Farne Islands

The evening sun falls on the lighthouse on Inner Farne seen through a narrow sound mapped as Piper Cut. Three and a half kilometres away. We were anchored off Big Harcar and about to jump into the shallow water to “swim with the seals”. A brilliant experience. The Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland, once home to various saints, Cuthbert, Aidan, Aethelwold and Bartholomew. By coincidence, August 24th is Saint Bartholomew’s day but I understand he is a different saint, one of the Apostles in fact. However, his day is associated with a lot of folklore which is good enough a connection for me. The Romans started it all:

If it rains this day it will rain the forty days after.

Which is very similar to the St. Swithin’s day lore. The two do get a mention together:

All the tears that St. Swithin can cry,
St. Bartlemy’s mantle wipes them dry.

Or there is:

At St. Bartholomew,
There comes cold dew.

And one that in hindsight that looks particularly good:

If the twenty-fourth of August be fair and clear,
Then hope for a prosperous autumn that year.

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