What else during the night but rain, by the look of the roads, there must have been quite a bit. Cloud cover and occasional showers hung around all day.
Earlier start this morning as we were heading for Holy Island. This island is just off the coast but is connected by a causeway that is safe to cross for a few hours between low and high tide. You have to get your timings right if you wait until the next tide. The island is a home for migrating bird life and is a beautiful and quitet place. Basically park the car and walk around, you can hear the birds and the North Sea most of the time. On the island are the ruins of a Church, Priory and monastery and a castle in reasonable condition. The castle is closed at the moment as it is undergoing a $5m restoration with the primary aim of reducing the water ingress into the stone work as this is destroying the mortar in the walls. The castle sits on a small rock hill and was built around 1550. Restored with changes in 1901, the current restoration aims to extend its life for years to come.
The priory was founded by an Irish Monk, St Aidan around 634. The associated stone church was built around 1150 and the priory started around the same time. Over the next couple of centuries a monastery was also added. The church has slowly collapsed over the centuries but an unusual feature of it remains, the "Rainbow Arch", where four arms of the church met survived when the central tower above it collapsed in the late 18th century. As the numbers of monks reduced, the complex gradually declined.
Two key people, St Aidan and St Cuthbert, form a large part of the history of the Island. Just off the shore of the island is a small island named St Cuthbert's Island. This was used as his retreat and subsequently by other monks.
From Holy Island we travelled south to Alnwick, the site of Alnwick Castle. This would be known to Harry Potter fans as many scenes from the movies were shot here, including the Quidditch games. Also in Alnwick is a 15th century Bondgate Tower known as the Hotspur Tower. This three storey gatehouse once formed part of the protective wall around the city.
Onward to Newcastle-on-Tyne and we stopped by the remains of the Arbeia Roman Fort. This fort was at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall and is in South Shields, on the coast from Newcastle. Of course, being in October, it was closed so I won't bore you with any details as we couldn't do more than see it through the fence, The gatehouse is a recreation on the original foundations and holds a museum.
Then it was through Durham with a bit of poor route planning which put us up a hill, almost without a paddle, as we ended up in a restricted area that was mainly pedestrian traffic in the centre of the university buildings. We couldn't hightail it out as it was a slow process of winding our way out through one way at a time narrow streets and the pedestrians.
Into our accommodation in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees and preparing for new challenges tomorrow.