Eilean Mor

On the night of 15th December, 1900, men on the island of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, saw that the beacon of Eileen Mor Lighthouse was not shining. Night followed night, and still the light did not appear. Had all three keepers fallen ill? What could have happened?

On Christmas Day, the lighthouse steamer Hesperus lay storm-bound in the harbour of Loch Roag, waiting to take provisions, mail and Christmas gifts across the seventeen miles of sea to Eileen Mor. Keeper Joseph Moore, returning from leave, waited anxiously to find out what had happened to his comrades.

The storm abated on Boxing Day and the Hesperus sailed, but no signals greeted her at the jetty and no one appeared. Moore climbed the towering cliff, entered the lighthouse and shouted – but all was silent. Everything was clean and orderly and the powerful lantern was ready to be lit – but the men had disappeared without trace.

The Heiperus sailed um evening, leaving Moore to an eerie vigil. Two days later she retumed with a Commission of Inquiry, which found gale damage on the western jetty and tangled ropes on the crane, 6S feet up the cliff. Strangest of all, the large tool chest was missing from its place 100 feet above the sea.

The Commission dicided that there must have been a violent storm on the 15th. with waves 100 feet high which swept the men from the crane platform and the tool chest from its niche in the cliff. Then it was pointed out that the 15th was a calm day! The Commision then decided that the storm must havee occurred on the 16th.

Wthey returned to Lewis. however, the captain of the steamship Archer told them that the light was out when he passed the Eilean Mot at midnight on the 15th. To this day, it is not known how three strong and experienced men could have disappeared so mysteriously from the lighthouse, or the tool chest from its place 100 feet up, on that calm day in December, 1900.

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