In the footsteps of the Vikings

Neil Oliver at Lindisfarne Priory.
Neil Oliver at Lindisfarne Priory.

A MARAUDING television crew visited one of north Northumberland’s most famous landmarks recently, following in the footsteps of the Vikings.

Lindisfarne Priory is well known for its links to the Vikings and historian turned TV presenter Neil Oliver stopped by to film a new BBC documentary about their history.

We all have an idea of who the Vikings were: Raiders, warriors, men of violence who attacked our shores, giving their name to an entire era in our history.

But just who were they really? It was lights, camera, action on Holy Island as Neil and the crew filmed part of the new documentary series, due to be aired this autumn, in which Neil travels the world in search of the people and culture behind the legend.

Lindisfarne Priory is renowned for its Viking connections, after raiders tore through the island in the 8th Century AD, when the rich monastery on the isolated island was easy prey.

Neil said: “Lindisfarne Priory is one of the most tranquil destinations along the North East coast. It’s somewhere that I have a strong attachment to and I love spending time there, so it was great to get the opportunity to visit the Priory and Holy Island again for the filming of the new show.

“It’s hard to imagine that once upon a time the peace was shattered when it was raided by the Vikings.

“We’re very much looking forward to the show being broadcast and hope that viewers will enjoy getting an insight into just who the legendary Vikings were.”

Caroline Sinclair, from English Heritage, said: “It was great to welcome Neil and the BBC crew to Lindisfarne Priory to film scenes for the new documentary and here at English Heritage, we are very excited for the show to be aired this autumn.

“We’d encourage people to come and visit Lindisfarne Priory, now open every day, and see for themselves just how spectacular the site is.

“The fascinating on-site museum tells the 1,300-year history of the Priory and includes the Viking Raiders stone, depicting the Viking raid on Lindisfarne in 793.”

The Viking raiders will return to Lindisfarne Priory this summer for a special week-long Viking extravaganza from Monday, August 6 to Sunday, 12.

Visitors will be able to see a Viking boat, complete with sailors, at the Viking and Saxon Boats event, from August 6 to 10, with Viking Raiders storming the Priory at a special weekend event on August 11 and 12, culminating in a full-scale deadly battle from the Viking re-enactors.

For more information on Lindisfarne Priory, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/lindisfarne or call 01289 389200.