THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S CHRISTMAS

THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S CHRISTMAS
30th November 2017 SWC
Pendeen Lighthouse

For those of you wondering what the holiday period meant for lighthouse keepers, the following festive account is reproduced from Trinity House’s Flash magazine of 1987.

By Principal Keeper Handel (‘Andy’) Bluer, Pendeen Lighthouse 1987.

It is the middle of December and a gale is blowing. The sky is dark although it is mid-day and the sea is the colour of lead with long white streaks of windblown spume scarring the surface.

The sort of day to put some more coal on the fire and curl up in front of it with a book if you do not HAVE to go out.

But there are people who DO have to go out and the keeper returning to the Lighthouse is one of them.

His period of leave is over and he huddles in the shelter of the buildings at the tiny airfield waiting for the sound of the approaching helicopter above the howling wind.

Eventually the helicopter comes into view its navigation lights flashing and twinkling in the gloom. Lower and lower it descends, facing the buffeting wind until it lands, not too far, from the waiting Keeper and his trolley loaded with boxes of stores.

This year he will be spending Christmas at the Lighthouse with two colleagues already out there and the boxes contain all the food they will need for the next month together, with some ‘extras’ for Christmas Day.

Once all the boxes are stowed into the cargo space of the helicopter the Keeper climbs in through a side door and sits on a bench seat behind the pilot and engineer. The rotor blades spin faster and faster and the tiny helicopter is in the air once more and is immediately blown sideways with the force of the gale but the pilot skilfully corrects the course and heads for the “Tower” some six miles further out in the Atlantic Ocean. After a few minutes flying they see it.

It looks very like a tall factory chimney standing all alone in the sea but with a lot of scaffolding around the top. As they get nearer the ‘scaffolding’ is revealed as a strong steel structure supporting a platform on which the helicopter will land. The platform doesn’t look very big but as they approach they see that it is quite large enough for their helicopter…. FINISH READING HERE