Britain’s Best Islands in The Guardian

32 towards St Cuthberts Island

copyright – Carol Donaldson

I love islands. I have always found them places where I think clearer, unwind and put my own small world into perspective. Today The Guardian publish my piece on Holy Island in Northumbria, a place I run to when life gets a little tumultuous.

The Holy Trinity


3 long tall CarolI realised three things today. One, you should not wander Holy Island lost in your own head. I had walked all the way across North Beach lost in my own thoughts, caught up in an internal world that was not there in front of me and then I rounded the corner and a bird flew in from the sea. I looked up. It was an owl. I laughed out loud. I am always being sent owls. J K Rowling knew what she was on about, they are messengers. The most beautiful day on Holy Island and I was lost in my own head, clearly I was crazy.

The second thing I realised is that it is not easy to take a photo of yourself doing a cartwheel. Cove Bay was deserted, I raced up the beach and cartwheeled back. Why? Well Why not? I only learnt how to do a cartwheel last year and have to practice every attempt I get. The seals in the bay swam in to watch and sang to me, lamenting my obvious weirdness.

13 cartwheel 15 Cartwheel 14 Cartwheel 17 Cartwheel













The third thing is that tourists are, for the main, an unadventurous, herd driven species. I had watched thousands of them descend on the island that morning but where were they now? Thankfully, elsewhere, buying mead and visiting the castle but not on the beach where it was just me and the seals and an owl hunting the dunes.

Short Eared Owl, Holy Island.

Short Eared Owl, Holy Island.