One day, a couple of months ago I suddenly decided I would make a trip to Eshaness Lighthouse and surprise all of our friends in Shetland. The reason I used to justify the trip was the International Lighthouse-Lightship Weekend sponsored by the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society. I had been a part of this event at Eshaness every year and I did not want to miss this year.
As things turned out I was unable to surprise my friends because there were many arrangements to be made in Shetland. Dean and I are staying at Eshaness Lighthouse for our annual visit in October this year so I had to find lodging as well as transportation from the airport. A friend, Connie Harper, who had visited the lighthouse many times when we owned it decided to go with me. It was going to be a very low budget trip as the airline tickets were very expensive. With the help of our Shetland friends we were able to organize the trip and stay within our tight budget.
Arriving in the UK on August 9th, we just missed the serious terrorist problem that hit the airports there. Connie and I were very fortunate that we did not have to deal with the horrible congestion that developed in the airports we traveled through. The fear of whether we would be able to get home or experience horrible delays hung over us the entire visit but it did not spoil our two weeks there.
The first week we did all of the special things that have made visiting the lighthouse and the area so special such as collecting sea glass, fishing, hiking, cooking and eating seafood (lots of fresh smoked mackerel), and relaxing even though we were not living at the lighthouse. Eshaness Lighthouse had been rented by the amateur radio broadcasters for the three day weekend (Peter — MM5PSL, Roger, — MM1FJM, Hans — MM0XAU and Peter — GM0CXQ) so we moved into the lighthouse on the Friday afternoon of the weekend. Friday evening was spent putting up antennas and organizing the radios in one of the lighthouse’s generator rooms. We set up a tearoom in the other room in the generator house. After the radios were finally on the air it became obvious that band conditions were not very good. It had been expected as the sun spot activity was extremely high.
Even though radio contact was the main reason for the weekend we found that lack of it did not spoil the weekend for any of us. We had an absolutely wonderful time just enjoying being together for three days. We had fireworks on Saturday night, spent a lot of time whale watching (none spotted but did see a lot of porpoises), flying kites, watching the Northern Lights, eating wonderful meals made with Shetland produce combined with long discussions attempting to solve the world problems. The discussions were sometimes serious and very broad in scope because of the different international perspective of the participants (Britain, USA, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Germany) Sometimes they dealt with much lighter issues and ended up in uproarious side-splitting laughter.
The trip was plagued by terrorist threats at all of the airport we traveled through and poor band reception for the radios. But the time at Eshaness Lighthouse was a huge success by every important criterion. I would do it again tomorrow terrorist threats, jet lag and all. There is no better combination than a lighthouse with good friends no matter what is going on in the outside world.
This story appeared in the
October 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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