Pining for the West

The Lighthouse Stevensons by Bella Bathurst | August 25, 2009

Book cover

Book cover

If you are at all interested in lighthouses then you should certainly read this book.I always quite fancied myself as a lighthouse keeper, it seemed such a quiet way of life, apart from the howling gales.

However, I had never really given much thought to the logistics and difficulties of building them in such remote and inhospitable locations, as they inevitably are.

The Stevenson family is indeed that of the famous Robert Louis, who was an engineer himself before becoming a successful author. The Northern Lighthouse Trust was established in 1786 and this book tells of the difficulties encounterd in the construction of lighthouses and the techniques employed to overcome them.

With plenty of Scottish history thrown in to the mix it all makes for a very interesting read.

Earlier in the summer we took ourselves over to the west coast of Scotland for a desperately needed change of atmosphere, (it’s very different from the east coast) and for once we went over to the opposite side of the Clyde to Greenock, Gourock and then on to Largs.

Greenock was a huge surprise to me as everyone is always ‘bad-mouthing’ the place but the bits that I saw looked really great. The esplanade is fantastic compared to what I have been used to in the way of esplanades.There are really lovely houses with just the most beautiful scenery to look out at.

View from Greenock across the Clyde to Helensburgh

View from Greenock across the Clyde to Helensburgh

This was the first flashing buoy to be put on the river Clyde to aid navigation – by the Northern Lighthouse Trust. It now sits on the esplanade at Greenock.


Plaque below buoy

Plaque below buoy



  1. I’m sure I saw a programme about people building a lighhouse once. I wonder if it was this one? I bet it was. The book sounds good! I shall have to put it on my ever increasing reading list (it’s groaning now, it’s so heavy)

    Comment by echostains — November 10, 2009 @ 12:24 am

    • Yeah, there was a programme about the most famous one, the Bell Rock Lighthouse. I know what you mean about books, we have them piled on floors now, can’t fit in any more bookcases and shelves, and we hope to down-size in a few years time. Hoorible problem. Which reminds me, I haven’t adopted a word yet.

      Comment by piningforthewest — November 10, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

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