• A bit from me...
  • 'Seven Stories'
  • Crossman Hall
  • HM Coastguard
  • Lindisfarne Castle
  • Spring at last after those beasts from the east
  • Lindisfarne NNR
  • Peregrini Lindisfarne landscape partnership
  • Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership
  • News from Ford & Etal
  • From our United Reformed Church
  • 10 years back - from a friend
  • St Mary's notices
March and Cut-Off!
A BIT FROM ME Geoff Porter

Dear *|MMERGE3|* ,

Wishing you and all our subscribers a wonderful Eastertide. I hope you like the special treat below from Paul Armstrong's fabulous aerial gallery. Future island website development will include a couple more on our home page and inclusion in a long-overdue new-look to our picture gallery.

'St Cuthbert's Island

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL: I think we would all echo David's sentiment (below). In fact, I would go further and say that our only thoroughfare from the country's prime (A1) highway is a prestigious disgrace. Our civil engineering forbearers, the likes of John Metcalf, Thomas Telford and John Loudon McAdam, will be turning in their graves. Visitors beware, the severity of potholes can be disguised by puddles of water and might be hiding a threat to your vehicle's safety.

HOLY ISLAND VILLAGE: When the council built our public car park and pathways it seems that the planners never envisaged the amount of footfall derived from 300,000 annual visitors. On leaving the car park you will become aware of this narrowness particularly where building work continues and grass verges have become obscured. And if you ignore our car parking advice and persist in bringing your vehicle into the village - watch out! Narrow pavements increase the risk of pedestrians stepping out onto the road...

THE VACANCY: In preparation for the appointment of a new 'Vicar of Holy Island' our 'Parish Plan' is underway which will take into account feedback from the PCC's residents' opinion questionnaire. In the meantime, Sam Quilty, our Church Warden assumes responsibility for the running of the church guided by our 'Area Dean'. So far as summer is concerned, their 'locum support rota' is now operational and records the priests that are coming to help. We are delighted to have Archdeacon Peter Robinson as our Easter period locum.

During the interregnum period, in all parish matters, in the first instance you should contact: Sam Quilty (Churchwarden) E-mail: or phone: 07933925450 .

CROSSMAN HALL: On 23rd March, at the invitation of the Trustees, the Crossman family were joined by several who had contributed to the building of our new village hall as well as many residents to participate in the afternoon's dedication celebrations. On behalf of the community David O'Connor expressed our gratitude to all trustees as we now witness the fruit of their vision and hard work. Particularly mentioned were those who sadly are no longer with us: Lady Rose Crossman, Clive Massey and Tommy 'Tinko'. Thank you to Sue Massey and her Oasis staff and all who contributed towards the afternoon's success.

Just over a week later the hall is hosting one of the biggest events in its hitherto short life. On 31st March (Holy Saturday) 'Pilgrimage to The Islands' will take place. Programmed to be an all-day, cultural event celebrating a healthy mix of art. film, music, nature and tradition of the north east coastline, industry and heritage, please let David have your feedback?

Thanks to our writers we have a fairly full newsletter for you this month. Those who visit us at Easter may well understand the lack of input on behalf of our Parish Church. Hopefully, I might be excused for looking back 10 years to repeat an Easter message produced by a very-loved 'Vicar of Holy Island', the late Br.Damian. His words seem as appropriate for us today as they did then - including the weather!. I have also included a brief notice about 'Seven Stories' from Jon Riley, an essential cog in the wheel of our 'Holy Island of Lindisfarne Devevelopment Trust'.

We hope you will enjoy Easter, our April newsletter and look forward to getting in touch again in May.

Geoff Porter
Editor (SitEzine)


At Seven Stories, where I do my day job, we're doing a crowdfunding campaign called Life-changing Stories. The funding raised is to put children with additional needs at the heart of our story. There's lots of information at

We've already reached our first target of £7,000 and with donations still coming in we've decided to stretch our target to £7,500 so we can introduce early evening openings for children with autism and their families.

For people who make a donation there are some rewards, such as signed original artwork or a special day out.

If anyone would like any further information do let me know.

Thanks in advance!

Jon Riley
Holy Island of Lindisfarne Community Development Trust


It has been another busy month with several events closely involving the community, the most important being a discussion between linked Primary School Governors from the 'cluster' of similar schools on the mainland and the Island Primary School. I believe a report of that meeting will appear elsewhere in HIT or the E-zine.

