Visiting local lighthouses with friends

Sunday was the final day of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers trip on the north coast. Having organised the trip, I thought it would be the wind-down day where we just casually went to a couple of lighthouses we would not be able to get inside, but that didn’t really end up being the case.

The day began with a visit to Strathy Point, my “most local” lighthouse. We arrived and I think the group felt it would just be a short visit so I was thinking through ways we could fill the time before lunch. There was really no need though as we used the whole hour and a half. We were met by a friend who lives in one of the cottages there, which was great as she was able to give an idea of what it is like to live there and how it was when the light was still on – it was discontinued in 2012. I think she gathered that many of us are quite envious of her home! I always enjoy a visit to Strathy Point. Some of the group were quite uninspired by the lighthouse as it’s not a Stevenson design and it is square rather than the traditional round tower. I think this makes it different from the rest and I like to embrace those differences. Also, those who regularly read my blog will know I am fairly easily pleased when it comes to lighthouses. Strathy Point isn’t just about the lighthouse though. It’s a beautiful place with so many different areas to explore. It was a lovely visit and the sunshine helped too!

Strathy Point lighthouse

The afternoon was dedicated to Scrabster. We had originally planned to spend some time around Holborn Head lighthouse, but we were running behind schedule so skipped straight to an organised tour of Thurso Lifeboat station as well as the Lifeboat itself. Bob and the kids joined us for the tour. Most people don’t think about the Lifeboats and their crews routinely, it’s only really those who have experienced, or may experience, the service they provide that realise what they do. It is all so organised and you can only imagine the conditions they go out in to save lives. The ropes attached to their waterproofs for them to clip onto various points on the boat so they don’t go overboard and get swept away hints at just how scary it can be at times. It’s certainly something I don’t think I could ever do and they have my full and total respect. Everyone seemed to enjoy the visit, but I suspect the person who enjoyed it most of all was our little boy who was in his element in the driving seat for a considerable amount of time.

After leaving the Lifeboat station, we spent an hour wandering around outside the walls at Holborn Head lighthouse. It’s such a beautiful tower. Really unique in its design. The tower and attached cottage is so well looked after, pristine really. It looks great from the road, but arguably the best views are from behind the lighthouse as you head uphill towards Holborn Head itself. Blue sky always helps of course. There were a few members of the group who had already been to Holborn Head and had either only seen it in bad weather or had not been up the public footpath behind it. I don’t think anyone begrudged a revisit to this wonderful place.

Holborn Head lighthouse

We finished off the weekend with a final dinner together as a group. Even then I was still getting to know some of them better and I know I’ve made some great new lighthouse friends as a result of this event. A very enjoyable few days with some brilliant people who love lighthouses! 🙂

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