At last we are in front of the majestic figure of the lighthouse Vilán, which goes out into the sea above a rock promontory 100 meters high, that is, without no doubt, a key point in O Camiño dos Faros. The surroundings are amazing. In front of it, the rock Vilán de Fora, is separated from the land by the canal O Bufardo, where the sea covers everything with a white foam.
The wind, present almost every day, shapes the rocks that end up having diverse forms. It is the perfect habitat for the sea birds. Some of them are endangered as the kittiwake or the guillemots, that are in these rocks as the last couples. Apart from these species, cormorants, shearwaters, common terns, or kingfisher find in this area their homeland.
In the CapeVilán, there used to be a steam lighthouse working since 1854, placed on an octagonal tower above a small elevation. Nowadays, some of its remains can be visited. This lighthouse, as it is not placed in the highest area, couldn´t avoid the visual obstacle of the cape and left some areas unprotected. They tried to solve the problem by exploiting some parts using dynamite but it was unsuccessful.
In 1885, the project of the construction of a new lighthouse was passed, and the tragedies related to the Serpent in 1890 and to the Tinacria in 1893 rushed its construction. On January, 15th in 1896, six years after the tragedy of the Serpent, the first electric lighthouse was inaugurated, which was considered to be a great improvement for the maritime navigation. The light was produced by means of an electric arch between two carbon electrodes. With a 25-meter octagonal tower its light reached 10 meters away, being one of the most powerful ones at that time. It was declared of “General Interest” in 1933. In 1962, the light optic was modified and it could reach 28 miles. A foghorn was also added.
The building that was used by the lighthouse keepers as their houses for them and their families was separated from the tower by a tunnel closed with stairs. Nowadays, we can visit the museum where we can see old optics and some other devices related to the history of the lighthouse, a center for the study of the wrecks, an exhibition room and the café.
If we have done the route from Arou, I am sure we are impressed with all the views, a Costa da Morte that is full of history, wrecks and legends that the own lighthouse Vilán, if he could tell us the stories, couldn´t even make them clear.
We set off towards Camariñas visiting the old lighthouse after descending a path full of gorse bushes and we have to border the fish farm.
There, at the sea level in Punta Esperillo, we can watch the real measures of Vilán from a different perspective. We say bye bye to it but making the promise to come back.