Viking invaders swap war for tide warnings

Ryan Douglas, Holy Island  Coastguard Station Officer with a couple of maurauding Vikings on the causeway to Holy Island.
Ryan Douglas, Holy Island Coastguard Station Officer with a couple of maurauding Vikings on the causeway to Holy Island.

Vikings traded their longboats for more modern vehicles this week in a bid to raise awareness about the tidal access to their old haunt.

It’s more than 1,000 years since the first Viking horde arrived to wage war on Lindisfarne Priory during the raids of AD 793.

But on Tuesday, they were back, in a 4x4 rescue vehicle with Holy Island Coastguard station officer Ryan Douglas, to raise awareness of the causeway’s tide times and warn people of the safe crossing times.

Unlike the Viking boats of the past and the Coastguard rescue vehicles, modern-day family cars are not built to withstand the fast-moving tides and the Holy Island Coastguard, the island community and local authority have worked tirelessly to hammer this message home to people visiting.

The safety message from the Vikings also comes at a time when plans are well underway to install permanent warning signs at the entrance to the causeway.

Electronic signs were trialled earlier in the year in an attempt to combat cases of tourists who haven’t paid heed to the island’s infamous tidal causeway, receiving positive feedback.

Ryan said: “It was great that the Vikings were able to take a break from their busy event schedule at the Priory and lend a hand raising awareness of safety issues with me today.

“I’ve got my English Heritage hat on, encouraging people to come and enjoy this event and also my Coastguard hat asking that when they do visit, they plan ahead and check the tide times.

“With so many tourists crossing the causeway during the summer months, it is vital that we raise awareness of the safe crossing times and the fact that these must be adhered to.”

Viking events run until Sunday – see Page 47 for more.