Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The Lighthouse

I like to write with one eye on the lighthouse outside my window. I can't see it today as there is too much cloud, so I have posted up a Coastcard picture that I am working on.

Virginia Woolf's groundbreaking book, To the Lighthouse, hit the literary scene in a big way; but what are our favourite lighthouse poems?

One of the most well-loved ones has to be Flannan Isle by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson. There is a good BBC site on the mystery surrounding the lighthouse men. The lighthouse is situated about 15 miles to the west of the Hebridean island of Lewis.

When I was on Skye, I caught glimpses of Lewis, and the quality of the northern light (between heavy showers) was very evocative.

Treasure Island was one of my top children's adventure stories (and probably still ranks high among my favourite works of fiction). I had not realised until I visited the lighthouse on the tiny conservation island of
Eilean Bàn, halfway between Skye and the Kyle of Lochalsh, that Robert Louis Stevenson came from such a dynasty of Scottish lighthouse builders.

Left: the lighthouse on
Eilean Bàn, under the Skye Bridge.

Postscript: follow the link to
The McLellan Poetry Award. The judge for 2008 is W.N. Herbert.

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