Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday, July 17

Today is our second field trip. We are off to visit Bamburgh Castle and the town of Lindisfarne on Holy Island.

Several hours on the bus brings us to Bamburgh Castle on the coast, home to the Kings of Northumberland. It stands on a rocky promenade over looking the sea, which today is grey, cold and foreboding. Our guide gives us a history of the site, a history of the area (basically everybody – Neolithic, Iron Age, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans) a history of Britannia in microcosm. There are two sites currently being excavated and the dig director gives a lengthy talk about digs that aren’t nearly as interesting as ours. The castle under went extensive renovations and modernizations at the turn of the last century and is now part museum and part private quarters. The museum part is full of the personal possessions of rich people, which I find extremely boring.

It is about this time I notice that my back is starting to act up. After taking a few more photos I walk back to the bus and await the arrival of the rest of the group. My back seems to respond to sitting so I’m hopeful I will get to walk around at our next stop.

The town of Lindisfarne is on Holy Island, which is only accessible at low tide. The tidal plane around the island is huge and the waterlogged sands only add to the grey feeling to the area.

We pay a visit to the ruined abbey (by Henry the VIII, of course) which was the original home of the order that eventually founded the church that is now at home in Durham Cathedral. In addition, there is a small castle out on a spit of land at the waters edge. I have to pass on the trek out there as my back in now really hurting. After a while the sky begins to clear a little and I try to get a few pictures with something other than a grey background.

The island is famous for its local variety of mead, so I stop in and try some. It is more like a light, slightly sweet white wine and I buy a small bottle.

In a little while a small group comes back from their walk and we go to a café to sit outside and have a coffee. By the time the coffee arrives it is raining again and we beat a hasty retreat to the bus.
Back in Durham I decide not to go out for a night on the town and instead rest my back (Must Pace Myself).

About the photos:
1. Hey! How come our dig doesn't have a Tea Room?!?!
2. The town around Bamburgh Castle.
3. A small section of Bamburgh Castle.
4 & 5. A section of the ruins of the abbey on Holy Island.
6. Tilting grave stones outside the abbey.
7. The small castle on Holy Island.

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