Lighting up Culver Cliff

Culver Cliff, at dusk, to mark the winter solstice, a crowd of spectators wrapped up in winter woollies and coats, will gather together. From the vantage point of higher ground, they will await the lighting of the beacon by a sinister-looking band, all dressed in red and black.

Fire plays an important part in midwinter festivals such as Yule. It is a reminder that the sun will return, also the warmth and heat put everyone in a happy mood at a bleak time of the year. Christmas trees have traditionally had candles and a Yule log was burned.

Bloodstone Border Morris carry out the ceremony of firing up the beacon every year as they celebrate the solstice.

After the lighting, the morris side dance, sometimes accompanied by Father Christmas. Some of the dances commemorate Isle of Wight places or legends.

The lighting of the Culver Cliff beacon will take place on Saturday, December 22, at 3.30 pm. Afterwards, the dancers will troop into the Culver Haven Inn for another essential element of the midwinter festival, a celebratory feast.