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Superfast broadband crosses causeway to Holy Island

Holy Island. Credit: Angela Fullerton

Holy Island – home to a wealth of history dating back to 635 AD – has now truly arrived in the 21st Century.

Superfast fibre broadband has arrived at Lindisfarne, off the Northumberland coast.

As well as battling the North Sea, which covers the causeway access at high tide, a team of eleven BT engineers had to lay around 14km (8.6 miles) of optical fibres from Berwick to the island.

“Living on an island like Lindisfarne can present its challenges – not least of which is the need for suitable communications links. Tourism businesses have to be able to compete on a level playing field and residents too wish to receive the same level of service as their neighbours on the mainland. “I am delighted that through the iNorthumberland programme we have been able to provide superfast broadband to this community.”

– Cllr Dave Ledger, deputy leader, Northumberland County Council

The iNorthumberland programme is being delivered by Northumberland County Council, with the aim of fibre broadband to around 90% of homes and businesses in the county by December 2015.

"The benefits of faster broadband speeds are considerable for businesses with many of those situated on Holy Island serving the more than 650,000 visitors, who flock to the island every year. Businesses can now access booking systems, update websites and utilise social networking sites faster and more effectively, saving both time and money.

– Sean Atkinson, who runs the Lindisfarne Hotel on the island

£1.2m funding to preserve Lindisfarne Castle

Lindisfarne Castle. Credit: National Trust

Government funding of £1.2m has been secured to preserve Lindisfartne Castle for future generations.

The castle, on Holy Island, is deteriorating due to its exposure to salt, wind and sea.

The exposed location of the castle on the Northumberland coastline puts the fabric of the building under constant pressure from the elements.

As a result the building suffers from penetrating damp which in some areas puts the Castles contents at risk. There are also many leaking historic windows.

Lindisfarne Castle is a popular tourist destination, with nearly 100,000 visitors each year. Built in around 1550, it now has Grade 1 Listed status.

The National Trust is delighted to secure funding towards the future of Lindisfarne Castle. Northumberland welcomes nearly 9 million visitors each year, who contribute over £700 million to the local economy, so this investment in one of the region’s most iconic attractions is greatly welcomed. The Castle suffers because of its exposed coastal location. This project to enhance the Castle will ensure the long term stability and future of this iconic landmark that is loved by so many people. The funding is great news for Northumberland, for tourism, for heritage and for Holy Island and we are grateful of the support offered.”

– Simon Lee, general manager for the National Trust on the Northumberland Coast

Work will begin this summer to trial conservation techniques for the castle, with a view to project work beginning in 2017.


Holy Island residents call for fire training

Residents on Holy Island off the Northumberland coast say they're afraid of what might happen if a serious fire breaks out while the island is cut off by the tide.

They want Northumberland Fire and Rescue to provide hose reels and fire extinguishers which volunteers on the island could use to contain fires until professional firefighters are airlifted in. They're also calling for training to use the equipment.

Derek Proud reports:

Causeway rescue was false alarm

It was thought three people were trapped in this car but when emergency services got there it had already been abandoned Credit: RNLI

The RLNI say it is "unbelievable" that people are still getting stuck during high tide on Holy Island Causeway despite new electronic signs telling them when it is safe to cross.

Crews were called out to reports that three people were trapped in a partially submerged car on the crossing on Wednesday, 21 August.

However, it turned out that the car had already been abandoned and the owners were safely back at their hotel.

The electronic signs had been fitted to help stop people becoming trapped by rising water on the causeway.


"Unbelievable" that people still get stuck on causeway

"While it is unbelievable that people are still getting stranded on the Causeway despite new Hi-tech signage, it is regrettable that these people today did not notify the authorities about having to abandon their vehicle, which would have avoided today's rescue alert."

– Ian Clayton, Seahouses Lifeboat Operations Manager

Abandoned car sparks major rescue on causeway

Car abandoned after getting stuck at high tide on Holy Island Causeway Credit: RNLI

Emergency services have expressed their anger and frustration after being called to rescue people in a partially submerged car on the Holy Island crossing only to find it had been abandoned some time earlier.

The Seahouses Inshore Lifeboat and a rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer were scrambled on Wednesday, 21 August, after reports that people were trapped in the vehicle as the tide flooded the causeway.

When rescuers got to the car they found it was empty.

The owners were eventually traced to a hotel on the island.

Vikings highlight causeway dangers

Viking display on Holy Island Credit: ITV News

Viking enthusiasts are returning to Holy Island Priory for English Heritage's Viking Week - and they're also highlighting the dangers of Holy Island causeway.

The Vikings will take a trip along the causeway, accompanied by Lindisfarne coastguard Ryan Douglas in his 4x4 rescue vehicle. They aim to raise awareness of the causeway's tide times and warn people not to ignore safe crossing times.

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