The best stories are not the once we invent in our heads, the best are the once life writes itself, although life is not the one to blame for our mistakes, for putting people under pressure and arranging cruel circumstances. Life is not the one to blame for destroying each other in the name of tradition and custom. Life is not the one to blame for killing your daughter’s fiance just because he is a servant in the castle…
It is year 1570. North of Aberdeen, small fishing port in Buchan – Fraserburgh. Sir Alexander Fraser, 8th laird of Philorth, is building a castle – a castle which will almost disappear in 1786, becoming the first lighthouse in Scotland. His daughter Isobel is falling in love with a servant boy. Father discovers the secret love affair and wants to punish young lovers – separate them. He is tiding up the servant piper and sends him to the cave under the Wine Tower. Isobel is locked on the upper floor of the tower (the chapel). Sir Fraser retires to the castle for a good night sleep…
Isobel is crying, kneeling on the floor, touching cold stones, trying to hear her lover telling her how much he loves her, how he will never forget her, perhaps he is planning to escape with her, leave the castle, leave the past behind… The tide is coming. It is unusually high for this time of the year due to a storm. Her lover is drowning … Such an impact his death has on her she cannot live any longer, she jumps from the top of the tower onto the rocks below… Sometimes, when the weather is bad she is coming back to sadly play on the pipes… The rocks she felt on are painted red to this day to indicate lovers cruel end and the power of love itself.
The tower and the castle sit at the edge of Kinnaird Head rocks. In 1786 the castle became first official lighthouse in Scotland. Sir Alexander’s tall central tower with its 6ft thick walls is all that remains of the original castle. Even with the lighthouse lantern chamber stuck at the top, the tower indicates its origins.
Installed by Mr Thomas Smith of Edinburgh, father-in-law of Robert Stevenson, who was grandfather of Robert Louise Stevenson, lantern set at a height of 120 feet above the sea was lit for the first time on 1 December 1787.
The majority of us think about lighthouses as a rather tall, white towers set in a beautiful and romantic scenery, forgetting about their very important function of guiding sailors, giving them a warning about dangerous coastline or just helping them to locate their whereabouts. The lighthouses are all about the light they can send into the blackness of the night when the sailor needs it the most. And this is a story the museum is trying to tell.
The museum is superb! It is telling a fascinating story of Scottish lighthouses by using sound recordings and dynamic light effects.
If you wish you can wander on your own or you can join the tour to discover not only the story of the lighthouses in Scotland but to find out about the uneasy life of the lighthouse keeper. In 1787 Mr James Park, Ship Master, was appointed as a Keeper of the light and apart from salary he received some grounds too, but under one condition – he needed to hire another person with him who was to be taught how to clean the lantern and how to light the lighting lamps.
Joining the tour will provide you with an unique opportunity to see the engine house and the keepers cottages. However the most exciting thing is to climb up the 72 steps within the tower to the light itself.
After visiting you can enjoy a break in a superb cafe with its magnificent sea view and delicious food.
This particular attraction and many others is available through Scottish Explorer Pass which is the most effective and economic way to discover Scotland.