Tuesday, 23rd May, 2023

Our first visit today was to Lindisfarne (also known as Holy Island or Holy Island of Lindisfarne). It is a tidal island (meanng that it becomes an isalnd during high tide). There is a causeway which can be driven on to reach the island. Lindisfarne Abbey was founded in 634 by St Aidan and was abandoned in 875 when the monks fled to Durham (taking the bones of St Cuthbert with them) because of the invasion of the Danish army. In the 12th century, it was partly rebuilt and became Lindisfarne Priory (due to its smaller size. It lasted until its dissolution in 1536.

The west end of the church, note the wonderful blue sky!

Looking toward the east end. The item that looks like Darth Vader's helmet is a recent artwork created as a memrial too St Cuthbert.

A few fragments of the decoration remain.

Looking from the east end towards the west

The steps to the monks' dormitory

Very little remains of the priory except for the church but this is the warming room (hence the large fireplace on the ground floor), and the abbott's lodging (hence the smaller fireplace on the first floor).

The current parish church of St Mary the Virgin is in the centre of the photo. It was closed today. It is older than the ruins of the priory!

"Cuthbert of Farne" by Fenwick Lawson, 2001

St Aidan, 1958

It was quuite a walk to Lindisfarne Castle

The clock was working!

Unusually, the table in the dining room was displayed as though a meal had just finished.

Another working clock!

Not a bad view!

Looking back to the Priory

Looking towards Bamburgh Castle

Another view looking back towards the Priory

From Lindisfarne, we drove to Floors Castle. Despite its name, it is really an estate house rather than a castle (as it is not a fortification). It was first built in the 1720s and then expanded about 100 years later. It is the seat of the Duke of Roxburghe and the largest inhabited castle in Scotland.

This oak tree was clearly very old. Find Satoshi in the photo to get an idea of its size.

Once again, we were not permitted to take photos inside. I couldn't find much on interent either but, rest assured, all the rooms we saw were wonderful! After a very nice afternoon tea in the café (with fresh and moist chocolate cake), we did a quick tour of the gardens.

A statue of Mercury

This is actually the carpark but it was one of the nicest carparks we have seen so far!

Then we drove to Melrose to see the abbey. Unfortunately, Historic Scotland, the body that looks after ruins such as abbeys in Scotland, has decided that a large number of its sites are "unsafe" and have limited visitor access to them. As we had learned about this before we left home, it was not unexpected but it was still disappointing and frustrating! Melrose Abbey was founded in 1136. It was badly damaged during a raid by Richard II's army in 1385 but was rebuilt. Much of what is left to see today dates from that time.

I tried to take photos without the fence but i was not always possible. Only the foundations of the nave survive (which you can see in the foreground of the photo. The quire and the presbytery are beyond/

As we didn't have much time before the abbey closed, we "did" the museum first (as that was going to close first). These statues were originally on the exterior of the abbey. They have been taken down and put in the museum so they would be protected from the elements. From left to right: The Virgin and Child, St Paul, St Andrew and St Peter

This is the keystone from one of the vaults (ie the ceiling). It depicts a grotesque human face with blood-sucking leeches at the eyes and mouth. The idea was to scare away evil spirits!

As you can see, part of the church still has a roof. This is because it was used as the parish church until 1810.

Some of the floor tiles are still extant.

Even the finer details of some of the windows has survived.

I so wanted to get inside!!

A section of the cloister

There was so much left of the church that it felt like it was within the realms of possibility to restore it.

Even the bell was still there!

From Melrose, it was only a short distance to Jedburgh, where ouur accommodation for the night was located. We were told at the hotel that there were only three options for dinner - Indian, or either of two fish and chip shops. We chose the fish and chip shop. The fish was "ok" and the chips were good!

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