They came in the 8th century to plunder and pillage, but in the 9th century, the Vikings came to conquer and stay. Fearing for their lives, the monks of Lindisfarne and the Community of St Cuthbert gathered up their most precious belongings and, taking the advice of their hallowed saint, left their holy island for what was destined to be an epic seven-year journey that helped shape England and keep alight the flames of Christianity that were in imminent danger of being extinguished.
It was a journey that saved the land’s most powerful saint and one of the world’s most beautiful and important books. As part of the Lindisfarne Gospels Durham Exhibition, myself and acclaimed writer Richard W Hardwick retraced the route in 2013.
Together, we recorded the landscape, describing it today and imagining how it must have been for the monks in the ninth century. We visited the forty-seven places the Community of St Cuthbert took refuge in and recorded images and stories of the people we met, finishing in Durham, where St Cuthbert’s body still attracts pilgrims in the great Norman Cathedral.
*To read the accompanying blog visit www.stcuthbertsfinaljourney.com