2016-06-27 Holy Island (Michael Webster)

Snook Point
Snook Point

Number in Group:24                     

Distance: 12.0 miles       

Total Ascent: 595 feet

Highest Point: Start (79 ft)

Lowest Point: Sea Level

Leaving the coaches at Beal, we headed back to the level crossing to pick up a track, heading NNE, on the West side the Main Newcastle to Edinburgh Railway Line. Just past Fisher’s Close Plantation, the track crosses the line by a level crossing. Thankfully, there were lights to indicate when it was safe to cross this busy line. The track led to the small hamlet of Goswick, where we picked up the Northumberland coastal path heading generally SE. A stop for coffee was made at Beachcomber House, before crossing Goswick links on a clear path, to reach a footbridge crossing the South Low stream. Rounding Beal point we reached the causeway to cross to Holy Island.

The first recorded reference to the island names it as Medcaut, which is based on the Latin for “Healing Island”. In 793 AD, it was referred to as Lindisfarne, which is reputed mean “stream or pool” and “land or traveller”. It wasn’t until the 11th Century that it was first named as Holy Island (Insula Scara).

From the causeway, we took a clear path NNE through the dunes, to reach Snook Point where we set off along a deserted beach. The wind had picked up so lunch was taken in the shelter of the dunes. Continuing along the beach we reached Snipe Point, where we followed a path on top of the links past the Point and Nessend. Descending back to the beach at Sandham we headed for Emmanuel Head with its distinctive white pyramid. The 35ft pyramid, known as a Daymark,  was built in 1810 as a navigational aid to assist passing ships locate their position.

From here a clear field path led to Castle Point. Near the point there is an area full of stone cairns. Research hasn’t produced any reasoning for the cairns, other than someone became bored built up a pile of stones and every tourist since has followed suit. Passing the Lime Kilns, in operation from 1860 to 1900, and Lindisfarne Castle, a Tudor construction dating from 1550, we headed along the road to Lindisfarne Priory. Passing through the grounds of the Norman Priory, we reached the designated pub. (Report and  Photos by MW)

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