People often ask me how can they buy a lighthouse. I have lots of answers to that question since I think we went through all of the options before we bought our beloved Eshaness. Never did I discourage people for wanting their own lighthouse or keeper’s accommodations. It is a natural thing for a lighthouse lover to dream of and one that I shared for a very long time.
Recently I have changed my mind about how I would answer
that question. In the last few years I have come to believe that the very best way for a person to enjoy a lighthouse is to get involved with a nonprofit group who is buying and/or taking care of one. For awhile I wondered if I had come to feel this way because of my personal catastrophe of getting hurt and having to sell Eshaness to a nonprofit or as they are often called in the United Kingdom “a trust.” There is no doubt that my experience had something to do with my change of mind.
Even before I got hurt I began to feel more and more that lighthouses should not be owned privately but opened to the public. As people stood outside our fence and watched everything we did or rushed up to talk to us it was a nuisance. But when I thought about their side of the issue it made me sad. They loved lighthouses and just wanted to experience what we were.
As the time quickly approaches when lighthouses will no longer be active aids to navigation, lighthouses will become even more special and endangered. Some countries like Scotland have been able to keep their lighthouses working but even now there are talks of turning off some Scottish lighthouses.
You would think that would mean it would be easier for private individuals to buy these magnificent structures. In some instances it will but it will probably only be the wealthy individual who will be able to do it. Prices are rising all the time as demand gets higher and supply of lighthouse in good condition gets less.
Joining a nonprofit which already owns or is trying to own a lighthouse is the best way to go. First you are doing it with someone so the frustrations of the process are a little easier to handle (and believe me there are frustrations). You can call it “your” lighthouse because you are part of the group who owns or leases it. You can spend time there just like you could if you owned or leased it.
There is one added advantage that I only had once a year at Eshaness during the International Amateur Radio Lighthouse Weekend. You can share it with large numbers of other lighthouse lovers. (When it is your home you do not want people running through it or bothering you all the time.) But — if the overall goal is to share this magnificent structure with others, it becomes a totally different issue. You want them coming.
I am not going to be at Eshaness for the “radio weekend” this year but our friends are still going to make sure it happens. I will miss being there a great deal. I really enjoyed sharing Eshaness with others. If you join a nonprofit you will get to share “your” lighthouse with lot of people.
This story appeared in the
July 2006 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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