Thursday, May 29, 2014
Holy Island Outer Light. It was built in 1905 and was the first square lighthouse built by the Northern Lighthouse Board. It was automated in 1977. I flashes white every 20 seconds.
the Inner Light. The last time I was on Holy Island one of the volunteers told me that some women had been meditating inside for 17 years. As regular readers of this blog will know, we like landing and exploring lighthouses but given the current residents' wish for seclusion, we were happy to leave them to their splendid isolation.
Holy Island is where a branch of my ancestors lived and worked and today it is a peaceful and environmentally sound place under the stewardship of the Tibetan monks of the Samye Ling monastery in Dumfriesshire. The regenerating natural woodland full of birdsong is a delight. However, I found it in some ways a rather sterile and unreal place. In a way it is elitist, with those in retreat being supported by the time labour and money of volunteers. It is therefore not self sustaining like the Island of Muck. Those in retreat may think they are escaping from the outside world but they are just as dependent on it as you or I. Lastly it is not a real community at all. There are no children. So despite Holy Island being the land of my ancestors, give me Muck any day. It is a living island.