Leg 2: Newcastle to The Holy Island of Lindisfarne

The spectacular coast of Northumberland was the backdrop to the start of Leg Two of the Sail for Macmillan. The start of the voyage saw a delay due to stormy weather conditions, but they were soon on their way.

Northumberland is steeped in history, romance and tradition and has more castles than any other county in England, many visible from the coast. The landscape is wild and breath-taking, sliced through by the 73 miles of Hadrian’s Wall and scattered with ruins which tell of a bloody and restless past.

As our adventurers headed northwards for their first port of the week, it was a more peaceful place they set sail for – The Holy island of Lindisfarne. This internationally famous island, reached on land by a tidal causeway, is renowned for its medieval, religious history and its iconic landmark, a 16th-century castle. Travellers have long been drawn here by its peace and tranquillity and nowadays it is a popular spot with many tourists.

This wide-ranging demographic of people who visit, includes nature lovers, walkers, photographers, scientists, golfers, writers and, of course, yachtsmen. It is also a place of pilgrimage for many of diverse faiths. However, there is also a small, friendly community living on Lindisfarne who make a living, not only from tourism but, as fishermen, farmers and writers.

The founder of Country Life magazine, Edward Hudson, chose Lindisfarne Castle as his holiday home, transforming the fort into the Edwardian splendour we see today. He commissioned Arts and Crafts architect Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, renowned for her planting designs, to assist with his dramatic plans. The National Trust now manage the property and have undertaken a major restoration project.

This remote corner of England has inspired many other artists over the years and Berwick-upon-Tweed once saw L.S.Lowry as a regular visitor. The peaceful town sits at the most northerly tip of Northumberland, just three miles south of the border with Scotland. This proximity to Scotland has given the town a turbulent past; it was captured or sacked 13 times before falling into English hands in 1482. The resultant great Elizabethan walls, to keep the Scots out, may now be walked, to take in fantastic views of the River Tweed estuary.

As the moorings for the night were tidal, the arrangements for the yacht included some interesting props, as the above picture shows. As the crew settled for an “upright” evening, they could be assured of a warm Northern welcome and the associated hospitality.


Anyone interested in taking part in a Sail for Macmillan should contact Colin and Jan of Premier Sailing, who will be happy to share more details and if you wish you may express an interest in taking part in 2018, without obligation.

Donations to support the cause may be given to the Just Giving page

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