Nature reserve beacons set to remember St Cuthbert

The Farne Islands

The Farne Islands

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Three special beacons are set to light up nature reserves north and south of the border to celebrate the life of St Cuthbert.

The unique venture will bring together three National Nature Reserves run by three different national organisations: Lindisfarne (Natural England), the Farne Islands (National Trust) and St Abb’s Head (National Trust for Scotland).

They will unite around the figure of Cuthbert, known as the ‘Fire of the North’, a character who evokes a time when the ancient kingdom of Northumbria straddled what is now England and Scotland.

On 4 September (St Cuthbert’s Day) last year, a beacon fire was lit by National Trust Rangers on Inner Farne to commemorate monks doing the same in 687 to signal the death of Cuthbert to Lindisfarne.

The event celebrated the life of Cuthbert, who went down in history as ‘the Fire of the North’.

History will be repeated at dusk on September 4 this year when beacon fires will be lit on the Inner Farne and St Abb’s Head to celebrate Cuthbert’s links with the wider region and its vitally important nature reserves.

A programme of linked walks and talks at each reserve will lead up to the event.

Local historian and Lindisfarne volunteer warden, John Woodhurst, who is co-ordinating the event said: “St Cuthbert was the inspiration for the Lindisfarne Gospels and Durham Cathedral, but it’s also amazing that there are three such internationally important reserves so close together in our region that all had significant links with Cuthbert. That’s what makes our event irresistible.”

Andrew Craggs, Senior Reserve Manager on Lindisfarne NNR said: “Once we get to know about his life, people working on nature reserves, especially in the northeast, regard Cuthbert as one of the earliest nature wardens.

“It was great to link ourselves with Inner Farne last year through the beacon fire.

“This year we’re going to go one better by including another fabulous nature reserve with a Cuthbert link, St Abb’s Head.

“I can’t wait to see the beacon fires on the Inner Farne and St Abb’s Head from Lindisfarne on September 4”.

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