Wow! A day on (and off) Holy Island

Never mind sailing, it’s the time on land which is exhausting! I’ve spent another day at anchor off Holy Island and the wind had abated allowing me to go ashore and have a nosey. Obviously it’s a special place with an ancient monastic past so one has to bear that in mind as a background theme, but the views and sights are fantastic.


A had pumped the dingy up the night before so I was quick to get to shore by 9am. I broke protocol and bought a National Heritage ticket to see the inside of the castle (I generally am not paying for sight seeing on this venture). It’s an Elizabethan fort that some bloke turned into his holiday home at the turn of the last century so it was decked out like it was a hundred odd years ago. Moving on.


I walked the full perimeter of the island. Most people don’t realise you can do this and the official paths don’t go there. So I recommend it. You get to sandy coves on the North side and, of course, spectacular views to sea and the main land all around. I overshot somewhat and was half way down the western sandy spit before turning back for the village. I got back to the village by 1pm knackered and walked into the first pub that presented itself (there are 3 or 4, I believe) and announced my need for sustenance. A pint of local ale and a plate of fish and chips did the job nicely. Actually I had 1 1/2 pints. Not one, but almost two! This was also breaking protocol because I generally am not eating/drinking out on my own. I reckon I walked at least 7 or 8 miles so when I got back to the boat I had myself a little siesta. By now the weather had so improved it was a positively pleasant, sunny afternoon. Cold, of course.


But I was only half done. Having fixed up my foresail from the drama of the last passage I set to again on the dingy this time with my bicycle precariously balanced on the front. I wanted to prove the concept of being able to dingy ashore with my bike and go for a ride. Case proven. I cycled to the main land across the connecting causeway until I met the main coastal road which turned out to be no less that the A1. I pottered down there and took the first turning I could back to the coast hoping to get a view of Holy Island from the mainland. I was rewarded with the perfect view of the whole island, the castle and, of course, my boat  - a little white speck sitting in the water in front of it all. I drank this all in for several minutes and then did the return journey. Once back in the village, by 7pm, I went and visited the ruins of the ancient monastery built, I believe, in homage to St Cuthbert in the 11th century.


That was a 15 mile cycle ride. I loaded it onto the dingy got back to the boat and then packed away the dingy which is a good 20 minutes of hard labour. Getting the bicycle on and off the dingy is somewhat prone to mishap be it from the boat or from slippery shores. But with effort and care it’s all very feasible.


I was packed away by 8pm with a cup of tea and felt decidedly exhausted from the day’s exertions!


I’m up at 5pm the following morning for my 10th and possibly final passage of this stage making for Dunbar in Scotland.