Lindisfarne - On the Island of Saints
23rd - 29th May 2022
£940.00 Single occupancy.
£860.00 Sharing a Twin Room - if you would like us to arrange a room share for you please mention this on the booking form.
The beautiful island of Lindisfarne (Holy Island) is one of Britain's foremost places of pilgrimage. For many it is a kind of fairy tale place, a world apart shrouded in myth and legend. Its spiritual qualities are there for all to experience, yet these do not derive from some dreamy past, but from the very real lives of its people, including its saints, who have lived, worked and struggled against its elements or invasion and kept faith over many centuries.
Wherever you walk on Lindisfarne, the past impinges on the present. The islands legends and stories are very much alive, and you may well suddenly feel that you have left the now and entered an age hidden away. We shall together explore the beauty of this tidal island and learn some of its history, contemplate its past and present in the shadow of its saints and legends.
Walks and Excursions
During our time on Lindisfarne, we will be joined by Mary Gunn, an island resident and a member of one of the local fishing families, who will take us on three two-hour journeys around the island. With her knowledge and passion for her island home we will be guaranteed a good experience of Lindisfarne, its Celtic Christian History, its abundant Wildlife, its fishing industry and all 'far from the madding crowd'.
On another day we will depart back across the causeway and visit Bamburgh with its famous castle, which has been a royal fortress, Norman stronghold and a coastal home. We will visit the castle and grounds which has stood guard above the spectacular Northumberland coast for over 1400 years. Spanning nine acres of land on its rocky plateau, it continues to be one of the largest inhabited castles in the country. We will also visit the village and St Aidan's Church. Aidan built a wooden church on this site in AD635 and died here in AD652. We will see a wooden beam preserved inside the church which is traditionally said to be the one he rested on as he died. The present church dates from the 12th century and has the second longest chancel in the country. We will also see a memorial both inside and outside to Grace Darling who with her father in 1838 made a heroic rescue from their lighthouse in a rowing boat.
As another day dawns on Lindisfarne, we will again cross the tidal causeway and drive to nearby Seahouses, where we will board a boat for a two-and-a-half-hour cruise, which includes one hour on Inner Farne. The cruise will take us all around the Farne islands and we will see the sea birds on the cliff faces, visit the grey seal colonies and follow the route Grace Darling and her father took during their rescue in 1838.
At 16 acres the island of Inner Farne is the largest of the Farne islands. In the year 678 it was home to St Cuthbert who after twelve years as Prior of Lindisfarne retired here until he was persuaded to became Bishop of Lindisfarne. In 684 he returned, spending the remaining years of his life here. He died in March 687. The present ruined church was built in 1370 and is dedicated to St Cuthbert. Apart from the lighthouse, all the buildings date from the monastic period. We will see the remains of 'The Fishehouse' situated by the landing jetty, which was built by St Cuthbert to house his visitors. In 1540 Prior Castell built the 'Pele Tower' to house the monks who then lived on the island. This is now home to the National Trust Rangers who live and maintain this wonderful place.
A highlight of our special Journey together is walking the 'Pilgrims Way'. After crossing the causeway we will walk across the seabed and follow the 'poles' from the mainland to the Priory on Lindisfarne. We will be following in the footsteps of St Aidan and Cuthbert and if we don't want to copy them in going barefoot, Wellington boots or plastic sandals are must. This 'optional' three-mile walk together will take approximately two hours. At low tide hundreds of grey seals gather on the sandbanks and might hear their mournful eerie song, yes, they really do sing. We may witness many migrating birds who come calling and the bay is filled with sound and activity as they take advantage of the food on offer across the vast mudflats. We will remember the peace, the big skies, the singing seals and the experience of splashing across the bay on this 'Pilgrims Way' to Lindisfarne for many years to come.
There will be plenty of opportunities to relax, pray, meditate, walk and reflect in this special place. All walks and excursions are optional and if you wish not to join in one day that's fine too, but please let us know. We shall have morning and evening prayer together and we shall join the local community in the parish church for some of these.
Our walks will be generally short no more than five miles in length, with moderate terrain, but do expect some rocky and steep paths along the way. Good grip walking shoes/boots are essential as well as waterproofs 'just in case', please do not forget your camera and/or binoculars.
We will be staying at Marygate Retreat House. All rooms share facilities, no en-suites. Our stay will be on a full board basis; Breakfast, Lunch and Evening Meal, (Special diets are catered for). The days we are out we will be provided with a packed lunch.
There are single rooms available but first come first served, otherwise the rooms will be twin share. If you would like us to arrange a room share for you please mention this on the booking form.
Marygate offers a still place for people to listen and to talk to each other and to God. It is a place to find peace, encounter creation and holiness, in nature and through everyday life. We shall be the only group staying here and we shall have full use of the library meeting room, where tea and coffee facilities are available.
We will be using two large vehicles for transport on our excursions across the causeway.
Marygate House is located on Lindisfarne/Holy Island off the coast of Northumberland.
By Car: Most people come to Marygate by car, the approach to the island is by way of the A1, turning east off the A1 about 12 miles from Berwick on Tweed. After driving to the island across the causeway and entering the village, turn right on Marygate. Marygate House will be on the left. Parking will be in the streets, or in nearby pay and display car parks, no private carpark available. Postcode; TD15 2SD.
By Train: The nearest railway station is Berwick upon Tweed, which is on the mainline from London to Edinburgh. Most retreatants who travel by train complete the journey by taxi from the railway station. A collection from the railway station will be offered at a fixed time (time to be advised nearer the departure date), but probably early afternoon.
Tides: According to the Tide Table for our arrival date Monday 23rd May 2022, the safe crossing time from the mainland to the island will be from 1200 noon until 2040 hrs, please bear this in mind while travelling. Please do not arrive until check in time at 1400 hrs, we shall be there to meet you.
On departure Sunday 29th May 2022, the safe crossing time off the island back to the mainland is from 0645 hrs until 1305 hrs and again from 1820 hrs until 0125 hrs (Mon).
We will clarify these times nearer the time.