Lighthouses

Lighthouse, The Island of Murano, Venice, Italy

I have posted this lighthouse before, in a post about the Islands of Murano, which we visited in 2016 on a trip to Venice, but I want to add it to my ‘Lighthouse Collection’   Built in 1912, the lighthouse has a distinct lean in the seaward direction, you can see this clearly, but I didn’t take a photo, in fact I only took this one….oh dear, we will have to return to take some more photos 🙂

To The Lighthouse, Ardnamurchan, Scotland

After travelling along the long narrow twisting road to Ardnamurchan Point, in the Highlands of Scotland, May 2017, we were suddenly at the gates of the imposing lighthouse.  Well not really gates now, but the posts remain, and it was quite interesting watching quite a large motorhome squeeze past them, thinking to myself….please do not get stuck, its the only way out.  This is quite a tower and we went up to the top……still quite amazed that I did that, but it is a Stevenson Lighthouse, so it had to be done.   The building on the left of the tower, has been made into a lovely cafe and gift shop, so after the long trip, you can at least get a drink and a bite to eat, if needed…..we did and the coffee was excellent….but back to the lighthouse……

The Lighthouse is still operated and maintained by the Northern Lighthouse Board and it one of over 200 located around Scotland’s wild coastline and The Isle of Man.  In joint partnership with the Board and the Lighthouse Trust you can now climb to the top of the tower, for a small fee….worth every penny, just wish there were more than you could climb.

Egyptian Influences

Standing 36 metres high and 55 metres above sea level the lighthouse was built by Alan Stevenson in 1848.  This is the most westerly point on the Scottish mainland, so the light plays a vital role in the safe keeping of sea vessels. 

The site for the lighthouse was chosen in 1845 and 20 acres of land was purchased for the sum of £20.00.  It took three years to complete the building, which was built of Ross of Mull granite.  It stands secure on the surrounding dark coloured gabbro (meaning smooth) volcanic rock.  Egyptian influences  can be seen in the entrance to the tower, the chimneys of the cottages and the top of the lighthouse tower beneath the balcony.

On our visit, we met some four legged friends, the lighthouse dogs, a pair of very friendly collie dogs, in fact one was so friendly, that she would try to bite the tyres of any cars that were leaving ……lucky for us, she was worn out from the heat to stop us.

We stopped to look at the exhibition, before we started our mammoth climb and had a good look at the lens which had been removed when the tower became automated in 1988.  Prior to this there would have been a Principal Lighthouse Keeper and two assistants, with their families living at the lighthouse.  The families were almost self sufficient and would have kept cows and sheep at the station.

The original lens was a Fresnel lens, so named after its French inventor, Augustin Fresnel.  The lens was made from a series of perfectly polished crystal glass lenses set in a bronze structure.

On entering the tower the first thing you see, is the lovely sign dated 1786 and then the stairs, which were a bit boring, so husband modelled  for me.

On and on we went, stopping and starting, then finally we made it to the top.  We did’nt get to see outside at this point, you are shown where the lighthouse keepers went about their duties and then an interesting talk on the history of the lighthouse.

 

Of course this is not the original workings. I think the guide said they were from the automation, but soon these will be replaced, but hopefully they will find a place in the exhibition.  After the talk it was time to crawl out on to the balcony and I do mean crawl through a very low door opening, but even for someone who has a fear of heights, it was worth it.  I’m must admit I only did half way round the balcony, but I am proud that I did that, the guide said it had taken him quite a few hours before he could make himself go through the door, let alone walk around the balcony, so yes, very pleased with myself.

And then the views.

Back inside the light to have a look at the modern day lens, an array of sealed beam electric lamps which look like car headlights to me, but soon they will be updated and then there are hopes of putting the original lens back, hopefully.  There are some nice brass lion heads and I did a b & w version of the glass, as I liked the reflections, but it was time to leave and make the trek back down the stairs, as it was the turn of someone else to see these wonderful views.

We had learned a lot about Lightkeeping, it was a remote, lonely and hard existence.  At night each keeper was required to keep watch in the lightroom (the room where we had listen to the talk) to ensure that the light flashed correctly.  During the daytime the keepers were kept engaged in cleaning, painting if necessary and generally keeping the premises clean and tidy.  

