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  • Writer's pictureLinda Borromeo

Meet a Young Lighthouse Heroine

Updated: Mar 19, 2021

Grace Darling

It always surprised Grace Darling to emerge from the shelter of a walled garden to a world exploding with gray light. She looked up at the vast open sky and took a deep breath of cool salt air. A high wind fought with her now as she pushed closed the little door in the garden wall, latching it with a firm hand.

She hauled a crate of late-season vegetables to her boat and pushed off into the sea. Grace leaned into the oars as she crossed the rough ocean to her lighthouse home a mile away. She could tell that a serious storm threatened. She'd learned to read all the signs in her years of observing the winds and the tides.

Her concern was not for herself. She'd been handling the boat alone since she was twelve. Now, at twenty-two, she often made the trip to her old family home on Brownsman Island, part of England's Farne Islands. Grace and her family still cultivated the garden there on the island surrounded by seals and seabirds.

A Puffin in its burrow on the Farne Islands

She remembered how it felt to live on Brownsman Island. Curious puffins would stroll into their old lighthouse quarters like country ladies arriving for a visit, their bright, interested eyes taking in the furnishings.

She pushed herself harder now, anxious to return to her father at their newer lighthouse post on Longstone Island. Nothing grew on the barren rocks of Longstone. There were no more puffins wandering in, no more eider ducks to tame as pets. But she was content helping her father keep the light and observing the moods of the sea off the coast of Northumberland.