Friday, September 28th Just a few blocks along High Street, and a right turn took us over the river and across the border and we didn't even notice that we rode right by the 'England' sign. 100 yards later, I stopped and turned around and went back for a photo. Mrs Trip waits just before the curve ahead. That milestone out of the way, we turned off the A697 and pointed east. The river Till cut off our route, leaving Tiptoe a dead end. ...it's down that way.... But we turned the other... through rolling fields riding east, into the sun. Until up ahead... the North Sea blue along the horizon.... We're on a pilgrimage, you see, to Holy Island; it's also known as Lindisfarne. Which brings to mind the band of the same name, local boys from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, folk-rockers from the hazy recesses of my formative years. I'm humming along as I ride. But what really interests me now is the road to the island. You have to time your visit to coincide with the tides... it's submerged at high tide. The road crosses the vast muddy flats that separate the island from the shore. You'll remember we rode the A93 over Cairnwell Pass, up in the Grampian mountains...the Highest point on a public road in the UK. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is the Lowest public road in the UK. Two of the cardinal points of Britain... pretty cool, eh? The island itself is pretty touristy, with a walk out to the handsome castle, and a bunch of shops and restaurants. The island is surrounded by a nature reserve. Holy Island has been a center for Celtic Christianity since the 6th century. Lindisfarne was a wealthy monastery when the Vikings sacked it in 793... the attack that's commonly seen as the start of the Viking Age. We rode around... for about 10 minutes. Interesting. But what's really interesting is that causeway... let's have another look.... Holy Island is the end point of St. Cuthbert's Way, a 62 mile walking route. This is known as Pilgrim's Path, the walker's route from shore to island. I don't know why there isn't a raised causeway and a bridge. Despite the warning signs, and the admonitions online, and the informational kiosks, about one vehicle every month gets stranded by the tide and the occupants need rescuing by the Coast Guard. If they can get you with a boat, it will cost you about $2500. If they have to use a helicopter, it's over $5,000. And, your vehicle just had a salt water bath. I guess there is a bit of a bridge ahead, and on the right, an emergency shelter tower where you can get above the flood waters. Did you call for an UBER? We left the causeway behind and headed straight west, up the low hills that overlook the ocean, and straight towards the larger hills beyond. Well, those hills are out there somewhere, but for now its farms and hedgerows and rolling fields. There they are... in the distance. The Cheviot Hills. We're riding just a little south of due west, and we skirt around the northern end of Northumberland National Park. Turned again at Akeld, in Old English, ac-helde, meaning 'Oak Slope'. And this is the churchyard of St. Gregory the Great in the village of Kirknewton. It's old. Parts of the church date back to the Norman invasion, and it's been the sight of a church since the 7th century baptism of the king of Northumberland and his retinue in the River Glen nearby. Across the valley is Lanton Hill topped by a large obelisk, the Davison Memorial. "Look...up there..." A large, old farm past the Bowmont Water. We had to re-route a bit for a closed bridge. I tried to convince Mrs Trip that we are on "cycles". She wasn't buying it. We're riding along the edge of Northumberland National Park. The left side of the road is the park. And somewhere along here, we crossed back into Scotland. The ridge of the Cheviot Hills rising to our left, forms the border... no roads cross the hills. We pulled over here in a passing place, and as we were standing there, a gentleman on a Royal Enfield Himalayan pulled up and stopped. He was a Scotsman out for an afternoon tour and we talked for a few minutes. I admired his bike... very TW-ish. A scenic spot, just past Hownam. That's the Cheviot Hills. The Romans used this valley, and a pass through the hills that has no road today. Along the side of the modern road we're riding are the remains of a Roman campsite. It's difficult to make out the earthworks from the farmer's fields. The hills, while not high, make for rugged terrain. We wound our way through them, all the way down to Saughtree. Then east... through Kielder Forest. … and crossed back into England... Past Kielder Water, and kept on south. Farm roads. Up and over Black Fell. And on in a general southwesterly direction. The patchwork of fields turned into a series of gates. We opened and closed each one. We're just on the north side of Hadrian's Wall, sneaking up on it like some far more sedate form of blue-painted Picts. And they didn't even see us coming... A couple of other backroads and we were in Gilsland, an out of the way little town with a hotel on the hill. We decided to stay two nights, so we can have a full day of Roman antiquity tomorrow. Boo-yah!!