This film is part of Free

Time and Tide

The private face of a windswept island off the Northumbrian coast revealed by TV Mastermind presenter Magnus Magnusson.

Documentary 1985 26 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


The wild and tranquil island of Lindisfarne reveals its private side, past and present, to Mastermind presenter Magnus Magnusson. Barefoot pilgrims still trek across sand and mud flats at low tide to the spiritual home of Celtic saints Aidan and Cuthbert, who is considered by some as England’s first ‘nature conservationist’. At times, the local ‘hunter-gatherer’ way of life here is decidedly at odds with the ecology and spirit of this Holy Island.

This is the first of a two-part Tyne Tees Television documentary, which was originally broadcast on the 29th December 1985. Amongst the island ruins pictured are Victorian lime kilns and upturned keelboats converted into sheds in keeping with Holy Island tradition. These are survivals from the ‘gold rush years’ of the herring fishing industry on Lindisfarne, which began to decline before World War One.