We’d been meaning to do this for a while, but the weather and busy busy got in the way. We, being me and Brian of course. Eventually, and with a bit of shuffling the diary, we managed to squeeze a night out on a Holy Island beach. Brian was having an early celebration of his 70th birthday and an imminent promotion to grandad. And serve him right, too…
It was by no means a foregone conclusion, though. First of all, there was the discouraging sign on the causeway which said words to the effect that camping on Linisfarne was right out , whether in a car, a tent or a shed/phonebox/upturned boat or whatever.
Then there was the puddle of salty water on the causeway which restarted on old fault on my car alarm – that is to say, whenever I locked the door, the alarm went off. This would mitigate against parking discreetly (the car park had a sign about not parking overnight.)
Then there was the tide. If we decided to go somewhere else, we had till half four to get off the island otherwise we’d be there for another twelve hours. We decided on a pint, a quick look round and then a retreat to Bamburgh or somewhere.
We had food and we had booze and we had the means to light a fire quickly (not allowed by the way) and we had the means to cook any seafood that might fall into our hands (turned out there wasn’t much seafood – Brian pulled a mussel and gave it to me. I named it Dave but it turned out to be an unresponsive pet. In fact it seemed to be asleep. It was almost certainly deaf.
On wandering around the harbour, we came across a lass with a dog sitting in a van. The short story is that she persuaded us to stay on the island and have our bivi (Brian told everybody we met that we were going to have a bivi on the beach and that it would be best if they didn’t tell anybody)
We parked freely on a bit of grass and wandered down a lane which took us to a sandy and flowery hinterland, some sand dunes, then a cliff overlooking a bay in which seals were being nosey about anybody who appeared on the cliff.
We wandered briefly towards Scotland till we came to a beautiful little sandy bay where we decided to stay. This was Coves Haven. We gathered wood for a fire on the sand. There was no shortage of driftwood. We explored a bit and found a place for the flysheet of the akto for shelter in case of rain, and we found a well built stone hut with a roof of fishing nets and “stuff”. Inside , it was full of toys and a traffic light, and candles and a rosarie and all kinds of flotsam and, maybe a bit of jetsam. There was a book to sign. It seems that the “authorities” don’t like the hut and occasionally destroy it. The authorities, it seems, are a*****les if this is what they think. Its a beautiful thing and its not doing any harm. What is the matter with these people?
We returned to our beach and our fire, drank Guinness and wine and ate a tinned supper. I had a paddle, then a swim – the pictures of which I’ve decided not to publish (!) I wouldn’t want anybody making unfair comparisons between me and any junior members of the royal family. I can say that the water was perishing cold at first, but, after a bit, once things had gone numb, it was fine. I’ve had worse….. and if you can’t bring yourself to have a “wild” swim here then you have no soul and will be doomed to have a perpetually sweaty bum.
Seals were singing on the rocks across the bay as the tide rose slowly up the sand, just to add to the romance of the occasion.
About half nineish, it started raining. A rushed tent pitching session soon revealed that I’d forgotten to bring tent pegs. We used a spare bit of pole, two walking poles and some rocks and achieved a waterproof but cosy shelter. We went to bed. There was a bit of condensation and a lot of snoring, but otherwise we were undisturbed.
Suddenly it was morning and there’d been one of those time/space continuum accidents. Just in time for dawn, though, which appeared in just the right place in a clear, blue sky over a flat, calm sea.
The fire was still lit. We burned a bit of plastic beach rubbish, put out the embers with sea water and covered up the evidence with sand.
I’d also forgotten the sausages by the way, so proper breakfast had to wait till we got to Roy’s tea van on the A1.
Then we went home and told our Mum’s all about it.
Dave died by the way. (sniff…) Difficult to tell, actually. There’s very little chest movement with yer seafood and I have no idea where the pulse would be.