The last time I visited Durham, my place of birth, home of my family, it was like an intense historical research trip. I always visit the Cathedral and walk the river banks but this time I also went to Lindasfarne and visited the Holy Island and became for a short time mildly obsessed by the Lindasfarne Gospels, the beautiful illuminated texts. I read all I could find about St Cuthbert, St Bede, St Aiden, trying to piece it all together, the pouring of Christianity into the country through Northumberland, my region a centre of Christian teachings, these strange and beautiful mythical creatures that leap from the pages. A history of Anglo Saxons, Viking raids, the dark dark medieval days that seem so cruel and frightening to me. And something in it was like piecing together aspects of myself, my place, my family, my relationship, my ancestors. I am from this place. I resonate with these stones. And the Farne Islands, stronghold of sea birds and seals contains the type remoteness that I often find myself yearning.

One of the things that struck me with Lindasfarne was the absense of the Lindasfarne Gospels. An interactive display did not convey enough….

So can you imagine my excitement when I was told that during my next visit home the Lindasfarne Gospels would also be visiting Durham. On loan from the British Library. In my day dreams I had imagined how great it would be to trace the wanderings of St Cuthberts bones, to walk from Lindasfarne to Durham….how wonderful then to stumble across an exhibition and find that two people did just that! (well something similiar at least)

Retraced, St Cuthberts Final Journey is an exhibition documenting the journey of photographer Paul Alexander Knox and writer Richard W Hardwick as they retraced the journey of the monks who wandered for years carrying St Cuthberts bones. In six days they visited forty seven places where the monks were known to have taken refuge on their epic journey. It was a beautifully presented exhibition, Paul`s photograph set aside text convey an unusual stark beauty in the landscape. You can read more about their journey here:

I still imagine walking this slowly taking in the landscape, following those footsteps, tracing this journey…maybe during my next visit…

And this all builds up to my visit to see the Lindasfarne Gospels on Thursday…

4 thoughts on “Retraced

  1. Hiya Sophie – hope you’re well (It’s Mike Veitch btw)…

    I was fortunate enough to help install this exhibition as Paul is one of my tutors on the Photography degree I’m doing and he needed a hand. (I did the fiddly grid of small photos at one end…)

    Glad you liked it and hope you’re well.


    • Hey Mike! I met Paul at the exhibition, very interesting, I loved the photographs. I looked at his other work too, seems you have a great teacher. Lucky.

      I`m very impressed by your photograpghs too. I was years ago when you first started, really great you continued and are studying more. I`ll follow you here now so that I keep up with what you`re doing.

      I mentioned you to my parents they were very happy to hear your name and both send you love. Really nice to “meet” you here, be good to see you!

  2. Thanks Sophie. I feel the pull every day – to return to those hills, to Lindisfarne. Something’s changed within me, something that I need to honour. I’m lucky – I have a beautiful family and great friends. But I need to find those periods of isolation as well, walking in the footsteps of history…

    • I feel the same. I connect with my loved ones but I also love silence, remoteness, wildness and yes something that has to be honoured in life..I really enjoyed reading of your of your journey, I continue to read..

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