A LIGHTHOUSE enthusiast has bagged a lifetime experience following an epic journey to Orkney.
Richard Evans, 55, of Maypole Road, Ashurst Wood, led a group of 14 people around the islands last month, visiting seven lighthouses in as many days.
The Meridian FM presenter and father-of-two stepped into the breach after the organiser withdrew around six months ago. Having paid a deposit in May 2008, Mr Evans was determined the event should take place, so he took full responsibility.
"It fulfilled dreams for me and others in the group, some who had travelled from Holland and Germany to meet up in Orkney, which is made up of over 70 islands," he said. "Wherever we went by boat, including some remote rock stations, the right weather and tides played a vital part in accessing the lighthouses."
The participants on the trip share the same passion for the coastal structures and are all members of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers.
Mr Evans, who has been a member for about six years, said he has a great interest in remote islands in particular.
"I keep busy, so I don't really get to travel much, but I have done quite a lot of research," he said.
"I found an old magazine article from 1964 entitled The Lonely Islands in 2004, describing the lonely life of an Orcadian island couple, which inspired me to visit the islands that year. After extensive research I managed to trace two former school friends and re-unite the daughter of the former teacher from the 1930s, who'd been educated on a remote Orcadian island."
Despite his enthusiasm towards the expedition, Mr Evans never expected to lead a group that featured people from all over the UK and others as far as Holland and Germany.
He added: "It was a strength of challenge to say the least, but when you get into these things you just have to keep going."