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The Holy Island of Lindasfarne

Top Left is looking from the Northumberland East coast shore towards the “Holy Island” of Lindasfarn and the tide is out. Lindasfarne is used by migrating geese as a stop off point and at times has thousand of pink footed geese resting there.

We must remember, this is not just a place that geese and wildfowlers  visit. For many centuries Pilgrims have visited this site as a Holy Place. It was there that Saint Aidan arrived and built the first monastery in 635 AD. It continued with the ministry of Saint Cuthbert and then in a Viking attack all on the island were killed in 793. The deaths of the Christian martyr’s made it a place of   pilgrimage.

No matter how many times you hear and see them, there really is something very magic about a flight and the calling of wild geese.

In the group in the picture opposite there were about 200 Pinks in all, although you can only see about a quarter of them. They are about 150 yards above us and yet their calls are so exciting to a wildfowler.

Picture right. My first trip to the Lindisfarn area, and my luck was in. I had taken my best Armstrong double barreled 8 bore. A back  action   side  lock

hammer gun with 3 1/4 inch chambers. I was using 2 oz of No. 3 shot Bismuth, with a Plastic Galandi Wad and 56 grains of Blue Dot. I was extremely lucky to be in the right place, under a flight of pinks. One low goose on the side of the skein about 40 yards to my right. For me it is always a bit special to shoot a goose with an 8 bore and on a dawn flight.

In Alasdair Mitchell’s book ‘Goose Shooting’ there is a comment :-                         “You can kill a goose with a 12 bore, but it take a big gun to slay one”     A good shooting trip is about  the experience of the day(s) that you have had.   It  should  never  be   measured  by  the  number  of  ducks or geese you have shot.  Learn to get a full understanding and appreciation

The picture right was taken from a long way off and is a little grainy, it is not that easy to see but most of the geese are Barnicle, which are a protected species. If you look very carefully you will also see some Pink Feet feeding  with  them. The  main  problem being that when the

of studying them. Working out where you think they are going, or will go and listen to their calls and how they fly as a skein. Pictures of sunsets or sunrises as the picture left shows, no two are ever the same and that is also part of these special places.

geese get up (Jump) and start to flight, the Pinks and the Barnical all fly together and there will be little opportunity to take a shot, without the risk of hitting a protected bird. Even when this happens it is a wonderful thing just to be right underneath them. You have to be there to hear the calls  feel and sense the atmosphere of this place.