After every adventure, the first thing I like to do is show people my photos. Lately I was talking to my mum about what I love about the Spelga Dam area. She grew up close to there, so she knows it very well. I showed her some photos from the slopes of Slieve Muck an I expressed how amazed I was at the places I could see from this spot. On my right, I could see as far as Hilltown, which was hiding between two mountain peaks. And on my left, I could see Atticall, Knockcree and as far as Carlingford Lough. I was especially amazed that I could even spot the lighthouse situated at Cranfield Beach.
My mum then told me a lovely story.
Back in the olden days, (as she would say), the mountain roads were very difficult to navigate at night, as all the roads and mountains looked the same with little lighting. Driving through the mountains must have been daunting, as you would just have to keep going, hoping you were going the right way. Once you passed Spelga Dam and started to climb out of the valley you could see the lighthouse, and this helped the travellers. Once you saw the lighthouse, you knew you were close to Atticall and for my mum this meant Home. It was nicknamed “The Candlestick if Mourne” as it helped light the way home for many.
I’m sure that wherever you live, you have a marker and when you see it you know that you’re nearly home. This marker could be anything; a house, a bridge, a street corner or even a street light. For me, there are a few but as a child it was the stars. We used to visit my grandmother quite frequently when I was a child and that journey from our house to her is always vivid in my mind. We lived in a small village and so did she. So, while my father drove, I stared out of the window watching the sky. Our journey took us through streets and towns that were well lit and obviously this meant that I could only see the sky and stars at the beginning and end of my journey. I only ever ha a few minutes to appreciate the sky, but I still loved it. I am the youngest of three kids, and so I always got stuck in the middle of the back seat, but I always remember leaning over my sister, pretending to sleep on her shoulder just to watch the stars. Although a lot of the time I did fall asleep.
It warmed my heart to learn that the lighthouse was my mum’s marker when she was a child and that it was something taught to her by her father.
Who knew a lighthouse could be of great use on land as well as at sea?