A single Hebridian lighthouse

Last week we went on a family holiday to the Outer Hebrides, staying in Leverburgh. A friend of ours had organised a series of boat trips during the week, which were due to include a visit to the Monach Islands and the Flannan Isles as well as a trip to Gaisgeir (or Gasker). Unfortunately we weren’t blessed with the perfect conditions of a few weeks ago, so the Monachs and Flannans trips didn’t go ahead. The lighthouse on Eilean Mòr in the Flannans, in particular, would be incredible to see. It has so much history with the disappearance of the keepers in 1900. We are hoping, at some point, to get back out to these two.

On the approach to Gaisgeir island

We were fortunate enough though to get out to Gasker lighthouse – or should I say Gaisgeir island, as the island presents a real challenge for landing on. The skipper from Seatrek was fairly sure that no one would be landing on the island as he described it as being near impossible to land on and like a wall of ice, slippery with seal poo! There were certainly plenty of seals around and we heard about and read a couple of seal-related stories: apparently the introduction of the lighthouse to the island caused a lot of unrest among conservation groups due to the disruption to the seal colony by the helicopters used to deliver the materials and workers; and the former residents of the island of Scarp (just off of Huisinis), 5 miles/8 km to the north east of the island, would travel to the island to kill the seals for food.

Gasker lighthouse

Due to the skipper’s initial thoughts on the possibility of landing, we (or Bob) made a point of getting lots of pictures from the sea as we felt a landing wouldn’t be possible. Fortunately the skipper was willing to have a look around for a possible landing place, so we nipped into Geodha Iar, a coastal inlet on the north side of the island, to see how it looked. It was surprisingly sheltered in the geo and a couple of the members of our group, including Bob, managed to land on the island and scrambled up to the top of the rocks. He then took a short stroll up to the “flat pack” lighthouse and got some good pictures for me. We had researched the island a bit the night before the trip and discovered that there was very little information, and even fewer pictures, available. It might not be an impressive lighthouse, but it was a great experience visiting the island, even if the journey out there was a bit wet! I could tell Bob was delighted with the success of the trip by the big smile on his face when he got back onto the boat!

So that was our single new “bag” of the week, but we did get a look at some of those we’d visited before including Butt of Lewis, Aird Lamishader and Arnish Point. It may not have been the most lighthouse-filled week, but it was great to see a new one. Hopefully we’ll have better luck with the others on our next visit 🙂

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