DOWN MEM­ORY LANE

Campbeltown Courier - - NEWS - Spon­sored by Camp­bel­town Her­itage Cen­tre Open 11am to 4pm ev­ery Mon­day to Thurs­day un­til Septem­ber

In Jan­uary 1977, the Courier re­ported mod­erni­sa­tion of the Mull of Kin­tyre Light­house tak­ing it to ‘the power of a mil­lion can­dles’. Work on au­toma­tion of the light­house had also pro­gressed mak­ing life eas­ier for prin­ci­pal light­house keeper John Har­row and his col­leagues. Mr Har­row, orig­i­nally from Fife, had spent 17 years in the ser­vice and had served spells at Bass Rock and Ailsa Craig. He said that this was the most ad­vanced light­house he had ever kept. ‘I en­joy my job as a keeper,’ he said. ‘I was in the build­ing trade at first, but there were bad times one win­ter when my fam­ily was young, and I wanted a steady job.’ Con­di­tions at the Mull were wild at times but even when ice stopped cars from us­ing the steep windy roads, a Land Rover was able to take the keep­ers’ wives on their shop­ping trips twice a week.

Ded­i­ca­tion

It was a full-time job, with the keep­ers do­ing all the paint­ing and dec­o­rat­ing them­selves and the gleam­ing brass­work showed their ded­i­ca­tion to keep­ing the ma­chin­ery spot­lessly clean. While engi­neers were called in to deal with ma­jor break­downs, the keep­ers them­selves dealt with any mi­nor faults. Their work went on day and night in fourhour watches, just in case any­thing should go wrong. Semi-au­toma­tion had made life some­what eas­ier for the keep­ers. Elec­tric mo­tors had re­placed the clock­work-like mech­a­nisms pre­vi­ously used to drive the lens so they no longer had to wind these up ev­ery 30 min­utes.

An in­side view – John in his en­gine room.

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