Late in the month was our most important day the Dedication of the new Hall as the Crossman Hall. The event was well attended by Islanders and Friends of Holy Island.  Others including representatives from Funding Bodies from across the Country and our Architects and Project Managers from Ainsworth Spark Associates, they were joined by the Principal Contractor MT Richardson, Richard Burn Altro Ltd., who working with the British Library, London produced three superb illuminated panels from the Lindisfarne Gospel that are now prominently displayed at the front of the building.

Over 100 attended the gathering enjoying drinks before the formal part of the afternoon and that was led by the Family Crossman who attended in strength and Jane Crossman daughter-in-law of the late Lady Rose spoke on behalf of the Family gave an appropriately short address.

Guests were then invited to enjoy light refreshments provided by Sue Massey and her Team from the Oasis Café.

The Annual Rate Demand was received earlier this year and following an application to Northumberland County Council the Hall was zero rated. Thank you NCC. Although, as a side issue; NCC who maintain the road to this so called 'Jewel in the Crown' of northern tourist destinations - the road is a blooming disgrace with cars rattling through a collection of potholes and lagoons of rust making salt water!!!!!!!!  Get it repaired and drained!

Our new energy provider after an exchange of paperwork has, because we are a Registered Charity, reduced the VAT payment on our electricity bills. Thank 'Squeaky'.

We are now approaching Easter a busy weekend for the hall. On Saturday there is a Festival of Music and Vintage B&W film footage of the Island and Fishing in the North Sea. The music will feature two sets from Kathryn Tickell the superb player of Northumbrian Pipes. To be reported on next month.

A Coffee Morning will be held on Easter Monday as a hall fund raiser. If you are visiting the Island come in and try the buns, buy a raffle ticket or look for an antique on the Bric-a-Brac table.

Finally it is good to note that the ladies of the Island and the children are making regular use of the halls sporting and keep fit equipment.

David O'


Well we're back in the Castle now, although with the bad weather at the end of February and the 'Beast from the East' in March, things haven't exactly gone to plan since we last spoke. We lost three days to the bad snow, although a small group of plasterers were staying on the island so they were able to work during the worst of it. They finally got home to County Durham on the Sunday afternoon, only to then head straight back up the A1 on the Monday morning. We also had a delay from a supplier which impacted on the finishing work on the Lower Battery. A new water pipe was being laid under the flagstones but as it was a bespoke unit with a trace heater running the whole length (to prevent freezing), it had to come in from Holland, where by all accounts the snow was even worse than over here. The pipe was delayed for two weeks but we were able to install a 6-inch duct underground and lay the flagstones on top, so when the pipe arrived last week it could simply be pulled through.

As you many have seen we received quite a bit of local and regional media attention recently concerning the discovery of wall paintings in the Castle kitchen. These pictures have been on the wall for 350-plus years but were only just found again last summer. We have conserved and consolidated the images - a simple floral design - and they will be on show to visitors from 1 April. The other big news up here was the dismantling of the remainder of the phase one scaffolding, which had been wrapped around the east and south sides of the Castle since December 2016. It was certainly nice to finally be able to get a van up to the boatsheds again, although that came a few days too late for poor old Shunters of Berwick, who had to try and help us move the office back up from the village whilst squeezing past both scaffolding and scaffolders hard at work.

We have also been deep cleaning the Castle inside as rooms are handed back to us. This work is being done under the supervision of our conservator and specialist conservation cleaners, but appropriately for what was always a holiday home, we are also using a local holiday cottage cleaning company to help get the place looking great for opening.

We have a temporary exhibition of sorts going in from our first open day on the 1st April which is going to tell the story of the work at the Castle over the last few years. We will have traditional information boards but also a couple of films covering specifically the work to the windows and also a bit about some of the people actually doing the work here and their experiences of Lindisfarne. This will run up until the opening of the Anya Gallaccio exhibition 5th May which will run for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately some of the delays I mentioned earlier meant I had to postpone the Open Day I had promised in the last issue of this newsletter. I am hoping to hold another day soon and may well have done before you read this.

The Castle staff has now largely moved back up here but we will certainly miss our time above the shop in the village. If you haven't been in to see Mel and her team in their lovely newly fitted shop please do pop in. The garden out the back is back open and the back window being open makes a lovely feature as well as lighting the place up beautifully.

Best wishes
Lindisfarne Castle @NTLindisfarne
01289 389244 (press 1, then 1903)


The pace of spring is quickening across the island with many of our resident birds in full song and we're only a week or two away from seeing the first summer visitors.

In the village, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds are all in fine voice. Robins, Dunnocks and Wrens are also singing and overhead the Collared Doves and Woodpigeons are continually in display flights. Across the fields, Lapwings are calling and indulging in their rolling flying maneuvers and the number of wintering ducks and waders seems to be dropping by the day as they depart northwards.

