United Kingdom and Ireland - Day 55

 

 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017, Lowick to Holy Island, Alnwick, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Durham and Norton, Stockton-on-Tees.

 

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.

 

 

 

  • Crossing the causeway to Holy Island between tides Crossing the causeway to Holy Island between tides
  • Crossing the causeway to Holy Island between tides Crossing the causeway to Holy Island between tides
  • The castle undergoing a $5m renovation; mainly to stop water ingress The castle undergoing a $5m renovation; mainly to stop water ingress
  • Guile Point East and West Lighthouses; Stone obelisks when aligned, indicate a safe channel over the bar Guile Point East and West Lighthouses; Stone obelisks when aligned, indicate a safe channel over the bar
  • Bamburg Castle, Bamburg; about 10 klms away through light rain. Bamburg Castle, Bamburg; about 10 klms away through light rain.
  • Thr ruins of the Lindisfarne Church, Priory and Monastery Thr ruins of the Lindisfarne Church, Priory and Monastery
  • FRont wall of the church FRont wall of the church
  • North and east walls. The arch is all that remains of another tower above it North and east walls. The arch is all that remains of another tower above it
  • Design carved into the column of the church nave Design carved into the column of the church nave
  • Southern wall of the east end Southern wall of the east end
  • A corner wall of the monastery A corner wall of the monastery
  • A wall of the monastery; the main section is the wall of the Brewhouse A wall of the monastery; the main section is the wall of the Brewhouse
  • A sculpture of six figures carrying the body of St Cuthbert; represents a journey of faith, hope and brotherhood A sculpture of six figures carrying the body of St Cuthbert; represents a journey of faith, hope and brotherhood
  • St Cuthbert's Island; Retreated to this island for nine years; Like Holy Island, it is only an Island at high tide St Cuthbert's Island; Retreated to this island for nine years; Like Holy Island, it is only an Island at high tide
  • Alnwick Castle, Alnwick; Scenes for Harry Potter movies were shot here including the Quidditch games Alnwick Castle, Alnwick; Scenes for Harry Potter movies were shot here including the Quidditch games
  • The battlements of Alnwick castle The battlements of Alnwick castle
  • Hotspur Tower, Alnwick; A 15th century 3 storey Gatehouse in the town wall Hotspur Tower, Alnwick; A 15th century 3 storey Gatehouse in the town wall
  • Recreation of Arbeia Roman Fort Gatehouse at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall, South Shields, Newcastle-on-Tyne Recreation of Arbeia Roman Fort Gatehouse at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall, South Shields, Newcastle-on-Tyne
  • Durham Castle, now part of the Durham University Durham Castle, now part of the Durham University
     

 

 

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