Friday, 13 July 2018

Beacons of Hope

I absolutely love lighthouses ! When I walk the back entrance to the North Euston Hotel in Fleetwood I always have to stop and admire the paintings on the walls of lighthouses in America .

Closer to home I enjoyed a climb up the Lower Lighthouse in Fleetwood during the heritage weekend in September. When  I lived in Buckie on fine, clear nights we could make out a faint flashing beacon away to the north no more ado than map out...It was the lighthouse at Tarbet Ness. So naturally this meant a trip to see it.

I think it stems back to when my Grandmother and I climbed to the top of Girdleness lighthouse at Aberdeen. Of course the views were stupendous ( and that's a good reason to love lighthouses ), but the strength of the structure fascinated me. I am always enthralled to think that men lived in wee huts on remote rocks in the Atlantic in an effort to construct a lighthouse ! Then the lighthouse keepers , must have been a special breed of men to spend months isolated from family and friends with little to no communication...and sometimes ( due to adverse weather conditions) not being relieved from their duties at the scheduled time. Such myths and legends surround lighthouses...the disappearance of the two men from a lonely outpost...lights being altered to confuse shipping .....brrrrr...

The smallest lighthouse overlooks the Firth of Forth , below the Forth rail bridge. It's light hasn't shown for many a year but it has been lovingly restored.

I visited a lighthouse museum in Fraserburgh and was amazed by the lenses used, so that a small oil lamp light can be magnified hundreds of times..fascinating! Why I even saw my own image transported across the room by the strange affect of the various lenses.

In my hobby of needlework I've twice done an embroidery of La Corbiere lighthouse ( one for a friend from Jersey and one for myself) . I've also done a few applique/ quilted pictures of lighthouses.

They are indeed a lasting feat of engineering, and although no longer manned there is a romanticism attached to living in or close by one, so that holidaying in a lighthouse is a popular break.

I noticed when I visited Mull of Galloway lighthouse that the fog horns are no longer required as seemingly nautical technology has progressed so far that a ship can navigate in bad visibility . It seems that some of our lighthouses may also face demise . I do hope not though as for sailors and land lubbers alike they are Beacons of Hope.

My poem this week was written in July 2014 after a workshop at the North Euston Hotel. In my notebook it is written within the beam of a lighthouse...however I'm not clever enough to replicate that on my lap top. I will however try and type it as though the words are captured within a beam..Read down each column..

     Beware                                             For
                                       Heed                                         Follow
    Treacherous                                      Optimum                                    Light
                                       Align                                        Guiding
    Shore                                                Safety

      How did I do ?

    Thanks for reading, Kath


Steve Rowland said...

Most interesting Kath. I share your love of lighthouses. As for the poem, very good... and can almost be read backwards as well as forwards :-)