Pilgrim’s Route, First Light Winter
Across these sands St Cuthbert would have journeyed in life and was carried after his death on Inner Farne in 687, to be interred in the abbey on the island. From here in 875 the monks set out carrying the remains of Cuthbert and other saints, the gospels and other holy relics on their long and final journey away from Lindisfarne.
This journey marked the ebbing of power from the old kingdom of Bernicia, based in Bamburgh to the lands of the south. The final act of this was more than one hundred years later, the establishment of the permanent settlement of the community of Lindisfarne and Cuthbert in Durham. This coincided with the loss of all the lands in southern Scotland and the establishment of an Anglo- Scottish border. The consequences of these journeys still resonate today.
This is a place I have visited and painted many times, it continually changes. There is a restless play between the astonishing variety of light effects and the tides. It is endlessly fascinating and the act of walking these sands bare foot, I think, directly connects one to the footfall of those early holy men and pilgrims. Twice each day the tide wipes all trace of these impressions. The staves are left to rise eerily from the cloudy sea to mark the space through which all have passed. The physical sensation of this muddy walk can uniquely connects one with nature and history and is one which I can recommend.