As we come towards the end of our holiday now, we must try to make the most of the remaining time here. Today we went to Bamburgh Castle and have to say that we were rather impressed with it.
The main entrance is somewhat odd - there is no indication of the entrance prices until you are actually in the very sparse room where you pay to get in, and at this point you do feel somewhat obliged to pay up. The entry cost was less than i was expecting (£8 each), and proved to be very good value for money.
The view from the ramparts across the beach to the rolling waves is very impressive and not one i would tire of easily i think. Inside the castle itself, there was plenty to see in the public rooms, although the information about the rooms and the exhibits was sparse compared to a lot of National Trust properties we have been to. The staff seemed very knowledgeable and eager to impart information if you wanted it though.
There were some very old oil paintings going back for centuries, including some of the largest portraits i have ever seen. There were also plenty of clocks among the exhibits, most of which seemed to be in good working order - that must be a good job for someone!
We had some lunch in the cafe at the castle, the corned beef and potato pie tempted us both, and it was rather nice - the pastry being particularly good, although we did expect it to be hot rather than cold. It came with hot baby new potatoes which i thought were delicious, and a nice salad too.
One final part of the castle that we looked at was the Armstrong and Aviation museum. It turns out that the castle has been in the Armstrong family for some time now, and they have done a lot of renovation work. Apparently Armstrong himself was a right old clever clogs, and came up with many inventions, including many aviation ones. The museum contains lots of his work plus plenty of aeroplane parts.
We moved on to Holy Island/Lindisfarne after this. We had checked the safe crossing times, and it was safe to go just after 2pm. A short drive up the A1 is the turn for the island, and it was further across the causeway than we expected. In my mind, the island itself was very small, mostly containing just the castle, and i imagined the whole town would be within the castle walls. How wrong was i?
The roads across the “sea” to the island is hard to imagine underwater, but having seen some photos while on the island, it is clear that a good length of the road does indeed vanish at high tide, and attempting to cross is very unwise.
The island, as i alluded to, is a lot larger than i expected, and is a large village with both old and new buildings. The carpark is at the edge of the village, as they want to discourage too many cars going into the narrow centre of the town/village. It is about a quarter of a mile walk to the centre, and there are very few shops - mostly gift shops, and a visitor centre geared up around the Holy aspect of the island. There is also a visitor centre for their own mead, which has been brewed at the priory for centuries.
The castle itself is almost a mile out of the centre, and was closed at the moment - we are simply here a few weeks to early. I took some photos, but we decided not to up to the castle, seeing as how we couldn’t actually get into it!
We bought some fudge at a gift shop, and we are sure that the owner was trying to sell us the shop as well! I asked her what it was like living on the island, and she was saying that because it is such a small place everyone knows everything about everybody, and that if we bought the shop we could find out for ourselves.....
In another shop - the “Local Store”, we overheard a conversation that led us to believe that it was up for sale too - a slightly worrying thing - do any of them actually earn a living? Overall, i have to admit that i was left a bit disappointed in Lindisfarne - it wasn’t quite what i expected.
Back at the ranch, we watched the last of the Wallender DVDs, and now i’m typing this. It almost doesn’t feel like we are on holiday - i put it down to the fact that we are staying in a “proper” structure, rather than a tent of some weird contraption like last year. It’s almost as if we have moved house and haven’t gone back to work yet.......