The North East coast …

… is usually quiet, but not this year.  COVID-19 and the resulting staycations has resulted in a once quiet coastline being overwhelmed.  This is all good news for the local economy I guess but not what I have come to expect of Bamburgh and Lindisfarne.  Once the school holidays are over, I assume things will quieten down again, always assuming the little darlings can be persuaded to return to education.  The couple of Bamburgh images are from last week and the Holy Island images from today – 12th August:

Bamburgh Castle and an unusually busy beach in light and shade …

… and how I got there.

Holy Island Causeway

… and how I got there.

The alternative route

‘Pilgrims’ heading for Holy Island

Danger – do not proceed …

Owning a motorcycle is like owning a dog, you can get into long conversations with people who would ordinarily pass you by.

The stop at Bellingham was planned – the Yamaha has a fuel gauge but its advice is at best vague.  It always pays to independently keep track of mileage and expected range – about 150 miles maximum.  This is particularly so when heading north up the A68 – without diversions there are no petrol pumps between Hexham and Jedburgh.  Hence the plan to fill up at Bellingham – a scenic diversion which worked well except my arrival coincided with a tanker delivery.  Within minutes the driver had expressed an interest in my bike and so the fifteen minute wait was filled with conversation.  The same thing happened later in the day when I made a brief detour to the Holy Island causeway; an elderly chap was keen to tell me all about the Vincent he once owned and wished he still did

I was heading for Haddington to the east of Edinburgh – first to collect some copies of David Shaw Stewart’s excellent Views from the Tee and then to meet my eldest for lunch.  Rather than retrace my steps I returned via the A1.  This is a longer route home but the northern stretches near the coast can be spectacular and the dual carriageway allows the cobwebs to be air-blasted from the Yamaha.  These are just some images from the day – a splendid 220 mile ride out in perfect autumnal weather:

Filling up the filling station, Bellingham

Haddington in autumnal sunshine

Robert Ferguson of Raith memorial – Haddington

From the causeway to Holy Island

You have been warned

On the causeway bridge

Another view from the causeway bridge


The previous post had me hunting around for some images I took on Lindisfarne around the same time as the trip to Howick.  I have published these elsewhere but these versions have been given a different treatment.

Lindisfarne also known as Holy Island can be a busy place as the mice in their million hordes spill from the trip coaches but as the long day closes and the tide rolls over the causeway, the island returns to its hushed isolation.  I recommend an overnight stay:


(click on images to enlarge)


The weather has turned for the worse again so I will return to the one bright day of the week, Tuesday and the early morning trip to the appropriately named Heavenfield.  Last week I posted photographs of Hexham Abbey and there is inevitably a link between the two.

The site of the small church is believed to be where King Oswald raised a large wooden cross prior to the Battle of Heavenfield (AD 635); the successful outcome of this conflict with Cadwallon, “the accursed leader of the Britons”, resulted in re-establishment of Celtic Christianity and the Golden Age of the Kingdom of Northumbria.

Monks from Hexham Abbey held an annual pilgrimage to Heavenfield where splinters from the cross were capable of divining miracles; the site became such a popular destination that a small church was established in the late 7th Century.  The present St Oswald’s was built in the 18th Century and is probably the third to occupy this site.  An annual pilgrimage from the Abbey to Heavenfield is still held each year on St Oswald’s Day, 5th August.

Set alone in a field, it has always struck me as the perfect location for a film set in the 18th or 19th Centuries there being no inconvenient evidence of the modern world; no tarmac to disguise, no road signs to remove, no overhead wires to constrain camera angles.  It is a divine place and also the end point of the St Oswald’s Way, a 97 mile long distance footpath from Holy Island.  It is time to get those walking boots on.

St Oswald's Heavensfield

St Oswald's Heavensfield

St Oswald's Heavensfield

St Oswald's Heavensfield

St Oswald's Heavensfield