We were drawn to ARNICAR India’s build of Lighthouse IMAGINATION, located on her Homestead region of Everlong, through another recommendation from Shawn Shakespeare, and it presents a truly marvellous, atmospheric location. Sitting beneath a cloud-marbled evening sky (although I’ve admittedly used an alternate sky setting in the images here), it is a windswept place, largely denuded of trees, rich in detail and the kind of setting that calls on you to stay and immerse yourself in its wild beauty.
The island rises from a slightly troubled sea, waves breaking over offshore groups of rocks, a skirt of gravel coast sitting between waves and the rising rocky face of the island, the undulating back of which is covered in moss-like grass. It’s a place that is home to less than a dozen trees, many of which are wizened with aged, backs bent as if curled against the winds that must surely wail across this lozenge-like landscape when the weather turns. Shrubs fair better than trees here, cliff edges and the rills between rock tops heavy with their greenery even as finger of bushes stretch out across flatter parts of the island’s top.
This is a place dominated by a single structure: a massive brick-built lighthouse that stands firm upon a great stone foot anchored at the island’s northern end. The multi-faceted eye of this massive industrial-looking place turns unblinkingly, warning away the ships that can be seen to sail slowly by, their outlines softened by off-shore mists, and that might otherwise stray to close to the dangers posed by the rocks lurking beneath the waves.
The Lighthouse is a place that again speaks to the dark moods of nature that can perhaps lash this island: the great stone footings, the heavy brick walls, the use of iron girders and steel plates rather than wooden stairs and platforms to provide ways up to the lighthouse and around its tower to the light. Both metal and steel may be rusted, but they are robustly bolted together and embedded in the walls of the lighthouse, ready to stand firm against whatever Nature might throw at them – although it’s hard not to feel pity for the lighthouse warden who has to travel the exposed, curling path up to the light in times of storm…
To compensate for such times, the interior of the lighthouse is warmly furnished and equipped. A cast iron stove heats the main living room, a second, wood-burning stove likewise heating the room above and to one side of it while the third offers creature comforts: ale, billiards and a chance to forget what’s outside should the weather turn.
Getting around the top of the island is assisted by an old bridge and lashed trunks of fallen trees, all of which span the rills and cuts that divide the land. However, getting down to the shoreline is a little harder (indeed, getting up and into the lighthouse can be a bit of a challenge); explorers need to find the appropriate points in the island’s flanks where the rocks dip to provide natural trails down to the surrounding ribbon of gravel.
It’s worth taking the time to find these paths down and exploring the island’s narrow coast, as both will reveal more of its secrets and beautiful detail; places to sit, owls, birds and waterfowl to observe, sheep to wander past, a shoreline photographer to slip but without disturbing – and more.
These delights extend offshore as well, both to the south-east and to the west. At both of these points, paths are marked through the shallows. One of these leads to a wooden birdwatcher’s nest perched on an outcrop of rock and raised above the risk of tidal flooding and the annoyance of waves and spray by stout wooden legs. It is a cosy little place, rich in art and ideal for escaping other island tourists – or for observing them from a distance.
The second path, marked by two of Cica Ghost’s ducks walking it, points to a tiny offshore setting that is an absolute delight: a partially sunken garden terrace, home to a grand piano sheltered by another aged tree, a chandelier hanging from one of its boughs. This is a totally unexpected setting to come across, utterly serene and offering a further nuanced depth to the region.
Quite marvellously designed, enriched by the local sound scape, offering much to explore whilst keeping a wonderfully desolate beauty, Lighthouse IMAGINATION is a fabulous visit – one bound to set your own imagination free.
- Lighthouse IMAGINATION (Everlong, rated Moderate)