DOWN MEMORY LANE
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.
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.