Our first early summer visitors tend to begin to arrive by the final week of March. This is the period when we hear the first Sandwich Terns screeching offshore. The first Wheatears can flash  along the rocky sides of the Heugh or on the field walls and early Sand Martins race northwards across the island.

The occasional Chiffchaffs can also start to appear flicking after flies and other insects in the gardens or around the remaining churchyard trees after the loss of those two venerable Whitebeams which were such a magnet for migrant birds. Then, of course, in early April we can start to look out for the first Swallows.

Sandwich Terns, the largest of the five breeding terns we have in the county, are always great to see and hear, often from the Heugh. They tend to gather in noisy feeding parties, often roosting at high tide on St Cuthbert's Island and the Black Law before moving off to their regular breeding sites out on the Farne Islands. Sadly, it's been a long time since this species joined the Common, Arctic and Little terns in their colony on the Black Law.

While their arrival is always welcome among the early spring birds Wheatears are my particular favourite. In their dapper plumage of grey, orange, white and black and with their striking white rumps, they always look so smart that it's difficult to believe they've just endured a long migration from Africa.

Their name is a bit of an oddity and a Victorian invention. Before that period they had the rather rude name, at least to our ears, of "white arse" on account of that bold white rump, one of the things you really notice when they are in flight. I'm afraid it was all a bit too much for 19th Century prudery. These lovely birds which don't eat wheat or even nest among it and whose ears are hidden, are stuck with it.

Occasionally, pairs of Wheatears do nest on the island. Over the years I've come across odd broods of young raised in crevices in the rocky area east of the Castle and around the old quarry at Nessend.

The vast majority are merely passing through the island for breeding grounds in the uplands of Scotland and Scandinavia. Some move even further on to Greenland and even northern Canada, giving them the distinction of being the only small songbirds which regularly cross the Atlantic.

I always expect to see my first Swallows, almost inevitably males, around the pier and fishing sheds or along at St Coombs during the opening days of April. I think the earliest I've ever seen one on the island was the 5th April although in some springs it can be much later before they begin to appear.

It all depends, of course, on the weather, not just the temperatures here but the conditions they have faced on their epic migration of around 9,000 miles from their wintering areas in South Africa.

It won't be long before Arctic Terns are returning to the Black Law colony for another breeding season.
Picture: Mike S Hodgson

Cock Swallows usually appear first, flashing in and out of the sheds and other regular nesting places, as if staking a claim in readiness for the arrival of the females, usually a few days later.

It's always difficult to make predictions about when they are likely to arrive, especially as this column is usually written a couple of weeks in advance of publication.

Look what happened last month! I was busy waxing lyrical about spring and the piece unfortunately appeared right in the middle of the worst winter weather we've experienced since 2012. It was all down to the "Beast from the East" with its Siberian winds, sub-zero temperatures and the island cuts off for days on end. Since then, of course, we've had the mini-Beast with more easterly winds and, thankfully, only a brief covering of snow. Ah well, you can't win them all!

I know that Swallows are the favourites of so many people around the village and their appearance around the place really does give a much-needed boost to the spirits after what has seemed a long winter, particularly with those particularly nasty stings in the tail which caused so much trouble right across the country.

Over the next month of so they'll be followed by other summer visitors. These will include their close relatives, House Martins, which once again will be seeking out nesting sites on buildings in the village, welcomed by some but not so much by others.

Last year a few pairs of House Martins nested in a natural site on the cliffs at Coves Haven.

Cliff nesting must have been normal for both House Martins and Swallows before we humans took to living in buildings no more than a few thousand years ago. These days both species occasionally use natural sites such as the cliffs but it's very unusual. It'll certainly be interesting to see if pairs are back at the Coves this spring.

Once these birds are settled in the island will become a stopping off point for many other species making their way northwards. But more of them next month.


British Science Week

This month we celebrated British Science Week (BSW) by highlighting a key species of the reserve by publishing a fact file, every day on our social media platforms. We also celebrated (BSW) with Lowick CoE first school by learning about the species and habitats of Lindisfarne NNR. We thought about the nesting birds, flora and butterflies of the sand dunes and we thought about how we classify rocky shore animals. We made models of the animals, making sure we applied what we learned about their anatomy! Great work!

Additionally, the new 'Tern Wing' bench was installed at the Island end of the causeway. Thank you to the staff and pupils of Lowick CoE first School for braving the elements for the opening and first seating on the new 'Tern Wing' bench that was installed yesterday by Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve staff and volunteers. The school's pupils designed the bench during a workshop as part of the Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership, an HLF initiative.

