Where is it?

Lindisfarne, Northumberland.

Why do you go there?

My fascination with islands has taken me north to Arctic Greenland and east to the shores of the Baltic Sea. Lindisfarne was the first island I knew – the nearest to where I grew up in Kelso. When I left school, I worked in The Ship Inn, one of many pubs on the island.

Living above the pub, I got to see the wild side of island life. The monks are known for inventing mead, a sweet drink (said to be an aphrodisiac) which is still brewed on the island.

How often do you go?

Whenever I am back in the north-east – and if the tide allows a crossing. It's a tidal island where you can walk or drive across from the mainland. Many pilgrims get trapped on the causeway. Luckily, there are little huts on stilts to escape the encroaching waves.

HeraldScotland: Author Nancy Campbell. Picture: Annie SchlechterAuthor Nancy Campbell. Picture: Annie Schlechter

How did you discover it?

I first saw the island from the train, travelling south to visit my grandparents in Newcastle. The journey between Edinburgh and Newcastle as the train runs right along the cliffs is magic, especially at dawn and sunset.

What's your favourite memory?

When the day-trippers went home and the island grew quiet again, I'd walk down to St Cuthbert's Island – a tiny island off this small island. Allegedly, Cuthbert also went here when he wanted some peace from the other monks.

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If you look closely on the beach, you can find tiny, beautiful fossils known as "Cuddy's (Cuthbert's) Beads", as it's said he strung them together to form a rosary. I loved beachcombing for these fossils and finding all sorts of other treasures too.

Who do you take?

I usually travel alone – that way there are more adventures. I've had wonderful conversations with different people who wash up here: sailors, pilgrims and those out walking their dogs on the beach.

HeraldScotland: Lindisfarne. Picture: Tony Kearney/NewsquestLindisfarne. Picture: Tony Kearney/Newsquest

What do you take?

Binoculars for bird watching and looking out to the remote Farne Islands. Notebooks. Warm jumpers.

What do you leave behind?


Sum it up in five words.

Wild. Historic. Austere. Inspiring. Intoxicating.

What other travel spots are on your wish list?

There are many islands I've yet to visit. Friends in Shetland have mentioned the ancient standing stones and brochs and I'd love to see those landmarks.

Across the ocean, I'm drawn to Newfoundland: a massive island that juts into the Atlantic Ocean at the most easterly tip of Canada. I'd like to explore its wild cliffs and shores which, even though rugged and daunting and shaped by glaciers, have long been a welcome sight to seafarers.

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In the 11th century, Norse explorer Leif Erikson sailed here from Greenland and named the fertile island "Vinland" because he encountered a mild climate, salmon in the rivers and plentiful grapevines.

As for today's cuisine, one of the pleasures of travel is sampling local foods. A trip to Newfoundland would be spent foraging for cloudberries and partridge berries, as well as eating the local speciality, deep-fried dough "toutons" dipped in molasses.

Fifty Words for Snow by Nancy Campbell is published in paperback by Elliott & Thompson, £9.99