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.

Tall Ships

Thousands of people have come to Greenock Scotland to observe a hundred or more ships which are taking part in the Cutty Sark Tall Ship Race. Moira Kerr's song "Eshaness", the song she wrote about my lighthouse, drifts across the harbour as the ships prepare for their next stop at the Shetland Islands. They will sail right by the beautiful lighthouse Moira is singing about. I have spent hours on my "Orca" rock watching for the black and white killer whales which have never come. This time the tall ships will come.

Soon the hundred ships will lift their sails in Greenock to catch the wind to send them forth. A sight of inconceivable beauty and impact. As they reach open sea if you listen carefully you can hear the sound of the wind, water, and sails as they push northward. A once in a life time experience for those who love ocean and ships. Their appeal is enhanced by the memories of the deeds of bravery in years when sailing was the only way to go from Greenock to Shetland.

(Editor's note: The Tall Ships' Races are for sail training "tall ships" (sailing ships). They are designed to encourage international friendship and training for young people in the art of sailing. The races are held annually and consist of two racing legs of several hundred nautical miles, and a "cruise in company" between the legs. Over 50% of the crew of each ship participating in the races must consist of young people.)

Where am I? Am I standing on the deck of one of the ships or watching Moria sing? Not this time! I am sitting in a chair staring at a leaf float by in the small body of water which is contained in the swimming pool in my back yard in the US. I am dreaming of the ships and Moira singing. It is so real I feel like I can almost hear it.

Life is always full of choices. I had to make one related to the tall ships. I could have gone. To go I would have left unattended projects which are significant to some people I love dearly. I chose to stay home. Whether the projects are successful or not I feel like it was the right choice. But, right now as I dream of the beautiful ships and the song "Eshaness" I am sad. A strange kind of sadness which only smoulders because the strength of the love I feel for the people I am trying to help destroys the sources which would fuel that sadness.

And who knows maybe sometime in the future the tall ships will come back to Shetland and I can watch them pass by sitting on my "Orca" rock.

(Editor's note 2: Although Sharma missed the Tall Ships on this occasion, coincidentally I was standing on the Ayrshire coast as they passed by on their way from Greenock - hence the illustrations here in Sharma's article.)

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Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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