For information regarding upcoming Reserve events, contact the Reserve Manager:

Annie Ivison
Reserve Warden, Beal Station
Tel. 01289381470 //

Pupils from Lowick and Holy Island Schools admire the new seat that was made using designs that they had created.
Photo: Iain Robson
School pupils have designs on a new seat for Holy Island

Thousands of people walk the Pilgrims Way across the sands to Holy Island every year.  Now a new seat which has been designed by pupils of Lowick & Holy Island Church of England First Schools, will provide a resting place for walkers at the end of their trek.

The Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership have been working with the two schools and local artist Anna Turnbull to come up with a design for the new seat.

The Pupils drew inspiration for their designs from the landscape and wildlife of the Holy Island area and staff from the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve were on-hand to help them understand why the area is so important.

Three designs by pupils Libby, Calum and Oliver were chosen and combined to create a beautiful Tern Wing design. The bench was crafted from fishing rope gathered from the beach and Lindisfarne and Seahouses harbours and recycled wood from the reserve.

Brenda Stanton, Chair of the Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership said "The seat is shaped like the wing of a tern, a symbol that reminds people of the thousands of birds that make their own journey to Lindisfarne every year. The arctic tern has the longest migration of any bird, travelling from the South Atlantic to the Northumberland coast each Spring.

"The seat also incorporates plastic rope collected from our beaches. This serves as a reminder that this is a fragile environment and that we all have a role to make sure it is here for the birds in the future"

The Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership has been made possible by a £1.37m National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF, North East said "More and more people are walking the Pilgrim's Way to reach Holy Island every year.  We're delighted that money raised by National Lottery players has been used to provide a place not only to rest and put your boots back on, but a place to sit a while and reflect on your own pilgrimage and the wonderful landscape in which you find yourself."

The seat was officially unveiled by pupils from Holy Island Lowick Schools on Friday and can be found at the end of the Pilgrim's Way on Holy Island.

Iain Robson
Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership
07774 715744


New Small Grant Scheme for the Northumberland Coast

The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership and the Coast Care Initiative are launching a £5,000 Community Environmental Projects Fund, which will be available from April.

This exciting new grant scheme will enable local community volunteers to make a contribution to their village or parish. Funding will be available for built environment or environmental projects. It can be used towards the cost of tools or professional support.

Initially, £5,000 is available in the fund until April 2019, although it is hoped that the scheme will continue for further years. Grants will normally be in the range of £750 - £1,000. In general, the scheme will provide 100% funding, although this is at the discretion of the advisory panel.

Gary Campbell, Coast Care Project Co-ordinator, said: "This exciting new funding opportunity will help to give volunteers the tools to make a real difference in our area. In so many different ways volunteers play a vital role in looking after our coast. This grant fund will help to support and develop this even further".

The grant scheme is open to those based in, or operating in, any parish within or adjacent to the AONB (which runs along the coast between Amble and Berwick). The scheme complements the existing Sustainable Development Fund run by the AONB Partnership, which provides grants of up to £3,000 for projects that benefit the environment, communities and visitors to the AONB.

Anyone wanting further information on either of the AONB grant schemes should contact Catherine Gray, Funding and Communications Officer on tel. 01670 622644 or email, or any other member of the Coast Care team

NEWS FROM FORD & ETAL Elspeth Gilliland

Lady Waterford Hall, Ford

An exciting season ahead at the beautiful Lady Waterford Hall in Ford Village, which re-opens daily from 28th March.

Celebrating 200 years since the birth of Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, over the weekend of 14th and 15th April the Hall, along with Ford Castle and Ford Church,will  mark this event with an 'Open Weekend' of exhibitions, tours and talks about Louisa's fascinating life.  There is also a celebration ceilidh in the Lady Waterford Hall on the evening of 14th April.

As part of the celebrations around Louisa Waterford's life, throughout the 2018 season the Lady Waterford Hall Trust is running a raffle offering an unique opportunity  -  the chance to win an original Louisa Waterford watercolour sketch (c. 1840) of a young girl.  Tickets are priced at £1.00 and are available exclusively from Lady Waterford Hall. The raffle will be drawn on 31st October 2018.

A schools art competition is also taking place with work being exhibited at the Watchtower in Berwick from 26th May to 8th June.

Over the winter the Hall's facilities have been upgraded to provide a new storage room, a catering-standard kitchen and new toilets, including a fully accessible WC. These new features alongside the unique and beautiful main Hall will help to make the building a very desirable venue to hire for events, wedding receptions etc.  Enquiries about hire should be made to


Easter Activities across the Estate, including trails, competitions, Easter Baking, bunny hunts and more
2nd April pop up market at Etal Village Hall;
15th April farm market at Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre
4th & 11th April canoe taster sessions (must be pre-booked)
21st April live music at Etal Village Hall with Northlands

Visit for more information.


