Thursday, 18 August 2016

Holy Island Boat Trip

I've been planning to visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne for a very long time, but for one reason or another never quite got there. At last, on perhaps the nicest day of the year, I boarded the boat at Seahouses harbour for my own pilgrimage to this most spiritual of places.

I remember visiting Holy Island by boat about 25 years ago. Back then the original Billy Shiel was still alive and he was good friends with my grandparents, who had lived in the village almost all of their lives. Sailings from Seahouses to Holy Island were a bit of a novelty and my grandparents took us on a family day out, which I still remember with great fondness a quarter of a century later. I also remember that Billy, who must have been over 70-years-old at the time, had just bought his newest boat, Glad Tidings V, a year or so beforehand.

Old Billy has now passed on, but the Farne Island boat trips bearing his name are still going strong and are more popular than ever. I believe his son, also called Billy, has taken charge of the family business. There are now seven Glad Tidings boats in the fleet, plus a RIB called Ocean Explorer.

It cost me £25 for the hour-long boat journey from Seahouses to Holy Island, two hours landed on the Island and then the hour-long journey back. The Sun was beating down and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. On the way out to Holy Island we sailed between the Inner Farne and small island of Megstone. Inner Farne is well known as a National Trust seabird sanctuary and featured on the most recent series of the BBC's Springwatch programme. Just as you'd expect, it is very popular with birdwatchers and the majority of Seahouses boat trips are destined for Inner Farne.

On arrival at Holy Island I went for a stroll along the foreshore, following the outline of the shallow bay known locally as The Ouse. Every so often I paused to take some photographs of Lindisfarne Castle, which is perched high on crags to the east of the Island. I then walked back towards Holy Island village, pausing briefly at the Island Store for a Magnum ice cream before into the grounds of Lindisfarne Priory. Another quick walk around the village and then it was back to the harbour for the sail back to Seahouses.

A few photos of my visit to Holy Island, but there are many more on Flickr:

Grey Seals near Megstone.

Holy Island boat Bonnie Lass.

Holy Island boats on dunes.

Holy Island boat Scarlet Cord with Bamburgh Castle in background.

Holy Island Fenkle Street.

Lindisfarne Castle across The Ouse with Coble in foreground.

Lindisfarne Castle viewed from stone ruins.

Lindisfarne Priory Celtic Cross.

Lindisfarne Priory statue of St Aidan.

Holy Island upturned boats.

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For more images visit this Flickr album.

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