Clear White Light – By Lorraine Weightman – Consett Magazine


I made trips and pilgrimages there with my family when I was young, and although
I didn’t know his whole story then, I’ve always felt his magic.

The fact that we had to travel along a causeway when the tide was low just to get there, knowing that there was a slim chance we could be cut off from the mainland if we misread the tides, always bugged me fascinated. And of course there was the majestic castle, the ruined priory, the beautiful church and the incredible stretches of beach.

I hadn’t been here for a long time, but it was no surprise – when I arrived a good number of years later – to have that sense of tranquility and belonging that I had felt so many years ago; as I explored the places I remembered as a kid.

On entering the church I was wowed by Fenwick Lawson’s fantastical sculpture of monks carrying the body of St Cuthbert from Lindisfarne – for fear of Viking raiders – on the long journey to his final resting place in the cathedral of Durham.
Moved by this moving image, I decided to find out more about Cuthbert.
You could say that all legends start with a grain of truth.

In St Bede’s account of Cuthbert, while a shepherd boy at Melrose, Bede described how Cuthbert encountered a long stream of light illuminating the night sky with its brightness; while all those around him slept. It was a life-changing moment, and when he found out it had happened on the very night of Aidan’s death, the Bishop of Lindisfarne Church, he vowed to enter a monastery. , for he believed it was a sign.

Whatever his success – Cuthbert was appointed Bishop of Hexham in 684 by the then King of Northumbria – he longed for the simple life of a hermit and returned to Lindisfarne to live there, retiring to Inner Farne.

Many miracles are attributed to him and much more has been written about him.

I have stayed on the island of Lindisfarne several times, loving that feeling when the tide comes in and you are completely cut off whilst enjoying an evening meal, a few drinks and a good craic with guests and bar dwellers.

I have wonderful memories of The Lindisfarne hotel, especially of the owner who, when making a food platter, made remarks to the residents;

“Hot stuff is coming, and I’m not talking about breakfast!”

I would also recommend the Crown and Anchor, Ship Inn and Manor House. The room I stayed in here overlooked the statue of St Aidan, the Priory and the Church and remember I wished I could wake up to this spectacular
see every morning.

It was here, while dining, that I met a young man who worked in the restaurant I used to teach many moons ago near Consett, when he was 6 years old.

Hearing the words “Mrs. Weightman” delightfully shouted across the room from the kitchen, made me realize once again that my hometown is still there to welcome me and I wouldn’t want it to be. either otherwise!

We swapped stories and it was nice to see him grow up, happy and successful.

Lindisfarne the Island and Lindisfarne the Band both hold a special place in my heart and when I was lucky enough to receive tickets to see ‘The Lindisfarne Story’ at St Mary’s Church on Holy Island I was more how delighted.

It turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience with Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell documenting the band’s history, peppered with talk, fun stories and renditions of the band’s greatest hits; whose congregation was only too happy
to join.

It was June 2015, and I’m happy to say I was thrilled to celebrate Lindisfarne on Lindisfarne! It’s strange, but if you’ve ever visited, you can, like me, feel a sense of complete calm and contentment there, and being alone – as Cuthbert desired – is no hardship.

Her feast day is celebrated on March 20, which is technically the vernal equinox, recognized as a time of rebirth and new beginnings. With that in mind, Billy Mitchell and Ray Laidlaw embark on another tour in March 2022; telling yet another Lindisfarne story!


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