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article imageTourists using Holy Island causeway often driving into the sea

By Kev Hedges     Jun 20, 2011 in Travel
A half-mile stretch of road which links the mainland UK to Holy Island is becoming a regular scene for dramatic rescue operations by boat crews from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, because car drivers are not reading the tide tables.
On Saturday a car attempted to cross the causeway, which becomes flooded twice a day, once half-way across strong currents and North Sea water swamped the hire car up to its roof. They were rescued by a Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) boat crew but the car will have been damaged beyond repair. The couple were on holiday from Australia.
This was the eighth time this year that a vehicle has attempted to cross the causeway without checking when the link road is safe to do so. Locals who live on the island, also known as Lindisfarne, have rejected suggestions from the local council to erect barriers at each end because they feel they should not be inconvenienced because of other people's failure to read the tide tables.
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is a popular tourist attraction as it was here that the message of Christianity was spread around the world. Dating back to 635AD, St. Aiden from Iona built a monastery here and the island became a centre of pilgrimage. It is also an island that graces areas of outstanding natural beauty, tranquillity and spirituality.
Lindisfarne Causeway The causeway to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) is flooded at high tide. Visible in t...
Lindisfarne Causeway The causeway to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) is flooded at high tide. Visible in the background is the refuge for travellers caught by the tide. The timetable for the bus service to Lindisfarne is governed by the tides - possibly the only bus service in Britain which runs to a calendar.
M McDonald
Ian Clayton, a spokesman from Seahouses RNLI crew, told the BBC: "It's incredible that people seem to think they can drive their cars into the North Sea. None of those who are caught out are locals, it's always people who are visiting the area. The Holy Island causeway is under water twice every 24 hours. They all seem to think it's not their fault, but they've totally ignored warning signs on both sides of the road. It's quite bizarre."
Mr Clayton also tells of one such story two years ago, where one tourist was warned by locals on the island to leave before the causeway begins to flood. He dismissed the warnings as "just something to frighten tourists". He was rescued an hour later up to his chest in water with his wife up to her neck and their two children being held above the father's head.
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