A great believer in exploring the off beat, non-touristy things hidden inside every city.
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Published September 29th 2019
A piece of English history in a tidal island
I must say I first came to know of the existence of this little tidal island off the coast of Northumberland, only when I helped my primary school-going daughter with her homework project on the Viking attacks on the priory there in AD 793. Anyway, when on a recent short holiday to that part of the country, one of the things I thought it would be good to do was to look up this rather unusual place.
So, yes, the first thing one needs to do before planning a visit to the island, is to get hold of the tide time table. Otherwise, you might find yourself getting stuck on the island itself or worse still, since the tides come in fast and furious, somewhere in the middle of the crossing. There are refuge points that you will need to then climb into - abandoning your car, which can quite well be almost submerged at high tide!
So, the island itself has something for everyone. For Christians it is indeed a pilgrimage of sorts as in 635 AD, the Irish monk Aidan came over here to found a monastery and spread the Christian message. For bird watchers, the island is home to a variety of rare birds and the area around is a protected nature reserve.
The island can be toured in a day, but perhaps to get a full flavour of it, it might be worth spending a night too. The locals are clearly proud of this heritage and there are plenty of local food items and curios for sale. It is certainly something worth doing if you are up in that part of the world.