Today I have mixed feelings; excited to get to Holy Island and reach the destination, sad because it is drawing to an end.
The White Swan Inn was a lovely place to stay, very friendly staff and tasty food, both dinner and breakfast.
I started off back in Fenwick and began my final days’ walk towards Lindisfarne.
It was very misty this morning and I could only see a couple of hundred yards around me. A much gentler walk today, dry but boots still getting wet from all the dew on the grass.
Could not see much at all.
Had to cross the A1 and then the main high speed railroad. There is a system set up where you have to call the signal man to make sure it is safe to cross. I picked up the telephone, the signal answered.
Me: “Hello, I’m at Fenham Hill railroad crossing.”
Signalman: “Please wait there, it is not safe to cross, call me back in a few minutes.”
I took a seat on the style and waited. All I could hear were sheep, birds and the occasional rustle of the trees and hedgerow as they moved in the wind. I waited, only about 30 seconds and then I could hear the sound of an approaching train. As the train came around the corner the driver could see me and gave a sound of the horn. It whisked past me at full speed. I watched it disappear around the corner. I picked the telephone up again.
Me: “Hello, it’s me again at Fenham Hill.”
Signalman: “Arh great, how many in your party?”
Signalman: “And how long will it take you to cross?”
Me: “Erm, less than a minute.”
Signalman: “That’s one crossing at Fenham Hill, you have a minute from now, go.”
I slammed the telephone back on its hook and officially made my way across the railroad tracks. It was quite a fun experience, little things eh?
It was still so misty and I could just make out the beach, by this time I could certainly smell the sea.
I reached the causeway at around 9:45am and cars were already streaming across. The marker posts for you to walk are set south of the road, a straighter route. I walked along the road for a little bit as there were a lot of deep channels still within the first few hundred yards. Once I could see the channels had dissipated I made my way towards the posts.
Now tradition says you should so this bit in bare feet. With hindsight, I should have, as I was about to get very muddy! I was worried about exposing my blisters to the mud but then again I am sure the salt water would have done them good. We live and learn.
The mist was still very heavy and my range of sight went from about 10 poles in front and behind to 4. The poles are very evenly spaced, around 25 to 30 yards between. There are also two rescue towers out there. In case you get stuck you can climb up into one, providing you can make it. From the look of the poles and the water mark it seems as though the average depth, when the tide is in, is about 4 feet. So, no I would not want to get stuck in that.
I passed one gentleman, Steven, who was walking St Cuthbert’s but in sections. This was his final day. He lives in the area so he can walk a section and then drive home. He is a huge Roman History buff and was telling me all about the amazing history they have left in this area and countries.
With the mist surrounding me and hiding the view of Holy Island I felt privileged to be there. It was as if I was being given a gift and not allowed to see it until the very last moment. I had to earn it and show that I was worthy of receiving this special moment.
I was not disappointed. I made it to Holy Island and I felt such a sense of peace. I walked into the Market Square, which has no market, not even a curb side stall, and soaked in the atmosphere. The Priory is right there and the stillness is entrancing. You can see why the Monks settled here. You can feel what Cuthbert felt. The Castle is a little further east and stands defiantly proud, mist trying to swallow it up but failing.
This week has been amazing. I have not felt so close and connected to nature in this way for a long time. That stood out for me. I have met some amazing people, made some wonderful new friends. I have connected to an area of the world that I did not know before, in a way that will be everlasting. I am so lucky.
Please, I urge you to do the same. Get out there and connect. Nature has a lot of the answers we seek, take a walk in it, respect it and listen.