Friday, 9 March 2012


Stargazing by Peter Hill so impressed our regular contributor, Richard Evans, that he has submitted this review:
'Just finished reading this fine book, second-time-around. When Peter Hill, a student at Dundee College of Art, answered an advert in The Scotsman seeking lighthouse keepers, little did he imagine that within a month he would be living with three men he didn't know, in lighthouses on Pladda, Ailsa Craig and Hyskeir, small remote islands off the west coast of Scotland.  Hill was 19, it was 1973 and, with his head fed by Vietnam, Zappa, Kerouac, Vonnegut, Watergate and Coronation Street, he spent six months on various lighthouses, 'keeping' with all manner of unusual and fascinating people. Within 30 years this way of life was to have disappeared entirely. The resulting book is a charming and beautifully written memoir that is not only a heartfelt lament for Hill's own youth and innocence, but also for a simpler and more honest age.'
Scottish Islands Explorer - also 'keeping' - in its way 


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the book too. I've heard it said that lighthouse keeping was the first profession to become fully redundant. Very sad. However, I'm sure there must have been others? Any offers?

Richard Clubley

Anonymous said...

Stargazing is an amazing book. Peter Hill’s description of the rats on Ailsa Craig, seen at night from the lighthouse is memorable, and a sight I wish I could have seen. To quote from the book:

‘My jaw dropped in amazement when I saw the rats, thousands and thousands of them, racing about in the beam of the light.’

-Marc Calhoun