Proud and secluded lighthouses Science

The tower first looms in Ulapla. Closer stands out at the foot of the building from the ground – or rock. Such is the classic lighthouse island. Before, the sailor knew its location but passed it far enough.

The modern lighthouse craze heads straight to the island by boat, paddle or even ski.

The description fits particularly well with the Märket lighthouse, which marked my life for almost ten years. It is located in the Åland Sea on an islet that rises to just over three meters above sea level. When approached from the direction of Åland, the horizon initially shows only a cluster of three buildings resembling a ship.

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On the west side of Märket you can see stern silhouettes of ships. They climb towards Rauma, Kokkola, Kemi, Luleå and Sundsvall.

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From 2006 to 2015, I was bringing out a book about that fascinating lighthouse island.

I have organized trips for the Finnish Lighthouse Society for 16 years. In many countries, almost all lighthouses are on the coast.

That’s when I tried to arrange at least one boat trip to the lighthouse island as well. Sometimes you have gone there on foot at low tide. A few times an important bridge has been closed. What a bitter disappointment!

In Finland, lighthouses are located on the island more often than anywhere else in the world. Only one lighthouse can be reached by land: Pori Kallo.

How to get to Härkäletto?

Härkäletto can be considered the northernmost lighthouse island in the Baltic Sea. Officially, it’s just splendor, but it matches the size of many lighthouses. The tower is 14 meters high and stands on top of the island, albeit only less than three meters above sea level. The beaches protect the tower from the crushing force of the ice.

The tower is the second of two triangular concrete splendors in the Bay of Bothnia. Härkäletto is part of a series of concrete sea signs extending from Santosenkari in Hailuoto to Keminkraasel in Kemi, which was built between 1937 and 1940. Most of the approximately a dozen nautical marks have been decommissioned. It is uncertain how they will go.

That is why Härkäletto is important to me. Its future must be secured.

The island grows shallow flowers, and it is hoped that the terrain will not be afforested. The most beautiful natural attraction is the large round rocks that cover the west side of the beach almost all the way to the tower. The chicory chain continues as far as Kemi.

For the time being, you have to make an effort to see Härkäleto: you can look for a ride. If you find a local boat entrepreneur, you should join Ykskivi Pookisaari for the same tour. A stone enthusiast should also visit the Keminkraasel break, where a beautiful concrete lighthouse rises.

Reykjavik Lighthouse can be accommodated overnight

I have visited the lighthouse island of Grotta twice on the side of Reykjavik in the municipality of Seltjarnarnes. On both occasions, the visit included a stressor that impaired pre-existing short dreams. The lighthouse must be accessible at low tide. That’s why we left there each time at about five in the morning.

There is a large building on the island where we put food and slept on the floor. The lighthouse is free to visit, and part of our group took the opportunity to stay in the tower.

The grotto was built before World War I, like other Icelandic round lighthouses. Some of them, such as Akranes, are misleadingly reminiscent of the Tintti book rake. The grotto lacks such wings.

A paved road leads from the mainland to Grotta, which is covered with water at high tide. Then you can only get there by boat. At low tide you can make a normal tourist visit to the island.

There are three great lighthouses near Reykjavik Airport: Reykjanesviti, Gardur and Holmsberg. They have time to get around in a couple of hours. At the same time, you can explore some amazing lava fields.

Rügen has three towers and is a house of length

Rügen is the largest island in the southern Baltic Sea and a traditional German holiday destination. Once upon a time, Hitler-Jugend organized trips there for young people. The Prora resort, built by Adolf Hitler, seems to be still one of the tallest buildings in the world. Part of it has been renovated into a hostel.

Rügen is home to the historic Arkona Lighthouse. Or actually there are two lighthouses: the older one was completed in 1827 and the newer one in 1902. They are located side by side on a high hill and can be seen from afar. Closer to the beach is a fine glass-roofed tower built in the 1920s as a radio beacon. It was destroyed in World War II. The original-looking copy was made in the 1990s.

Arkona is reassured by cars, so the visitor should use the train or walk a couple of miles. The area is delightful with its steep limestone beaches, dunes and meadows. There are two museum bunkers on the beach benches.

The lantern stall of the old lighthouse is particularly impressive. It’s reminiscent of what they used to be in the big lighthouses. There were dozens of glass panes, the living fire smoked. Large mirror devices were needed to amplify low light, as lenses had not yet been invented.

There is now an embankment to Rügen, and the train takes you from Berlin, for example.

The kingdom of cormorants

There is a special artificial lighthouse island in the strait between the southern tip of Saaremaa and the Kolka Peninsula in Latvia. There are only walls and a belt of Soviet-era concrete paws around them. Funny concrete piglets protect the structures from the forces of the sea.

In the middle of the walls rises an iron tower. There are a number of buildings in the courtyard that are barely visible across the walls. The staff lived and worked there. The lighthouse itself is walked through a lush corridor from the island’s harbor.

Kolka Lighthouse Island is an unreal Kolkka. I have taken the lighthouse club group there twice, and each time some of the participants got stuck for different reasons. The boats were life-threatening, the first was about to break, the huge traffic of the second visit was carried by an engine of about five horsepower. The boats would not have withstood any kind of storm.

On the shore of the lighthouse, some hikers wanted to stay in a boat. The gloomy medieval-looking castle and the lemu faeces of the cormorants were too much for them. The island is indeed the kingdom of black birds today, but it is not worth taking the hippos from it. Those who climbed all the way to the lantern stall enjoyed the flashes of light from the lighthouse with full sips.

There are no entrepreneurs interested in organizing lighthouse trips in the vicinity, but reluctant fishermen agree to be drivers.

Kolka is managed by the Port of Riga. There are no tourist cruises, but at least you can moor at the lighthouse island pier. With bad luck in the courtyard can not see. Of course, a boat trip around the island is worth it without an entrance. The nearby lighthouses Akmenrags, Ovisi, Mikelbaka and Mersrags are also worth a visit.

Read about eight other magnificent lighthouse islands in Science Nature 4/2021.

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