Lindisfarne Is The Perfect Place To Refresh Yourself
A change of scenery can be good for your mental health , and we have one of the most spectacular and intriguing landscapes here in Northumberland. Situated just 2 miles (3 km) off our coast is Lindisfarne, also known as the Holy Island. It is a historic small island, measuring just 2 square miles . These 2 square miles can transport you back in time with its ancient ruins and fill your soul with wonder at its rugged beauty.
It doesn’t matter if you are local or a visitor to the area, Lindisfarne can offer you a wealth of experiences. Here, history surrounds you, from Lindisfarne Castle built high on a volcanic mound , to the ancient ruins of Lindisfarne Priory, where you walk in the footsteps of devout Monks and Saints. Many people visit here as part of an organised Pilgrimage, but you don’t have to be religious to be moved by the breath-taking scenery and the feeling of something special in the air.
Lindisfarne history and atmosphere
Perhaps this starts with travelling to the island. The approach is dramatic; the Castle sits high in the distance whilst visitors walk or drive across a causeway to access the island. Twice daily the high tide of the cold North Sea makes the crossing inaccessible and cuts off the island completely from the mainland. This imposed seclusion just adds to Lindisfarne’s enigmatic aura.
This aura was surely part of the reason the Northumbrian ruler King Oswald asked for an Irish monk to found a Priory in 635 AD. Little did he know that in years to come Lindisfarne would become seen as one of the most important centres for early English Christianity . The monk was called Aidan (now St. Aidan) from the island of Iona (which is now part of Scotland). A few decades later, in the 670s, a monk called Cuthbert (now known as St. Cuthbert) rose in power and influence to become monk-bishop and is Lindisfarne’s most celebrated inhabitant.
This is one of the reasons why the island attracts many people of religious faith and spiritual inclination, but also those with an interest in history and ruins. Visitors can walk amongst the extensive ruins of the Priory, which was built in the 12th century on the site of the old monastery. There is something special about touching the brickwork that has lasted over 1,000 years. Perhaps it is connecting to the realisation that we are all here for just a season, but the world turns on regardless. Or maybe it’s the feeling that you are walking in the shadows of centuries of learned, noble monks and can almost hear their footsteps if you listen carefully. Artists, musicians, writers, and poets can all find inspiration in this haunting space.
Lindisfarne Castle and inspiration
Another place for inspiration is the Castle, which was built in 1550 as a defence against invaders. Whilst the island may be a tranquil place, its history is bloody. The Vikings ravaged the island in the infamous raid of 793  and many suggest that Lindisfarne was referred to as the Holy Island in recognition of the monks who died as martyrs in this attack .
Thankfully the Castle today tries to attract rather than repel visitors! It has a wide range of exhibitions and activities, many of which are family-friendly. If your family is suffering from the drudgery of the school run and homework, a blast of fresh air and afternoon rock pooling could be just the answer.
Time outdoors benefits mental health
Spending time outdoors and in nature is beneficial to an individual’s mental and physical well-being . Research has shown that doing activities in nature can help with anxiety and depression . Gardening is often spoken about as one way to engage with nature. Within the castle grounds is the Gertrude Jekyll Garden, a tranquil space to sit and relax, or you could also practise mindfulness or meditation here. Let the sights of the garden and the sounds of the bees and birds lull you into a relaxed frame of mind.
You can also do the same by venturing onto the beach or taking a coastal walk. Research has shown that being by a water source can be good for your mental health, and the tempestuous North Sea can definitely be classed as a rather vast water source! Other water sources including lakes, ponds and swimming pools are classified as ‘blue spaces.’ Leading health experts state that exposure to blue spaces is linked to overall improved health . Perhaps it is also the uninterrupted views that span miles in front of us, the sound of the waves, and the fresh breeze, that help refresh our minds and bodies.
Refreshing ourselves can also mean releasing ourselves from that which no longer serves us. In a place such as Lindisfarne, there is every chance that you may experience an epiphany about life, love, death, and everything in between. You may feel that you want to make changes and wonder how to go about this. You could try noting these feelings down as a positive first step and researching your options next.
If you would like confidential support with this, My Family Psychologist can offer in-person or online sessions. We understand the challenges of life and the desire to make changes, even though sometimes this feels terrifying. Call Luisa today on 07801 079 555 or email email@example.com for a chat about how we can help move forward positively.
By Fiona Ruth
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