For the last three years our lighthouse has been taking part in the Annual Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (ARLHS) International Weekend. ARLHS goals are promoting public awareness of the role ham radio and light beacons have played in assisting and maintaining safety at sea, preserving the heritage and history of lighthouses and lightships, aiding in preserving those lights in danger of destruction or decay, recognition of the keepers of the lights as maritime heroes, fostering camaraderie within the ham fraternity and providing fellowship amongst members of the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society.
The International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekends began after the success of the Scottish Northern Lighthouses award weekend. Over the past 6 years it has grown to over 350 lighthouses in some 45 countries around the world participating. It is always held on the 3rd full weekend in August and it now coincides on the Sunday with the International Lighthouse Day. The basic objective of the event is to promote public awareness of lighthouses and lightships; their need for preservation and restoration; promote amateur radio and to foster International goodwill.
At Eshaness we not only foster International goodwill with the radio contacts but our crew is a real international mix. The 2003 team was made up of two Scots, two English, one German, and two Americans. This year we even wore badges with our name and our country’s flag.
Eshaness’s activities are divided into three distinct parts. As people enter the station the first opportunity they have is to tour the lighthouse tower, which includes climbing the stairs to the top and enjoying the wonderful view. Each group has a guide to explain the mechanics of the lighthouse and its history. This year’s guides were Leslie Johnson, our Northern Lighthouse Board attendant keeper, and my husband Dean. These two have the hardest physical job of any of us, as they are required to climb the tower stairs hundreds of times during the weekend. It is difficult for us to count the number of people who visited the tower. We ask them to sign the guest book but not everyone does. One hundred and fifty people did sign the book this year. They were from twelve counties including the USA, Australia, New Zealand plus many continental Europe countries.
The second part of a visitor’s journey is a tearoom we set up in the first section of the old generator house. Here we serve tea, coffee, and sandwiches, which are prepared by a professional chef that volunteers his time for the weekend. We do not charge for this service but there is a canister for donations. It is in the tearoom where I am the most involved as I act as hostess serving coffee and tea as well as selling and signing my books. I love doing it because I meet so many interesting people.
Next month I will tell you about the third part of the weekend’s activities - GB2LH calling the world on our radios.
This story appeared in the
October 2003 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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