Time and Tide Wait for No Man

Our recent trip to Northumberland was the first trip in a long time to be affected by the tides. We were going to Lindisfarne - Holy Island - and, as people have done for centuries, we had to know when it was safe to cross the causeway, and when it was safe to return.

The helpful information sheet posted under our door in the hotel advised us to return to the mainland no later than 1pm, after which the causeway would be flooded by the rising tide and would not be passable until after 6pm. As we enjoyed out breakfast, a little earlier than we would normally choose on holiday, we felt just a little like the ancient inhabitants of the island whose lives were so influenced by the power and timing of the tides.

Having returned to the mainland in time, we travelled south to Bamburgh Castle, an amazing feat of Norman (and later) engineering. Perched on the top of a rocky crag, the castle was impenetrable to foreign invaders and remains impressive today.

We looked in on Alnwick Castle and particularly enjoyed the ‘soldiers’ mounted near the entrance, apparently to discourage invaders. Presumably, the invaders wouldn’t notice the miniature size of the models!

On our way back to the hotel we spotted a small sign to Preston Tower. A few minutes later we were standing in the grounds of a small country house, admiring a tall pele tower which was built in 1392 to keep an eye on invaders - whether from the north or from the ocean.

I enjoyed my first ever visit to Northumberland and am looking forward to more visits to explore it further.