Lindisfarne & The Coming of the Northmen

History has always owned a large chunk of my heart. I can recall, even from a young age, going to historical sites and practically hyperventilating with excitement. Lindisfarne is one place I have visited on multiple occasions – if you live on the North East coast of England, Lindisfarne is basically a staple outing made at least once every dozen years or so – during my lifetime, but it has never lost its haunting power over me.

To be honest, the impact Lindisfarne has on my heart intensifies with each visit. I feel proud to stand upon the shores where the Vikings landed, and share in the feeling of triumph that they undoubtedly experienced when roaring through the shallows, and stampeding across the sands to invade Lindisfarne priory.

For those of you not in the know, Lindisfarne (also known as Holy Island) is a tidal island which is only accessible at certain times, as twice daily the only road to and from the island is covered by the thunderous North Sea. This island is home to the ruins of a priory built nearly 1,400 years ago and famously invaded by the Vikings in 793. It’s also home to Lindisfarne Castle, a domineering site built in 1550 on the highest point of the island, using stones from the then disused priory. Due to its position in the North Sea, Lindisfarne was vulnerable to attack from both Norsemen and Scots and it was decided that a stronger fortification was required.

If you have a desire to see a rendition of the raid of Lindisfarne, I strongly suggest you watch the TV series Vikings. In the second episode of the first series (Wrath of the Northmen) Ragnar Lodbrok organises and leads the 793 attack on the priory.

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If you happen to get caught by the tide on your way to Lindisfarne, this escape hut could save you. Not your car though…your car would be doomed.

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Lindisfarne Castle dominating the skyline.

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A statue of Saint Cuthbert, a monk, bishop and hermit associated with Lindisfarne.

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A view of the Priory ruins.

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After taking this shot, I stood and imagined the people that once lived among these stones.

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It costs over £5 to get into the Priory, but if you’re only there once, it’s well worth it.

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Looking at these structures leaves me wondering how many of our modern day building will still be standing in 1,400 years.

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The shores of Lindisfarne.

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Where the Vikings once stood.

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Looking out to the North Sea.

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