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Nordic Walk  Pilgrims Causeway to Holy Island

Nordic Walk Pilgrims Causeway to Holy Island

Sat 16th July 2016

The Barn at Beal had very kindly allowed us to park in their car park for the day and asked that we buy something from their café!  Do the Nordic Nuts need an excuse for tea, cake or scones?  No we donít.

Once everyone had arrived, finished their refreshments I handed poles out to those who needed to borrow them.

I introduced myself and volunteers to the group.  Most of the group were regular Nordic Nuts but we welcomed Ruta and Jim, to our happy group.  Unfortunately we started walking in rain but this didnít dampen our spirits.

We headed off towards the Causeway with Martin at the front.  As always with this group there was a lot of chat, laughter and mickey taking.

At the start of the causeway the group split, one group went over the bridge to avoid the water, meanwhile the rest of us decided to go plodging. 

Once we were in bare feet we could see the richness of the mudflats. The surface was covered in tiny dark specks.  Looking closely these were a minute sea snail called Hydrobia, a very important food item for the large flocks of ducks and wading birds that arrive in autumn.  As well as the fine green strands of filamentous algae we could see another plant which looked like a broad leafed grass, just a few inches long.  This is a vital part of the ecosystem and is called Zostera, otherwise known as sea grass.  It is an important food for birds and also provides shelter for young fish when the tide is in. It is not an algae like seaweed, but a flowering plant.  There are two species here, one reproducing by underground stems (rhizomes) and the other by seed and is an annual.  Lugworm casts were everywhere and there were large quantities of cockle shells. Some of the shells had a small hole in them made by dog whelks which predate them. Occasional small shore crabs scuttled along and there were a few winkles for those who like to eat sea snails.

Once the group came back together everyone went at their own pace.

There was a constant background noise that sounded like wind howling in a boatís rigging. As we got closer to Lindisfarne we could see the ďmermaidsĒ singing.  There was a large rookery of several hundred seals.  These were mostly the larger Grey seal which give birth around November on the Farnes. 

The sand quickly gave way to a very thin layer of mud which was very slippy, it was like walking on an icy pavement.  The going underfoot now regularly changed from mud to sand to large areas of sand under shallow water.   

The next issue to impede our progress was an area of mud flats with lots of deep holes filled with black water.  Step forward Catherine to slip spectacularly in the black muddy water, of course the customary photograph was taken of Catherineís misfortune.

Thankfully we reached the end of the causeway without any further incidents.

We reached Holy Island and most of us headed to Pilgrimís Café for lunch.  We had 1½ hours on the island to have lunch/explore and visit the mead shop.

The sparrows in the café garden were very cheeky and flew onto the tables hoping for some crumbs – they were very unlucky.

The weather had started wet but halfway towards Holy Island the rain stopped and the sun came out.

Luckily for us we were just in time for more tea and cake at the Barn at Beal and were lucky enough to be able to sit outside and admire the view of the area we had just walked.

I really hope you enjoyed this unusual walk.  For clarification the distance measured 8.97miles.

Our next walk is Warkworth to Amble (and back) on 24th July and is around 5 miles.

Thank you for coming along on this walk and thank you to Ruth, Martin and Laura for your help and hard work in making this a great day.

See you soon

Julie

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