Friday, August 07, 2015

The Pilgrim's Way.

Lindisfarne is known as the Holy Island. It turns out that this place, back in the 7th c., was full of learning and industry and, relatively speaking, wealth. It's where the Lindisfarne Gospels were produced. And the Vikings, those axe-wielding, longboat riding Vikings, busted it all up. It's fairly riveting as medieval religious stories go, since in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it's reported that in 793 when the Vikings struck,
'In this year dire portents appeared over Northumbria and sorely frightened the people. They consisted of immense whirlwinds and flashes of lightening, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the air. A great famine immediately followed those signs and a little after that in the same year, on 8 June, the ravages of heathen men miserably destroyed God’s church on Lindisfarne, with plunder and slaughter.'
[Side note: among my excellent company today, which included a son-in-law educated in Scotland, a daughter who was an English major, and three Scottish schoolchildren--and the historian!--I was the only one who ever heard of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Frankly, I could not believe this, the people. On the other hand, my granddaughter said under her breath, 'dragons are real.' Thank you, Anglo-Saxon Chronicler!]
Anyway: as my daughter pointed out today, in the past two days, I've had the chance to do two things I have long wanted to do--visit Jupiter Artland, and walk from the mainland across the causeway at low tide to Lindisfarne. And visit the ruined priory, etc.
Yesterday, I was trying to size up the actual length and walking conditions of the walk. I thought I had read that it was about a mile. Piece of cake. But then I read somewhere a length of five miles, which isn't a big deal except that you have to get on and off the island during the hours of low tide, or you're stuck, and while I wanted to have a tiny inkling of that walking the pilgrim's way thing*, I didn't want to do it at the expense of seeing it with my daughter, the historian, my grandchildren. Also, the description of the five miles mentioned mud. And I only brought one pair of shoes on this road trip. (NOTE TO SELF: one pair of shoes is NEVER A GOOD IDEA.)
Last night at dinner, I said to my son-in-law, 'The good news is, I've made up my mind not to worry about the walking. I mean, I would like to do the walk, but I don't want to make a fetish of it, and the more important thing is going to the island.'
Sensibly, he pointed out that we could just check it out when we got there this morning. Of course. Just wait and see. And when we arrived this morning, the weather was beautiful, the length of the walk was clearly just under a mile, and they agreed they'd be glad to drive to the other side while the historian and I walked. Perfect.
So my one pair of shoes and the historian and I walked across the causeway:
and it was glorious.
***
When we got there, we saw this
and also this:
and also this:
Let it be noted in the Chronicles: this was a great day.

(and also: dragons are real.)
*It should be noted: the actual Pilgrim's Way is not the causeway--you have to follow markers, and it's longer, and--it must be said--muddier. Full disclosure: I took the easy way. The one pair of shoes way. Definitely, I did.

1 comment:

Amelia said...

Such a great day!

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