|St Cuthbert I presume.|
"There is one thing alone that stands the brunt of life throughout its course: a quiet conscience" - Euripides, Hippolytus, 428 B.C.
Every few weeks I must get away from it all, because it does take its toll on me. You would never know it from the façade I have worked hard to constantly present, but I am very sensitive and empathetic. Indeed, the statement "what you do unto my friends, you do unto me" captures my sentiment without effort, the News thus depress me immensely. Studying the art of war, as I do, the observer's misconception that I am a warmonger is excusable, but the truth is that my subject matter is a private hell for a person of my disposition. I will not bore you with the specific instances that tug at my heart strings but they are many and it is physically exhausting, literally. Avoiding the news or altogether abandoning the study of the art of war is not an option because in the future I must needs deal with these matters first hand, so must be prepared.
A quiet conscience is useful to have as Euripides averred above, so I do not diminish the importance of doing right always. For my part, unless it be in matters of omission, I think my conscience is clear in matters of commission, thus my baggage is not so much guilt I have contributed to mankind's misery; but rather empathy with the situation others find themselves in in the world's hotspots. A day away from it all can be, and indeed was attempted 2 weeks shy of end of first term at my current institute: the Durham Global Security Institute [DGSi].
|Hatfield College MCR Day Trip to Lindisfarne|
Stranger in Lindisfarne
We left Durham (my current base) at 0800hrs sharp in the hope of beating the 1030hrs cut off at the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. You see, the Holy Island is connected to mainland England (off the A1 Motorway 79 Miles from Durham) by a Causeway that is susceptible to incoming tides.
|Danger of drowning if caught by the tides when they flood the Causeway.|
But as has become customary with my story telling I am getting ahead of myself, and rightly so because, this is the outstanding feature of the Holy Island for me. This is the one thing that makes it completely unique for me. I had never even heard in my whole life of this phenomenon; in fact the closest I can equate it to is the story in the Bible when Moses parted the Red Sea to escape the Pharaoh's Army.
|The Causeway when the tide is out at 1000am, at 1030, everything will be under sea water|
Still, you see what is happening here, already by thinking about this phenomenon my mind was already being given a respite from war stories, rumours of war, massacres and Mexican stand-offs in various places. It is with this in mind that I must take issue with Ralph Waldo Emerson's argument that all places are the same because it is you who travels there and you carry all your baggage with you.
That, You Cannot Get Away From Yourself?
"He carries ruins to ruins. Travelling is a fool's paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go" - Ralph Waldo Emerson
|Durham University mixed MCR Cohort on arrival at Lindisfarne.|
I like to think I managed to leave my giant behind on this trip as I really managed to rest and recuperate from my usual surroundings. It was also lucky that I did not see the poster of what Lindisfarne promises until I was about to leave in the evening, because I am sure it was not suggested to me to feel relaxed. I felt it for myself, by myself.
|The promise of the Holy Island.|
This too is the downside to this trip, because I really wanted to relax, I did everything differently from my daily routines at DGSi. I did not take notes, I did not memorise facts, I did not imagine how the Island sustains itself or its politics or what pilgrims come here for. All I wanted to do was be away from the news, traffic lights, sirens and aircraft noises and I succeeded.
|Walking everywhere; my staple for the day.|
Usually, I write so as to encourage others to take the same trip by highlighting the sights and their significance. I will not bother. All I did was walk everywhere for 5 hours straight until 1530hrs when it was safe to make the trip across the Causeway back to the mainland.
Dear reader, I hope you visit this Island and write about your experiences, only then will I be able to gain useful knowledge about it, because all I tried to do here was keep my mind blank, and I succeeded!
|1530hrs, it is now safe to cross back to the mainland.|
|Dunelm House at an ungodly hour.|
|Exit A1 Motorway for the Holy Island|
|The Causeway. The only way on and off the Island.|
|The Causeway proper.|
|MCR Cohort on the Holy Island: Arrival.|
|In the distance, Lindisfarne Castle - a landmark of this Island.|
|“If you want to have order in the commonwealth, you first have to have order in the individual soul” ― Russell Kirk. The author at St Aidan's Church, Lindisfarne Holy Island.|
|My holy grail|
|The Castle viewed from the waterfront.|
|Acting all kinds of crazy and finding renewed vigour just by being here|
|The wine dark North Sea seen as I climbed up Lindisfarne Castle.|
|The Castle proper.|
|Destination of the climb.|
|Mi casa es su casa!|
|Climb up to the Castle.|
|The reward for the climb to the top of the Castle|
|No one was at home so I passed the Castle and began my "Long March" on the coastal area of Lindisfarne|
|The Long March|
|But is it wise to wander so far away from the Castle|
|But to every problem a solution will be found.|
|However temporary the solution turns out to be...|
|My march along the edges of the Island continue|
|Walk every which way|
|On the mainland, this would be proof of craziness, but here, on the Island, it's proof of sanity!|
|Wide open spaces|
|Hide Lough, a fresh water dam, well, lake if you consider the size of the Island.|
|The inexorable march|
|Signage on Holy Island|
|The Priory - a Major Landmark of Lindisfarne|
|You cannot claim nation state status if you don't have a winery?|
|The highest point of Lindisfarne|
|Front or Back of the Priory|
|The Guardian of the Priory|
|"Sunset and the Flood" - a picture by the author.|
|An end to the most relaxing day I have had in 2013|
|Our transport for the exit off Lindisfarne.|