Our holiday this year took us again back to the Island of Tiree. One thing I had in mind before arriving was to visit the Skerryvore Lighthouse, situated some 12 miles south west of the Island, right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. We had previously visited the Skerryvore Museum on the island, at Hynish, and had been fascinated by the story it told. So we registered our interest with Tiree Sea Tours shortly after arrival, and in the intervening period made another visit along to the Museum where there is an extensive collection of memorabilia and many information boards, from which much information has been gleaned for this blog.
During the period 1786 to 1938 the Stevenson family were responsible for the desisgn and building of 156 lighthouses around the coast of Scotland, including the lamps and optics, the engine room, the buildings, buoys and beacons, the radios and piers. The need was great, during the survey period and the building stage from 1790 until Skerryvore’s completion in 1844, more than thirty vessels had floundered on and around this reef! The toll of ships lost down the years must have been very considerable. Allan Stevenson, uncle of the well known writer and poet Robert Louis Stevenson, was the engineer in charge, and Skerryvore took three years to complete. The left hand side of the map below shows its exact location. His nephew descsribed Skerryvore as ‘the noblest of all extant deep- sea lights’ and considered by many to be the world’s most elegant and perfect lighthouse!
Well it seemed as if the weather would prevent us from achieving our goal to visit, but on the last day of our holiday we received news that the 2.5 hours return trip was on. The sea was fairly calm as we left Scarinish and followed the coastline along to Hynish to view the Museum from the sea. We then headed out towards the lighthouse and encountered a small pod of dolphins who swam alongside, which was so amazing to see. Later as we approached Skerryvore we enclountered a heavy sea swell, which prevented us getting as close to the lighthouse as we would have liked. Somehow this seemed to add to the trip, as we experienced the wildness and isolation of the place, and witnessed the changing sea conditions. It also let us see just how difficult it must have been on many occasions to change the lighthouse keepers at the end of their tour of duty.
We now have company as a pod of dolphins join us!
Approaching Skerryvore we encounter a large sea swell, but there it was – SKERRYVORE !
Reflection: The lighthouse has now been in use for 179 years on one of the most dangerous and exposed reefs to be found anywhere in the world, and one can only marvel at the skill, ingenuity and bravery of the men who designed and built it, and it is said, ‘with no loss of life‘! Four thousand three hundred blocks of rose coloured granite were used in its construction, it stands 156 ft tall with a diameter of 42 feet at the base and 16 feet at the top and weights 4,377 tonnes! This light has undoutedly saved many many lives, and we ‘take off our hats‘, to its designers, builders, and to the lighthouse keepers and maintenance engineers down through the years.
I bought this model of the lighthouse from ‘Tiree Sea Tours’ as a reminder of our exciting and memorable trip, and it currently has ‘pride of place’ on our mantlepiece. 🙂
The model also reminds me of another model lighthouse that I had many years ago. When I was in my twenties and thirties I was often asked to convey the Christian message to groups of children and young people, and it was always good to have an ‘object lesson’. So I had a cool 18″ tall lighthouse that lit up, that was very popular, and which I often used. Becoming a Jesus follower you see is all about heeding a warning light sent from heaven, telling us that humanity is in the dark and in great danger, and needs to steer a different course if they are to land safely on heaven’s shore, and avoid the wreckage of sin that the Bible names hell!
The warning LIGHT from heaven of course was JESUS. The Gospel of John starts with these words – ‘In the beginning was the Word, (Jesus) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.……. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world‘
Jesus said of Himself “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Yes there is a light that shines into the darkness of our all our hearts, (The true light that gives light to everyone) warning us to steer a different course, and it is the light of Christ. Remember, His name Jesus means Saviour, and no matter how undeserving we are or lost we might feel, if we come to Him he guarantees to save us from the consequences of our sin, made possible because of His substituitonary death on our behalf at Calvary, followed by His resurrection and ascension.
Skerryvore is the perfect illustration of that other light shining in the darkness – Jesus. He is the firm foundation on which we can build our lives, a rock sure and steadfast. When we come to Him His Word becomes a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Why not come?
Here is a video of that trip we made to Skerryvore, which I hope you enjoy
Have a great summer if you are here in Europe, but be blessed wherever you are, and remember Jesus, the Light of the World!