Clan’s Light The North lighthouse trail officially kicked off today, unveiling 50 stunning 2.5m tall lighthouses across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.
Organised in partnership with Wild in Art, which helped deliver Oor Wullie’s Big Bucket Trail in 2019, Light The North aims to provide a “light in the dark” for those battling cancer and their families.
Over the last week, the cancer charity volunteers and drivers delivered the 50 lighthouses – designed and embellished by talented UK artists – to their specific locations.
Fiona Fernie, Clan’s head of income generation, said that after two years of hard work and coronavirus postponing the trail, the charity was “delighted” to finally be able to launch Light The North, which will be a major fundraiser for the charity.
She said: “We can’t wait to take you on a journey across the north-east and Northern Isles to discover our lighthouses.
“Starting on August 9 for ten weeks, you’ll see artwork from professional artists, community groups and schools that have been inspired by lighthouses, the sea, our local communities and more.
“Not only will you be able to see all the fantastic artwork, but you’ll also be helping to support Clan Cancer Support. We’ve often heard people affected by cancer describe Clan as a ‘light in the dark’ during their cancer journey, making the symbology of lighthouses the perfect fit for the trail.”
The P&J and Evening Express are media partners with Light The North. See where you can find Light The North lighthouses on our interactive map below:
Encouraging people to take part in walking challenge
To coincide with the start of the lighthouse trail and to encourage locals as well as visitors to venture out to see as many sculptures as they can, Clan has also just launched its annual My Clan Walk.
Clan is asking the public to clock up the equivalent miles between lighthouse sculptures to raise money for the charity.
There are three different mileage challenges to choose from and the distance can be completed in a day, a week, a month or throughout the 10-week duration of the trail, ending on October 17. The three walking challenges are:
- The Full 50: Distance between all lighthouses = 430 miles
- The Mainland Miles: Distance between all mainland lighthouses = 179 miles
- City Sculptures: Distance between the Aberdeen lighthouses = 18 miles
Fiona said: “This is a great opportunity to get involved in something special this year, especially with Covid-19 restriction easing in time for the trail to begin today. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone out and about later in the year.”
Light The North’s education programme
In addition to the main sculpture trail, 14 sculptures embellished by community groups and 76 little lighthouses created by school pupils will be displayed all over the north of Scotland, including in Aberdeen Science Centre and a number of local businesses.
The education initiative was created to give young people across the north-east, Moray, Orkney and Shetland the opportunity to get creative and help their school or group design a little lighthouse to be featured on the trail.
The Little Lights education programme provided participating schools with a creative learning resource, which teaches them about the history of lighthouses, the region’s strong links to the sea, and cancer and mental wellbeing.
Fiona said: “Every school community is affected by cancer in some way and we want to support people to give them the tools to approach this difficult subject.
“Talking and learning about cancer is a clear way to help a school community remain a supportive, understanding and open environment for both staff and students.”
Orchard Brae School – a special education school in Aberdeen – was one of the institutions that took part in the initiative. We previously spoke to the school’s art teacher Diane Jack who was delighted Orchard Brae was part of the creative project and highlighted the importance of inclusivity.
Orchard Brae School’s little lighthouse will be shown at Aberdeen Science Centre later this year before being returned to the school once the trail is completed in October.
Check out our interactive map below to see where each of the 76 school lighthouses and sculptures created by community groups will be displayed.
Purchase a light on special lighthouse for friend or family member
In addition to the main and little lighthouses, Clan also launched a “1,000 stars” appeal which is part of the Light the North lighthouse trail.
A special commission lighthouse has been installed outside Clan House in Aberdeen. An interactive lighthouse called Shine Bright will depict the night sky, with the sculpture adorned in 1,000 LED lights that twinkle like stars. Each of the thousand stars will celebrate the life of someone affected by cancer.
The charity says that the “twinkling night sky on its expansive black canvass” can remind people that we are part of something greater and are stronger together when supported by others.
The Shine Bright lighthouse will recognise the “stars” in people’s lives. All names associated with the 1,0000 stars will be displayed by the sculpture where locals will also be able to “tap to donate” to CLAN and experience a unique 30-second light show.
Fiona added: “You can celebrate a loved one living with cancer or who has sadly passed on through the 1,000 stars appeal by buying a light on our unique lighthouse.
“1,000 stars not only celebrates the bravery of those affected by cancer, but it also helps Clan to continue to be that shining light to help people across the north-east and Northern Isles to live with and beyond a cancer diagnosis.”
Local businesses sponsor lighthouses which will be auctioned off
Each of the 50 main lighthouses is unique and backed by a local business. Evening Express, The Press and Journal and Original 106 are among some of the sponsors to have their own dedicated lighthouse.
At the end of this year’s Light The North sculpture trail, which will be present in each of the areas that Clan Cancer Support operates, all lighthouse sculptures will be auctioned off to raise funds for the charity so that it can continue supporting people affected by cancer.
Clan’s Light The North Farewell Weekend will take place from Friday October 29 to Sunday October 31 and the auction is planned for Monday November 1.