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.

Dreams Do Come True

(Written in April 1999)

Very early in the morning two weeks ago my husband came bounding up the stairs to wake me. Dean had a broad smile on his face and was holding a piece of fax paper by one corner. He said nothing but handed the rolled piece of paper to me. Even before I read it I screamed "We got it." I hurriedly read the fax's short message. The words were there but I found them hard to believe. We had indeed "Got it." Our bid for Eshaness Lighthouse Keeper’s Accommodation on the West Coast of the Shetland main island had been accepted. After a five-year search we were going to acquire our Scottish Lighthouse home. I still could not grasp it was true.

Running to my office I called our solicitor, Derek Raburn, of Rankin and Aitken, in Stranraer. Derek joyfully replied it was true indeed. After I hung up the telephone, I sat at my desk staring at the bulletin board with pictures of all the lighthouses we had visited in the last five years. Suddenly I became aware that tears were running down my checks. Not tears of sadness, great big ones caused by pure unadulterated joy. I picked up the telephone to call my friend, Sue Frye, who had gone with us in January to look at Eshaness. She answered the telephone and I simply said, "We got it." Her answer was "We got it." I am not sure how many times that term was echoed back in forth from Michigan to Florida but a great many for sure. Once we settled down, we started talking about the details of the sale and then on to the furnishings for the lovely little house. Next I called my brother and sister-in-law. They had accompanied us on some of our trips to look at the various Scottish lights. My final task was to send an email to all my friends who had been so supportive of our efforts. At first I thought I was informing them but when I look back at it I think it was to make me believe what was happening.

Many of you are familiar with parts of the story since I have written articles about events in our lighthouse home search. For those of you who are new I will include a general summary. Five years ago Dean and I decided we wanted to retire to Scotland. It just so happened the first piece of property we looked at was Neist Point Lighthouse on the Isle of Skye. We fell in love with Neist Point sitting on Skye's coast in its isolated location. The owner had a bid pending so we were not able to bid on Neist Point (pictured here). That was the beginning of a long journey, which took us to almost every lighthouse in Scotland with special emphasis on the ones, which were still to be automated.

We made our first failed bid four years ago for Corsewall Point Keeper’s Accommodations near Stranraer. That is when the solicitors, Rankin and Aitken, became our partners in the search. The search continued with my flying to Scotland whenever a lighthouse keeper’s accommodation was to be sold. We had three failed bids in those five years causing us a great deal of anguish and sorrow. Parts of the system failed at times causing us to be discriminated against and treated inadequately.

When we heard that Eshaness was on the market we did not pursue it. It was so far north. The Shetland Islands seemed like the end of the earth. In January of this year at the urging of Robert Blackwell, the director of publishing for Appletree Press, one of my publishers, we made the trip to the Shetlands. Dean and I adored the stunning Shetland Island mainland and the people we met. The last owner had lovingly restored the Eshaness's small keeper's accommodation. All we would have to do is move in. Sitting high above the water looking out on one of the most beautiful coasts in the United Kingdom, Eshaness was the best property we had seen in five years.

I feel now that Eshaness is our reward for staying with the search. So many times we wanted to give up but thanks to the support of our close friends, family, and our solicitor we did not. This article is dedicated to Sue Frye, Ray and Marylou Morrison, Gary Dobson, Robert and Margaret Macdonald, Robert Blackwell, and Derek Laburn. I have often said "resiliency is the quality of winners" and with the help of these wonderful people we were able to win.

Yesterday a small but an outstanding event occurred. A telephone number for Dean and Sharma Krauskopf at Eshaness Lighthouse Keeper’s Accommodations was listed. I looked at that number and the only thing I could do was cry. It is genuine. Dreams do come true. In a few weeks I will be eating breakfast at our lighthouse home in Scotland.

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