Solstice of the Moon: A flying visit…

There was absolutely no way we were going to drive to our destination without getting sidetracked. Where would be the fun in that? So we decided that the first place that would take us from the main road north would be the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

There were a number of reasons for that. It is a very beautiful place with a long history, a place of pilgrimage still today.The pilgrim route is still marked by poles across the shifting sands, although most visitors now take the causeway that is revealed at low tide.

On our last trip this far north, in the depths of a deserted January, we had experienced the strange and unearthly atmosphere of the island when the tide cuts it off from the mainland. There is a very different feeling between an island that is always and predictably sea-locked and one that seems to withdraw from the world when the tides come in. Leaving the island had been a surreal and unforgettable experience, driving through the receding waters in pitch darkness, with one headlamp out. ‘Civilisation’ seems a remote and unlikely chimera when the sea glitters around the wheels of the car.

This visit, though, would be in daylight and with hours to spare before the next tide, no chance of finding ourselves lost once more in that other world. That was a pity… but there was another reason too for our visit… they make the best mead on the island… and it was my birthday, after all…

Tree of Life by Mary Fleeson

Duly supplied with mead for the evening, we wandered around the tiny village. It had been closed for winter on our last visit and I have also seen it in the throes of high season, thronged with bustling tourists. This time the island was open and yet there were few people about. It is odd how the place changes with the shifting tides of human presence.

We went in search of refreshments. The pub near the Abbey  was closed and up for sale. Last time, we had watched  a glorious sunset,  then retired to the warm pub to finish writing Mister Fox as we waited for the turning tide. Instead, we headed for a little place I had visited with a friend some years before.

The island itself is a sanctuary for birds and they have inevitably found their way into the little garden tea shops where there are easy pickings. We watched them as we entered, tiny sparrows helping themselves without fear to a free lunch… and clearing the crumbs from every abandoned table.

The sun was pleasant, so armed with coffee and a scone, we found a table in the sheltered warmth of a wall… and attracted immediate interest…

What happened next was sheer delight…



The sparrows were far more important than playing the tourist… and I can think of few better surprises for a birthday than this brief encounter. Not until every crumb had gone did we leave… and, back on the mainland, there was something else we really hoped we could find…

Click the highlighted links in the text to read more about the beauty and history we found on Holy Island on our previous visit.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in adventure, albion, Ancient sites, Birds, Books, Photography, road trip, Sacred sites, Solstice of the Moon, Stuart France and Sue Vincent, wildlife and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Solstice of the Moon: A flying visit…

  1. Pingback: Solstice of the Moon: A flying visit… – The Militant Negro™

  2. It sounds like Avalon. All you needed was the mist …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! I think you’ve found new feathered friends. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Helen Jones says:

    How very gorgeous, Sue – sparrows and sunshine, a lovely way to spend your birthday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jenanita01 says:

    Such a special treat, I bet you felt blessed. I know I would have done!


  6. Happy Birthday Sue and what magic moments…. ❤


  7. A lovely post, Sue. The birds are amazing.


  8. Mary Smith says:

    What a magical birthday. Belated happy birthday wishes 🙂


  9. Leeby Geeby says:

    Wow. Sounds like a really enjoyable journey. Thank you for sharing it!


  10. Leeby Geeby says:

    Oh, and hapoy birthday too!


  11. What a great birthday present. And you’ve reminded me that I really must go back to Lindisfarne…
    Looking forward to reading more about your trip


  12. fransiweinstein says:

    What a sweet surprise! Happy belated birthday — sounds (and looks) like you had a lovely day.


  13. Jennie says:

    What a treat! I can’t imagine anything more breathtaking than having little birds perched on my hand. Beautiful photos. And, Happy Birthday!


  14. balroop2013 says:

    Wow! That was a wonderful ‘encounter’…lovely sojourn and love your pics with new friends. Thanks for sharing.


  15. dgkaye says:

    Wow, what stunning photos! And those little birds didn’t like any too shy coming to your hand. So glad you had the time off on your birthday Sue. Happy belated! ❤


  16. Terry Tyler says:

    Love the third picture down, in partic… I’ve only ever seen the island in the cold and dull; it always looks so different when I see photos like this!

    Lovely post 🙂


    • Sue Vincent says:

      It is incredibly beautiful on a sunny day… especially as the setting sun gilds the old stones of the Abbey. There is little shelter though, so I cn imagine it being a bleak place when the wind and rain come in.


  17. Dalo 2013 says:

    There is something so perfect in having a destination, but also having the patience and desire to check out all sites that pique an interest along the way. I gotta love the start of your post: “no way we were going to drive to our destination without getting sidetracked. Where would be the fun in that?” Exactly!


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