Lighthouse Letters
By Sharma Krauskopf

This is an article by Sharma Krauskopf from Michigan who fell in love with Scotland - and decided to buy a lighthouse keepers' cottage at Eshaness, a remote location in Shetland, in the far north of Scotland and live there each winter. These pages were previously part of the "Scottish Radiance e-magazine Web site which was created by Sharma.

The Cliffs

As you can see by the picture here by Daniel Coutts, my beautiful lighthouse sits 200 feet above the ocean. This picture, which was taken when they were building the Ve Skerries lighthouse in 1979, is the best I have ever found which shows the extent of the cliffs and how dramatic they are. If you look closely at the picture you can see on the seaside of the lighthouse a white streak. That is salt from the waves coming up through a blowhole that drops almost 180 feet to the ocean below.

The danger of the cliffs came to my attention recently when a local Shetland teenager was killed falling off a cliff in another part of the island. As far as I know no one has ever been killed around the lighthouse since we have lived there although a small dog fell over one of the cliffs and was killed.

I think we have been lucky, as tourists seemed to like the excitement of scrambling around on the very edge of these rock formations. I have seen parents let their children run along the precipice tops. Adults and children alike climb down the blowhole. This may seem all very exciting but it is insanity.

The rock of these cliffs is always changing. It is not uncommon for giant pieces to fall into the sea. You may remember my letter about Poor Dore Holm who had one of his legs slide off into the sea. The storms in this area are furious. They batter the face of the cliffs with surf, rocks and debris from the ocean. One of the fun things to do at the lighthouse is to see what treasures the ocean and sent up the blowhole for us this time.

As we are beginning high tourist season I just hope and pray that the people who visit Eshaness will respect the cliffs and we will have no accident this summer. It certainly would spoil their vacation and others enjoyment of a beautiful area.


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