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.
When we bought Eshaness lighthouse I thought we were buying just a lighthouse property. It seems they left some important information off of the listing. They should have included.
One obnoxious pet herring gull
The day we moved in, waiting in the car park was a beautiful healthy herring gull, which seemed very tame. It was only a short time after I got most of my boxes inside that I noticed that same herring gull sitting on the sundial looking in the window. Later when I went outside the gull came strolling up and checked me out in the manner in which I inspected our other buildings. He stood only a few feet away and it was obvious he was used to humans. It was a few weeks until I found out that the former owners of Eshaness had fed this particular gull.
We named him Heathcliff. Yes, I know that is not a usual name for a bird but it just sort of fitted this particular bird. For the first couple of years we tried not to feed Heathcliff, thinking he might go away and live a more natural life. It did not work. Heathcliff was always waiting at Eshaness when we returned.
There is a chapter in my book The Last Lighthouse entitled "The Brothel" about Heathcliff and his mate's x-rated activities on the top of the Eshaness garage. It has been a couple of years since we have seen Heathcliff's mate but about a month ago he turned up with two spotted youngsters following him around. We are not sure whether Heathcliff is a boy or a girl but he/she definitely has a young family.
In the last few weeks we have been concerned about Heathcliff as the Eshaness lighthouse tower is being painted which means access to most of Heathcliff's favourite spots have been cut off. He sits forlornly in the field and stares at 'his' lighthouse home. Apprehensive about Heathcliff's psychological health I have started feeding him (and his family). As my husband put it 'Heathcliff needs comfort food.' The painters, also being anxious about Heathcliff's well-being, are now feeding him and the family.
One consequence of all this sympathy for Heathcliff is that if we ever sell Eshaness, we will need to add a line to our listing that one or more pet herring gulls comes as part of the property. I have no idea how long herring gulls live but now Heathcliff has his babies in training to live at Eshaness it is a pretty sure thing that a pet gull will be here.
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