The Holy and Spiritual Island of Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne Castle

The Holy and Spiritual Island of Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne is somewhere special, and anyone who’s been here will know exactly what I mean.

Religion and spirituality come together on Lindisfarne and it’s not difficult to see why St. Aidan chose this spot to bring Christianity to the North of England.

At one time, I thought that to have spiritual feelings I needed to embrace religion – but then I saw the light.

Religion and spirituality are not necessarily the same thing. It’s true that you can be religious and spiritual, but it’s also true that you can be spiritual and not religious.

So now that you’ve realised I’m a non-believer, why do I find Lindisfarne such a spiritual place?

Well firstly, there’s no point in denying that the religious connection with Lindisfarne brings an air of peace and tranquility to the place, but there’s more to it than that.

The view towards Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands

There are big skies and wide, sandy beaches where seals bask in their hundreds: Then there is the historical Priory, harbour and castle perched on its volcanic crag, not to mention the views down to Bamburgh Castle and the Farne Islands – but most important of all is the fact that Lindisfarne is an island and cut off from the mainland twice a day.

The view across the Sand Flats towards Guile Point
The view across the Sand Flats towards Guile Point

Holy Island, as it’s also called, can be accessed by road across a causeway from about 3 hours after high tide until about 2 hours before the next high tide.

This means of course that you need to be aware of the tide times, which are posted locally and elsewhere, but it’s amazing how often people get caught out.

The Causeway to Lindisfarne at low tide
The Causeway to Lindisfarne at low tide

Long before this causeway was constructed pilgrims made their way across the sand flats to the island, and a line of poles were erected for navigation. For those who didn’t get their tide times right, refuge posts were also added but it goes without saying that if you intend to use this precarious route it’s better to go across with an expert.

The Pilgrim's Way across the Sand Flats
The Pilgrim's Way across the Sand Flats

It was to this fabulous seascape that St. Aidan brought Christianity to Northumberland in 635 AD. His work was carried on by St. Cuthbert who has gone down in Northumbrian folklore. Regarded as the patron saint of the North of England, this Bishop of Lindisfarne chose the simplest life possible by living as a hermit on a small nearby isle. Even back then he was revered and it was in his honour that Eadfrith produced the famous Lindisfarne Gospels.

Hopefully, this brief introduction to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne explains in some small way why it’s so special and why it deserves further exploration to get to know it better, and so in my next post I’ll try to get into an ecclesiastical mindset, put my cassock on, and endeavour to explain the background to the island’s religious connections.

Lindisfarne Priory
Lindisfarne Priory
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11 thoughts on “The Holy and Spiritual Island of Lindisfarne

  1. myplaidheart

    Lindisfarne really is a very special place. My only regret is that at the time I visited, I wasn’t so into history like I am now. I desperately want to visit again someday because I know I will view it with a new appreciation and perspective. I did a little post about Lindisfarne on my blog about five months ago, btw. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Thanks for visiting. You’re right about seeing things differently as time goes by, and Lindisfarne is definitely a special place. I’ll see if I can find your blog about it 🙂

      Reply
  2. Alli Templeton

    I’m like you, Malc, a non-believer but I’m very spiritual so I know exactly what you mean. There’s no denying Lindisfarne has a very special, peaceful and magical feel about it, and you really get a sense of its ancient past. Fantastic pictures and a lovely description of one of my most favourite places. Looking forward to returning there next year. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      It’s a wonderful part of the country for anyone who has a soul, whether you’re a believer or not

      Reply
  3. toonsarah

    Great introduction to one of my very favourite places! I’m very happy that I will have the chance to introduce fellow VTers to it next May, as the tides will be in our favour for a day trip from Newcastle 🙂

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      That’s good news indeed. My follow-up post is about the saints which for a lot of people might seem a subject that wouldn’t be of any interest, but I reckon they might feel differently after they’ve been here.

      It sounds like you’re putting together the perfect meeting. Excellent!

      Reply
  4. Simone

    I loved Lindisfarne! I’ve visited so so many years ago during one of my visits to Scotland. I ended up here as a coincidence really, as it was a spontaneous trip, and we somehow ended up in Lindisfarne. Quite a special place!! And I was very lucky the tides were on my side that day 🙂 Great photos Malcolm! And thanks for bringing back the memories 🙂

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Thanks for visiting Simone. Lindisfarne is indeed a special place – and I’m always pleased to hear that I’ve helped bring back some memories 🙂

      Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Thanks for your kind comments again Mike, but you haven’t sen the photos I’ve ditched 🙂
      Religion and faith can be two different things as well I agree.

      Reply

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