We were now going to make our way to Sanna Beach as suggested by the guide, who is a bit biased as he lives there….but he was right, more to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

Ornsay Lighthouse 1857, Isle of Skye, Scotland

This lighthouse was a lovey surprise, we were on Skye last week, May 2017, an island off the west coast of Scotland, on the Sleat Peninsular, the garden of Skye, looking for a Whiskey Shop.  Visiting Whiskey shops and distilleries are a reward for my husband, for driving me everywhere, so I can take photos from the car…… but having visited so many now, I quite like the taste and some times it works in my favour.  This time is really did, as we were coming out of the shop, I noticed in the distance a lighthouse on a small island.  We drove as near as we could, but it was still quite a distance, but I managed to get some shots of another ‘Stevenson Lighthouse’ for my collection.  What I found amazing, is that they are always in the most wonderful locations and some in the most amazing places, far out at sea on a small rock, not sure that I will get to visit many of those.

What we had been looking at was ‘Ornsay Lighthouse’ on the islet of Eilean Sionnach, off the tidal island of Ornsay.  The lighthouse cottages were once owned by the author Gavin Maxwell of ‘Ring of Bright Water’ fame and the lighthouse was built in 1857 by Thomas and David Stevenson, it is a masonry tower with gallery, lantern and keeper’s house. The apparatus installed entered in service on 10 November 1857 and became automated in 1962.

May 2017

 

 

Carraig Mhòr Lighthouse, Nr Port Askaig, Isle of Islay, Scotland

When you sail into Port Askaig on the Isle of Islay, you pass Carraig Mhòr Lighthouse in the Sound of Islay, I was hoping it would be a Stevenson Lighthouse to add to my collection, but it’s not.  The light was established in 1928 and that’s all I can find out about it at the moment, but its one for the ‘Lighthouse Collection’  and as always, they are all set in spectacular scenery.

From our visit in May 2016

McArthur’s Head Lighthouse 1861, Isle of Islay

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I nearly missed this Stevenson Lighthouse, we were having our dinner on the ferry sailing to Islay off the west coast of Scotland, when I suddenly realised that we had passed a lighthouse.   I rushed outside but I had missed the chance for a close up shot, but this post is to remind me next year to take it again.   McArthur’s Head Lighthouse built by David and Thomas Stevenson in 1861, is in a remote position and difficult to visit, so a shot from the ferry is the best way to see it.

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May 2016

Loch Indaal Lighthouse 1869, Isle of Islay, Scotland

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Following up with Stevenson Lighthouses in Scotland, I found photos of another three lighthouses.  This post is about Loch Indaal Lighthouse built in 1869 by David and Thomas Stevenson.  Also called Rubh an Duin Light, it is situated near to Port Charlotte on the southeast side of the Rinns of Islay peninsula.  You can see the Paps of Jura in the background of a couple of the photos.  The Light Keepers House, is holiday accommodation at the moment, and you can visit the grounds of the tower, but the door is locked.  Photos were taken from the car window as we drove past in May 2016.

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Rinns of Islay Lighthouse 1825, Orsay, Inner Hebrides

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I have added yet another category to my blog, Stevenson Lighthouses in Scotland.  I found out when researching for Skerryvore Lighthouse that there are a great many Stevenson built lighthouses in Scotland and so far the ones that I have photographed, have been in the most beautiful locations.  So apart from all the other things I want to explore and photograph, I now want to see how many I can capture.  As I live in England and not Scotland, this could be a long affair, but fun, just adds somewhere else to visit, although, I do not have to physically visit the lighthouse, taking a photo from afar is ok.

We were lucky enough to have a second holiday in Scotland this year, when we stayed on Jura and Isley, two beautiful islands off the west coast and I realised that I had taken some photos of a couple of Stevenson Lighthouses.  This post is of the elegant Rinns of Islay Lighthouse, which is on the Isle of Orsay that you can see at the end of the road in Port Wemyss on Islay, separated by a stretch of narrow water.  Built by Robert Stevenson in 1825.  The light was alternately stationary and revolving, producing a bright ‘flash’ of light every 12 seconds, this was a new way to distinguish one light from another, without those intervals of darkness which characterise other lights on the coast. DSC_0639

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May 2016