’t appear to be anyone about. Next stop the lovely beach of Coves Haven.

Beautiful white sand, though a bit rocky and weedy at the waters edge…

Over and around the dunes we went and here is another stunningly white bay, Sandown….

Either which way you look – simply beautiful….

Bearing in mind it is such a beautiful day where is everyone?

After another while scrambling over the dunes we reached the cairn on Emmanuel Head our final point for today.

As we must cross the Causeway before the tide gets too high we wandered back to the car through the dunes with a glimpse of the castle in the distance…

and left the Island behind with just 16 minutes to spare after a fabulous 7.5 mile walk.

Another fabulous walk along Cocklawburn Beach all the way to Goswick Sands….

Definitely feeling like September but mostly dry and sunny. The tides are with us today so we decided to take a long beach walk from Cocklawburn Beach…

What I had originally thought was 3 seperate beaches in fact at low tide are all one long beach.

We were also able to walk straight along (over a few rocky bits) onto Cheswick Beach – Poppydog is the little speck at the end of her footsteps in the sand….

There were a few other walkers around but more than enough beach for everyone.

In fact at low tide you could walk from Cocklawburn all the way out to Holy Island some 7 miles away albeit you would have to wade across a couple of streams on the way. We decided that half way there was enough and turned back at the first one.

What an absolutely fabulous beach and 7.5 mile walk.

Two thoughts of the day:

If this is a prime example of the Northumberland Coast – we are going to enjoy the next 5 or 6 weeks.

I had thought that maybe we had been spoilt doing the West Coast first – may be not!

From Cheswick village to Goswick Sands….

Still quite windy but a bit more sun around today, not a lot but a bit! We wanted to go back to Goswick Sands today, so this time we found somewhere to tuck the car in Cheswick (just a few houses and farms) and walked the 3 miles or so along the lanes and eventually across the dunes to the beach.

This really is a long way from anywhere and there appears to be no formal parking apart from for the Golf Course and the lanes too narrow to allow for verge parking, so I was not surprised to discover that again we had the beach to ourselves.

The sea too is a long way out and we contented ourselves with walking around to where the beach gives way to marshland at Beal Point with views over to Holy Island (just a bit of greenery on the horizon from here).

Poppydog was of course happy to chase balls across this great expanse of sand.

Until it was time for us to head back and complete this 8 mile walk.

Walking across the border to Lamberton Beach….

A pretty grey day with a chilly breeze blowing but dry – so all is well. I wanted to visit the most northerly beach on the East Coast of England so we parked up on an Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Berwick and after a short walk alongside the A1 heading north we cut across to the Coastal Path. The footpath was somewhat overgrown but we were able to cut across a recently combined field and to be fair the coastal path when we got to it, was also pretty overgrown, so I’m guessing that this is not a popular stretch! Though the path followed the cliff top, it wasn’t that scenic, particularly on such a grey day – grey sky and sea almost blending into one, but there was a great Natural Arch.

After a mile or so of very rough going – my legs getting stung and scratched to bits, we arrived at Marshall Meadows Bay.

What a disappointment – the only access was down a rather dodgy hole and slithering along a slippery tunnel, onlying about 4ft high and coming out on the beach side to another couple of metres drop aided by a rope! That was so not happening and to be honest at high tide it really wasn’t very inviting anyway!

Yes that was the exit route! According to a chap who has a caravan on the site – nobody ventures down there and there is no sand even at low tide – ah well. Now as we are so close we decided to continue on and cross the border (we just can’t stay away!).

As the clouds were breaking up a bit and the coastal path here was easier going we continued on for another mile or so, the cliffs being more spectacular here as we head towards Burnmouth, looking down onto Lamberton Beach.

At this point it is time to make our way back to England!

However we decided to head back on to the footpath along the A1 from Marshall Meadows rather than battle the nettles and brambles again. Not the most pleasant end to an interesting 8 mile walk.