A holiday in North Northumberland is incomplete without a trip to Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island. But you have to plan your trip. Not only for the weather, which of course, in an English summer is essential, but also for tides. Access is across a causeway. The causeway is about 5 miles long and there are safe and unsafe times posted on the internet and throughout the area. Normal people abide by the times. Arrogant arseholes don't. I did fancy doing a Pilgrims' Crossing, barefoot across the sand. You should only do this with a guide. I checked with Footsteps but because the tide times were not in our favour, needless to say the guided walks weren't!
We parked in a massive car park and strolled into the village. I was immediately struck at how Touristy it seemed compared to everywhere we'd been: local produce being sold from roadside stalls. Shops in the village geared up for mass tourism. Even people looked different: on average, significantly less gormful.
We walked to the castle. There are two ways to do this. Trudge along a concrete path with everyone else, or, like us and almost ten other people, have a look at the beach. To be honest, I don't think most of the people who started on the path got as far as the castle. Probably too far from the car park. Couldn't bear to be so panic inducingly far from the flock. Imagine parking your car, walking for five or ten minutes, gawping blankly at something you'd heard was a tourist attraction, and then going for an ice cream, and calling it a day out!
We didn't go in the ruined Priory for the pragmatic reason that it is run by English Heritage and an admission is charged, and we had just joined National Trust at enormous expense.
It was quite a climb up to the castle, which was worth it, for the view
The castle dates from the 16th century, and was built for defence purposes. In the early 20th century it was inhabited and much altered by Edwin Lutyens. It wasn't that interesting unless heritage homes make you moist. I'm sure that many of the people who get orgasmic about stately homes won't have heard of Lutyens or have any sense of his significance. But they get to coo and sign over crockery.
Outside yet some distance from the castle is a garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Unfortunately just a few days previously I had read a comedy tweet that said "I quite like Gertrude Jekyll's gardens, but I prefer her Mrs Hyde ones". (It seems that Robert Louis Stevenson was a friend of her brother so not so silly a joke!).
I strolled into the garden and tried to take a few photos. Big mistake! I had stirred the nest of the self-important man with a big lens on his camera. He had been sitting on a bench until he arrived but he was determined to go through an elaborate and pointless charade of mansplaining the taking-of-photos-with-a-phallic-lens. I don't see snapshots as being a competitive sport.
We returned to the car park, past the sheep, and were able to access the Causeway long before the end of safe time.
We went for dinner at The Craster Arms in Beadnell. I'm not sure what to say. Sometimes a complacent mediocre place can be almost worse than a bad place.
Food served on cold plates. The same chopped to death salad they'd served the previous week with crab sandwiches. And a fish dish made up of disparate elements. Basically, on the one hand, you have the fish element. On the other hand, the choice of potato, and the steamed vegetables of the day. Not horrendous, but the same vegetable was served for every main. Not with it, but in a separate bowl. Brought to the plate by the customer. But not brought together. Just there. Like the chippies that serve you a piece of stale processed white bread with your fish and chips, even though it bears no relationship. Bland dried veg sitting alongside a few pieces of fish/sea food. But no sauce to bring them together. As I say, it's not awful, it's just...actually, quite unappetising. I don't know, do they expect people not to eat vegetables? I'm not surprised, if that's the way they think they should be served! There was some bloke in the kitchen who fancied himself as chef. Hmm. Not really. How difficult is to plan a dish where each element complements the other? But, no, just throw together some poorly prepared random ingredients and call it a meal.