We learn from the current  TV series on Pilgrimage that pilgrims, whether or not they are religious, value tools which help them express their thoughts.

Over the years various churches have recited words called the Benedicite that invites people to bless, praise, or appreciate good things. In recent times new versions have been composed, that can be used anywhere, and that focus more on the good things of nature. These include various versions of a Lindisfarne Benedicite. This is an extract from my favourite:

Rising suns and star-lit nights bless the Lord
Elements and mighty winds bless the Lord.
Eider ducks and singing seals bless the Lord
Sheep and lambs that frolic in the fields, bless the Lord
Sea birds that fill the air with their clamor, bless the Lord.
Flowers that gem the earth with color, bless the Lord.
Purples and rocks shaped through countless ages, bless the Lord.
Sea creatures and kindly fisher-folk, bless the Lord.
Aidan and Cuthbert bless the Lord.
Scribes and artists bless the Lord.
Eadfrith and illumined Gospels bless the Lord.
Bird watchers and nature lovers bless the Lord.
Pilgrims and kindly folk of this place, bless the Lord.

Ray Simpson
Founding Guardian, The international Community of Aidan and Hilda


April 1st  sees the Western Christian church celebrating Easter, a time when we mark the life, death and resurrection of the Son of God.

One of my favourite stories in the Bible about Jesus, after his resurrection, tells of him meeting his friends on the seashore.  They were fishermen and had been hard at work all night with little success.  Jesus calls out to them to try throwing their nets on the other side of the boat, and suddenly they had such a huge catch that they could hardly haul it to shore.  When they returned to dry land they had breakfast together.

I love the image of Jesus meeting us in the ordinary - when we are working - and the domestic image of a group of friends having a picnic breakfast together.  There is something in that story about touching the divine at any time or in any company.

John's gospel records that, after breakfast,  Jesus took Peter aside for a personal chat about the work that lay ahead of him.  He told Peter three times 'Feed my sheep'.  Peter and the other disciples went on to become founder members of the Christian Church and throughout its history taking care of others has been an important strand of its mission.  Of course, there have been inspirational figures like Mother Theresa who embody this, but there are many millions more people who quietly try to follow Jesus' command to love our neighbours as ourselves.

The way we treat each other is important, whether it is looking out for our physical neighbours, reaching out with support for those in need elsewhere in the world, or simply sharing a smile with a stranger, we can make more of a difference than we realise.

It is also important to remember that Jesus said that as well as loving our neighbours we should love ourselves !

Rachel Poolman

10 YEARS BACK - FROM A FRIEND The late Br.Damian

Dear Friends,

After that extreme set of experiences we called 'March' (see that list of last month's activities, all now past) I for one am looking for a quieter and more regular routine for this month of April. So will the farmers with their lambs, so will the school with its delayed Easter holiday, and definitely the church who will simply be sailing through the Easter stories, with flowers in abundance (and many thanks to the ladies who bring outstanding beauty to our church) and a marvelous group of assisting priests and readers (who add freshness to each day's worship at St Mary's).

Of course we all wish for that smooth-running, fulfilling, not-too-demanding way of life that, in my case, never quite seems to emerge. Temperaments are different but we think sometimes how much easier it would be if everyone thought like I do! Very soon into the month I shall learn again that life isn't that way, nor intended to be that way. I am part of a whole and there is no greater joy than finding that we are accepted within the whole.

That seems to be an important challenge in any small community. We do know each other very well - or think we do. Yet I can bet very few, if any, really know what is going on inside me, what my worries and cares are. And that can probably be said a hundred times over on this Island, if we're honest.

The Easter message isn't about everyone knowing everything, though perhaps heaven will reveal a lot of secrets. The Easter message is about taking who we are, each one, and letting God himself rise within us. It is recognizing that human beings are not only physical, mental, emotional beings but also spiritual beings: we belong to each other  and we also belong to God. And it is our relationship with God that lasts the longest. Actually it sustains all the other relationships which we value and nurture. I also believe the very nearest means towards a quieter, more regular, smooth-running, fulfilling life is to share that life first with the One who can rise up from within us and simply transform life.

Have a good April!      

The late Brother Damian SSF
Vicar of Holy Island - April 2008


( Churchwarden )

  Pattern of worship for Sundays
8am Holy Communion (BCP) 
10.45am Parish Eucharist 
5.30pm Evensong
Pattern of worship for Weekdays
(Monday - Saturday)
Morning Prayer 7.30am
Holy Communion 8am
Evening Prayer 5.30pm



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