Stumble Head

Strumble Lighthouse, Strumble Head, Nr Fishguard, Wales

This weekend was our yearly visit to New Quay in Wales, to attend our ‘Welsh Family Reunion’ . I’m not sure how much longer it will continue, the oldest relation is now 91, and the rest are in their late 80’s, but we did have a wonderful family meal and enjoyed every second.  On Saturday we went to look for the Trinity Lighthouse at Strumble Head, near Fishguard, which is on the north west tip of Pembrokeshire.  I wasn’t quite prepared for how stunningly beautiful Strumble Head is and also, how in all the years of visiting, we had never been there.  Also the Strumble Lighthouse was perfect, perched on the small island of Ynsmeicel and is a great one for my ‘Trinity Lighthouse Category’

The one thing that I did find amazing, was the lantern room in the 55ft high circular stone tower, still has it’s original lantern.  I took so many photos to catch the flash, which I did a couple times out of many, but it was well worth it.  

The lighthouse was erected in 1908 and is reached by a small metal footbridge, which is gated with a large padlock.  The Lighthouse is automated so unfortunately there isn’t any access onto the island.


A Little About Strumble Head Lighthouse

Strumble Head Lighthouse stands imposingly on St. Michael’s Island (Ynysmeicl), an islet to the west of Fishguard, separated from the mainland by a very narrow gap through which the sea boils and froths in stormy weather.

The station was built in 1908 by Trinity House for the greater safety of sea traffic between Ireland and the new Fishguard Harbour which is located behind cliffs and a breakwater three miles to the east. The new light also formed a link with the existing South Bishop light, 29 km (18 miles) to the south-west. This stretch of coast is very dangerous, and some sixty vessels are known to have been lost along it in the 19th Century alone.

The original revolving lens system weighed 4½ tonnes, supported in a bath of mercury to reduce friction. A massive clockwork mechanism rotated it, driven by a 0.25 tonnes weight which, suspended on a cable, dropped gradually down a cylinder running from top to bottom through the tower and had to be re-wound every twelve hours. The optical system was replaced by more compact equipment when Strumble Head lighthouse was fully electrified in 1965.

Despite the footbridge to the mainland across the narrow sound, Ynsymeicl’s isolation and steep slopes set building problems typical of more remote rock towers. Building material and regular supplies were swung across by jackstay cable, between the winches near the cliff-top on the mainland and beside the lighthouse. The handrail of the footbridge and the steps to it also had a special purpose, as the pipeline to carry oil into the tower basement.

The lighthouse was converted to unmanned automatic operation in 1980.

The surrounding views are spectacular and really do need to be explored more on a longer holiday.

We also saw some wildlife, apart from the birds on the islands, a seal came to say hello.