Showing posts from April, 2009

Lindisfarne or Holy Island

Holy Island has a very special place in history as the birthplace of the Lindisfarne Gospels, among the most celebrated illuminated books in the world.  According to an inscription added in the 10th century at the end of the original text, the manuscript was made in honour of God and of St. Cuthbert by Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne, who died in 721.  Eadfrith played a major part in establishing Cuthbert's cult after his relics had been raised to the altar of the monastery church on 20th March, 698, the eleventh anniversary of his death. The Gospels may have been made in honour of that event. The book's original leather binding was provided by Ethelwald, who followed Eadfrith as bishop and died about 740. He had been associated with Cuthbert in his lifetime. An outer covering of gold, silver and gemstones was added by Billfrith the Anchorite, probably about the middle of the 8th century.  Both covers have long since vanished but the manuscript itself has survived the

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh written history begins in the times of the Anglo-Saxons with one chronicler citing Bamburgh as probably the most important place in all of England. But even before this there were people living here, there is archaeological evidence that as early as 10,000 BC there were people here. There are Bronze Age (2,400 -700BC) burials nearby and pottery sherds dating to the Iron Age (700 BC – 43 AD). With little evidence of their occupation only the name Din Guayrdi gives us a hint that Romans were sometime between 43 AD and 410 AD.  Spanning nine acres of land on its rocky plateau high above the Northumberland coastline Bamburgh is one of the largest inhabited castles in the country.  Patterns on the seashore, made by the retreating water. As the castle is in fact privately owned, we were restricted as to where we could roam, but I managed a few images to give a sense of the scale of this `private residence` ! Hopefully these are not needed a


Berwick-upon-Tweed sits at the most northerly tip of Northumberland, just 3 miles from the Scottish Border. A coastal town with four sandy beaches and beautiful riverside walks, Berwick is perfectly situated for a relaxing break and a haven for walkers and cyclists. This peaceful town is a far cry from Berwick's turbulent past; Berwick’s great Elizabethan walls were built to keep invading Scots from entering the town. Apparently, artist L.S. Lowry was a regular visitor to Berwick but I saw no matchstick people on my visit!  There is no doubt that Berwick can claim the distinction of being the Border Town, as it has changed hands between England and Scotland thirteen times. Its history is inextricably tied up with the struggle for the Anglo-Scottish frontier. Berwick, with an English name meaning ‘Corn Farm or trading place’ began as a small settlement in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria, in which it remained until the Battle of Carham of 1018 when it was taken by the Sco

Bird life on the Farne Islands

A visit to the Farne Islands is always an adventure, and no less for us! We were really looking forward to see the wildlife that so many people enthuse about. Seahouses was the name of the port that we sailed from and the picture below shows the peaceful harbour (thank goodness!) that we sailed from.  After a brief journey, a welcome talk on the landing, we were set to see what we could see! Below are some images of the species I manage to photograph. Starting, of course with the beloved Puffin. A small auk, the Puffin is familiar as the 'clown' of the coast with its brightly coloured bill, bumpy landings and waddling walk. Puffins live in burrows in the short grass at the top of cliffs. They feed on fish, such as sandeels, which they catch by diving beneath the surface and using their wings to swim. For most of the year, Puffins are out at sea, returning to land to breed. During the breeding season, displays of bill-knocking and ritualised walki