At the end of September we were fortunate to be in the Scottish central belt at the time the Edinburgh Doors Open weekend was happening. The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) tweeted to say that they would be welcoming the public into their George Street headquarters in Edinburgh for free and I was delighted when Bob suggested we should go. So, on the Sunday, we packed everything we needed for a day out with the kids and hopped on a train.
As we approached I recognised the small model of the Bell Rock lighthouse, which flashes every now and then. Inside there was a real sense of Bell Rock being their most treasured structure, with a number of paintings and pictures of it appearing throughout the building. Among the Bell Rock-related experiences we had there was wearing NLB caps while posing behind a big frame with Bell Rock lighthouse as the backdrop. We were also informed by one of the members of staff in the exhibition area of an experience she had while undertaking some training on the Bell Rock. They had been taken out to the lighthouse by the local boatman who regularly runs trips out there (and whom we had gone out with a few years ago). He clearly had some friends who were intrigued by the lighthouse and wanted an opportunity to have a look around it. That evening or night this NLB staff member thought she heard some unusual noise outside the lighthouse and went to open the door leading to the outside only to find a number of faces looking up at her. Those lucky people!
We also spoke to the same lady about the challenges of getting to Sule Skerry and she was impressed to hear that we’d managed to get out to North Rona.
We had a little while in the Board room where the NLB meet. It’s just as you would imagine a Board room would have been in years gone by, with a huge, sturdy wooden table, heavy chairs and beautifully framed paintings. Mike Bullock, the NLB’s CEO, spoke to us for a while about what they do with some facts and figures. The room also boasts some display cabinets with models of the NLB’s maintenance vessels past and present.
In the exhibition area there was some information about the technical side of their work with examples of the different types of lamps they use (and the new ones they are introducing at the moment) or have used as well as the personal protective equipment their staff wear while out and about.
It was a really good experience and an opportunity that we just couldn’t miss 🙂