Where is it?

The Butt of Lewis Lighthouse in Ness, at the northern tip of Lewis.

Why do you go there?

Its red tower was always on my horizon when I grew up. I associate many of my childhood memories with both the beam of its light and the sound of its foghorn. In Gaelic, it also has the most unusual name of any place of which I am aware.

It’s called Rubha Robhanais; a name that is a triple tautology, comprising three different translations of the word “headland” in Gaelic, Pictish and Norse.

In this and other ways, it sums up the history of the Western Isles – even in the way that its light provided the last memory of their native island for many emigrants going to Canada and the US on vessels such as the Metagama in 1923 and 1924.

I am also aware of the legend that the Vikings used Suil an Rubha – or the Eye of the Butt – which is the cave beneath the lighthouse’s foundation, to try and tug the Outer Hebrides in the direction of Scandinavia many centuries ago.

How often do you go?

Not often enough these days.

The Herald: Author Donald S MurrayAuthor Donald S Murray (Image: D Murray)

How did you discover it?

By looking out of our kitchen window when I was a child. It was there in both dark and daylight. Even on a mist-shrouded day, I was aware of its presence. The thunderous noise of the foghorn ensured that.

What’s your favourite memory?

The day I climbed to its summit as a youngster. I was accompanied there by my Aunt Agnes, Uncle Harry and their daughter Margaret who had come from their home near Wick to visit us.

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It provided me with an entirely new perspective on my native district. I could see the rocks and skerries, stretches of sand, even the ocean waves and the lazy beds found on many crofts throughout Lewis, from an entirely new perspective.

Who do you take?

My friends and offspring.

What do you take?

Wellington boots and a thick jacket if it is a wet and windy day.

What do you leave behind?

My footprints, sometimes on the white shell beach of Port Stoth nearby. That’s where all the materials for the construction of the lighthouse were landed between 1859 and 1862.

Sum it up in five words

Rugged. Outstanding. Striking. Secure. Historic.

What other travel spot is on your wish list?

There’s quite a number. They include parts of Norway and Sweden where I have never ventured. Also, Cape Breton, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in Canada which – for various reasons – I would love to explore.

Donald S Murray’s latest novel, The Salt and the Flame, is published by Saraband on Thursday, priced £9.99. Metagama & Marloch: An Atlantic Odyssey, written by the author, will be performed at Celtic Connections in Glasgow on January 21. Visit celticconnections.com

Murray will discuss the experiences of the emigrants on the Metagama, and how Hebrideans in the US and Canada inspired his new book, at a special launch event being held at Waterstones Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, on Friday at 7pm.